How God Overcomes Failure in Your Family

March 25, 2010 Voddie Baucham

Session Transcript

Voddie Baucham: Would you join me in a word of prayer? Father, we are indeed grateful to You for the privilege of gathering together in this place and setting our mind’s attention and heart’s affection on You, entering into this two-way conversation that we call “worship,” having the privilege of saying things to You and about You that we know and believe to be true, and then anxiously anticipating those moments where You in turn speak to us clearly and powerfully through Your Word to the end that our lives would be touched and challenged and changed and transformed and even conformed to the very image of Christ.

It is to that moment that we’ve come, and we do say, “Speak, Lord, for Your servants desire to hear and to heed what it is that You would say.” We pray this in Christ’s name and for His sake, amen.

Well, it is good to be here with you on this evening. I have looked forward to this. There are men all over the place who are just incredibly jealous that I have the opportunity to do this. (laughter)

My son, Trey, is here with me. He’s seventeen years old. He’s been traveling with me for the last 3½ years, so if you see a tall, lanky, handsome, caramel-colored young man walking around here, that’s probably my boy. And if he’s in trouble, let me know. (laughter)

I have the opportunity this evening to set the table for us as we go through this weekend, and I want to do that by turning our attention to two things: One, in the Manifesto, if you have that with you, pick that up. If you open it, on the inside, the third panel on the inside, I want you to see a couple of things that I think are extremely poignant as it relates to the message tonight.

The third panel, the first one says, “God’s Plan.” Are you there? Third panel on the inside, it says, “God’s Plan.”

God’s plan for gender is wider than marriage. All women, whether married or single,
are to model femininity in their various relationships by exhibiting a distinctive
modesty, responsiveness, and gentleness of spirit.

Then look down at the third one there, “Mature Christian Women.”

Mature Christian women have a responsibility to leave a legacy of faith by discipling
younger women in the Word and ways of God and modeling for the next generation
lives of fruitful femininity.

Amen. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. That’s just good.

In light of that, I want us to look at Titus chapter 1 and chapter 2. We’re actually going to go backwards, and we’ll explain why we go backwards here in a little bit. We’re going to start in Titus chapter 2.

Here’s what I want to share with you: There will be many speakers over the course of this weekend who deal with Titus chapter 2. I am going to give you the view from 35,000 feet tonight. We’re going to look at this from a broader perspective tonight, and I want to put this together.

When Nancy called me about coming, she said, “I want you to open us up. We always want a pastor to open us up and just speak to these women as a pastor.” So I’m privileged to do that. I want to speak to you about Titus 2 womanhood within the context of the ministry of the local church. Titus 2 womanhood, true womanhood, within the context of the ministry of the local church.

In order to do that, here’s what I want you to see tonight: That God gives us a picture in Titus chapter 1 and Titus chapter 2 of what He has provided for our sanctification, for our discipleship, if you will, the way that God shapes our lives as believers. There are many tools that God uses in that process, but there are three principle tools that we see here in Titus chapter 1 and Titus chapter 2. I’ll give you those three tools, and then we’ll look at these passages of Scripture.

They are as follows:

Number one: Godly mature men and women in the church, godly mature men and women in the church. By the way, all of that is important. Okay? Godly and mature, men and women, and in the church—all of that is important.

Secondly:  He gives us, and this may be the most controversial part of this whole message, and for those of you who don’t know me and don’t know about my ministry or my preaching, you need to know that I avoid controversy at every turn and really do not at all like to be controversial. So this is very difficult for me. (said tongue-in-cheek)

All right, number two: God gives us godly, manly elders and pastors. Let me say it again—godly, manly elders and pastors. You’ll understand in a few moments why I put manly in there. Okay? Godly, manly elders and pastors.

Then there’s a third piece. He gives us biblically functioning homes, biblically functioning homes.

Now, these are the three things God gives us. Now, this is a woman’s conference, so let me say this as we begin. I don’t mean to over-generalize here, but there are some differences that I have come to recognize between men and women in my years of ministry.

For example, one of the differences I’ve recognized between men and women in my years of ministry is this: With men, if I’m at a men’s conference and men want to know me, they want to know what I do. If a man knows what you do, he knows you. That’s a man’s perspective.

At a woman’s conference, if a woman wants to know you, she wants to know who you’re connected to. Amen, somebody. “Yeah, I know what you do, but tell me about your wife and your children.” That’s when you feel like you know somebody.

Here’s the other thing I’ve noticed: When you’re dealing with a subject, and you’re talking to women, here’s the way women hear what you say: They hear you say something, and they say, “Well, that might work in an ideal situation, but I’ve got this problem and this problem and this problem. So can you make that specific so that I know the paint-by-number steps to do so that my particular situation can work out perfectly in that context?” Help!

Here’s what you need to know: I’m going to be sharing the picture of the ideal tonight.

Here’s the second thing you need to know: No one in this room is living in the midst of the ideal tonight. Amen.

So here’s what we’re going to do, as we look at the picture of the ideal, when I talk about things that are in place in your life, I want you to just say “Amen.” Thank God for His grace and His mercy bringing those things to pass in your life because it is the mercy, the grace, and the providence of God that has whatever piece of this puzzle is in place in your life actually is in place in your life. So you’re going to thank God for that.

Here’s the second thing you’re going to do: You’re going to acknowledge, confess, and repent when you recognize things that aren’t in place in your life because of your sin.

Here’s the third thing you’re going to do: You’re going to beg God to change those things that aren’t in place in your life because of things beyond your control.

Here’s the fourth thing you’re going to do: You are going to seek God for all of these things and not give up on what you don’t have.

That’s what we’re going to do. So I’m telling you right now before we even start, no one in this room is going to be able to say, “Yes, that’s me.” Most of the people in this room are going to have to say, “You know, that is the ideal, but my husband . . . That is the ideal, but my church . . . That is the ideal, but my family . . . That is the ideal, but . . .” So let’s just put all of those out there right now on the table, recognize that we all have them, now put them in your pocket and listen to this, and don’t get distracted by what you don’t have. Can we do that tonight? Amen.

All right, now, let’s begin. Let’s go backwards.

Titus chapter 2, here’s the first thing: Godly mature men and women in the church, this is one of those gifts that God gives to us for our discipleship, our maturity, our growing in Christ. Look at this, in verse 1: “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.” There’s the picture of the older men. “Older men are to be . . .”

Now, since this is a woman’s conference, we won’t spend a lot of time here for a number of reasons because, number one, if we spend a lot of time here, then you’ll go to your husbands, telling them what I said they’re supposed to be, and you’re not going to use me like that. (laughter) What older men are to be.

Look at the second one, verse 3: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior.” Notice that with older men and with older women, we’re talking about what they are to be. We’re talking about character. In other words, I said “godly mature men and women in the church,” not just mature men and women in the church.

There are two kinds of people who are former sinners, at least two kinds of people. There is one type of person who is a former sinner. Again, we’re all sinners saved by grace, but you know what I’m talking about. There are those people who were out there in the world something fierce, and they are not anymore. There’s one type of person who’s not out there anymore because God has gotten hold of their life, and they’ve been transformed. They’re being conformed to the very image of Christ. They have been saved, and they have been delivered, and this process of sanctification is taking root in their life as a result of the justification that they have found in Christ, and glory to God for those people.

But there is a second group of people. They’re not out there in the world like they used to be, and that’s just ‘cause they can’t do it no more. (laughter) If you can’t say, “Amen,” you ought to say, “Ouch.”

I’m talking about godliness. We’re talking about character here. So this is not automatic for people who just happen to be older. This is character that’s formed over time as a result of our justification, and the fruit of that, our sanctification. That’s what we’re talking about.

In light of that, look at this: First, with older men, they are to be sober-minded, dignified. There’s nothing like an undignified older man, amen?—self-controlled. The difference between an older man and a younger man, basically, is self-control. Over time, as a man gets older, and he matures in Christ, the difference is self-control.

You see him at a stop light in his sports car. A younger man, stop light, sports car. That’s just bad. Something bad is . . . You know, the car comes up next to him, revs their engine. “Okay, fine. I’m a young man. I’m in my car; they’re in their car. They’re revving their engine. It’s time to race.”

Now, put an older man behind the wheel who is dignified and self-controlled, and there’s a young man in the car with him. “Granddaddy, they just revved their engine. I think we’re faster than them.”

“I do, too.”

Light turns green. (Screeching sound) Granddaddy just pulls off nice and slow. “Granddaddy, why didn’t you . . .”

“Listen, you said you know we’re faster. I said, ‘I know we’re faster.’ Why do I have to prove it?”

“Yeah, but he . . . You’re supposed to . . .” Self-control, the difference between an older man and a younger man.

Look at the next part of the text: “Sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.” That’s the picture of character forged over time.

Now, look at older women: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior.” Perhaps the only thing worse than an undignified older man is an irreverent older woman. Amen? Just an irreverent, older woman. Now, we could spend a long time here tonight talking about what it looks like to be an irreverent, older woman, but let me just give you one example, and we can be done with it right here.

An irreverent, older woman—here is the mark of an irreverent, older woman: You hear her long before you see her. (laughter) In the words of that theologian, Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.” ( laughter)

“Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine.” Not slanderers. Women, you need to know you have a unique power in your tongue. You have a unique power to build up and to tear down. You use more words than we do, and you use them more effectively than we do. Just like the older man is exemplified by self-control, the older woman is exemplified by the way she uses her speech.

“Not slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good.” Here’s what you need to understand: The picture that’s painted here is of an older woman who, as a result of having walked with God, being conformed to the image of Christ, opens her mouth, and pearls of biblical wisdom come out. She speaks God language, the opposite of being a slanderer. She is the picture of Ephesians chapter 4, speaking those things that are fitting and suited for the occasion, speaking those things that build up, but more importantly, speaking those things that are found in God’s Word. She is a woman who speaks forth God’s truth.

Now, by the way, Titus 2 is not a picture of a woman who happens to be a Bible teacher. That’s not the picture that Paul is painting here in Titus chapter 2. He is not painting the picture of a woman who teaches multiple women, but older women who, in a relational perspective, speak words of wisdom, speak God’s truth into the lives of younger women as they have occasion and opportunity.

And look at the end thereof: “And so,” verse 4, “train the young women to love their husbands and children.” Isn’t that amazing? Train the young women to love their husbands and children.

Now, we usually think about love from this perspective: “Why would a younger woman need to be trained to love her husband?” Because she doesn’t know how.

“Yes, but that’s why she married her husband, because she loved him.”

Well, maybe, but if she was brought up in this culture, she probably doesn’t know what love is. She thinks love is an overwhelming, uncontrollable, sensual force, and she speaks phrases like: “This thing is bigger than both of us.” And she says things like: “We don’t choose who we fall in love with.” You have to say it like that, too, or it doesn’t work. (laughter) Or she says things like, and this is my favorite: “The heart wants what it wants.” (laughter) What does that mean? She has no idea how to love her husband. She has no idea that her husband is 70% water and the rest is ego. (laughter)

She doesn’t know how to love her children. Younger women don’t know how to love their children. They say crazy things like: “I love my child. I could never spank my child because I love my child.” They need an older woman to come alongside and say, “If you love that baby, you better wear him out.” (laughter)

“To be self-controlled, pure, working at home, teaching them to be keepers of their homes, that the Word of God may not be reviled” (verse 5). What a statement . . . “in order that the Word of God may not be reviled.” In other words, when older women are not in the practice of training and teaching younger women how to exemplify true womanhood, there is a sense in which we are defiling the Word of God. Why is that so?

Well, we see, for example, in Romans chapter 1, in the degradation of culture, that picture there from Romans 1:18ff. We see that the beginning of the degradation of culture and man running toward sin is a rejection of what we see through general revelation, and that is that there is a God and that He is the Creator of all things. As a result of that, we have our own sense of order; our own understanding of what manhood is; our own understanding of what womanhood is. If we are walking in the midst of a culture that denies true manhood and denies true womanhood, several things will inevitably follow.

One of those things that will follow is this: According to Ephesians chapter 5, marriage is designed to be a picture of the relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church. So if the Bible tells us what a man is and what a woman is, and the Bible tells us what marriage is, and marriage is a glorious earthly representation of a heavenly relationship between Christ and His Church, and I decide not to listen to that but instead, based on my culture that rejects God:

  • I redefine manhood so that it’s sissified.
  • I redefine womanhood so that it’s no longer about being a woman but a man who happens to be biologically capable of having children.
  • I redefine marriage so that we sort of negotiate for ourselves a better understanding than the Creator of the Universe.

Now what I’m doing is marring the picture of the relationship between Christ and His Church and the Word of God is being dishonored. It’s being defamed, and we can’t have that. (applause) So these things need to be taught.

God has given us this incredible gift of godly mature men and women in the church, and these relationships between godly mature men and women in the church and younger men and women in the church. So as mature women in the church, you have an incredibly important role. You have the role of striving for maturity, of walking in maturity, of exemplifying biblical womanhood and not holding it to yourself but passing it on to younger women as you have occasion and opportunity to do so. So God gives that to you when you’re a less than mature woman, and you turn around and give it away to another when you are a more mature woman. This is what He gives.

“Well, I know what you’re saying. Yeah, I get that, and I understand that, but you just don’t understand my situation. I would like to be a godly mature woman, but I didn’t have an example of that when I was growing up.”

Altogether . . . “Awwww.” (laughter)

Here’s what you need to know: I didn’t grow up with godly manhood in my life. I did not grow up with godly examples in my life.

I just came back from Los Angeles, and, in God’s providence, last weekend I had a conference in the LA area. I grew up in Los Angeles. I grew up in drug-invested, gang-invested, south central Los Angeles, California. I was raised by a single, teenage, Buddhist mother. I never heard the gospel until my freshman year in college. I grew up with my mother, so I didn’t have much connection with my father’s side of the family. Well, my father died four years ago, at the age of 55. My grandfather is now dying.

I had the opportunity to go while I was there at that conference to speak to my grandfather. He was in the hospital. He has stage four cancer, congestive heart failure, renal failure. It’s just a matter of time. I was able to see him, minister to him, say my good-byes before he would finally go home. They sent him home to die, and here’s the reality: I’m 41 years old. I was not raised on that side of my family, and that side of my family has been decimated. There’s no men left. So now I’m getting all the calls about what to do because, like it or not, on that side of my family, I am now a patriarch. Well, I never saw that before. No, I didn’t. Guess I’m just going to have to rely on this.

There are a lot of things we don’t get to see, but God’s bigger than what you didn’t get to see. God’s bigger than the failures in your families. My wife Bridget and I, of the last two generations of both sides of our families, 25 marriages, 22 divorces. That’s our legacy. That’s it.

Here’s what I want you to know: God is able, and He is sufficient. You’re here tonight, and you say, “I’ve never seen that. I don’t understand that.” Yes, you have. It’s here. There are godly mature women in the Scriptures. Read of them, learn from them, and trust the Spirit of the Living God who abides in you. He is sufficient. So when I say that, here’s what I’m saying to God:  “Yes, I see that, but I didn’t grow up with that. I didn’t have a godly mother; I didn’t have a godly father.”

Here’s what I’m saying to the God of the Universe: “God, I understand what Your Word says, but my circumstances were not anticipated by You, and You’re not powerful enough to overcome them.”

Don’t you dare; don’t you dare. And if you are an immature woman, what do you do? Find a godly mature woman and glean from her whatever you can.

My wife and I spent so much time doing this when we got married. We got married the summer between my sophomore and junior year in college. I just turned 20 years old. This year I have officially been married longer than I wasn’t. (applause) Glory to God. So, here we were. We didn’t know how to do it. We didn’t know “come here” from “sic ‘em.” We didn’t get it. We didn’t understand. So what did we do? We found godly mature couples and hung out with them until they looked at us and said, “You know what? Could we have some space?” (laughter) Do that.

There’s a second leg. Remember, the first leg is “godly mature men and women in the church.” So if you are a mature woman in the church, you need to give your life away to younger women. If you’re a younger woman in the church, you not to be prideful and seek out godly mature women in the church and actually listen to what they have to say. Imagine that.

There’s a bunch of high school young ladies who stood up in the room. Let me give you a little newsflash: Not only do you not know much, you don’t know nuthin’. (Sounds of laughter) The sooner you realize that, the better off you’ll be. Amen? I said that exactly the way I intended to. You don’t know nuthin’. I would say, “You don’t know anything,” but that’s just not strong enough. You don’t know nuthin’. All right?

Look at the second leg: Godly, manly elders and pastors in the church. Why do I say that? Well, here’s what’s interesting: With older women and younger women, there’s a list, there’s guidance there. You older women, you give them these things; younger women, you look for these things from the older women.

Then for the younger men, you look at the next one, and it says, “Likewise, urge the younger men to be self controlled” (verse 6). Yes, that’s it. Younger men ought to be saying, “Wait a minute. Where’s our list?” By the way, women ought to be saying this, too, because men are walking around going, “Yeah, I’m looking for a Proverbs 31 woman and a Titus 2 woman.” Young women are walking around going, “Yeah, I’m looking for a . . .” (laughter)

Man, where’s your passage? Your passage is in Titus chapter 1. Aw, but I know there are some sophisticated women here, and you say, “Wait a minute. That’s not the list for men. That’s actually the list for pastors. That’s the list for elders.”

I know, but it’s also the list for men.

“Well, no, it’s not the list for men because it’s the list for pastors and elders.”

Let me give you three reasons why this list is actually a list for all men. Here’s three reasons:

Reason number one—it’s my weakest reason—reason number one: There’s no list in Titus chapter 2. (laughter) I said it was my weakest reason, but it’s a reason. There’s no list in Titus chapter 2, so there’s got to be one somewhere, right?

Here’s my second reason: Pastors are called in 1 Peter chapter 5, verse 3, to be examples to the flock.

Let me ask you a question: How can a pastor be an example to the flock if he has a list of qualifications that don’t relate to the rest of the flock?

“Pastors, I want you to be an example to the flock, but what I want you to be is something the rest of the flock is not called to.”

So the pastor looks at the flock and says, “Look at me as I am an example of what you’re not called to be.” That just doesn’t work.

Here’s the third reason I argue that this list is the list for all men: Because there’s nothing in this list that any one of us is willing to give up on for any one of our sons.

Let’s look at it: Titus chapter 1, beginning in verse 5: “This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remains into order, and to appoint elders in every town as I directed you.” Now here comes the list. The first part of the list goes to his life in his home. Look at this part of the list, and I just ask you: Are you willing to give up on any of this for your sons?

It says: “If anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife.”

“Naw, not my son. I want my son to be a player from the Himalayas. I want him to have women strewn all across the land.”

Absolutely not!

Next verse: “And his children are believers not open to the charge of debauchery and insubordination” (verse 6).

“Uh,uh. I want him to raise my grandkids to be the worst, baddest kids that you ever saw in your life.”

No!

Well, now. Let’s look at his character. Look at the next part of this: “For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain” (verse 7). They’re the negative ones.

Again, none of us is willing to give up on any of those.

Look at the next ones, verse 8: “But hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.”

Again, we’re not willing to give up on any of those.

Look at verse 9.

“Well, verse 9 goes specifically to his teaching ministry, right? So maybe that doesn’t apply to every man.”

Really? “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught.”

Anybody want to raise a son who’s a heretic? No!

Look at the next part: “So that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine.”

“Naw, I don’t want him to be able to wash his wife in the water of the Word. I mean, of course, I want my husband to step up and be more godly; I want my husband to lead in the Word. I want my husband to feed the Scriptures to us as a family. I want my husband to be the priest of our home. I want my husband to be the chief discipler of our home, but it’s not really going to be required for my son.”

Finally, “And also to rebuke those who contradict it.” He has to be an apologist. By the way, Jude makes it clear that all of us are called to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.

So I say, again, this is the list for all men. So for you young women here in the room, when you hear young men say, “I’m looking for a Titus 2 woman, a Proverbs 31 woman,” you just look at him and say, “Yeah, but I’m looking for a Titus 1 man. What you got?”

Here’s the beauty: God gives us godly, manly elders and pastors to model for us what manhood is. This is extremely important.

Let me say a word to you if you’re a single mother: If you’re a single mother, your son needs this. If you’re a single mother, your son desperately needs to be in an environment where he has a pastor who thunders the Word of God with both his lips and his life. Do not sit your son in front of some weak, mealy mouth, sissified, almost-man who calls himself a pastor. (applause) Godly, manly preachers of the Word who stand on God’s truth and defend God’s truth and paint a picture on an on-going basis, though frail and imperfect, of what manhood is supposed to look like.

My mother didn’t even know the Lord when she was raising me and understood this. When I was old enough to find a little trouble in South Central, or for a little trouble to find me, my mother decided, “Time’s up. He’s a young man. There’s some things he needs that I can’t give him.” So I got on a bus for three days and went from Los Angeles, California, to Beauford, South Carolina, to spend a year and a half with her oldest brother who was a retired drill instructor in the Marine Corps. And I got out of trouble. (laughter)

Why? Because my lost mother had a picture of manhood. It was the best that she knew, and she wanted to see to it that that’s what her son grew into. I thank God for His providence in my life through the work of my mother.

How much more for those who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the ultimate picture of what a man is supposed to be, how much more should we yearn and desire and long for our sons to be set before men who are men and paint a picture of that for them?

There’s a last piece—remember the third piece? There’s godly mature men and women in the church; there’s godly manly elders and pastors, and the last piece is biblically functioning homes. Now we’ve already seen evidence of that in Titus chapter 2 because when you look at the instruction of the older woman to the younger woman, that instruction centers around her role and function within the context of her home. You see that? To love your husband and children, to be sensible and pure, to be a keeper of your home, or a worker at home, all of these things center around the context of that ministry that a woman would have.

There’s another thing I want you to see that you may not have ever seen before. Keep reading in Titus chapter 1. Look beginning at verse 10: “For. . .” Now, for what? What’s that “for” for? Remember, in verse 9: “Holding firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he can instruct in sound doctrine and rebuke those who contradict sound doctrine. For. . .”

Why does he need to have this kind of character and this kind of teaching and rebuke unsound doctrine?  “For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, because they are upsetting whole . . .” Sunday school departments by teaching . . . (laughter) That’s not what it says. “They must be silenced since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach” (verse 11). They’re upsetting whole families.

Here’s what you need to know: The primary teaching and discipling unit that makes up the church is the home. Ephesians chapter 6, verses 1-4: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor your father and your mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, that it may go well with you and you may live long in the land. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

That echoes the teaching of Deuteronomy 6. It echoes the teaching of Psalm 78. It echoes the teaching that we find strewn throughout Proverbs, and it says this: Our homes are places of teaching and instruction for our children, that it is our responsibility to teach God’s Word in our home.

So here’s the picture—now listen to this. This is ideal, and most of us didn’t have anything like this, but this is the picture: A child is born. A child comes into the world.

  • A child is born into a home with a mother and a father. That mother and that father know God and love God.
  • That mother and that father understand biblical manhood, true womanhood, and live and exemplify those things.
  • That mother and that father understand marriage and paint the picture of a relationship between Christ and His Church.
  • That mother and that father give instruction in sound doctrine to that child throughout that child’s life, and they raise that child in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
  • They take that child to a healthy church, and in that healthy church, this child, over the course of its life, hears thundered from the pulpit the Word of God just like that child had taught in the home.
  • The child sees it thundered from a godly, manly man who lives as men ought to live. And, by the way, when I say “manly man,” I’m not talking about (in gruff-sounding voice) “Me, mine; you, woman. Me speak; you do.” No. I’m talking about Christ and His example of true manhood. So he sees the life of this man and hears the words of this man, and it echoes what he hears in his home.
  • Then there are these people—they’re older, and they’ve got gray hair. Some of them don’t walk so fast anymore, but they also echo what this child hears taught in her home. They love this child’s mother and father, mentor this child’s mother and father.

So this child has this cycle going on in her life: A godly home; a godly church with godly leaders exemplifying biblical manhood and womanhood; godly mature men and women in the church who also exemplify biblical manhood and womanhood. That’s the picture.

Now, before we go and mess it up with all the things about that picture that are not true about us, just embrace it for a moment. That’s the picture. That is the incredible gift that God has given us.

Okay, now, what about you and me? You say to me, “I don’t have that in my life. I don’t have all three of those things in my life.”

Remember where we started? Here’s the first thing you do: Can you just thank God for the pieces of that puzzle that you do have in your life? Do you have godly mature women in your life for whom you can be grateful? Just for a moment, just before you get mad at God for the other pieces that aren’t there, do you at least have that in your life? And can you just be grateful for that in your life? Have you become one of those people in your life? Can you be grateful for that in your life?

If you don’t have that, and if you don’t have it because of your own sin, can you just confess that and repent of it? There are some women in this room right now, and you’re a younger woman, and the culture has lied to you. It has told you that everything is about youth; everything is about your generation. You want nothing to do with older women. Shame on you. Repent.

There are older women in this room right now, and you are older and mature, but for whatever reason, you’re stuck, and you refuse to stand up and give your life away. Instead, all you think about is what you can be given next. If that’s you, would you just confess that as the sin that it is and turn around and give your life away?

“Yes, but you don’t understand. I made mistakes in my life.”

Oh, really? Okay, that’s fine. You’re right. You’re disqualified. Only those people who’ve never made mistakes in their life are qualified to be mature Christian leaders, so only those people . . . If you’re one of those people, could you stand up, please? The ones who’ve never made mistakes? Do you hear how ridiculous that sounds?

“Oh, I’ve made too many mistakes in my life. I can’t be mature.”

Who do you think you are? Christ came and died for the ungodly.

“Yeah, but I didn’t do it right. I didn’t raise my kids right.”

How about this . . . I don’t know about you, but this blesses me. When an older man will put his arm around me and say, “Listen, I want to tell you something: I see this in you, and I just want you to know, I’ve been on the other side of that. It doesn’t end pretty. I’ve messed up my life. I messed up my family. Don’t do that.”

You know what? I’ll take that. I’m grateful for that. If that’s all you got, give it away.

How about that second leg?

“Oh, we just don’t have a healthy church. We don’t have healthy leaders in our church.”

First of all, before we get there, if you do have a healthy church, and if you do have healthy leadership in your church, can you just be grateful for that? Can you just thank God for the opportunity to hear the Word of God? If you don’t, if you don’t, and it’s because of your own sin of rebellion, will you confess that?

There are some of you here, you don’t go to church because you haven’t found the perfect one yet. You know that old saying, don’t you? “Find the perfect one; don’t go, ‘cause when you get there, it won’t be perfect anymore.” (laughter)

Some say, “I don’t have that biblically functioning home.”

You know what? Before we get there, if you do, if you’ve got a godly husband, if you do, and you have this picture being lived out, this imperfect picture being lived out, can you just be grateful for that? But if you don’t, and it’s because of your own sin, then because you’ve embraced the lie instead of living in biblical submission to your husband, you’re one of these women who says, “Yes, well, I’ll do that part in Ephesians chapter 5 that says I’m supposed to submit to him when he does that part of Ephesians chapter 5 that says he’s supposed to love me like Christ loved the Church. But until he does that, then I’m just not even going to be . . .”

No, sorry. It doesn’t work that way. If you’re waiting for your husband to be worthy of your submission, it’s not going to happen. In fact, that’s why they call it submission. Amen? Your husband is never going to be worthy of your submission, but you submit as unto the Lord because He is worthy of your submission, so you offer that submission to Christ but you give it to your husband on behalf of Christ. That’s what you do.

No, your husband is not worthy of it, but here’s what I know: 1 Peter chapter 3, verses 1-6, God can actually use your submission in your husband’s life.

Here’s what I also know. If your husband is not being what he’s supposed to do, you’ve got two choices: because number one, God’s going to get your husband. I just believe that with every fiber of my being. God’s going to get him. He’s not being what he’s supposed to be. You’ve got two choices. Number one: God comes to your home for your husband to take him to the woodshed. (laughter) You’ve been a biblically submissive wife, so your husband gets to go to the woodshed by himself. Or number two: You’ve been holding on to your submission until your husband gets right, so you get to go to the woodshed with him. (laughter and applause)

How many want to take number one? Amen?

But remember, I also said that for some of us in this room, you don’t have one of those things or more, not because of your own sin or your own fault, but because of things that are out of your control. Here’s what I want to say to you; listen to me: God’s bigger than what you don’t have.

Now you know what to pray for. You know what to ask Him for.

“I don’t have godly mature women in my life, so I’m just going to give up.”

You better not. You beg God for it, and you look for it.

“I don’t have a godly, biblically functioning church, so I’m just going to give up.”

You better not. You get on your face, and you beg God for it.

“Yeah, but my husband won’t go to church. My husband won’t take us to church. My husband has us in a church. . .”

You get on your face and beg God. You know what to look for. You know what to ask for.

You don’t have a biblically functioning home? God is bigger than what you don’t have.

My time’s up, but I’ll leave you with this: Freshman year in college, a young man comes to the locker room and shares Christ with me. He spends three and a half weeks with me—three and a half weeks answering my questions. I came to faith in Christ Friday, November 13, 1987. Six months later my Buddhist mother is converted. Six months after that my garden-variety, pagan father who abandoned me and my mother when I was two years old was converted.

God is able.

Here’s what else I wanted you to know, because some of you are out there, and you’re saying, “Yes, but my situation is less than ideal.” Here me when I say this: I am a frail, fragile, and imperfect man, but I’m grateful to God for a seventeen-year old girl who got pregnant with me when she was in high school, who did the best she could with what she had, and I’m grateful to God that in His providence, in spite of what we did not have, God has made me a man that my mother can be proud of. (applause)

You have no control over what you don’t have, none whatsoever. In fact, you don’t even have control over what you have, but here’s what I know: God is able!

  • Be grateful for what you have.
  • Be honest and repentant over those things that you don’t have because of your own sin.
  • Trust in the great God of the Universe to make up the difference for those things you don’t have and can’t even see how you would receive them.

Because here’s what I know: God can do more with what you don’t have than you can do with what you do.

Announcer: The message you just heard was presented at Revive Our Hearts’ True Woman ’10 conference in Chattanooga. You can hear any of the messages delivered there and more by visiting TrueWoman.com. There you’ll find even more ways to connect from books and resources for yourself, your friends, or your life group to on-demand multi-media to ongoing conversations you can be a part of.

True Woman ‘10 is a ministry of Revive Our Hearts, helping you become God’s true woman.

All Scripture was taken from the English Standard Version.