Matthew R. Perry

Posts Tagged ‘holiness’

A Titus 2 Woman: A Paragon of Spiritual Maturity

In Church Life, Family on May 12, 2008 at 7:06 pm

(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)

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Happy Are The Holy, For God Is In Sight

In Sermons on April 28, 2008 at 8:19 pm

Jesus urges us not to look to external piety and good works or even to our intellect, but toward the purity of heart he requires if we desire to fellowship with him. Psalm 24:3-4 says, “Who shall ascend to the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully” (Psalm 24:3-4, ESV).

If you desire to fellowship with God, then you must desire holiness before God. Christ here is calling us to unadulterated, unblemished purity. We all must be careful in allowing anything in our hearts, souls, and minds that distorts or takes away from the holiness of God. Carson again asks, “What do you think about when your mind slips into neutral?” Purity should not be present only in certain situations, but privately and publicly.

Staying pure is not easy at first. Since we are products of the Fall and are tinged by sin. I will say this: oftentimes, those who have not surrendered to Christ understand Christ’s desire for holiness better than some Christians. They understand it’s a total surrender. For many Christians, it’s just about getting to heaven. All too few concern themselves about growing in the faith. But Hebrews 5:14 says, “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” Hebrews 12:14 says, “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

J. Vernon McGee told one time while at a chapel service in Dallas that a beautiful song was sung, “Take Time To Be Holy” which starts off, “Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord.” Yet, Lewis Sperry Chafer who preached at that service requested that one word be changed. He said, “Let’s sing, ‘Take time to behold him, speak oft with thy Lord.” The connection is clear: If we wish to behold him, we must strive to be holy. And if we strive to live holy lives because we love him and wish to behold him as he is.

Do you long for purity in your heart? Do you find yourself allowing unholy things into your mind?