Characteristics of a Godly Man, Part 6

“But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance” – Titus 2:1-2

Continuing our study of these two verses we now come to find that a godly man is to be sound, and that soundness extends to three areas, faith, love and perseverance.  The most logical place to begin is to define the word “sound.”  Very simply “sound” means, as we described before, being healthy.  Grammatically, “sound” refers to faith, love and perseverance, not simply to faith.  The definite article (the) is used before each of the three nouns and therefore reads, “sound in the faith, in the hope, in the perseverance.”

The faith is a reference to the body of doctrine in which Paul had “raised” Titus (see 1:4, 13; 2:1).  The problem in the Church today is, to borrow a line from Strother Martin’s character “Captain” in “Cool Hand Luke,” “What we got here is…failure to communicate.”  The Church, led by the Elders/Pastors have failed to communicate that sound doctrine that Paul taught, that which God preserved as His message in holy writ.  Instead the Church, under the guidance of many of its most famous leaders (i.e., Schuller, Warren, Hybels, et.al.) has sought out the philosophies of men and pop-psychology for teaching its people, and business model’s for directing the organization of the Church.  What was left out of the mix was a firm commitment to sola-sciptura.  I do not write this to attack any individual.  I’m simply pointing out what has happened.  Here what I am saying (better yet, what Paul has said); the godly man is one who is healthy in his understanding of Bible doctrine.  Without the good healthy doctrine recorded in Paul’s writing’s there is no being a godly man.  The sooner we learn that and act appropriately the better off the Church of the living God will be.

NOTE: At least one commentator has determined that “sound in the faith” is in reference to the exercise of personal faith.  There is good argumentation in favor of this view, but there is not the time or space to discuss that here.  I will simply say this; it seems most logical to hold to the idea that “faith” refers to doctrine because one cannot exercise healthy personal faith without a proper understanding of the object of that faith.  Healthy doctrine leads to the exercising of healthy faith.  Whether this is what Paul is referring may be open to debate, but this is where I will stand. END NOTE.

We are also to be healthy in the love.  Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest describes the love as, “agape…, referring to that love produced in the heart of the yielded saint by the Holy Spirit.”  Agape has been defined as “love for someone or something, based on sincere appreciation and high regard” (Louw-Nida).  This love is directed at both God and man.  Towards God as the godly man’s expression of the highest regard and appreciation for God as our Savior, Lord, and Sovereign Ruler of all things.  Towards man as we hold our wives and children in the highest regard, and towards other men as we do all within our power to live in peace with all men while sharing the truth of the gospel with those who need to hear.

Finally, the godly man must be sound in perseverance.  Perseverance is defined as the “capacity to continue to bear up under difficult circumstances” (Louw-Nida).  This identifies the virtue of the Christian man who is able to continue to patiently endure trials in a way that honors God (Wuest).  I admit that this is an area in which I struggle.  The American Church has a general lack in this area.  For a generation or two we have been raised in a society in which children are taught to expect things to be handed to them, where parents attempt to remove every obstacle from their children’s path so that they don’t have to struggle, and the blame for my mistakes are passed on to the next guy.  This is a hard mindset to overcome once one becomes a Christian.  Yet it must be overcome for us to be strong, consistent men of God.  Thankfully God has given us His Spirit Who will empower us to overcome when we allow Him to have full control of our lives.  He will produce this fruit in us as we grow in the Word of God and determine to be obedient to what we learn from it.

Well, we have finally reached the end of our discussion of Paul’s teaching in this passage.  I’m sure that we can learn so much more from these two verses, but I have exhausted my knowledge (sad statement, but true).  I pray that this has been helpful.

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“Son of Hamas” Denounced as a Phony | Bible Prophecy Blog

I have been asked on more than one occasion why it is necessary to maintain the absolute distinction between Israel and the Church.  My first answer to that question is to ask, “Do you mind if I call you Bob?  I know your name is not Bob, but does it really matter?”  Then I get to my real first answer, which is that Scripture maintains the distinction consistently from beginning to end.  That should be the end of the conversation, but it rarely is.

Of the 74 times that the word “Israel” is used in the New Testament, every reference is to the land of Israel, the nation of Israel, or the descendants of Israel.  Two times the word “Israelites” is used both referring to descendants of the nation.  The word Jew is used 22 times and each is in reference to ethnicity.  The plural, “Jews,” is used 169 times in the New Testament, and again each time identifying ethnicity.  The only way that Israel, Jews, or Jew means anything else is if the interpreter, not the author of Scripture but the interpreter, changes the meaning to something else, i.e., the Church is “spiritual” Israel.

There is great danger in the idea that the Church has replaced Israel in that manner.  The danger can be seen in its practical outcome as recorded in the history of the Church (see Barry Horner’s book, Future Israel).  There is a particularly virulent stain of this line of thinking found in many churches today, and its poison is beginning to show its effects in the way many Christians in the west and middle east view the Church’s relationship with the nation of Israel.  The following article may help shed some light on the subject, or perhaps may cause some to hurl accusations at the messenger.  We’ll see.

The article enables access to an online interview that I have viewed for accuracy.  I found nothing in the story that was refuted in the online interview; the two agree.  Please check it out here –  “Son of Hamas” Denounced as a Phony | Bible Prophecy Blog.

A Short Response to Rob Bell

Article.

The article above is succinct yet still provides an excellent rebuttal of Rob Bell’s portrayal of reality in his new book, Love Wins.  This is worth the read.

Some Characteristics of a Godly Man, Part 5

“But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance” – Titus 2:1-2

Okay, okay, I know its been nearly a month since I posted.  I’m really sorry about that, but to borrow a phrase from Dolly Parton, “I’ve been busier than a one-armed paper hanger” (no offense to one-armed paper hangers, or paper hangers in general, intended).  I will try to do a better job of keeping up with this responsibility, assuming that there are those who still wish to read my blogs.

This week I would like to address the next portion of Paul’s message to Titus in particular his instruction that older men are to be sensible.  To be sensible means having control over sensual desires, or curbing one’s desires and impulses, self-controlled.  It’s general importance is demonstrated in the fact that this is not limited to the “older” men, but it is reiterated to both the young women in verse 4 and the young men in verse 6.  Also, as I asserted in my last blog concerning dignity among the men of God, this too seems to be greatly lacking in the Lord’s Church today.

As I’ve studied this text it seems to me that both temperance and dignity are inward characteristics whereas being sensible reflects the outward side of the other two.  If that is not one hundred percent on target it is at least in the ball park.  As with every inward characteristic there must be some outward show. Sensibility best describes the outward expression of one who is inwardly temperate (restrained, clear-headed and reflected in clarity of mind and sound judgment) and dignified (worthy of honor and exhibited in the reflection of Christ in us).  The sensible man exercises sound judgment (temperance) and because of that restrained, clear-headed judgment, is worthy of honor (dignified).  In accomplishing this (which is really a work of the Holy Spirit, see Eph. 2:20 & Phil. 3:13) we reflect the life of Christ in us and become an attractive flame to those seeking the light.

It is incumbent upon us as men of God to act sensibly in a culture that has lost all proper sensibilities.  Rarely does a day pass without a story of some teacher, politician, pastor, or some other leader who has lost his/her senses and committed some heinous act of a sensual nature.  Since Church leaders bear the high calling of leading others to follow Christ and grow in His word the lack of sensible men in the pulpit and leadership of the Church has wreaked havoc on that mission.

Men of God, I realize how hard it is to maintain your sensibility in this mad, mad, mad, mad world.  But we have the Spirit of God to empower us and the mind of Christ to inform us.  Peter told his readers that “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Pet. 1:3).  I urge you to take advantage of the benefits of the divine blessings found in His word, and lean on Him for strength to be sensible men of God.

I pray this helps.