Women: The biblical model of a benefactor household set the woman in a very strategic place. The idea is that our homes are to be the engines of good works in our society and to be those engines there is a very necessary and strategic role for women and godly wives and mothers. 2 weeks ago we looked at God’s word in 1 Timothy 5 in which the Holy Spirit was through the apostle Paul giving the criteria for the inclusion of widows onto the support list of the Ephesus church. The idea is this – these were the women that the church honoured and supported and as such these are the women that set the model for our moms and daughters. In short, we saw that these women were called to a lifestyle of good works that specifically included four areas of focus: the bringing up of children, hospitality – which is the welcoming of strangers and those outside of the body of Christ, the washing of the saints feet – humble service within the body of Christ, and reliving the afflicted – caring for the needs of those around her in the community. These are the model good works – while they are primarily centered around the home, they by no means limit the sphere of a woman’s influence to the home. Yet the home is regarded at a strategic point in the seeking of the welfare of the city – perhaps more so in ancient times.
Today we’re going to shift our focus to men. There’s a shortage of good men in the world. You don’t believe me? Ask the experts.
- TED TALK: The Demise of Guys: http://www.ted.com/talks/zimchallenge.html
- “Boys Adrift”
- If you don’t believe the experts, ask the single women. Last November the Atlantic Magazine ran an Article “All the Single Ladies”, in which author Kate Bolick argued that “recent years have seen an explosion of male joblessness and a steep decline in men’s life prospects that have disrupted the “romantic market” in ways that narrow a marriage-minded woman’s options: increasingly, her choice is between deadbeats (whose numbers are rising) and playboys (whose power is growing).”
- I went to the park yesterday, met a 23-year old single mom who recently moved to Ottawa. The dad’s nowhere to be found, she’s putting herself through school with a one-year old, taking out loans to house herself and her kids. Tough story. Then she tells me that her 25 year-old brother’s been crashing on her couch for 4 months, eating her food that she’s going to have to pay back with her school loans, playing video games all day, continually telling her that he’ll go get a job, but making no tangible moves toward it. And he’s staying with her because her older brother moved back into her mom’s basement, so he had to go.
There’s a shortage of good men in the church.
- Why Men Hate Going to Church
- The Church’s Response: The Macho Jesus (Driscoll yelling!)
There was another society that was having trouble with its men. Titus 1:12 One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. A saying attributed to the poet Epimenides of Crete (6th century B.C.).
Crete was apparently a boys club. The Cretan man is being extensively researched today, especially among those interested issues relating to human sexuality. The Cretan man upon coming of age at age 22, would take for himself a young boy of about 12. He would literally take the boy – with the collusion of the boy’s father, the young man would stage a false kidnapping, take him out into the woods where they would spend two months hunting and feasting with friends. After that time, if the young by consented, they would publically joined together for ten years, after which the older man, now 32, would marry a woman and the younger man, now an adult, would ‘mock-abduct’ his own younger companion and continue the cycle. Even after marrying the woman, the Cretan man would often continue to live with his bros in the male barracks, separate from the woman, having his sexual needs fulfilled outside of his marriage. Only in his old age would he go and live with his wife. Yet all this bromanship did not apparently lead to mature manhood, for over the years the Cretans established for themselves a reputation not unlike the players of today – remember they themselves spoke of themselves as “evil beasts” and “lazy gluttons.” The culture had apparently affected the church as well – Paul writes in verse 16: They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. If you remember from our earlier messages, “good works” is a key theme in the book of Titus. We started this series talking about how good works were to be our defining strategy of engaging our city for the sake of the Gospel, and one of the key passages we looked at was Titus 3. Yet here the missionaries were confronted with men who were “unfit for any good work”. Since good works were the core of the Christian strategy to transform their communities, these men were undermining the entire process.In verse 11 Paul writes that the teaching of these men were upsetting entire households. Now most translations believe that Paul is referring to individual families, which indeed he may be, but he may also be pointing out that the conduct and teaching of these bros is overturning churches, for households is also Paul’s word for churches in these letters. It’s probably both – men without concern for their family and men without concern for God’s church often are one and the same.
So what is Titus to do with these men if the church is to take root and transform Crete? Four things:
• Draft the pure
• Rebuke the lazy
• Teach the household order (Sound Doctrine)
• Model good works himself
Draft the Pure
Titus 1:5 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— 6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
The first thing Titus was to do was to seek out men whom Jesus had raised to a higher standard, and draft them to oversee the churches. There is a sense of dire need here – if anyone is above reproach, appoint them. We don’t have time for volunteers. We’re not messing around with “do I feel called to this sort of ministry?” Titus is like, you there – do you love your wife? You love Jesus? You involved with raising your kids? You don’t got anger issues? Good – look over this church for a while until I come back. It doesn’t sound like there were too many of these guys around – if you find anyone like this, grab him.
See the men of Crete needed role models that they could aspire to be, so a godly man was valuable and set at the front of the church. Titus was to get the men of Crete to the place where the were in Ephesus, where timothy was working, where the men were aspiring to be Elders. Titus doesn’t have that luxury – he had to go hunt down the quality guys and draft them, and voluntell them that they were now serving the church.
Here’s the qualifications, specific to Crete, but very similar to the qualifications written to Timothy at Ephesus.
1. No one can dig up any dirt on him: That’s what above reproach means. So that when he’s overseeing the church, the church can unite around him because no one is making accusations against him. Notice that the Holy Spirit emphasizes this qualification twice – this is the summary statement of all other qualifications – he’s a model guy that others can emulate and no one can tear apart.
2. He’s a Family Guy: He is a one-woman man who has raised godly kids. Already, in Crete we ‘ve seen these guys in short supply. Some focus on the one-woman man thing to say that he’s never been divorced and remarried, I read it this way – he’s been a faithful husband. Tied in with the “above reproach” thing – people in the community know him as a faithful husband. Also, he’s raised godly kids – the idea here is that his household is a model household.
3. He’s a Good Character Guy: For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant [interesting word: literally self-indulging: a person who lives to meet only his own needs] or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable [like last week – welcoming toward strangers], a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. Look, no one is perfect, but these are basic Christian virtues. Notice they are also fruit of the spirit – self-control, patience, love, kindness, gentleness [gospel]
4. He’s a Grounded Guy: He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
So Titus, if you find anyone like this, don’t hesitate – set them over the churches, for they are gems and they will look so different against the backdrop of Crete, and set an environment in the church for the other men to aspire to.
Rebuke the lazy:
13 Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith. If we rebuke you, we love you.
Teach the household order (Sound Doctrine)
Titus 2:1 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.
Model good works himself
7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.
Men and women working together to make industrious, virtuous, good-works centered households that bless and build-up the city.
Next week – singleness ☺