Glorify God in your youth. Joshua, the great conquering hero of Israel who led Israel across the Jordan into the promised land spent his youth devoted to the Lord. Samuel one of the greatest prophets in OT history from the time he was a small child spent his days in the house of the Lord. David, the greatest king in Israel’s history, humbly walked with the Lord across Bethlehem’s countryside as a boy shepherding his father’s sheep. Solomon, David’s son and successor to the throne, was the wisest man in Israel’s history, but only because as a young man he realized he asked the Lord for wisdom. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from the time he was in his mother’s womb, being dedicated to the Lord from birth. Many of the Disciples were young men who when they heard the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ left everything to follow Him.
And it is through young men like this that the Lord did mighty things. It is through young men like this that God glorified His great name. Paul said in 1 Timothy Young men, our passage today is an exhortation to you to glorify the name of God with your youth.
Next Young Men are encouraged to make God look good. Read verses 6-8.
First, young men, respond to encouragement.
Notice verse 6, “Similarly, encourage the young men…” What “encourage” does not mean is domineering, high-handed, or demanding. Instead it is humble, loving, and urging. Kenneth Wuest, a prominent Greek scholar makes a good point here. He says that the word encourage used here is like saying to them “I beg of you, please, I urge you”. Paul did this with Timothy. Two very vivid statements bring out Paul’s own practice of encouraging, or urging Timothy. Turn first of all to 1 Timothy 6:11. Then, in 2 Timothy 4:1 Paul seizes Timothy’s attention [turn and read].
Young men, being encouraged isn’t like being rebuked. Rebukes are needed when someone is doing something wrong and needs to be brought back onto the right course. We saw that it chapter 1 verse 13. Instead, encourage means to urge and compel someone to reach further and higher and improve on what is already there. You are to be encouraged by others, and, you are to do and become what it is you are encouraged in.
This will mean you humbly and readily admit you don’t know everything. You must be willing to acknowledge the blessings God has for you in the form of advice and direction other godly older believers will bring into your life.
Secondly, we see that self-control is one of your priorities in life.
Whatever else you may want to achieve in life, let self-control be at the top of the list. Verse 6 says, “Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled.” He mentions nothing of education, career, social standing, or natural talent. The Word of God speaks to all young men and makes encumbent on all young men something they are able to achieve and called to achieve: namely, the manly Christian virtue of self-control. Now it is not mastery of this spiritual skill that is expected of you, like it is of older men. Instead you are supposed to be intentionally and actively and evidently getting better in this area of character. It’s something you should be “in school” for, not yet masters of the trade, but apprentices who are intentionally learning the skills of.
The word self-control here is translated also as “sensible”. It means to be sober minded, particularly in the way you think about yourself. Have a moderate opinion of yourself, not thinking too highly of yourself. I think of King Saul in his earliest days as king of Israel, how he beautifully exemplified a humble youth. It was said of him by God, “You used to be small in your own eyes…”
God was greatly displeased that Saul lost that moderate opinion of himself and now had eyes that were enchanted with his own inflated glory. It is a broad word and has a wide range of application. Self-control is evidence of someone whose life is yielded to the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:23). First Thessalonians 4:3-4 speaks of controlling your body in a holy way, not in a passionate lust like the heathen. James 1 instructs us to control our temper and our tongues when it says, “My dear brothers take note of this: every one of you should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
Thirdly, young men, concentrate on your local role-models.
Notice again verse 7 where Titus is told to set you young men an example. That actually is a call to the pastor to set the young men of his church an example, which is restated in Hebrews 13:7, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” But role-models is a theme in this text and in many others of the NT. Philippians 3:17, “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.” Look around at the others in the church and see how they are living out the pattern of godliness in their lives, and follow them.
Joshua imitated Moses (Exodus 33:11; Numb. 11:28). Samuel imitated Eli (1 Samuel 1:24-28). Timothy and Titus imitated Paul (2 Timothy 1:8, 13). John-Mark was mentored by Peter (1 Peter 5:13). The disciples imitated the Lord.
The truth is that we are following role models all the time. Whether it’s parents, teachers, other kids our age, coaches, and so on. We have an intrinsic need for people to imitate.
Illustration: I remember in baseball I would try to imitate different MLB players batting stances. I would try to do Julio Franco’s where he held the bat over his head pointed at the pitcher. I would try Barry Bonds’ where he kept twitching the bat forward while waiting for the pitch. I would try Mickey Tettleton’s lazy stance where he just stood up straight and let his bat hang like a hose dangling behind him. These guys were pros and could hit a baseball and I wanted to hit a baseball LIKE THEM. So I watched and studied their swings and tried them myself everytime I stepped into the batters box. Young men, as Christian young men, you have to want a righteous life as much as you want anything else. And if you do, then you will watch those other men around you to learn how to live righteously
Fourthly, young men, grow old while you are young in these 5 ways
In other words, as old believers display certain marks of Christian maturity, you too ought to “get old” in these marks of maturity too. What marks am I talking about? How should you be mature while you are young?
First, in goodness. “In everything, Titus, set them an example by doing what is good.” Paul wants the young men to see in Titus what the things of goodness are. Galatians 5:22 says that another fruit of the Holy Spirit is “goodness”. It is something that the Holy Spirit produces in our lives when we are yielded to Him. Otherwise, Romans 3:10 says, “there is no one who is good.” Young men, being good is being like God. He is the standard – Jesus said to the rich young ruler in Matthew 19, “Only God is good.” He and He alone is good. Goodness comes from Him and anything that is good is only good because it conforms to Him. And because good is what God is, only goodness comes from Him. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Young men, mature in all that is good.
Second, young men, be mature in integrity. Be honest. Be truthful. Do not cover up a deceitful heart with insincere words and deeds. Be a man of truth from the inside out.
Thirdly, young men, grow old in seriousness. This will be particularly difficult for you in these days. Everything is made into entertainment. Nothing is off limits for joking about. You should have your beliefs but not have them too seriously. You don’t want to be the sourpuss or the one spoiling the Christian party. That’s the prevailing attitude today. But the fact is not everything is funny and not everything should be talked about with jest or lightheartedness. Learn which things you ought to speak with gravity about and learn it fast.
Fourthly, young men, be mature by being sound in speech. James speaks of the great difficulty in controlling our tongue. we see the speech of young men, verse 7-8. James 3 shows how powerful the tongue is and unwilling to be controlled. But by the aide of the Holy Spirit, and a submission to the Lord, and a heart made clean by the Holy Spirit, we will subdue it.
When I was younger in high school a couple of us guys decided we were using bad language too much. So we made a pact that whenever we used a cuss word we would have to get down and do 25 knuckle pushups no matter where we were at. After 2 weeks of pushups our muscles were bigger but our mouths weren’t any cleaner. We gave up. I realized that controlling your mouth is extremely difficult, and after becoming a Chrsitians I read Jesus’ words, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Mouth issues are actually heart issues. A clean mouth comes from a clean heart, and only the Lord can clean you that deep.
Young Christian men we ought to ensure our speech is healthy, and nourishes the spiritual health of other Christians. Our speech must be blameless. As Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome speech come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
Fifthly, young men grow old by being blameless. Without charge. Nothing in our lives that can be brought against us. First Corinthians 9 speaks of finishing the race without being disqualified. Live so that no one has anything to hold against you. After being unable to find anything in his life they could pin on him, Daniel’s enemies said “We will never find any basis for a charge against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.” (Daniel 6:5) Young men, live so that the only thing people can charge you with is faithfulness to your God.