The posts this week have been focusing on Titus 2:1-10. Paul told Titus to “teach what accords with sound doctrine” (2:1). Titus was to teach the churches of Crete to live in a way that is consistent with the Good News of Jesus. What kind of behavior matches the Good News? What kind of behavior is appropriate for followers of Jesus? Paul gave Titus and the churches of Crete examples of Gospel behavior for the different groups within the church.
In this post we will study Gospel-matching behavior for women in the body of Christ. You can find links to the other posts in this series at the end of this article.
The following is an edited excerpt from a sermon preached at First Baptist Church of Ticonderoga, NY.
Older and younger women, how are you to live as women under Jesus’ ownership? What behavior is appropriate for you?
Titus 2:3 says that older women “are to be reverent in behavior.” You are to behave as women who are dedicated to God and His worship. You are not to be like the devil (“slanderers” is literally “devils”). You are not under his command any longer. You are not slaves to drunkenness any longer. This behavior is not appropriate for those under Jesus’ ownership. Paul says that behavior fitting for older women is behavior that shows you are dedicated to your new Owner. You are to know what is good because you know God. You are to teach what is good to the younger women.
Older women, Paul did not place the primary responsibility of training younger women on the elders or men of the church. The responsibility to train the younger women is given to the older women. Only you can truly provide the younger women with good training to be godly women by grace.
The setting of this training is not primarily in a Bible study or class. It takes place as you have an active part in the younger women’s lives. This training involves living Gospel-empowered lives before them as examples. It takes place in their homes while they wrestle with difficult toddlers and teens and husbands. Gospel training happens as you walk with them through life and point them to the Good News of God’s grace again-and-again.
What is appropriate behavior for younger women following Jesus? What should the older women be teaching the younger women? Older women should be training younger women in grace-empowered, counter-cultural living that matches the Good News of Jesus.
It is very clear that sexual promiscuity was a major problem on Crete. Men and women alike were living in adultery. Younger women and younger men were wild in their sexual lives. Epimenides said they were evil beasts (1:12). In contrast, Gospel-matching behavior for younger women is behavior that evidences their dedication to Christ and their families.
Older women, by God’s enablement, you are called to come alongside the younger women in the church and teach them what loving their husbands and children looks like. You are to teach them that they have been set free from the chains of sexual sin. Show them by example that believers in Jesus have been set free from the chains that the world continually wants to put on them. Train them that they have been purchased by Jesus and restored to their beautiful duty of caring for their family in purity under the care of and in partnership with their husband. Jesus has set them free from lawlessness. He is training them by His grace to live in this freedom in a way that is consistent with His character and Good News (2:11-14). They will not be made right with God through their good behavior; they are right with God by the work of Jesus alone. In the power of God’s grace they can live for Him, because they are part of Jesus’ blood-purchased, treasured people (2:14).
Older women, if you are doubting your ability to train the younger women, please do not separate Titus 2:3-5 from verses 11-14. You, by the same grace that has saved you, can fulfill this God-given responsibility, calling, and privilege. Jesus has appeared to give Himself to save you. Jesus has made you His own. United to Him who has all power and is coming again in glory, you can fulfill this task. You cannot do this in your own abilities and power, but by His grace you can.
As I said in the last post on “Gospel-Matching Behavior for Men,” more than half the battle appears to be believing this is true. A large part of the battle is daily preaching the Gospel to yourself, believing it is true, and living in light of it by faith. Jesus has set us free from the power of sin, and He is empowering us to live for Him.
(This post is an edited excerpt from a sermon preached at First Baptist Church of Ticonderoga, NY)
You can find other posts in this series here:
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