Faithlife Sermons

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*The Ministry of Marriage, Motherhood, and Making Home the Priority (Titus 2:4-5)*
/Preached by Pastor Phil Layton at Gold Country Baptist Church on July 27, 2008/
www.goldcountrybaptist.org
 
“If a believer asked you what your ministry is, or where or how you serve, how would you answer?
Would your answer to that question ever include your family?”
I want to encourage you to view it that way, and not be ashamed to articulate your family as ministry priority.
I want to encourage you wives and women especially today in this vital ministry of the home that is not encouraged enough.
There are certainly things moms can do outside the home, but I want to persuade you that it is very biblical to view your ministry to your husband and children and your home priority as a ministry as real as any other in the body, an urgent and essential ministry that’s very beautiful and valuable in God’s eyes
 
Many in our world would want to persuade you otherwise, that real value can only be found in everything you do outside the home or to the neglect of home or family.
But let’s look at what God says in His authoritative, inspired, inerrant, infallible, unchanging, all-sufficient and all-satisfying Word about the high calling of women and wives.
Titus 2:3-5 (NASB95) 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, *teaching what is good*, 4 *so that they may encourage the young women* to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 /to be /sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, *so that the word of God will not be dishonored.*
The verse ends with a “so that” statement, a purpose clause: the honoring of God’s Word is the ultimate concern here.
The end of verse 5 makes clear that in this passage the glorifying of God’s Word is at stake in the way women, wives, and mothers minister.
We may not tend to think of it this way, but this is a ministry – anything that exalts God’s Word is an essential ministry.
Don’t think that only preaching or the public reading of God’s Word or standing in honor of God’s Word as it’s read, that those are the only ways God’s Word can be exalted and lifted up, because Titus 2 says otherwise.
Our Lord’s Day morning service is only a fraction of the week (a little more than an hour and fifteen minutes long) – but there is something many of you ladies can do virtually every hour of every day of the week that exalts God’s Word and honors God’s Word in real and tangible and powerful ways, to people He calls you to minister to.
You are not called to preach from the pulpit, but God has called you to give a living sermon by your lives that will testify of the amazing grace that has transformed your character.
Yes, you are called to the gospel ministry in a sense as well, and as we’ll see as Titus 2 unfolds, the gospel of God’s glory and magnificent grace is at stake in how all of us live in our everyday lives.
Titus 2:10-12 (NASB95) 10 … showing all good faith *so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior* in every respect.
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age
 
The doctrine of God our Savior is not adorned, according to verse 10, by a beautiful building or stained-glass church, it is adorned by beautiful lives changed by grace and living unstained by the world.
Do our home lives adorn Christ?
Do you interact with your spouse and children and love your families in a way that honors God’s Word, or do you cause God’s Holy Word to be dishonored instead?
Look at Titus 1:6, where it’s interesting that when Paul instructs Titus on appointing /ministers/ in the church called elders who are above reproach, he begins with faithfulness at home, in his marriage and his children before other ministry.
That’s exactly the same order that Titus 2:4 discusses a godly woman, starting with “loving their husbands, and loving their children” and Titus 1:6 discusses the same relationships in the same order.
And Titus 1:8 begins with hospitality and it also lists a number of the same traits of the godly woman in Titus 2. It’s only in Titus 1:9 that Paul begins to discuss the /public/ ministry of the godly man – most of this passage focuses on his /private/ ministry character, especially his home life, a ministry that precedes and preserves the other.
If you go back to 1 Timothy 3, the other passage on office-holding ministers, Paul makes clear there that your family life does have a bearing on your ministry.
In fact, faithfulness and ministry to spouse and children comes /before/ and qualifies /for/ further ministry
 
1 Timothy 3:1-2 (NASB95) 1 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires /to do./ 2 An overseer, then, must be above reproach, *the husband of one wife *[/lit.
“one-woman man” with the idea of faithfulness to his wife/], temperate, prudent, respectable, *hospitable*, able to teach
 
~*Notice marriage comes first, and hospitality listed even before teaching
 
4 /He must be /one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),
 
If our own household and family is not tended to, God doesn’t want us serving publicly in His household
 
11 Women /must /*likewise* /be /dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, *faithful in all things*.
12 Deacons must be husbands of /only /one wife, /and /good managers of /their /children and their own households.
God’s Word is clear: Be faithful in ministering to your own family, which is a ministry that comes first, and only then should you be pursuing extracurricular ministries beyond.
Earlier this year we studied Ephesians 4:11-12 which speaks of the ministry of elders~/pastors and teachers which is to equip the rest of the church for their ministry (/diakonia/) – a word synonymous with service.
And that word is not only talking about what happens on the Lord’s Day here or on campus, ministry and service is an ongoing way of life and it very much includes your home life and the vital ministry of faithful women to their husbands and children.
Just to review, if you weren’t here last week, I’m not trying to be clever in speaking of ministry.
I’m not just using this terminology to try and help discouraged moms feel like they have an important ministry in God’s plan.
I’m truly trying to be faithful to the original language of the New Testament and the original context.
The same Greek word translated “ministry” in Ephesians 4, as I pointed out last time, is used of ladies like Martha who welcomed Jesus into her home and she was serving him (/diakonia/) or seeking to minister to him by her hospitality.
How you serve your spouse and your children and shepherd and disciple your children and how you use your home to be hospitable to others is not only a ministry, biblically speaking, it’s to be a Christ-centered God-glorifying one.
When Romans 12 lists the gifts of the Spirit, it summarizes them as gifts of speaking and gifts of /service/ (same word translated “ministry” in many places) and neither is superior to the other, both are vitally needed.
And in that same chapter that lists preaching and prophecy, it lists practicing hospitality. 1 Peter 4 similarly refers to the speaking gifts and the serving gifts and in the context there it commands hospitality and that passage ends by saying that both speaking and serving gifts are “so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”
How you serve your family and how you use your home to serve others glorifies God like anything else, if I read the Word of God rightly.
There are 3 ministry categories in Titus 2:4-5 that glorify God, honor God’s Word, and adorn the gospel of grace:
1.      Ministry in Marriage
2.      Ministry in Motherhood
3.      Ministry in Making Home the Priority
 
*MINISTRY IN MARRIAGE*
4 that they [the women] may encourage the young women to love their husbands,
 
In verses 6 and following Titus himself is to instruct the young men, but here it’s the women who are to instruct the young women personally on an ongoing basis.
If you weren’t here last week, you’ll need to get that message - the “older women” are those more mature in the Lord typically beyond childbearing years and farther ahead in life than the young women and moms they are to teach.
Verse 4 says these women are to /encourage /the younger women, and in my translation the marginal note says this word can be translated “train” (which ESV has).
The KJV has “teach” but it’s a different word than the word “teach” in v. 3. The NKJV is better with “admonish.”
It’s an uncommon Greek word that comes from the same root word we saw in v. 2 where most other translations have sensible or self-controlled, which we discussed last week.
This is the verb form of the same root, and it can literally be rendered “bring to their senses” (/BAGD/, 802) to help show them what sound thinking is (/NET Bible Notes/) rather than the world’s thinking.
The old Geneva Bible from 1500s has one of the most literal renderings “instruct the young women to be sober-minded.”
It is the calling of someone to responsibility, and it is the /women’s/ role especially to call the younger women to be reminded of their role and brought back to their senses, to first, love their husbands.
Since the days of the OT, as Jer.
9:20 alludes to, it was expected that women would instruct their daughters in the way of life.
Women must urge sense into women living in an unwise world that need to be wised up, it’s perhaps a figurative, sobering, “slap in the face.”
Philo and Josephus and numerous well-known ancient Greek writers used this term in distinction from neutral terms for educating.
This is a stronger word for a jolting “call to return to the senses … wake-up call.”[1]
This is certainly needed for those in our generation as well who have been brainwashed by feminism and pop culture and worldly thinking about woman’s roles and who need to be snapped out of muddled and mushy thinking to the truth by fellow godly gals.
The noun form of this word appears in verse 5 where it says these young women are to be sensible, and then in v. 6 it says the young men are also to be sensible or sober-minded as well.
The word is also used for older men in v. 2. It’s a key word in this section.
And here the godly mature women are to urge this sense and sensibility and sober biblical thinking in younger women so they will love their husbands as first priority.
Not just live with them, /love them/.
This word for “love of her man” (/philandros/) includes the ideas of fondness, friendship, affection toward your most-liked companion.
Literally the young women were to continually be (present tense) lovingly fond of their husbands and by implication, not fond of or overly friendly with men other than their own husband.
The active voice in the Greek (subject exerts action by a volitional choice) signifies that the young wife is to exhibit a willing determined love that is not based on a husband’s worthiness or how lovable he is or how “in love” you feel, it’s based on God’s command which is to be lovingly followed by affectionate hearts.
John MacArthur writes:
Paul is not speaking of romantic or sexual love, which certainly have a proper place in marriage, but of a committed *love* that godly wives choose to have for their husbands, just as godly husbands choose to have for their wives (Eph.
5:25, 28) … Even unlovable, uncaring, unfaithful, and ungrateful [spouses] are to be loved.
This sort of *love* of husbands and wives for each other involves unqualified devotedness and is a friendship that is strong and deep.
If a wife does not truly love her husband, she must, in obedience to the Lord, train herself to love him.
Contrary to popular thinking, love that is carefully built and nurtured is not artificial.
It is much more common that spontaneous, “bells and whistles” romances prove to be the ones that are artificial and short-lived.
The principle is reciprocal and applies equally to husbands [/who also must love/].
Training yourself to love involves doing loving things for the other person, whether or not you feel like doing them.
It involves putting their interests and welfare above your own.
It involves sacrificial giving of yourself to others for their sakes, not for the sake of appreciation or returned love or favor.
“For if you love those who love you … what reward have you?
Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same?” (Mt 5:46) ...
When you sacrificially serve others, it becomes almost impossible /not/ to love them.
Where there is genuine practical love, genuine emotional love is sure to follow …
The first command is simple and unambiguous: *Young women*, which in this context refers to young wives, are *to love their husbands.*
There are no conditions or exceptions.
It is not simply that love of *husbands* is a virtue but that not loving them is a sin.[2] [/Husbands are in sin as well who fail to love their wives as the Bible defines love, both fileo and agape/]
 
It doesn’t mean you agree on everything with your spouse, but it does mean you agree that you will obey God’s Word to love.
The late Ruth Bell Graham was a Presbyterian who married Baptist preacher Billy Graham and who I believe remained a Presbyterian till the day she died.
She said it was a great day in her life when she realized it was not her job to change her husband.
She has been quoted as saying "It’s my job to love Billy and God's job to change him."
In fact, biblical love is loving them “just as I am” (as they are now)  /even if/ God does not change them.
As 1 Peter 3 says, it may in fact be your loving submission and spirit that God uses to change him, even an unbelieving husband. 1 Corinthians 7 says it is possible for a wife to be the tool God uses to sanctify her husband.
But regardless of the spouse’s response, God’s Word calls both husband and wife to biblical love.
The early church father Chrysostom pointed out that love for husband is mentioned first and is emphasized as the chief point because the other qualities in this passage flow from it.[3]
And if you can do what it says in the beginning of verse 4, it makes the end of verse 5 a whole lot easier (being submissive).
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