(This sermon was preached on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 11, 2008 at Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY. To listen to the entire sermon, click here. To listen to other sermons, click on http://www.matt-perry.net/sermons. To read the Introduction, click here.)
Look at Titus 2:3. “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine.” Titus was a young pastor who followed Paul as a disciple for a good while before ministering on the island of Crete. Titus oversaw a number of churches and sought to model the Lord’s teaching through Paul. Titus worked on two fronts: staving off the false teachers on one front, and stabilizing the immaturity of the faithful on another front.
But also the fact that Paul is even addressing women was quite contrary to that culture. Women were not highly esteemed. Older women and widows were virtually ignored and neglected. Yet here, Paul addresses them. That in itself was significant to many, but not to Paul. In Galatians 3:28, Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Paul understood from Christ that there was an equality of souls that could go before the Lord. There was an understanding even from Genesis 1:26-27 and God made both “male and female” in his image.
So Paul comes along and encourages the older women in the assembly to be “reverent.” The word used here in the Greek only occurs here out of the entire New Testament and deals with a notion of being priestlike and being a person of holiness. This ties in with 1 Peter 3:4 which says, “Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:4).
Paul brings this up because older women, especially widows, who for the most part have more time on their hands due to retirement, children being away from home, etc., have certain temptation that may come along to fill the time. He notes that women should not be “slanderers.” This word in the English comes from the Greek diabolous which is where we get the word ‘diablo’ or Devil. The Devil is a slanderer and an accuser, specifically to the saints of God (Revelation 12). The temptation is to look at the world or even the church and spend time lamenting how different it is, how bad it is, how awful so-and-so is. When driving by Lexington Baptist Temple the other day, I saw a sign on their marquee saying, “Beware: if someone is gossiping to you about someone else, then they are also gossiping to someone else about you.”
Paul also warns for older women not to be “slaves to much wine.” Why would this be a temptation? Simply put, to dull and take the edge off the pain. Most of the older women were widows, and even with the best of memories from the past, loneliness can be the most painful thing a person can endure. Also, many older women (and men) struggle with physical issues that cause great physical pain and the temptation is to drink “much wine” for medicinal purposes. The Apostle Paul advised young Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach issues (likely due to the pressure of pastoring a church).
What is the point here? Paul is lovingly admonishing the seasoned saints who have more time on their hands due to retirement, maybe loss of spouse and the empty nest syndrome to use that constructively building up rather than being destructive in tearing down. So how should the women use their time?
(Tomorrow: A Titus 2 Woman: A Discipler of Younger Women)