Intersection of Life and Faith

<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Jan. 20, 2008

  • 2019 Jan 20

Sensible Fathers


For years I was a youth evangelist, traveling the nation and ministering to thousands of young people. During that time, I had conversations with many troubled teenagers from Christian homes. These kids were completely turned off to church. They wanted nothing to do with their parents' religion. They spoke of their dad and mom's angry fights, blatant hypocrisy, awful gossip, secret sins. They heard constant grumbling and complaints about their minister, church members, family, and friends.

Usually in such cases, the dad was active in church. People saw him as dedicated and full of Jesus. But his kids knew how to read his life, and they saw him as he really was: a phony. He mistreated their mother with abusive language. Or he had a secret stash of pornographic magazines. Or he was caught watching filthy videos.

Such a dad serves in the Eli priesthood. He has no spiritual authority. And in turn, he has no respect. He might lecture his kids, or threaten them, or try to demand obedience. But he's wasting his breath. It's all to no avail.

We see this illustrated in Eli's life. Eli had two sons named Hophni and Phinehas, who also served as priests. God called these men "sons of Belial," or children of the devil. Yet Eli never dealt with his sons about their sin. He never spoke to them more than an empty word of caution. After all, he knew anything he might say to them was in vain, because of his own spiritual sloth.


·        YOUNG MEN SHOULD SEE THEIR FATHERS as “sensible in all things” (vv. 6–7a). We’ve seen Paul use this characteristic of elders, older men, and younger women. Young men need to develop self-control and balance, discernment and judgment (cf. 2 Tim. 2:22; 1 Peter 5:5). The phrase “in all things” stretches this matter of mental balance and self-mastery in the Christian life to an almost infinite level. Young men—so potentially volatile, impulsive, passionate, arrogant, and ambitious—need to become masters over every area in their lives.


Fathers, do your boys see this type of Spirit-controlled living in you?


·        YOUNG MEN SHOULD SEE THEIR FATHERS as “example of good deeds”: Paul turns from the young men in general to encourage Titus to “show [himself] to be an example of good deeds.” One of the most important qualities of a leader is the example he sets. Paul wanted Titus to be a model first of “good deeds.” That refers to his inherent righteousness, nobility, and moral excellence. A godly young man is to model righteousness in everything he does. Young men, you’ll begin to control your life when you understand God wants you committed to producing righteous, holy deeds.


Fathers, do your boys see this type of Spirit-controlled living in you?


·        YOUNG MEN SHOULD SEE THEIR FATHERS with pure motives: “with purity in doctrine” (v. 7) is how God wants those deeds accomplished. A better way to translate the Greek word is “uncorruptness.” Titus and young men are to live in perfect accord with sound doctrine, and without defect. Young men must know the Word of God and live according to it. Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Thy Word.” Living in obedience to God’s Word will keep you in line.


Fathers, do your boys see this type of holiness in you?


·        YOUNG MEN SHOULD SEE THEIR FATHERS as “dignified”: At the end of Titus 2:7 Paul adds that Titus and young men are to be “dignified” —a characteristic that should also be true of men and women deacons and older men. That means young men are to be serious. Youth tends to be somewhat frivolous, particularly in our culture where entertainment has become an all-consuming passion. While that doesn’t mean young men can’t enjoy life, they should have a mature understanding of life, death, time, and eternity.


Fathers, do your boys see this type of Spirit-controlled living in you?


·        YOUNG MEN SHOULD SEE THEIR FATHERS with “sound speech”: Finally Paul encourages Titus to: “[Be] sound in speech which is beyond reproach.” As we’ve seen, “sound” means “healthy” or “wholesome.” In reference to one’s words, Paul wrote, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person” (Col. 4:6). Young men, let what you say be worth saying. Make sure it edifies your hearers to the point that it is “beyond reproach” —that the only accusations which can be brought against it are shameful in the light of reason.[1][4]


Fathers, do your boys see this type of Spirit-controlled living in you?


[1][4] John MacArthur, Different By Design, (Wheaton,: Victor Books) Chosen by God.

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