God launched His plan to train the women of Christ's Church using the godly older women He was already at work inside, and allowing their Spirit-led walk as they grew day-by-day, to flow out into the lives of younger women.But the message that the Lord Himself asked these women to communicate must have sounded impossible.
Paul told them that the Lord asked every believing wife to decide and surrender to these twin concepts contained in the very first word of this list: that they were going to seek by the power of their Creator and Redeemer to rekindle, renew, and deepen the love-filled, respect-reflecting, best-friend-in-all-the-world relationship God called them to have with their husband; and that friendship-love would be their aim to live out until their husband felt their wife’s love.
In essence, Jesus Christ commissioned every woman to become a beacon of Christ's love reflecting to an empty and hopeless world that true marital love is possible, and can be shared for as long as you live. As we look at the start of the longest list of character qualities sent from God to His Church, we find it is sent to the younger women. Older women in v. 3-4a had five qualities desired by the Lord; but younger women in v. 4b-5 have seven qualities He desires.
Wives who are their Husband’s Best Friend: And what was the priority? What was the first thing that the Holy Spirit chose to have taught to the young married women believers? They were to be summed up in the one word the Spirit inspired Paul to write: husband-lovers that can be described as love-filled, respect-reflecting, and the best-friend-in-all-the-world to their husband!
Yes, the first skill those who were small and sitting at their mom’s knee were to see was a husband-loving mom; and the lesson that those same girls heard reinforced as they sat under the teaching of the godly women of the Church was the responsibility and privilege of obeying God as a husband-lover.
Learning to be a Husband-lover: 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.
In the First century and in the 21st century, men often don't know what God has told them to be in their role as men in the home and church; and women didn’t understand their gender-specific roles in the home and at church.
In the First century and in the 21st century, husbands often had never heard about servant leadership, and women had never had gracious, Spirit-energized submission modeled for them by their mothers or anyone else they knew.
So, despite lack of experience, lack of examples, and even lack of awareness that anyone else was even doing this, the women of Christ's Church were all asked to start a process whereby they would learn how to:
Paul through the spirit of God in Titus 2:4 says, if you are married and want to give the best gift possible to your husband—give him not only your Spirit-prompted, sacrificial agape love that serves him and submits to him—give him also your emotional love that makes him become and stay your very best friend in all the world. Please pause with me to head the voice of God again as we stand to hear Titus 2:4 and pray.
Titus 2:4 that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
Dr. John Barnett continues his series on being "Grace Energized" as a 21st Century Woman of Grace. (GE-17)
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On Christ's last night with His disciples, He said in John 13 that believers would be known by their love for each other. This type of love is supernatural, prompted by grace, empowered by the Spirit, and modeled by godly mature saints. Christ's church was built from the start with this powerful nurturing love.
Paul wrote Titus saying that God desires to see all mothers expressing to their children. But this love is not merely found in Titus 2:4, this nurturing love of closeness, friendship, and tender care is the very same love with which God built Christ's church from the very start.
When Paul described his discipleship method for encouraging believers to grow spiritually, he carefully used powerful nurturing terms. On our way to Titus 2 this morning, look with me at Paul’s very first letter to a church, captured for us by inspiration, and placed in our Bibles by the Holy Spirit in the book we call First Thessalonians. Here:
God Describes the
Remember, this is Paul’s earliest letter and it reflects the plan that God gave Paul through the power of the Holy Spirit to deeply impact this pagan port city of the Roman Empire.
In chapter 2 Paul explains how these saints got so well nurtured and trained that their lives impacted the vast geographic area surrounding their city with the Gospel. The terms Paul uses should be very important to us, because they reflect the methods Paul used to reach a culture very similar to ours. This nurturing love should also be what we ask the Spirit of God to prompt in our hearts, lives, and ministries.
Dr. John Barnett continues his series on being "Grace Energized" as a 21st Century Woman of Grace. (GE-19)
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God's high calling for Titus 2 women of grace, is for them to express love that their husbands and children can feel. To most of us mature 21st century believers that may sound wonderful. To them it must have sounded impossible. As we open to Ephesians 4, think about how hard it has always been to live pleasing to God, in this ungodly world.
The Cretans of Paul's day lived in an ego-centered, selfish society that knew and cared little about forgiveness. Roman society became so decadent that it saw forgiving people as weak and unforgiving ones as strong. Cretans celebrated vengeful gods and exalted as heroes those who took vengeance on others. The result was a society so much like America today—filled with bitterness, vengeance, anger, hate, and hostility.
More and more we see people seeking vengeance either outside or inside the bounds of the law. Just this week a crowd in Oakland, California rioted, looted, and wreaked havoc to get even for a crime they felt was not justly punished. This pervasive unwillingness to forgive in our society is also the leading cause of the breakups in family relationships .
Bitterness Pervaded the
World of the Bible
God wanted the lost pagans living on Crete to see their changed lives and be confronted with living examples of Jesus Christ. Society was to be flooded at every level with the irrefutable proof of changed lives.
Paul sent the details for the invasion of this strategic island in his letter to Titus. We have been studying these admonitions in Titus 2. These life-truths have always deeply impacted any society. When the Gospel, that brings this impossible life into the heart of a newly saved individual, starts to work through Christ's church, the world takes notice.
God has always worked out His plan in this world through individual believers who struggle through life. One of the struggles believers have always faced while seeking to follow the Lord is how to avoid allowing the hurts of life to turn into simmering bitterness.
The key passage in the New Testament epistles, that warns about the dangers of bitterness is Ephesians 4:29-32, Let’s go there.
Ephesians 4:29-32 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. NKJV
Did you notice the list of “Spirit-Grievers” in v. 31? The immeasurable power of God, poured out through our lives by the Holy Spirit is stopped, plugged up, staunched, and greatly hindered when His people disobey in these critical areas. God’s grace teaches us to deny ungodliness (Titus 2:11-13), but when we resist that grace, our sin grieves and quenches the Holy Spirit .
So Paul says don’t allow your choices to grieve the Spirit of God, don’t quench Him, because apart from God’s power nothing can be done that will last. Just as the congregations back then were told to deny ungodliness in any form, so must we also today.
But what heads the list of “Spirit-grievers” in Ephesians 4:31? Let “all bitterness” that is every kind, every form, every way it is manifested; get rid of anything to do with bitterness because it threatens the very heart of your daily spiritual life!
Bitterness is a very deadly, fast-growing, and easily spread form: of spiritual cancer. So the bottom line is that:
Lives Energized by the Spirit Are
Hindered by Bitterness
Each time the word bitterness is used in the New Testament, it always is a form of the Greek word pic. This word means just what the tool by the similar sounding word comes from, "to prick or cut.” This Greek word used for bitterness implies something that pricks or punctures and penetrates deeply.
Dr. John Barnett continues his series on being "Grace Energized" as a 21st Century Woman of Grace. (GE-20)
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In Titus 2, the first word of v.5 calls each of us to pay attention to our own, personal, spiritual mental health, for God’s sake.
There are only two mental health providers in the Universe:
• the first One says that He came to give Life that is Abundant; and
• the other one came only to kill, steal, and destroy.
At salvation we go from the destroyer’s control to Christ Jesus’ life that is endless and abundant. However, we still live in fallen human bodies, in a cursed and sinful world.
Often unsaved unbelievers have no idea who is controlling their minds as they head to destruction; they do not realize that sin always pays everyone back with boredom, guilt, shame, loneliness, confusion, emptiness, loss of purpose, and finally death in the form of conscious, endless, punishment in Hell.
Equally tragic is the reality that many saved believers do not focus on the One who wants to control their minds, and thus they do not obey what God's Word tells them to do to avoid the consequences of sin that are in effect even as a believer. Sin always pays us believers back with boredom, guilt, shame, loneliness, confusion, emptiness, loss of purpose, and most terribly—the loss of rewards.
Because of those truths, Paul was led by the Spirit of God to write the words of Titus to every believer that would ever live. God's Word the Bible declares that:
God Desires we Maintain
Our Spiritual Mental Health
God is vitally concerned about your mind. He wants you and me to stay in tip-top spiritual health. Our spiritual and mental health are vitally linked. Our minds are the subject of many verses of the Bible.
Our minds are the gateway into the spiritual world and most of those verses challenge us to consider what choices we are making for the health of our minds. Often we fail to realize how deeply we impact our mental health by our personal choices.
Please open to that first word I am referring to in Titus 2:5. Of all the words designating the spiritual qualities God desires in us, this may be the most timely of all.
Paul explains to every believer in Titus 2 that we desperately need:
The Greek word God inspires Paul to write is sophron translated in the New Testament as “discreet, sensible, or self-controlled”. The meaning of this word is vital to our spiritual lives.
The Greeks derived it from two words, which mean literally sos (“healthy or sound”) and phren (“mind”). God wants all of His children to have healthy minds. Mental health is vital to our spiritual lives. All of our communication with God is spiritual (through our mind and spirit) and not physical.
So the communications pathway, the spiritual supply line and everything that has to do with God flows through our regenerated minds. This word discreet, or self-controlled, or sensible (however your Bible renders sophron), means: to keep one’s mind safe and sound.
In Titus 2:5 this word describes a woman with a mind surrendered to God’s control.
Her mind is surrendered to God’s gracious sanctifying power; and she learns to govern every instinct and passion until each has its proper place and no more.
This safe and healthy mind is the only universal character quality of the 24 qualities we find listed in Titus 2:2-12.
In the space of just six verses here in Titus 2, Paul declares this quality God desires is stated as part of the life of godly older women (2:4), godly younger women (2:5), godly older men (2:2), godly younger men (2:5), Biblical elders (1:8), and—to every Spirit-filled and Spirit-led believer (Titus 2:12; c.f. Romans 12:3).
So as we look at this word from God, it is first of all in context to be the personal life-choice for younger women; and secondly, it is to be the curriculum on the mind of godly older women as they spend time nurturing younger women; and thirdly it is for every man in the church whether in a leadership role or not, and finally to every redeemed man, woman, and child—because it is universally applied to every believer in Christ's church.
As we delve into this verse, God's Word makes one thing perfectly clear: God wants your mind under His control.
More than anything else God wants to saturate, influence, fill, direct, dominate and control your mind.
If God has your mind - He has your body,
If God has your mind - He has your emotions,
If God has your mind - He has your appetites,
If God has your mind - He has your time,
If God has your mind - He has your money . . .
Do you see the point? The one who gets your mind gets it all. Your mind is the prize!
Dr. John Barnett continues his "Grace Energized" series on becoming a 21st Century Woman of Grace. (GE-21)
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Salvation is described as being clothed with Christ's righteousness; and the Christian life is portrayed as putting on Christ each day. So each of us here today are literally, as believers: Clothed with Christ
With that in mind, would any of these descriptions portray Christ's appearance as presented in God's Word, if He were here ministering in this 21st Century culture? Do you think Christ ever chose to dress in a way that was provocative, sensual, or revealing of the areas of His Body that God’s Word says need to be covered?
Do you think He would ever choose to appear “skimpily-attired”, short skirts, short shorts, or with sexually arousing outfits? Do you think Jesus could ever be described as: hot, immodest, alluring, edgy?
When you think of being clothed with Christ does that fit with wearing clingy form fitted outfits, wearing sheer or nearly see through materials, wearing plunging necklines, or tops that are unbuttoned way too far?
If none of those descriptions would ever describe Christ's choices in His clothing, then NONE of those words should ever describe you!
Paul told Titus that godly and mature women of grace were to come alongside every younger woman, and beg her in Christ's Name to be pure in her desires, and modest in her dress.
Those Titus 2 mentors were to show and remind her that she is Christ's Temple, His representative, and a living model of what it means to be clothed in righteousness.
For two thousand years God has looked in each generation of Christ's Church for women who will devote themselves to His plan for their lives, presented in Titus 2 as: Grace-Prompted Lives of Purity
That description of what 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 to be modeled, mentored, and sought by every younger and older woman of Christ's Church.
Today, just as then, when women of grace 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 in the lives of these grace-energized women are what we are studying in Titus 2:3-5, please stand and follow along as we read
Titus 2:3-5 (NKJV) the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— 4 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.
Dr. John Barnett continues his series on becoming a "21st Century Woman of Grace"
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