Materials/Prep.-Whiteboard, markers, eraser, 2 Bibles (Ahead of time, identify 2 youth. Give each a Bible and ask their Adult Buddy to help one youth find Proverbs 25:28 and the other youth Proverbs 16:32. Tell them each to read it over a few times, think about the verse, discuss the meaning with their Buddy and be prepared to read it aloud when asked.)
The world, TV, the internet, magazines and movies are full of lies about what it means to be a man. We will not spend much time on the world’s lies. Instead, I want to hear honestly from you, and don’t give me the church answers. (Ask the group of youth,)“What words come to your mind when I ask what it means to be a MAN? Raise your hands, one at a time.” (Have someone draw a line on the board and write the words below it.)
Tell the story of Titus- He was a disciple of Paul’s. Paul carefully shared the truths about Jesus with Titus. Titus trusted His life to Jesus. Paul trained Titus how to be a leader and servant of others. Eventually Titus became such a dedicated leader and teacher that Paul asked Titus to take on the responsibility of organizing all the new churches in one of the most criminal places of the day, the island of Crete. The people of Crete were known for being untrustworthy and difficult. What we now know as the book of Titus was a letter from Paul giving instructions to Titus on how to lead and teach the people. Paul’s advice to Titus specifically about teaching young men was to teach the young men to be… Self-controlled. (Titus 2:6)
That sounds boring! Shouldn’t he be teaching them about how to hunt, and fix things, athletics, art, music, how to treat women, etc.? I want to convince you today that self-control is at the root of what it means to be a real man.
Remember the Cretans are liars, lazy, thieves, evil people. But are you and I so different?…Jesus says that from out of our hearts comes evil thoughts, murder, adultery/cheating, sexual sin, stealing, telling lies and hating on other people. (Matt 15:19)
So, if all this is in our heart we must ask the question “Can anybody truly control themselves? Is it even possible?”
Paul tells us that “ALL have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and that the price of our sin is death…BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (6:23) Raise your hand here if you have never lied…stolen…killed someone in your heart!
Just being blunt, because our time is short here, we all are destroying one another and deserve to go to eternal Hell with the Devil. Thankfully, Jesus loves us very much. He is the perfect example of what it means to be a man. He never went against His father God in any way. Because He lived perfectly, He was the only acceptable substitutionary death that could pay the price for our sins. He died to pay that death price in our place so that instead of destroying one another, we could learn to love one another, instead of weakness, we could experience power and instead of Hell we could spend our eternal life with the one who created us and died in our place. However, that payment is a gift, and you must receive it. It has been offered to ALL, but it has not been accepted by all. Have you accepted this gift?
It would be like if you were in a courtroom and you were found guilty of a serious crime and sentenced to death. Then the judge, with a slow and heavy heart, with tears in His eyes, stands and tells you that He loves you. He then tells you that He has a Son who also loves you. They do not want to see you executed. At this point you would be confused. The Judge then announces to you that He and His Son knew you would be found guilty. They did not want you to have to pay the death penalty. But the death price still had to be paid. So…in order to give you the chance to go free, His Son willingly allowed Himself to be executed on the electric chair that morning to pay for your freedom. The Judge is standing there begging you to accept this gift…of His Son’s death… or… you can refuse it and you can die too. Either way your freedom has already been payed for.
I tried for a long time to deny that I needed someone to pay for my sins. But I finally saw that I could never pay. I chose to accept this gift and as soon as I did, something marvelous happened. I saw that God wants only good for me! That He truly loves me! I put myself under the Authority of God and dedicated my life to living as best as I can to honor the loving Judge and his forgiving Son. But on top of that!!! The Judge then offered to move in with me and Mentor me for the rest of my life! That is the Holy Spirit. God living inside you for the rest of eternity guiding you to walk in an abundant life!
There are many characteristics that develop in us as we walk with the Holy Spirit living inside us... Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and…guess what…Self-Control!
So, back to our question “Can I even control my greedy self? Is it possible?” The answer is NO, Not without the Holy Spirit. Not without Jesus Christ. Many people try hard to look like they have control, but ultimately, God is clear…without trusting in His forgiveness and putting ourselves under His Authority even our very best efforts are like nasty rags & our sins will take us to Hell. (Isaiah 64:6)
God loves you very much and has done all He can do to keep you from Hell. What a loving God! Accept his Gift of forgiveness and put yourself under His loving authority, protection and guidance.
Only then can we truly understand what it means to be a real man and exercise Self-Control.
At first, a life without control over us sounds amazing! Junk Food all day…Play video games all weekend…Buy whatever you see and want…Say whatever I want to say…
But we don’t need to think very far ahead before we see that such a life would is terrible. (Ask youth what happens in each scenario of lack of control) Junk Food= Health problems…Binge Video Gaming= dying of blood clots…Uncontrolled spending= debt, broke and disappointed by purchases…Uncontrolled words= cause a lot of unnecessary drama/hurt.
A football game without boundaries is no fun.
Random people walking into your house to grab some food or money without asking…no fun!
There are consequences to lack of self-control.
So, either we control ourselves or other people and circumstances will do it for us. Which one sounds like more fun? Self-Control or Controlled by others?
As Paul is talking to Titus, He also gives us a list of how an older man should walk (Titus 2:2) As we go through this list, think about the opposite of each of these. What kind of man would you want in your life as a father or a mentor? What kind of man do you want to be?
(Have someone write these on the board above the line)-
SOBER-MINDED- Nephalios- Free from intoxication/drunkenness, being alert as to what might pull you away from clear thinking. Opposite? Which do you want to be?
DIGNIFIED- Semnos- Respected for your character. Opposite?
SELF CONTROLLED- Sophron- Of a sound mind, curbing your desires and impulses, temperate (words, thoughts, actions, eyes/ears…) Opposite?
SOUND IN (Hygiaino- Strong, healthy and whole in…):
· FAITH- Pistis- Trusting belief (very much tied to the idea of truth)
· LOVE- Agape- Exceptionally good will and love toward others regardless of their flaws
· PATIENCE- Hypomone- Actively, intentionally enduring in hope. Opposite?
Now look at the Board to see how your original thoughts about being a real man compare with God’s thoughts. Which ones line up? Which ones are different?
Throughout this year we will address specific topics like drugs, alcohol, sex, women, identity roles in marriage, and you may be surprised at what the Bible has to say about these things! I want you to feel free to challenge the ideas we present. We have nothing to hide. We only want to bring you Truth so that you can be set free to be the powerful man God designed you to be!
Now, as we end, I want us to consider these two illustrations. (Ask the prepared youth to read the verses) Lack of self-control = Destruction (Proverbs 25:28) Vs. Self Control = Power (Proverbs 16:32) Would you rather your life be like a destroyed city or more powerful than a mighty man who controls the city? Would you rather be a man that no one trusts like a Cretan or a man who can be trusted to lead and teach others, like Titus?