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Grace-energized Women Of Purity

Notes & Transcripts

March 16, 2012

By John Barnett

Read, print and listen to this resource on our website WWW.DiscoverTheBook.org

For two thousand years God has been looking in each generation of Christ's Church for a few good women--who will give themselves to His plan for their lives. That plan has been laid out for them in Titus 2.

When these women offer themselves as willing servants to follow God’s plan, His grace energizes them to live a life that magnifies Christ at every level, and glorifies the Lord with eternal rewards.

The 12 virtues that God desires to be in the lives of these grace-energized women are what we are studying in Titus 2. This morning God declares in v. 5 that His plan for your life, if yielded to Him, is purity. He asks, “Will you follow my plan, surrender your life and let Me make you a grace-energized woman of purity?”

We have been invited by our Holy God, who dwells in unapproachable light (I Timothy 6:16), to become His very dwelling place (I Cor. 6.19-20). What is the only request that the One who lives within us, using our body as His temple asks of us? Purity, He asks us to keep this place He lives clean.

The sheer level of sexual temptation assaulting believers at every level in Paul’s day, rivals our own times. Men fed upon lust, and found sexual gratification every where they could; and women obliged giving them much to lust after and became willing participants in all types of sinful behavior. That is why the sin that Paul mentions most often in every letter is sexual sin. The early church was immersed in a flagrantly sexual culture. The believers of Paul’s day were being squeezed by the pressure all around them to not resist, but to just float along with the culture of self-expression, self-gratification.

Purity in the moral realm has always marked genuine believers throughout the centuries of the church. Paul was clearly telling Titus that God’s expectations in an immoral and lust-filled Roman world was absolute purity. That is the meaning of hagnos. In the first New Testament letter James said the very same thing in no uncertain terms, that believers must keep themselves “unspotted by the world” (James 1:27).

God is very serious about purity and holiness; and He uses them interchangeably throughout the New Testament to describe the sanctified lives he demands from His children. Purity is the description (adjective hagnos) of the believers who are allowing God to sanctify (verb hagiazo) them.

In fact, God's Word says that all believers are being sanctified or they are not genuinely saved.

Hebrews 12:14 "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:" NKJV

That description of Jesus wants in His church is the next character quality of a grace-energized woman in Titus 2:5. God asks for grace-energized purity.

This morning we are studying the ninth of 12 characteristics for grace-energized women, found at the start of verse 5.

Christ's church has been called to this high standard and empowered by the Holy Spirit to stay morally pure. Believers have faced sexual temptation at every intensity level—and by God’s grace have found strength to resist.

From Joseph fleeing from Potipher’s wife (Genesis 39:6-13) to Paul’s charging Timothy to do the same thing “flee also youthful lusts” (II Timothy 2:22) God’s desire for His children is clear. Jesus explains that it is impurity of thought that leads to impurity of action (Mt. 15:19) so moral purity starts with a sanctified mind.

The word “chaste” (KJVNKJV) or “pure” (NIVNAS) that Paul wrote to Titus in this verse is so important to God that He guided the Apostles to speak of this purity and holiness over 300 times (using 11 closely related Greek words) in the New Testament that encompass every New Testament reference to holiness, purity, and sanctification.

Paul uses this word to describe the constant choices believers make to be Christ-like. It is the same word John used when he said a believer, “purifies himself, just as He is pure” (I John 3:3, NKJV); and that James describes the first manifestation of the wisdom of the Holy Spirit as, “wisdom that is from above is first pure” (James 3:17, NKJV); and that Peter uses to describe our choices to be different from the godless culture as our testimony to them of the power of salvation, “even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear” (I Peter 3:1-2, NKJV).

Paul says women be chaste, conduct yourself like the holy servants of Christ Himself. Don’t give in to the culture, don’t reflect the sexual license of the day—stand for purity and keep yourself pure for Christ's sake; and to be a role model He can use in His church. But we know that--

Purity is Grace-energized Sanctification

As we were saved only by the accomplishment of Christ's sacrifice on the cross—so we live each day ‘by faith’ (the same faith by which we were saved). We are always dependent upon Christ's gracious death upon the cross that saves and keeps us!

Sanctification is a process-the process of becoming more like Christ, of growing in holiness. This process begins the instant you are converted and will not end until you meet Jesus face-to-face.

Through the work of His Spirit, through the power of His word and fellowship with other believers, God peels away our desires for sin, renews our minds, and changes our lives. Sanctification is about our own choices and behavior. It involves work. Empowered by God's Spirit, we strive. We fight sin. We study Scripture and pray, even when we don't feel like it. We flee temptation. We press on; we* run hard in the pursuit of holiness.

The New Testament epistles call us to personal purity or holiness, and are built around dozens of imperatives (or commands). Remember that God never commands me to do what He hasn’t already given me the grace to accomplish by faith through His Spirit!

“Our participation in the process of sanctification comes only after we've been totally accepted and made right before God through faith in Jesus. So yes:

• We work hard at obeying God's word.

• We read our Bibles.

• We pray.

• We memorize and meditate on Scripture.

• We share the gospel.

• We serve in our church.

• We fast.

God commands us in His Word to do many things; and our obedience is both pleasing to Him and brings His blessing to our lives.

But not one adds to our justification, our standing before God, our eternal life. Only grace sustains lasting change and sanctification.

Through the cross we overcome not only the guilt of sin, but the power of sin as well .

So this morning, we are asked to yield every part of our lives to the Lord. We want a Word-filled walk that is worthy of the One who loved us and gave Himself for us. That leads us to learn and cultivate--

Grace-energized Motives

If our whole mission in life is to please God (as we learned a few weeks ago in I Thessalonians 4:1) then that motivates us to want to know what pleases Him, and to seek to do those things. So we ask ourselves, “Does the New Testament explain how to mentor younger women in the grace-energized purity as a way of life?”

Yes, we see this grace-energized mentoring when Paul instructs Timothy how to have the women trained is the proper way to dress. Let’s turn there next in I Timothy 2:9-10 where Paul says train the women to:

1 Timothy 2:9-10" in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing,10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works." NKJV

That timeless Biblical standard is as applicable today as when it was first established. Paul was speaking against the backdrop of Roman culture. There are writings still in existence from several ancient writers who described how women dressed in the Roman culture of Paul’s day. That culture was the driving influence in Ephesus where Paul wrote Timothy, as well as Crete where Paul wrote Titus.

Juvenal, a first-century Roman writer, pictured everyday life in the Roman Empire noting that women were preoccupied with their appearance. Another writer explained that this preoccupation was driven by the most famous people of the day. The wife of the Roman Emperor Caligula, had a dress worth more than one million dollars by today’s standards, covered with emeralds and pearls.

The rich of Paul’s day are noted in these sources as wearing dresses that cost up to 7,000 denarii (or the full time salary for 20 years work by an average factory worker of Paul’s day). Can you imagine how disruptive it was to a church service when someone walked in wearing nearly a lifetime of earnings for the majority of the people there? That is why James (2:1-9) warned about giving these golden, glowing clothes wearing rich people preferential treatment!

“Rich women also displayed their wealth through elaborate hairdos with expensive jewelry woven into them. That’s what Paul meant by “braided hair and gold or pearls” (1 Tim. 2:9). The Bible does not forbid women from wearing simple braids or gold, pearls, and high-quality clothing. Both the bride of Solomon (Song 1:10) and the virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31:22 wore beautiful clothes and jewelry. However, the Bible does forbid wearing those things for wrong motives”.

Women who offer their lives to the Lord to follow His plan are asking Him to guide them into a –

Grace-energized Appearance

Both Paul and Peter explain that a godly woman ought to attract attention by her godly character, not her physical beauty. That is why Paul here (v. 9-10) instructs Timothy about the way women are dressed as he writes “adorn themselves with proper clothing.”

The word “adorn” is kosmeo that has entered our English language in the word ‘cosmetics’. The basic idea of this Greek verb was “to arrange,” “to put in order,” or “to make ready.”

Paul actually explained to Timothy that a godly woman should get ready for a worship service by wearing “proper clothing.” The word behind “proper” is just the adjective form of kosmeo and meant “well-ordered.” The Greek word translated “clothing” goes beyond just the clothing, but also the way it was worn.

Many applications of this verse can be seen. Paul says that Timothy was to teach his congregation that the ladies were to come to worship services already prepared, not in disarray of demeanor or wardrobe. Paul does emphasize clothing in this passage, but a woman’s attitude and motivation are the real issues. Paul says external adornment reflects a woman’s heart.

Paul is saying that it is possible to discern whether what you were as a woman is right or wrong by discovering your personal motivation and goals for how you appear to others. In your heart Paul says, look honestly and ask:

• Do my clothes reflect the grace and beauty of womanhood?

• Do my clothes show my love and devotion to my husband?

• Do my clothes reveal a humble heart devoted to worshiping God?

• Or do my clothes call attention to myself—to flaunt my wealth and beauty?

• Or worse, do my clothes attempt to allure men sexually?

“The tragic number of pastors who have fallen into immorality indicates that not all women in today’s church have entirely pure motives.

If you are focused on worshiping God, you won’t have to worry about how you dress because your commitment will dictate your wardrobe.”

So a grace-energized appearance flows from—

Grace-energized Attitudes

Paul distills down a godly woman’s attitude about the way she dresses to two words: “modestly and discreetly” in v. 9. The word translated in your Bible for “modestly” means modesty mixed with humility. The base word connotes a sense of shame—not to be ashamed at being a woman, but ashamed to ever dress in a way that incites a man to lust or that distracts others from their worship of God.

A grace-energized woman will seek to avoid being a cause of temptation. Secondly the word connotes rejecting everything displeasing to God. Some commentators note it means a “grief over a sense of sin.” The essence of a grace-energized woman’s attitude is that she hates sin so much that she will avoid anything that can produce sin in others.

We can even see this if we consider just the dictionary definition of modesty: ‘having a regard for decencies of behavior or dress; quiet and humble in appearance, style, etc.; not displaying one’s body; not boastful or vain; unassuming; virtuous; shy or reserved; chaste’.

The Biblical standard for believers is to be un-entangled in, un-conformed to, and un-in-love with the world that is not worshipping its Creator. That sums up the will of God in the Old Testament. Remember how often God said that?

• Leviticus 18:3 'You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes. (NASB)

• Psalm 106:35 But they mingled with the nations, And learned their practices, (NASB)

The New Testament has The Same Standard!

Romans 12:1-2" I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 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." (NASB)

2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 "Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 17 "Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate," says the Lord. "And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. 18 "And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty. 1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." (NASB)

Give Yourself to Purity

“Our bodies are precious because they are a gift from God. They are attractive because God made us in His image for His pleasure (and if we are married, to please our mates as well). But God never intended us to flaunt ourselves or exhibit our bodies in an immodest way . . . (Rom. 12:1). . . .Many Christians are . . . either oblivious or uncaring about the effect they have on others. They may even appear to have a real excitement and love for the Lord—however, their body is sending out a totally different message.

For two thousand years God has been looking in each generation of Christ's Church for a few good women--who will give themselves to His plan for their lives. That plan has been laid out for them in Titus 2.

Paul says women be chaste, conduct yourself like the holy servants of Christ Himself. Don’t give in to the culture, don’t reflect the sexual license of the day—stand for purity and keep yourself pure for Christ's sake; and to be a role model He can use in His church.

Summary

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.

Titus 2 women have in their wake 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. In a world where women are being pressed into the mould of the worldly, self-seeking, independent, 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 key the Holy Spirit emphasizes very clearly that the key to 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 21st century children 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. A Titus 2 woman isn’t found in a classroom or lecture hall—they are in the kitchen with a younger woman, in the dining room, in the nursery, at the grocery store. Titus 2 women are hands on tutors; and they nurture 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. The power of a godly, Spirit-filled woman of Biblical maturity sitting over a cup of tea discussing what pleases God in dress, in behavior, conduct, and so on. Modesty is understood through Bible study that applies 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. If the highest calling in the Titus 2 list is to love husbands, and to love children, and younger women are called to be

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