by Jeffrey W. Hamilton
Text: Titus 2:6-8
I. In the Seattle Weekly, August 21, 2002, Philip Dawdy wrote an article titled “What Little Boys Are Made Of”
A. The thrust of the article is that school systems are biased against the way boys generally behave. 85% of the students in the “emotionally and behaviorally disturbed” program are boys.
1. It is not that boys are four times more disturbed than girls, but rather a mismatch of expectations. “Schools are more favorable to girls' behavior, which is not rowdy,” according to Gene Edgar, a professor of special education at the University of Washington.
2. "Boys may be prone to more overt acting-out behaviors," says Ted Feinberg, assistant executive director of the National Association for School Psychologists. (Not paying attention in class, impulsiveness, and shouting are a few typical boy behaviors he cites.) "Girls are less so. That's most troublesome for schools."
B. Some scientists believe they found the key. During adolescence the brain goes through a massive stage of rewiring, preparing a person for adult life.
1. Where a small child goes through a similar phase to develop the five senses and to gain muscle control, the teen is developing pathways for memory, decision making, impulse control, and emotional control.
2. The peak changes coincides with physical growth – at 11 for the average girl and 14 for the average boy.
3. The problem comes in that the transitional stages which can last several years past the growth of the body – late teens for girls and mid-twenties for boys.
C. This does not excuse bad behavior, but explains the common experience of being scattered brained, emotional roller-coasters, and reckless behavior
1. Rather than allowing free-reign, teens need practice bringing the wild impulses under control.
2. It is the practice done during the developmental years which will last through adulthood.
II. Youth is a time for fun - Ecclesiastes 11:9
A. But notice the warning that you are still responsible for the things that you do - Ecclesiastes 11:10
B. Life is meant to be enjoyed - Ecclesiastes 11:7-8; 8:15
1. But it doesn’t mean that all of life will be fun.
2. There are going to be lots of difficult times and a lot of sorrow
3. Youth can ignore much of this for a time because parents shield them, but it can’t be always ignored and those sad times have a purpose.
C. There is a proper time for fun and for serious things - Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4
III. Misuse of fun
A. Pure laughter and silliness is useless - Ecclesiastes 2:1-2
1. Ever meet a person who makes a joke out of everything? A first it is a blast, but after a while it gets tiring. Then it becomes an irritation - Ecclesiastes 7:6
2. That was the complaint God had against Israel - Isaiah 22:12-13
a. It was a time to be sad, but instead people were having fun
b. They were using their fun as a distraction. They didn’t want sadness.
c. But do you think all their partying stopped the evil times from coming?
3. Sorrow has a place in life - Ecclesiastes 7:2-4
B. Fun that causes harm to another
1. Ever did something that you thought would be funny, but the person on the receiving end didn’t think the same?
2. Laughter sometimes ends up causing sorrow - Proverbs 14:13
3. Some people grow up taking all their “fun” at the expense of others - James 5:4-6
C. Focusing on fun and ignoring the danger
1. Ever been playing a video game and suddenly Mom is between you and screen saying “I do believe the house could burn down around you and you wouldn’t notice!”
2. Though she was exaggerating, still it is a point. There are people who focus on fun and ignore any potential danger - Amos 6:3-6
3. People try using pleasure to put off problems and dangers
4. It is probably the most common reason I hear people give for using drugs and alcohol.
a. It disconnects them from reality so they don’t have to deal with it right then - Proverbs 23:29-30, 33-35
b. But it doesn’t solve a single problem. Instead it makes the problems worse - Proverbs 23:32
5. It is also what leads to sexual experimentation.
a. The focus is on the fun with no thought as to the dangers - Proverbs 7:21-27
D. Then there are those who use sin for fun
1. Gang members who get a kick out of breaking the law - Proverbs 1:10-16
2. I know people who think that the way you have a blast at a party is to get stoned out of your gourd - I Peter 4:3-4
3. Even the telling of dirty jokes - Ephesians 5:3-5
IV. What Titus was asked to teach young men - Titus 2:6-8
A. Be sober-minded
1. The word means being sober, of sound mind or of a healthy mind, moderate, and self-controlled
2. The exact opposite is demonstrated by the demon possessed man - Mark 5:2-5
a. When Jesus healed him, he became sober-minded - Mark 5:15
3. Youth is a time of struggle with impulse control
a. It is far too easy to give in and do the first thing that comes to mind.
b. This is the time when young men need to train themselves, hard as it may be for a while, to think ahead and to avoid extremes
4. Dangers lurk, so we must be on guard - I Peter 5:8
5. So prepare your minds and watch - I Peter 1:13
B. Showing yourselves as an example of good works
1. Temptations are everywhere and as a young person you don’t have a lot of experience yet in dealing with them - Titus 2:11-12
2. Some might say “boys will be boys, let them have time to sow their wild oats.” By this they say that people are going to sin, so why resist.
3. But do you remember Solomon’s warning that we will still be judged?
4. Rather than giving into the impulse to sin, now is the time to establish good habits - I Timothy 4:12; Ecclesiastes 12:1
C. Showing integrity in teaching
1. It literally means uncorrupted doctrine or teaching
2. Youth is a time of ideals, but it is so easy to get side tracked into false ideas - Ephesians 4:14
a. Why do you think most of the Muslim suicide bombers are young men?
b. Because the reasoning and restraint parts of the brain are undeveloped, young men are easily persuaded to do reckless things that older men would say “You’ve got to be kidding!”
3. Rather than taking up ideas just because they are different from your parents or other old fuddy-duddy people, use older people to make up for what you are still developing.
D. Being reverent
1. This means dignity, being honorable, or noble. It is a person who commands respect by the way they behave.
2. Unfortunately we have a lot of young people who seem to go out of their way to get the opposite.
3. Once again, instead of taking the easy way of following impulses and demanding everyone accept you as you are, God is telling young men to train themselves to act in such ways that cause others to sit up, take notice and say “I’m impressed!”
4. Be the knight in shining armor. Be the hero and not the hoodlum.
5. If you can develop the ability now, think of the doors of opportunity that will open for you when you are an adult.
E. Being incorruptible
1. This word means something that cannot be destroyed - Romans 2:7
2. Don’t let Satan taint your soul with the corruption of sin
3. All of life is ahead of you, aim for something great, something of lasting value - I Corinthians 9:24-27
4. II Corinthians 5:9