Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Category Archives: Titus

Final instructions and closing for Titus – Titus 3:12-15

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Final instructions and closing for Titus – Titus 3:12-15 – 03/10/2016

This bible study is part of a series on the book of Titus, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Titus for other studies in this book.

Titus 3:12 (ESV) When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. 14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful. 15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.

Paul continues his thought in the middle of this letter in verse twelve of chapter three; let’s look at it in a verse by verse basis…

V12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.

Paul just finished reminding Titus to stay on course and now he finishes the letter with some closing greetings. I love reading this as it shows that apart from being a great apostle and a dynamic theologian, Paul was also one who impacted lives, he invested in people and remembered people in person and in prayer.

To the reader who is reading this some two thousand years later we may not do much with this information apart from maybe gloss over it as we do not know the people. I know that when I have previously studied the epistles I have not spent a great deal of time parked here and pondering this. We see that Paul was a man also who made plans, took precautions and made advance notice of where God’s will was sending him.

For me also it shows the humanity of Paul that he remembers people that he has no day to day contact and whilst it is easier for me to keep up with various pastors I pray for all over the world these days through internet, I appreciate the heart of Paul here using the medium of the day to let the readers know that he has a heart for the ones he is writing to as well as the ones he has been training and about to send out, we read about two who are about to be sent in the next verse.

V13 Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing.

Paul is coordinating the sending of Zenas and Apollos to aid Titus, Paul was asking that these missionaries be given all that they need to succeed. When you are on mission (and speaking as a Scotsman who has a desire to teach the word of God in a foreign country with me now living in the USA) it is much easier to do the work of God as a team effort. When a friend of mine was planting a church in North London I was happy to see that he had a team of people go with him to establish that church and he has had people who have been with him for seasons in addition to the obvious amount of people who have been praying for him and his family. I know this man’s heart and he would have a similar heart to Paul that if I called him up tomorrow and asked if I could labor in the field that God has placed him in he would see to it I had lacking nothing.

We must realize that we have a responsibility as fellow brothers to help those who are doing God’s work at both home and abroad. One of the things that does bug me though is that international church plants and domestic church plants are not held in the same manner. I admit that it is difficult to gain support as a missionary going abroad to a foreign land but imagine how hard it would be to get support for a church planted in the same country. I do wish that we would do as much for our “domestic church plants” as we do for our international. Paul makes a request that they “would lack nothing” I am not expecting that to mean they would have the biggest house or the fastest chariot, but simply that the church would band together and make sure their basic needs are met. For me teaching the Word of God is a calling as opposed to an occupation and even if I was ever paid to do so, I doubt I would be richer than I am at the moment. It does sadden me to read of those who want to do God’s work to get rich, it was never meant to be this way. I believe that if a Pastor is doing full time hours they should be entitled to a salary for the work that they do and this is not a decrying of those who are in paid ministry, simply a call to look at the heart of the one who is being called.

The very fact that Paul is sending others to this work states that Titus has been fruitful in the Lords work and that Paul being a wise leaders is sending others to aid the work that Titus is doing there. As leaders we are responsible for the people that God places in front of us and equipping them for the work of the ministry. We are also in need of folks who are called to certain areas and can serve using the talents that God has given them. If we are aware of someone’s talents then we can make best use of them. If you have made your Pastor aware of talents that you have and you have not been given opportunity to use those talents then that is really on the leadership. If you are not suited to something after being given a safe place to try out those callings then that is one thing and I would agree with the pastor, but if you are not given the opportunity to do what is a calling then the issue lies with those who assign the tasks.

V14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.

Paul again calls the people to be a good example and lift up those who are in case of urgent need, that is a vital lesson for us all to be discerning of people’s needs, to not be enablers. If someone is in constant need and is frivolous at spending then something is not right with this picture. If you have someone giving their last dollar to help fund someone be reckless then you may have an issue.

On the flip side however, we have to learn to maintain the good works, we must be overflowing with fruit that our faith is genuine, we must be genuine, we must be real with one another and realize that what we have been given is from God and none of it is our own, and that we are simply custodians of the money and possessions that we have. We can’t allow anything and especially nothing as silly and temporary as stuff we have been blessed with that can be removed in the blink of an eye to allow us to become dry and unfruitful. Let me give you an example…

I have a car in my driveway, it is a Hyundai, it will rust, it will get old, and I have a cell phone in my pocket and with every day that passes the technology on that phone become obsolete. I have a mortgage on a home that will eventually fail and things will go wrong with it. These are all temporary things that I will not and do not put my faith in. My faith and trust is in the Lord and I refuse to become dry because I will not use these gifts for the Lord. Will you?

Paul closes this letter with the following words…

V15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.

Paul closes the letter in much the same way as when he began the letter with a mention of “grace” and he closes the letter stating that “all who are with me send greetings to you” and advising Titus to “Greet all who love us in the faith” so Paul intended that the blessings in the epistle be shared and despite there being a lot of personal coaching for Titus it also had some golden nuggets for a wider audience and this letter is still bearing fruit in my life and I pray that as you read this article you will examine the words that have been presented to you and commit them to your hears.

Thank you for going through the book of Titus with me and Lord willing, in our next article we will begin studying the second letter by Paul to the Corinthian church and my hope is to do the first seven verses of this letter. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

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Avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless – Titus 3:8-11

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Avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless – Titus 3:8-11 – 02/25/2016

This bible study is part of a series on the book of Titus, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Titus for other studies in this book.

Titus 3:8 (ESV) The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

Paul continues his thought in the middle of this letter in verse eight; let’s look at the text on a verse by verse basis…

V8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.

In the last article we looked at those who were foolish and disobedient, and Paul reminded those to be submissive to rulers and authorities and gave some great characteristics of how a Christian should be especially in a society that is not “Christ-friendly”, Paul continues this thought and finishes it with this sentence, he was insistent that the Christians focus on what is important.

We are all called to a battle, a heavenly war if you will and as soldiers in that battle against darkness we all have to stay on task. We are fighting an enemy who is relentless in his pursuit against the people who have chosen to follow the messiah Jesus Christ; I know from personal experience that my most trying times where I have been spiritually attacked have been when I have been deepest in the trenches following the will of God in my life.

We are to be devoted to good works, that is what we are saved for, we are called to be different to this world, as the world gets darker we are supposed to shine as beacons of light that point towards our Messiah Jesus. Paul goes on to look at our conduct as Christians…

V9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.

Paul goes back to the beginning of his letter and almost brings it full circle and continues the thought that began when he spoke of the things that should not be taught, Paul uses a word for “avoid” that literally means “point the other way” and that is possibly a better understanding for us. My advice to the modern day Christian is the same, ask yourself a question “will this debate matter in five years?” or “Is this debate worth the people it will cost me?” and often times that will change our minds in getting involved in discussions that we really have no business being in.

We usually do this electronically these days as opposed to in person, when we add our fellow brothers and sisters onto our Facebook/Twitter/Instagram accounts we give them access to ourselves and sometimes that access leads to viewpoints that are different, most often in the areas of theology and politics, just because they sit near you in a building on your preferred day of worship (most of us Sundays) does not always mean that they mirror your stance on every issue.

The Pharisees were tremendous at causing dissention and creating “holy laws” (or cultural laws) in addition to the already unattainable Law of Moses and often times they created these great religious discussions to flex their theological muscles and show how much they knew. That also happens today and as Christians we should avoid any discussions that stoke individual pride even if we are doing so “for God”. If the motivation (and be honest now) is prideful or the motivation is to show how holy you are then it will have little worth.

Quite often we see the mission of God as discussions like these and we neglect the basics such as “loving our neighbor” or “mentoring up a weaker believer” claiming that we are simply too busy to do these simple works when we are tying ourselves up in great theological disputes that will often cause contention and very rarely win a soul to Christ.

And lastly we should avoid contention for the sake of contention. I have friends who are young earth, some who are old earth, I have friends that are pre-trib, I have friends that are post-trib and I respect and value their friendship enough that I won’t keep tagging them in article that are against their viewpoint on these issues that are contentious. If they have known me for more than five minutes they will know my individual stance on these articles and how I back that stance up with scripture. I find that most drama can be avoided with a little care on the instigators part. Here is what Paul says about these types of people…

V10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

We all have those folks, we maybe know those folks, and we maybe are those folks who could cause a fight in an empty room. Even as you are reading this I bet you are casting your mind to some folks that you could think of who are like this. Paul is not using this as an excuse to cut someone loose that is contentious (I have seen this passage of scripture used to shun someone who has less popular viewpoints in the hope that the person eventually gets the message and leaves) but more as a guideline that they should not be shunned as stated earlier, that we should be pursuing that person who has gone his own way.

We should be warning him multiple times yes but we should not give up on him. Jesus paid such a high price for our Salvation and we should be doing all we can to welcome him (or her) back if they decide to repent and wish to be part of the church again. Often times the leaving of that person is done in such a way that the person would never be able to be returned to fellowship. Obviously that should be avoided and we must love even in tough love and often times that is missing when situations like this happen and people with axes to grind against churches will often feel “unloved”. (It may or may not be the case but we have to take that idea out of the water)

Obviously, if the person is unrepentant and has to go then so be it, but it should not be the first option. If he chooses to not partake of the communion of the saints and chooses the route of self-condemnation then let him go. I would go as far as to say minister to him from a distance in prayer in the hope that he returns to his messiah and also in the hope of correction of doctrine also. His choices are between him and God now.

Lord willing, in our next article in Titus we look at the end of the chapter and see how Paul concludes this letter to Titus in chapter three verses twelve through fifteen. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work – Titus 3:1-7

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Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work – Titus 3:1-7 – 02/11/2016

This bible study is part of a series on the book of Titus, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Titus for other studies in this book.

Titus 3:1 (ESV) Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Paul continues his thought in the middle of this letter in verse one of chapter three; let’s look at it in a verse by verse basis…

V1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

Paul exhorts Titus to “Remind them” as if they required constant remembrance to do what is being asked of them. Paul is asking them to be submissive to rulers and authorities that do not share their vision and values and often times worked against the mission of the church where Titus was located. We today are called to the same, regardless of our thoughts of those who are in charge of us whether that be workplace managers, politicians, kings, queens or whomever we are called to be submissive to them and deal with them in a humble manner.

Paul lists characteristics that categorize this…

• Be obedient – Whether we like it or not God had a plan in placing those people in authority, it is not our role to be disobedient to the ones ruling us. You don’t have to imagine a Government who is passing laws that do not reflect the values that you hold as it happens even today, just as it did in Paul’s time; we are called to be obedient. Be law abiding, work hard, pay taxes, be an example to other so that they question what is different in our lives and desire a relationship with Jesus for themselves.
• Be ready for every good work – In addition to keeping our civil obligations we are also to be active Christians and be ready to do the work of the Father! We have to be beacons of light, tell others about the good news and be that example to others. It should keep us up at night that people are dying in their sins; we should be primed and ready to give an account of what we believe in and evangelize whenever we have that opportunity.
• Speak evil of no-one – “be careful little tongue what you speak…” We have to be careful in what we say in regards to others, a good rule of thumb is to only speak of people in an edifying manner, judge it under the following criteria “would you say it to them if they were standing here?”
• Avoid quarreling – This is something that Paul writes elsewhere in the epistles and people are all different and some folks look for arguments, ask yourself in the midst of an argument “will this matter in 5 years?” and then you can assess whether it is worth bickering about!
• Be gentle – Paul does not write “be a doormat” but love folks enough to be gentle with them, not just in good manners or to be “people pleasing” but be willing to serve others prior to serving yourself.
• Show perfect courtesy towards all people – Some translations say “showing humility” and these are distinctly Christian traits and will come to some easier than others. If you are struggling in this area then my advice is to pray about the areas you find hard.

V3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

Paul refers to where we were before Christ, if you have been following our studies in the book of Romans, you will see a similar vein here as what is spoken in Paul’s epistle to the Roman church. We have to remember who we were in order that we do not slide back and copy those behaviors. Please do not get me wrong, there is no sin we could commit that Christ has not atoned for, but speaking personally I have knowledge of what life what like before Christ and I really have no desire to return to that life.

Paul lists that we were the following

• Foolish and disobedient – This is the epitome of the man living for himself, he is so insular and self-focused that he cannot see beyond himself and is caught up in his own folly and disobedience to the will of God.
• Led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures – Once the slow fade of being led astray and lines begin to be blurred then you embrace the sin and go back to your former lives away from God.
• Passing away our days in malice and envy – Because of our sin and self-focus, we look to bettering our situations and we do our best to better our situations by tearing at others and attempting to get ahead by tearing others down.
• Hated by others and hating one another – Of course of the last one was the seed, this is the root plant, the malice and envy blooms into hatred and strife, does this seem attractive to anyone?

Does this sound like the life you are living? If so I urge you to come home to Jesus and rededicate your life to Him. Paul continues in verse four…

V4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

That place in verse 3 is a dark place huh? We can’t rescue ourselves from that and it is very God that we do not have to! We were rescued by the grace (goodness and loving kindness of God) Paul talks about this also in Romans 5…

Romans 5:6 (ESV) For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

What I am saying is that God reached out to us and did all the work long before our hearts gravitated towards him. Paul reiterates by saying “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” and this is the essence of the good news of the Gospel, I mean talk about finishing your letter with a left hook or your sermon with a bang.

Let us get a few things clear, going to church or bible study a Christian does not make, responding to an altar call 25 years ago at a Billy Graham crusade a Christian does not make, being baptized 11 years ago a Christian does not make, these are great works but we are saved by the mercy of God and our hearts being sold out and changed by the work of the Holy Spirit. Can I hear an AMEN? God is always the one who makes the first move and we will always receive back much more than we give out.

Verse 7 tells us that we are “justified by his grace” and this is the roof the house is built upon and our reward is to be “joint heirs in the Kingdom” and what a pearl of great price that should be! When we become saved and full “all in believers” then we have that blessed assurance of that eternal reward.

Lord willing, in our next article in Titus we look at the end of the chapter and see how Paul concludes this letter to Titus in chapter three verses eight through fifteen. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority – Titus 2:11-15

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Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority – Titus 2:11-15 – 01/28/2016

This bible study is part of a series on the book of Titus, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Titus for other studies in this book.

Titus 2:11 (ESV) For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. 15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Paul continues his thought in the middle of this letter in verse eleven; let’s look at it in a verse by verse basis…

V11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,

Paul exposes a rich revelation here it is the grace of God that once it has appeared is what brings salvation for all people. We cannot earn it, there is no pre-selection and no one is excluded who truly wants to be saved. We also cannot earn it, work our way towards it of by some effort of ourselves. It cannot be purchased, traded or bought, it is a free gift given by God and God alone, our responsibility is to accept it, we don’t have to be separated from God, we choose to be if we fail to accept the grace of God which brings salvation for all!

None of us deserve it and we are recipients of a gift that is better and worth more in value than any lottery win. The criteria are simple and plain “all people”. From the avid churchgoer to the man on death row, the volume of sin is not important, the heart of repentance is!

V12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

The word “training” is the same word that would be used for a parent child relationship, if you haven’t been a parent you most certainly will have been a child and you will understand what is meant by the mentoring, training, teachable moments, exhortations, encouragements, the teacher is the aforementioned “grace”. We know what we have been saved from, we have stared over the abyss and being saved, changed creatures we are taught by grace to do the following…

• Renounce ungodliness and worldly passions – We have to actually BE different to the world, we are called to be “salt” and “light” and I am testimony to a life lived completely surrendered to God’s plan will cause others to question what you have and whether they want it in their lives. In my case it was a Pastor and his wife who were the dictionary definition of “loving someone to Christ”. It made such an impact on my life.

We are called not just to give up the things of our past but we are called to renounce them, remove them completely from our present day lives. We have to completely deny the worldly passions and do what so many of us do and keep one foot in the fire. We have to live towards sanctification and we see this in the next part of what Paul says.
• Live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age – Accepting the grace of God and embracing salvation is only the first part and first step on a journey, we are called to be holy, and we are called to live self-controlled, upright lives in the age where God has placed us. We have to live (some translations call it) soberly towards our fellow man and be a good example of Christianity, we are also called to live in an upright manner showing that we take our relationship with God seriously. When you assess your life, a good barometer to use would be the question “would this bring people to Christ?” Often times I have been frustrated by lack of movement in my Christian life and when I do a decent honest self-assessment I realize that I am the problem.
• Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ – And that is the timescale we have, we have until the Savior Jesus Christ comes in the appearing of His glory. A good question you have to answer would be “Are you living your life in the expectant hope of Jesus return? How are you preparing for that?

I love it when I hear that someone has an idea when the Lord Jesus will return, I like to listen but I am reminded that “no-one knows the hour or time” I always think about when I undergo something “Is this something I want to be doing if Jesus returns at this time?” It really cuts down on your sin! Jesus is appropriately named here “Our great God” and it should be remembered that the one you are serving is the very one who saved you from your sins, the only one who could and the only one who is holy enough to be acceptable to God the father as a sacrifice! Even if you are a Christian newbie Paul allows you to read this in verse fourteen…

V14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

And that is it in a nutshell! Jesus sacrifice and God’s grace allows us to be in communion with God because Jesus atoned for man’s sin when he went to Calvary and rose again. Jesus “gave” this was voluntary, he gave “himself” all that he could give and he gave it all “for us” because he knew that we had a debt with God that we could not pay on our own. He was doing the biggest debt forbearance known to man but he was buying something with a price and that price was him.

He is described as redeeming us from the lawlessness that was our lives past. In the same way that we can receive savings by redeeming a token or voucher, we receive eternal savings (pun intended) buy the redeeming work of Jesus. We are slaves that have been purchased from our master of sin and we are called to “purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works”. We are reserved for the good works, we are set apart and we are to hunger for holiness. We are to be zealous for the good works that we are commissioned to do for the Lord, I find it not great the task I have for the Lord but I am overwhelmed that he could accomplish it on his own, but he chooses to use me.

It is like when I let my six year old help me in the yard, often times it slows me down but I have to focus on the task at hand and it is as much about spending time with her as it is completing the task. Your heavenly father feels the same way when you labor in the tasks he has allowed you to help with.

V15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Amen to this notion! Can you imagine what the world would be like if we had a church with 4,000 believers that met on a Sunday go out and be 4,000 “salt and light” to the community around us? Imagine we declared these things zealously like we are meant to? Would you see your city be revived for Jesus Christ? I am not pointing the finger at anyone and I am as much talking to me as I am you dear reader! But imagine what it would be like if that was the case? Cities would be on fire for Jesus all over this land and beyond!

We are called to do this with all authority and let no-one despise you, we have to live beyond reproach and have nothing for your detractors to have against you in an accusatory fashion, we have to proclaim this message as urgent as if it came from an earthly ruler, this is a message that could quite literally snatch someone from the jaws of hell at the eleventh hour. That is how much authority our message is from; we are to preach it “in and out of season” and regardless of how it will be culturally received.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Teach sound doctrine – Titus 2:1-10

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Teach sound doctrine – Titus 2:1-10 – 01/14/2016

This bible study is part of a series on the book of Titus, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Titus for other studies in this book.

Titus 2:1 (ESV) But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. 9 Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

Titus begins the reason for his letter after the earlier salutation (see previous blog article) and outlines the reasons for initially writing and set out what the mission for Titus should be in chapter one. It is both a mission and a challenge because Titus would have to be very discerning in who he chose and he would require wisdom to ensure that the correct type of people were installed to help these churches to be strong. Let’s start in verse one of chapter two and my aim (God willing) is to go through the letter to Titus on a verse by verse format.

V1 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.

Paul states God’s plan for Titus life and these few words show that Titus was set apart for a task that was not for everyone. His task was to teach what accords with sound doctrine, he was given a responsibility that I think we take too lightly today in today’s church. Ask yourself a question, should everyone be allowed to teach in the church? James answers this quite clearly in his epistle…

James 3:1 (ESV) Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

Those who teach will be judged with greater strictness…Now you see why it is called a calling and not simply a job or an occupation. Often times Paul in his ministry was bi-vocational, he made tents and preached the gospel, I know many pastors who ministry is not their “day jobs” and it is very much a western mindset that we have teachers of the bible as a career choice.

What had he to teach? He is told to teach what accords with sound doctrine, not just an action, going through the motions type deal, but a living example of what the right things are. We read all through chapter one some of the incorrect doctrines that he was being told to correct and we see here that Paul is only interested in him being a teacher of what is sound.

It is an example to us even today, to stand up for what is right and correct and represents Christianity in a true light. The world is good at distorting Christ and his followers and many of the myths I used to spread myself and have heard about Christians are simply stereotypes and are not true. Yes we have the Bible and it is a manual to advise us doctrinally how to live and we do believe that it is the inerrant, infallible word of God. Paul goes on to explain and categorizes the different groups within the assembly.

Older men

V2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.

Titus was a younger man so it is important that when you are teaching these men that it is done with respect and love with a liberal amount of wisdom, it is obvious why because you do not want to cause offense and cause stumbling by things that are not biblical. Despite the fact that these men may be older in physical age, it is more likely that they would not be as advanced and as spiritually mature as Titus.

Despite their lack of spiritual maturity Titus was to teach these men certain standards that they had to adhere to. Titus is commanded to teach these things that might not have come with their life experience so far. If you are saved later in life you have a far bigger past that a new believe who gets saved in his teens, you may not have the following characteristics…

• Sober minded – not a lack of a sense of humor but simply someone who knows when to be serious and when to be called upon as an “elder head”
• Dignified – If dignity did not automatically come with age or if you were undignified in your previous life, then this may have to be “taught”
• Self-controlled – Titus had to teach them to be self-controlled in order to be a good example, they had to be sober, reverent and temperate.
• Sound in faith – They had to get their doctrinal “ducks in a row” in order to be effectively used in the ministry. They had to have good knowledge and be diligent in their studies
• Sound in love – They had to have a genuine love for people, this may have been an issue as I know myself as we get older we get more stuck in our grooves and we will have pre-conceived notions more than someone who is not as advanced in age.
• Steadfast – Unmovable, a word often used for an anchor, someone that is dependable. If you think of the really good elders or spiritual mentors you have had in your lives you will see that they had most of these characteristics.

Quiet a list huh? I am not really confident in which ones I should share about that I am still working on! I would imagine that due to the age difference this may have been met with some resistance however the purpose of this was to do what we should be doing more of in our churches, Titus was equipping his saints for the work of the ministry, once Titus was done with these men he would have them teach these principles to others. They would automatically have people’s ears due to their age but Titus was to make sure that the very people that could influence people are influencing them correctly and in a sound manner. Let’s look at what he had to teach the older women…

Older women

V3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

Like the older men the older ladies are given their own expectations, from the text we glean that they were expected to be the following…

• Reverent in behavior – Like the older men they were to show reverence, be that example of reverence, being a woman for all the people that they would be reliant on in any situation and not disqualified due to external behaviors.
• Not slanderers – The woman of God is expected to use her tongue wisely, not to be tripped up by speaking evil of others, they must be able to be trusted to not be flippant in speech and would you confess your deepest darkest sins to one who would spread them around the church?
• Slaves to much wine – She must be sober, you notice that it says “not slaves to much wine” and the culture then, as it is today expressed that alcohol was okay. I have no actual issue with the partaking of alcohol but merely the abuse of it. If the lady was drunk consistently or lived her life according to the bottle and replaced the Spirit of God in her life with a slavery or addiction to wine.
• Teach what is good – The woman of God has to be able to teach appropriate doctrine to establish a legacy in her ministry. She is to be the living example in that she would practice what she preached and preached only sound doctrine and be a mentor to those who are looking to her for instruction.
• Able to train the young women – Again she is looking to train the young women in the precepts and doctrines of her faith, being that example and being a valuable resource in the mentoring and maturing of the young women. In many cases supporting the parents by being a spiritual parent to the younger women.
• Self-controlled – Self-control is a must, I know this is starting to sound like the perfect lady but she will have her faults and I am sure that there will have been people that will have been chosen for ministry that will have been a work in progress, so please if you are reading this do not get down hearted that you are a few categories off. God will work on you should you invite and desire that to happen. I urge you to charge on and not get discouraged!
• Pure – It goes without saying that she would be pure, with no scandal or examples that would lead the younger believer astray, yes she will have her challenges but she will be showing to have overcome them and use the challenges as a testimony to her faith.
• Working at home – In that day the women were expected to work at home and if your finances allow for that then that is wonderful, however there are many reasons why a woman would not be working at home and sometimes you have to do what is best for your family.
• Kind – She is to be kind, able to be kind in situations that warrant a gentle hand, you will notice that there is no category for the younger ladies and they are expected to get their mentoring from the older ladies, that is not to say that they would not learn from Titus, but their principle instruction would be with their husbands and the older ladies.
• Submissive to their own husbands – Those of you who think this is a “blind submission”, “submission to the dictator husband” or “forced servitude” do not have a full understanding of God’s design for marriage, the woman is expected to be submissive and be under the headship of her husband as the keeper of his home but many do not understand the dynamic that is explained in the book of Ephesians chapter 5…

Ephesians 5:22 (ESV) Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Yes she is meant to submit, but the husband is to love her as Christ loved the church, remember that whole “love. honor and cherish” deal on the wedding day?

And this is enveloped in the last sentence “that the word of God may not be reviled” that is beautiful and it shows that they had to be a living example for the generation coming up and the generations to follow of what was expected of a Godly woman. Blessed are the churches that follow this pattern for women’s ministry. It is important that older does not always mean age, spiritual maturity is as vital as life experience and many effective women’s leaders would be regarded as “young”.

Younger men

V6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

Young men are to be the following…

• Self-controlled – Like the older men that are teaching them, they are expected to be self-controlled and be examples to be used for the ministry of God when they are spiritually mature. The Christian faith is a journey, a day by day relationship and often times people transition and you could be called at any time, so you have to be ready to go when you are called.
• Model of good works – If you wished a scriptural example of this I would urge you to read the third chapter of the book of Colossians, the young men are called to diligence, called to be mature, called to be an example of good works to all around them. Show them that despite your youth you are an example to others. Titus had to be more than a mentor, more than a teacher; he had to be an example to these people.
• In teaching show integrity, dignity and sound speech that cannot be condemned – Here is the meat and bones of the text, the mission had to stand up to scrutiny, it had to be permeated in integrity, he had to be dignified and everything that came out of his mouth had to be sound doctrine. This was the legacy he was leaving to the younger people.
• Leave opponents with nothing evil to say about you – Be “above reproach” remember that from earlier? Leave no arguments about you, what you teach or just as dangerously your character.

Servants

V9 Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

Bondservants are to be as following…

• Submissive to their own masters in everything – The church was the one place that servants could mingle with their masters on a somewhat equal footing, this was a culture shock to many as servants sometimes had positions in the church and their masters did not. However the servants had obligations as part of their servitude and they were to fulfill them with all of their heart.
• Well pleasing and not argumentative – Paul goes into a greater detail into the heart of how they were to serve and the heart behind of how they were to serve, they were to be pleasing and not argumentative in spirit or in speech, it wasn’t simply good enough to do the “bare minimum” or simply to “tick the boxes” they were called to exceed and succeed in all that they did (See Colossians 3:23)
• Not pilfering – They were not to steal and that was obvious, but ponder this, what about stealing time, wasting time or loitering so that they are not as efficient as they could be. Another common practice would be that the servants would run errands and this states that they should not profit by keeping change or property from their masters.
• Showing all good faith – Titus must show the servants that they must be an example of their faith in all that they do, they must be markedly different to those who are not of the same faith, they must be honest, trustworthy and a good example.
• They may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior – And here is the reason why, to give a good report to others of the doctrine they possess. What greater testimony than someone who is in servitude living out their life as a Christian and being the best servant he could be? Talk about the ultimate dead end job with no career prospects and they must have a Christ like attitude and work at it with all their endeavors.

We are not bondservants ourselves nor do any of us have servants or slaves so a modern day application is difficult but think on this, many of us are employed or employ others and in our daily employ do we have the above credentials? I am not trying to shame you but merely make you think and imagine what a witness we could be if we were like this. Should the Lord spare us until next time I plan to look at verses 11-15 next time in chapter two.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Silence the insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers – Titus 1:10-16

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Silence the insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers – Titus 1:10-16 – 12/31/2015
This bible study is part of a series on the book of Titus, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Titus for other studies in this book.
Titus 1:10 (ESV) For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
Lord willing, my aim with these studies are to do a line by line and verse by verse study on the text so let us begin with verse ten…
V10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.
In the last article we went through all the credentials of a man who was to be appointed as a leader in the church and now we see the reason why these men had to be of such a high standard. The people they would be serving would be the following…
•       Insubordinate – These ones would not just be insubordinate in speech but in action also, I am sure we have dealt with some like this in the modern church, they would be the ones causing drama, causing tension, be a walking Jerry Springer show, the root word is a negative of “submit” so these would be the ones who would be always working outside of the leadership and not submitting to the leaders that were trying to serve.
The church hasn’t changed that much that it is still populated by imperfect people and we have authority in all walks of life. In my day to day job I have a boss, and my boss has someone that they answer too. I am supposed to be the head of my home and with that leadership comes a great responsibility. God places authority in our lives for a reason and even Pastors will have mentors that they will check in with. Authority as long as it is Godly authority is always a good thing and really should not be railed against.
•       Empty talkers – You know these as well and we have these also in the church today, those who are all schmooze and fluff, they could talk all day but never bring anyone closer to God. They were full of compliments and even offered to help those in need but never followed through with anyone. They could be coarse jesters and telling and spreading stories and jokes that really have no place in the church. Lastly they could be working the crowd to try to get a position in the church and regrettably I have seen these types of folks in leadership.
•       Deceivers – There wouldn’t be liars, cheats and deceivers in the church would they? Have you ever been inside of one? It is full of imperfect people, we all have our weak spots and we all struggle with different sins but Paul is not referring to those who struggle and are trying to repent of where they are going wrong. No! he is talking of those who are in their sin and willfully deceiving people deliberately for a variety of reasons, it may be to get a position, it may be for personal profit, Paul does not say and anyone who guesses would simply be speculating but the vital information is that Paul warns against them nonetheless.
And Paul accuses those who he used to be a part of, he calls those who were of the Jewish faith “The Circumcision Party” (would you vote for them?) who were trying to Judaize the Gentile believers and this is a common theme among a few of the epistles and an issue that Paul had to address more than once.
This is a heresy that creeps into most modern cults today and they all start off the same way that Jesus is not enough, that his sacrifice on the cross was not enough to absolve your sins and you have to do something extra. The Mormons have tapped 3 extra holy books (Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants) the JWs have rewrote the bible and added a whole bunch of works and the circumcision party wanted the Gentile Christians to adopt the Jewish customs and place the yoke of the Law around themselves.
V11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.
Titus once he had appointed, selected and trained these men up to be elders was going to put them to work immediately, those people had to be dealt with by the leadership of the church. They had to not be allowed to take over meetings in the manner that they had been allowed to and in many cases not allowing the real reason for the meeting to occur, the edification of the saints.
I have been in bible studies where people with agendas have been allowed to have a larger piece of the conversation than they should have had, it has always been dealt with in and out of the meetings and although Titus used words such as “silenced” the elder would not be rude, be wishing to be aggressive or behave in a way that would cause an accusation against him.
The reason is simple, they were “they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach” they were going into the households and causing discord amongst the believers and giving incorrect theology as the gospel. Paul said similar in his first letter to Timothy…
1st Timothy 1:3 (ESV) As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. 5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
This list is more exhaustive than the one in Titus and the heart of the discussion in both passages of scripture is that if it does not add to the kingdom of God then please don’t teach it. Lastly they had impure motivations for wanting to teach it, they were teaching for shameful (or dishonest gain) and their motivation was not a pure one, they had little interest in spreading or advancing the kingdom of God and were more interested in what they were getting out of it in a selfish fashion as opposed to serving the Lord.
V12 One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.
Remember an earlier article where I gave the characteristics of the people from Crete, here is where I gleaned the information, do you see why it was vital to have good strong leadership in an area where the people are described as liars, evil beasts, lazy and subject to gluttony? It was to avoid spiritual madness and chaos and doctrinal error all over the region. The reason for that is that he was told to “rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” and that it wasn’t personal but simply about making sure the doctrine was correct.
It is so easy to get lost in the simplicity of the gospel, to say “is that it?” to wonder in awe that God made it so easy to be reconciled to him. I personally do not judge those who had it wrong as to the Jews it would have been really hard to lose everything that they had culturally as their new faith in Christianity was the fulfillment of so many of their prophecies. But they were trying to bring in myths and oral traditions that were not biblical into a place where they did not belong and they were acting in the same manner as the modern day cultists and because of this their error was causing more harm than good.
V15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
Which is why the Jewish fables were so dangerous, they clouded the correct definition of purity because they were wrapped up in their Pseudo-Ultra-Jewish legalism they believed nothing was pure and they did not comprehend that they were washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. They spread contentions about foods which should be eaten and other things that were kept by the super strict legalism that denied their faith in Christ and showed that their true faith was still in the rules that they had made their God. In that they denied Him because they defiled themselves in that they denied God by their works.
Lastly Paul calls them “detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work” and let’s look at this accusation that Paul rails against them.
•       Detestable – They were in idolatry to the Law and due to this this was overriding their Christian walk, here is an interesting thing that you may or may not have pondered. Just because you are busy with things of God may not mean that you are fulfilling God’s will. Sometimes we can be in love with the things of God opposed to being in love with the creator.
•       Disobedient – is what it states! Those people had instruction from others and we know that Paul himself had given the Cretans instruction if no-one else had but the instruction they had received they did not heed.
•       Unfit for any good work – The Greek word had a variety of meanings; it meant the same as a counterfeit coin, cowardly soldier and something or someone that was rejected.
The key here is that you do not lose yourself into doctrine that is not profitable in advancing the kingdom of God and especially do not let it creep into heresy and take control of your life. Lord willing next time (and next year) we will start in Titus 2 where Paul continues this exhortation to “teach sound doctrine”.
God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Qualifications for Elders – Titus 1:5-9

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Qualifications for Elders – Titus 1:5-9 – 12/17/2015

This bible study is part of a series on the book of Titus, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Titus for other studies in this book.

Titus 1:5 (ESV) This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— 6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

Titus begins the reason for his letter after the earlier salutation (see previous blog article) and outlines the reasons for initially writing and sets out what the mission for Titus should be. It is both a mission and a challenge because Titus would have to be very discerning in who he chose and he would require wisdom to ensure that the correct type of people were installed to help these churches to be strong. Let’s start in verse 5.

V5 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—

We learn from this verse that Paul had served with Titus in Crete which is an island in the Mediterranean Sea. Titus had been left there in charge of the church movement on the island to a group of people that would be what we would call in the modern church as a church plant. There were many people attending but also many new believers. Crete was a difficult place to be in because the inhabitants of the island did not have a good reputation and it was a difficult place because the attributes listed were not externally what you would associate with the reputation that the island had. It was also great because the ones who met these qualifications would certainly be living as “salt and light” in that place.

I know how this is as when I write this article I acknowledge that even though I live in a town that has a good reputation, the area in town I live in is not the best so I truly have to be “salt and light” to my neighbors and attempt to win them over with love first and then as they question what makes me different then win them over with the gospel. Titus had been left in Crete for the following reasons:

•       Put what remained in order
•       Appoint elders in every town
•       Follow directions

We have no clarification that Titus was being left in Crete so he is there for this purpose and is there to establish the churches there on a solid foundation and appoint those who would equip the saints for the work of the ministry. Like any new ministry, the church in Crete needed structure, order and the right leaders in place to ensure solid doctrine was being preached and that the newer believers were being mentored up in the faith of Christ Jesus. This is why the term “put what remained in order” which tells us that there was something that was not quite in order, it may have been something small but it may have required major intervention, we are not told this and such talk is just speculation. However the main point is that he should appoint elders in every city.

Paul sets out quite clearly the criteria for Eldership, so much so that many churches use these verses and verses in 1st Timothy chapter 3 to

1st Timothy 3:1 (ESV) The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. 8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

The reason I use this scripture too is that in the Ephesian church model the church was more established and Timothy was asked to appoint deacons and elders but only elders are mentioned here in Titus. He had quite a job as the cities in Crete were large in number and he would have to do quite a bit of appointing. We see here that Paul wanted all of the cities to have their own leadership and this shows an immense amount of trust being placed on the shoulders of Titus, it gave him a tremendous amount of authority to be Paul’s man in Crete. Paul lists criteria for leadership that suggests that Titus had a job of ratification as well as selection.

V6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

You will notice that Paul didn’t say to Titus “find me the tallest, the good looking, the ones who have a smooth personality, the winners, the popular, the ones you like or have an instant rapport with” he gives a criteria that is much better. Also he didn’t say “pick the willing, the volunteer, the one who isn’t really equipped but he is keen, the one who tithes the most, the one who compliments” he picks more about the character of the man.

I have grouped the criteria together because there is a lot to go through so I made a list but the overriding criteria that Paul is looking for is Godly character. That should be the entry level requirements for a candidate to get through the door, I notice that we don’t see education or a seminary background and whilst it is good to do these things, that does not always automatically qualify you for leadership.

Lastly and before the list is given, it doesn’t state that the man has to have it all together, I have seen some of the greatest elder appointments were to guys that were 80% there in doing the job already but they knew the criteria that they wanted to meet and they strived at that with all of their heart, not for personal gain but to increase in their service to their Lord.

Paul gave a list as follows:

•       Above reproach – Basically above gossip, not exactly Teflon (Non-stick)  but the congregation cannot be left wondering “why is he up there?” that there should be nothing that can be attacked either by the church or externally from outside the church. Basically one that is obvious in living a righteous life, he is an example to those he is serving.
•       The husband of one wife – It doesn’t say that a leader had to be married, but what it does say is that if the leader is married then he must be married to one wife. The idea is that the leader has the attention and sights set on one woman in the church only. Would you want your elders being flirtatious and causing the ladies of the church to stumble?
•       Children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination – The heart behind this instruction is the same as the one in 1st Timothy is that the man should be in control of his household and the ability to lead his own children should demonstrate his ability to lead God’s church.
•       Not be arrogant or quick-tempered – Arrogance, self-will and quick temper should be checks in the qualifications for leadership, these and the next few would certainly not make the candidate “above reproach” can you imagine the scene if an elder is brawling or arguing with members of the congregation on a regular basis?
•       Drunkard – which means the same as “not given to wine” and that is a just qualification as a man who is in leadership will be called to deal with all manners of people, some may have had issues with alcohol and may justify sin by measure that “well my elder does it” I think that personal sacrifice is a far better example as to not stumble a weaker believer rather than a brutish exercise in ‘personal liberty”. Am I saying don’t have a beer? No, I am saying don’t be drunk with wine.
•       Violent  – You have to be an example to all believers, unless you wish to breed a generation of violent brawlers then avoid this quality in your leadership. I am not referring to those who defend themselves but Paul is stating don’t pick people who are the cause of the fighting and are violent by nature and have not submitted that to the Lord. This goes for those who throw fists as well as those the throw words.
•       Greedy for gain – Do not pick those who were just like Judas! One eye on the prize of their pocket as opposed to doing the will and work of the Lord, I have issues in the past with elders who wanted to conduct business whilst doing the Lords work and it left a bad taste in the mouth and caused me to avoid that brother for a while.
•       Hospitable – Probably the most overlooked criteria for an elder but in my view it should be the first thing that is looked at. Is that ministry candidate willing to open up their home, willing to be scrutinized? Willing to feed the poor? Clothe the needy? Not because he wants to look all holy but because he has a heart to do the work of the Lord in the city he has been planted. Will he invite people into his home and open the word of God and mentor folks? If not then why would you trust him to in the church?
•       A lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined – Men who tell the crude jokes, have the dirty minds, love the debase things, do you want them in charge at your church? What about the jokesters? The ones who you are not sure could be serious when occasion calls? I am not saying that if a man ever told a joke then he should be struck off but if a man cannot be sober minded and mature enough to read a situation well then he may not be ready for leadership. The words just, holy and self-controlled refer to his attitude towards other men, God and himself. Matthew Henry is quoted as saying “How unfit are those to govern a church who cannot govern themselves!”
•       Holding firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it – And lastly he must know his doctrine! If he does not know his doctrine and is sure of it then how will he give instruction, exhort and convict those who either come to him or contradict him. Leaders need to have a solid foundation in the Word of God, which is why Paul commissions Timothy to not pick a novice.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

BIAY – Bible in a year – December 16th 2015

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This article is part of a series called Bible in a year, for the full year please check out our BIAY home page, or for December check out our December page.

Thank you for checking out “bible in a year” post for December sixteenth.

Today’s scripture is as follows:

Philemon 1
Titus 1-3.

Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

Psalms Saturday #3 – Psalms 133 – How good and pleasant when the brothers dwell in unity

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Psalms Saturday #3 – Psalms 133 – How good and pleasant when the brothers dwell in unity – 12/05/2015

Psalm 133:1 (ESV) Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

I think it is awesome that the blog that I wrote on 12/03/2015 in Titus (Link is here) closed with taking about unity in believers and here is how we closed that blog…

“I try to think of that more and more when I see Christians firing at other Christians for something that is not doctrinally based, perhaps a difference in worship styles or the fact that a Pastor has a big church so he might be doing something wrong, I lament this is the case and what I have learned recently is that a victory for another church in my town is a victory for Christianity and we should not be as tribal as we are as far as defending where we go on a Sunday. These are our brothers in the faith on the same mission.”

Regardless of where we attend on a Sunday we should be praying for one another, lifting one another up and viewing each other as brothers and sisters. We are all serving the one God and we all worship the same Messiah Jesus Christ and do you think that God wants his family to be dysfunctional? I take great solace that when we get to heaven there will be no Presbyterian section, Catholic section, Lutheran section or even a non-denominational section and wouldn’t it be funny if God placed you right next to that guy you have been condemning because of his church style? Jesus spoke about this in the gospel of Matthew chapter 7…

Matthew 7:12 (ESV) So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. 13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

We are all entrants through that narrow gate, we have already been adopted into his family and we should be wishing to do unto others as we would wish be done unto us. The underlying commandment is to love one another and these teachings hit at the core of what the Psalm is talking about. Even looking at it from an evangelism point of view how can we talk about the “love of Christ” if we are not loving those with a common faith. We become no better than the world around us in that case. Jesus also addresses this in the Gospel of Matthew…

Matthew 5:43 (ESV) You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect

We have to have unity in a common faith as this pleases God; the Psalmist describes it with the following words…

V2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

The description used is very similar to the anointing of a priest or new king, in this case they are speaking of when Aaron was anointed and it is probably not as you thought that they took a little oil and sprinkled. The verse states that they poured it on him and it was so much so that it ran all over him, it ran down his beard, ran over his robes that he was soaked and drenched in the stuff. It could be the equivalent of us getting a pitcher or a bucket and pouring it over and overwhelming the person with “the blessing” Can you imagine if we did that with the sick? (As we are commanded to in James 5:14)

The oil is described as precious and it was meant as a blessing, the blessing was not something that was sparsely applied and like the dew of Hermon, it is a blessing that is commanded from the from the LORD, it speaks of something that is alive forevermore and with it being a blessing from the LORD then as limitless as the LORD is, the blessing also will be limitless. So that is why we should walk in unity.

Am I saying we should embrace unholy doctrine? I am not saying that for a second but what I am saying is that we should be focusing on the majors that we do agree with. We should not be focusing on things that divide us such as worship styles, how we take communion or minor theological points that are not “Salvation issues”. I say this because on the mission field the churches have greater results when they focus their energies together so why do we not learn that lesson back home. Let’s dwell in unity, work together in one purpose and leave the results up to God!

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Titus 1:1-4 – A letter from Paul to Titus my true child in a common faith

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Titus 1:1-4 – A letter from Paul to Titus my true child in a common faith – 12/03/2015

This bible study is part of a series on the book of Titus, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Titus for other studies in this book. 

Titus 1:1 (ESV) Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began 3 and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior; 4 To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

From the first four verses of this rich letter we learn some basic facts about this letter based on the text only…

•       The author – Paul (v1)
•       The recipient – Titus (v4)
•       The common faith in which the letter was written (v1-3)
•       The common love between author and recipient (v4)

Paul is very much a co-laborer in Christ with Titus, they knew each other personally because in verse 5 we see documentary evidence that Titus was the Titus that was left in Crete while Paul continued to follow God’s will in his life so we know that both Paul and Titus spent quality time together, Paul probably still knew people in the church at Crete and was aware of the people who would be helping and hindering Titus. Let’s look at the passage on a verse by verse basis… 

V1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness,

Paul introduces himself in a traditional Pauline fashion, he establishes his credentials in a manner that is both eloquent and advises that he is writing with a certain authority. He first calls himself a servant of God and that really cannot be questioned, this is a man who went from the chief oppressor and persecutor of the people of “The Way” to a man who is willing to evangelize all that he meets regardless of opposition, he knows that by following the will of God in this volatile part of the world where being a Christian is not cool, trendy or even good for life expectancy will eventually cost him his life.

He is a man who is ravaged with infirmity, a man who has a thorn in the flesh, someone who even if he is in chains to two roman guards he will preach to his captors. He is the type of evangelist I wish I was and one that I hope in faith that one day I will be. A man who was beaten, stoned, scourged, shipwrecked, and been chased and run out of more towns and cities than we can name but yet he remains a giant of faith and still evangelizes everyone he meets. I am sure you will agree, he qualifies to call himself a servant of God.

The term Paul used was “doulos” which denoted the lowest slave in a household, the basest slave, the one who was barely allowed to lift the shoes off the master’s feet and that humble mindset is how Paul saw himself. And history shows him as such a giant of faith, what humility that man had and that truly is a lesson to us all when we start to think that the ministry that we are allowed to do on behalf of God is our ministry.

He is an apostle, the word comes from the word “apostolos” which simply means messenger, one who delivers a message and he is most definitely a messenger of Jesus Christ. He goes where he is sent regardless of peril, he evangelizes whomever God puts in from of him, he preached in temples a message that would not be popular and if the Jews rejected him then he went out to the Gentiles and preached to whomever would hear and accept the message, so he certainly is an apostle of Jesus Christ. 

And the reason Paul calls himself an apostle was “for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness” and Paul was writing not to esteem himself but he was writing for others sake, to the ones he shared a common faith and doctrine with, for the edification of those saints and quipping them for the work of the ministry. Paul was writing to those who had already responded in faith to the gospel of Jesus Christ, he wanted to write to them not according to base knowledge (or head knowledge) but also the knowledge of the truth that changed the heart from within and this is why it was according to godliness. If we have a psychological or a textbook knowledge of the rules and precepts of Christianity which is good but if we have not surrendered our hearts then it will not change our lives. We will be like dry bones having an empty religious practice that is not actually Christianity.

V2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began

This is why it has to be life changing, if we have that true heart transplant Christianity then we have the hope of eternal life, we are offered the pinnacle of prizes, eternal communion with God and a reinstatement of God’s perfect plan with no sin, no death and just man and God reconciled in a perfect unity. It is based on a promise from the originator of truth the God who cannot lie and not based on a wish, a dream or superstition. 

V3 and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;

Paul believed as I do that in order for man to come to Salvation then he has to be taught through preaching and sound doctrine being taught. I believe that is the case today also, as the world falls the need for preaching, correction and a showing of God’s perfect standard and the need to be reconciled to God increases. God does not desire than any should perish but desires that all may have eternal life through Jesus his son. Paul again states this is Romans 10…

Romans 10:14 (ESV) How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. 18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”

Which is why we have a need for missionaries today, both abroad and urban missionaries that are willing to evangelize your next door neighbor, that are not afraid to talk about Jesus to whomever God puts in our path. Preach in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2) and we as Christians have been entrusted with the good news that can assure people of eternal life, we have been entrusted this by our savior and it is our job to be messengers, how do you feel about that? Does this fill you with excitement? Dread? Terror? Shame?

V4 To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Titus is the recipient of this letter as previously discussed who is on the same mission as Paul and that is vital in the effectiveness of your mission that you do surround yourselves with people who are on the same mission, for edification, exhortation and allowing yourself to stay sharp for the work that you do (Iron sharpens Iron – Proverbs 27) If you did a name search on Titus there is very little to go on other than the following verses…

 

•       2 Corinthians 2:12 – When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord, 13 my spirit was not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.
•       2 Corinthians 8:23 – As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for your benefit. And as for our brothers, they are messengers of the churches, the glory of Christ. 24 So give proof before the churches of your love and of our boasting about you to these men.
•       2 Corinthians 12:17  – Did I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you? 18 I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Did Titus take advantage of you? Did we not act in the same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?

So Titus walked in step with Paul, he was his partner in faith and was a true spiritual brother. We all need that as Christianity is not a solo sport and Paul believed in a community of believers that co-labored for the glory of God. We should also and one of the greatest tools we have these days is social media and we have the opportunity to use our pages for the glory of God.

I try to think of that more and more when I see Christians firing at other Christians for something that is not doctrinally based, perhaps a difference in worship styles or the fact that a Pastor has a big church so he might be doing something wrong, I lament this is the case and what I have learned recently is that a victory for another church in my town is a victory for Christianity and we should not be as tribal as we are as far as defending where we go on a Sunday. These are our brothers in the faith on the same mission.

Paul closes his greeting by stating “grace, mercy and peace” and these were not just a “roll off the tongue holy words and I am sure that as much as we have read that passage of scripture we really have not focused in on these words. However Paul knew the source of grace mercy and peace because he came face to face with Him on that dusty road in Damascus and he knew that regardless of what he had suffered up until that point and whatever he was going to suffer afterwards that the author of grace peace and mercy was with him every step of the way, even if that road led to the end of his life.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to
TTE
TGBTG
SDG