“Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.” (Titus 2:2 (ESV)
The church of Jesus Christ is to be engaged in multi-generational life. While there may be particular emphasis placed on certain age group ministries in any given week, the church must not exclude any age group from any other. All generations in the church must be involved with each other.
At my church in Fort Wayne, IN, one woman recently wrote, in the church newsletter, about its women’s ministry. “I love the cross-generational interaction between women, and I also love that we are so intently focused on spiritual growth! I grew in my relationship with the Lord and with my relationship with other women in our church.”
This is exciting to hear. This is what the Apostle Paul taught Titus about how the churches in Crete should inter-relationally function. He distinguished six people categories in the church. Today’s topic is older men.
Older Men (Πρεσβύτης (presbytes) refers to elderly men (Luke 1:18; Titus 2:2; Phm. 9). These are men who are older than younger men. It does not mean they are infirm or incapacitated. Rather, they have lived relatively longer lives than younger men.
What are older men to be known and respected for? What are to be their qualities?
First, older men are to be sober-minded (Νηφάλιος (nephalios). This means to be temperate and restrained.
Second, they are to be dignified (Σεμνός (semnos). This means to be worthy of respect and of good character.
Third, older men are to self-controlled (Σώφρων (sophron). This refers to prudence, moderation, good sensibility, and discretion.
Fourth, they are to be sound in faith (ὑγιαίνω πίστις (hygiaino pistis). This phrase is a present active particle. Older men are to be continually healthy in their faith. This is their trust in, commitment to, dependence upon, and worship of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
Fifth, older men are to be sound in love (ἀγάπη (agape). They are to be continually healthy in displaying self-sacrificial love of the will. This is loving concern for fellow believers in Christ as well as for the unconverted.
Sixth, they are to be sound in steadfastness (ὑπομονή (hypmone). This refers to patient perseverance in trials ((Luke 8:15; 21:19; Rom. 2:7; 5:3; 8:25; 15:4; 2 Cor. 6:4; 1 Tim. 6:11; 2Ti 3:10; Heb. 12:1; James 1:3; 5:11; 2 Peter 1:6; Rev. 2:2, 19; Gal. 5:23).
“Paul used this term (older men) for himself (Philemon 9) when he was over 60. It refers to those of advanced age, using a different term from the one translated “elders” in Titus 1:5. To be dignified is not limited to reverence for God, which is assumed, but also refers to being honorable. They are to be sensible and spiritually healthy,” explains Dr. John MacArthur.
“As a young man, Caleb was one of the twelve spies Moses sent into the land of Canaan. He and Joshua were the only ones who were confident that God could give the Israelites victory, despite the giants in the land—but the others disagreed and Israel did not enter the Promised Land (Numbers 13-14). But the story of Caleb does not end there. Forty-five years later, with Israel now invading Canaan, Caleb is still just as enthusiastic and just as confident in God—even though he is now 85 years old (Joshua 14:6-15). He still wants to be in the middle of the action. He has not retired from serving God,” states commentator Tim Chester.
Remember, for older men to be respected they need to be worthy of respect. If they seek to demand respect they will never receive respect.
Pray for the older men in your church. You may be one of them. Pray that all in this category embody the biblical qualities set forth in today’s text.
Soli deo Gloria!