Grace-energized Living: The Titus Two Model

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March 16, 2012

By John Barnett

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We have gathered as Christ's church this morning, but the church that met as Christ's church nearly 2,000 years ago in New Testament times was a much simpler, informal gathering.

There were no “church buildings”, so homes or public places were used.

There were no written materials other than God's Word. No books, no tapes, no videos, no projectors, no parking lots, no auditoriums: just people indwelt by God's Spirit and His Word.

When they met they learned why they were there, what they were to share, and how they were to live. In other words they were given what we could call a Mission, a Message, and a Method.

Our study of Titus 2 over these past weeks has been examining the method God commanded for them to reach their culture. But before we return to that method of Christ's church for reaching a godless society, back up and look at the mission and message of the New Testament church, because like them...

We Have a Mission

As we open to I Thessalonians 4:1 may I remind you this morning that as Christ's church we have a mission that Paul summarized as pleasing God (I Thessalonians 4:1).

1 Thessalonians 4:1" Finally then, brethren, we urge (PAI an continuous present action) and exhort (PAI) in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God;" NKJV

Paul’s teaching involved a continuous urging and exhorting of the believers in Thessalonica to stay on track with their mission in life of pleasing God at every level of their life.

The word translated ‘to please’ God is a fascinating word in Greek (aresko; 19 times in New Testament) that means: “to please; to strive to please; to accommodate one’s self to the desires and interests of another”

Paul continuously reminded them they had a mission every day of life and that was to please God. Think about life today and each new day you start, as launching out on a mission to please God all through the day and night, everywhere you are, and in everything you do. That was the mission that marked the New Testament saints.

Secondly we find that Paul also taught them that their message was simply the gospel of the grace of God. The message was simple and easy to remember and repeat. In a confusing world with many false messages they declared God’s message. So like them…

We Have a Message

As we turn to Acts, this mission is accomplished by the proclamation of a message Paul summarized as the gospel of grace (Acts 20:24).

Acts 20:24 “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." NKJV

gospel of the grace of God. An apt description, since salvation is solely by God’s grace (Eph. 2:8, 9; Titus 2:11).

Acts 20:32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified." NKJV

word of His grace. The Scriptures, the record of God’s gracious dealings with mankind. build you up. The Bible is the source of spiritual growth (1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 1 Pet. 2:2) for all Christians. And since the church is “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15), its leaders must be familiar with that truth.

The message of grace—that God did everything possible to be done for salvation and anyone can come to Him merely by faith seems impossible. And as Paul says, it sounds foolish (1st Corinthians 1:18). But the message of the gospel of grace, summarized by the cross of Christ is what we are to share.

God assures us that His grace gives us the strength, or ‘energizes’ us, to do all that pleases Him, making this gospel the greatest message of all. But how exactly were the men and women saved out of the world to reach the world? How were they to live on a daily basis that would make their lives redemptive?

But the most amazing part of all that the Lord is doing is His plan to do all this by a method is spelled out in Titus 2:1-14—Paul summarized as energized by God’s grace to live in a way that is otherwise impossible.

The grace-energized life of Titus 2 is a roadmap for all who want their life to count. It is God’s pathway of disciplines to choose each day in the power of the Spirit of grace, armed with the message of grace. God says…

We Have a Method

God’s plan to work in the world is His church. Christ's church may be described as a group of people, energized by grace, doing the impossible for the glory of God. A key insight into God’s plan to reach the world through Christ's church is in Titus chapter 2.

The verses of this chapter contain a call to First Century men and women energized by grace to live an extraordinary spiritual life in a very unspiritual culture.

When grace energizes us we want to deny ungodliness in any form we find it cropping up in our lives. When God’s grace energizes us we want to mortify lust in any form in our lives.

We want to live life day-by-day and step-by-step in way that pleases God. When energized by grace, we are useful to God.

When the Gospel of Jesus Christ entered the Roman world of the New Testament the landscape was very bleak. Christ's church was born into a sin-warped, sin-darkened world of mixed-up marriages, sin-scarred lives, and confused families.

Sin-warped Lives

But men and women who were gloriously saved did not automatically become great wives and mothers, or husbands and fathers. When they came to Christ and were forgiven, God graciously gave them everything they needed to become godly wives, mothers, husbands, and fathers. But, they needed something else. They need worship services that taught them to believe correctly, and then they needed small group discipleship times to learn how to behave correctly. Correct behavior is behavior energized by grace.

Titus 2 describes how God works in the life of a believer. When we were saved and the gospel of grace began in our lives, the evidence is seen in the sanctification process. Grace always teaches genuine believers how to say no to sin in any form.

When God gets to pick the curriculum for His Church, what does He choose to be taught? He lays down godly character qualities for men and women.

And that is the vital ministry which we find captured for us in Titus 2. What were these older women in the faith supposed to do?

Coaches in Godly Living

Just as important as the preaching and teaching of the doctrines of God's Word was the modeling and nurturing of individual saints through practical hands-on lessons in godly living.

We have already learned that the Titus Two woman is an imperfect person, saved by God, and energized by His grace to live an exemplary life as described in Titus 2:3-4. So we could easily say that:

• Women energized by grace—are reverent in their behavior,

• Women energized by grace—are not slanderers,

• Women energized by grace—are not given to much wine,

• Women energized by grace—are teachers of good things, and

• Women energized by grace—are discipling younger women.

Those new believers, fresh out of paganism needed coaching, training, modeling, and encouraging in a one-on-one relationship. Godly behavior is a series of choices; and those men and women had to be nurtured in daily skills that would lead to loving marriages and families.

God’s plan has not changed. Two thousand years ago the Lord told men and women just what He wanted to see in their lives, and that is what He still is looking for today! We are in the midst of looking at the way God designed for women to most magnify and glorify Him by their everyday lives.

Twelve Characteristics of Grace-energized Women

This morning we are studying the seventh characteristic. Paul told Titus to raise up grace-energized mothers. This element of the New Testament church is found at the end of verse 4.

Follow along with me as we look at the entire scope of God’s entire curriculum for women, and then we’ll examine this seventh characteristic.

Please stand with me as we read Titus 2:3-5.

v. 3 the [grace energized] older women likewise, that they be

1. reverent in behavior,

2. not slanderers,

3. not given to much wine,

4. teachers of good things— v. 4

5. that they admonish

the [grace energized] young women

1. to love their husbands,

2. to love their children, v. 5

3. to be discreet,

4. chaste,

5. homemakers,

6. good,

7. obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. (NKJV)

Grace-energized Living Follows the Titus 2 Model

When Paul gets down to every day life for women he builds on the character of God, revealed in God's Word.

God is love, and the greatest of all Christian virtues is love.

So what is the most powerful aspect of a wife and mother’s life on earth obeying God’s calling to her life? Her grace-energized love.

And what does God say will last forever from all the endless and mostly unseen hours of work that being a wife and mother entail? All the deeds offered in obedience to the Lord produced by grace-energized-love.

In Titus 2:4 we find the key that produces eternal reward from every day of a grace-energized-wife’s marriage and a grace-energized-mother’s family. Paul explains that the key is love. The first calling of a wife and mother is in God's Word to be LOVE.

[Our] gifts, [and our] ministries… all one day will cease to exist because they will cease to have purpose or meaning... But our showing love [to our husbands and children], practicing [that] love, [and] living [ that] love now--are of utmost importance, more important than having any of the other virtues or gifts, because love is the link God gives us with His eternal Self .

The key to grace-energized lives, marriages, and families is love.

Love was rarely seen in every day life and culture in the Roman world; and this gentle, sensitive, grace-energized love was to become a powerful witness in the culture of century one. Jesus had already said that by this shall all know that you are My disciples, by your love. So that is why Paul says… Grace-energized-mothers love their children. That is the second phrase of Titus 2:4

v. 4c “to love their children”

This characteristic is one word in the Greek text, philoteknos; and it means to be a lover of children, so grace-energized-mothers love their children. That is what God says through Paul. And this love is phileo love that can be felt. That is a grace-energized-mother’s special ministry in Christ's church!

Just the fact that these words were inspired by God to come to His saints means that this was not common, this was not easy, and this was not normal. This type of love just doesn’t “happen” because God wants it, it is a choice, it is a lesson to be learned , and it is a factor that determines a believer’s eternal reward in Heaven.

And that phileo love that is emotional, close, and visible is what the Lord asks from grace-energized mothers towards their children.

Do your loved ones in your family feel your love?

Practice Ways to Make your Love Felt

Grace-energized-mothers make sure their loved ones feel their love. To help them receive and be touched by your love, we can try to use those several key ingredients that we see in both Christ's and Paul’s ministry. These small choices always help us to communicate affirmation and encouragement.

First, look at what Jesus did in Mark 10:16 when he blessed the children. He gathered them into His arms. Jesus was always touching those He ministered to. He could have healed them with a word, nine times in Mark alone Jesus touches those He served . So should we! The act of touch is a key to communicating warmth and affirmation. It is even essential to physical health. Be generous with your hugs. Remember these ways we already learned from Christ's training of His disciples and Paul’s training of Timothy?

1. So, like Jesus: Grace-energized-mothers love their children in a way that can be felt when they use meaningful touches with them.

Second, do you remember reading through several verses in the epistles to Timothy, how Paul used tender and encouraging words to help his son in the faith Timothy? He doesn’t belittle him for his weaknesses and tears. We should always remember that hugs aren’t enough, we need like Paul to say as many encouraging and uplifting words as possible.

Tell your children how you feel about them! Those who are left to fill in the blanks often feel worthless and insecure. At best, only confusion can come from silence. Far too many of us are really not that encouraging.

It’s not that we have a critical spirit. Rather, we just say nothing. Our loved ones are not mind readers. We can do better than just expecting them to know we are in their corner, loving and admiring them silently. They need to hear it!

Grace-energized-mothers make an effort to catch them doing something good, right, thoughtful, considerate, well done, etc. and point it out. Highlight it! "Hey, you really handled that situation very well." Just like Paul does as he communicates with Timothy.

2. So, like Paul: Grace-energized-mothers love their children in a way that can be felt when they prepare and use special words for them.

Thirdly, remember what we saw in Paul, how he told Timothy he had a “treasure” entrusted him; and that he was “gifted”; and that God was “going to use him”? Grace-energized-mothers tell their children the qualities you admire in them.

3. So, like Paul: Grace-energized-mothers love their children in a way that can be felt when they attach high value to them.

Fourthly, we saw that Paul told Timothy about a “crown” that was awaiting him as he ran the “race” set before him; and that the Lord was going to “reward” him. So we also should express to our children what God can do with them as they follow Him in their life.

Grace-energized-mothers explain to their children how they can become the greatest servant of the Lord in what ever field God has gifted them. Explain why you think their gifts and character traits will be useful throughout their lives. Avoid the overuse of negative admonitions; use Biblical affirmations to inspire confident dependence upon God.

4. So, like Paul: Grace-energized-mothers love their children in a way that can be felt when they picture a bright future for them.

Fifthly, reaffirm your plan to stand by your loved one through the months and years ahead to help make your words of affirmation become a reality. Paul expressed this truth as he confessed that one of his greatest labors was remembering Timothy “night and days” (II Timothy 1:3). Express ways you want to be a deeper part of their life (monthly dates, weekly prayer studies, nightly prayer times, on going shared prayer list, etc.)

Don’t quit as soon as you miss a scheduled time because of a conflict or your loved one hurts or discourages you, or your child fails in some area.

What final words rang in Christ's disciples ears from the “Great Commission”? For the rest of their life they heard Him say, “I am with YOU always!” I am walking through every day of your life with you in love, in concern, in partnership.

5. So, like Paul and Jesus: Grace-energized-mothers love their children in a way that can be felt when they make a commitment to walk through life with them.

Sixthly, Grace-energized-mothers pray for their children, and let them know it. Start a life-long prayer list with specific areas that you have learned from them need prayer, and then PRAY. Ask for updates. Celebrate answers. Pray together.

If you are not praying for them each day, who is?

Regardless of their age, they need you to lift them up before the Lord in prayer each day. Think about their day. Think about their setting. Think about the people they will be with. Pray about these situations.

We need all the help we can get, and much of what happens to us or to our children in this life is beyond our control. John 17 is Christ's model prayer for us to treasure just as His disciples did back then as they heard Him pray for THEM.

6. So, like Jesus: Grace-energized-mothers love their children in a way that can be felt when they make a commitment to pray through life with them.

Finally, Jesus started His ministry with the Twelve by one simple plan in Mark 3:14, “and He ordained 12 that they should be with Him”. Watch them, share their ups and downs; know where they are in their spiritual life, their school life, work life, home life. Find out who they are close to and who they are not close to—and why.

Take an interest in whatever seems to interest your children. Get into his or her world.

Be lovingly persistent in communicating with your children. That is, keep trying to set up times when meaningful communication can occur.

Share activities. Go to the grocery store, try a family time camping together, or even just ask them to do what you are doing with you (cooking, yard work, running errands). It is always loving--to want them, include them, and ask for them to spend time with you.

Take the initiative in asking your children questions. Have an endless learning time asking about what they think, what they feel, what they like or don’t like—and why. Learn their favorite flavor, favorite food, favorite activity, dreamed of place to go, and so much more. Write it down afterward to see what you remembered, and ask again until you do remember. Then surprise them with something they like!

Listen to your children with full attention. Let her see your eyes light up when they talk to you.

Meet their needs with love: a regular schedule of nutritious meals, clean clothes, clean bodies, adequate sleep and rest. Give them a heart that serves.

7. So, like Jesus: Grace-energized-mothers love their children in a way that can be felt when they become a student of their child’s life.

And as we share in time with them we can add even more gifts:

• Give them a heart that rejoices and is filled with happiness. Psalm 113:9 describes a “joyful” mother.

• Give them a heart that gives like Christ's (Mark 10:45): because love gives (John 3:16); because love is generous (II Cor. 9:6); because love expects nothing back (Luke 6:35).

• Give them a heart that plays and is full of fun.

• Give them a heart that celebrates all their special days (Matthew 5:41); and since we have to do all those things in the family, why not make them special!

• Give them a heart that prefers your family first (Titus 2:4 says they are your first priority).

• Give them a heart that is focused (Matthew 6:24).

• Give them a heart that is present and attentive (Psalm 119:10 ‘my whole heart’).

• Give them a heart that trusts in the Lord (Isaiah 26:3 ‘perfect peace…trusts’).

Dorothy Patterson, one of the authors of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, puts the issue into focus:

“A mother builds something far more magnificent than any cathedral the dwelling place for an immortal soul…No professional pursuit so uniquely combines the most menial tasks with the most meaningful opportunities.”

Practical Application Guide:

Here are just a few ways to work on to help your children know and feel your love.

Practice Blessing Your Children

So, tonight I want you to focus for a few minutes on giving an encouraging blessing to each member of your family.

Use this definition of the Greek word for “blessing” that we have been learning about.

Plug in some genuine loving expressions of what you see that you can praise in their life.

2127 eulogeo is a verb used 44 times in the New Testament that means:

“to praise [your loved one], to celebrate [them] with praises [that] invoke [God’s] blessings and consecrate [your loved one] with solemn prayers [that] ask God’s blessing on [your loved one] to cause [them] to prosper, to make [them] happy, to bestow blessings [that they be] favored by God.”

Often we forget that strengths and weaknesses are just the two opposite ends of a characteristic we exhibit. For examples someone who is anxious and worries has just misdirected their meditation onto problems instead of blessings.

There are so many character flaws that we can encourage the positive side in a person. Just as Peter was encouraged by Christ's loving ministry so can we encourage prayerfully those we love. Here are a few of the two-ends of the same trait:

Positive Character Negative Character

Alert and sociable Overly curious, nosy

Sensitive Touchy

Resourceful and creative Manipulative

Thrify and stewardship minded Stingy

Expressive and dramatic Overly talkative

Enthusiastic, vivacious Flighty

Sincere, earnest, with strong convictions Too serious

Strong convictions and uncompromising Bold and inflexible

Strong disciplines and convictions Rigid

Confident and assured overbearing

Creative and imaginative Dreamer and distracted

Organized and efficient Too fussy

Grace-Energized-Mothers Cultivate Spiritual Assets

A servant of God has their heart set on spiritual treasures and measures life by the acquisition of spiritual assets rather than merely physical assets. Do you keep track of your Spiritual Assets? Often we know our house value, our retirement investment value, the worth of our collections and treasures—but do you keep an inventory of spiritual assets? What are some of our spiritual assets?

These are things like:

• Knowing where your kid’s are reading in God's Word so they remember when they grow up and leave home that you always cared how they were doing spiritually.

• Asking your husband or wife each week what they are finding in God's Word that is helping them to make it through the day. And, actually remembering what they said the last time because you care. This is a spiritual treasure because it forges a strong bond in your hearts of a shared spiritual walk.

• Finding and learning scripture memory verses that you share in common with your loved ones are a spiritual treasure. Not hundreds or even dozens, but a handful that you all have learned and share in common. What a treasure to quote them around the living room when the power goes out, or an ice storm cancels church, or when you are traveling, to have this body of Scripture that you together as a couple and a family learned is a true spiritual treasure. Some of the more valuable passages are Psalm 23, the love chapter--I Corinthians 13, the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5, and key verses on the tongue and faith in James.

• Collecting testimonies of salvation is a record of each person’s greatest treasure, isn’t it? The only thing that lasts forever from this world will be people and whatever we send up to Heaven before we leave. So, who are you taking to Heaven with you? Have you heard, understood, and savored the testimonies of your family? Can you tell your husband’s or wife’s testimony? How about your children? What an incredible treasure is our salvation. Take a spiritual inventory of the status of each soul around you in those you love.

• Recording and remembering those spiritual milestones, have you started on this spiritual asset yet? Do you record your loved ones salvation date, baptism date, when they started the habit of personal devotional quiet times, what they are doing in that QT? Have you started yet to celebrate each other’s spiritual birthdays? Do you keep a record of, share and celebrate any souls led to Christ by you or by loved ones, and then uphold them by prayer? Who can your family say that you as a family are “taking to Heaven”?

• Finally, one of the great spiritual treasures is a lifelong prayer journal. Even if you’ve never started, it is never too late to start watching God at work through prayer. Any type of list will do, just date it, hold onto it, and be specific enough in your requests—and there you have it—an actual record of the God of Heaven moving in and through your life by prayer. A list of family needs, specific challenges, hurdles, obstacles, great goals, and so on are all prayed over. As well the verses for Christ's formation in the lives of those you love are always such a tool. Just a sheet of paper, dated, written out and prayed over faithfully until it wears out and then a new one started will harvest great spiritual gains and treasures.

Grace-Energized-Mothers Cultivate Habits that Demonstrate their Love

1. Mothers Energized by Grace love their children anyway. Yes I know you love them. Most of us parents adore our children — most of the time. Yet, some parents have a way of regularly communicating to their children that they do not measure up. I’m thinking now about the young girl who grew up in a family where she was seen as the dunce. Now as a young woman, she continues to experience the same from her family. Children need parents who will believe in them and no matter what will love them anyway.

2. Mothers Energized by Grace prepare their children for the battleground, not the playground. Some parents constantly buy their children toys, gadgets, candy, McDonalds, etc. The kids then get into their high school years and the pampering continues. Only now, the toys are much more expensive. What does that communicate to these children? Meanwhile, other parents prepare their children for life on the battleground where a spiritual battle is taking place. These parents realize that children need more than toys. They need to be equipped for life so that they will survive the difficulties and trials they will face.

3. Mothers Energized by Grace deal with their own issues. There are no perfect human beings. Yet, if you don’t deal with your own issues (your sins, your insecurities, your feelings of inadequacy, etc.), these can impact your children. They may end up having to deal with some of the very issues you would never grapple with.

4. Mothers Energized by Grace take every opportunity to remind them of who they are in Christ. They will, most likely, receive many false messages about their identity. They will be told that their worth is based upon their academic record, their physical attractiveness, their charm, their ability to make money, etc. You bless your children when you help them grow up with a sense of their real identity.

5. Mothers Energized by Grace bless your children by giving them you. Jesus called the 12 to spend time with Him (Mark 3:14) and that was the great expression of His love. So should we commit to spend time with those we love. There is no substitute for your presence in their lives. Your regular, consistent, emotional and physical presence means so much. I have known a few parents who seem to see their child as one more activity on the list of things to be done for the day. Yet one senses there is no real connection between parent and child. Being attentive and giving one-on-one time are priceless gifts to children.

6. Mothers Energized by Grace say only what communicates value, respect, and love. Choose to never say or do anything that will humiliate. Sometimes, families will tell embarrassing, humiliating, stories about their children. The child is embarrassed at this but then the parent says, "I’m just kidding." (In other words, "Since I think this is funny, you shouldn’t let this bother you.") Listen, we all do things in our families that are silly, stupid, mindless, careless, etc. I have found that it is much better for me to tell about something silly or stupid that I did — not my children. Children need to know that homes are safe places where one’s mistakes are not announced to the world.

7. Mothers Energized by Grace want to be their child’s greatest encourager. Far too many parents are really not that encouraging. It’s not that they have a critical spirit. Rather, they just say nothing. Children are not mind readers. We can do better than just expecting them to know we are in their corner. They need to hear it! Make an effort to catch them doing something good, right, thoughtful, considerate, well done, etc. and point it out. Highlight it! "Hey, you really handled that situation very well."

8. Mothers Energized by Grace Give them what they need not what they want. Many of us are very busy people. We have a lot going on. So often, parents will feel guilty about how busy they are and so decide to give them a new "toy." Yet, we do our children no favors when we give them most everything they want. The point is this: Too many children grow up getting all the things they want while little attention is given to what they really need. Think about what your children really need if they are going to make it in this difficult world as obedient children of a loving God.

9. Mothers Energized by Grace Give their children something to look forward to when they come home. Give them a beautiful home to look forward to. That’s home — not house. Anyone with enough money can build a beautiful house. Our children need beautiful homes. Homes that are filled with warmth, laughter, and love. Beautiful homes are places where children can catch a glimpse of the loving God in the love of their parents. These homes remind kids that no matter how bad the day is at school or with friends, they can always come home.

For a Christian mother, another core responsibility is to care for her children. Children are to be a priority in her life. In many developed countries of the world today, an anti-birth, anti-child mentality permeates society. Bible-believing Christians, however, must affirm the paramount value of children and motherhood .

For a Christian mother, another core responsibility is to care for her children. Children are to be a priority in her life. In many developed countries of the world today, an anti-birth, anti-child mentality permeates society. Bible-believing Christians, however, must affirm the paramount value of children and motherhood .

Always remember as you try to build these habits of love that quote from Dorothy Patterson, one of the authors of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, who again puts this issue into focus:

“A mother builds something far more magnificent than any cathedral the dwelling place for an immortal soul…No professional pursuit so uniquely combines the most menial tasks with the most meaningful opportunities.”


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