Mothers and Wives: Reverent in Behavior
March 14, 2012
By John Barnett
Read, print, and listen to this resource on our website www.DiscoverTheBook.org
For the past twelve years it has been my joy to present on Mother’s Day a lineup of the greatest mothers of the Bible. We have seen Hannah, Ruth, Elisabeth, Mary, the Proverbs 31 super-woman, and many others.
This year is completely different. The passage we are heading to, and you can open there now if you’d like—is Titus 2. These verses are a message from God to every single lady in this place. God has set down a pattern that every woman should strive towards. Being a Titus 2 woman of godliness should be the goal and desire of every mother for her daughters, of every husband for his wife, of every child for their mother and of every believer for her own life.
Titus 2 is the Pattern God Gave
If you want to be vital in Christ's church, useful in God’s Kingdom, rewarded at Christ's Bema Seat Judgment these verses are your marching orders. There is no clearer pattern for a godly woman in all of God's Word than the twelve character qualities recorded in these verses. This is what God desires, explains, and expects from obedient and godly women.
If you are looking for a passage to study in depth that can change your life—here it is.
If you want a special passage to memorize and meditate upon that can transform your thinking and life’s direction—here it is.
And, if you want to go through life confident that you are doing exactly what God wants you to do each day—here it is.
Most of us struggle with purpose, wondering if our days are spent wisely.
Titus 2 contains a lesson from God that you don’t have to go away to a far away place to accomplish. You do not have to get financial support to start, you don’t have to have any spectacular gifting—all you need is to love and follow the Lord and you can start down the Titus 2 track.
Now lest any of us men start feeling badly about such a wonderful way for women to invest their lives—there is an equally clear 12-part mandate for Titus 2 men which we will study together on Father’s Day, so just hold on for that.
As we open our Bibles to Titus 2:1-8, listen to the very voice of God speaking not to a select few, but to every man, woman, and child here today.
God is asking each of us to live in such a way that our life can become a pattern of His grace that can be used to mentor, encourage, coach, tutor, teach, train and guide another’s life towards Him.
There is nothing greater in life than to be useful for God!
Titus 2:1-8 read and pray.
Christ's church was born into a sin-warped, sin-darkened world of mixed-up marriages, sin-scarred lives, and confused families.
But men and women who were gloriously saved did not automatically become great wives and mothers, or husbands and fathers. When they came to Christ and were forgiven, God graciously gave them everything they needed to become godly wives, mothers, husbands, and fathers. But, they needed something else.
These new believers needed coaching, training, modeling, and encouraging in a one-on-one relationship. Godly behavior is a series of choices; and those men and women had to be nurtured in daily skills that would lead to loving marriages and families.
Christ's method for the training of these new converts was two-fold. They gathered for a group session as an entire church body. The Scriptures were faithfully taught, and they were fed healthy doctrine for spiritual growth. That group teaching of the gathered church was vitally performed by the called and gifted pastors of Christ's church; but side-by-side with that didactic teaching of God's Word that fed Christ's flock weekly, was another equally vital ministry which we find captured for us in Titus 2.
Christ's Church Used Coaches in Godly Living
Christ's church grew strong in those early years because everyone in His church knew what they were each supposed to be doing. Each man knew how a godly man was to live his daily life (Titus 2:1-2, 6-8); and each woman knew how a godly woman was to live her daily life (Titus 2:3-5).
Christ's church grew into the potent force for changing the world in the quiet nurturing sessions that Titus 2 men and women performed in practical discipleship. Just as important as the preaching and teaching of the doctrines of God's Word was the modeling and nurturing of individual saints through practical hands-on lessons in godly living.
The building blocks of Christ's church are Spirit-filled men and women. Lives given daily as obedient servants of God. Since all of us in this auditorium are either men or women, it is imperative to know what God has to say to what pleases Him in the life of a man or woman.
God wants men and women that will mentor, nurture, and coach godly living for His church. These individuals believe that God has called them to touch one life at a time for His glory.
When God gets to pick the curriculum for His Church, what does He choose to be taught? He lays down twelve vital godly character qualities for women and 12 vital godly character qualities for men.
• In Titus 2:1-2 God lays down six non-negotiables for godly older men in the faith to model by their lives.
• In Titus 2:3-4 God has actually laid down five non-negotiables in the lives of great women role models.
• In Titus 2:4-5 God describes the seven non-negotiables that each younger woman needs to learn, that has already been mastered by their older women in the faith role models.
• In Titus 2:6-8 God finally sets down six non-negotiable character qualities that will be embraced by every young man who wishes to be godly and useful for Christ's church.
Our focus today will be upon the character God seeks to see developing in every woman in this church.
Twelve Godly Characteristics of Highly Useful Women
Women who are highly useful to God have these characteristics. The long-term goal of their lives is geared towards being useful to God. Parents who want their children be useful for the Lord begin early on to point their children towards the high calling and great joy of being a Titus 2 woman and the Titus 2 man.
The whole goal of a Titus 2 woman is to train younger women in Biblical, simple-to-measure, Spirit-empowered, love-based living.
This morning we will examine the character God desires, calls for, and uses in women of any age. This is the lifestyle all women of any age in this room should long for, strive for, and aspire towards. Basically a Titus 2 woman is a godly wife who loves her husband in such a profound way that he appears deeply satisfied in her love; and she is also a godly mother whose children know they are deeply loved. Look for a woman that radiates love and joy and you have the Titus 2 woman.
Think of the most loving, gracious, self-sacrificing mother you can imagine—one that knows you, loves you, helps you, understands you, encourages you, comforts you in each failure, and rejoices in every good choice you make, and you have just imagined the Titus 2 woman of Christ's church.
Every woman in this church should either be a younger woman being mentored in Titus 2:3-5, or looking for a Titus 2 mentor, be a Titus 2 woman, or be on the way to becoming one. It is Christ's method for strengthening every marriage, every family, and every life in His church!
Godly womanhood as laid down in God's Word is caught, not taught.
Paul did not call for Titus as the pastor to train all the women in these qualities God wanted them to cultivate; rather he called upon the godly older women of Christ's church. He singles out the women of faith, those who had already learned to love their husbands, learned to love their children, and learned to be reverent, godly, modest and wise—and charged them with seeking out and meeting with every younger woman in the church.
Paul seems to describe far more than a Bible study for those early church believers—he called for small group, practical, hands-on training sessions, and one-on-one nurturing in homes by an older-woman-in-the-faith as the norm. Older women aspired to have the joy of entering the home and life of another woman and pouring her love, her life, and most of all her godly experience into that younger woman’s life, marriage, and family.
Just briefly, let me describe the fantastic and results of this Titus 2 long-term, behind the scenes, encouraging, discipleship, and coaching ministry. Paul gives us--
The Results of Titus 2 Women in Ministry
Titus 2 women encourage a grateful army of husbands who feel deeply loved by their wives. *
• What was the first thing that the Holy Spirit chose to have taught to the young married women believers? LOVE THEIR HUSBANDS.
• Can you imagine what a deep and lasting impact upon this local body of Christ's church to have men coming home to a wife who is earnestly being taught how to love her own husband?
• Such love is a powerful testimony in a culture where women are being pressed into being worldly, self-seeking, independent, and do-their-own-thing women.
• If nothing else, every family at TBC would be enriched if every younger woman was taught in a practical, simple, and personal way how to love their own husband.
Titus 2 women train younger women in one of the hardest and yet most rewarding investments in life—children who feel deeply loved by their mothers.*
• The Holy Spirit emphasizes very clearly that the key to raising children is LOVING them.
• Titus 2 women train, teach, model, and mentor moms into the deepening of love for their children that can be felt.
• One of the most common complaints of the 21st century child is that don’t feel loved. Most mothers love their children, but many children are not feeling that love.
• Titus 2 women are coaches that tutor and mentor young moms in ways to show love that can be felt.
Titus 2 women train younger women to be discreet, sensible, wise in the decisions and choices they make.
• What a rich resource for new marriages and families to have a young woman walked through those days side-by-side with a godly, Spirit-filled woman who will regularly, personally, individually mentor, mother, coach, and cheer on younger women in skillfully living as a wife, mother, and woman of God on a day to day basis.
• Titus 2 women weren’t primarily found in classrooms—they were in the kitchen with a younger woman, in the dining room, in the nursery, at the grocery store.
• Titus 2 women were hands on tutors nurturing younger women in the laboratory of life--walking through life together praying, sharing, learning, and loving.
Titus 2 women train younger women in the holiness and purity that pleases God and unleashes the power of the Spirit.
• The training that a Titus 2 older woman gives is a seven-part package, that is immensely practical not theoretical. Modesty, purity, chaste behavior must be learned, modeled, and practiced.
• God directed the power of godly, Spirit-filled women of Biblical maturity sitting over a cup of tea discussing with younger women what pleased God in dress, in behavior, conduct, and so on.
• Christ's church needed younger women who learned Biblical modesty through a godly older woman lovingly applying God's Word to daily life.
Titus 2 older women teach younger women the centrality in God’s plan of a woman’s priority being her home.
• Home making is a learned art and so many women never have the hands on training that is needed.
• Life is so full, our culture has moved away from homemaking and few young women get mentored in the godly, Biblical art of home making.
• God placed the first two priorities on the Titus 2 list as loving husbands and loving children. Younger women are called to see the priority of their homes; and the only way they can learn that priority is by a long-term relationship with a godly woman that has mastered that art.
Now, let’s begin a step by step look at all 12 characteristics of a Titus 2 woman. Paul lists them in the verses we already read. Here they are one-by-one. The older women are to have mastered all 12 and the younger women are trained in the last seven. First the character of the older woman in the faith is profiled.
*v. 3a “the older women likewise,
that they be reverent in behavior”* (1)
Paul first draws a word from the Roman world to capture the entire bearing of these godly role model women in Christ's church. He uses the word that meant to operate as a priest in a temple. In the ancient world temples to gods were always outside of town. People had to stop, take a bath, change into special clothes and then walk down a ‘sacred way’ often a mile or more to the temple. Then they were served by sacred priests who acted as representatives of the gods.
The Greek word translated “reverent” is used only here in the Bible, and it conveys the idea of priest-like. That word for ‘acting as a representative of a god’ is the word Paul uses to describe the devout and godly character of the Titus 2 woman. Older women are to live like holy priests serving in the presence of God. Their sacred personal devotion to the Lord has slowly come to influence every aspect of their lives.
This is the Greek word semnos meaning “august, venerable, honorable” or in the context of a local church, a woman who lives in such a godly way she can be emulated and venerated for her character. Her life is an example to the women of the flock of all ages. 1 Timothy 3:11 Likewise their wives [women] must be reverent (NKJV); 1 Timothy 3:11 Women must likewise be dignified (NAS); 1 Timothy 3:11 In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect (NIV).
Paul calls all of us who will be useful in Christ's church to the same high calling. This is the same word (in basic form) used for deacons: 1 Timothy 3:8 Deacons likewise must be men of dignity (NAS); and the same basis word to describe the Titus 2 older men of renown to be followed: Titus 2:2 “Older men are to be temperate, dignified” (NAS); or worthy of respect (NIV).
Paul extends this priest-like attitude for life to be the goal that all believers should seek as it says in 1 Timothy 2:2 “in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (NAS); or holiness (NIV).
This word also shows up in the guide for what a believer is to think about in Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble—meditate on these things” (NKJV). Paul was reminding the early church believers that what they thought about and allowed to stay in their minds is what they would become.
So this consecrated, godly woman heeds what Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as [a person] thinks in his heart, so is he”. The Titus 2 woman knows that whatever she reads, listens to, watches, and allows to stays in her mind, and is what she will become.
So a godly woman (or any believer) who allows anything, whether TV, movies, magazines, and any other media to stimulate their flesh by feeding their mind with lying, profanity, illegitimate sex, gossiping, occultic images, and so much more--will slowly have their mind depart from “noble, dignified, worthy of respect, and holiness” and soon after their actions will follow their mind away from being “reverent in behavior”.
Godly older woman have simply taken Romans 12:1-2 seriously.
They have presented themselves to the Lord, they have begun to live life the way God asked them to live—as a walking temple of God, as a consecrated priest of God, as a living sacrifice, and as a bondservant of the Lord.
Godly women seek to be reverent in their behavior.