Taking the Epistle

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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

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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

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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