The Essential Ministry of Older Men and Older Women
I want to begin with a series of questions:
1. Do we believe in the role of women in ministry?
2. Does God call women to be ministers?
3. Does God want women in the church to be teaching?
Let me remind you that the Greek word translated “ministry” (diakonia) is not a technical term for clergy or pastors, but its first occurrence in the NT speaks of Martha in ministry to Jesus, serving him practical things (Luke 10:40). It’s the same exact word translated “service” in many places and is used of what all the saints do, male/female, young/old, including the serving of widows in Acts 6 that we looked at last month.
The noun form sometimes translated “minister” is the same exact word that is translated “servant” (diakonos) referring to all believers, including women like Phoebe in Romans 16:1. The early church had women “ministers” (diakonos) who helped minister mercy to other women and the poor and needy in the body, and who counseled, mentored, and taught younger women and children. If you think of “minister” as a clericalized, professionalized title and a synonym for pastor and pastor alone is a modern invention that is not only unhelpful, it’s unbiblical.
We may have some people new to our church, who this is new to, and I would encourage you to go to our church website, click on “Read Sermons” and read the message dated 3/9/2008 on how God is glorified in the Church by Every Member in Ministry.
But for today, let’s look at the ministry that God lays down in Titus 2 for men and women, young and old, in the body of Christ:
2 Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.
6 Likewise urge the young men to be sensible; 7 in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8 sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us.
The title of our message today is “The Essential Ministry of Older Men and Older Women in the Church” and if I were to sum up what that essential ministry would be in 2 words, they would be:
Modeling is summarized in verse 7 where Paul writes “in all things show yourself an example” and through verse 8 he talks about the character traits and lifestyle of a mature believer. Verses 2-3 also speak of godly traits that are to be modeled by the older to the younger, so this whole passage is bookended by this idea as its main theme. It’s not enough for the elders to speak things in accordance with sound doctrine as verse 1 says, and which chapter 1 has a lot to say about. There is an essential ministry for YOU.
And by the way, younger believers also have a responsibility to model these things as well – turn back to 1 Timothy 4:12.
1 Timothy 4:12 (NASB95)
12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
So all Christians are to be examples and are to model godliness in growing measure in what we say and how we live, our actions and even our attitudes. Verse 15 says we are to take pains with and be absorbed with the things Paul discusses in this chapter “so that your progress will be evident to all.”
Christians of course are not perfect, but there should be observable progress in our life if we’re truly saved. It should be evident to all around us that the Holy Spirit is progressing us, sanctifying us. Others should be able to discern evidences of grace in us, and evidences of growth in the fruit of the Spirit, and we should seek to encourage others where see such evidence, praising God, not them.
If you think for a moment that the standards of godliness and character are lower for you than others somehow, let me remind you that even each of the qualities those who are leaders or
Mentoring is spoken of
The key words that sum up the essent
Josh Harris has written a helpful little book entitled Stop Dating the Church, which asks the question on its back cover “Are you dating the church? We are a generation of consumers, independent, and critical. We attend church, but we don’t want to settle down and truly invest ourselves. We’re not into commitment – we only want to date the church. Is this what God wants for us? … faith was never meant to be a solo pursuit. The church is the place God grows us, encourages us, and uses us best. Loving Jesus Christ involves a passionate commitment to His church – around the world and down the street. We can’t be apathetic. It’s time to fall in love with the family of God.”