The Greek word used for “young men” has as its root the word neos. In this case, Neo does not refer to “the One”, but to the young. It means literally “new, young, or youthful.” And Paul has only one quality for young men that evidences a life of submission to truth. It is self-control.
We live in a society that craves instant gratification built upon the faulty foundation of the sexual revolution that proclaims loudly “We can’t get no satisfaction!” Happiness is the chief end of man, and tolerance is the highest virtue. As long as we tolerate the pursuit of whatever makes one happy, then we are to be praised as a truly enlightened individual. Never mind truth, right and wrong, or morality. Those only absolute is that there is to be no toleration of those who hold to absolutes.
Need we be reminded that young men are impulsive and wreckless? And that is before hormones kick in. In a world with little to no restrictions is it any wonder so many young men fall so far so quickly into all sorts of wickedness? Sin may seem more accessible due to technology and the continuing downward spiral of our society, but the truth is that when a young man wants to sin, he will find a way (James 1:14).
So what sets a young man apart in this lust drenched world? What makes him different? The fruit of the Spirit. The ability to control self, with the help of the Holy Spirit, will indeed make a man stand out. Without the fruit of the Spirit, a young man can only rely on the strength of his will, and a will bound by sin and dead to spiritual things certainly has no hope if left on its own. But with the help of the Helper, a young man can have the desire and power to do what is right! (Phil. 2:13).
Look at Joseph. As a young man serving as a slave in Potifar’s house, he was the victim of Potiphar’s wife’s attempts at seduction. A young man without a foundation in truth and a love for God and His Word would easily and perhaps even eagerly have taken the bait. But Jospeh not only knew better, he was commited to honor God with his life, so he fled. He ran from temptation. Before Paul ever penned the words, the truth of Scripture was lived out in young Joseph’s life as he put into practice the command to “flee youthful lusts”.
Young men need to know that it is not enough to stand alone. It is not enough to flee youthful lust. While one side of the self-control coin is resisting temptation, the other side is pursuing righteousness. A young man who is filled with the Spirit and exercising self-control will avoid sin and practice holiness.
How can we teach the young men in our lives and in our churches to live lives that demonstrate the power of the Spirit of God working through a yielded vessel? Paul tells Titus exactly what these young men need. In Titus 2:7-8 Paul writes:
In all things show yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.
Titus is to set the example. He, as a young man himself, is to serve as a model for other young men. Just as Paul instructed young Timothy to “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example…” (1 Tim 4:12), so too, Titus is to be an example, a pattern for good works. As he “exhorts” (parakaleo – Titus 2:6) young men, he is to come along side and teach them, urging them to hear and obey the truth, showing then what it looks like to live in submission to the Word of God. Further Titus is to teach them using sound speech, that it healthy doctrine, so that young men hear and understand what is expected of them.
Young men often get a bad rap. But one thing we have seen to be true throughout the history of the church – there is no more commited or energetic group within the Body of Christ than young men who are sold out to serving God. No wonder the world and the devil labor so intensively to lure young men away from truth and the church and into the futile pursuit of satisfying self.
We need older men, and commited younger men like Titus, in the church to lead by example and show the Neos just what it means to life a live of sacrifice and service for the glory of God. Oh that the faith of our young men would drive them to pursue doing great things for God and the Gospel.
Join us this Sunday, June 12, for worship at 10:30 AM as we learn more about “Qualities for Young Men” from Titus 2:6-8.