Encourage Each Other
Early this morning, Brian and I had the opportunity to teach a women's group in Pakistan through video conferencing. I was definitely nervous, but we had many people praying for us and the church. During our short teaching, the internet connection was not always good (we were even disconnected a few times), but we prayed for that too. I hope it was a blessing for the women and their church, because I know that I was blessed and honored. The following is the "transcript" of our lesson. We mostly stuck with it so that the translator would be able to do his important job. May we all be encouraged by our fellow believers.
Greetings, our sisters in Christ, in Jesus name! I am Brian and this is my wife, Michaelene. We have been married for 13 years. We have four boys, 12 years old, years old, 8 years old, and 6 years old. We met while we were both serving at our church teaching different groups of teenagers. Michaelene was once a school mathematics teacher, but is currently our church secretary. I am the preacher at the church. We have been at our current congregation for over three years. Previously, we have served two other congregations together. We live in the United States of America.
In praying over you, sisters in Christ whom we just met, we asked the Lord what was best to teach, to encourage, and to equip you with. What came to mind was Paul’s encouragement to Titus, who in turn encouraged the people of Crete. In the same way, it is our desire, in Jesus’ name, to encourage you with Paul’s words.
1. Teach what Accords with Sound doctrine (Titus 2:1)
a. “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. (Titus 2:1)
b. Romans 10:17 says that Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. As followers of Jesus, we need to make sure that we are focused on the Gospel: that we are sinners, who in our sin make ourselves enemies of God and deserve death, but through Jesus Christ, and His sacrifice on the Cross, and His rising from the grave on the third day, we are saved by Grace through Faith. When we focus on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and stay within God’s word for our teaching, we know how to follow Jesus as His disciples.
c. In Romans 12:1-2, the Apostle Paul urges us: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2) It is as we live our lives as living sacrifices, presenting ourselves to God daily, that through the Scriptures and the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit that God teaches us His will for us, and we may test what is good and pleasing and perfect. Beloved sisters, stand firm in God’s will, and in God’s way, so that our lives may be pleasing to God.
2. Teach what is good (Titus 2:2-5)
a. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2:2-5
b. God designed us male and female in the beginning, and for those who are called in to Marriage, we are told in Ephesians 5 that in our marriages, as wives submit to their husbands as unto the Lord, and husbands love their wives as Christ loved the Church, giving Himself up for her, we reflect Christ and the Church. Paul is telling the women of Crete through the Evangelist Titus that when we subject ourselves to God’s design, we glorify Him, and not just to God Himself, but to those who live around us. As believers in Jesus, our lives and marriages are to be different than that of those in the World. This is why God empowered women to love one another in this way: to teach ach other, that as mothers and sisters in the faith, older women are to teach and train younger women in what pleases God, that they may love their husbands and children in a way that glorifies God, that their husbands and children may also believe the word of God by their word and their love. Every one of our actions should glorify God, and this is why women are to encourage one another in the Lord: that our homes, our husbands, our children may reflect Christ and the Church, and we may glorify God in our words and by our actions.
c. In our church, we have groups of women who study the bible together. The bible study I attend has members from age 12 to over 70 years old. We often learn from each other, but the younger women are also listening and learning from the older ones. I am still raising all of my children, so I am learning how to continue to raise them so that they may love the Lord even when they are older and have families of their own.