Aging with Grace Sermon Series Sermon # 2
Titus 2:1-5 “Godly Patriarchs and Godly Matriarchs” Jan. 19, 2014
Maple Glen Bible Fellowship Church Pastor Louis Prontnicki
Titus 2:2-5 “Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. 3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
Let’s think for a moment about the ideal picture of retirement in our culture: what do you see?
Ocean cruises; a healthy looking couple enjoying the best restaurants; joyous family gatherings with a few adoring grandchildren; an adult living community where you have no responsibilities, in fact, where others serve you, and everything you need is taken care of! Ah… who wouldn’t want to retire and live like that!
Just this week I was sent a mailing with an invitation to live at a retirement community, and it began this way: “As a senior, don’t you DESERVE to sit back and enjoy life?
And while none of those things are necessarily wrong, I ask you this: who is at center stage in that ideal picture? Where is the clear focus? It’s on you. Isn’t it? It’s all about pampering you and catering to your desires.
Question: How does that picture of getting older and retiring fit with what God tells us about that time of our lives?
There is a temptation for Christians, when they reach their 60’s and 70’s to spiritually retire. It’s easy to say to yourself: “I’ve put in my years raising a family, serving at church, and volunteering here and there…now it’s someone else’s turn.” Having finished with their raising of children and their care of older parents, older believers sometimes feel that they are free to do their own thing, and focus more on themselves. But “God has a wonderful plan for your life” as we get older. He calls us to age with grace, to live godly and self-controlled lives, and to mentor the next generation for Jesus Christ and His kingdom.
Indeed, the last 20-30 years of your life may well be the most INFLUENTIAL years of your life. They may not be the most productive, but they can be the most influential years, the crowning culmination of all your experiences and struggles!
The message of Titus 2:1-5 is not to use your freedom and older age as a license for selfish living. Rather, we are to practice godly self-control, and teach and model godly behavior.
Today I want to present the ideal picture of what the older Christian man and the older Christian woman should BE. (Next Sunday I will attempt to focus on what they should DO.)
Older Christian Men should desire to be Godly Patriarchs who age with grace.
Older Christian Women should desire to be Godly Matriarchs, who age with grace. (If any of the ladies don’t like the word Matriarch, you can substitute “a dignified and highly respected woman; a grand dame.”) So let’s explore this matter:
I. Older Christian Men: Patriarchs Who Age With Grace
2 “Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.”
Picture a godly patriarch: he is respected and revered. His decades of living are a walking testimony to young men. He carries himself with a certain dignity and yet humility. It is clear to all that he has walked with the Lord and grown closer to Him with the passing of time.
Isn’t that what each man here would like to aim for?
Isn’t that what each wife desires for her husband?
God is calling men to become patriarchs who age with grace.
So let’s consider the dignity and disposition of a godly patriarch:
A. The Dignity of a Godly Patriarch
i. Such a patriarch is “Temperate”, which means he is free from all forms of excess or life-dominating patterns… and he does that through the control of the Holy Spirit.
ii. He is also “Worthy of respect.” Here we see the godly patriarch a being honorable and noble; he exhibits a personal dignity and a seriousness of purpose that invites honor and respect.
Godly patriarchs are to demonstrate a certain gravitas, a sobriety and seriousness, which is appropriate to such seniority and expressive of their self-control. In other words, a 60 year old Christian man should not be behaving badly as if he was 20 years old!
This does not mean older men are to be stodgy and old-fashioned! We can still play with grandchildren and laugh and enjoy life! But it does mean that we are called by God to show godly wisdom and live with sensibility and discernment that befits our age.
iii. The third aspect of this dignity is “Self-control.” A godly patriarch avoids excess, extravagance and over-indulgence of his appetites and passions. Someone has well said that we should never expect to govern others… until we have learned to govern ourselves!
Putting these characteristics together, we can say that a godly patriarch is able to discern more clearly which things are of the greatest importance and value. He will use his time, his money, and his energy more carefully and selectively than when he was younger and less mature. His priorities are in the right order, and he is satisfied with fewer and simpler things.
But watch out- there is a deep pothole along this road: In this area of dignity and self-control, there is always the subtle danger of falling into the trap of legalism. Just because God has been at work in us for many decades doesn’t mean that we should sit in judgment of younger men who are still under construction! Someone has wisely commented that: “The beginning of self-mastery is to be mastered by Christ, to yield to His Lordship. True spiritual self-discipline holds believers in bounds but never in bonds; its effect is to enlarge, expand and liberate.”
The behavior of a godly patriarch is serious in the right way. It does not describe the demeanor of a person who is a gloomy killjoy, but the conduct of the man who knows that he lives in the light of eternity, and that his time on earth is short.
B. The Disposition of a Godly Patriarch
“Sound in faith, in love and in endurance.” We are to be mature in every aspect of our character:
i. Faith (Trusting God)
“Faith” means to be so persuaded by our trust in the Lord that we act accordingly. FAITH leads to obedient ACTION because we are confident that God is faithful in all His ways. And the godly patriarch should have such faith because he has seen God being faithful and sovereign and caring and merciful for 50, 60, 70, or 80 years! He has learned to trust God when things are hard and dark. He has seen God do impossible things! He has seen God at work at births and at miscarriages and at struggles with infertility; he has seen the Lord working through tough marriages and nasty divorces; and he has witnessed God’s power in hospitals, hospices, and at burials. The faith of a godly patriarch has been tempered and strengthened through all the experiences of life, as directed and interpreted by the Lord and His Word. And therefore his faith in the Lord is an encouragement to the next generation. Is that your faith in the Lord?
ii. Love (Serving others)
The godly patriarch has learned over the years that true, godly love is a choice of the will and not a feeling. He has learned to love others when his love is not deserved and he has continued to love, even when it is rejected, even when he suffers because of it. He lovingly forgives and he lovingly serves.
He’s not a bitter and self-centered man. (It’s so sad to see an old man who is bitter, isn’t it?) Here is a man who loves by bearing other’s burdens, and who loves sacrificially, without complaint. The godly patriarch has slowly incorporated the love of 1 Cor. 13 into his heart and life, and he shows it to his wife, his children, his church, his neighbors, and especially to those who are hard to love.
iii. Endurance (waiting patiently for the fulfillment of our hope in Christ.)
Endurance literally means remaining under trials and afflictions in a way that honors God.
It is God’s grace that allows you to endure when circumstances are difficult – not a passive sitting down and bearing things – but a triumphant facing of them, so that even out of evil there can come good, a bearing up in a way that honors and glorifies our heavenly Father.
“The difficulties in our lives, the obstacles we face, give God the opportunity to show His power and grace.”
Godly patriarchs are to exhibit the ability to endure hardship, to accept disappointment and failure, to be satisfied despite thwarted personal desires and plans. He has learned to graciously live with such difficulties as physical weakness, loneliness, and being misunderstood and unappreciated. He does not lose heart when things do not turn out the way he had hoped and expected, but has confidence in God to use everything for God’s glory and his eternal good. And how can he be like that? Because every trial has tempered him, softened him, and sanctified him. His body may be weaker, but his spirit is stronger, he can endure to the very end.
Men: is this the desire of your heart, to be such a godly patriarch, with a holy dignity and a Spirit-filled disposition?
II. Older Christian Women: Matriarchs Who Age with Grace
3 “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.”
Two areas of God’s grace working in the older Christian women are singled out:
(1) The Reverence of a Godly Matriarch and (2) the Right Conduct of a Godly Matriarch
A. The Reverence of a Godly Matriarch
The Greek word can mean “befitting a holy person” or “like a priestess” That is, older Christian women are to live their daily lives and carry out their normal tasks with the demeanor of a priestess in a holy temple. She is to conduct herself at work, in the store, and in the neighborhood with the bearing and character of a holy person, of a high priestess! She is to practice the presence of the Lord in every aspect of her life, letting the holiness of God permeate her life as a perfume might fill the air around her.
Think of the Proverbs 31 wife:
10 A wife of noble character who can find? …25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.”
Ladies, above all, God calls you to holiness; He calls you to reflect His beauty and His grace to all around you. So picture yourself as a woman who can enter God’s holy presence, aspiring to live sacred and godly life!
B. The Right Conduct of a Godly Matriarch
“not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine”
Older godly women are to work and pray hard in order to avoid falling into two particular moral failures which have often been associated with older age:
i. “Not to be slanderers” (no back-biting, hurtful gossip, or rumor mills)….not on the phone, not through Facebook, not through e-mails or texts, and not even in the form of prayer requests!
That word “slanderers” or “malicious gossips” is the Greek word diabolos, which is used 34 times in the NT as a name for Satan. So slander is Satan-like. And whereas men tend to sin physically, with violent actions, women have a tendency to be violent in their words.
ii. “Not addicted to much wine.” Sometime older people turn to stimulants to refresh their weary bodies and their tired minds. The key word here is “addicted” or “enslaved.” Ladies, there should be nothing that controls your life and your time, except for the Lord Himself. That includes alcohol, pain-killers, soap operas, reality shows, chocolate, or caffeine, and so forth.
Ladies: is this the desire of your heart, to have the reverence and the right conduct of a Godly Matriarch?
John MacArthur writes that godly patriarchs and matriarchs have lived long enough to see that life is a serious thing. They’re over the feeling of immortality and invincibility that plagues young people. They’ve buried their parents in many cases… They’ve watched a child rebel. They’ve watched a child born who turned away from everything they believed in. They watched a child die of cancer. They’ve seen it all. They have borne the burdens of their own life and family and the burdens of a myriad of other people with whom they have shared life. They’ve come to the disillusioning reality and fact that the world is not going to get any better and they couldn’t make it any better and neither can anybody else.
And this means that godly patriarchs and matriarchs will have developed a strength of mind and a depth of experience and a grip on truth and a devotion to what is right, and they should have learned how to control their passions. They’ve got the loose ends of their life tied down, they’re under control, they have discernment and discretion. They think so as to have sound judgment.
Our aim should be:
Older Christian Men should desire to be Godly Patriarchs who age with grace, with the Dignity and Disposition of a Godly Patriarch;
Older Christian Women should desire to be Godly Matriarchs, who age with grace, with the Reverence and the Right Conduct of a Godly Matriarch,
….and all of this, only by God’s grace.