As we open to Titus 2, at this very moment, Satan is roaming the Earth trying to mess up God’s plan. His methods of attack are very focused, and are revealed in God's Word by his many names. Each of Satan’s well-known names describes a facet of his evil plan. He is called:
• Lucifer the Cherub who fell because he proudly wanted to share in God’s glory;
• Satan the constant Adversary of God’s plans and people;
• The Serpent from of Old who deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden;
• The Dragon who relentless seeks to destroy Israel the Chosen People of God;
• The Deceiver who enslaves the minds and hearts of the whole world;
• The Murderer from the Beginning who came to kill, to steal, and destroy; and
• The Roaring Lion who seeks to devour the unsuspecting believer.
But today, as we gather in Christ's Church, the most unsuspecting and damaging of all his names, is also the method Satan brings perhaps greatest damage to Christ's church.
That other name of his is The Devil, diabolous or literally:
God's Word shows us how Satan accuses believers before God’s Throne in Job 1. Jesus stands at the Right Hand of the Father, and as our Great Intercessor and Advocate, defends us.
But sadly, Satan has enlisted many helpers, in his attack on Christ's Church. Almost all of them are unsuspecting of the terrible part they play in destroying the effectiveness of believers, church leaders, and entire churches.
In fact, after 30 plus years as a minister of God's Word I have never seen anything as deadly to the church as the Devil, the Slanderer, enlisting gossiping believers to become tools in his hands to slander other believers, tear down the Biblical leaders in Christ's church, and by their accusations, neutralize an entire local church. That danger is what leads us to Paul’s words in Titus 2:3.
As we stand this morning and read God’s amazing list of desires for all women, listen to His second expectation for the woman of grace who follows Christ:
Titus 2:3-5 the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things NKJV
Remember that God has shown us what spiritual maturity looks like; and His description is not vague. A godly, spiritually mature woman can be seen in the ways she corresponds to the clear expectations that God has told us are His desires for every woman.
These areas that a woman can choose to focus upon gradually shape her life into becoming more and more a:
Godly Woman of
Titus was instructed to be sure that the women of grace are tuned to what God considers most meaningful and profitable for Christ's church. God says, be sure that each of the older women is taught that these five qualities are to become the life-long priorities for all grace-energized women.
v. 3 “…the older women likewise, that they be”:
1. “Reverent in behavior” as the Greek word ieroprepeis katastematai is rendered in the NKJV, ESV, NAS, and NIV. The only church-wide curriculum for women starts with this call for all women to behave as representatives of God. This means that our God desires that every woman in Christ's church: Live Holy in an Unholy World;
2. “Not slanderers” as the Greek words me diabolous are rendered in the NKJV, ESV, and NIV; and “not malicious gossips” in the NAS. God is looking for godly, mature women who will never allow their speech to get hijacked by the ultimate terrorist. God desires that all women be known as those that Speak Gracefully in a Graceless World;
3. Not Given to Much Wine: Disciplining appetites in an undisciplined world
4. Teachers of Good Things: Modeling Godliness in an ungodly world
5. Admonish: Investing in others in a detached world
That second quality, the Greek word translated “slanderers” here in Titus 2:3 is diabolous, which is the very name of Satan, used of him 34 times in the New Testament. Satan has always been a false accuser; and so each time he incites a believer to do the same, they are doing Satan’s work.
Dr. John Barnett continues his series on being "Grace Energized" as a 21st Century Woman of Grace. (GE-12
2 May 2010 AM)# vimeo.com/13963465 Uploaded 180 Plays 1 Like 0 Comments
As we open to Titus 2:4 we are focusing on the second priority God desires in all younger women. God has called for all women of grace to be characterized by love. But never forget that we are looking back into a world where so few had ever known or felt real, Biblical love. The New Testament church was born into the culture of Rome.
The culture of Rome, and even to every person living where this letter to Titus arrived, on the island of Crete was a world framed by mighty armies, where daily life was lived around over-powering architecture, when most cities were fed by aqueducts with gravity-defying engineering, and with Emperors known for their absolute life and death power. So most people had grown up:
Living in a
World without Love
For some this morning, you may have been raised in an environment of conflict, hatred, abuse, or danger. You understand what it means to have grown up in a world without love. Others have known and felt the warmth of a loving parent’s embrace, the encouragement of their words of affirmation, and the depth of their loving investment.
So all of us either relate to the world of Rome without love, or to the love God calls us to shape our families through. But wherever you came from, this passage is a call to choose to have a lifestyle of Nurturing Love in the midst of a Loveless World. Please stand and hear God’s Word to us in Titus 2:4-5:
that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
To those steeped in the Roman culture of Crete, anyone seen as loving, sensitive, and caring were considered to be weak. Only the tough could endure all the hardness of the day.
So to be told by God that He desired a lifestyle of tender, gentle, nurturing love; and that priority made up His top-two qualities all wives and mothers were to possess—must have been shocking to these early followers of Christ on he island of Crete. Lifestyle change, social non-conformity, and peer-offense were all the probable results of such a significant change of direction.
But for a moment, think back to what you know deeply about our God from His Word: God is love, the greatest of all Christian virtues is love, and love energized by God lasts forever. So what God desired in Crete He had always desired in the past, and still expects it today.
What Does God Say
Can Last Forever
And, what does God say will last forever from all the endless and mostly unseen hours of work that being a wife and mother entail? God has promised that ALL the deeds wives and moms have offered in obedience to Him as Lord, prompted by grace-energized-love, are ETERNAL, front-line ministry, that shall never go unrewarded.
So today we learn what can be the most powerful aspect of a wife and mother’s life on earth as she obeys God’s calling for her life: her grace-energized love.
Titus 2:4 contains the key, that produces eternal rewards from every day of a godly wife’s marriage and a grace-energized godly mother’s family. Paul explains that the key is love. The first calling of a wife and mother in God's Word is to do all she does, and say all she says prompted by God LOVE.
If you miss everything else today from this message, remember this. If you do all your duties as a wife and mother prompted by God’s love, He will give you an unending reward. Everything you say as a wife and mother that is prompted by God’s love will generate from Him an unending reward. That is the most liberating and motivating truth that any woman of grace could ever learn! Listen to this same idea once more:
[Our] gifts, [and our] ministries, all one day will cease to exist because they will cease to have purpose or meaning. But our showing love [to our husbands and children], practicing [that] love, [and] living [that] love now—are of utmost importance, more important than having any of the other virtues or gifts, because love is the link God gives us with His eternal Self.
Dr. John Barnett continues his series on becoming "Grace Energized" as a 21st Century Woman of Grace (GE-13)
9 May 2010 AM# vimeo.com/13864817 Uploaded 98 Plays 2 Likes 0 Comments
When we gather as we do today, and open God’s Word, we are asking Him to speak to us. Sometimes what we hear touches on a small part of our lives, other times what He says is huge. This morning, the topic we have arrived at to study is HUGE.
The only way to understand the gravity of what we are hearing from God's Word today is to go to where it will matter. Open with me to the end of the Bible, Revelation 4.
Through all the centuries the single greatest deterrent to sin and motivator to holiness has always been the thought of standing at last in Heaven. Revelation 4:6, 9-11 (NKJV):
6 Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.”
Point number one for your notes:
Crowns: What We Earn
From our Earthly Choices
Better write that down in your mind. Choices matter, God is going to test every moment we lived with fire. The crowns that are cast at Christ's feet come from a previous event, the assessment of our lives. With the scene of Heaven, God’s Throne, and the awesome opportunity to give back an offering of gratitude, look at the actual method God uses to sort out our lives captured in I Corinthians 3:10-15 (NKJV) as we stand to read God's Word :
According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Every day we each choose what will someday go through that very fire we just read about. God says here to us this morning: Be careful what you do with your life lest all or most of it ends up being just worthless black soot and ashes. That what must have been on the mind of Paul as God moved him to write to a group of new believers in Crete.
The world of the New Testament was dominated by the Roman Empire. That era of history was a time when most people often lived short, and usually hard lives of physical labor, emotional stress, and poor health.
As we open to Titus 2:3, look at the third element of our study. Women of grace were already called by God to be:
• Reverent in their behavior by living as representatives of God; and
• Not slanderers by never surrendering their words to the Devil’s use by speaking gracefully in a graceless world.
Then comes the third of five, which is the middle of the list, where Paul relays God’s strong desire that each woman of grace be not given to much wine. This quality of the woman of grace’s life means she begins and maintains a life-long goal of disciplining here appetites. That is one of the crowns that God offers to us in Heaven.
As you read those words, remember that every believer who read, heard, and was taught these truths, lived in that difficult Roman world. In that period, as in all ages of mankind, people were deceived into believing the:
Myth of Drinking Your
Way to Happiness
In all that dark struggle of First Century life, the one bright spot for most was the warming glow that drinking wine would bring. After a few swallows, troubles seemed to drift away, cares began to evaporate, and all those aches and pains lessened until they too, almost vanished.
But as all the struggles of life were drifting away, minds got clouded, discipline was abandoned, and behavior became unrestrained. The downside of alcohol is the deadly effect of loosened inhibitions, abandoned discipline, lurking powers of addiction, and the inevitable surrender to the desires of the flesh.
God never desires for any person to drown their troubles in alcohol. God has always affirmed that wine is a mocker. The pleasures of sin are short, and sins committed always come back to bite and infect our lives with an even deeper woe.
Dr. John Barnett continues his series on being "Grace Energized" as a 21st Century Woman of Grace. (GE-14)
23 May 2010 AM# vimeo.com/13822873 Uploaded 128 Plays 1 Like 0 Comments
That means that for all of God’s born-again children, Christ Jesus only has two categories that He uses to rate everything we do, as He sorts out the constant stream of activities His children do in life.
Each of us live out our life in front of God, like a pipeline:
Have you ever thought about that? Our lives are like a pipeline stretching up into Heaven that spews out every action, thought, and motive at Christ's feet.
At the start God judicially erases, zaps and gets rid of every sin, so that is never in the pipeline. But everything else in life flows upward from us and into the very Presence of God. As it comes it is sorted. One pile is Good, it is worthy of God, it is pleasing to Him, and it is worth God keeping forever.
The other pile goes into the incinerator. It is bad, worthless, unworthy of God, and not worth saving in eternity.
Last night, as we swept the basement the buddies for the first time saw the pipes and heard the clatter of objects as they were swooped up and ended up far away in the garage. That is central vac.
Did you know that this very moment, God has the vacuum running, He is gathering up every word, every thought, each motivation, and all actions. They are swept up as we live and they clatter along until the pipeline delivers them not to the garage: but at the very feet of Jesus who loves us and bought us. There He separates and sorts out our lives to see how much is good and how much is worthless.
What are you delivering moment-by-moment to Him?
Dr. John Barnett continues his series on being "Grace Energized" as a 21st Century Woman of Grace. (GE-15)
30 May 2010 AM# vimeo.com/13759729 Uploaded 83 Plays 1 Like 0 Comments
This is the final quality God desires to see in every older woman of grace, which describes their lifestyle of admonishing, encouraging, or calling others to realize what God has clearly stated they are supposed to do.
This quality is God’s call for women of grace to wise living, encouraging counsel, discreet or focused living, and restraining life choices. In the English-speaking world, when we see someone doing something totally unprofitable, that shows they are oblivious to something far greater they should be doing there is an expression that goes something like: ‘you are just arranging deck chairs on the sinking Titanic’.
That is an almost 100-year old expression for ‘refocusing their attention’, or pointing out that there is something far greater they should be doing.
The term Paul uses in verse 4 captures that very idea for Christians. We are called by God to something so much greater than us, so much bigger than anything else we could find to do.
As we go through life, we more and more learn what God expects from us, and respond. Then we notice that some of our friends are wasting their life doing things that do not please the Lord. This word Paul uses is a call to each of us to first examine our life, and then reach out to the lives of others so that none of us waste our precious, never to be repeated moments in life:
Arranging Deck Chairs
On the Sinking Titanic
I have always looked a little differently at the Titanic than others may, because of my grandmother’s experience. On April 10, 1912 as the greatest, fastest, largest, and most expensive ship in the entire world docked my grandmother looked wistfully at its grandeur.
She held a lowest deck, third-class ticket in her hand to the maiden voyage of the Titanic, but as she stood in line at the White Star Lines office, she had to get a refund. Her passport papers from the embassy had gone through, new life in America was just a walk up the gangway; but a clerk had failed to sign and stamp one area of the paperwork; and she was denied boarding on the mighty ocean liner.
As the blast of the Titanic’s departure horn sounded, my grandmother was handed tickets for another ship, the TSS Rotterdam, to sail third-class on another day, so she could go back after the weekend and get her paper work signed.
We all know the story of what happened just 4 days later as the Titanic plummeted to its watery grave two miles beneath the icy waters of the North Atlantic. For me, I have always been amazed at God’s Providence in that clerk’s omission without which my mother would never has been born in 1920, nor me in 1956, nor any of our 8 children since 1985.
Dr. John Barnett continues his series on being "Grace Energized" as a 21st Century Woman of Grace. (GE-16)
6 June 2010 AM# vimeo.com/13759830 Uploaded 87 Plays 1 Like 0 Comments
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