Sabbath 4/25/15 Daytona Beach SDB Church Pastor Wray sermon “The Things We Lose As We Grow Older”

Sabbath 4/25/15 Daytona Beach SDB Church Pastor Wray sermon “The Things We Lose As We Grow Older” John 12:20-26, Titus 1:5-9, Titus 2:1-5

In the passage Jesus is predicting his death to the people. He says whoever serves him must follow him. God the Father will honor them. Older Christians must model what God wants the younger Christians to be like. I am what I am because of what older Christians in my life taught me. There were two retired teachers who were active in my life, all the way to my college years. They poured themselves into me and I thank God for that. In 1998 an older John Glenn aged 77, went into the space shuttle with younger astronauts. He had been in space 40 years earlier. Our culture doesn’t have much time for older people. Society wants the elderly to step aside.
In Titus, Paul says Christians must match their lifestyle to their doctrine and beliefs. They must have their behaviors match their beliefs. He put the Christians into four groups: older men, older women, young men and slaves/servants. In that society, each group had a role. Significantly, Paul begins with the senior members of the congregation. So we must ask the question, what does Paul mean by old? One of the myths of our culture is that a person is too old to contribute. If we had said that to the Apostle Paul, He would have said “Nonsense!” Paul singled out the older people for Titus for focus his energy on. God has a role for senior citizens. The question is when you hit retirement years and you can’t put in as many as you used to, what does God want you to do? In Titus chap 2 verses 2 to 5, Paul says the role of a senior citizen is to become something and to do something.
Paul gives them the responsibility to tell the men what kind of men they need to become. Right there, there is a problem. Our senior citizens grew up with the King James Version Bible. The first two qualities listed for men to have are “sober” and “grave”. I don’t know what these words suggest to you, but to me they suggest “stern” and “grouchy”. This is someone who does not smile or someone who frowns for fun. My own grandfather was a grouchy old man. In new Bible translations, sober is temperate. Temperate is often associate with moderate use of alcohol. Here is this text it is used to mean having a lifestyle that is not excessive or rash in any area. Old age tends to magnify our character qualities. Our habits and ways of responding become more pronounced. If we tend to get angry, old age makes us grouchy. If we tend to be shy, old age makes us reclusive. If we tend to have strong opinions, old age makes us excessively opinionated.
Being sober means we are balanced in our personality and our habits. The term grave in the newer Bible translations shows up as dignified or worthy of respect. This is having a seriousness about life. We need more people who take God seriously, but don’t take themselves too seriously. Can you say Amen? Being temperate and self controlled means a man keeps his passions under control. It means to be self-minded, thinking clearly to control your passions. I don’t think that it’s an accident that many Bible scholars failed in the second half of their lives. Let’s us take a look at a few.
** Old man Noah got himself drunk on alcohol ** Old man David committed adultery **Old man Solomon flirted withal kinds of false ideas/idols
As we grow older, we are confronted with temptations that we shunned and turned away from in our youth. But now when we look at them, they look attractive. Older men are to remain sound. This means in good health and good shape.
Paul then turns to older women. The older women are to be similar to the older men. They are to be relevant in the way they live. Relevant means to be fit for the temple. They are to live like people whose lives are devoted to religious duties. Older women should not be slanderous or addicted to wine. Life on the island of Crete was sometimes hard and the women used to gossip and drink wine a lot. Paul says the older women should train the younger women to be wives and mothers. Older women should train the younger women to be self-controlled, pure and busy in their homes. Older Christians are to model what the next generation is to become. Some of you may think you can’t do this. Paul tells Titus to teach sound doctrine, what God says and to teach the older people first. Older Christians must continue to learn. Paul says older people can continue to learn and to keep living a productive life. We must continue to learn as we get older and we must be models to those that seek guidance. We must model things God’s way. The older people have the wisdom that the younger people need. Older Christians are important to the future of the church. God is not done with them yet. The church needs them.