Building Godly Men
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness…Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
(Titus 2:1-2, 6-8 ESV)
Titus was a young pastor on the Island of Crete, he was responsible for setting up and putting into order the church there. He was left by Paul, probably on a missionary journey not recorded in the book of Acts, but regardless of when it happened the instructions that Paul gave to Titus were clear and concise, as were the instructions Paul gave to Timothy, the pastor in Ephesus. They were responsible for teaching and training, building up and organizing the church.
Paul sets the context for the passage in Titus 2:1-10 in the previous chapter. Paul writes in Chapter 1: “One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” (Titus 1:12 ESV). With this in mind it is easier to understand the situation. Cretans were undisciplined, most likely they had lived so long in the ways of Hellenistic Greek culture that had little order or even desirable qualities. Crete had once been a center of trade, but by the time Paul was writing it was made up of small fishing towns, dreaming of its former glory. This disorderly and lazy lifestyle is the reason for verse 13 “Rebuke them sharply, seeing that they are of sound faith.” This brings us to chapter 2, where Paul focuses on exhorting men and women to live in a certain way. Titus is to exhort them to be “Self-controlled” instead of undisciplined, “Sober minded” instead of drunkards. “Sound in Love” instead of brawlers. These instructions not only would have made the men on Crete better humans it would have put them in accordance with what Paul calls “Sound Faith” (Vs. 1). Paul wanted to be able to say of the Cretans what he said of the Thessalonians: “Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another” (1 Thessalonians 4:9 ESV).
The Thessalonians listened to Paul’s teachings, as well as the Holy Spirit, Paul was hoping that the same would happen on Crete. It’s no surprise that Paul starts with instructions to the men; after all Greek culture was dominated by Men. It makes perfect sense to address the older men first, Paul comes back to men in regards to “young men” in verses 6-8. In fact Paul devotes five verses to men and only three to women. Again, perfectly acceptable in the culture that the passage was being written too. But if ministering to men was important to Paul, as it appears to be here and in 1 Timothy 5:1, then shouldn’t it be important to us?
In the past few months I’ve released several facebook write ups designed to encourage and exhort men to be men. To take time to learn and grow, both single men and men who are dating or married. The goal has been to encourage and build up men to be men of God, leading in the home and being transformed by the Holy Spirit. Being careful to point out that this is something that, like the Thessalonians, we cannot do without the work of the Holy Spirit and Christ’s work of grace found in God’s Word. I want to build Godly men, so I’ve taken the areas I’ve struggled in and written on them hoping to encourage and exhort men to be men of God.
Why? Because in most cases men are leaving the church, they find a lack of encouragement and cannot find a place where they are needed. On top of that churches water down the message of the Gospel and so men are not being challenged. They are not getting anything at the church that they cannot get at the local watering hole, so they stop coming.
We have stopped building Godly Men, but Godly men are essential. Godly men will lead the family, Godly men will lead the church, Godly men will lead their communities. Godly men will transform the world, they will raise up Godly sons and daughters, they will love their wives and be faithful to them. They will stand up for truth and sound doctrine because they know what scripture says and when they make mistakes they will own up to them and repent and do their best to make it right. In short, they will be salt and light to the world. Then younger men will see them and want to love God and serve God like they do and a transformation will happen in the world and in culture.
We need men to know scriptures; we need men to be visible. For this reason I think the first responsibility of the pastor should be to raise up Godly men. Just like Titus was instructed to find in 1:5-10. We need the type of men described above to lead the church and for that to happen the pastor needs to work to encourage them to actively participate in the work of the Holy Spirit and to pursue God. This is the hope for a generation that has given up.
Now I’m not downplaying women’s roles in the church, women have an important role to play in the kingdom that is evidenced by the ministry of Jesus. But Jesus got together a group of men, as did Paul to be leaders in the coming kingdom because they knew the importance of men as leaders and protectors of the faith. If a women is gifted with leadership by all means let her lead, but God has called Men as well and his exhortation to us could bring revolution and transformation to a world starving for hope.
So pastors, build Godly men and men, seek God’s heart and God’s instruction so that one day God can say of you that you were a good and faithful servant who did the work of the kingdom and lived by the grace that saved you.
By Jonathan Faulkner
10:31 Life Ministries Director