My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.
* We live in an ungodly culture. This week I began re-reading Jeremiah & like I always am, I was struck by the parallels between the actions of Israel & the present day USA. The prophet voices the question from God when he says, “What fault did your Fathers find in me that they abandoned me – searching for worthlessness so they became worthless!” It goes on to ask this question, “Has a nation changed its God?”
* Any honest observation and or assessment of this nation will reveal the decay, disintegration and devolvement of this culture. We see wild immorality. A 10 year old girl told her mom that her one driving question in life was, “When can I have sex?” The problem for us today is that God’s answer to this question seems to be markedly different from the answers which are given today. Today we hear of parents saying, “When you love someone baby” or ‘You’ll just KNOW when it’s right.’ Our young people (& not so young people) are imploding because they give of themselves sexually to the extent that when they do decide to marry, they have little left to offer. The results are devastating as we live in rampant immorality.
* For any culture there exist the three levels of morality. These are defined as moral, immoral, and amoral. In the moral culture there exists an agreed upon set of moral standards which governs behavior and people actually abide by. The immoral culture is the same type of culture (where everyone KNOWS the standard) but while everyone knows the moral standard – those standards are basically ignored. The amoral culture is the one found in the last verse of Judges where, ‘everyone does what is right in their own minds.’
* In other words, it is “Katie-bar-the-door-no restraint-nothing right-nothing wrong.” It is ‘live and let live.’ It is you want to cohabitate, that’s okay because it’s no one else’s business; same sex marriage is nobody’s business. Brothers and Sisters, this is the culture we find ourselves in – in the USA of the 21st Century. Sin in all forms and perversions of God’s morals, precepts, laws, and words, have been cast aside in favor of the “If it feels good or feels right, do it.” Thus abortion is the law of the land. Sexual Immorality of all brands (homosexuality, fornication, adultery, and more) is seen as acceptable instead of sin. God’s standard, His word, and His people have been cast under the bus.
* It is into this culture that God calls men and women to be godly parents, to be salt and light, & to represent Jehovah to this world, their family, and friends. Pastorally, I will say to you that you will be challenged because you may well be called on to stand against the very people you love. Today’s question may well expose who we love most, people or God.
* So to our ladies, “How can I be a godly mom in such an ungodly culture?” To our men, don’t’ get too comfortable because these words are for us also. How can we be godly people in this ungodly culture? Please don’t miss this: being godly is not a live and let live passive attitude toward sin. In these matters, passivity was not & is not Jehovah’s approach.
* Today, from Paul’s words to Timothy, let me offer & let’s discern how to accomplish this. From the text I lift out three ways.
1) By Your Modeling – (v2) – Now in this culture, we know what ‘female models’ are, or at least we ‘think’ we know. Models are those skinny women who appear on the magazine covers & supposedly are examples of how ‘all women should look.’ Even as I speak these words, you know better. Those models are a façade. They are photographed & brushed to perfection.
* What I am saying is that this culture casts its gaze on that which is unreal & calls it a model.
* The Bible speaks of us, both individually & collectively, as being patterns or examples for others to imitate. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that he and his team worked like they did to be an example, a pattern, & a model for them to imitate. Look how this relates to the ladies, or better said, moms.
* Verse 2 is packed full of these truths for today. It begins by addressing the “Older Women.” In the original language this word is the root word – feminine gender – of ‘presbuterous’ which is generally interpreted Elder. This speaks of someone with life-experience & Godly wisdom. This would be those who have been & are wives and mothers – those who have been far enough down the road to have stepped in a few potholes.
* The scripture says they are to be ‘reverent in behavior.’ The behavior (or action) part tells us HOW the mom is modeling for her family, friends, and neighbor. How she acts, lives, & reacts daily should be ‘reverent.’ Reverent is not what we think it is. Somehow we have decided that reverent is quiet, hands-folded-in-lap, & becoming totally passive. KJV uses the thought “as becometh holiness.’ Paul tells Titus that the mothers, older women, should show other people how to be holy, pure, chaste, & godly. Here’s a couple of practical ways to accomplish this, don’t be slanderers (in other words – don’t talk about other people) and don’t drink a great deal of alcohol (don’t let your kids drive you to drink? – I’m teasing).
* History & culture teaches us that, back in this time, the older ladies – who had time on their hands, were given to drink. Paul is saying that this is a bad habit which gives the wrong example & perception. Also, more than one time scriptures speak about this thing of slandering. It goes by many names: coarse, crude, or foolish talking as well as gossip.
* Paul says, “You need to be modeling for the young people the godly life and leave all godliness alone.” Mom, Grandma, Great-grandma (dad’s – etc) you want to leave a godly legacy in this ungodly age – become a model for God and good. This begins with a life surrendered to Jesus. It starts by recognizing what you are before the Lord – a sinner. God will reveal this to you. The Bible tells us that the payment for this sin is death (physical & eternal). The Bible tells you that Jesus died for your sin, to forgive you, & to give you abundant life here & eternal life beyond the grave. If you trust Jesus, He’ll clean you up.
* Then you can be a model with your life & (look at that last phrase) teach good things to your children, grandkids, and those who God’s places in your life. This is the starting part.
2) By Your Mentoring -(v3) – This verse is the reason we are using ESV instead of the HCSB today. For some reason instead of saying ‘train’ the HCSB says you are to ‘encourage’ the younger women. Encouragement is much different than training. To encourage is simply to offer support, cheerlead, and/or give some verbal comments that helps someone take the right action. While I’m not minimizing the need for encouragement, in fact I will say that we need more encourager in the church. But ‘teaching’ is different than ‘encouraging.’ A teacher doesn’t simply encourage their students to learn – they insist on it. Mom’s, you shouldn’t simply encourage your young daughters (& sons) as well as other young women in life, you should demonstrate it & do your best to get them to catch it.
* If you see how the scripture is written – this becomes crystal clear. (Read the last sentence of verse 2-verse 5b). What a task!
* Know what I remember? I remember a church (& community) where the women walked with God closely. The men – could be wild, but there were a few women who were godly.
* They became the conscious of the church – not because they were rude, arrogant, over-bearing, & opinionated – but because their lives spoke ‘tons’ about God’s love, God’s word, and God’s standard. You see, our influence really depends on our godliness. Our godliness depends on our intimate personal relationship with God through Christ. Our relationship with Him depends on our commitment & obedience to Him. We’re tempted to compromise.
* We are tempted because the world doesn’t understand. Most of us remember the name Bing Crosby. Most of us know that he had a daughter named Mary. I shall never forget his stand on morality which shocked the liberal media person, Barbara Walters. She interviewed him in the early 70’s – when the sexual revolution was making its way across the land. Her question to Bing was, “If Mary were to move in with a guy without getting married, what would you do?” Without missing a beat & in a matter of fact way he said, “She would not be welcomed in my house.” Barbara was aghast! “Come on Bing, you wouldn’t do that.” He didn’t get upset but simply responded, “She knows my standards, and she would be welcomed back when she honored them.” Where has this commitment gone?
* To be a godly mom or dad in this ungodly world doesn’t mean being mean, it means having convictions, modeling those convictions, and teaching those to our children. One last thing;
3) By Your Ministry – (v4) – To be a godly mom, man, or person in this culture, you must have a personal persona that speaks to the culture as a ministry. Simply defined, a ministry is what you do ‘for others expecting nothing in return.’ So take all three verses, wrap them together and discover the ministry you & I should have. How does this work? (TEXT)
* We are to be ‘reverent (holy)’, not slanderers (gossipers), nor controlled by wine (not given to lose our witness by alcohol), teach what is good (verbally & visually), train young women to love their husbands & children (a principle), be self-controlled (a message in itself), pure, working at home (priority), kind, and submissive (big stuff).
* We do this for this reason – ‘so the word of God won’t be reviled.’ Other translations use the word, slandered, maligned, & blasphemed. Have you ever considered that when people who claim the name of Jesus do not live according to His words, that in the eyes of this world, the word of God is minimized. We may not like this, but it is the truth.
* If we are going to be godly moms, dads, & kids in this ungodly world – our lives, our words, & our actions must point to Him.
* If not, then the culture will decay & disintegrate to point that everyone will do what is right in their own eyes & minds, and God & good will be dismissed.
* Consider these final thoughts: Every day we model a life of some kind. Our friends & family see it. What does your life say to those watching you? For those who look up to you, like it or not, you are influencing them like a mentor. If they become just like you, what will they ultimately be like here on earth? Finally, how is your ministry? You do have a ministry. Again, like it or not. People see what you do. Do they see Jesus in your life or do they see the ugliness of selfishness running through you?
* I believe that people here desire to be a godly person in this ungodly culture. Moms, dad, boys, & girls, all do. But perhaps we believe we can do it on our own. The Bible says we can’t. We are flawed people & mere sinners, who are hopeless on our own. The starting point & the ending point is Jesus. He will make you – if you’ll let Him.