Older Men and Women in the Church
The Apostle moves on from the troublemakers to different groups within the church along gender lines. This reminds us of what we should already know—that sexual differentiation is the most fundamental of all differences. Sexual differentiation is more basic than race, ethnicity, nationality, age, or any other physical difference. (I say “physical” because the doctrines of election and regeneration mark the most fundamental spiritual differentiation between groups.) That said we should do more in our churches to minister to men as men and women as women, respecting the difference.
First, Paul tells Titus to “teach what accords with sound doctrine.” There are many things a pastor can’t change that he wishes he could. There may be things happening in the church which are wrong or just plain “out of order” that he wishes he could do something about, but the government, the constitution, the culture, or powerful personalities of the church simply won’t allow him to do anything about it. In other words, churches do not give elders the authority in the church that Scripture does. But there is one thing the pastor can do and must do and that is teach sound doctrine. Do that, preacher, and let God do with others what you can’t do.
And the topics of sound doctrine upon which he could preach are practically limitless, but Paul mentions some items right away. And isn’t it interesting that one of those items runs right along the line of sexual differentiation. First up are older men. Yes, the Apostle begins with men because by creation and thus nature, God has set man at the head of woman. And he then differentiates according to age because age is second only to gender regarding basic differences between people, and Scripture assumes that old age is wiser than youth. So Titus is to command the older men to be “sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness”; indeed, the very qualities one expects from older men who have spent their years pursuing godliness. One gets the picture of a man who is grave and serious, yet with the joy of the Holy Spirit animating his person. It is rather the same with older women who “are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers,” which can sometimes be a feminine malady. They are to teach the younger women—a matter we will deal with tomorrow. But let us say now that one cannot teach that which one does not know. It is thus incumbent upon men and women to live such lives now that they will be able to teach younger men and women in the coming days—and not by bad example—which happens all too frequently—but by good.