Teach and Model Godliness
Par 2 continued from November 3rd
The Twelve Characteristics of Women Highly Useful to God
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 two woman and the Titus two man.
The whole goal of a Titus two woman is to train younger women in Biblical, simple-to-measure, Spirit-empowered, love-based living.
Paul did not call for Titus as the pastor to train all the women in these qualities God wanted them to cultivate; rather he called upon the godly older women of Christ's church. He singles out the women of faith, those who had already learned to love their husbands, learned to love their children, and learned to be reverent, godly, modest and wise, and charged them with seeking out and meeting with every younger woman in the church.
The older women are to have mastered all 12 and the younger women are trained in the last seven.
v. 3a "the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior” (1) Living as a Priest for God.
First the godly character of the older woman in the faith is profiled. Without a reverent lifestyle behaving like a living sacrifice, dedicated to God, none of the rest even matter. That is why Paul starts here first!
Paul first draws a word from the Roman world to capture the entire bearing of these godly role model women in Christ's church. The Greek word translated “reverent” is used only here in the Bible, and it conveys the idea of priest-like. That word for 'acting as a representative of a god’ is the word Paul uses to describe the devout and godly character of the Titus two 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.
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.
Godly women Living as a Priest for God;
v. 3b “not slanderers” (2) with Guarded Tongues
Next Paul turns the spotlight on the hardest member of the body to control, according to James, the tongue. Twice in his epistles Paul targets a woman’s habits of her speech, saying it is a spiritual qualifier or disqualifier. Though this is a universal problem we all face, Paul specifically says to women who want to serve Christ's church, guard those tongues. 1 Timothy 3:11 “In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.” (NIV)
James 3:2-6 tells us that a tongue out of control indicates a life out of control; and both can cause much destruction. James goes on to note that the source of all wickedness, especially of an uncontrolled tongue, is hell; and it is Satan who is at the root of all gossip, all harmful talk, and all slander. If you are damaging the reputation and ministry of others, you are a tool of the devil.
In fact the word “slanderers” here in Titus 2:3 is diabolos, the very name of Satan used of him 34 times in the New Testament. Satan has been a false accuser and so each time he incites a believer to do so, they are doing Satan’s work. Satan is the ultimate source of all evil, the root of all wrong behavior; and since James says the tongue is capable of causing great evil, Satan is always close at hand.
Godly Titus two 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 two woman.
One common type of talk that hurts is called gossip and comes in many forms that all of us, and especially those who earnestly seek to be a Titus two man or woman, should always avoid: malicious talk, rationalized gossip/talk, and “innocent” gossip. This usually starts with proper motives and desires but gets off course with unwise sharing of sensitive information, then curiosity sets in and soon the conversation is far beyond the problem and the solution and has become malicious, slanderous, harmful gossip.
So what should we avoid? Never use our mouth in an un-regenerated way! What should we do? Tame our tongue by the Holy Spirit as His Word richly dwells and permeates all our lives. Why not, like David, make some plans now to change our usage of our tongues?
Here are three great ways to change:
- Think first: before starting to say something pause a few seconds and ask are these words--true or false; exaggerated or accurate; healing or cutting; grateful or complaining?
- Talk less: it is a biblical fact that the less you talk the wiser you appear. Plan, prepare, concentrate and enrich each opportunity to speak. Make each a time to speak as 1 Peter 4:11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.
- Start now: like David, ask God to fit you for a word retainer, get braces put on that tongue. Don't waste your greatest tool.
Godly women, living as a Priest for God, with guarded tongues.
v. 3c “not given to much wine” (3) and No Excesses
The third godly characteristic Paul focuses upon is the self-controlled moderation that is to characterize women of every age in Christ's church. 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, to any amusement, to any fashion, or to any attitude that does not please their Master in Heaven.
Most women in the early church were formerly pagans. Drunkenness was the norm for many women in that society. Drinking was the best way to forget about the problems of being a “slave” to a pagan man who looked upon his wife as a convenience that bore him legitimate children and enhanced his reputation in the community. Because this life was all there is to a pagan, hopelessness led to drunkenness. Paul said that prior to salvation they all were “without hope and without God (Ephesians 2:12).
Coming to Christ changed everything, but old habits are hard to break. The old ways of their husbands would come back, old pains from emotional and physical abuse would resurface, and the temptation to slip back to the intemperance of slavery to wine would grow strong. Lack of physical control of any appetite points to a spiritual immaturity. Both Timothy and Titus were told to beware of women returning to their old habits in this realm of drinking.
Today “not given to much” goes far beyond merely wine. There are so many forms of alcohol never imagined in the Biblical times that can be abused, plus drugs (both acceptable and unacceptable kinds) that can be abused, tobacco that can be abused,, wonderful varieties of food that can be abused, beautiful varieties of fashionable clothing that change with every season that can be abused, housing options, exercise options, recreation options—all that can be abused and become addictions.
There is a generation of believers who have never tasted a drop of alcohol and pride themselves in that choice—while overeating with daily regularity; and both are condemned by God in Proverbs 23:19-21 side-by-side.
Because of Romans 14:15-21 and I Corinthians 8:9-13, we see that though the Bible never forbids wine drinking, our liberty is limited by the consciences of other believers and our testimony to the world. The lesson of temperance is consistency.
This sermon will continue tomorrow November 5th as we continue looking at the twelve characteristics of women.
For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit discoverthebook.org.