The Duties and Delights of a Godly Wife - Part 2

Titus 2:4-5

Tom Pennington  •  April 17, 2005
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There's a by-word of our culture that you've probably heard many times, as I have, and that is "Who do you trust?" I suppose more technically correct, whom do you trust, but no-one ever says it that way. Who do you trust? You see, we live in a world that is literally overrun by experts. Of course, you know what an expert is. It's simply a drip under pressure. But experts who are constantly providing us their expert advice on a variety of topics; and usually, often, their advice is conflicting. So, its constantly the question that comes to our mind, who do we trust? We're left to make a decision between two pieces of conflicting advice in all different areas of life.

Sheila and I were talking. One of the most common recent examples is the food pyramid. You remember, when you were growing up, it was presented as this sort of piece of incontrovertible science, based on the best data, that this is how you should eat. And now, of course, they're revising that food pyramid to say, well maybe you shouldn't eat quite so many carbohydrates, and oh by the way, fats are not as bad for you as we thought, at least not good fats. You should eat more of those. And if you believed this way then, now we tell you that now, your family will be healthy and everything will be great: conflicting advice. Who do you believe? Who do you trust? Well, I can tell you what Sheila's done. She's decided to embrace the latest study on the issue of diet, a study that says that chocolate is good for you. In fact, she's even ordered a study to find out which is the best dark chocolate for you; obviously, in the interests of being a good steward of her body. This is just one example of a myriad of examples in our culture. Of course, that one's a fairly innocuous one. It only deals with our bodies.

But there are constantly experts speaking at us from all directions about issues that are of eternal consequence. And especially when it comes to the issue of marriage, and the role of the husband and the role of the wife. You stand in any grocery store line and read the covers of the magazines, and you'll see that the experts of our world are constantly offering a stream of advice about what will make your marriage happy and successful: what you should do in order to have the marriage you want. And again, often, the advice is conflicting. So, whom are you going to trust? Ultimately, the only prescription we have that is eternal, that is timeless, that is clearly true and outside of the borders of the age in which we live, is the eternal, forever settled-in-heaven, Word of God.

Who are you going to trust about what your marriage should be? About what your role in marriage should be? Now, I'll tell you honestly, as we come to the passage we're going to look at today, you're going to hear some things that will completely be out of step with the experts of the culture in which we live. So, you are going to be forced with a decision. Are you going to believe what the passage in Titus clearly says and sets forth? Are you going to trust that, or are you going to trust instead the experts of the world, or worse yet, trust yourself as an authority on how your marriage should be, on what your role in marriage should be. Ultimately, I call upon you, as we come to the Word of God, to take the word of your Creator, and the one who created marriage as the final standard of what marriage should be. But I'll tell you this; if you do, you will be hopelessly out of step with the culture in which you live.

Last Sunday we began to examine the role of the wife in marriage, and today, I want us to finish that study and then; men, stay tuned, because the next two weeks we are going to look at men's roles, or at least for two weeks we'll do that. I'm not sure if we will do it on communion Sunday coming up or not. But for two weeks we will look at men's roles.

When you look at wives' responsibilities, however, as I told you last week; when you come to the New Testament there are two passages that speak most directly, most definitively, most concisely to the issue of what the wife should be and do in marriage. Those passages are Ephesians 5 and Titus 2. More than any other New Testament passages, these two lay out the precise and primary duties and delights of a Godly wife. We started last week by looking at Ephesians 5, and there we found that the first duty or delight of a Godly wife is submission. There's an example of something out of step with the culture. Contraindicated by the experts of our times. But that's what God describes. I encourage you, if you weren't here last week, ladies, to make sure you get that tape because that's foundational. It's in Ephesians. It's in Titus. It's in all the other passages where marriage is addressed. And we addressed those last time, and I won't do that today.

But the Christian wife's next great duty and delight is found in the other classic New Testament passage that's directed at women, or particularly, at wives, and that's Titus 2, Titus 2. Now before we look at it in specific, let's back up and let me give you a little background for this great little epistle. It's called a pastoral epistle. That's because it was written to the pastor, Titus, of the church. Now, Paul had left Titus on the Isle of Crete in order to set some things in order in the church. And Paul's great concern for the church in Crete wasn't so much their doctrine. They had some issues that needed correcting there, but that wasn't the primary issue. They seemed to believe in all the right things. The problem in Crete was the same problem that exists in our culture today and that is there was a disconnect between their doctrine and their practice. So, the theme of this brief letter to Titus is adorning the doctrine of God, adorning the doctrine of God. Or in other words, putting the gospel you believe in the right decor to be believed. You see the problem introduced in Titus 1:16. He's already spoken about the fact that there are these false teachers (verse 14) who are spouting Jewish myths and commandments of men. They are turning away from the truth. Verse 16, he gets to their behavior. Here's the problem. They profess to know God, but by their deeds, they deny Him. There's the disconnect between what they say they believe and how they live. Their actions, he says, are detestable and disobedient, and they are worthless for any good deed.

So, Paul begins, in that context, 2:1 with an intense directive to Titus. He says, Titus, as for you, speak the things which are fitting sound doctrine. In the following verses Paul explains exactly what that looks like. He begins with the older men in verse 2. "Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance." In other words, older men who embrace right doctrine must live their lives in a way that is appropriate to adorn that doctrine. To put it on display as beautiful and life-transforming.

In verse 3 he gets to the older women. "Older women likewise, are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good," Older women must live, as well, in a way that provides the right decor for the gospel they profess. Notice the last responsibility there in verse 3 that he lays on the older women. They are to be teaching what is good. Older women have a responsibility to teach younger women. There comes a time in every Christian's life when we shouldn't just be taking in any more, we should be giving out some of what we've learned. And here he says to the older women that that's your job. This is part of what it means to have a Godly character as an older woman. It's to be teaching what is good.

Now, God, of course, has carefully circumscribed the woman's teaching role in the church. First Timothy 2:12, Paul says, in the church, " … I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet." But Scripture does allow, and in fact, demands that gifted women use their gifts and use their experience to teach other women and children. Whether it's publicly, or whether it's privately, one on one. Here, Paul tells Titus to instruct the older women to teach the younger women. Now, right away, we have a problem. Who are these older women? Well, I don't know about you, but I've never personally met a woman who wanted to be classified in that category, as an older woman. My mother, she's 90 years old, and I have to be careful what I say here because she gets all of my tapes. But, until the last few years she taught a Sunday School class. And most of the ladies in her class were younger than she was. And yet she always affectionately referred to them, and I always gave her a hard time when she did as, it's the old ladies' class. Because nobody likes to be thought of in that category, no matter how old you are.

Well, Paul doesn't give us a specific age that he means by older woman, but he does give us a hint in 1 Timothy 5:9. There, he's talking about putting widows on the list to be supported by the church, if they meet certain qualifications, and one of those qualifications is that they have to be at least 60 years of age. It may well be that that serves as a definition of an older woman. In fact, it makes sense if you think about it. Typically, child-bearing age ends around 40, and that means that child-rearing ends around 60. And so, that may well frame the concept of an older woman. An older woman is probably one who is 60 and above, and so if you are 60 and below, you're a younger woman. I just earned a lot of friends in the congregation today. This is the best news you've heard all week: a younger woman if you're below 60.

Now, notice exactly what the older are to teach the younger. This is the heart of the passage. What exactly are those who are more experienced in the Lord, in the faith, in life, what are they to give in their teaching of the younger women? Notice verse 4. They are to be teaching what is good,

so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

This passage is absolutely foundational, ladies, for what you are to be about. Two authors who wrote a book on roles in marriage, Robert Louis and William Hendricks write this:

Titus 2:4 and 5 represents the most succinct summary of a woman's core role in all of Scripture. This defines the term helper, from Genesis 2, in clear and specific terms. A core role is not everything a woman does in marriage. She is not confined only to what Paul describes here, but she dare not excuse herself from these responsibilities, or neglect them for other ambitions. Like the planets revolve around the sun, everything in her marriage should revolve around these crucial core-role responsibilities and concerns.

Absolutely foundational, this passage is, to women in the church. Now, there's something in this passage for everyone here this morning, because older women are obviously first to model these qualities so they can actively teach them to the younger women. The commands themselves are addressed to the young wives. That's because, of course, in that ancient culture that was the most common circumstance in which a young woman would find herself. One of these qualities in this passage is only for mothers, love their children. And several of these qualities are applicable to every woman, regardless of her marital condition. In addition, even men are affected because one of the qualities in this passage is given as a quality that we're to pursue as well. So, it's for all of us.

Let's look at it together. Notice verse 4 begins that the older women are to teach so that, or for the purpose, that they may encourage the young woman. The Greek word translated "encourage" literally means "to bring someone to his senses". It was used in the secular world to mean to bring someone back to his or her duty. Older women have the responsibility to help younger women to think soundly about their duties before the Lord in their marriages. Now notice the first thing Paul mentions, and this gives us the second great duty and delight of a wife. We found the first last week in Ephesians 5, which is submission, and by the way I won't comment on submission again in verse 5 of this text, because we did last week.

But the second great duty and delight of a Godly Christian wife is love, love. The godly wife is first to express her love specifically, notice, to her husband. Teach them to love their husbands. You know, it's not uncommon in counseling for me to hear a woman say something like this. I just don't love my husband anymore. Now, that's not really surprising for a couple of reasons. Certainly, some men make it hard for their wives to love them. But often, people come into marriage and exist in marriage with a horribly deficient view of love. Many in our culture have been taught to think of love as a kind of sort of tingly romantic feeling that hits you the first time you see Mr. Wonderful across a crowded room. You know, others think of love as just having their own needs met. They love because loving someone means that their needs will be met. True love is not natural. In fact, it's pretty shocking that when you come to Galatians 5, and Paul talks about the fruit of the Spirit, guess what the first aspect of the fruit of the Spirit is. Love. It's something the Spirit works in our lives. It's not natural. In fact, here in Titus 2, we're told that young wives need to be taught to love their husbands. The reason is because true biblical love is the opposite of human nature. You see, true love is self-sacrificing, whereas we are prone by nature to be selfish creatures.

Love, at its core, is about giving sacrificially of yourself. You remember that great passage in John 3, "for God so loved the world [what?] that he gave…." This is the essence of love. It's to give sacrificially. Galatians 2:20, Paul says, "I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and [therefore] gave Himself up for me". You see love begins with giving of yourself to meet the needs of the one you love. That great love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, says that love doesn't seek its own. Love isn't out for what it can get. And yet that's how most people live marriage. It's for what they get, for what they want. You know, I think this was explained so well when we went through Philippians, Philippians 2. Turn there for a moment. Philippians 2:2, Paul says I want you to be of the same mind,

make my joy complete by being of the same mind, [By maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. How can we maintain love? How can we grow and build love?] Verse 3, here it is: Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

This is where love is bred. In this attitude of self-sacrificing to meet the needs of someone else. You say how can I learn to love, to love my husband like this? I think John MacArthur puts it well in his commentary on the book of Titus. He writes,

Training yourself to love involves doing loving things for the other person, whether or not you feel like doing them. It involves putting their interests and welfare above your own. It involves sacrificial giving of yourself to others for their sakes, not for the sake of appreciation or return love or favor. When you sacrificially serve others, it becomes almost impossible not to love them. Where there is genuine practical love, genuine emotional love is sure to follow.

You want to train yourself to love your husband? Start by sacrificing yourself to meet his needs. And we'll get on the men next week, because love is at the heart of our responsibility as well. A Godly Christian wife finds it her duty and delight to love her husband.

But she also loves, notice Titus 2 again, her children. Teach them to love their children. You know, at first glance that seems like a particularly odd command, doesn't it? I mean, if you've ever seen a mother with a new-born child, you just think it's natural for that mother to love her child. She doesn't need to be taught that. So, why does Paul say this? Well, let me give you a little clue. Turn to 2 Timothy 3, 2 Timothy 3:1. Paul writes,

But realize this, that in the last days [which of course are defined as the period in which we live] difficult times will come. [The Greek word for "difficult" is an interesting word. It's a word that is translated in the gospels in that account of the demoniac as "savage". So literally, "realize this, in the last days savage times will come. Now, notice how he describes the period in which we live.] For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, [verse 3] unloving…. It's a Greek word that literally means to be without normal family affection.

You see, they have no love left for their family, for the people that are related to them that they ought to be loving and caring for because they've used it all up on themselves and money and stuff. That's what they love. This is a serious problem. This is an enemy of the kind of love of children that's described in Titus 2. And in fact, if you go back to Romans 1:31, you find this same word, unloving, there, and it's to describe all of fallen humanity. All of fallen humanity is by nature unloving. That is, we are all by nature selfish and only concerned about ourselves. So, to love your husband, ladies, or in this case your children is antithetical to who you are, and who I am, by nature.

There are many subtle forms this sin of being unloving (that is not having family love), takes. You may simply be tempted to put yourself and your own desires before your children. There are a myriad of modern manifestations of this sin of being unloving, lacking in natural family affection.

But I think two of the most common are first of all: pursuing a selfish divorce. There are many people who, because of their own desires, because they are sick and tired of their circumstances, without any biblical warrant, opt out of a marriage because that's what they want. Without regard for the fact that the kids are going to traipse back and forth between two different homes to keep up with them. That's not loving.

Another manifestation is: pursuing a career at the expense of your children. Donald Guthrie, commentator in the Tyndale Series puts it this way. "Even our modern age is not without instances of Christian women lacking true maternal affection. For women who put their careers before the welfare of their own children are displaying a significant symptom of this weakness." Listen, unselfishly loving your children doesn't come naturally. You need to learn this quality. You need to be taught this quality. It's hard.

Carol Mahaney in her book Feminine Appeal, which I highly recommend to all of you married ladies. It basically goes through Titus 2. She writes,

In the career of motherhood there are no weekends off, no paid vacations, no bonuses or yearly raises, and no quitting time. [Sound familiar, ladies?] It is just day in and day out giving. There are times when we feel we do not have another ounce of energy left to offer. [She says] At that moment, we have a choice. We can either resent the challenges and demands that accompany motherhood, and persist in our selfishness, or we can draw from God's grace and receive His help to cheerfully lay down our lives for our children. [Teach the younger women to unselfishly, sacrificially love their children.]

What doesn't come out of the English text is that, in both of these expressions in Greek, the ones that are translated love their husbands and love their children, both of those are adjectives. Literally, the text says, "encourage the younger women to be husband-lovers, and children-lovers." In other words, these are not to be occasional actions or attitudes. This is to be what you should strive to be known for. Let me just ask you. Does anyone ever look at you and say, there's a husband-lover, there's a children-lover? That's what you are to be known for. When people think of you is that what they think? God says this is one of the duties and delights of the Godly Christian wife. Not only submission, but love, both for her husband and her children.

The third delight of a Godly wife is found in verse 5: and it's sensibility. It says teach them to be sensible. You know, it's hard to over-estimate the importance of this virtue. In chapter 1 of Titus, verse 8, Paul tells Titus that elders must have it. In 2:2 older men are supposed to have this virtue. In 2:5 we're learning that older women need to have it so they can teach the younger women. And we hear that the younger women are to have it. And then in verse 6 the young men are also likewise to have this quality, to exhibit this virtue. So, this one is for everybody here this morning. Obviously, this is an essential quality. It's to be the goal of every period of the Christian life for both men and women. And it's even a requirement to serve in leadership in the church. So, what exactly is it? What does it mean to be "sensible"? Well, literally, it means to be of "sound mind".

I like the definition that one lexicon gives. "Having the ability to curb desires and impulses so as to produce a measured and orderly life" The ability to curb desires and impulses in order to have a measured and orderly life. You see, a sensible person is one whose mind rules over their emotions and their passions. It's basically, to have self-control. In fact, self-control is a synonym of this word. We live in a culture; of course, that is utterly lacking in self-control. I think our culture can be described by the Proverb 25:28 which says "like a city that is broken into and without walls Is a man who has no control over his spirit." What a powerful image. A city without walls where anyone can go in and wreak any damage they choose. It describes the human soul that has no self-control, because anybody can reach in and turn the button and cause them to lose control, like a city without walls.

You know, we read this constantly in the newspapers. Just this week, maybe you read the article in the paper, about the situation that erupted in Palmdale, CA. A squabble broke out between a 13-year-old and a 15-year-old boy. Jeremy Roark, the 15-year-old was a Pony League junior umpire. And they got into a squabble, an argument. The argument started as these two boys were standing in line at a youth baseball field snack bar after the game. Authorities believe the older boy, the 15-year-old, may have either cut in front of the 13-year-old in line, or been teasing the younger boy about his performance in the game. Apparently, he had pitched a poor game just before this. The argument turned deadly when the younger boy took his bat and first hit the older one in the legs and then proceeded to crush his skull. Absolutely lost self-control over nothing, like a city without walls. This is exactly the opposite of this quality of self-control.

To have self-control means that you have the passions and impulses of your heart in check. Your mind rules over them. How can you and I get this essential quality? Well, the Bible tells us. Turn to 2 Timothy 1. Second Timothy 1:7, Paul writes to Timothy, his son in the faith "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but he has given us the spirit of power and love and discipline." There's our word, "self-control". The ability to discipline ourselves. God's given that to us. It's an act of His grace. In fact, in Galatians 5, also as a part of the fruit of the Spirit we're told, is self-control, which is a synonym of this word. God gives His people, His own, this ability. But that doesn't mean that it's perfect in us.

Back in Titus 2, the older women are to teach the younger women to develop this skill, this virtue, this quality. And that means we need to learn it. So, how exactly can we learn it? Well, essentially, it has to be put on as an act of obedience. In 1 Peter 4:7, Peter says, "The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment" Literally, he says, "be self-controlled". Think rightly. Have your mind in charge. Paul gives us a little more clue as to how this is done in his letter to the Corinthians. The first letter 9:25 he says,

Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore [he says] I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, not beating the air; [here it is] … I discipline my body and make it my slave.

Listen, self-control and control of the passions is the same kind of control that an athlete uses in order to gain a perishable wreath. We do it to gain an imperishable. We can practice that, just as an athlete practices that, bringing the body in control, telling it what to do rather than listening to it. It's a life guided by the mind instead of the passions. If you want to be a wife or a woman that honors God, then you must work, by God's grace, at exercising self-control in every area of life, from the consumption of food to the use of money to outbursts of anger to sexual lust. Sensible. Be governed by your mind and not by your emotions or your passions.

That brings us to the next duty and delight of a Godly wife: it's purity. It says, teach them to be pure. Now this quality is extremely straightfoward. Its obvious reference is to moral purity. And this is constantly on decline in our culture, even among women. I read a recent article in the Wall Street Journal which reports that a rising number of women are having extramarital affairs. In 1991 one in ten women admitted to an adulterous relationship. A little over 10 years later, in 2002, that number had increased from one in ten to one in six. About the same number as men. That same article in the Wall Street Journal attributed the rise of this pattern among women to the fact that they're out in the workplace and exposed more to temptation. Whether you are at home or whether you are in the workplace, you owe your husband, according to God, a pure mind and a pure body.

There's a picture of this word "pure" in 2 Corinthians 11. It's a beautiful one. Second Corinthians 11, Paul is defending his apostleship, and he uses this word in an interesting way. Verse 2 of 2 Corinthians 11. I wish, or excuse me, "For I am jealous for you with a Godly jealously; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin." There's our word "pure". You see, this word pure describes the moral purity of a virgin bride. You are to be pure.

For some of you, this is not the story of your past. Perhaps you engaged yourself in a life of sin. Perhaps even your marriage didn't begin characterized by purity. What do you do? Well, you repent. You repent of that sin before the Lord. You seek His forgiveness, and depending on the circumstances, you seek the forgiveness of your spouse as well. And you determine that from this moment forward you will be a woman committed to only one man, in mind and in body. That's purity. How do you do that? How do you stay pure in a world like ours? Well, there's one very practical way Paul gives us, and we'll look at this passage in more detail in a couple of weeks.

But 1 Corinthians 7:2. Here's how you stay pure. Verse 2 says, "Because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband. The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise, also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and then come together again, so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." That is, to sexual immorality. Here's a very practical way to remain pure. It's what God expects of Christian Godly wives, that they keep themselves pure in mind and body.

The fifth duty of a Christian wife, back in Titus 2, is that: she is to be a worker at home. Robert Bork, you remember the one-time Supreme Court nominee, wrote a book entitled, Slouching Towards Gomorrah. In this book he quotes Simone de Beauvoir, a radical feminist. Listen to what this radical feminist said. "No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children. Society should be different. Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one."

I thought the women's movement was about choice. I guess they don't want this one to be one. Now here, we arrive at the command in this text that is the most odious to most. In fact, this command, to be a worker at home, is so repulsive to some, even professing Christians, that they say this can't be God's expectation for all wives for all times. Instead, this must be a culturally conditioned command based on the circumstances in Crete. But that can't be.

This command is surrounded by other qualities and virtues that are clearly timeless, and are not cultural. No, it's for today's women, and it's for tomorrow's women as well. What exactly does it mean, to be a "worker at home"? Well, the Greek word is a compound word made from two Greek words, the word for "house" and the word for "work". It literally means to be a "house worker". Now, there are two basic ideas that grow out of this expression. First of all, ladies, it means you should be focused on your home. Now, this doesn't say that a woman's place is barefoot and pregnant. It doesn't say that a wife should never leave her home. It doesn't mean that there aren't circumstances when a husband and wife will choose for the wife to work outside the home. And, in fact, there are even some Godly women and mothers who are forced by tragic circumstances to work outside the home.

But what does this say? What it says is this. A godly Christian wife will delight on focusing her thoughts and her energies and her activities on her home. And by home here, I don't mean the physical structure in which she lives. In other words, you're not a glorified housekeeper. I mean your household, your family. All things pertaining to the household in which you dwell and live. And primarily it means focusing your life on your husband. Remember what Moses said in Genesis 2. God created Eve as a helper to Adam. Here, that help is defined very practically. You're to be a worker at home.

This too is very unpopular in the culture. You go back to 1980. In 1980, 57% of women who had children under 18 were in the workforce. Ten years later, in 1990, that number had grown from 57% to 67%. By 2001, 73% of women with children under 18 were in the workforce. That means 2 of every 3 children 3 to 5 years old spend part of their day in daycare. Ladies, I'm not telling you this. This is the Word of God. The question for you to answer is very straightfoward. Are you known as a worker at home? Whatever else you may be involved in, are you described by, can you genuinely be characterized as a worker at home?

Now the other basic point that grows out of this expression is not only that to some degree you need to be home and your focus needs to be home, but you should be productive as well. It doesn't say simply being at home is what God requires. It says you should work hard. The other half of this word remember, is work. Some Christian wives think that because they are home, that they meet God's requirement here. But their lives are marked instead by laziness. They are sort of the proverbial soap opera and bon-bon wife. That isn't the idea at all. Turn back to 1Timothy 5. Paul fills this in a little more, this concept of being a worker at home. First Timothy 5:11, he says I don't want you to put younger widows on the list for the support of the church, because when they feel sensual desires and disregard of Christ, they may want to get married. Instead, verse 14, "I want the younger widows to get married, to bear children, to keep house."

Now honestly, that translation "keep house" is not a very good translation because in our terminology, that means clean your house. That is not what this word means at all. This word literally translated is you are to be a "house despot". That's what it means. A house despot. It's used in other contexts in the New Testament. In wealthy homes there was a man who would serve in this role, running everything that had to do with the house, everything that had to do with the household, the family and all of the enterprises of the family. To be a "house despot" means "to rule or to manage the household". That's what it means to be a worker at home, to have oversight of everything. Martin Luther, the reformer, quipped that in domestic affairs, he said, I defer to Katie. Otherwise, I am led by the Holy Spirit. That's exactly right.

Of course, the quintessential illustration of the worker at home is the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, and I don't have time to lead you through that. We'll look at that at some point in detail, but I encourage you to reread it with this in mind. But let me just read you one verse from Proverbs 31:27. "She looks well to the ways of her household…." There it is, she's a house despot. She's running the whole deal. Buying fields, investing money, making sure everybody's clothed correctly, etc. Verse 27 concludes, "and she does not eat the bread of idleness." She's a worker. She's busy. She's productive. She's a worker at home.

The final duty of a godly Christian wife is found as well back in Titus 2:5: teach them to be kind. It's kindness, kindness. When you look at this passage, most commentators believe that the items in this passage are grouped in twos. The first group is love for husbands and love for children. The second group is to be sensible and pure, the third group is to be workers at home and kind. But why would Paul have grouped the word kindness with being a worker at home? As Sheila said, what possible relationship could kindness have to working in the home? The commentator Hendrickson writes,

The two virtues quite obviously are related. Now, while performing their task in the family, these young women must take care that the constant strain of domestic duties does not make them irritable or cruel. [Now, I'm sure, none of you ladies have ever been tempted in that way.] Instead, they must pray for grace to remain kind. [Being busy, having a to-do list, and being kind are often diametrically opposed. But Paul says, I want you to do both.]

Look at that list again. Submission, love, sensibility, purity, a worker at home, and kindness. Those are the six great duties and delights of a Godly wife. But, ladies, if you do those things just for their own sake, or in order to have a better marriage because you want a better marriage, then you've missed the point. Notice the end of verse 5, the great point behind living this way, the great motive is so that the Word of God will not be blasphemed, literally. It's not about you. Your marriage isn't about you. It's not about making you happy or having a happier marriage. It's about God. It's about your marriage reflecting the very glory of God. And if you live selfishly to get what you want out of marriage by doing these things, then you've missed it all. Marriage is all about God. It's not all about us.

Now, let me, just for a moment, give you some very practical ways to use this passage that we've gone through this morning. First of all, let me speak to the older women. If you're 60 or over, obviously you should have taught your daughters these things. You should be working at personally demonstrating these qualities in your own life. You should be actively seeking to teach these things as part of your own godly character. Remember, part of being an older woman, an older godly woman, is being a teacher of good, that is of these things. Let me encourage you older ladies to identify at least one younger woman in our church into whom you can pour your life.

What about you younger women, 60 and under? There are several lessons for you. First of all, have the humility to understand that you need to learn these things. Don't pretend or wrongly believe that you have this all wired. Paul says have the older women teach these things to the younger women. Be teachable. Let me also encourage you younger women to seek out older women with whom you already have a relationship. Maybe a godly mother or a grandmother, or a teacher or one of the older women that you know and have constant relationship with here in this church, and ask them to pour their lives into you. Also, you need to be wholeheartedly pursuing these virtues in your life. Teach these things to your daughters. If you don't, no one will. I can promise you that. And finally, younger women, you don't have to wait 'til you are an older woman, to teach these things. You can find someone younger than you, with less experience than you, someone who can benefit from what you've learned, and pour yourself into them. The bottom line is, if you pursue this goal, then you will adorn the doctrine of God, our Savior. You will make the gospel of Jesus Christ attractive.

Let's pray together.

Father, thank You for the way Your word cuts us, cuts of kindness, bringing us to understand Your ways are not our ways. Lord, we realize that these things seem anachronistic. They seem dated and stuck in the past. They are absolutely foreign and contrary to the culture in which we live, but Lord, I pray that You would help us to understand that we have to choose an authority. It can either be the authority of our own hearts, the authority of the culture in which we live, and the experts and what they have to say, or it can be the authority of Your timeless, forever settled in heaven, Word. Lord, help us to trust You. May You be true and every man a liar.

Lord, I pray for the women in our church. I pray that they would embrace these things, as the goal and pursuit of their lives. And I pray that our families would be stronger as a result, and therefore our church as a whole would be strong.

Lord, help us to see Your Word as sufficient. Help it to be attractive, and help us by living these things to make the gospel of Jesus Christ attractive to others.

We pray in Jesus' name. Amen.