Revive Our Hearts Podcast

God’s Beautiful Design for Women Day 48

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: We are all to be involved in teaching the younger women what is good. The world is peddling every day what is not good, and we’re supposed to be teaching them by our example and then by our engagement in their lives.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Adorned, for Wednesday, April 12, 2017.

For the last couple of months, we’ve been exploring Titus 2:1–5 in a series called “God’s Beautiful Design for Women.” In this series, Nancy has helped you understand so many important concepts. She’s helped you define sound doctrine. You’ve heard about aging gracefully. You’ve been encouraged to develop close mentoring relationships.

There’s been so much more in this in-depth study. If you missed any of it, you can hear the series at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Today is the final day of the series, and to wrap things up, we’ll hear an overview of Titus 2:1–5 from Nancy and her husband Robert Wolgemuth. They talked with Dan Jarvis, a pastor in their area, about Titus 2. He had been preaching through the book of Titus, and knew if anyone could share insights from this passage, it would be Robert and Nancy. Let’s listen to their conversation.

Dan Jarvis: As God directs our lives, we know that He didn’t intend for us to live alone as individuals. He really did put us in relationship with others so that we can grow in our faith and so we can learn what it is to walk with Christ. What Titus 2 opens up for us is the challenge to develop a church culture that reflects that.

I feel like, in different ways, both of you have been examples of this kind of a culture. I wonder if you could just begin by speaking to why it’s so important that discipleship would be life on life, and why this mentoring concept . . . Of all the things Paul could have talked about in Titus, which is a pretty short book, why does he highlight this as a critical matter.

Robert Wolgemuth: The truth is that principles in life, important things in life, are caught, not taught. That happens while you’re doing life with each other. So these principles are interesting, maybe challenging, but life transforming when you do them in real life.

The way you transfer that from one person to the other is you live it, and you catch it. So that’s why this is very important. It’s a very important conversation—the idea of passing truth from one generation to the next, or one person to the next, or one person to the next younger person—1 Timothy 4, “Don’t let others look down on you because you’re young. Instead, be their example.” In some cases, mentoring goes from younger to older.

It isn’t necessarily an age thing. It’s one person teaching another person by the truth by the way they live. Nancy?

Nancy: I think we tend to be so individualistic in Western culture. It’s about my growth, my faith, and my relationship with Jesus. But really, if you look through the whole of Scripture, relationship with God takes place in community.

We’re made for fellowship. We’re made for relationship. The Trinity operates that way. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have different roles, but they are one, they are unified. They are one essence, but they operate in different ways. And that’s a pattern for us. So in our faith, we need each other to grow.

I love the way Paul spells this out here, and this is what Dan has been walking us through over the last several weeks. You have in chapter 1 what the leaders need to be like. They need to have exemplary lives. They really need to know God’s Word so they can teach it and they can refute those who contradict it.

So in verse 1 of what Dan just read, “As for you, Pastor Titus, teach what accords with sound doctrine.” But he’s saying, “That’s not enough. It’s critical. It has to happen, but then: What does that look like? How does that flesh out in everyday life?”

He says to the older people in the church, maybe older spiritually, older chronologically, “First of all, we need you older people.” That’s what he’s saying here. “Don’t get on the sideline and think your days of serving and ministry and fruitfulness are over. We need you. But what we need you to do is live a life that illustrates what sound doctrine looks like.”

He says, “And then, you need to be passing that baton of faith on. Don’t just hold it for yourself. You need to be passing it on to those who are younger in the faith or younger chronologically so they can see what it looks like in you, and you can be training them how to live that kind of life. Because if we don’t do that, then the next generation will not be gospelized. They will not know sound doctrine, will not know how to live it, will not know what it looks like in everyday life.” 

So many of the crises we’re facing in . . . Even in the church today we have people who don’t have a Christian worldview, they don’t know how to think Christianly, they don’t know how to live Christianly, because we haven’t done this paradigm. We just stand and watch the guy in the pulpit tell us about it.

But he’s saying, “This is how it becomes the fabric of the Church. We live it, and we talk about it to each other.” We get together in ones and twos and threes and small groups and huddles and in the aisles before and after services and Monday through Saturday in the course of our lives intersecting with each other to show how it’s done, and then to help spur one another on to love and good deeds, to live out that sound doctrine life.

This passage makes it really clear. There’s nothing in the Scripture about solo Christianity. It just isn’t God’s way. I need you. You need me. We need each other. It’s true in family, the biological family, but it’s true in the family of God as well.

Robert: I just moved from a place . . . my home was seven miles away from a place called “The Happiest Place on Earth.” Where is that? Where was that? Walt Disney World. But it’s interesting, because I also lived fifty miles from the saddest place on earth.

There’s a place in Florida, and it’s filled with older people. It’s huge, and it’s the lost opportunity to do exactly what you’re talking about. Here are these folks with life experience, with things that they could share with younger people who need to know what they know, need to know what they’ve experienced, who need to warn younger people to not do what they think is terrific to do.

So all these people are together, working on their golf handicap and playing shuffleboard and square dancing. I have no problem with all three of those, but what a great opportunity the Church has to put all those people together and to be an example to others who are younger in the faith. It’s a powerful thing.

Dan: Have you noticed—maybe this is an American cultural issue—but I think we might have the tendency to look at a passage like this and immediately try to systematize or formalize it into programs and say, “Let’s pair up in mentors” or something. I don’t imagine it worked that way in the First Century. How do you see this fleshing out—just be looking for it?

Robert: Just be looking for it. You’re right. It’s not a program. It’s the UPS guy who’s at your house for three minutes, or a contractor who wants to bid on a job and is walking around your home, or somebody at the grocery store. Nancy does this all the time. She’s praying with somebody in the parking lot that she’s just met.

The catching happens sometimes formally, and that’s important, but sometimes very informally, very spontaneously.

Nancy: It can even happen and it does happen a lot in the aisle—when we’re gathered together and we’re interacting with each other before and after services. I love these conversations of, “How’s it going? How was your week? How’s your marriage going? What’s about the struggle that you’ve been dealing with? Can you catch me up on that? And that kid that you’ve had a burden for?”

But being intentional about asking questions . . . Robert had a phone call the other day with someone who was a long, long-time friend, and the first question was, “What’s the biggest struggle in your marriage?” That’s what this person asked Robert on the phone. What’d you tell him, Honey?

Robert: I said, “It’s sunny and warm. It’s beautiful in Michigan.” That’s what I said. “Reid, it’s none of your business, thank you.”

Nancy: No. It is our business. I think if we have those kinds of conversations where we’re not just talking about who won or lost the ball game last night, but we’re engaging with each other’s lives . . .

I had a pastor in college, Dr. Ray Ortlund, who used to say, “The average church is like a bag of marbles—people just clanging and clinking, banging up against each other. But we should be like a bag of grapes that’s smooshed together, that brings forth juice, and it becomes an identity.”

So we do that as we talk.

I love that verse in Malachi, “Those who love the Lord spoke often of Him to each other and the Lord heard, and He wrote a book of remembrance.”

A lot of this takes place just as we’re having conversation. We’re being intentional, not just about the surface stuff:

“Hi. How are you doing?”

“Fine.”

If you’re fine, that’s fine, but a lot of times I think we say we’re fine, but what we really need to say is, “Boy, I’m battling with something. Would you pray with me about this?” or “How can I pray for you?” That kind of intentional conversation is where a lot of this life-to-life maturing and discipling and mentoring takes place.

Robert: That’s so true.

Dan: Robert, you shared something previously that I enjoyed that just kind of makes it simple. You shared a principle called PTB. That might help us frame discipling relationships. What is that?

Robert: In 2005, I was asked to give the commencement address at Taylor, which is where I graduated from in my undergrad work. So I said to the graduates, “I’m going to talk today about PTB, and, no, that doesn’t mean Pretty Terrific Baritone (the group that had sung and that was terrific) or plus teddy bear.

It means Paul, Timothy, and Barnabas, and how important it is for us to have those three kinds of people in our lives. A Paul is somebody at whose feet you sit. In fact, I said to these graduates, “You’re leaving a lot of the Pauls in your life, a lot of these professors.” I looked at these professors with their funny stoles and square hats, and I said, “You’ve been Pauls to these students, and now they’re going to have to find somebody to take your place.”

It’s really an important thing for all of us to be looking to people who are ahead in our faith that we can ask good questions and hard questions of. So Paul.

And Timothy—be a Paul to somebody else. The camera is always on. The microphone is always hot. That means, in my life somebody’s watching, somebody’s listening. That has an impact on how I speak, how I act. If I were to hold a camera up in front of you and say, “Okay, I’m going to record this conversation,” you would be different. We can’t help it. Right?

Maybe twenty years ago I was in the broadcast booth at a major league baseball game. I actually was there because the person on the mound, a believer, had published a book written by the man who was with me in the booth. So it was the two of us with the announcer, and the microphone was off. The camera was off. The red light was off.

And this person spoke like a drunken sailor. I mean, every third word was just like, Wow! And the light went on, and he completely changed his vocabulary. Now, what’s amazing to me is he was able to do that, or he would have lost his job in a moment if he had forgotten that the red light was on.

But for all of us, the red light is always on. Your children, your spouse, your neighbors, they’re watching, especially if they know that you’ve come from church and what a difference it’s made in your life. So . . . a Paul, a Timothy.

And then a Barnabas—somebody who says, “You can do it.” It’s the cloud of witnesses really. Every Christian plays the game with a home field advantage, all of us do. The crowd isn’t jeering, they’re cheering. They’re pulling for us.

My mother, who’s been in heaven since 2005, was the encourager in my life. My daddy was the one who said, “Pick up your socks. Sit up straight. Don’t be late.” Those are my Daddy’s core values. But my mother said, “You can do it. I just believe in you.” There were times, as a kid, I didn’t feel up to that. I felt up to a bumbling adolescent. My mother would give me hope and give me encouragement. She was a Barnabas in my life.

The joy is that we can be a Paul, Timothy, and Barnabas to other people. That’s a very important thing. And in the context of Titus 2, where we pass this on to the next generation, to other friends, that’s a very important thing for us to remember.

Dan: Thank you, Robert. Nancy, it’s your turn to speak to the women in the church here today.

Nancy: What I love here, and Dan’s been doing such a good job of giving us the context of why this is here and why it matters, but you have these believers, individual believers, older people, younger people. Women who in this culture were not well thought of or not much thought of at all. And they’re thinking, What does my life matter? Do I really have a purpose? Am I needed in this fellowship, in this community of faith?

Here they are in the Roman Empire with Nero breathing fire and Christians being persecuted, and they’re trying to figure out how can the church survive—this bulging new church which was so radically counter-cultural and was threatened to be snuffed out. And we’re hearing more about this kind of thing today in our own culture. But how can we not just survive?

Paul’s interested in how can the church thrive in a culture where it doesn’t fit? And then, how can the gospel be passed from one generation to the next so that we’re reaching our culture, so that we’re multiplying—which is the theme what Dan has been helping us to see in this text.

In that context, he has said in chapter 1, “You’ve got to have leaders who live out the truth. They’re exemplary. They know the Word of God so they can teach it, and they can refute those who contradict it.”

But then he takes it to us, and he says, and I just have to pick up at verse 1 here, he didn’t give Titus the pastor the job of discipling the younger women.

Robert: That’s right.

Nancy: He said to Titus, “You teach the whole body what accords with sound doctrine. Teach the truth. Lay that foundation so they can be sound in faith”

Then he turns to the older women after the older men. And you think about of any demographic, especially in that culture, but even in ours, that could feel marginalized or not needed. He says, “Older women, you are needed. You are very much needed if this church is to survive, if it’s to thrive, and if it’s to accomplish its message, its mission in the world.”

I’m so thankful to be a part of a church body that has a lot of gray hair—not just gray hair—but that honors people in their seventies and eighties and nineties. He says, “Older women, your job is not done. First of all, you’ve got to live out this message. Older women, likewise, as with older men, are to be reverent in behavior.”

And what does that look like? Well, two things he pinpoints here. One: They’re not to be slanderers. And two: They’re not to be slaves to much wine—which I find very interesting.

Why would the apostle Paul say to the old women in the church, “Don’t get drunk”? I mean were they out-of-control drinking? I don’t know. But what we do have is clear that he’s speaking to them in areas where maybe they could get careless. “So,” he says, “if you’re going to be reverent in behavior, here’s how you demonstrate that: The way you talk and your temperate lifestyle.”

So maybe it’s not wine. Maybe it’s something else—maybe it’s food, maybe it’s Bridge, maybe it’s romance novels, maybe it’s TV—but live a life that demonstrates that you honor and respect and fear the Lord in the way that you talk and in your habits.

And then he says, “Your job is not done there. You’re not just supposed to be a good example, but also, these older women have a job in the church. They are to teach what is good and so train the young women.”

I think when we think of teaching and training we think of PowerPoint and commentaries and a class. That’s not at all what Paul had in mind here, I don’t think. He’s saying, “Every one of us, as older women in the Body of Christ, we are all to be involved in teaching the younger women what is good.”

The world is peddling every day what is not good, and we’re supposed to be teaching them by our example and then by our engagement in their lives what is good and training them. So if the younger demographic, the younger women in the church, have not been trained how to love Christ, how to live out the gospel, how to live out the Christian life, then we can’t just look at them and get critical and say, “Oh, those younger people. Man, the way they dress, the way they talk. They’re all sleeping together. Somebody just ought to . . . The pastor ought to just deal . . .”

He’s saying, “Older women, you’re the ones to deal with this. Live a life that’s worthy of being followed, that creates hunger and thirst in these younger women, and then get involved in their lives.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean a Sunday school class or an ABF. It doesn’t necessarily mean a small group that you lead. It doesn’t mean you have the gift of teaching. It means that you’re just involved life-to-life in the course of everyday life in training these young women.

And look at the curriculum: To love their husbands.

Robert: I love that one. (laughter)

Nancy: My husband loves that I’m writing a book on how to love your husband.

Robert: I do.

Nancy: And I’m so thankful for older women. I didn’t start this thing until I was fifty-seven—the loving your husband part. And I’m so thankful I’ve had older women, in this church, who’ve modeled to me what that looks like and who were the encouragers to me. I mean, I know a lot about this in my head, but I’m just learning it in life.

Teach them to love their husbands, to love their children—you’d think, by the way, those things would come naturally, but apparently they don’t. What comes naturally for me is to love myself. And so Paul is saying, “We need models of how to live selfless lives, and we need people who will step into each other’s lives and help them do this, help pass these skills on to the next generation.

“Teach them to love their husbands, love their children, to be self-controlled, to be pure, to be working at home, to be kind, and to be submissive to their own husbands.”  We could unpack each of those, but I love the outcome here. He says, “So that the Word of God may not be reviled” (Titus 2:3–5).

If we don’t live this way, if we don’t pass these tools, these resources, this lifestyle on to the next generation, then people will look at Christians the way that we live, which is not worthy of Christ, and they will scorn God’s Word. They will revile God’s Word.

And then the positive side of that, if I could just skip to verse 10 here for a minute, after he goes through all these older/younger women/men, the end of this is, “So that in everything they may together [older/younger men/women] adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.” We dress it up. We make it beautiful. We make others realize how beautiful it is.

This is not just, like, “Make them do these things.” He says, “Older women, we’re teaching younger women what is good, what is beautiful, and then together as a body we can adorn the doctrine of God, so that when people look at the way we live Monday through Saturday they say, “Wow! That’s amazing. That’s beautiful.”

Robert: Yes.

Nancy: And it happens, Dan referred to this, not so much in a structured, formal environment, though we have some of those, like this and like small groups, and ABF, but I think more often it happens just in the course of everyday life.

I’ve had probably, over the years, a dozen young couples living in my home. We don’t have one now because I’ve got a husband.

Robert: Just one couple living in our home.

Nancy: Just one couple living in our home at the moment. But what a joy it’s been to me to have these young newlyweds, new young parents living there and just doing life together.

What a joy it is to me to look, and I see so many in this church, like Hannah, who weren’t even born when I came here. I watched you be little and young and enjoyed you as children. And now to see the Hannahs being young wives and moms and having their own families and living out the faith of the Craigs and Jodys, their parents, who modeled this and taught them. And before we know it, the Hannahs are going to be the older women in this church, and in the Body of Christ, and there will be a new generation coming up.

This is how we survive. This is how we thrive. This is how we pass the gospel on from one generation to the next. And if we stop it, if we’re not doing this, all of us—let me just speak to the women—then there will come a time when the next generation, as Judges says, “They don’t know God nor His ways.”

So this is what we do after we hear it in the pulpit: We live it out. Then my favorite ministry in this church, as far as what I’m involved in, is what I call an aisle ministry—a-i-s-l-e. It’s in the aisles after the service, before the service, in the foyer, interacting, asking each other questions. “How you doing? How can I pray for you? How can I encourage you? How’s it going?”

Being asked those questions and asking those questions, just intentionally engaging. You don’t have to have a seminary degree to do that. You don’t have to be a Bible teacher, have a microphone to do that. You just have to love Jesus, be living out the gospel, and committed to helping others do the same thing.

So that, to me, is how this passage really comes to life.

Leslie: Pastor Dan Jarvis has been interviewing Robert and Nancy Wolgemuth on Titus 2. Dan has been teaching through the book of Titus, and he also knew Nancy had been writing a book on Titus 2:1–5, working at it for a number of years. That’s why he wanted to interview Robert and Nancy at his church.

The book that resulted in that study is called, Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together. When you act on the good ideas you’ve heard in today’s program, it really will put the beauty of the gospel on display. Nancy’s book Adorned will show you how to really understand these principles and make them part of your day-to-day life.

We’d like to send you the book Adorned when you support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. We’ve been making this offer over a month during our current series on Titus 2, and today is the final day I’ll be letting you know about this offer. So call 1–800–569–5959 and ask for the book Adorned, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

To prepare our hearts for Easter, Nancy is going to take us into the stories behind some hymns about our Savior. Please be back the rest of the week for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is helping you live out the beauty of the gospel. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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