March 14, 2012
By John Barnett
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We were saved by God’s grace; and we are kept by God’s grace; and we live in a way that pleases God and earns His rewards—energized by His grace.
These past few weeks we have been looking at God’s high calling for women in His Church; and sometimes it may seem that living that way is impossible—and that is the truth. Titus 2 women live a humanly impossible life. They must be energized by God’s grace to live that way!
So step back and survey the whole scope of Christ's New Testament church and His plan for us. As believers this morning we are on the journey of new beginnings through Christ—energized each step of the way by grace.
Titus 2 is a roadmap for all who want their life to count. It is God’s pathway of disciplines to choose each day in the power of the Spirit of grace.
God’s plan to work in the world is His church . Christ's church may be described as a group of people, energized by grace, doing the impossible for the glory of God. A key insight into God’s plan to reach the world through Christ's church is in Titus chapter 2.
The verses of this chapter contain a call to First Century men and women energized by grace to live an extraordinary spiritual life in a very unspiritual culture.
When grace energizes us we want to deny ungodliness in any form we find it cropping up in our lives. When God’s grace energizes us we want to mortify lust in any form in our lives.
When we study this idea of the older-in-the-faith godly, Titus 2 woman we are describing a woman who has chosen to learn from God how to live her life day-by-day and step-by-step in way that pleases God. Women energized by grace are useful to God.
When the Gospel of Jesus Christ entered the Roman world of the New Testament the landscape was very bleak. 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. They need worship services that taught them to believe correctly, and then they needed small group discipleship times to learn how to behave correctly. Correct behavior is behavior energized by grace.
Titus 2 describes how God works in the life of a believer. When we were saved and the gospel of grace began in our lives, the evidence is seen in the sanctification process. Grace always teaches genuine believers how to say no to sin in any form.
The Titus Two woman is an imperfect person, saved by God, and energized by His grace to live an exemplary life as described in Titus 2:3-4. So we could easily say that:
• Women energized by grace—are reverent in their behavior,
• Women energized by grace—are not slanderers,
• Women energized by grace—are not given to much wine,
• Women energized by grace—are teachers of good things, and
• Women energized by grace—are discipling younger women.
Those new believers, fresh out of paganism 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.
And that is the vital ministry which we find captured for us in Titus 2.
Christ's Church Used Grace Energized Coaches in Godly Living
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.
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.
For just a moment please follow along in your Bibles in Titus 2:1-8, as I again read those special character traits for men and women.
v.1 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: v.2 that the [grace energized] older men be:
4. sound in faith,
5. [sound in] love,
6. [sound in] patience;
v. 3 the [grace energized] older women likewise, that they be
1. reverent in behavior,
2. not slanderers,
3. not given to much wine,
4. teachers of good things— v. 4
5. that they admonish
the [grace energized] young women
1. to love their husbands,
2. to love their children, v. 5
3. to be discreet,
7. obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
v. 6 Likewise exhort the [grace energized] young men
1. to be sober-minded, v. 7
2. in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works;
3. in doctrine showing integrity,
5. incorruptibility, v. 8
6. sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. (NKJV)
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.
Women energized by grace have these characteristics are highly useful to God. 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.
v. 3a “the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior” (1) Women energized by grace live like holy servants of God.
Paul starts first using the word translated “reverent” that conveys the idea of ‘acting as a representative of a god’. That is how Paul describes 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.
Godly older woman have simply taken Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 and Galatians 2:20 seriously.
Bodies presented as living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, not conformed to this world, but with transformed and renewed minds, in bodies that are temples of the Holy Spirit glorifying God in your body and spirit, which are God’s; no longer living for me, but Christ living through me.
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.
Women energized by grace live like holy servants of God.
v. 3b “not slanderers” (2) Women energized by grace guard their tongues.
Godly Titus 2 women never are to surrender their tongues to the devil. They are prompted by the Holy Spirit to make sure that what they say is absolutely true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report before they say it—lest they discredit their ministry effectiveness as a godly Titus 2 woman.
Theythink first: before starting to say something pause a few seconds and ask are these words pleasing to God. They also talk less making each a time to speak as Peter said, speaking as the oracles of God. And they start that practice now. Don't waste your greatest tool.
Women energized by grace live like holy servants of God, and guard their tongues.
v. 3c “not given to much wine” (3)* Women energized by grace are not enslaved to anything but Christ.
Godly women are Spirit-controlled in every part of their life. They resist excess in any area of daily life. They are not slaves to any substance, slaves to any amusement, any fashion, or any attitude that does not please their Master in Heaven.
Women energized by grace live like holy servants of God, guard their tongues—and women energized by grace are not enslaved to any lust.
v. 3d “teachers of good things” (4) Women energized by grace have visible integrity.
Titus Two women have spiritual integrity--godly women live what they teach. They train others in the pattern they have learned. Their walk speaks louder than their talk.
These godly older women were noble in everything and in the way they lived life they taught by their actions what is good!
Women energized by grace live like holy servants of God, guard their tongues, are not enslaved to any lust, —and women energized by grace have visible integrity.
v.4a “that they admonish” (5) Women energized by grace are earnest mentors.
This one word is variously rendered into 4 different English words by the top 4 versions: “teach” (KJV); “admonish” (NKJV); “train” (NIV); and “encourage” (NAS). The context and the word imply that this was to be a process of teaching, explaining, encouraging, training, and holding the young wives to a standard that was unfamiliar to them and yet vital for the success of their marriages and families.
One of the strongest forces for spiritual ministry in the local church lies with the older believers. Those who are retired have time for service. It is vital that we mobilize and use these important people. In my own thirty years of pastoral ministry, I have been constantly helped and encouraged by godly, older saints who knew how to pray, how to teach God's Word, visit, troubleshoot, and help edify Christ's church.
Women energized by grace live like holy servants of God, guard their tongues, are not enslaved to any lust , with visible integrity—and women energized by grace become earnest mentors of younger women.
v. 4b “the young women to love their husbands” (6) Women energized by grace love their husbands.
A Christian home in a pagan culture was a radically new thing.
Young women saved out of paganism needed to get accustomed to a whole new set of priorities and privileges; and those who had unsaved husbands would need special encouragement.
The Titus Two Models had the responsibility of training the younger women how to be successful wives, mothers, and housekeepers; and the younger women had the responsibility of listening and obeying.
Among the Bible believing women of the first century there was a big challenge in “loving” their husbands. For various reasons and in various degrees those women found themselves with either minimal or no “feelings of love” for their husbands.
Those believing wives in the early church like those today, almost always want to obey the Lord, thus they submit and fulfill their responsibilities to their husbands—but often only dutifully and not lovingly. It’s not just that loving your husband is a virtue; Paul says that not loving him in a way that he can feel—is a sin!
The key to understanding this bold new dimension of the early church’s training is in the word Paul uses for love. Every believer has already repeatedly been commanded to “love” with agape love which is an action. We are commanded to act in a loving way towards each other, our saved and unsaved friends, and even our enemies. This agape love is not a feeling, it is an action. Paul explains agape love in Ephesians 5:25 and Colossians 3:19 as a husbands acting towards his wife in the same self-sacrificial way as Jesus loves the church.
Women were also commanded to obediently submit respectfully to their own husbands (Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18). Peter adds that they were to cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit that was beautiful to God and of immense value in the marriage (I Peter 3:4). This was the reciprocal relationship of a godly marriage on a behavioral level. The commanded attitudes and behavior of believers in marriage is the foundation and the formula for a Christian marriage. But soon it gets back to dutiful, obedient, often unemotional, and detached relationships. So Paul says that it was imperative to go further. Titus is given the key to flourishing marriages and homes—train the younger women in how to cultivate a loving friendship (phileo) with their husbands. This is emotional love.
Agape love is never used in the Bible to describe sexual love or responsibility because emotional love can’t be commanded. The beautiful, intoxicating love that God designed for marriages to have sexually is emotional and those emotions can’t be commanded.
We can’t make someone feel a certain way; we can command them to “do” something but not “feel” a certain way. Genuine, Biblical, marital, sexual love is emotional intimacy in the highest degree. God commands willful, agape love; but the emotional phileo love of friendship and sexual intimacy can’t be commanded—it must be learned.
When the younger women saw how the older women loved, respected, admired, and were best friends with their husbands—they were drawn to see that close and intimate friendships with husbands were possible and very profitable for daily life. They learned how to encourage their own husband, how to build him up, how to surprise him with their affections, and how to cultivate a life-long growing and deepening friendship. What was the first lesson Paul asks to be taught to the younger women?
One word in the Greek text, philandrois is translated “love their husbands.” It means to be a woman totally devoted to one’s husband. Some women say that their husbands are no longer lovable; but having that attitude is disobedience to the clear Word of God.
To help your attitude, keep in mind that loving your husband doesn’t mean you’ll always feel the rush of emotion that characterized your love at the beginning of your relationship. Marriage is a contented commitment that goes beyond feelings to a devotedness—to a level of friendship that is deep and satisfying.
If you don’t love your husband, you need to train yourself to love him. Serve him kindly and graciously day by day and soon you will make such a great investment in him, you will say to yourself, I’ve put too much of myself into this guy not to love him! It is a sin to disobey this command.
The best way to fill a home with joy and peace is to have a husband and wife who are best friends--intimately, emotionally, and spiritually.
In Paul’s day, men and women were saved out of a culture where romantic love usually did not exist in marriages. Wives were only seen as the trusted keepers of the home and bearers of the children. Emotional love, psychological needs, and sexual desires were satisfied outside of marriage by most husbands. The opportunities for illicit sex in the Roman world were endless.
For some women in the Roman world this was a relief as they did not have to “perform” sexually on a regular basis for their husbands. But the emotional and relational super-glue that the sexual dimension of the marital relationship produced, was thus absent. God designed marriage in the Garden of Eden to cause a man to “cleave” to his wife, which literally means to be glued together.
Salvation stopped the immorality in most believing men’s lives back then—but salvation did not make them or their wives instantly close, intimate, and life-sharing friends and lovers.
Just as modern pre-marital moral laxity has scarred many young couples into a troubled, often superficial marital relationship, so were most of the marriages of the New Testament church. What was Paul’s Spirit prompted answer? What was to be the way to solve the distant, detached, and constantly tempted husband daily buffeted with the overpowering allurements of the flagrantly immoral Roman culture?
Christ led Paul to deploy a legion of older-in-the-faith, godly women energized by grace to go from house to house, become a close and trusted friend of those young wives—and train them in how to become their husbands best, closest, dearest, and most-intimate friends.
Physical or sexual love without romance is soon empty and meaningless; and as Solomon (who had a lot of experience) said, soon becomes “Like gravel in the mouth” (Proverbs 20:17). Paul knew that to protect those newly believing husbands and fathers from the tidal waves of temptation, they must have a vibrant, attractive, satisfying emotional and physical relationship with their wife.
Husbands who are drawn to think about and wants to see their wife throughout a day away from home, are protected from attraction and distraction by a wicked world about them. Paul told Titus that to fill the church with loving, caring, romantic wives who love their husbands in this Biblical way, came through the example and training of the godly, older, grace energized women who faithfully taught and modeled that only God’s grace can enable these younger women to act consistently that way.
What are some practical steps a Titus 2 woman mentoring a younger woman in the faith would teach? Here are some simple habits that a godly older woman actually sat down and taught my own wife when we were newlyweds living in California.
First, this godly Titus 2 woman sat Bonnie down and said there are three specific choices that make a wonderful start:
1. Decide that you will make your own husband your number one most important human relationship of life over all others including your parents, brothers, sisters, and friends.
2. Start to seek your husband’s friendship and love ahead of all other human relationships including your children.
3. Begin examining your lifestyle, and schedule, to see if you are intentionally “spoiling your husband rotten…” if you are doing so as a way of life, then you can be sure that you are his best friend and are truly “loving” your husband.
Then she said let me explain what you can do to maintain such a high calling from God to love your husband. I still have the actual notes Bonnie was given of simple but powerful ways to cultivate and grow her love for me.
These truths worked and they may also help each of you in your love for your own husband:
1. Pray for your husband daily.
2. Plan for him daily things like: special acts of kindness; special dinners; special times alone; special meals alone; early bedtimes for the children; going to bed at the same times.
3. Prepare for him daily: prepare your heart with being clothed with God’s love; prepare the house; prepare your appearance; prepare your greeting; set the table; clear out all visitors; stay off the phone; pray for his arrival.
4. Please him daily.
5. Protect your time with him.
6. Physically love him, let him know that you are available at any time that would please him.
7. Positively respond to him.
8. Praise him.
9. Pray without ceasing
God commands us in Proverbs to be intoxicated by the love of our partner (Proverbs 5:18-19). If you are married and not intoxicated by the love of your partner--you are missing the best marriage possible.
Go back and by God’s grace rekindle the blessing, edifying, sharing, and touching that always builds a strong, close, encouraging partnership for life. Be a beacon of Christ's love reflecting to an empty and hopeless world that true love is possible and can be shared for as long as you live.
The greatest priority in a home should be love. If a wife loved her husband and her children, she was well on the way to making the marriage and the home a success. In our Western society, a man and a woman fall in love and then get married; but in the East, marriages were less romantic. Often the two got married and then had to learn to love each other. (Eph. 5:18–33 is probably the best Scripture for a husband and wife who really want to love each other in the will of God.)
Godly women Living as a Priest for God; with Guarded Tongues; and No Excesses; with Visible Integrity; as Earnest Mentors of--Wives who are their Husbands Best Friend.