Revive Our Hearts Podcast

God’s Beautiful Design for Women, Day 17

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has studied the passage in Titus 2 about older women teaching younger women. It’s been convicting.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: So I ask myself sometimes if the women that I’m leading through the ministry of Revive Our Hearts and in my relationships—if those women talk the way I talk, if they shop the way I shop, if they eat the way I eat, if they pray the way I pray, if they trust the way I trust—what will their lives look like?

If their lives never surpass the example of my life, what kind of disciples will I be producing? What kind of disciples will you be producing?

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Adorned, for Tuesday, February 28, 2017.

It’s so easy to drift through life. Today Nancy invites you to be intentional, investing in long-lasting activities and relationships. It’s the latest practical message in a series we’ve been in called "God’s Beautiful Design for Women: Living Out Titus 2:1–5."

Nancy: Over the last several sessions, we’ve been looking at the profile that Paul gives us in Titus 2 of what an older Christian woman should be like, some of the character qualities that should be true in her life.

We said this is not just something you start thinking about when you become an older woman, whenever that is. But it’s something that you start thinking about when you’re younger.

I'm so glad we have in the audience today a number of younger women. Let me just say, this is when you start thinking about the kind of woman you want to be.

I had a picture when I was a teenage girl. I also wanted to be a godly, old lady. Now, I didn't want to be old when I was fourteen, but I wanted to move toward being this godly, older lady. I had this picture in my mind of what that would look like.

I began to realize that the choices I was making at that season of life were preparing me for what kind of woman I was going to be when I was older. And let me just say, you get older a whole lot faster than you ever anticipate. We have a seventy-eight-year-old woman here and Dorothy in her eighties on the front row. It goes so quickly. That God for His grace and His Word that is going into the lives of younger women today and helping them to develop these ways of thinking that are in accordance with God's Word. 

We’ve been looking at Titus 2. Let me just pick up at the beginning of that chapter to reset us here. Paul has said to Titus, “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine” (v. 1).

That’s in a day and an age when people don’t care about sound doctrine and when people’s thinking is all confused and their lifestyles are messed up—this is what we read in Titus 1—an era much like ours. When sin reigns and people don't care about doing right, Paul says, "What you do as God's man, Titus, in your day and age, you teach with sound doctrine. You just keep teaching people the truth and calling them to line their lives up to it."

So he says here’s what sound doctrine looks like on older men: “Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness” (v. 2).

And in verse 3, here is what sound doctrine looks like on older women: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine.”

We’ve spent quite a bit of time on that verse, what it means to be reverent in behavior, the whole issue of slander, and sins of the tongue—so-called respectable sins. We’ve dealt with that.

We’ve spent quite a bit of time on this issue of slaves to much wine, addictions, substance abuse, and how to live lives that are not self-indulgent, but that are under the control of the Holy Spirit.

So the first part of verse 3 talks to us about who the older woman is, what she is like, her character, her life, her example, the model of her life.

We’ll see as we go on in this passage that your life—your example, your character as an older woman—is what gives you the platform and the credibility to influence the lives of younger women. That’s exactly where Paul is heading because he says it’s not important just who she is. That’s the foundation. That’s the platform.

But now he’s going to address what she does, what her ministry is—not just her model, but her ministry.

So he says in the middle (verse 3),

Older women are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

So who she is—that’s her character.

  • She’s reverent in behavior.
  • She’s not a slanderer.
  • Her tongue is under the control of God’s spirit.
  • She’s not given to excess or self-indulgence or abuse in relation to alcohol or anything else.
  • She looks to Christ to satisfy her and not to the pleasures of this world.
  • She’s not a slave to passions and pleasures.
  • She’s a slave to Christ.

That’s who she is.

Now, what she does. And what does she do? She’s a teacher. She teaches others. They’re to "teach what is good and so train the young women."

Teach what is good. Actually, that English phrase there comes from one long Greek word that I won’t try to pronounce that means teachers of good things. It’s just one long compound word. This is what she does. She’s a teacher of good things.

She teaches what is good as opposed to teaching things that are corrupt or useless. We have people who teach that in our culture as well. The Christian woman is to be distinguished because what she is teaching to others is content, and a message that is good and healthy and wholesome and helpful and edifying, as opposed to that which is corrupt or useless.

I see here a contrast. She’s already been told just a couple of phrases earlier that she’s not to be a slanderer. She’s not to use her tongue to spread lies. But instead, she is to teach what is good.

She’s to spread the truth, to speak the truth. She’s not to use her tongue to tear others down, but to build others up. She’s not to speak what is corrupt or useless, but she is to speak what is good and what ministers grace to others.

I think as I meditate on this passage of the verse in Proverbs 31, verse 26. It says that the woman of virtue—the wise, godly woman, the woman who fears the Lord—“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Or as the NIV says it, “faithful instruction is on her tongue.”

So when we come to a passage like the one we did several sessions ago about not slandering—and I’ve spent a long time meditating on that passage—it’s easy to think I just won’t open my mouth; I just won’t say anything.

But God says no, you are supposed to say some things. You’re supposed to use your mouth not to slander, but you’re supposed to use it to teach what is good, opening your mouth with wisdom and having the teaching of kindness on your tongue.

This instruction that Paul gives through Titus to older women suggests that as older women—and I’ll say we here—we are to be intentional. This is not just if you feel like it or if you happen to be a woman who feels called to be a teacher or if you have seminary training.

This is something we’re all to be intentional about as we get older. You are always teaching. Your life is always teaching. Your example is always teaching. Your words, your conversations are always teaching.

Your life is always teaching.

The question is are you teaching what is good, or are you teaching things that are not so good? You are teaching. You need to be intentional about teaching what is good.

Here again, we see that this woman teaches in two ways. She teaches by the example of her life, and she teaches by her words of exhortation.

Paul goes on a little bit later in this chapter to say to Titus “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works” (v. 7).

A model. The word from which that word model in the English comes from is a Greek word. It’s the word that means "a type, a pattern."

You ladies that sew, you know what a pattern is. It’s a picture. It’s the template. It’s what you want the piece that you’re cutting out to look like. You get a picture on that pattern.

I’m telling you a lot more than I know about sewing. But you see the picture on the pattern and you say that’s the model, that’s the pattern, that’s what you want this to look like.

Paul says to Titus, your life is supposed to be a model. It’s supposed to be a template. It’s supposed to be a picture of what others’ lives should look like. Paul is saying the same thing to the older women. You teach by the example of your life.

As you’re reverent in behavior, as you restrain your tongue from slander and evil speaking, as you are self-controlled, spirit-controlled in your appetites and your passions and you don’t overindulge your flesh, you are teaching what is good to younger women who are coming behind you and following in your steps.

It’s the heart behind the apostle Paul when he could say to the Corinthians, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). Our goal as we become older women is that younger women could look at our lives and they could pattern their lives after us. If they’re doing that, they will be becoming like Jesus, because we’re becoming like Jesus.

So I ask myself sometimes if the women that I’m leading through the ministry of Revive Our Hearts and in my relationships—if those women talk the way I talk, if they shop the way I shop, if they eat the way I eat, if they pray the way I pray, if they trust the way I trust—what will their lives look like? If their lives never surpass the example of my life, what kind of disciples will I be producing? What kind of disciples will you be producing?

It’s no small thing if you are self-indulgent, for example, or if you’re loose-lipped, if you talk too much, or if you are critical in spirit. It’s no small thing. It’s not just like you sinning, you’re also influencing the young women who are following you and providing an example for them.

We teach by the example of our lives, and then we teach by exhortation with words. We’re not to be slanderers. That’s how not to use our tongues. This is how we are to use our tongues: by teaching what is good.

It’s interesting that Titus who was the lead pastor of churches on the Island of Crete, he is not told himself to teach the younger women. He’s told to teach doctrine and to give instruction in the church. But who was supposed to teach the younger women? The older women. That task is given to older women.

Titus was a young man himself. Paul apparently realized that the life-to-life communication of truth was not best to take place between a young pastor and the young women of the church—as we so often see happening in the church today. Rather, Titus should be giving instruction in doctrine and he should be, by that means, training the older women, who would then be responsible to do the life-to-life, one-on-one discipling and nurture of the younger women.

Then as the older women teach the younger women how to live out sound doctrine, what are the younger women doing? They’re teaching their children. So they’re passing that on to the next generation.

One day those younger women will be older women who will then continue the cycle by teaching younger women who will teach their children. So we pass the baton of truth to the next generation by one generation teaching the next.

These older women that Paul was talking about have presumably, faithfully raised and trained their own children. Now they’re to teach others who were in their child-bearing, child-rearing years.

The Scripture teaches us that the capacity to reproduce spiritual life and truth in others is a sign of spiritual maturity. Physically, it’s an evidence of maturity that you have the capacity to reproduce.

Three-year-olds can’t have babies. But by the time you’re twenty-three years old, unless something is wrong, unless there’s a disease or a malfunction in your body—you should be able to have children.

The capacity to reproduce is a sign of maturity. It’s true spiritually. If you’ve known the Lord for many years and you are not at a place where you can reproduce spiritually in the lives of others, there’s something wrong. You should be able to teach others if you’re mature in your faith.

That’s what the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews chapter 5, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers.” You’ve walked with the Lord long enough, you ought to be teaching others.

But the problem is, it says in Hebrews 5, verse 12, “you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food.”

What is he saying? You’re still in the spiritual nursery. You’ve never grown up. If you had grown up, you wouldn’t always need somebody to be holding your hand spiritually. You’d be at the place where you could hold other people’s hands spiritually. That’s a sign of being a spiritual grown-up.

That’s what Paul says in Colossians chapter 1. “Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me” (vv. 28–29).

Paul says I’m going to pass on to you what God has given to me so that you can grow up spiritually. Then the implication is that you’ll be able to help others grow up spiritually.

God does not let you just sit and soak and feed your own spiritual self for years with the thought that you should just be fat and satisfied spiritually. God intends for you to be giving out, to be multiplying, to be reproducing. The older you get, it’s not an opportunity to just get on the sideline of life and let everyone else take over ministry. That’s when you’re supposed to be in your most fruitful years of passing on truth to others.

It's one thing to be twenty-seven and know a lot about Scripture. I kind of laugh sometimes when I go back and listen to cassette tapes of what I was teaching when I was in my twenties. Somebody gave me a tape once of me teaching this really intense message on what the Bible teaches on marriage and family. I was like twenty-two years old and was very enthusiastic and very intense. I listened to it and just had to laugh. I thought, Everything I was saying was true, but I didn't have a clue of what I was talking about. Why did anyone listen?

Well, God was gracious and people did listen, and hopefully some were helped. Now as I'm becoming an older woman, I have more life experience. I have more I can share. Twenty years from now, by God's grace, I'll have more life experience and more that I can share how God's Word has worked itself out into my life. 

So Paul says in 2 Timothy 2, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

So you learn, you receive, but you don’t just keep it for yourself. You learn so that you can teach it to others, with the goal that they will pass it on to others and keep reproducing.

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth will be right back with the second half of that teaching. But we wanted to step in and let you know how to dive in deeper to the passage we’re looking at today from Titus chapter 2. Nancy, you’ve been pondering these verses for a long time.

Nancy: Yeah, Leslie—for years. I just feel this book of Titus and this little paragraph in chapter 2 is so foundational for our lives as believers—and particularly for us as women. It was a number of years ago that the Lord first put on my heart a burden to write a book about this powerful paragraph in Titus chapter 2. It’s been a long, and I might say arduous, process at times. But it is has also been so rewarding and valuable in my own walk with the Lord and in my relationships with other women and in my personal growth.

One of the things I love about this passage is thought it was written thousands of years ago, it has so much to say to us as women in 2017—about practical life choices, our marriages, our attitudes, how we use our tongues, how we carry ourselves, what we eat and drink, how we invest in other women. In fact, each of these topics in Titus 2 has become a theme for an entire chapter in this brand new book, Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together.

I'm praying that God will use this book to a life-giving, transformational, encouraging, practically helpful work in the lives of thousands and thousands of women in the years ahead.

We’d like to send you a copy of this new hardcover book when you donate any amount to Revive Our Hearts. The book, by the way, is gorgeous. Our friends at Moody Publishers did such a great job of making the book look like its message—something that is beautifully adorned.

When you make a gift to Revive Our Hearts, you're going to help us encourage other women to become the women God wants them to be, and to be disciplemakers and to have intentional relationships in the body of Christ.

Our goal is not just for our listeners to hear the Word of God each day, but we want you to hear the Word so that you can lead others into a more fruitful relationship with Christ and His Word.

So thank you for your support of this ministry. It would be an honor, a privilege, to send you a copy of this new book when you support the ministry with a donation of amount.

Leslie: To support that kind of ministry, call 1–800–569–5959, and make sure to ask for the book Adorned when you do. Again, the number is 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com. Let’s get back to Nancy, in Titus 2.

Nancy: In order to teach others, you have to have been taught yourself. You can’t be a good teacher or a teacher of what is good if you’re not a good learner. If you haven’t been submissive to God-ordained authority and to the ministry of God’s Word that has come into your life, then you’re not going to be a very effective leader and teacher of other women.

As you have learned to listen to God, to listen to His Word proclaimed through His servants, to have a teachable, humble heart and spirit—to take it in, to meditate on it, to respond humbly and meekly and submissively to the engrafted word—then you will have a growing reservoir within you that you can use to pass on to others.

This teaching takes place in the context of relationship. The implications of sound doctrine—that is how to live out the gospel—are primarily communicated life to life. It’s the power of relationship, the power of community.

Not long ago I heard a message by Pastor Tommy Nelson, who is the pastor of Denton Bible Church in Denton, Texas. He gave a fabulous illustration of how older women are to be teachers of what is good and to teach life to life. We pulled just a clip of that message for you.

I want you to hear this illustration about a very special older woman. I think it will challenge you as it has challenged me.

Joy was—well, she’s 94 now. And back when she was just a youngster, 20 years ago I said to her, "Joy, are you making disciples?"

"Well," she said to me, "I don’t know if I’m ready."

Joy attended John Brown University. Joy came to Christ, like, pre-natal. She trusted Christ in the womb. She’s a great wife. She’s a great mother. She’s a great friend.

By that time she had already written a book published by herself called The Glory of God. She loved the Bible. She spent time in the Bible. She had heard all the great . . . She had heard Lewis Sperry Chafer speak. She had heard Harry Ironside speak. Joy had been there and done that.

"Joy, are you making disciples?"

"I don’t know if I’m ready."

She’d been taking, taking, taking for three-quarters of the century. Now this woman had forgotten more than the rest of us know about God by the time she was in her seventies.

I went to the lady at the time who was running our women’s ministry, and I said "I don’t want Joy Brown in any more Bible studies. She already knows more than anybody there. She’s just taking more notes. And no matter who teaches it, she’s heard it taught better. I want Joy Brown teaching it."

I said, "Joy, get ready. You’re about to go into the ministry."

She went crazy. She started preparing for this big event. And she got these girls that could all be her great-grandchildren that she would all now teach. And Joy—I mean she spent time studying. She had it prepared. She had it footnoted, logged—she was ready to go.

Well, she gets in the study with these girls, and she doesn’t touch her notes for six months. They just have questions about marriage, husbands, children, life, money, parents—life. And Joy just sits there and just bestows not just biblical truths, but things she had suffered through and grimaced through back when Truman was president.

And she found out, "I not only am prepared to make disciples, I was prepared to make disciples about sixty years ago." But everybody just kept teaching her. Nobody put her to work.

Well, after a while, those little girls that she would teach—they were Joy Brown’s girls. We’d call them the Brownies. And they would follow her around like little ducklings after mama. And they became her girls.

And to this day, Joy still—that is her highest delight—is to take what she knows like a seed and just plant it in the heart of the next generation. And those are her sacrifices. How about you?’”

Nancy: How about you?

Have you been taking, taking, taking? What has God put into your life over your years of walking with Him that needs to be planted like a seed in the heart of the next generation? It’s a huge responsibility. It’s not an option. It’s a responsibility. But it’s also a great privilege. What about you?

  • Are you an older woman?
  • Who are your girls?
  • Where are they?
  • How are you investing in their lives?

You say, "But I don’t know all that Joy Brown knew. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. I’ve blown it."

Maybe you blew it in your marriage. Maybe you blew it with your children. Maybe you didn’t even know the Lord back in those years.

  • What have you learned about His grace?
  • How has God restored the years that the locusts have eaten?
  • What has He taught you about failure and out of failure?

Be honest. Be humble. Get in the Word with the younger women and say God has taught me some good things, and I want to be a teacher of good things to you.

Leslie: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is going to come back and pray that you and I will effectively teach those coming along behind us. 

She’s been teaching from Titus 2 and the invitation we find there for older women to teach younger women.

Nancy writes about that in her brand new book Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together. We’d like to send you a copy when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Ask for it when you call 1–800–569–5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Mentoring is all about initiative. Learn why it’s so important to start the mentoring process tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts. Nancy is here to pray that we’ll be the type of mentors we’re hearing about on today’s program.

Nancy: Father, how I thank You for the older women who have invested in my life over the years, starting with women like Murielle Gregory when I was in the third grade. She was a Sunday school teacher, and she taught me some good things. And other women that You have brought into my life along the way who have passed on a baton of faith to me.

Lord, now as an older woman, I want to be faithful in passing on good things to the younger women of this next generation.

Help us, Lord, to be faithful—life to life in the context of community and relationship—to entrust to others that which You have given to us, that we not be taking, taking, taking. But help us to be giving, giving, giving. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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