Counseling One Another

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Counseling One Another

May 16, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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In Pursuit of Christian Womanhood

Making disciples is the work of the church. Jesus made that clear. But how do we make disciples? As we read the New Testament we see this pattern: We make disciples by coming alongside one another in the lifelong pursuit of becoming like our Savior. In other words, the work of discipleship takes place chiefly through relationships—relationships that include the two elements of instruction and example.

These relationships involve those who are spiritually mature; that is, those who are further down the road of walking with Christ and living according to His Word. These relationships also include those who are brand new to the faith, or not as further along in walking with God. In His infinite wisdom, God placed both mature and immature, both older and younger, together into the community of the faith for the purpose of spreading the gospel of His grace and glory.

This is very different than the world’s way of gathering people. Society’s strategy for the propagation of ideas and principles is peer gathering. In other words, keep the same aged people together at all times so that they will feel accepted, like they belong—based on superficial similarities. However, God’s design for discipleship is different. God’s design for Christian growth includes the necessity of an example, the essential involvement of older, mature teachers and examples. By God’s design, the local church is the ideal place for discipleship; a plan that requires the regular, intentional interaction across the generations. For our discipleship strategy to be fully biblical, it must be multi-generational.

That is what we see in Titus 2:1-8, where Paul directed Titus to teach the older men to model godliness and instruct the younger men as to what Christian manhood looks like, and where he instructed Christian women in matters of godliness and exhorted them to train up the younger women. In verses 3-5, we see the pursuit of Christian womanhood, as defined by the Bible not our culture.

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.

In this passage, we see 3 aspects of Christian womanhood.

HER MODELING (v. 3)

The apostle’s emphasis, first, is on what a Christian woman is to be. Her own spiritual growth and character development must be a high priority to her. This will open the door for her ministry to other women in the church. Four character qualities are mentioned:

  • Reverent Behavior – This is the only occasion this word in the New Testament. What does it mean that a godly Christian woman is “reverent” in her behavior? It means her demeanor and her state of mind are “suitable to holiness,” like those in sacred service. She acts in such a way as is fitting for God and service to God. Her godly behavior is her crown and jewel. Scripture says nothing about her career, education, or position in society, but it has much to say about the kind of woman she is. Infinitely more important than society’s measuring sticks for women, it is godly character and the confidence of her faith which God considers most important. The Christian woman’s reverent behavior is her adornment (See also 1 Timothy 2:9-11).
  • Not Slanderous – Some translations say “not a malicious gossip.” The reason for this is that the description is translated from one word, diabolos, which means “slanderer.” The King James Bible uses this word 35 times for the devil. A gossip does the work of the devil, but a mature, godly woman does not use her tongue to lift herself up by running down others. Instead, she is confident in Christ and strives to only use her words in a way that will build up others.
  • Self-controlled – Mature Christian women are not “slaves to much wine” (or any other foreign substance), but models of temperance and self-control. The word “slaves” means “enslaved,” meaning a completed state or condition. In other words, the godly woman is not enslaved to sin as a habit of life. In this case, drunkenness has no part in her life. Of course, the character trait of self-control applies to every area of life. Suffice it to say that the godly woman, by walking in the Spirit, rather than the flesh, exhibits the fruit of self-control (Galatians 5:23).
  • Teacher of goodness- Mature Christian woman are “to teach what is good.” This does not refer to her formal role as an instructor or mentor, but describes the kind of advice she can give to the younger women, both privately in word and publicly by example. Now, notice where her godly example leads. Her faithful modeling leads to a disciple-making relationship with the younger women of the church. So, naturally, the apostle moves from her modeling to her ministry.

HER MINISTRY (vv. 4-5a)

The apostle is clear. The older women must be (verse 3) in order that they may do. They are to make their own spiritual growth in godliness a priority so that they may train the young women in the church. It is the noticeable godliness of the older women that earns the respect of the younger women in the church, thus paving the way for the eager reception of their verbal instruction, encouragement, and counsel. Her example is the launching pad of her ministry. That principle is true for all of us. Fruitful ministry flows out of who we are in our walk with the Lord. If we are not serious about living under the functional authority of the Word then we fail when it comes to being able to lead others. The apostle now gives 7 characteristics of the aspects of Christian character the older women are to train into the younger women.

  • Husband-loving – The primary way a wife loves her husband is by being the helper that God designed her to be (Genesis 2:18; 1 Cor. 11:8-9). The older women are to encourage the young women to love their husbands—to serve them, to help them be successful.
  • Children-loving – Today’s modern woman is consistently fed the lie that children are an inconvenience, that they are distractions that get in the way of her pursuit of a more meaningful career. However, the godly woman sees herself as uniquely created by God to bear children and to raise them up for His glory. Motherhood is a high and holy calling. Therefore, the older women of the church are to encourage the young women to invest their lives in loving their children.
  • Sensible – It means “of a sound mind,” and refers to self-mastery in thought and judgment. Older women should be balanced and discreet, mature, not women of extremes.
  • Pure – The godly woman is chaste, modest, and free from every fault. Christian women are to be holy, immaculate in character (1 Peter 3:2).
  • Committed to their domestic duties – “Working at home” is from a compound word, from “house” and “guard.” This verse does not prohibit the Christian woman from working outside the home, but it does call her to guard the priority of her home and family. They must not be neglected.
  • Kind – Commonly translated “good.” It refers to having a good constitution or nature, to be upright and honorable. There are some very mean women in the world, but a godly woman is known for her kindness. Kindness is her hallmark (Proverbs 31:26).
  • Submissive to their husbands – To be submissive means to arrange under, to subordinate. Submission is a character quality which God requires from every Christian within a variety of relationships. In the case of marriage, the godly Christian wife does not view submission as bondage, or the action of one who is inferior, but as God’s beautiful design for the orderliness of the family. For the Christian wife who is married to an unspiritual man, this becomes a chief means of the Holy Spirit’s conviction in his life (1 Peter 3:1-4).

HER MOTIVATION (v. 5b)

Why should the women of the church want to be known for having this kind of character? Verse 5 so that the word of God may not be “dishonored,” or blasphemed. If Satan can get the men and women of the church to forsake God’s design for their unique roles in exchange for the ever-changing ideals of the unsaved world, he will disrupt the redemptive power of the church in this world. The world will look at the church and conclude that we have nothing different to offer. But Christian womanhood is very different.

The heart’s motivation for the women described in this passage is the same as that of the virtuous woman described in Proverbs 31:30-31, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.” The chief motive of the godly woman is the glory of the Lord. Her chief desire is to please the Lord…even above pleasing her husband or children. She fears the Lord more than she does them.

Ladies, the world is sending you many different messages about what it means to be a woman. The Word of God calls out to you, saying, you are uniquely created and gifted by God to bring glory to Him. Do this by pursuing His will, according to His Word, in whatever station or season of life you find yourself in. At the end of the day, in whatever you do, seek to bring Him honor and glory.

[This post is adapted from last Sunday’s sermon.]

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May 11, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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Our Support Since Birth

In recent months, I’ve been thinking about the gracious hand of God’s providence by which He has led me the past 33 years of knowing Christ as Lord and Savior. I marvel that to bring me to where I am in life and ministry today took innumerable blessings, decisions, and experiences—both immensely joyful and heart-wrenchingly painful. Yet, through them all my sovereign Master has dealt well with me, even when at times His chastening hand was felt more acutely than His tender care. And to think that all His dealings with me began not 33 years ago, when my eyes were first opened to the gospel, but almost 53 years ago, when I was born. Indeed His love has reigned over all His gracious ways!

For this reason, I was struck by a testimony from Alec Motyer in his Psalms By the Day. This morning’s meditation was based on Psalm 71, which he entitles “The Life-long God.” Motyer writes:

“How far back in your life can you trace the hand of God? If you have never done this, I venture to think you will be surprised! In my earliest infancy I was left for a weekend with my maternal grandmother—and the weekend stretched out for my first seven years! The direct result of this is that I cannot remember a time when I did not love the Bible as the Word of God. Was this not the hand of God? I could tell you of more ‘coincidences’ (as they are called), and ‘accidents’ (as they seem), and the right person being in the right place at the right time—but I have no doubt your ‘story’ is similar. Consciously or unconscious to us, Yahweh has been our support since our birth (Psalm 71:6); it was he who caused us to be born at the time and place of his choice. Not accident but design, not coincidence but plan, not chance but divine direction—that is the story of every believer, the secret history of every conversion. It is the direct implication of the wondrous title of ‘Sovereign One’ (verses 5, 16), a God who truly is God, who holds in his hand not only the broad sweep of world history, but the tiniest details of personal stories; a God whom no circumstance or adversary—or collection of adversaries—can defeat; present in every place, master of every situation, deciding and controlling at every time. And so it will continue to be as long as earthly life shall last.”

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May 8, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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That Adorable Attribute of God

Yesterday, while preaching on the miracle of the new birth from 1 Peter 1:3-5, I read these words from A. W. Pink on the mercy of God.

“Mercy is not a right to which man is entitled. Mercy is that adorable attribute of God by which He pities and relieves the wretched. But under the righteous government of God no one is wretched who does not deserve to be so. The objects of His mercy, then, are those who are miserable, and all misery is the result of sin, hence the miserable are deserving of punishment not mercy. To speak of deserving mercy is a contradiction of terms.” [From The Sovereignty of God, Baker Book House]

The miracle of the new birth, whereby the Spirit causes us to be reborn through the Word of God (1 Peter 1:23), is not anchored to any supposed righteousness of our own, but to the mercy of God who took pity upon our helpless and hopeless condition (Titus 3:5). He loved us while we were yet unlovely sinners, and redeemed us through the blood of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:8).

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May 4, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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Pray About Everything

It’s a joy for me to let you know that Shepherd Press has announced the release of my book Pray About Everything, and are offering a generous pre-order discount on the paperback and the eBook is FREE. Here’s what others have said about this book:

…this is one of my favorite books on prayer…
—Mark Dever, 9Marks Ministries

…a valuable contribution to our theology and practice of prayer.
—Jerry Bridges, best-selling author of The Pursuit of Holiness

Use this book as a springboard to stimulate your own ideas on how you as a pastor or church leader can cultivate prayer in your church.
—Joel R. Beeke, President, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

Paul Tautges has done a tremendous service to both pastors and church members with this little gem of a book.
—Brian Croft, Senior Pastor, Auburndale Baptist Church, Louisville KY

An excellent resource for instructing and inspiring effectual prayer in the life of the local church. I highly recommend this book to be read and implemented into the prayer life of your church family. It will be transforming!
—Daniel P. Fredericks, Church and Pastoral Ministries Consultant, IFCA International

ShepherdPress.com exclusive: Buy the paperback, get the eBook free! Your purchase of the paperback automatically includes a link to download an eBook version as well (once the eBook is released).

Pray About Everything delivers an urgent call for believers to commit themselves to regular and systematic heartfelt prayer as an essential spiritual discipline for the Christian life.

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May 1, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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3 Ways We Judge Wrongly

Jesus instructed His disciples to judge righteous judgment (John 7:24), but He also said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” (Matt. 7:1). Is this a contradiction? No. We are called to use biblical truth and wisdom to discern rightly, but we are foolish when we make judgments based upon appearance or only one side of the story. We are called to maintain a balance of grace and truth, but avoid a judgmental attitude. This bad attitude is, as Matt Mitchell defines it, “a heart disposition meant to be condemnatory and censorious.

So, where do we go wrong? When and how does judging become sinful? Mitchell explains three ways.

  1. Rush to Judgment – To form a conclusion about a person based upon hearsay, without going to him to hear the other side, is utterly foolish and destructive. It is folly and shame to answer before listening, to rush to judgment about another person without loving them enough to take the initiative to start a conversation (Proverbs 18:13). Instead we should believe the best about the other person, rather than assume the worst.
  2. Prideful Judgment – The deeper problem behind and beneath judgmentalism is pride. Pride is the elevation of oneself not only above other people, but above God’s law (James 4:11). But there “is only one Lawgiver and Judge,” and it’s not us. When we rush to judgment, we play God; “we act as if we are omniscient when we are not.”
  3. Unloving Judgment – The opposite of being judgmental is the virtue known as charitable judgment. “Charity” is the old word for love (1 Cor. 13:4-8), which compels us to believe the best about another person. Therefore, Mitchell counsels us well with these words: “If you and I are loving people with this kind of charity, we won’t sinfully judge or gossip about people. We won’t delight in the evil that we hear has befallen someone else. We won’t believe the worst about others. We will always hope for something better. Love is tenacious. Love does not pretend that all is well and sweep things under the carpet, but it does hang onto hope for others and believe the best.”

Instead of sinfully judging others, and then tearing them apart through gossip, the gospel obligates us to put on love, which bonds everything together perfectly in harmony (Col. 3:14).

As we continue to work through the book, Resisting Gossip, please consider reading and growing along with us. Previous posts include:

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April 28, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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The Lord Will Provide

This morning, while driving to Chicago, two of my kids and I listened to Matthew Smith’s All I Owe CD several times. Though I’ve listened to it countless times since Indelible Grace was at our church last fall, the lyrics to “The Lord Will Provide” deeply ministered to me in so many ways. Meditate on these words, below, and listen to the song here. Then share this hope-filled encouragement with someone else.

Though troubles assail and dangers affright,
Though friends should all fail and foes all unite;
Yet one thing secures us, whatever betide,
The Scripture assures us, the Lord will provide.

The birds without barn or storehouse are fed,
From them let us learn to trust for our bread:
His saints, what is fitting, shall ne’er be denied,
So long as it’s written, the Lord will provide.

We may, like the ships, by tempest be tossed
On perilous deeps, but cannot be lost.
Though Satan enrages the wind and the tide,
The promise engages, the Lord will provide.

His call we obey, like Abram of old,
Not knowing our way, but faith makes us bold;
For though we are strangers we have a good Guide,
And trust in all dangers, the Lord will provide.

When Satan appears to stop up our path,
And fill us with fears, we triumph by faith;
He cannot take from us, though oft he has tried,
This heart-cheering promise, the Lord will provide.

He tells us we’re weak, our hope is in vain,
The good that we seek we ne’er shall obtain,
But when such suggestions our spirits have plied,
This answers all questions, the Lord will provide.

No strength of our own, or goodness we claim,
Yet since we have known the Savior’s great name;
In this our strong tower for safety we hide,
The Lord is our power, the Lord will provide.

When life sinks apace and death is in view,
This word of his grace shall comfort us through:
No fearing or doubting with Christ on our side,
We hope to die shouting “the Lord will provide.”

[From All I Owe, released November 7, 2006]
©2006 Detuned Radio Music (ASCAP)
Written by Matthew S. Smith. Based on a hymn by John Newton

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April 25, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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THIS SATURDAY! – 1st Annual Biblical Counseling Conference of Chicago

“Restore Hope” is the theme for the 1st Annual Biblical Counseling Conference hosted by the Biblical Counseling Center on Saturday, April 29th. This conference will equip and encourage you to restore hope to the hurting in your church and community. The conference is geared toward all church leaders, from pastors and care ministers, to Sunday school teachers and small group leaders, and anyone who is interested in the one-another ministry of discipleship.

I’m honored to be one of the main speakers, along with Alan Benson. In addition to main sessions, the BCC’s experienced teachers will help you restore hope to the hurting, including struggling married couples, the divorced, adoptive families, the addicted, and the grieving. A teaching track on Basics of Biblical Counseling is also available as well as a seminar on starting a biblical counseling ministry.

WHEN: Saturday, April 29, 2017, from 9AM to 3:15PM

WHERE: BCC’s Schaumburg site at Bethel Church, 200 N Roselle Road, Schaumburg, IL, 17 miles from O’Hare International Airport.

COST: $25 per person, $15 per student ~ lunch is included in cost when you register by April 25.

REGISTER: Visit the Conference page at Biblical Counseling Center’s website or phone us at 847-398-7193.

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April 12, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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Why Did God Kill Jesus?

When the Old Testament prophet Isaiah predicted the suffering of Jesus Christ he said, “But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief” (53:10). Why? Why would God the Father be pleased to kill His only begotten Son? The verse goes on to answer that question, “If He would render Himself as a guilt offering.” In short, God was pleased with His Son’s willingness to pay the price for the guilt of our sin.

  • God was pleased to display His love for us.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). The required payment for sin is death (Gen. 2:17). Jesus paid the price by dying on the cross and enduring God’s wrath against our sin. God did this in order to reconcile sinners back to himself (2 Cor. 5:19-20).

  • God was pleased to raise His Son from the dead.

On the cross Jesus cried out in triumph, “It is finished.” The debt for sin was paid in full. Three days later, He rose from the dead to prove it. Jesus the Lord now lives and offers eternal life to those who will repent and trust Him as their sin-bearing Savior. “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Rom 10:9-10).

Turn turn to Him today.

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April 12, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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NUGGETS (April 12)

Mind the Gap – Mike Emlet writes, “There is a gap—a space between the way life is and the way it should be. We notice the gap when we see something painfully wrong.”

The Gospel’s Compelling Uniqueness – Jared Wilson is dead right: “The safe Jesus of modern evangelicalism is not offensive, but neither is He very compelling.”

 10 Ugly Numbers Describing Pornography Use in 2017 – Tim Challies writes a very sad article.

NEW MINI-BOOK – In light of the above, you should check out this new resource from Tim Challies: HELP! My Kids Are Viewing Pornography.

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April 6, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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Give Thanks for the Church

This morning, I found myself drawn back into Matthew Henry’s A Way to Pray. My post-it note bookmark informed me that it was time to read a short chapter in the thanksgiving portion of the book, which is entitled “Give Thanks for the Establishment of the Church in the World.” Below is a brief summary of Henry’s seven reasons to thank God for the church.

  1. All glory to God for the covenant of grace made with us in Jesus Christ. “We honour you that Jesus Christ is the Mediator of this better covenant, which is founded on better promises. For though you chasten our transgression with the rod, and our iniquity with stripes, still you will never completely take away your lovingkindness, and will never allow your faithfulness to fail.”
  1. Thank the Lord for recording his eternal Word in the written form of Scripture, and for preserving his Word in its purity and entirety up to the present day. “We understand that everything recorded in the Scriptures in earlier days was written to instruct us who live today. Enable us to live in hope through patience and the encouragement that comes through the Scriptures.”
  1. Accept with gratitude the directions God has set down for the well-being of his church. “We delight in your abundant provisions for the perfecting of a people who will display the full maturity found in the completeness of Christ.”
  1. Give glory to God for establishing Christianity throughout the world, and for planting a church true to the gospel despite all the opposition of the powers of darkness. “We rejoice to see multitudes turn from idols that they might serve you, the living and true God, while they wait for the consummating moment when your Son will return in glory.”
  1. Give God the glory for preserving Christianity in this fallen world up to the present day. “We see clearly that Jesus Christ has built his church on a rock, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. For his seed shall endure forever, and his throne shall last as long as heaven endures.”
  1. Express your personal appreciation to God for the good examples set by those who have gone to heaven before you. “We praise you that our forefathers in Christ have overcome the accuser of the brethren by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. We stand in reverent awe that by your grace they did not love their lives even to the point of death.”
  1. Thank God for the communion of the saints which we enjoy because of our common faith, hope, and love. “We rejoice in the grace and peace that we share with everyone, everywhere, who calls for salvation on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.”

For several years, A Way to Pray has been an encouraging part of my devotional life. You may consider getting a copy of this timeless treasure for yourself.

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