We're so glad you've joined us on The Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Hello again, I'm Bill Wright. Today Don continues teaching God's people God's Word in our current series titled, Living as God's People. Let's join Don now for part one of a message called The Mature Christian Woman on The Truth Pulpit. First Timothy chapter 2 verse 9. Again, Paul writing the Lord's commandment to women in the church. He says in verse 9, likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, but rather by means of good works as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness, but I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
For it was Adam who was first created and then Eve, and it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint. The restrictions on women are clarified here in the church as being a formal teaching capacity or exercising authority over men. That is God designed, God ordained roles of distinction within the body of Christ. Now I realize, beloved, that in society and certainly in the broader evangelical church and perhaps even to some inside the walls of this church, I realize that feminists inside and outside of the church protest against the biblical principles that we have seen. But, beloved, you and I as followers of Christ, as he has revealed his will and his word, we are not driven by culture. We are impervious to its demands, especially when it is contrary to the word of God. We are not driven by the example of women like Beth Moore or Joyce Meyer.
The fact that they have popular wide followings does not justify what they are doing. Scripture is the rule, not outward appearances before men. Now you're still in 1 Timothy. Notice that what Paul says in verse 10, because it gives us a bridge and a segue into Titus chapter 2. Paul, having said he wants women to adorn themselves with modesty and discreetness, says that they should adorn themselves also by means of good works as is proper for women making a claim to godliness. Now what would the life of a woman making a claim to godliness, what would her good works be? He doesn't specify there in 1 Timothy exactly what he has in mind, but as scripture interprets scripture and we come to Titus chapter 2 verse 3, we get very clear instructions on four different areas of life that Paul has in mind, and therefore what the Lord Jesus Christ has in mind for women within the body of Christ. So go to Titus chapter 2.
We'll land here and stay here for a while. What does the Bible say about the role of women? What does the Bible say about the role of women in the church?
Beloved, let me step back for a moment and just remind you of things that we have said many, many times and cannot overemphasize. Beloved, the church belongs to Christ, not to men, not to women. It is Christ who secured the church and purchased the church with his own blood. By right of purchase, by right of creation, Jesus Christ has the right to establish the way that he wants his church to operate and the way that he wants relationships to function within his body.
His body, that is his right, that is his prerogative. He is Lord and therefore what he says is law and is that which is required for his people to follow. What does Christ therefore say in his word? Titus chapter 2 verses 3, 4, and 5. He says, older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine teaching what is good so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands so that the word of God will not be dishonored. Beloved, if any woman comes to me and asks and says that she's struggling to find God's will for her life, I'm going to start by pointing her right here.
This is the will of God for Christian women and this is what we need to consider. Today we're going to focus on the mature Christian woman, the older woman in verse 3. We'll save the younger women for verses 4 and 5 for next time. Now as you look at verse 3, notice how it begins as Paul shifts from addressing older men, he now pivots to addressing older women and he says in verse 3, older women likewise.
He's continuing the train of thought that he developed in the first two verses of the chapter. What he's saying is he's calling women to manifest a similar kind of dignity that he had just called the older men in the church to manifest. The only distinction is, the whole point is an overarching dignity that would mark older men and older women in the church.
The distinction is is that he draws out different application for men and women. We saw the application to men in verse 2. Verse 3 we see he's likewise, he's continuing the train of thought when he says older women are to be thus and so. Paul does not specify the exact chronological age that he has in mind.
Some of it is comparative by the nature of life in a congregation. You know, if you had a congregation that was primarily people in their 20s, someone in their 30s would qualify as an older woman compared to those around her. In a more developed, mature congregation like ours, older women is going to have a different perhaps chronological focus, but that's really secondary to the fact that Paul is addressing women who are in a particular station of life. By what he says in verses 4 and 5, it seems that he's addressing those who have either completed the work of raising a family or are farther along in it than what those with young children are.
And so think about it in terms of a station of life, not a chronological number, and you'll be well on your way to getting the import of what Paul is trying to say here. And so, beloved, how does a Christian woman aim for maturity in light of the work of Christ on her behalf? If you have been redeemed by Christ, you're an older woman, what does Christ require of you now to be? What does he call you to do? And if you're a younger Christian woman, you still benefit from this kind of instruction because you see the long-term aspirations of your heart, what they should be, what God would have you aim your life after. And, beloved, I just need to be very candid with you.
Listen, let me back up and say this. It is important for me to speak the truth plainly today and not worry about whose feelings I might hurt or who might be offended by what I have to say. That is not my job here today. My job is to set forth the Word of God with the best clarity and demeanor that I can muster in my fallen flesh, and let the Spirit of God help you understand how it applies in your own particular situation. The emphasis here is not a calling to go out and be a career woman in business. It's something different in the body of Christ, and so we need to be mindful of that. How does a Christian woman aim for spiritual maturity regardless of what she's doing with her life? I'm going to give you four qualities, four things that she needs to keep in mind, and we're going to see that just like verse 2, sifted men completely, verse 3 is going to sift the women completely as well.
And so, may the Spirit of God help us have a teachable heart and guide us in our thinking and our responding as we come under the authority of His Word here today as a congregation. How does a Christian woman aim for spiritual maturity? First, it starts with her self-assessment.
Her self-assessment. There is a fundamental way that this verse calls a Christian woman to think about herself and to think about herself in relationship to Christ. Look at it here in verse 3.
In the NASB, it reads this, older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior. That word reverent, it is the only time that it is used in the New Testament. And the word reverent, as it's translated for us here in the original language, it is related to the word for being a priest.
And what a priest is, especially you see it especially in the Old Testament as you read through Leviticus and the early part of the book of Numbers, a priest was someone that God had set apart for his service. And that's the idea that Paul is expressing here is that as a Christian woman, beloved, your responsibility, your first cornerstone of how you view life is to realize this. Christ has saved you and redeemed you. Christ has died for you to make you His own.
He has put His Spirit within you. That means that Christ has set you apart in a manner that's like a priest was set apart for God in the Old Testament. You have been set apart by Christ in order to serve Him with your life and opportunities and relationships that He has given to you.
You are set apart. You view life from a reverent perspective. There's this fundamental recognition that the overarching purpose that is at work in your life is the purpose of Christ. And therefore it is your responsibility and it should be your desire to increasingly bring every aspect of your life, every attitude, every affection, every thought, every deed, to bring that under the lordship of Christ so that your life is set apart for the purposes that He set Himself apart for you.
In other words, we can put it like this to put it in more colloquial language here. The mature Christian woman does this. She takes seriously, earnestly the fact that she belongs to Christ and not to herself. She belongs to Christ, not to herself. It's the desires of Christ that drive and animate and define her priorities, not self.
That is so very important. Let's look back at a passage that can help us expand on this in 1 Corinthians chapter 6. 1 Corinthians chapter 6. And men, as we're all turning there, this, it's not that we don't think about ourselves this way. It's just that Paul's addressing women particularly in this text. But we likewise are, if we are saved, we've been set apart by God for His purposes. We've been chosen, selected, set apart, distinguished from common men. And so this applies to all of us, this applies to all of us, but Paul is addressing women in particular with this idea that she's set apart for service to God.
She belongs to God. Look at 1 Corinthians 6 verse 18 where he says, flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Now look at how he describes it.
Look at the metaphors that he uses. Do you not know, verse 19, do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body. The days of selfish living, the days of carnal living, for you, my Christian sister, they're over.
Those days are past. When Christ saved you, He set you apart to belong to Him. And every aspect of your life is to be a reflection of the fact that you understand that, that you meditate on it, and that you are earnestly seeking to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Ladies, this has really important ramifications and things that can be very strengthening if you simply, if you simply embrace it. You know, the world tells you, you're to live this way and think this way and do one thing, and if you don't have this, you don't count, and all of that nonsense.
Ladies, understand this. I am about to lay before you wonderful liberty, wonderful, wonderful, a wonderful sense of identity that no one can take away from you. So hear me carefully with what I say. You are not defined in your essence. You are not defined in your identity by your marital status, by your family status, whether you're someone's wife, whether you're someone's mother, by what kind of things you do. You're not defined by any of that according to Scripture if you are in Christ. You are defined preeminently and first of all by the fact that Christ has set you apart for Himself. You have the blessed privilege, the blessed position of having been selected by God for salvation. You have the blessed position of Christ having loved you and given Himself up for you on the cross.
You have the blessed position of being defined by the fact that the Spirit of God moved in your heart individually with power in order to give you new life and make you a new creation in Christ. And beloved, that is far more important than anything that happens on earth. It transcends your health. It transcends how your spouse treats you. It transcends how your children treat you. It transcends all of that. The supreme vertical defining pillar in your life is that God has loved you in Christ and Christ gave Himself up for you to redeem you on the cross. It doesn't matter how anyone else responds to you.
It doesn't matter how life goes. This is the supreme defining purpose, the supreme defining factor of your existence. And so you're to assess your position in Christ and realize that it impacts your entire life. Look there again at verse three with me, Titus chapter two verse three.
Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior. Again, this is the only time that behavior is used, that particular word is used in the New Testament. And beloved, what it's referring to is this.
This is so sweet and so precious. And for those of you that are truly in Christ and Christ is precious to you, this is going to be a very sweet explanation of the text coming to you. What Paul is saying here with the word behavior is this. Behavior refers to a life that expresses godly inner character.
The behavior flows from a character that is inside, the hidden person of the heart. Look over at 1 Peter chapter three where we see this address to women also. So very important, so counter-cultural, so necessary for women to recognize this, to understand that and decisively reject the spirit of the world and embrace what scripture says is the unique opportunity and calling of God on women.
1 Peter chapter three verse one. In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives. As, watch this, they observe your chaste and respectful behavior. Your adornment must not be merely external, braiding the hair and wearing gold jewelry or putting on dresses, but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit which is precious in the sight of God. You see, Paul is calling women to a gentle spirit, a quiet spirit, a submissive spirit in the context of their family life.
That is so critical to understand. And so you exist, beloved, you exist to cultivate this quiet godly character in your heart which is cultivated by a quiet meditation on the word of God, by private, quiet prayer to God and asking God to increase the fruit of this in your heart. You exist to reflect Christ in thought, word, and deed. And you understand that all of your life, all that you say, the way that you present yourself, all that you do, the life goals that you seek, all of these are expressing whether you do or are not manifesting this quiet, gentle spirit that Scripture calls women to do in multiple places. Peter, Paul, Christ, how many times does this have to be said before the church of God?
I'm speaking broadly, collectively here. How many times does Scripture have to say it before the church says, we must be distinct from the world, not as much like it as we can possibly be? The idea is not to get as close to the line of the world as you can in your spirit and in your behavior and in your conversation. The idea is to be as much like Christ as you can.
And so let me step back and say this. Whether you were saved in a Christian home at an early age, as some of you blessedly were, or whether you were saved in adult life after a lot of sin and promiscuity, in one way or another, those of you who are Christians, you have been saved out of a sinful past. And some of you gave yourselves over to sin more than others did.
And I'm sure there are times when you have twangs of regret about that. But understand this, beloved, the whole point of Christian salvation is this, that in Christ you have been joined together with the living God, with the living Son of God. You've been joined together with Christ. He chose you. He loved you. You are united with him in his life, death, burial, and resurrection. You will be with him throughout all of eternity.
Ladies, that means something really critical. It means your past no longer defines you. You are a new creation in Christ.
You have been loved by the Son of God, and his love is the defining element of your life that defines all else. And Christ has said, your sins and your lawless deeds I will remember no more. He does not hold them against you.
He does not hold them against you. Ladies, Christian ladies, Christ chose you. Christ redeemed you at the cross. You are justified based on his righteousness, not your own. God accepts you not because of who you are or what you've done. He does not reject you because of what you have done. He accepts you because what his Son has done on your behalf.
That's fundamental to everything. And when you realize that and you ladies see how important theology is for your self-image, you realize, ah, you know what? I want to be reverent. I want to be set apart for the one who loved me like that after men have abused me and ridiculed me and shamed me and betrayed me again and again and again.
You live life with a fear of rejection and you live with a, you know, like a wounded puppy just trembling at the next time the door opens wondering what's coming in. Beloved, Christ is not like that. Christ has saved you. He sets you apart to be the recipient of his great and enduring and unchanging love so that you can say, you can say, yes, my past was sinful. You can say, yes, people have betrayed me. But Jesus Christ has loved me and saved me. That and that alone defines me now. I gladly give the remainder of my days to him.
Precious, isn't it? That's Don Green with part one of a message called The Mature Christian Woman, part of his series, Living as God's People, here on The Truth Pulpit. Now here again is Don with a closing word. Friends, I'm so grateful that you have joined us for The Truth Pulpit here today, and I just wanted to explain a little bit about the format and invite you to another resource. Our daily broadcast, this 26-minute format, is an edited version of full-length pulpit messages that I've given in the past. What we also have is a podcast that gives our full-length sermons on Sundays and Tuesdays, and you can register to receive those full-length sermons in your regular podcast device. You can go for the link to register at thetruthpulpit.com. Look for the podcast titled Don's Truth Community Church Sermons at thetruthpulpit.com. Thanks, Don, and thank you, friend, for joining us today. We'll see you next time as we continue teaching God's people God's Word on The Truth Pulpit.
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