Titus 2 is a rather difficult text to preach. It’s a very pointed chapter in regards to how the Christian life is supposed to be lived. The danger through this chapter is that we could easily miss the finished work of Jesus (the gospel) and swerve into various forms of legalism that wouldn’t be helpful for anyone.
Last Sunday, we looked at knowing what’s good for men. In order for men to “live the good life,” we need sound doctrine, we need to know we’re men, and we need a clear vision for what manhood is. Culturally, all these are difficult to come by. But not by any means impossible.
On Sunday, I said I would create a list of resources that I’ve found helpful. Here are some of my favorite:
I don’t listen to other preachers like I used to, but on occasion, I still like to listen to a few of these guys. Recently, I’ve been listening to Ray Ortlund. He’s a father figure in the Acts 29 network who’s incredibly wise. One of the important things with listening to preachers online is not to allow them to replace your local pastor. These are incredibly gifted men who are speaking into their specific contexts. They won’t cover things I might cover, and I won’t cover things they might cover. On another note, I’m not trying to preach like any of these guys, so don’t expect me to.
I think I could list out hundreds of books that I’ve found helpful over the years. I won’t do that though. There are books for just about everything you could imagine, and you need to be careful. Solomon, the writer of Ecclesiastes said: “Of making many books there is not end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). Solomon isn’t saying, “don’t study.” He is saying that endless study will not ultimately satisfy us. Only Jesus can do this. So here are some books I’ve found influential:
Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem: This book is HUGE. But don’t let it overwhelm you. It’s made so you can search a specific topic you want to research.
The Cross of Christ by John Stott: This book will make make you cry. Just saying.
Prodigal God by Tim Keller: This is one of the most clear presentation of the gospel I’ve ever read! (And anything you read by Tim Keller is gold!)
What Did You Expect by Paul Tripp: I just read this book a couple months ago. I wish I would have read it years ago. If we can put the things this book talks about into practice, our marriages will change!
Tender Warrior by Stu Webber: Just an all around good book on what it looks like to be a godly man.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis: This book will challenge your mind, but it will also shape your thoughts about being a Christian in a profound way.
I’ve also found books by Martyn Lloyd Jones to be helpful. The Puritans are challenging, but great. Read men like John Bunyan, Jonathan Edwards, John Owen, Richard Sibbes, and so on. Charles Spurgeon was known as the Prince of Preachers in the mid 1800’s. His stuff is great too.
I could go on for days. If you want a good book recommendation for a specific topic, just let me know. And if I don’t have one off the top of my head, I’ll do so research for you.
If you’re interested in free online classes, iTunes university offers some great ones. Reformed Theological Seminary, and Covenant Theological Seminary have great free courses. Again, if you have more questions about this stuff, just ask.
Jesus Is The Better Man
Ultimately men, we must continually be reminded that Jesus is the better man. We could listen to sermons, read books, and take classes all day long. We could do everything to live a better life, and honestly be all around “good guys,” but without Jesus we are still lost and without hope. He is the image of what it looks like to be a man, and he was the man in our place that we cannot be. By faith in Christ, God looks upon you and sees you as he sees Christ. This is the good news that begins to deeply change us. When we fail, we can turn to Jesus because he was successful. Where we’re successful, we can glorify Jesus because he has made our success possible. He is our risen hope for what it looks like to be new men. Trust him.