On this Father’s Day, we each have a message from God, written down and sent to us in His Word, the Bible. God's Word is so vital for life that we should spend time every day listening as God speaks to us from His Word.
To make this a most special and deeply impactful Father’s Day, consider deciding to give your husband or father the best, most enduring and precious gift you could ever give to him. The gift would be to affirm again, or begin to be the woman that God has designed you to be.
Being a woman of godliness should be the goal and desire of every father and mother for their daughters, of every husband for his wife, of every young woman for her own life. Lesson number one for every one of us is that:
1. God Gave the Pattern for Godly Women to Follow
As we open to Titus this morning, we open to the single clearest record of God’s desires for every one of us who are born-again believers. Titus 2’s verses contain a section conveying a message from God to every man and woman, boy and girl in Christ's Church. Today we are specifically going to examine what God desires from every wife, that she love her husband the way God desires her to love.
Titus 2 records what the early church was commissioned by God, to teach among those who came to Christ. Paul explains a truth, a spiritual reality, and a wonderfully high calling: Godly women who are also godly wives will learn to love their husbands with a love they can feel.
As we read Titus 2:1-5, listen to the very voice of God speaking not to a select few, but to all of us here today. But because of our focus this morning, every married woman, and any woman who ever wants to have a godly marriage, especially hear what God says to you.
There is nothing greater in life than to be useful for God and Titus 2 explains exactly how to be useful every day God gives us to live here on Earth.
Listen to God speaking through Paul to those early believers in Titus 2:1-5:
Titus 2:1-5 But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
If you want to be vital in Christ's church, useful in God’s Kingdom, rewarded at Christ's Bema Seat Judgment these verses are your marching orders. This is what God desires, explains and expects from obedient and godly women.
If you want to go through life as a woman, wife and mother who is confident that you are doing exactly what God wants you to do each day—God's Word says here it is.
Many people have an ongoing struggle with their purpose in life and they wonder if the days of their life speeding by so rapidly are spent wisely.
A life that counts is based on the reality that God's Word presents what is right. Thus as His servants, every day we must be:
2. Making the Choice: Live God’s Way or the World’s Way
A Christian home in a pagan culture was a radically new thing. And each generation of Christ's followers since the Cross have had to make a choice: to live God’s Way or slide along with the world that goes its own way.
Young women saved out of paganism 2,000 years ago needed to get accustomed to a whole new set of priorities and privileges and those who had unsaved husbands would need special encouragement. This is just as vital a lesson for each new generation in the Church today.
Among the Bible believing wives of the first century there was a big challenge in “loving” their husbands. For various reasons and in various degrees those women found themselves with either minimal or no “feelings of love” for their husbands, but God commanded them in Titus 2 to learn to express love that can be felt.
We have similar challenges facing every godly woman today, so these lessons in Titus are supra-cultural and timeless.
What was the first lesson Paul asks to be taught to the younger women?
3. An Emotionally Close Marriage is a Spiritual Priority
Here was the precedent for all future generations of the church being laid down. God was giving what He wanted perpetuated in every church around the globe as a priority of spiritual nurture for all women that would ever come to Christ. Now that is a very big and heavy responsibility laid out for the Church.
On this Father’s Day, God's Word gives a spiritual challenge to every godly wife and mother that will respond. God’s desires are framed by this question: what was the first thing God wanted every young woman taught?
Look back at Titus 2:4 “that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children.”
One word in the Greek text, philandrois is translated “love their husbands.” It means to be a woman totally devoted to one’s husband.
Some women say that their husbands are no longer lovable, but having that attitude is disobedience to the clear Word of God.
To help your attitude, keep in mind that loving your husband doesn’t mean you’ll always feel the rush of emotion that characterized your love at the beginning of your relationship. Marriage is a contented commitment that goes beyond feelings to a devotedness—to a level of friendship that is deep and satisfying.
If you don’t love your husband, you need to train yourself to love him. Serve him kindly and graciously day by day and soon you will make such a great investment in him, you will say to yourself, I’ve put too much of myself into this guy not to love him! It is a sin to disobey this command.
4. God Made This the First Lesson for Every Godly Woman
The best way to fill a home with joy and peace is to have a husband and wife who are best friends: emotionally and spiritually.
In the First Century Church, Christ told Paul to deploy a legion of older-in-the-faith, godly women, energized by the grace of God, to go from house to house, become a close and trusted friend of those young wives and train them in how to become their husbands best, closest, dearest and most-intimate friends.
Those believing wives in the early church like wives today, almost always want to obey the Lord, thus they submit and fulfill their responsibilities to their husbands, but often only dutifully and not lovingly with respect and admiration.
It’s not just that loving your husband is a virtue; Paul says that (listen carefully) not loving him in a way that he can feel—is a sin! Paul said to Titus, and all pastors since, teach the women that:
5. Godly Wives Give Love That Can be Felt
The key to understanding this bold new dimension of the early church’s training is in the keys words the Spirit of God led Paul to use for love. Every believer has already repeatedly been commanded to “love” with agape love, which is an action. We are commanded to act in a loving way towards each other, our saved and unsaved friends, and even our enemies. This agape love is not a feeling, it is an action.
Paul explains that husbands are to love their wives with agape love in Ephesians 5:25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”
That means every believing husband is commanded by God to self-sacrificing actions towards their wife, prompted by Christ's love and example towards us His church.
Then Paul goes on to explain that wives are to obediently submit respectfully to their own husbands (Ephesians 5:22): “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.”
Peter adds that they were to cultivate a gentle and quiet spirit that was beautiful to God and of immense value in the marriage (I Peter 3:4): “rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” God desires these reciprocal relationships in a godly marriage on a behavioral level.
This commanded attitude and behavior of believers in marriage is the foundation and the formula for a Christian marriage. But so easily we slide back to dutiful, obedient, often unemotional and detached relationships. So Paul says that it was imperative to go further.
Every church is to be sure that there are mature believers who nurture couples in closeness as couples. Titus is given the key to flourishing marriages and homes—train the younger women in how to cultivate a loving friendship (phileo) with their husbands. This is emotional love.
And so the early church was filled with radiant advertisements for Divine love in a sin-sick world. What would stand out clearly in a pagan, godless culture? Something most people had rarely seen:
6. Husbands and Wives are Called to be Best & Closest Friends
Agape love is never used in the Bible to describe emotional love, because emotional love can’t be commanded. The beautiful, intoxicating love that God designed for marriages to have is an emotional love and those emotions can’t be commanded.
God commands willful, agape love but the emotional phileo love of friendship and intimacy can’t be commanded—it must be learned.
When the younger women saw how the older women loved, respected, admired and were best friends with their husbands, they were encouraged that such a marriage was possible and drawn to see that close and intimate friendships with husbands were very profitable for daily life.
They learned how to respect, admire and encourage their own husband, how to build him up, how to surprise him with their affections and how to cultivate a life-long growing and deepening friendship.
In Paul’s day, men and women were saved out of a culture where romantic love usually did not exist in marriages. Wives were only seen as the trusted keepers of the home and bearers of the children.
Emotional love, psychological needs and sexual desires were satisfied by illicit relationships outside of marriage by most husbands. The opportunities for sexual liaisons in the Roman world were endless.
Salvation stopped the immorality in most believing men’s lives back then, but salvation did not make them or their wives instantly close, intimate and life-sharing friends and lovers.
Just as modern pre-marital moral laxity has scarred many young couples into a troubled, often superficial marital relationship, so were most of the marriages of the New Testament church. What was Paul’s Spirit-prompted answer? What was to be the way to solve the distant, detached and constantly tempted husband daily buffeted with the overpowering allurements of the flagrantly immoral Roman culture?
In our Western society, a man and a woman fall in love and then get married; but in the East, marriages were less romantic. Often the two got married and then had to learn to love each other. That is why the church was given Ephesians 5:18–33, which is probably the best Scripture for a husband and wife who really want to love each other in the will of God.
Paul knew that to protect those newly believing husbands and fathers from the tidal waves of temptation, they must have a vibrant, attractive, satisfying emotional and physical relationship with their wife.
Husbands who are drawn to thinking about and wanting to see their wife throughout a day away from home are protected from attraction and distraction by a wicked world about them.
Paul told Titus that to fill the church with loving, caring, romantic wives who love their husbands in this Biblical way, came through the example and training of the godly, older, grace energized women who faithfully taught and modeled that only God’s grace can enable these younger women to act consistently that way.
What are some practical steps a Titus 2 woman mentoring a younger woman in the faith would teach? These ideas are not hypothetical, a godly older woman actually sat down and taught my own wife about God’s priorities for marriage when we were newlyweds living in California in the early 80’s.
This godly Titus 2 woman invited Bonnie over and shared with her that there are three specific choices that make a wonderful start. Over the years Bonnie has studied, shared with me and pursued what we may call:
7. Practical Steps to Befriend Your Husband
Learning to be a close knit, best friend with your husband is like starting a dating relationship with him even though you are already married. It is a conscious, intentional focus on him as a person and as a man that you pursue. There are three simple attitudes that you need to consciously choose in your heart, pray over and then with God’s promised help cultivate and deepen a little more each day.
- Decide that you will make your own husband your number one most important human relationship of life over all others including your parents, brothers, sisters and friends.
And mothers, even more importantly, your husband is to be more important to you than your children. In God’s list of your priorities as a godly woman, your husband is first and your children are second. Look at verse 4 and think about that.
Have your children, your relatives or friends become more important to you than your first and highest earthly priority given by God: YOUR husband?
- Start to seek your husband’s friendship and love ahead of all other human relationships including your friends, relatives and children. Almost all romance flows from closeness.
This means that you make choices to set aside time to surprise your husband with wanting to spend time with him. Tell him yes, you want to go and do what ever it is he is interested in. That may shock him but if you persist, it will thrill him. Men want and deeply need to have the emotional friendship of a caring, accepting, seeking, admiring and pursuing woman in their life.
If you doubt that just ask yourself why so many men leave beautiful wives for less than beautiful women who chased them at work. Yes it is sin to commit adultery, but much adultery starts in a man seeking the admiration, respect, friendship and closeness that his wife is often showing to her close girlfriends, mother or sisters and children, but often not to him. God commands wives to love their husbands in a way that HE can feel.
- Begin examining your lifestyle and weekly schedule to see if you are intentionally pursuing your husband’s love, his interests and his attention.
Any man will notice after a while, the interest that is shined upon him by an adoring woman. If you are expressing love that can be felt by your husband as a chosen way of life, then you can be sure that you are becoming his best friend and are truly “loving” your husband in the way that God has designed and commanded you to be.
Giving the Gift of Close Friendship
When the younger women of Paul’s day saw how the older women loved, respected, admired and were best friends with their husbands, they were encouraged that such a marriage was possible and drawn to see that close and intimate friendships with husbands were very profitable for daily life.
They learned how to respect, admire and encourage their own husband, how to build him up, how to surprise him with their affections and how to cultivate a life-long growing and deepening friendship. Women are rewarded for such love poured out upon their own husbands.
Why not quietly in your heart ask the Lord if you have made these choices. Have you become from the depths of your heart a woman who loves your husband as your very best friend in the entire world?
And, why not prayerfully tell your husband today (sometime during the service if you are sitting next to him or after the service) that you are going to rekindle, renew and deepen the love God has called you to have and feel and show to your husband.
Give your husband the best gift of all. Be a godly wife who pursues and maintains closeness with him that he can feel.
We each need to become a beacon of Christ's love reflecting to an empty and hopeless world that true marital love is possible and can be shared for as long as you live.
Simple Ways to Love Your Man
These truths worked and they may also help each of you in your love for your own husband:
- Pray for your husband daily.
- Plan for him daily things like: special acts of kindness, special dinners, special times alone, special meals alone, early bedtimes for the children, going to bed at the same time
- Prepare for him daily: prepare your heart with being clothed with God’s love, prepare the house, prepare your appearance, prepare your greeting, set the table, clear out all visitors, stay off the phone, pray for his arrival.
- Please him in some small way daily.
- Protect your time with him as an offering to the Lord of obedience to His Word.
- Physically love him, let him know that you are available at any time that would please him. God commands us in Proverbs to be intoxicated by the love of our partner (Proverbs 5:18-19). If you are married and not intoxicated by the love of your partner, you are missing the best marriage possible.
- Positively respond to him with respect and admiration for whatever you can notice that he does for you and your family.
- Praise him about his accomplishments.
- Pray without ceasing for his life, devotion, purity and needs as his closest and most trusted friend.
I’d like to go back with you to the beginning and together see God’s original intent and plan for men and women who would become husbands and fathers, wives and mothers as seen in God's Word.
The Original Intent of God
As you turn to Genesis 2, we see God’s original plan for husbands and fathers. As we honor fathers today all across our land, we can also remember that Father’s Day is all about God’s original design for husbands and wives, before the fall, before the warping that sin has caused.
In creation God designed men to be incomplete without the woman that He made for them. When Paul instructed wives to be trained in how to love their husbands, it was a reflection back upon God’s original plan for marriage.
Our study in Titus is just a reminder that when Christ's church has husbands loved by grace-energized wives, those wives are just following God’s plan He laid out from the beginning. God made the first woman, Eve, to become Adam’s close and cherished companion, friend and completer.
What a grand opportunity to go back to see God’s design as He formed the first marriage in Genesis 2:18-25.
As we turn there, think of all that has happened from Genesis 1:1. God has made the entire Universe and crowned it with His last creation, in His image called a man.
Then, God finds the first thing in the entire Universe that was not good—it is right here in verse 18. God states that man should not be alone. So God crowns the creation of man with the creation of woman.
Watch this great event unfold in Genesis 2:18-25 (NKJV). There is a wealth of marriage-changing-truth in these few words from God. Look at each piece.
verse 18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
Men Need Close Companionship
First, verse 18a say literally “not good is man’s aloneness.” That is as clear as can be. Aloneness, solitary living is not good. One of the deepest pains sociologists have measured in society is living an isolated and lonely life. They report that such people ache with a deep pain they can’t even fully describe. Adam ached, God observed, and announces the solution for this great need.
Next, in verse 18b is God’s plan, “I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Notice God’s first reference to woman is by the title of ‘helper’. English just doesn’t convey what that Hebrew word means; hence it is not seen as a great title. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines help as a noun meaning “one that helps, especially a relatively unskilled worker who assists a skilled worker, usually by manual labor.” That definition in English is what has fueled the misconceptions of the inferiority of women and wives. If that definition doesn’t capture the world’s view of us quaint people called Bible-believing Christian’s marriages, then I don’t know what does.
But that English definition is exactly not what ‘helper’ meant to God. The Hebrew word God chose means something grand, literally it describes a person “who assists another to reach complete fulfillment.” When the same word is used in other places in the Old Testament it is used of someone who went and rescued another person. Now there we have it.
God made woman to come to man’s rescue and save him from his lonely existence. Eve was designed to rescue Adam from not only loneliness, but also to completely fulfill Adam.
Then, God continues with another word that captures even more of the beauty of marriage. This helper was “comparable” to Adam. This suitable or comparable helper was literally “corresponding to” Adam. Man before woman had some missing pieces in the puzzle of his life and God said that was not good. So Eve was the one who provided the missing pieces to Adam’s life. Husbands by God’s design are incomplete until they receive that one God designed to correspond to them.
God promised that He would design her exactly to specifications for Adam. And that is the plan of God for marriage. Eve was to fulfill a God-designed-necessary-role that rescued Adam from missing his fulfillment and in that process of being God’s special creation for man, Eve also found her completion and fulfillment. Marriage was such an incredibly designed wonder of God!
God Designed the Missing Piece to Adam’s Puzzle
From the start each partner was unique, each partner was vital, each partner was distinct and each had a God designed role that provided immense satisfaction, fulfillment and completion. So Genesis next records the performance of this promise God made.
verse 21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.
What an incredible moment. God removes part of Adam (a rib) and made woman out of it. The Hebrew word for “made” is “fashioned” and literally means “to build or rebuild so as to cause to flourish.” The missing piece of Adam’s life that caused him loneliness was not good.
But when that missing part of his life was taken by God and fashioned, that missing piece of life’s puzzle flourished into Eve. Adam’s rib under God’s design sprang to life as Eve. She was his helper, his rescuer, his completer, his satisfier and the one who fulfilled every dimension of his life as a man.
To make creation good, God had to form a creature that was incredibly like man as well as incredibly unlike man. Note the wonders of Eve’s creation:
- Eve was made for Adam
- Eve was literally made from Adam (“bone of his bone”)
- Eve was brought to Adam
- Eve was named by Adam
There was an incredible equality about them: both were made by God and both were made in the image of God. They were made to complement one another, but not to compete with one another.
Note Adam’s response. God brought her to him. And every man or woman enjoying the privilege of marriage should at that statement lift their heart in gratitude to the Lord. He designed the woman you have joined your life with to be your helpmate that corresponds to every missing piece of the puzzle of your life. He gave you a partner, soul-mate and best friend designed to be all that is needed to have a life-long fulfillment.
verse 23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”
Adams exclaims that his wife, Eve, was made by God, given to him by God, especially designed, and intentionally made for his needs, as he was for hers.
Note once again in the last part of verse 22 that God personally brought Eve to Adam. You will start a whole new chapter of your marriage and open an entirely new dimension to your relationship when you realize that God Himself designed your husband or wife just for YOU! All of the differences you share in perspective, in taste, in personality, in mood, and in ability are all placed there by God for His glory and for your good.
Women are Different by God’s Design
Your wife is different from you as a husband because God made her different and wanted her different.
The more you realize that truth and thank God for it, the sooner you will stop resenting those differences and resisting those differences and start seeing her as the counterpart to your life that by God’s grace will help form you into what God wants you to be.
The passage continues on into the traditional marriage passage, but today we are going to focus on the wonderful need from Creation, for husbands to be loved by their God-designed wives, who were designed to rescue husbands from loneliness.
- Adam’s role designed by God was to initiate, to lead, protect, provide, cherish and husband his wife.
- Eve’s role designed by God was to respond to Adam’s initiatives, follow Adam’s lead, comfort him as he protected her, receive Adam’s provision and love him in all his dimensions as her husband.
The story of the fall is all about Eve’s first time to reverse her role. When Eve initiated disobedience to God and Adam responded, sin, sorrow and death were the result.
But back to the original plan that it was “not good for the man to be alone”—when Titus came to minister on Crete he faced many men who were alone while they were married.
Their life was unshared, their initiatives were not fully responded to, their leadership was not fully followed and their marriages and homes were, as a result, far from God’s plan.
So God prompted Paul to write some words that can reach across the centuries and revitalize any marriage, any family and any home. The key is found in the call for not only Spirit-prompted agape love that is within the heart of every born-again believer—God also wanted each marriage and family to be trained in phileo love. God wants wives to practice the constant improvement of an emotional love of friendship, of companionship and of a shared life with their husbands.
This love that glues husbands to their wives is a love that is chosen, a love that is modeled and a love that can be learned.
Paul commanded Titus to gather a group of grace-energized-women to be God’s servants, and deploy them as trainers in the ancient art of becoming husband lovers. That was the first order of their curriculum.
Give Your Husband Your Deepest Love
Today, if you are married and want to give the best gift possible to your husband, give him not only your Spirit-prompted, sacrificial agape love that serves him and submits to him, give him also your emotional love that makes him become and stay your very best friend in all the world.
In fact, if you want to impact the rapidly-turning-pagan culture around us (much like that of Crete in Paul’s day) remember and heed the first thing Paul told them to do was love your husband in a way that can be felt.
verse 4b “the young women to love their husbands”
Wives energized by grace are first of all “lovers of their husbands.”
Titus 2 women understand that there are three specific life long priorities that make a wonderful start. Why not quietly in your heart, ask the Lord if you have made these choices. Have you become from the depths of your heart, a woman who loves your husband as your very best friend in all the world? To check and see if you have remembered that this type of love is built upon small choices that slowly becomes life-dominating priorities. Here they are:
- Grace-energized-wives decide that they will make their husband the number one most important human relationship of life over all others including parents, brothers, sisters, and friends.
- Grace-energized-wives start seeking their husband’s friendship and love ahead of all other human relationships including their children.
- Grace-energized-wives begin examining their lifestyle, and schedule, to see if they are intentionally “spoiling their husband rotten…” if you are doing so as a way of life, then you can be sure that you are his best friend and are truly “loving” your husband.
My dear friend Curt Shacklett has a course he teaches to mentor couples in Biblical love and respect. Curt always reminds them that each time a wife acts this way there is a spiritual deposit in her account in the Bank of Heaven. Women are rewarded for such love poured out upon their own husbands.
God commands us in Proverbs to be intoxicated by the love of our partner (Proverbs 5:18-19). If you are married and not intoxicated by the love of your partner, you are missing the best marriage possible.
Go back and by God’s grace rekindle the blessing, edifying, sharing and touching that always builds a strong, close, encouraging partnership for life. Be a beacon of Christ's love reflecting to an empty and hopeless world that true love is possible and can be shared for as long as you live.
The greatest priority in a home should be love. If a wife loved her husband and her children, she was well on the way to making the marriage and the home a success. In our Western society, a man and a woman fall in love and then get married but in the East, marriages were less romantic. Often the two got married and then had to learn to love each other. (Ephesians 5:18–33 is probably the best Scripture for a husband and wife who really want to love each other in the will of God.)
Godly women Living as a Priest for God with Guarded Tongues and No Excesses, with Visible Integrity as Earnest Mentors of Wives who are their Husbands Best Friend.