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14 - Modeling and Mentoring Men Ministry

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A Mentoring and Modeling Men’s Ministry (Titus 2:6-8)

Preached by Pastor Phil Layton at Gold Country Baptist Church on August 3, 2008

Edward Guest has written the following which I think expresses the feelings of many and touches on one of the messages of Titus 2 well. It’s called “Sermons We See”

I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;

I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.

The eye’s a better pupil and more willing than the ear,

Fine counsel is confusing, but example’s always clear;

And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,

For to see good put in action is what everybody needs.

I soon can learn to do it if you’ll let me see it done;

I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.

And the lecture you deliver may be very wise and true,

But I’d rather get my lessons by observing what you do;

For I might misunderstand you and the high advice you give,

But there’s no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.

When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager to be kind.

When a weaker brother stumbles and a strong man stays behind

Just to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me

To become as big and thoughtful as I know that friend to be.

And all travelers can witness that the best of guides today

Is not the one who tells them, but the one who shows the way.

One good man teaches many, men believe what they behold;

One deed of kindness noticed is worth forty that are told.

Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear,

For right living speaks a language which to every one is clear.

Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say,

I’d rather see a sermon than to hear one, any day.

Now, I hope you still stick around to hear this sermon today, because we all need to hear preaching whether we’d rather or not. But what is touched on here is something that is also touched on in the far more important Word of God in Titus 2: how you live your life outside these walls during the week not only is supposed to be a living sermon if you profess Christ, it is a sermon whether you realize it or not.

And for the majority of people in our community and in your workplaces and neighborhoods, your life is the only sermon they will get this week. It’s either a good sermon or a bad one, but they’re watching. The message delivered here verbally at church is also delivered visually by you during the week to others. Both verbal and visual are necessary, and Titus 2 teaches us they need to be consistent.

Titus 2:1-8 (NASB95) 1 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. 6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; 7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.

Will Houghton was a preacher who later became the president of Moody Bible Institute during the 1940s.  Unknowingly, his life would have a dramatic impact on an agnostic who was contemplating suicide.  Before taking his life, the skeptic decided that if he could find a minister who lived his faith he would listen to him. So he hired a private detective to watch Will Houghton. When the investigator’s report came back, it revealed that this preacher’s life was above reproach; he was for real. The agnostic went to Houghton’s church, accepted Christ, and later sent his daughter to Moody Bible Institute.[1]

It’s no wonder the book of Titus begins with how a church is put in order, starting with the character of a godly leader who is above reproach. But it’s not only church leaders who must live that way, and it is not only pastors who the world watches to see if they are for real. Co-workers, neighbors, unsaved family are watching you.

Titus 2:7 says: “in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.”

Titus 2 has been referred to as ‘“The Christian Character in Action” - the Christian life for older men and women, for younger men and women, for slaves, and for good citizens [today our focus will be verses 6-8]. And concluding the passage [v. 11-14] is ‘one of the most truly beautiful and succinct summaries of Christian doctrine anywhere to be found in Paul’s writings. This chapter is [called] one of the gems of the entire New Testament.’[2]

In the past two weeks we looked at the essential ministry of older men and older women in the body of Christ mentoring and modeling for younger believers how to live godly lives. As we saw last week, there is an essential ministry of marriage, motherhood, and making home the priority, which older or mature moms in the faith are to encourage or admonish or train into the younger ladies.

Now in verses 6-8 the focus shifts to younger men, but it’s not for guys only – they are examples that all are to model and follow.

Their Mentoring (v. 6)

Their Modeling (v. 7)

Their Motive (v. 8)

First their Mentoring

6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible;

The word “likewise” connects this verse with what comes before and what we studied last week. In the same way that mature and godly women are to encourage or admonish or train life-on-life the younger women of their priorities in Titus 2:4-5, young men need the same by godly men in their life, as Proverbs 27:17 says “like iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” We all need it.

This is not a passive process. It must be urged (v. 6), or “exhorted” as some of your Bibles may say. The Greek word parakaleo comes from two words that literally mean “to come alongside” and “to call” – in other words, to call to action as you come beside him as a friend, as a brother in the Lord. It’s a stronger word than their word for “ask” – this word is translated in other verses as “entreat” or “implore” or “plead” or even “beg” (old English “beseech” 43x in KJV). It’s the picture of someone in earnest pleading for your attention, “I beg of you, please, will you do it?”

It includes nuances of encouraging and even comforting, and a related word is used as a title for the Holy Spirit, our Comforter. As Spirit-filled believers we are to come alongside to admonish each other, by truth in love.

Kenneth Wuest writes that our manner ‘should not be a domineering, high-handed, demanding one, but a humble, loving, kindly, exhorting one. The heart will respond to loving, kind treatment where it will rebel against the opposite.’[3]

Look at verse 6 again – the young men must be exhorted to be “sensible” or “sober-minded” (NKJV, KJV) or “self-controlled” (ESV, NIV). The word has each of those nuances and Paul has used various forms of this word already in urging this quality:

-         in Titus 1:8 for the overseers who lead the church.

-         then in Titus 2:2 Paul exhorts the same of older men

-         verse 4 uses the verb form of this for older women

-         verse 5 begins with this word for the younger women

-         then verse 6 “likewise urge the younger men to be …”

This is a vital trait for every person in the church – to be sensible or sober in our thinking, as reflected by self-controlled living. The word entails self-restraint, self-discipline, self-mastery so that your life is not controlled by other forces or sins. You take your thoughts captive, you do not let your passions and emotions rule, which young people naturally do. You seek to discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness as Paul told young Timothy to do, and that includes spiritual duties (prayer, reading Word regularly, loving and serving others, etc.). You need to be a God-centered person in your thinking, as Solomon said in the end of Ecclesiastes “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth” and he then tells us how: “Fear God and keep His commandments.” 

Proverbs 4:23 says to a young man, you must above all guard our hearts for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 23:7 says as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. It’s from the heart that flows out sinful actions and speech as Jesus taught. It’s not enough to keep up the outward duties and disciplines (those are a good start), we must fight the battle within -- our thought life and desires.

This is a word all of us need, but it’s especially important for older believers to continually exhort and instill this in young believers they know (the language is a present-tense ongoing command in the grammar). The habits you develop as a young person usually become lifelong habits and become harder and harder to break.

Verse 6 could be paraphrased “Keep on urging the young men to behave carefully, taking life seriously, with God-centered fear.”


In Jewish vocabulary and tradition, you became a young man at age 12, and that word was used in the culture of the time also beyond the teen years into twenties and thirties. There’s some discussion as to what age transitioned younger to older - usually in 40s or 50s - but as we discussed before, the terms can be relative and here maturity is included, not merely a magic number. And of course these truths should be instilled as early as possible in our day where young people are exposed to things even earlier.

J.C. Ryle has written a booklet Thoughts for Young Men[4]

Reasons for Exhorting Young Men (see inside of your note sheet)

(1)  For one thing, there is the painful fact that there are few young men anywhere who seem to be Christians.

(2)  Death and judgment are waiting for young men, even as it waits for others, and they nearly all seem to forget it.

(3)  What young men will be, in all probability depends on what they are now, and they seem to forget this.

(4)  The devil uses special diligence to destroy the souls of young men, and they don't seem to know it.

(5)  Young men need exhorting because of the sorrow it will save them, to begin serving God now.

Special Dangers Young Men Need to be Warned About

  1. Pride
  2. Love of pleasure
  3. Thoughtlessness
  4. Contempt of Christianity
  5. Fear of Man’s Opinion

General Counsels to Young Men

(1)  Try to get a clear view of the evil of sin. 

(2)  Seek to become acquainted with our Lord Jesus Christ.

(3)  Never forget that nothing is so important as your soul.

(4)  Remember it is possible to be a young man and yet to serve God.

(5)  Determine as long as you live to make the Bible your guide and adviser.

(6)  Never make an intimate friend of anyone who is not a friend of God.


I would encourage you to read his full message that expounds each of those points and it’s a great resource you could buy to go over together as men, or as father-to-son, etc. There’s a website below and I also put a copy on our site. It’s one of the best examples I’ve seen of applying Titus 2:6 in urging and exhorting men to be godly. God has used books to mentor me as well as men.


Now Paul moves from Mentoring in v. 6, to Modeling in v. 7

7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified,

Both verbal and visual messages are needed, both the exhortation from verse 6 and the example in verse 7 is critical.

Did Paul practice what he preached here? Was there ever any better example than Paul who could say in sincere conscience “Follow me as I follow Christ?” Can we say that?

This was his life story, mentoring and modeling other men so that they could do the same with others. Paul obeyed the Great Commission to make disciples and he was not content until they were disciple-makers themselves reproducing others like them.

Paul’s relationships with other men are instructive for us:

-         He mentored and personally discipled men like Timothy and Titus

-         He seemed to always have a companion along in mutual ministry

-         He respected recognized church leadership (James in Jerusalem, Acts 15, 21) and loved the local church

-         He had encouraging brothers like Barnabas, etc.

-         He had the relationship with Peter as peer who he was willing to confront in love when in serious error, like when Peter eating with Gentiles, as Galatians speaks of

If we are to follow Paul as he followed Christ we should also have such relationships. If you want to be a godly man, seek to be around godly men as much as possible, and watch how they live.  Intentionally strive to get beyond just “hanging out” to a deliberate spiritual sharpening of each other in the disciplines of a godly man.

Young people especially model what they see, from an early age (ex: my children) and that’s what Paul focuses on here. Mimicking is our nature.

What kind of example are you setting for those younger than you in the faith? Men, are you leading the way as spiritual trend-setters with your pursuit of godliness? What kind of model are you, and what are the models you want to follow? As the men of the church goes, so goes the church – godly men where desperately needed on the island of Crete when Paul wrote this and it’s still the same need

As 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers …”

In Titus 2:7 that same word example is a vivid and visual word. This Greek word tupos is the word we get the English word “typist” or “type” from, in the sense of copy or duplicate. In that day it was used for:

-         a pattern or mold into which clay or wax was pressed, that it might take the figure or exact shape of the mold.

-         if you were making a painting or statue you would want to make the likeness as much like the original as possible

-         an impression left by seal, stamp, pen, sword, hammer

-         Thomas said he wouldn’t believe till he felt the tupos (imprint of the nails) in the hands and side of Jesus

John Calvin said it this way: For doctrine will otherwise carry little authority, if its power and majesty do not shine in the life … as in a mirror. He wishes, therefore, that the teacher may be a pattern, which his scholars may copy.[5]

So what are the traits we’re to model, mirror, reflect?

7…an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech

Note “example of good deeds” comes before the pure doctrine or teaching. They make it believable. A story has been told of a minister who told one of the young men he was mentoring "Let us go down to the village and preach to the people." As they went to the village, they stopped to talk to the men they met along the way and visited several doors. He stopped to play with the children, and exchanged a greeting with the passers-by.  As they turned to go home the stupefied apprentice said: “But when do we preach?”

The minister smiled and replied, “Preach? Every step we took, every word we spoke, every action we did, has been a sermon.”

Now we don’t preach only with our lives, we need to use words of the gospel as well, but a godly life should attract such a platform that they will want to listen and ask us the reason for the hope in us

It is not always words galore Nor brilliancy of speech
That opens wide the gospel door Within the sinner's reach. --Rotz
A Christian is a living sermon.

Jesus said “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Mt 5:16).

The “good works” Paul mentions in Titus 2:7 are very much a part of the glorifying of God our Savior as the end of v. 10 says. Our good works are the platform for, the launching pad for, the gospel we see in verse 14. Good works are a purpose of our redemption. The gospel should be preached by our lives, not merely our lips. God’s grace does not just come to us, it is to come through us to others who we then tell the gospel to. True salvation will show up in your life in your good works (v. 14 “zealous for good works”).

Ephesians 2:8-10 says that God saves us by grace through faith, which is a gift of God and not anything we do on our own, and it says in verse 10: “We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” We’re not saved by good works, but we are saved for good works, and the point of Titus 2 is that they go together.

Luther: ‘Because the heathen cannot see our faith, they ought to see our works, then hear our doctrine, and then be converted.’[6]

When they do hear our doctrine or teaching, what must it be like? My translation uses the word “purity” in v. 7, which some interpret as uncorrupt with the idea of integrity. It only appears once in the NT, so there’s some debate as to its exact meaning, but the general idea seems to be not morally corrupt or vile, or the absence of self-seeking and all perverse motives such as deceitfulness and guile.

The word technically means not subject to corruption, so here it implies teaching or doctrine that is free from error and characterized by soundness and integrity (may include motive).

The next trait Paul says should be modeled is dignified

The word can be translated “seriousness” (NIV), “reverence” (NKJV), “gravity” (KJV). There is a certain gravitas or weightiness or heaviness or depth required of a man of God when talking about things of eternity and the holy God before whom we must soon give account. This is the opposite of those who preach like they’re entertainers, stand-up comics, comedians, or clowns.

Young men are more naturally goofballs, but a godly man has a gravitas about him and great reverence in the Word of God.

Many of the preachers I know have infectious laughs and senses of humor, but what impacts me most is their serious passion and blood-earnestness when they preach as a dying man to dying men.

John Stott writes: ‘Perhaps the most important emphasis here is that people will not take serious subjects seriously unless there is a due seriousness in the preacher’s manner and delivery.’[7]

As Richard Baxter put it, ‘Whatever you do, let the people see that you are in good earnest … You cannot break men’s hearts by jesting with them.’[8]

Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones made the same point. Having preached a sermon in Westminster Chapel on the wrath of God, and having called it ‘a controlling conception’ of Romans, where it occurs ten times, he said: ‘I confess freely, I cannot understand a jocular evangelist … Go back and read the lives of the men whom God has used in the mightiest manner, and you will invariably find that they were serious men, sober men, men with the fear of the Lord in them.’[9]

So this brings us to our final point – the motivation of a godly life

We’ve seen the Mentoring, the Modeling … what’s the Motive?

8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.

The word “sound” we’ve seen before in our study in Titus – it’s the Greek word we get “hygiene” from, meaning healthy or wholesome or balanced. Verse 7 speaks of our life, and verse 8 now comes to our lips or our speech, and again it’s a gospel motive

Verse 8 of our text says “so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us” – i.e., there is no just accusation that can be brought on the cause of Christ because of how you live and how you speak during the week.

If someone were to hire a private detective to watch you during the week to see if you were for real, what would the report come back as? As someone has said, if you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convince a jury? Would your “opponent” be put to shame, or would you?

This is the 2nd of 3 “so that” clauses – purpose statements

-         v. 5b “so that the Word of God will not be dishonored

-         v. 10b “so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect” – God’s glory and gospel at stake!

Let me come back in closing application to some of J. C. Ryle’s applications on the inside of your note sheets:

Special Rules for Young Men

  1. Resolve at once, by God's help, to break off every known sin, however small.
  2. Resolve, by God's help, to shun everything which may prove an occasion of sin.
  3. Resolve never to forget the eye of God (study Psalm 139).
  4. Be diligent in the practice of your Christianity.
  5. Resolve that wherever you are, you will pray.

Back up for in closing to “General Counsels to Young Men”

(1)  Try to get a clear view of the evil of sin. 

(2)  Seek to become acquainted with our Lord Jesus Christ.

(3)  Never forget that nothing is so important as your soul.

Everything Paul has talked about earlier in Titus 2 will only be possible if you have experienced the truths in verses 11-14.

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

The godly life God calls us to is only possible by this grace of God


[1] As cited in Our Daily Bread

[2] Demarest, G. W., & Ogilvie, L. J. (1984). Vol. 32: The Preacher's Commentary Series, Volume 32 : 1, 2 Thessalonians / 1, 2 Timothy / Titus. (p. 319). Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc.

[3] Wuest, K. S. (1984). Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament : For the English reader (Tit 2:6). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

[4] J. C. Ryle, Thoughts for Young Men, available from or online edition at

[5] John Calvin, Commentary on Timothy, Titus, Philemon, p. 185.

[6] Luther’s Works, Vol. 29, p. 57.

[7] Stott, John R. W. (1996). Guard the truth : The message of 1 Timothy & Titus. The Bible Speaks Today. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, p. 190.

[8] Richard Baxter, The Reformed Pastor (1656; Epworth, second edition 1950), p. 145.

[9] D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans 1: The Gospel of God (Banner of Truth, 1985), p. 332.

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