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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
May 14, 2017
Happy Mothers’ Day. As I have for many years, I want to recognize the significance of today with a sermon that is on a topic that is specific for women, but that does not mean you men can sit back and take a nap. You also need to pay close attention so that you can encourage the women in your life whether it be your own mother, your wife, a daughter, other relative or just a friend.
Please turn to Titus 2. As you are doing that, let me give you a brief introduction to this letter from Paul to his co-laborer, Titus, whom he had sent to Crete to set in order what remained in the churches on that island. His first task was to appoint elders in every city. These men would need to meet specific qualifications demonstrating the moral characteristics of Christian maturity and be able to both exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict. Paul warned him of the false teachers and converts that he would encounter that professed to know God, but whose detestable and disobedient deeds denied the reality of their claim. These truths apply just as much today as they did then. The church is still in need of men of godly, mature character who are able to teach the Scriptures to lead her, and there are still a lot of people who profess to be Christians who live lives that deny any reality to the claim.
In the second chapter, Paul exhorts Titus to teach and encourage people in various demographic groups the character traits they should have and develop since they were living under the grace of God and looking for the blessed hope of the return of Christ Jesus. In the third chapter, Paul points out some of the specific actions and traits that should mark the lifestyle of the believer. He then concludes with some personal concerns.
This morning we are going to examine what Paul writes to Titus concerning both older and younger women. He had already addressed the subject of older men in verse 2 and he will address the subject of younger men in verses 6-10. Please follow along as I read this section.
3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips, nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, 4 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, that the word of God may not be dishonored.
This passage is part of “the things which are fitting for sound doctrine” that Titus was to teach (Titus 2:1). I could spend many weeks on this passage, and in fact I did so many years ago when I preached through the Epistle to Titus. This morning I will be somewhat brief and concentrate on practical encouragement to fulfill Paul’s admonitions and pursue the character traits he lists.
Paul begins by addressing “older women.” How old is old? Well, you certainly are there when as an adult you start bragging about your age or claim the next year up before you reach it – you just turned 69 but you tell people you are nearly 70. Or as someone quipped, “You are old when you switch bedtimes with your children.”
The Greek word here is simply the feminine form of the word for elder which Paul used of himself when he was in his 60’s (Philemon 9), and Zacharias used it of himself and his wife when they were past the normal child bearing years (Luke 1:18). Greek literature used the word for those as young as 50. In the context of this passage, it refers to those that are old enough to have experienced raising a child.
I apologize if this description of being old has disturbed you, but let me quickly encourage you that senior discounts are nice. More importantly, Scripture takes the opposite view of aging of our culture which emphasizes youth. You can be both godly and counter-cultural in this area as was the person who said, “I don’t mind my hair turning gray, besides, I’ve worked hard to get every one of them.”
Job 12:12 points out that wisdom and understanding resided in those who are older, and Leviticus 19:32 and Proverbs 16:31 state that honor belongs to those to who are gray headed. Psalm 92:14 states that the godly “will still yield fruit in old age.” The later years can and should be some of the most productive in your life because that is when wisdom and maturity have equipped you with the most to give. That is Paul’s point in this passage. Older women of godly character should be training the younger women to be the same.
The first characteristic mentioned is introduced with the term “likewise” which connects it back to the character traits described for the men in verse 2: temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love and in perseverance. All of these are summed up for the older women in being “reverent in behavior.”
The word “reverent” (ijeroprephvV / hieroprep s) refers to that which is fitting and proper for what is sacred. The word “behavior” (katavsthma / katast ma) refers to both actions of behavior and the demeanor of attitude. The full description describes the behavior befitting a priest in the temple. These are the actions and attitudes of holiness lived out in daily life.
A woman with this characteristic would fit the description Paul gives in 1 Timothy 5:5-10 of a godly widow. She is devoted to the Lord, rejects worldly enticements, is faithful to her family, generous to strangers, humble in service, and compassionate to those in distress. She has true piety and puts holiness into the practice of daily life. Anna in Luke 2:36-37 and Dorcas (Tabitha) in Acts 9:36-39 are examples of such a woman.
Not Malicious Gossips
The Greek word for “malicious gossip” (diavbolouV / diabolous) is often used as a name for Satan and usually translated as “devil.” The word means to slander which is to accuse falsely and maliciously by making untrue statements. That is a characteristic of Satan and should not be a characteristic of any Christian. Paul warns older women about this because the increased time available after raising their children could easily be squandered in idle talk degenerating into gossip. He gives a similar warning in 1 Timothy 5:13.
The godly older woman will be marked by the Proverbs on gossip. She will not take part in it, Proverbs 26:20, “For lack of wood the fire goes out, And where there is no whisperer, contention quiets down.” She will keep personal information that is shared with her to herself, Proverbs 11:13, “He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.”
Not Enslaved to Much Wine
A little background helps understanding Paul’s admonition for older women to not be “enslaved to much wine.” Until modern analgesics such as aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen were invented, wine was commonly used to help alleviate some of the aches and pains of getting older, so there was a danger of becoming enslaved to it. There was also danger of wine being used to dull the senses from the frustration and loneliness that can be a part of being elderly. Enslaved (doulovw / doulo ) means “to be held and controlled against one’s will.” Paul was not against the use of wine for its medicinal value, as noted in his advice 1 Timothy 5:23, but there is danger as summarized in Proverbs 20:1, “Wine is a mocker and strong drink a brawler, he who is intoxicated by it is not wise.”
The physical and psychological addictive qualities of alcohol still make it dangerous today, but now there are many other drugs that must be added to the list. While the medicinal value of various drugs can be great, there must also be caution not to become addicted for that violates a basic Biblical principle expressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:12, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” The godly woman is not going to use illegal drugs, abuse prescription drugs and will be cautious about anything that affects her ability to think and experience life. That includes the drugs for anxiety and depression and escapes into materialism and entertainment. I recall one woman who confessed that she knew she had lost all sense of reality when she found herself praying for soap opera characters.
If an older Christian woman is walking with the Lord, using her spiritual gifts and doing the kinds of things Paul speaks about here, yes, she will still have physical pain and some frustration from the limitations of an aging body, but she will still be productive. She will not need to escape reality. She will make the best of whatever circumstances she finds herself living in with a godly manner, a godly attitude, and striving to influence others toward godliness.
Teaching What is Good
Paul next gives a general description of what the older woman should do. She is to teach good, that which is noble, excellent and honorable. She should instruct others by word and deed in the characteristics that marks her own life.
It is a big mistake to sideline older people. They should be the most qualified to teach by passing on to others what they have learned over the years. This is not a universal endorsement of the wisdom of age, for there are plenty of old fools. This is restricted to those with godly character. Age will reduce stamina and limit physical ability, but godly wisdom more than makes up for physical strength anytime.
The context of her teaching good to others will be with anyone she can influence. Few women have the spiritual gifts needed to do this in a class setting. The vast majority of instruction in what is good by older women will take place in her personal interaction with others. This will happen in every kind of situation imaginable, but Paul specifically wants them to teach and encourage younger women.
Encouraging Young Women in Their Responsibilities
Note that verses 4 & 5 are clauses of verse 3 and not separate sentences. The younger women are not to be left on their own to develop the characteristics listed in verses 4 & 5. The older women are to help them develop these qualities. Note carefully here the two fold means of accomplishing this. First, older women are to instruct the younger ones about what is good. They teach them their responsibilities according to the Word of God. Second, they must encourage them in all those various responsibilities. The word “encourage” (swfronivzw / s phronidz ) is also variously translated as admonish (NKJV), train (ESV), urge (NIV) and make (Young’s). It means to bring someone to reason or a sound mind. We call that discipleship. It is the mature woman training others to be like herself, for fully trained disciples will be like their teacher (Luke 6:40), and all Christians are to become like Christ (Romans 8:29).
Ladies, let me blunt here. This is a priority God has set for you. You may need to take a hard look at what you are doing and determine if you are doing what God wants or what you want. You may need to spend some time studying the Scriptures, praying and talking things over with those who are godly to determine if you really are doing what you should be doing and what needs to change.
The body of Christ is left weak when there are so few older women teaching the younger ones how to be godly in the daily activities of life. The body of Christ is hindered in its outreach to the community when there are so few ladies that can be out and about doing the good deeds that need to be done. Somewhere a twisted idea developed in the American church that the older ladies retire and the younger ladies are to pick up the slack. That is tragic for that not only becomes a hindrance to those younger ladies keeping their priorities of a husband and children, but it also means that those that should be the most wise are wasted whether it is because they were pushed out or willingly dropped out.
Paul next lists out specific characteristics and responsibilities he wants the older women to teach and encourage the younger women to be and do, so this has application to all of you ladies. And again, you men need to pay attention so that you can help the women in your life fulfill what the Scriptures state here.
First, what does Paul mean by young women? The word here just means younger and in context refers to those who are still raising their children or younger. The older women are to teach and help bring the younger women to a sound mind in developing these specific characteristics. But that also means the younger women must be humble and desire to develop these characteristics and welcome the help of the older women. That is contrary to the pride that is often there and especially in a society that places so much emphasis on youth so that the wisdom of those who are older is often disdained. Don’t wait for an older woman to approach you. You observe and then befriend older, godly women so that you may learn from them.
Let me quickly add if you have taken a college class that covered marriage and family, then you need the help of older, godly women even more because you have been taught contrary to what is good and even true according to God’s word. If you have some sort of psychology degree, your situation is even worse. The wisdom of the world blinds you to true wisdom from above. You need the counsel of an older, godly woman if you want to gain the Lord’s blessings.
Love Your Husband
The first area Paul lists for younger women to be taught and encouraged is “to love their husbands.” While romantic love has a wonderful place in marriage, that is not what this is talking about. The Greek word (fivlandroV / philandros) combines with word for a love of deep friendship with the word for husband. A committed godly wife will strive to be her husband’s best friend, and I will quickly add that he should be her best friend as well.
The fact this has to be taught reflects the fact that it is not easy for a variety of reasons. Men and women speak different dialects if not languages. He speaks man and she speaks woman. They usually think quite differently and value various things differently often leading to conflicts over priorities. Add into the mix the natural selfishness of both and loving in this matter can be very difficult. Yet, husbands and wives are to love each other just as Christ has loved us (John 13:34; Ephesians 5:22-33). What is contrary to human nature is possible in the power of the Holy Spirit. This kind of love is carefully developed and cultivated. It is a love that grows and sustains you throughout life.
Love Your Children
Next, she is to learn to love her children in the same manner. Regardless of whether they are born to you, adopted or just under your care, the children are to be loved with tender kindness and affection.
Loving children is easy in some ways, but they can also be a lot of work and bring frustration that makes you want you to pull your hair out. The difficulty is reflected in the need for women to learn to do it from older, godly women.
Certainly children can be hard work and be frustrating, but Psalm 127:3 plainly states that they are also both a gift and a reward. They are to be a blessing, not a curse, and they will be as long as you follow what the Bible says in raising them. You must learn to be unselfish, unconditional and unlimited in your love for only such a love will speak the truth to both encourage and correct. It disciplines and comforts. It seeks what is best for the child according to God’s standards, not what the child would like, you would like or society will approve. Beware of the standards of our society in this area. A lot of what is advocated as loving is the opposite of what the scriptures define as loving. The love of a mother is not to be defined in fuzzy feelings and words, but rather a firm but gentle hand that guides, corrects, comforts, cares and nurtures.
Ladies, to love your husband and love your children you must reject the selfish teachings of feminism which permeates our culture. You must learn to be humble and unselfish. Your first love is to be Jesus. If you are married, your second love is to be your husband. If you have children, they are your third love. You come only after them.
Younger women are to be taught and encouraged to be sensible. The word here, swvfrwn / s phr n, is also used to describe a needed character quality in Elders (1:8) and older men (2:2), and is the root of the word for encourage in verse 4. Younger women need to develop “soundness of mind ” and become “level headed” with “disciplined sense.” Such sound, sensible thinking results in being prudent, well balanced, discreet and self-controlled in contrast to the silliness, emotionalism, indiscretion, and selfishness of the immature. The level of sensibility will be revealed in both words and actions.
The Greek word here, aJgnovV / hagnos, primarily refers to moral purity, and in this context especially in fidelity. This applies to married and unmarried women alike. It refers to a good sense of modesty and a healthy sense of shame at saying or doing anything – including dressing – in a way that might cause a man to lust. Paul’s comments in 1 Timothy 2:9,10 give a description of this. 9 “Likewise, [I want] women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments; 10 but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness.”
In general, the immaturity of a younger woman results in her trying to attract attention and gain the approval of others by saying, dressing and acting in ways that may be inappropriate. Flirting, immodest dress and seductive actions do attract attention but at the cost of character and reputation. Frankly, the type of men allured by such a woman do not have the character a godly woman would want. The godly man’s perspective is well expressed in Proverbs 11:22, “As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, So is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion.” I will quickly add that a woman lacking discretion that is not beautiful doesn’t even have the ring of gold in her snout.
The older, godly woman has learned to deal with issues of insecurity and self-worth not only properly, but in ways in which she is safe and secure in God’s love and confident in her worth because it comes from God. She has no need or desire to gain the attention of others by showing off her body, flirting or actions of allurement. She is to teach the younger women these lessons while also guiding her in godly modesty. And a quick warning to you younger women, if an older woman is not dressing modestly herself, you can be sure she cannot help you this area and will also probably be weak in godly wisdom in many other areas too.
Workers at Home
Our society would be very different if being a worker at home was still the priority for wives and mothers, and much of the ills of society can be traced to its lack. Paul is not contradicting the entrepreneurial spirit of the exceptional Proverbs 31 woman who was involved outside the home in real-estate and farming (vs. 16), manufacturing and sales (vs. 24), and relief of the poor (vs 20). He is emphasizing that the priority is to be the family as it was for her. Few women are able to do all that she did. For some, just keeping the home in order is quite enough. The key here is knowing your limit and not going beyond it. When something outside the home starts interfering with that priority, then you have gone too far.
The home is where a wife can best demonstrate that her love for her husband by providing him a refuge from the world. The home is where a mom can best demonstrate her love for her children by nurturing them, teaching them and instilling in them godly character. The home is where she can demonstrate hospitality and devote herself to good works. And the home is a protection from predatory men and other sinful influences of the world.
Ladies, if you are out and about doing all sorts of things away from the home whether for pay or volunteer, what are you going to have left to give your husband and children? Keep it properly balanced. You are not to be selfish or self-centered, and there is sacrifice in ministering to others, but make sure you are not sacrificing the priorities God has set for you. As you genuinely desire to obey and honor the Lord in all things and seek after His will you can be sure that He will provide the needed wisdom and direction. Don’t be fooled by feminist rhetoric. The home is not a place of bondage and neither is God’s role for the woman. Sin is bondage and that is all the feminist world can really offer. Liberation from God and freedom from His standards is to become a slave to sin and in bondage to Satan.
Proverbs 14:1 says, The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands. Are you building or tearing down?
That a godly woman should be kind is obvious. The word here (ajgaqovV / agathos) is also translated as “good.” She should be someone who is gentle, polite, friendly, pleasant – even sympathetic. Kindness to all is a reflection of God’s character. All Christians are to be kind to one another (Ephesians 4:32), and God is kind even to “ungrateful and evil men” (Luke 6:35), so the woman that desires to be godly will also learn to be kind as well.
Subject to Own Husband
A godly young woman will also be “subject to her own husband.” That irritates the feminist crowd which rejects God’s wisdom in favor of their own.
The word here (uJpotavssw / hupotass ) is translated as “submit” or “be subject to,” and in this context refers to a wife that places herself under the authority of her husband. This is submission, which is done willingly, and not “obedience,” which must be done regardless of your will.
God has placed the responsibility of headship upon men. Sin has corrupted mankind so that men too often abdicate this responsibility and women too often seek to usurp it. The godly woman desires to keep God’s order. Older women who have learned how to hold their pride in check, encourage their husbands to fulfill their role and then follow them can help. This is relatively easy to do if the husband is following the Lord and loving to her, but she is to still pursue godliness even if he does not. In 1 Peter 3:1-6 the apostle wrote, “Likewise, wives, be submissive to your own husband so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.”
Ladies, your first allegiance is to God. Your second allegiance is to your husband, and as long as he does not require you to compromise the principles, precepts and commands of the Bible, you are to follow his lead. No, that will not always be easy, and yes, there will be times you will need to do this even when you know he is about to do something stupid.
Why is this so important? Look at the end of verse 5.
Honoring the Word of God
“That the word of God may not be dishonored.” This is the purpose clause explaining why a young woman needs to develop these character traits. The honor of the word of God is at stake! The word
“dishonor” is often transliterated as “blasphemy.” When a Christian does evil or fails to do what is right, then God and His word are dishonored before all. Worse than the discouragement that sin brings to other Christians is the blasphemy that it provokes in unbelievers. Non-Christians judge the veracity of the gospel message by the lives of those claiming to believe and follow Christ. Heinrich Heine, the 19th century German philosopher put it bluntly – “Show me your redeemed life and I might be inclined to believe in your Redeemer.”
When a Christian woman will not follow God’s role for her, then she dishonors the word of God and causes the name of God to be blasphemed. The opposite is also true. When a Christian woman follows God and fulfills the role He has given to her, then her light will shine and others will see her good works and glorify her Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
Ladies, what the Bible commands here is not popular and is now opposite of most of our society, but the Christian life is not about being popular and fitting in with society. It is about the glory of God. Your life is not about you, but about how God will be honored in and through you. If you are not in submission to God, then you will never develop these characteristics and your life will be one of selfishness that will dishonor Christ. If you are in submission to God, then these characteristics will be your desire and you will honor God’s word.
If you fit Paul’s description of an older woman, then ask yourself the following questions. First, does your character fit the description here? Second, are you teaching what is good? Third, are you encouraging the younger women in their various responsibilities and helping them develop godly character? If not, then why not? What is hindering you from keeping the priorities the Lord has set before you? Set a plan of action to overcome the obstacles. The church is hindered from fulfilling its responsibilities until you do.
If you fit the description of a younger woman, then ask yourself these questions. First, does your character fit the description here? Second, are you working to develop these characteristics in your life? Third, have you developed relationships with older, godly women to learn these character traits and be encouraged in them? If not, then be humble and form a plan of action to do so. The honor of your Lord is at stake.
Introduction : Paul is writing to Titus, his ambassador to _____, instructing him to put in order what remained
Titus 2 is part of “the things which are fitting for sound doctrine” that Titus was to __________
Older Women : In this context, it refers to women old enough to have experienced _________a child
Reverent Behavior: “Likewise” connects back to the character traits listed in ____________
She is to have behavior befitting a priest in the Temple – actions and attitudes of ____________in daily life
Not Malicious Gossips : The same word is used for Satan – ______________: one who falsely accuses
Excess time allows for idle talk which can degenerate into ____________- 1 Timothy 5:13
Not Enslaved to Much Wine
Wine was used as a mild ________and dull the sense from frustration and loneliness, but it can be addictive
Great caution should be taken when using alcohol and other various other ____________drugs – 1 Cor. 6:12
She does not need to _______reality because she is making the best of her circumstances living in godliness
Teaching What is Good : Good is what is _____, excellent & honorable – characteristics that mark her own life
Older people should be the most qualified to teach due to _________of experience – be cautious of old fools
The context of her teaching is with anyone she can _____________in every kind of situation imaginable
Encouraging Young Women in Their Responsibilities
Verses 4 & 5 are ____________of verse 3 and not separate sentences
Older women are to help younger women ______________these characteristics
Encourage (swfronivzw / s phronidz ) is to bring someone to ___________or a sound mind. She disciples
Strive to keep God’s _____________or the body of Christ is left weak and younger women left immature
Don’t drop out and don’t allow yourself to be __________________
Younger Women : In this context, younger refers to those who are still ___________their children and younger
Younger women must be ____________and desire to learn from older, godly women
Psychology classes on marriage and family are usually ______________of godly wisdom
Love Your Husband – Love here (fivlandroV / philandros) is a deep, committed __________with her husband
The fact this must be taught reflects that it is _________for a variety of reasons including human selfishness
Husbands and wives can love each other this way through the power of the __________________
Love Your Children : That this must be taught reflects the _______________of loving children in this manner
Psalm 127:3 – children are a gift and a reward, and will be a ____________when raised by Biblical wisdom
Unselfish, unconditional love will both encourage and ______________, discipline and comfort
Your first love is to be __________, second your husband, third your children – you come after them
Sensible : Sensible (swvfrwn / s phr n) is “______________of mind,” “level headed” with “disciplined sense”
Sensibility results in prudence, discretion & self-controlled in contrast to the characteristics of ___________
Pure : In this context it refers to moral purity & __________ modesty and avoidance of alluring a man to lust
Flirting, immodest dress and seductive actions attract the attention of _____________and immature men
Older, godly women have learned how to deal with ______& self worth issues so they can help the younger
Workers at Home
Paul is not contradicting the spirit and conduct of the Proverbs 31 women, he is emphasizing her _________
Home is the best place for a wife to demonstrate ____________for her husband and a mom for her children
Keep your _____________and do not become unbalanced by commitments outside the home
Kind : Someone who is gentle, polite, friendly, pleasant, sympathetic in reflection of God’s ____________
Subject to Own Husband
This is submission which is done ____________and not obedience which must be done regardless of desire
Sin has corrupted man in his God given responsibility of headship and a woman’s desire to __________it
Older women can teach the younger ones how to hold their _________in check and build up their husbands
Follow your husband’s lead as long as he does not oppose what God ______________of you
Honoring the Word of God
This is the _______________clause explaining why a young woman needs to develop these character traits
A Christian woman who does not follow God’s role for her causes God and His word to be _____________
These traits are _____________of much of our society, but the Christian life is about the glory of God
Older women – does your character match what is described? What will you do to make it ___________?
Younger women – are you striving to develop the characteristics described? What is your _____________?
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times a reference is made to women. 2) Discuss with your parents the characteristics God wants in both older and younger women.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. Who are “older women”? What value does the Bible place on age? What is reverent behavior? Why must Paul warn about malicious gossip? What benefit did wine give to an older woman? What dangers did it pose? What poses similar dangers of addition in modern times? What are some specific ways older women can teach what is good to younger women? What responsibility do younger women have to learn from older women? Who are the younger women? Why must they be taught to love their husbands and children? Explain the meaning of each of the following: sensible, pure, kind. Why is home the best place to demonstrate love for a husband and for children? Is Paul prohibiting a woman from doing work outside the home? Why or why not? Explain. What does it mean to be subject to your husband? Why is that difficult? What can help? How does failure in these areas blaspheme God’s word?
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