Pastor Jason Murphy
Check the Gauges
I recently spoke at a men’s meeting. I spoke from a pastoral viewpoint on what pastors are looking for from the men in the church. I believe that for the most part men in the church want to do what is godly, biblical, and right. They want to take responsibility and leadership. It’s just that sometimes they are not clear on what is expected of them.
Men like to be able to glance at gauges to see how things are running. They like to make sure everything is within normal range and operating as it should. So, when I spoke to the men at a recent gathering, I gave them a few gauges they could glance at to see how they are “running” and if they are within the “normal range” of Scriptural expectations.
I spoke from the heart with very little notes. I was encouraged to write what I spoke. So, here it is to the best of my memory. The following will in no way exhaust the topic of Scriptural expectations for the men in the church. It is merely a few simple gauges to quickly glance at while navigating through life.
The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to a man named, Titus. Titus was a Pastor of the church at Crete. Titus, who was one of Paul’s “sons in the faith” and a minister under his training, was chosen to lead the congregation. Paul wrote a “pastoral letter” to Titus. This letter gave him instructions on his calling, doctrine, how to organize the church, and what he should expect from the men and women in the church. In Titus 2:2 we read, “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.” (Titus 2:2 ESV)
you are valuable to the Kingdom of God. You are valuable to the local church. As you navigate through life, remember to glance at the gauges.
From this simple verse, four expectations are made clear to the “older men” in the church. The term, “older men”, was a reference to any male over the age of 50. Here are the four expectations given to them as a gauge to see how they are “running” at any given time. Again, they are not detailed points.
First, older men are to be sober-minded. The idea behind being sober-minded is to be in control of the mind. One should avoid drunkenness, or even drinking to the point where they are dulled, and relaxed to the point that they are unable to make wise and sound decisions. It means to be sharp, not dull. Men should be alert at all times. Men should be in full control of their minds. They should be watchful. Men should be watching for any attack or problem that would arise in their lives, families, church, city, and nation. Not only must men be watchful for such things, men must know how to counter the attack and stop the progression of the enemy.
Secondly, older men should be dignified. What does this mean? It means that men should be reverent. Men must be reverent of God, His Word, and His work. Men should be serious about the serious things of life. I am not saying that men should not have a sense of humor or never have fun. Quite the contrary. Men should have fun in life doing what God has called them and equipped them to do! However, life is not a joke to godly, Kingdom-minded men. Godly men are serious about the serious things in life, such as the way we conduct ourselves in private and public, marriage, fatherhood, Christian walk, church attendance, and church involvement. Certainly, the list could be much longer and detailed. However, I think enough has been stated to communicate the point.
Thirdly, older men should be self-controlled. Men who are maturing in the spiritual life are self-controlled. In fact, this trait is so important to manhood that Paul told Titus to teach the young men, males 12-50, to be self-controlled as well. (Titus 2:6) This trait is so important that the Holy Spirit actually works to produce this character or “fruit” in us. (Galatians 5:22-23) What does it mean to be self-controlled? To be self-controlled means, among other things, that men should be able to control their emotions, passions, and desires etc. We submit them to the Lordship of Christ, and to His revealed, written Word. Men do not act like boys. They do not give in to their emotions, passions, and desires. Instead, they submit them to Christ. They live according to the principles revealed in the Word of God.
Lastly, older men should be sound. The word “sound” in this context means “healthy”. Men should be sound and healthy in at least three areas. First, men must be sound in the faith. Men should possess a healthy knowledge of the faith, or the body of doctrine, that has been handed down to us. We must know it, live it, defend it, and share it! (Jude 1:2; 1 Peter 3:15) Secondly, men should be sound in love. Men should healthily exhibit biblical love as found in 1 Corinthians chapter thirteen. Obviously, no one is perfect, but we should all be progressing in these things. The last thing men should be sound in is in their steadfastness. Men should be able to stand firm during the trials of life, as well as the attack of the enemy. Men, show your soundness and health in the Kingdom by standing firm for the faith, and do so in love.
Men, you are valuable to the Kingdom of God. You are valuable to the local church. As you navigate through life, remember to glance at the gauges that the Lord has given you in His Word. These gauges will help you “run” and operate at your optimal level.