Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Older Women Teaching Younger Women

Leslie Basham: According to Titus 2:3–5, older women are supposed to teach younger women. Let's listen to what one lady has learned about this powerful principle.

Woman: I lived in a community where there were several older women in our neighborhood, and I used to go and sit with the older women. They would teach out of God's Word and out of their life experiences.

I just grew up with a heart for God and for God's people. So in February I decided that I would walk in obedience to what the Lord had called me to, and I began a ministry in my home with twelve women.

God is really blessing that ministry, and we are just coming together and having a really great time in the Lord. I just think that it is so important that we speak into the lives of one another.

I tell them all the time, "When you see a sister who is struggling, strengthen your sister.” That's what we are supposed to do as part of the Body of Christbe a strength to one another.

Leslie: You're listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, May 28, 2015.

“I love God, but I don't have much use for church.” Have you ever heard that idea? Is it valid? Nancy Leigh DeMoss will describe the importance of the Body of Christ, continuing in the series "The Power of Relationships." She's been in the book of Ecclesiastes.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Let's just back up for a moment and review where we've been. I want us to make some further application of this truth to our relationships in the Body of Christ.

If you have your Bible, let me encourage you to open to Ecclesiastes chapter 4. We saw beginning in verse 1 the pain of injustice and oppression—sinful, damaged relationships. Verse 1 says:

I looked and I saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed—and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors—and they have no comforter.

And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun. And I saw that all labor and all achievements spring from man's envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind (vv. 1–4).

And then we saw beginning in verse 7 the problem of isolation, not just injustice in sinful and damaged relationships but the problem of isolation where we pull ourselves away and withdraw and don't have any relationships. Verse 7:

Again I saw something meaningless under the sun: There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. "For whom am I toiling," he asked, "and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?" This too is meaningless—a miserable business! (vv. 7–8).

And then in verses 9–12 we've been looking at the power of intimacy—God's prescription for damaged or non-existent relationships. First, that we should have a relationship with God vertically; then that these principles would affect our horizontal relationships with others, particularly within the Body of Christ.

And we saw that there are at least four benefits and blessings of having godly, intimate relationships. Verse 9 says: "Two are better than one" because first of all, they get more bang for their buck; there's more product, more fruitfulness for their labor; they have a good return for their work.

And then in verse 10, "If one falls down his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" And then verse 11, when we find ourselves in adverse or cold or hard circumstances, "If two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone."

And then we saw in the last session in verse 12 that when we are under attack, when we're being attacked by the enemy, "though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

So we see there are lots of reasons that we need each other. First, our relationship with God, then with each other we need to take advantage of the benefits of relationship. Not only receiving those benefits and blessings, but being on the giving end—giving those benefits and blessings to others.

Now I want to focus today on the context in which we live out those relationships. I'd like to suggest that God has designed and provided two primary contexts in which we should have intimate relationships. These intimate relationships help us deal with the problems of injustice and isolation.

They help us deal with the pain or the shame of an abusive childhood. They help us deal with loneliness. God's solution is holy, intimate relationships, first with Him, but then with each other. There are two settings in which God has provided for us to have relationships.

The first is in the context of the home, our families. Now, that will vary depending on your season of life as to who that is. But it may involve parents, marriage, children. All of us come from a family.

You may not have any living family members now. You may not be married. You may not have children, but all of us have, at one time or another, had some sort of family relationship. If you're here on this planet, you have had some sort of family.

Now, the family may have been much less than ideal. But God's plan is that we need our families. It is within the context of the family that God intended that we should learn many of life's most important lessons.

We need marriage; we need parent-child relationships. If you are married and you are battling in that marriage, remember that you need that mate; that God is using that mate even if your mate is not a believer, even if your mate is not a godly person. God knows exactly what you need in your life to help you become more like Jesus.

If you have children, God knows exactly what you need to help you become more like Jesus. Sometimes God uses those children. I see some big smiles here or maybe groans (I'm not sure which), but you're relating to this.

God uses your children, kind of like heavenly sandpaper, to expose who you really are and to show you needs in your life. "Two are better than one." In the context of the family, we grow and become more of what God wants us to be. We need our families. Let me say that if things are not right at home, then they're not right.

I've been so sad over the years to meet some women who are actively involved in Christian ministries, in prayer ministries, in Bible study ministries and in teaching the Word of God to others.

But then you get to talking with them about their family, and it's a disaster. Their marriage is a mess; their children are a mess; their relationships in their home are fragmented and broken.

Now I'm not saying that those women are responsible for all the problems in their families, but I am saying that you can't ignore what's going on at home and expect to just leave your home, escape it, and have a fruitful ministry outside your home.

So the family, your family is a context in which God wants to help you become more like Jesus, a context in which He wants you to focus on developing healthy, intimate relationships.

Now there's another primary context in which God wants us to develop relationships and that's in the family of God, in the church, in the Body of Christ.

I want to just take this opportunity to stress that you cannot be a lone ranger Christian and succeed at the Christian life. God has designed you to be a part of a body, and you cannot be all God wants you to be if you are trying to do it alone.

Now you may be in some circumstances of life where you are the only Christian in your family. You may be in a circumstance where it is very difficult for you to get fellowship within the Body of Christ.

But I believe that if you know it's a need and you will make it a matter of prayer, that God will help you find at least one other believer who is part of the family of God, who can be a part of helping you have the kind of relationship you need.

We have a covenant with Christ; He has a covenant with us. We're bound in an eternal covenantal relationship with Him, and if we're part of Him that means we're also part of each other. You can't separate us from each other without doing damage to all the parts. We need those covenantal relationships.

One of the most powerful passages in God's Word that addresses the subject is in 1 Corinthians 12. Let me ask you to turn there if you would, First Corinthians chapter 12. Follow along if you can beginning at verse 12. It's talking about the Body of Christ. Paul says here:

For just as the body is one [that's talking about the physical body is one] and has many members [has many different parts—hands, legs, arms, eyes, ears, mouth, many different parts but one body], and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ [with His body]. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many (vv. 12–14).

Then he goes on in verses 15–18 to say, "One part of the body can't say to the other parts of the body, 'Because I'm not your part, I'm not part of the body" (paraphrase).

He's saying that they are all necessary; they're all part of the body. Then pick up at verse 21:

The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." On the contrary, the parts of the body that seems to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require.

But God has so composed the body [this is now the Body of Christ], giving honor to the part that lacked it [and here's the key], that there may be no division in the body but that the members [that's us] may have the same care for one another (vv. 21–25 ESV).

"If one member suffers, all suffer together." When my hand gets hurt, my body feels the pain; if I stub my toe, the rest of my body is aware of it. And it's true that when one member of the Body of Christ suffers, everyone is affected. Everyone hurts. “If one member is honored, all rejoice together" (v. 26).

When God blesses you, I get blessed. That's why I should rejoice with those who rejoice. Now verse 27: "You are the body of Christ and individually members of it."

Can I just stress that it is not an option for you to be plugged into the Body of Christ. If you are a child of God, you are part of that Body and you must be involved in the life of a local expression of that Body called the local church. It's not an option. If you're not a part of the Church, and by that I mean the Body of Christ, capital "C" Church, then you're not a Christian.

If you're a Christian (part of the Church, capital "C"), then you need to be a part of a local expression of that Body of Christ.

  • You need to be attending your local church.
  • You need to be participating in it.
  • You need to be serving in it.
  • You need to be accountable to that local body of believers.
  • When you sin, you need to be willing to be exhorted by that body and if necessary to be spiritually disciplined by that body of believers who know you and are committed to you.
  • You need to take responsibility for the oneness of that body, not criticizing, not picking apart, not pulling it down, not destroying it. The Scripture says that if you destroy the Body of Christ, God will destroy you.

That's why Paul said to the Philippian believers, Philippians chapter 4, he said, “There are two women in your church who aren't getting along with each other.” Euodia and Syntyche were their names. He said to those two women, “Get it together! Tear down those barriers. Tear down those walls. Learn to get along with each other.” But then he said to the rest of the body, “Help those women get along. Don't let that conflict just go unaddressed. Deal with it.” (see vv. 2–3)

You're a part of each other; you need each other, and it's in the context of that body that you can become all God intended you to be.

Now let me take that just a step further, this matter of the Body of Christ. I want to narrow it down just a little bit more and have us see that as women there's a particular way that we are to relate to each other within the Body of Christ. Woman to woman.

There's a need for us as women to have nurturing, caring relationships within the Body of Christ. And of course, the primary passage that says that explicitly in the New Testament is Titus chapter 2. Many of you are familiar with that passage, but let me just read verses 3, 4, and 5 from Titus 2.

Now in the context here, Paul is talking to Titus about how the family of God ought to function. He's already given instructions to those who are in leadership in the church, the qualifications to be elders and spiritual leaders. He's talked to older men and younger men.

Now he says in verse 3: "Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good" (vv. 3–4 ESV).

Who is to teach? Older women. Does it sound like just older women who've been to seminary are supposed to do this, just older women who are on the staff of the church? No, it is all inclusive. Older women in the Body of Christ are to have exemplary behavior themselves and they are to model the characteristics of a godly, mature believer.

But then they're to teach what they have learned about the heart and the ways and the Word of God. "They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women." Train the young women. The older women are to be teaching the younger women.

And here's the curriculum. They are to teach them "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" (vv. 4–5 ESV).

I remember talking to a woman not too long ago who was in her early thirties and single. She said: "Nancy, I had no models when I was growing up." No models of godliness. She talked about how her parents had a terrible marriage for twenty-three years and then divorced and both her siblings had been through multiple divorces and here she is, a young woman, never married.

She's saying: "I don't know what a godly woman looks like. I don't know what a godly marriage looks like. I've had no models." It's for women like that as well as for women like you and me that Paul gave these instructions to Titus. "Older women model exemplary behavior and then teach the younger women what is good. Train them, nurture them, disciple them."

That happens in the context of relationship, one-on-one, small groups together. It's something that happens beyond what happens with the preaching of your pastor from the pulpit. Between Sundays, this is what happens: The older women are training younger women to love their husbands and their children, teaching them not only to do it but how to do it, to be self-controlled, to be pure, to be working at home, to be kind.

Did you know that you can learn to be kind? That's something that older women are supposed to teach younger women, "teaching them to be submissive to their own husbands."

And if we don't do this, then "the Word of God will be reviled." We will give a lousy testimony to the world. We won't show the world what the gospel is like if we don't live it out in the context of these relationships.

Now this matter of nurturing and mentoring and discipling relationships within the Body of Christ between women is not an option. It's not something you can say, “Oh, we have a women's mentoring program in our church, but I haven't joined that." You don't have to join the program, but you do have to be involved in God's program.

It's not something you decide whether or not you want to sign up for it. You're in one of these two categories, perhaps both in some ways. Older women are supposed to be modeling and teaching, and younger women are supposed to be learning and growing and ultimately becoming teachers themselves.

Now some of us are at the season of life where we may consider ourselves both. I like to have in my life, I need to have in my life relationships with older women who are training and mentoring me in the ways of God.

But then I need to be an older woman. I am an older woman to younger women. I need to always be involved in, as an older woman, modeling and teaching. As a younger woman, I need to be involved in learning and growing. If you're not in at least one of those two categories, you're missing out on an incredible privilege and an incredible responsibility.

I received and email from a woman who said,

My mother was a devoted housewife, which was the thing to do twenty years ago. But now I see her drifting away from her calling as a nurturer for me and my own children. Aren't we supposed to invest in the next generation besides our own kids? I have a hard time embracing my role when I see so few role models. I feel very alone sometimes in the wonder but hard work mothering calls for. I'm working on leading a women's encouragement group, but I'm so busy with my own young children. Sometimes I wish the older women would reach out to me.

I say that not to make anyone feel bad. I say that to encourage those of you who may be in that older woman season of life, to say there is a need for you. There is a place for you in the Body of Christ.

I heard a woman say no too long ago, "My youngest child is getting married. For forty years I've been mothering, and I almost feel like my life is going to end. I don't know what I'm going to do."

I thought as I listened to that woman, Your life in some ways is just beginning. For forty years you've been learning how to mother. Now there are a lot of younger women who need what you've learned.

Now, some of you may feel, I've been a lousy mother. I have failed more that I've succeeded. Then teach out of your failures. Haven't you learned something from your failures? Don't you wish in some ways that you could do some this over again. Teach that to the younger women.

You don't have to have a Power Point presentation. You don't have to be a lecturer or a seminar speaker. You don't have to be a platform person in order to fulfill this role.

You just need to be willing to let other women into your life and to share with them, one-on-one, in the context of ordinary, everyday life things, “This is what God has taught me,” sharing out of your life, praying with them, coming alongside, encouraging them, teaching them out of your life, and teaching them out of the Word of God.

I'm so thankful for the women whom God has put in my life over the years who have provided encouragement, exhortation, instruction, training. They've given me specific skills. They've taught me a lot about love and friendship, women who have held me accountable, women who have prayed for me, women who have warned me, women who have been models, examples for me to follow from the time I was a little girl.

And first on that list, I would have to put my own mother, Nancy DeMoss. The first Nancy DeMoss.

I think of something as simple as what she reminded me of the other day. She practiced the piano with me day after day when I was a little girl. I took piano lessons but my mom was sitting there on the piano bench practicing with me. That's discipling, that's teaching a practical skill.

I think of so many ways my mother served our family. She made our home a place of ministry. I think of her modeling what it meant for a wife to be a helper and a partner as she honored and respected my dad.

I think of her showing me how to honor and respect men. To this day, I have just a real aversion to anything that comes close to men-bashing. It's just so wrong, and I think my mother is probably the one—she never told me that, but she demonstrated the fact so that I never, to this day, have heard my mother say a negative word about my dad, not to him or not to anyone else about him. That's an incredible example, and I thank the Lord for that.

I think of other women. I think of Lucy Johnston who was my first grade teacher. She instilled in me the love of learning. She taught me to read. I thank the Lord for that older woman (she seemed ancient; she really wasn't). She not only taught me that year, but for the years following she prayed for me and my siblings. I think she taught six or seven of the children in my family. She prayed for us children by name over many years.

I think of Liz DeVries. Her husband was my high school music teacher and choir director. I used to accompany them when they sang. She took me under her wing and taught me some practical things.

I remember one time she took me to her house and helped me make a dress for a special event that was coming up. I don't know that I could do it again today, but she was helping me get practical skills.

Do you know what? It was more than learning to make a dress. It was the hours of conversation. It was during a time in my early teens when I was just struggling with being a person. She would just listen and care. and she got involved in my life.

I think of my high school math teacher—Mary Ellen Bow. We had a class where at one point I was the only person in the class. She sat and listened to me struggling with issues of my faith for hour upon hour. As I look back, I can't believe she did this! God used her in a mentoring way in my life.

I think of Laura Munsch who is now with the Lord. When I was a little girl she wrote me a note (she was a friend of my parents) and encouraged me to memorize Scripture. I still remember that. And over the years since then, I have memorized much Scriptureencouraged by an older woman.

I think of Mom J. She prays for me. She writes notes of encouragement. And . . . so many other women that the Lord has used in my life as an older who were teaching a younger woman to become all that God wants her to be. There was nothing formal or official about any of those relationships. It was just the way of life.

So I want to ask you today, who is your younger woman? I see here a teenage gal, and maybe she's thinking, Well, I'm a younger woman myself, but you know, you're and older woman to someone. There are younger women. You have younger sisters, and there are younger women in your life, in your life that the Lord wants you to be an older woman to, to be modeling and teaching.

  • Who is the younger woman in your life?
  • Who are you bringing alongside of you, to pray with them, to encourage them in their walk with the Lord?
  • Who is the older woman in your life?
  • Who are you letting invest in your life?
  • Are you taking the place of a learner?
  • Do you have a teachable spirit?
  • Are you receiving from the women that God has put into your life?

As we do this, as we function in relationship and community, woman to woman in the Body of Christ, the Scripture says that the Word of God will not be reviled. The gospel will be made believable as we live it out.

I want to ask you in this moment to consider what the Lord would have you to do—specifically, about what we've just heard. Is there someone you need to invite to your home. Not to set up for an arrangement to meet together for the rest of your lives.

But just say, "I'd like to get together a few times. I'd like to encourage you." If you are an older woman, who is a younger woman that you could invite to become a part of your life periodically to see what you can do to encourage her, to exhort her, to help her learn the ways of God.

There are a lot of women starving for that today in the church. Perhaps you need to say, "I need an older woman." You need to pick the phone or find a woman at church and say, "Would you help me? Would you teach me?" Just ask her questions. If she doesn't know what to say, just ask her questions. Say, "I want to learn from your life.

Lord, I pray that you would help us as women to have discipling, nurturing, mentoring relationships. That You would help us to become all that You intended, so that You may be glorified, amen.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been encouraging younger women and older women to connect with each other. That message is part of the series "The Power of Relationships." As Nancy always says, each of us is an older woman to someone. God can use all of us to share life and encourage the faith of others.

Nancy: Yes, we’ll be talking more about this kind of thing September 25–26 in Indianapolis at the conference, Revive '15: Women Teaching Women. It’s a time to concentrate on the power of relationships, to learn how to be a more effective teacher of God's Word. in a variety of settings and be encouraged to invest in other women. Get all the details on the Women Teaching Women conference at ReviveOurHearts.com.

The only way we can equip leaders who then impact communities through the power of relationships is through your help. Revive Our Hearts would not exist without the support of listeners like you. When you pray and when you give, you’re not only helping us with big, visible events like Revive '15. You’re also helping to keep this podcast coming to you free each weekday. You’re helping us to sow the seed of God’s Word into the lives of women, affecting the generations to come.

All month we’ve been telling you about some of the needs we’re facing as a ministry. I want to say how grateful I am for each one who has heard about the need and has contacted us to say, "We want to be a part of helping you meet the goal of $450,000 in donations this month.

Thank you for doing your part to help the ministry end our fiscal year in a healthy place. The fiscal year end is when we wrap up budgets and accounting books and we evaluate the extent of ministry we can continue in the year ahead.

If you’ve been intending on giving toward this goal, but haven’t yet, it's not too late. We still have a few days before the May 31 deadline. So give us a call us at 1–800–569–5959, or you can donate online, at ReviveOurHearts.com.

It's such a joy seeing God working through this ministry in the lives of women around the world. I just want to say again, "Thanks so much for doing your part to accelerate that movement."

Leslie: You know, there would be very little trouble or pain if it weren't for relationships, but they are worth all the effort. Nancy will explain why tomorrow. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scriptures are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

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