Last Sunday the sermon was on Titus 2:2-3, which I translate thus:
2:2 Tell older men to be sober, dignified, level-headed, being healthy in faith, in love, in endurance;
It was a sermon I very deeply felt. In the course of it, we talked about old age — old age in our culture, old age in its challenges, old age in the Bible. We also talked about the entire concept of focused ministries, and obliquely engaged the "family integrated church" movement. And we talked about the Word of God, and how God's word and Gospel should effect our view of age and the aged.
In these pages, we've talked around these themes. Phil's brilliant Po-Motivators engaged the silly pretensions of one of the many youth movements that have backed up from this generation's sewers. But underneath that lay the whole notion that old is bad, new is good... and so old people are to be sidelined, while the youth are to be given pride of place.
Paul does something totally different in writing Titus, beginning his directions for specific pastoral exhortation by targeting old men and old women. His attitude, and his counsel, were not reflective of a church-growth mentality.
That's a small, inadequate taste of what the sermon attempts to engage. My point is that I think it touched on some absolutely vital issues with which we need to grapple Biblically... and it has been about the least popular sermon of the series so far. That is, most of the sermons had a number of downloads within a day or two. This one has been much slower in getting started.
Is it the title: "Gospel Light for Sunset Years," I wonder? Do we look at that and say "Oh yes, it's about old people. Pass"? If so, does that reflect our denial of our own date (Lord willing) with old age, or preference to look the other way when the subject comes up? Or perhaps does it reflect that, while formally we scoff at neolaters, we have a touch of paleophobia, ourselves? It really isn't sexy, is it?
At any rate, whether by me or by others, all of us had better get a Biblical grip of what God says about and to the aged. And in terms of the ministry of our churches, we'd better have a robust grasp of God's truth and God's priorities. That sermon's only a start, but it is a start.
After all, to paraphrase The Amazing Criswell, older age is where we and those we love will spend the rest of our lives here.