Elders and self-control
1. From time to time we see warning signs.
2. Many warnings signs are red.
3. Some warnings signs are red with a circular shape and perhaps have a line through the middle of the sign.
4. A red sign with a line or a slash mark means, “Do not do something.”
5. In contrast to warning signs we also see signs which approve behavior.
6. One sign of approval may be something like a “thumb’s up” sign.
7. Another sign might say, “Welcome” or “enter here.”
SIGNS ARE COMMON AND THEY DESIGNED TO ACCOMPLISH A VAREITY OF PURPOSES, ONE OF WHICH IS DIRECTING BEHAVIOR.
i) In the Bible we have some signs.
ii) God has not given us actual pictures, but He has given us words and these words are like signs.
iii) In the Bible the word “do” is like a sign which invites or commands us to take a certain action.
iv) The words “do not” are like a warning sign which says, “do not do” or “avoid.”
2) When we see signs in life we make decisions about the signs we encounter.
3) Will we stop or will we slow down when we see a sign?
4) Will we choose to obey all the signs we see and disobey or disregard others?
5) Will we act as if no signs exist and thus do whatever we want whenever we want?
6) I ask these questions and call our attention to signs because of what we find in Tit. 1:8.
i) At the end of Tit. 1:8 we find a word which is translated “self-controlled.”
ii) If you have the KJV, this word is rendered “temperate.”
iii) The NIV uses the word “disciplined.”
iv) This word is found only here in the New Testament and it just happens to describe elders.
7) Though this term is used just once, we can offer a pretty good definition for it. One source (R.R, 652):
8) “Control over one’s self. It means complete self-mastery, which controls all passionate impulses and keeps the will loyal to the will of God.”
9) This is a book definition so let’s put it into everyday language.
10) Paul told Titus: “elders seek to read signs and then try to do what they say.”
11) Based on what elders see, they seek to act in the proper manner, even though their desires may not agree with the signs they see.”
12) The quality described in Tit. 1:8 can be difficult to apply on a regular basis.
i) Most of us have been on a trip which involved traveling on an interstate or highway.
ii) As we zoomed down the road we likely saw a sign which said there was reduced speed ahead.
iii) For the next 15 miles road construction was underway and a sign said we were to go a lot more slowly.
13) I cannot speak for every driver, but I know that not all interstate drivers chose to follow the signs.
14) I know this to be true because there are some cars with flashing lights in speed zones.
15) Not every driver watches for or cares about following some signs.
16) Elders are men who work to know what some signs say and then follow them.
17) What is required of elders in this area is also what God requires of every Christian.
THIS MORNING I WANT TO TURN OUR ATTENTION TO “SELF-CONTROL,” THE QUALITY ASSOCIATED WITH ELDERS IN TIT. 1:8, AND LOOK AT THIS TRAIN IN TERMS OF “SIGNS.”
1) As mentioned earlier, we can associate what God says to do and what to avoid with signs.
2) In the Scriptures we have some “signs” which tell us which way to go.
i) One of the better known signs is found in Mt. 7:12.
ii) This is the place where Jesus gave the so-called “golden rule.”
iii) The Lord said “do” unto others not as we want to do, not as we have time, not as others do.
iv) Jesus tells us to “do” unto others as we want them to do unto us.
3) Would we say it takes some self-control to treat others as we want to be treated?
4) It’s not easy to treat mean, intolerant, bigoted individuals as we want to be treated.
5) God’s sign to us (the word “do”) is made possible by possessing and practicing self-control.
6) We work to control our thoughts, our feelings and our actions so we can better conform to God’s will.
7) In the next chapter of Matthew (Mt. 8) we read about some “servants.”
i) The life of a slave may be hard for us to imagine, but let’s try to get in our minds what it was like.
ii) Imagine being owned by another person; try to imagine we are nothing more than a piece of property.
iii) Our owner has complete control over us; we can be bought, sold, beaten, killed, or anything else.
8) Verse 9 in Mt. 8 records a small of conversation Jesus had with a military man – READ
9) If a slave wants to have a halfway decent life he or she must learn and must practice self-control.
i) If a slave is in bed and the master wants a stake supper at 2 am, the slave likely needs self-control.
ii) Self-control means no arguing about getting up, getting the stove fired up, and cooking the meal.
iii) Self-control means offering loyal service to the master regardless of all circumstances.
10) The military man in Mt. 8:9 understood a great principle; good self-control means people act.
11) The Lord is Lord is not like a human owner; he does not make unreasonable and unjust demands.
12) He does, however, have a will and we will only start to fulfill it if we learn to practice self-control
13) When we see a sign from God (a Bible teaching) which says “DO” this or that, we do it.
14) Developing the self-control to follow God’s will again and again takes some practice.
15) This is possible, we should get better and better at it, and it brings some great rewards.
16) In the secular realm, slaves with self-control may avoid death, beatings, or some other punishment.
17) God says self-control in regard to His will comes with some much better benefits.
18) Mt. 12:50 – READ
19) There will be times when it seems pretty difficult to have the self control to thus “do” what the Bible says.
20) There may be occasions when we ask ourselves why bother to engage self-control and be obedient.
21) By using self-control and doing what God has told us to do we will be one of His people.
22) We will be blessed and share in great glory throughout eternity.
23) When we begin to reflect on today’s lesson we might think to ourselves:
24) “I can practice self-control,” but I will certainly not be happy about it.
25) We might have the attitude of a human slave: “Practice self-control or else – I will chose to obey.”
26) God knows all about man and His knowledge includes how we might view self-control.
27) God is fully aware that some may show self-control but this control is based on fear instead of love.
28) For this reason and perhaps others the Bible has something to say about obedience and the heart.
i) In Phil. 2 Paul said some amazing things about Jesus.
ii) Verse 8 in Phil. 2 says the Lord was “obedient” even to the point of death.
iii) Think about how much self-control was needed to suffer on the cross
29) The Lord’s obedience and control as not forced; Jesus went to the cross without being pushed by anyone.
30) After we read about Jesus’ obedience Paul said this to the Philippians: 2:12-14 – READ
31) Paul wanted the Philippians to “follow God’s signs” (be obedient), and to do this with the right spirit.
32) In another letter (Rom. 6:17) this same writer spoke about “obedience from the heart.”
33) By learning and practicing self-control the “do” passages in the Bible become a lot earlier and joyful.
34) When we find verses which say “do,” “put on,” “be,” “go,” “show,” some self-control will likely be required.
WE WILL ALSO FIND SOME VERSES WHICH USES WORDS LIKE, “DO NOT,” “AVOID,” “ABSTAIN,” “FLEE” AND “REPENT.” VERSES WITH THESE WORDS WILL ALSO LIKELY REQUIRE SELF-CONTROL.
i) These verses are like a red sign which has a slash mark through them.
ii) The Bible also has some signs which are like, “stop, slow down, turn back, no entrance, wrong way.”
2) Since we have given a little thought to God’s “do” and “go” signs, let’s think about this other type of sign.
3) Jesus gave one of these warnings signs in His Sermon on the Mount – Mt. 6:1.
i) Here the Lord spoke about making a show of religion.
ii) The text reads, “do not your righteousness before men.”
4) It is not uncommon for people to do something good for someone but they can’t keep quiet about it.
5) Lacking self-control some will run right out and tell anyone they can find about their good work.
6) If there is no one to communicate this person to face to face, the do-gooder may make a phone call to share it.
7) Or, the good deed may be posted on some type of social media.
8) It is also possible for someone to tell others what they will be doing BEFORE THEY DO IT!
i) Self-control can stop this type of activity.
ii) God has put up a sign which says, “Do not brag or boast about what you do.”
iii) There are warnings about broadcasting the good we may do.
9) In the Bible we have multiple “warning signs” from God.
10) In some parts of the Bible His “do not” signs involve moral issues.
11) We have “do not signs” for items like theft, adultery and murder” (Jas. 2:11).
12) There are “warnings signs” when it comes to fear (choose faith over fear).
13) There are signs when it comes to truth (do not reject and do not leave the truth).
14) In today’s world it can be easy to compromise on a lot of matters when it comes to Bible teaching.
i) There are compromises on the church, worship, how to become a Christian. There are concessions on
ii) What marriage is, marriage, divorce and remarriage, who is a Christian and who is not, etc.
15) If we are going to maintain doctrinal purity, we must maintain self-control.
16) We may feel pressured or great hostility, but self-control will help keep us on the right road.
17) Self-control may be just what we need to avoid compromising the truth.
18) It may also be what we need to avoid pride.
19) Self-control can eliminate laziness or sluggishness.
20) It can keep us from getting into wrong relationships or keep us from damaging good relationships.
21) Self-control has a direct relationship to how we use the tongue.
22) It can be really important when it comes to religious persecution.
23) Anger can be better dealt with by learning and practicing self-control.
24) In the Old Testament there is a proverb (25:28) which sums up man’s need for self-control.
25) Here is a paraphrase of what Solomon said:
26) “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.”
27) If we do not have the self-control to follow God’s “do” and “do not signs,” we will suffer brokenness.
28) We will have broken lives, broken hearts, broken homes, broken churches, and a broken nation.
i) Self control is not developed overnight, so ideally it is instilled in the early years.
ii) If you are a parent with children in the home, teach your children self-control.
iii) Illustrate self-control on your home and tell children they will learn to practice it.
29) Form the time we get up to the time we go to bed, self control should be on our minds.
30) Are we a Christian who is seeking to practice self-control?