.Chapter 16 "Empty Talkers and Deceivers"
“For there are many rebellious men,
empty talkers and deceivers . . . who must be silenced
because they are upsetting whole families,
teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain.”
In our society, everyone, even Christians, seek out “experts” to help them in marriage, especially the young man who is just starting a family. These young men, for the most part, have been deceived. They unknowingly are being taken in by “empty talkers and deceivers” all for sordid gain.
“They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed” (Titus 1:16), the opening verse goes onto say.
Often they prey not on the husband, but instead go after the weaker one—their wife. “For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:6–7). Men don’t know how to lead their family or protect their wife because no one has ever taken the time or energy to teach them. The book of Titus has a lot to tell us about men (and women) encouraging (or teaching as it says in some Bible versions) the younger men (and women).
“Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored. Likewise urge the young men to be sensible…” (Titus 2:2–6).
Titus 2:6–8 says, “Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.”
These verses explain that the older women are to encourage (or teach as it is stated in some Bible translations) the younger women in the things of God; therefore, the husband is not alone, but should encourage his wife to seek out women who show the fruits of righteousness in regard to the way she speaks of and responds to her husband and also those whose children are well-behaved and living a life that honors God.
Though the verses do not specifically command that the older man to encourage (or teach) the younger man, it is implied. There is no doubt that you, as an older man, can greatly influence a younger man in the ways of God. And if you are thinking you are not old enough, no matter what your age, you are an older man to someone. Even a young man in his twenties can influence a boy in his teens. And if we don’t take the time to encourage and teach these young men, what else are they to do but seek out the world’s view and standards and/or be taken in by those whose motivation is “sordid gain”?
Many of you are encouraging and teaching younger men and you don’t even know it. You are teaching them by your example. The young men in your church, your neighborhood, your place of work, and family members (your sons, nephews, and younger brothers)—they are all watching. What do they see in your life? Are you an example of a godly man or a man who claims to be a Christian?
“You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men” (2 Cor. 3:2).
“Ye are our epistles written in our hearts, known and read of all men” (2 Cor. 3:2, KJV).
Your life is an epistle or letter, which is being read by men who know you and also men who you may not know that are watching you from afar. Is your life bringing glory to God?
If it is not, then what are you going to do about it?
What to Teach
There are many things that we could teach the younger men, but does God give us any guidance or directions as to what or how we are to teach? God doesn’t leave it up to our favorite subjects or our passions or our preferences. The Bible clearly gives us a specific outline in Titus 2:6–8 (NIV):
Encourage the young men to be self-controlled . . .
In everything set them an example by doing what is good.
In your teaching show integrity,
soundness of speech
that cannot be condemned,
so that those who oppose you may be ashamed
because they have nothing bad to say about us.
Whether or not you want your life to speak to others is not your choice. Our lives are our letters “known and read by all men.” Erin and I don’t know about you, but we want our lives to show Jesus. People aren’t impressed with your Christian bumper sticker or the fish on your car. They are not impressed with the cross you wear around your neck or the Bible you carry with you. They are looking at your life, your attitude, and your love (or lack of love) for others. It is our prayer that these verses have brought conviction to your heart and that you will take the next step toward a life that whispers or even shouts “Jesus!”
To change your life you will need to do these three things in this order:
Know the Word of God.
Live the Word of God.
Speak the Word of God.
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15, KJV). Until you know something, you cannot live it. If this is your first time through this book, you have seen how learning the Truth has set you free in many areas where you were once bound. That is not the power of this book; it is the power of His Word.
Dear friend, you have already taken the first step toward a life that will encourage the younger men. By taking this course, you have begun to study the Word of God as it relates to men and the issues men face. Most of us, if not all of us, built our houses on sinking sand. Our opinions and lifestyles were a result of not knowing what God thought; instead we ignorantly accumulated teachers that “tickled our ears” (2 Tim. 4:3).
But now we are all at the same place; we are all at the glorious point in our lives where we are open and searching for the Truth. We know because you have sought after this book that is convicting and very difficult to swallow, especially in today’s world. We know that as we have renewed our minds on just a few of God’s principles that we were once ignorant of, we have seen tremendous changes in our lives. This motivates us to want more.
Once you know the Truth, then you need to replace your old thoughts and old opinions with the Truth. As you have been reading through this book, if you have been making those 3x5 cards as we have suggested, then you are well on your way to a new life that will change the lives of others.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2). God’s way of changing us is simple and perfect. He tells us in this verse that by renewing our minds we will be transformed. On top of all that, we also prove, by our lives, what the true will of God is for a man—that which is good, acceptable, and perfect! Hallelujah!
How often have we tried to change ourselves? And every time we try, we once again are defeated. Then we add more defeat to our lives as we try and change others, which has an even higher rate of failure. God’s ways are different. His ways are far above our ways and our reasoning.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:9).
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5).
The only way for us to change ourselves is to renew, or make new, our minds. The only way to change others is to live with them in love that is patient, kind, etc. As we mentioned before, using the 3x5 card method works. We know because in our minds are hundreds of Scriptures that replaced our thoughts and the way we used to think. And without any effort on our part, our lives started to change because of the Scriptures that we read over and over again. Many men and women who now have restored marriages have told us that this method changed their lives. In addition, many write to tell us that they have literally worn out their books, reading them over 50 times! Putting that much of God’s Word in your mind will undoubtedly result in a totally transformed life!
Once your mind is renewed by a particular principle, then your life will naturally begin to reflect the change. In addition, we must also be willing to make the changes necessary and not compromise the will of God that has come to reside in our minds. The changes will appear in the ways that we act and react to things, the priorities in our lives, and even our desires or goals. All of these things will begin to reflect our newly renewed minds. However, if we try to hang on to our old habits or friendships that don’t fit in with our new minds, then we fall into the trap of double-mindedness.
James 1:6–8 says, “But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
When we continue to associate with those who are now not like-minded or hold on to old habits, doubts enter our minds. We begin to doubt the validity of the principle. We must instead not hesitate to take our renewed mind to the next step by making the changes in our lives that we have been prompted to make by the Holy Spirit.
Unfortunately, too many make the mistake of hesitating to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit by not making changes in our lives. It is in the midst of this hesitation that we find ourselves in the very dangerous state of double-mindedness. This unfortunate state is where, we believe, most Christians of today live. It is why they don’t receive abundant blessings from God and do not live His abundant life as He promised. God tells us that those who are double-minded should expect nothing from God (James 1:8). It all began with knowing the Truth, but then failing to live the Truth.
We see it often in our ministry. When someone finds out the Truth about trusting God in a particular area of his life, through the renewing of his mind, he comes under conviction. But because of fear, rebellion, or apathy, he fails to line his life up with his conviction. Soon there is a pattern of failure, and confusion follows—the “double-minded” man principle explained in James 1:8 is activated.
At this point, many men write and ask us what they should do about their newfound convictions when their wife does not yet share those convictions. This is when the principles in “Manages His Own Household” should be followed. If you are careful not to manipulate or pressure your wife and have stopped trying to get your own way by demanding, and if you have shown your wife a spirit of love and understanding, then when a situation arises, you will not only be able to share your newly found conviction with your wife, but because of the love and understanding of your spirit, she will very likely want to act on your newly found conviction.
If you are so radically and wonderfully changed in your attitude toward your wife, your wife, as was mentioned in the very beginning of this book, will want to get a copy of the women’s book A Wise Woman. This will put you in a perfect position for your entire family to be that “epistle read by all men.” Your positive influence can have a radical effect on the world around you when it is not only you who has changed, but your change has spilled over into the lives of your wife and your children. It happens all the time in our ministry—may it happen in your life!
Once your mind is renewed and your life reflects your renewed mind, then God will begin your ministry to other men. One of the greatest needs of today is for men to minister to other men. There are many young men who are going into seminary to become preachers. Personally, I am not interested in what they have to say as much as a man who has lived the life he has been called to live (as a husband, father, and provider) and has come through it victoriously. No one wants someone to point the way; we want them to have built a bridge over the deep rivers and valleys they have crossed personally.
When Erin had to face caring for her father who was dying, she looked to an older woman who had cared for her bedridden mother. She knew that woman knew what she was feeling and the hardship that she was facing. Knowing she had done it, and had not only survived but was greater for the experience, gave Erin the fortitude and example to accomplish that difficult task. Erin could not tell you how many times that woman’s example helped her to go on, not only to make it through caring for her father, but then again when she was caring for her dying mother. There are very few who will live a radically different life, a life that whispers or even shouts “Jesus!” But those who do are the ones who change the course of the world and never really know it.
God will begin your ministry, most likely, in the confines of your family, friends, church, and community. Later, if you continue to grow, God will expand your territory. Who would have ever dreamed that the Lord could take a heartbroken person like Erin and allow her to minister around the world? Certainly not Erin, nor I either!
“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Chron. 16:9).
God is looking for you. He wants to use you. Just one person like you can change thousands of lives if you just search for the Truth, get outside your area of comfort, allow your convictions to change you, and begin to line your life up with your newly found principles. God will do the rest.
We don’t know about you, but we want God to ask the devil to consider us like he considered Job. We want God to take this frightened man and woman who are hiding behind these computers and make them “mighty warriors” like Gideon. We want to have such faith that we could be like Abraham and be a friend of God’s. We want to be after God’s own heart like David and walk with God like Enoch had the pleasure of doing.
We want to have the wisdom of Solomon to minister to the men and women of this world. We want to be a leader like Moses to deliver God’s people from the bondage of the world and lead them through the wilderness to the Promised Land. We want our lives to be so pleasing to God that because of us our children will be blessed like David’s children and lineage.
You may say “impossible,” but we know it is possible. God said it and we believe it.
“Jesus said, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God’” (Mark 10:27).
“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?” (Matt. 7:16).
“So then, you will know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:20).
How do the younger men find you? They find you by your fruits! When men look to us for personal help in training their children, we tell them to look for the men in their church who have well-behaved children. They are there, yet sometimes they are hard to find. These are the children who often sit in church with their parents rather than going to children’s church, but you may not notice them because they are not disruptive. You don’t notice them because they are not running around with the other children up and down the aisles. But when you find them, you know it.
Though Erin and I totally messed up in our marriage because of our ignorance of the principles of marriage, we did a bit better with our parenting (thanks to Erin and her mother’s example) and now we have a lot of fruits! We are continually praised for our children and for their behavior. These are the fruits in the area of children.
Young men need to see a happy man in order for them to want what he has. This is a powerful evangelism tool. Erin’s older and younger sister, who both just recently became powerful, on-fire Christians, told her that she was the greatest influence that led her to the Lord. Erin’s sisters said quite frankly, “I wanted what you had!” They both said they saw our children, Erin’s life, and the blessings she lived in and said, “Why not me!?” Then, as Erin talked to both of them, her sisters realized Who was at the center of Erin’s life and Who was the giver of these blessings. This is real evangelism that works!
So many men and women talk and lecture to their family members until they are blue in the face, and are puzzled why they don’t want to accept the Lord or any of their counsel. But if we are unhappy, miserable in our marriage, constantly complaining about our job, and act angry or are always ready to become unglued, who would want what we had to offer? However, if you can live a life not free from trials, but rather with the blessings that follow a man who praises the Lord in the midst of those trials, that’s a life worth wanting.
It doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process. You may begin by looking like a complete nut, a moron, a fool—but you’ll turn out to be a “fool for the Lord”! God in His infinite wisdom “has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong” (1 Cor. 1:27, KJV).
When you stop debating or trying to make them understand why you do what you do—like Erin and I did when our family kept confronting us on the number of children we were continuing to have, the way we disciplined our children, our decision to teach our children at home rather than sending them to school, and our non-dating practices for our teens who are now in their twenties—but instead live it, you, too, will see them coming to you for help. It didn’t take long for us to see that we were not going to convince them or anyone else by what we said—we had to live it long enough to produce fruits.
Jeremiah 17:7–8 says, “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.”
I love the way that verse reads: “who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord.” If your trust is in Him and in His Word and in His promises, then we promise that in the end you will not be ashamed.
Fulfilling Your Call
When our fourth child was born, Erin was in her early thirties. This child, a girl, Erin says will forever change her life. She knew that someday that little girl would look to her and emulate her as she grew to womanhood. She knew she needed help. When she discovered the passage in Titus 2 about the “older women teaching the younger women,” she went to our pastor at the time and asked him where she might find an “older woman” to teach her. His reply was simply, “I don’t know.” If a man came to your pastor, today, and asked the same question in regard to finding an “older man,” what would be his response?
Unfortunately, most young men don’t even know that the Bible tells them where they are to get help, and even if they did, would they find you? It has been Erin’s heart since that day her house fell to be an older woman who helps younger women prevent their houses from falling. She tells everyone that she made so many mistakes that could have been avoided had she just had a godly woman willing to show her what the Bible said and to love her enough to tell her when she was making a fatal mistake, as with her contentiousness, which she humbly tells everyone resulted in our marriage being destroyed.
In this day and age, it now complicates matters that most young men and women don’t want to listen to anyone about anything. They seek out “experts” in child training rather than a man or woman of God who has well-behaved children. They listen to talk shows to get “advice” from other foolish, arrogant men who are in the world and follow that fatal advice with their wives. And often they listen and seek advice from the men and women their own age for advice and counsel, as Rehoboam (Solomon’s son) did to his destruction and that of his nation. (See 1 King 12.)
This book, we feel, is just one of the ways that the Lord has given us “the desires of our hearts.” Our ministry, for the most part, is spent helping desperate men and women who have just found out that their spouse has been sleeping with their best friend, has moved in with him or her, or has just filed for a divorce. But our heart for years has been to be able to somehow prevent the pain and heartache that Erin had to endure. Rather than waiting for the problem to arise, let us all fulfill the call on our lives as the “older man” and invite men we know to study A Wise Man with us.
Most groups are born when just two like-minded friends get together to go through the book. Then, lo and behold, they meet someone who would benefit from the information and they invite him to join them. Their group grows by word of mouth and the fruits are incredible: men are getting saved and marriages are being restored. Soon they find that they are older men ministering to the real needs of the men in their church, neighborhood, and circle of friends.
God’s way often doesn’t happen through a board of directors or a vote. His way begins with men, like you and maybe your friend, who want more of God in their lives. They want their lives to be different, and they stumble on A Wise Man, which they find different than anything they’ve ever read or heard. Its message is tough to swallow, but soon after a “peace” sets in. They are forever changed by the power of God and by the principles and promises of His Word.
Has God placed a burden on your heart for the men in your life, church, and community? Then I would urge you to begin praying about opening your home to the men the Lord will send you. If you have just a few minutes a week to spare and a pot of coffee to offer, then you are ready to begin to change the world around you. This may be just the first step in your ministry to reach men with the gospel and to heal the brokenhearted in the church. Will you fulfill the call the Lord has on your life?
I Shall Not Be Ashamed
God promises that if we look to Him, if we trust Him, if we follow His commandment about how to live and set our faces like flint, not allowing criticism and controversy to cause us to compromise what we know is true, then we too, will not be ashamed.
“They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed” (Ps. 34:5).
“Then I shall not be ashamed when I look upon all Thy commandments” (Ps. 119:6).
“How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them [children]; they shall not be ashamed, when they speak with their enemies in the gate” (Ps. 127:5).
“For the Lord God helps me; therefore, I am not disgraced; therefore, I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed” (Isa. 50:7).
It’s not an easy road being a powerful Christian man today and following the teachings of the Lord and His Word, but it is rewarding. It’s not about living a “religious” life. Being religious does more to run people off from God than to win them to Him. It’s living a fruit-bearing life that comes from a renewed mind followed by a life of dying to self. It’s a life that shows through by the way you radiate the love of the Lord and exhibit the fruits of a life devoted to loving Him. It’s about living the gospel, not just in word but in deed. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). Will you join us?
“Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me His prisoner; but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God . . .” (2 Tim. 1:8).
May Your Life Encourage and Teach the Younger Men!
Personal commitment: To make my life a living epistle that will glorify God. “Based on what I have learned from God’s Word, I commit to learning, living, and speaking the Truth to the younger men in my life. I will begin in my home and move out from there as the Lord leads.”