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Mentoring maturity: Godly women of faith
Scripture: Titus 2:3-5
Track 5 of 9 in the Living as disciples in the "here and now" series
Running time: 20 minutes, 38 seconds.
Women intentionally mentoring

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Chuck Sackett Speaker: Chuck Sackett
Dr. G. Charles Sackett is minister of Madison Park Christian Church.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Sermon for Sunday, February 1, 2004
"Mentoring Maturity: godly women of faith"
Living as Disciples in the "here and now"
(Titus 2:3-5 )
Copyright 2004 G. Charles Sackett

I seem to specialize in awkward moments. You know, when you've asked one of those questions and then wished you hadn't? One of those standard questions has been (that I have since taken out of my vocabulary) when I'm speaking to husband and wife -- to the wife, do you work? Something offensive just about the question. Peggy Kampala, has, however, a pretty good answer for it and I thought I'd would just read it to you cause I could never get it all out by memory.

"When asked this question, what do you do?" Her response is. "I am socializing

two homo sapiens into the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition in order that they might be instruments for the transformation of the social order into the kind of escological utopia that God willed from the beginning of creation." In other words, she's raising Christian kids. (Not sure about the word = escological)It's an awkward moment when you try to answer this question, what do you do and for lack of a better way of saying it, you're just a housewife.

Somehow we have allowed our culture to shift and shape how we value people. It's the power of grandmothers and mothers to shape lives. In fact, they tell me this is a true story. There was a grandmother making cookies with her seven year old granddaughter (something my kids used to like to do with their grandmother as well) and this little girl was making designs in the flour on the counter when suddenly she made this comment to her grandmother. "Look grandma, this is how mom and Gary cut their cocaine." It's the power of influence. It's the power of mothers.

Just like we said last week about older men, it's true of older women. We need older women of character to develop younger women of character.

Now that's a little tough for me to talk about. I want you to know I'm nervous today. This is not my bailey wick, having never been a woman and never planning on becoming one. I'm going to talk out of my observations rather than out of my experience.

I do appreciate what Oswald Chambers said. "When you meet a man or a woman who puts Jesus Christ first, knit that one to your soul." When you meet somebody of character, hang on to them.

I want to look at Titus Chapter 2 again.

Titus 2 You remember Paul's admonition to Titus, the teacher, the preacher. You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. And he defined sound doctrine among the men as teaching older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love and endurance. Young men were to be self-controlled he said in verse 6.

Verses 3, 4, and 5 address older and younger women. Here's what he says.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Let me just make some observations. Among them this. Character produces character. Older women were to be women of character because they had a responsibility to develop character in the younger women that were around them and that character was supposed to be pretty obvious. In fact these older women were to be, well, the translation is, reverent. The word literally means to be fit for temple ser- vice. It was to be worthy of the kind of work before God that a priest might perform.

I confess to you that early in my Christian experience, being totally unchurched and unaware of all of the innuendoes and insights that other people had, it always confused me that everything that ever happened in a church, at least the church that I went to, happened with men. I looked around and there seemed to me to be some rather godly women in the room but they were never allowed to do anything.

And at first it merely confused me. After a while it began to amuse me. That the men thought they had it hands down over the women when it came to character. I confess to you that after several years of observing particularly, and no offense to the young people, particularly observing on youth Sunday when young men and young women would be up here leading the singing or sitting at the communion table or saying the prayers or passing the emblems, there would be young men and women in that youth group that I knew because they ran around with my children and I knew their character. Or, shall I say, the lack thereof. And they were allowed to do things that godly women were not allowed to do. After a little while, it no longer amused me and now just angered me that somehow we had not understood that there are godly women of character. This word literally means, fit for service. Able to do the things of the Lord. Now they're further defined as people who are not slanderous. They know how to control their tongue and their attitude. They are not drunken and apparently in the first century, it was not just a man thing to spend too much time with alcohol. They were to be self-controlled and moderate. They were to be teachers of that which was good. We all teach something. These people were to teach what was good.

Now it takes character to produce character. These older women of character, these godly women who were fit for service in the kingdom were to somehow teach the younger women also how to have character and their character is fairly well defined for us. These younger women are to learn how to love their husbands and their children. I find it interesting that you have to teach them to do that.

But if you watch the newspaper at all you recognize that it's not necessarily a natural thing. One of the sad stories coming out of the center part of our state, not far from where we live during the bulk of the week, were the drowning of three children over in Clinton Lake. Because apparently a mother got tired of raising her kids. Older women teach younger women to love your children. He says that they are to be self-controlled and pure. I never, I just confess to you that as a guy, I just never put those terms around the other gender. I just assumed this was a guy thing. I fully understand Titus 3:6 - Teach younger men to be self-controlled. I understand the male side of life. What I don't understand is this -- coming out of Today's Christian Women September of 2003 Edition. They took a poll of their female readers and with a magazine that's called Today's Christian Women, wouldn't you assume that most of the readers are women and most of the readers are Christian. Thirty-four percent of their readership acknowledge searching the internet for pornography.

I remember, and you will find this hard to imagine, because I lack so much passion in so many areas of my life, harassing the guys in our youth group, twenty years ago in a church about the way they treated the young women, and their attitudes towards girls and how they ought to behave themselves, only to have two of our key leaders in the group -- young men, athletes, in high school, come to me and say, "would you leave us alone. We're not the ones that are putting the pressure on." He said, "you have no idea what it's like to be a guy in high school who's trying to be virtuous when the girls are the ones chasing you and asking you to go to bed with them." That was a new revelation and that was twenty years ago.

Did you know, that out here, and I'm not suggesting who's reading them -- I have no idea, but the Harlequin Romance Novels. Do you know that they sell one of those – well, no, actually they sell 5-1/2 of those every second of every day in the United States. Somebody's reading a lot of junk. I haven't read ‘em, I don't know. I admit it, it was a biased statement. They just look like junk, sitting on the shelf.

Teach younger women to be busy at home. Hear this now, location is not the issue here. This is not a statement that women ought to be at home. It's a statement about attitude, about lifestyle, about whether or not you do that which you are called to do in any given location. There are two mistakes we make about the home. One in our culture is to disparage the home and to make women feel bad if they choose to be mothers who stay at home. The other is to deify the home as if a women who goes to work and has a career is somehow not a good person. The issue is the heart. It's the character of the person. They're to be kind, and their to be subject to their husbands. That's one, I must confess to you, I've never understood that. What I mean is, I understand it, I know what the Bible says about it. The Bible says that we are equals, co-equals. Women were taken from men's side, not from their feet, not from their head. We walk together in this journey. Galatians 3 is clear when it comes to salvation. There is neither male nor female, but somewhere in God's economy, he decided to make the man responsible for the final decisions. Well, maybe responsible for the final consequences.

This text does not tell women to subject themselves, nor does it tell men to subject women to them. If you read your Bibles carefully, in Ephesians 5, it's a mutual submission. Husbands submit to their wives by loving them like Christ loved the church and wives submit to their husbands by caring for them like the church cares for Christ. But apparently it's not a natural thing to do.

See, character produces character but never by accident. Did you notice the language of this text? Older women are to train younger women to do these things. Apparently it requires some kind of intentionality. You don't just grow up in a context and hope that somehow all of the good stuff rubs off and none of the bad stuff does. This is an intentional activity. Older women are to intentionally train younger women. Younger women to love their husbands and to love their children. See, culturally, in the first century, it was almost always prearranged weddings. It was never something I could quite convince my daughters was a good idea but I still think it's a good idea. That's too late, but it's a good idea. I got better judgement than they do. I do! I know! But you can imagine, can't you? A wife and a husband -- well, a guy and a gal coming together and they've hardly ever met before. You would have to learn to love your husband. And an older woman who has been through that process of knowing that, well, frankly, men are a little hard to live with sometimes, but they've learned how to do that and they've learned how to love those unlovable creatures, might have something to teach the younger women about how to learn to love somebody who's not necessarily all that lovable.

And in the first century, children were just kind of a nuisance, frankly, and if you wanted them, fine and if you didn't want them, you did what was called in the first century literature, you exposed them. In other words you put them out on the curb. If somebody wanted them, fine and if they didn't want them, they died. Mostly they exposed the women, the girls, the little infant baby girls because they weren't good for anything. And the ones who did live were often turned in to slaves or prostitutes. And so the older women who have learned how to love their children, which by the way, (I take it comes with a little time spent) are to teach these younger women to love their children, even through the hardship of child raising.

See, it's intentional mentoring. The word literally -- I love the word -- It's too bad they don't translate some of these colloquially. The word means wise up. That's literally what it means. It means to teach them wisdom. It means to teach them to be smarter, to. . to . . .literally, it means, girls, wise up! Wisdom comes with age and no offense, but younger men and younger women share this in common. They don't have age and if you don't have age, you don't have wisdom. And so the older men and the older women are told to tell the younger women and men -- wise up! Trust me!

It's really the 2Timothy 2:2 passage, you know. One disciple teaches another disciple who teaches another disciple who teaches another disciple. Only in this case, it's older women teaching younger women who will eventually then teach other younger women.

See, character is counter-cultural. Character goes against the nature of our culture. We don't have people of character in our culture. We lack it desperately and you can either choose to live a life of real character or you can live like everybody else, but if you're going to have character in this world, it's intentional. You have to work at it.

You know, the amazing thing to me is that so many, forgive me, it's just an observation, so many of our middle-aged women (I'll let you define that) typically here's what it looks like to me, an outsider, non-woman observer, there are an awful lot of 35, 40 and 45 year old women out there living their life through their children. Dressing their little girls like they would like to dress and encouraging their little girls to do the kinds of things that they'd like to be doing but they've now gotten too old to do. And I'm gonna offer you probably, a not very nice comment. Shame on you!

You're responsible to train these women to be godly women, not live out your fantasies through them.

Well, character produces character. It doesn't happen by accident and it's for a profound purpose. Did you notice that? It's really interesting to me at the end of verse 5. You're to teach these younger women these various things and then comes this phrase so that. . . so that no one will malign the word of God. Do you hear the profundity of that purpose? There's a reason why godly character is so absolutely necessary in the life of these people. It's because the word of God is at stake. The kingdom is at stake. Outreach is at stake. Oh, by the way -- that's gonna show up two more times in this text before we're done getting through Chapter 2. It's not just an older women, younger women thing. It just happens to show up with older women, younger women in this particular text. Scripture paints this picture of what a Christian woman is supposed to be like and he says when women are not like that, then Scripture, the word of God itself, becomes a scandal. Because the text of Scripture promises this kind of character and when we don't produce it, then the word is what gets scandalized.

I want to read you just a little brief statement here. Kim Alexis goes back to the 1980's. She was one of those early super models that got lots and lots of money for being pretty. She graced over 500 magazine covers. That included Vogue and Sports Illustrated (Swim Suit Edition of course). And on January 21, 1990 she became a Christian. I want you to listen to what she says young ladies. "Many women are playing with fire in the way they dress. Dressing like a fluzzie tells the world, look at me, want me, lust after me, I'm easy, you can have me. Displaying intimate parts of the body is a form of advertising for sex. Dressing modestly tells the world, I respect myself and I insist on being treated with respect." Alexis says, "it's possible to be stylish and attractive without wearing something that is too short or too low cut or too see-through." I appreciate the testimony of a Christian woman, one who lived in an arena where that was the way of life, who has now resolved that's not the way to live. Because you see, bottom line of this text and in all of Scripture is this fundamental truth, the counter-cultural character of Christian women has profound power to persuade. This counter-cultural character -- young women who grow up as godly young women who've learned to respect themselves because they have been respected by the older women in their lives, who have come to faith in Christ know how to live, have the power to profoundly impact an entire world.

Other than that, none of this matters.

So what I'm going to step out on the limb and ask you to do is pretty simple. Determine to be a woman of character. Older ladies and younger ladies alike, it starts with a decision that you're going to develop godly character in your life. Put yourself in the place where that can happen. Here, in your Bibles. In the Women's Bible studies, in Adult Discipleship studies, in your reading, in what you watch, what you allow to be valued in your life. We desperately need older people of character. Discover a godly mentor. If you don't have a woman to whom you can look that is godly, then find one. Discover one. Look around you at someone who has developed the kind of character that you can appreciate as a godly person and attach yourself as Oswald Chamber's says, "knit yourself to that person" and learn from them. Develop a commitment to be different. Don't be like everybody else in this culture and succumb to the junk that goes on. Stand out as somebody who is not afraid to be different.

And at the suggestion of somebody after last week's service let me add one more. This would be to you men, as well as, to you women. Take a moment and say thanks to the people who have been the godly mentors of your life. Write them a note -- give them a call -- send them an email -- just say thank you to the people who have made this profound difference in your life.

There is no doubt in my mind that the church must ever become more counter-cultural if we're going to make a difference. We cannot continue to look like everybody else. We have to be different! And that means walking in the footsteps of the one who can shape your life into the kind of life that matters and you know who that is.

And every Sunday we come back to this place in our journey - Sunday after Sunday - saying one more time, we want to lift up in front of you, Jesus of Nazareth and invite you to have a relationship with him that will shape you into someone God can use. This is not about pie in the sky - bye and bye - out there somewhere - oh you'll get there too. It's about the ability to go to work tomorrow morning and make a difference. It's about the ability to go home and to live in the context of a family with all of its worts and make it a good place where character development occurs in each other. It's about living in a world that's falling apart, going to hell in a handbag and having a sense of peace and contentment and purpose. It's not about having everything turn out exactly the way you think it's supposed to. It's about having someone to turn to in the midst of those hard crises and know that he's there to hold you together. We're not promising you a simple, easy life. In fact, just the opposite. It takes a real man, it takes a real woman to be a disciple of Jesus because the life is hard. What we're promising you is that it's worth it.

Let's stand together.