Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Evening Sermon Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/ev/ev20121209.htm
THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Titus: God's Directives For Church Leaders In Deteriorating Cultures
Part IV: The Protective Calling Of Church Leaders In Deteriorating Cultures
(Titus 1:5, 6a, 9-16)
Lesson: Church leaders must guard God's flock from teachers of extrabiblical ideas and manmade, legalistic rules by promoting the heeding of Scripture only and countering teachers who mislead others.
- Since the local church is God's pillar and foundation of the truth in a dark world (1 Timothy 3:15 NIV), its leaders play a key role in protecting that calling against spiritually negative forces to the contrary.
- Thus, Titus 1:5, 6a, 9-16 describes this protective calling of local church leaders in deteriorating cultures, and we view this passage for insight and edification as follows:
- The Protective Calling Of Church Leaders In Deteriorating Cultures, Titus 1:5, 6a, 9-16.
- Paul left Titus on Crete (Titus 1:5a), an island with a deteriorating culture of liars, evil beasts and lazy gluttons (Titus 1:12) to set in order what remained, especially appointing leaders in each church, Tit. 1:5b.
- In listing the qualifications for such leaders (Titus 1:6a), Paul ended his list in Titus 1:9, asserting his most important qualification, that they must "hold fast to" (antecho, Arndt & Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the N. T., 1967, p. 72) the trustworthy message of God's Word as they had been taught so they might by means of sound teaching refute those who oppose it.
- Thus, Paul described the task of local church leaders to guard the body from false teachers, Titus 1:9-16:
- First, local church leaders must know and hold firmly to the truth they were faithfully taught that they might teach true doctrine, protecting the flock from rebellious talkers and deceivers, Titus 1:9-10 NIV.
- Second, such leaders must be ready to counter such destructive foes of the local church, Titus 1:11-13:
- The mouths of foes of God who are rebellious deceivers must be stopped, for, if unchecked, they subvert whole households, teaching what they ought not to teach for dishonest gain, Titus 1:11 NIV.
- Paul noted these errant teachers reflect the godlessness of the decaying secular culture as in the case of the people of Crete where, one of its own poets, Epimenides, wrote that "Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons," Titus 1:12 NIV; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Titus 1:12.
- Epimenides' was right in this word in Paul's view, so Titus and the local church leaders he was to appoint were to "reprove" (elegcho, Ibid., Arndt & Gingrich, p. 248-249) the errant "severely, rigorously" (apotomos, Ibid., p. 101), that they might be sound in the Christian faith, Titus 1:13.
- Third, such local church leaders must direct themselves and others to be discriminatory in what content they allowed themselves to use in teaching, Titus 1:14:
- These leaders were both themselves and to teach others not to "give attention to" (prosecho, Ibid., p. 721) Jewish "fanciful stories about ancestors" (muthos , Ibid., p. 530; Wm. Hendriksen, Exp. of the Pastoral Epistles (NTC), 1974, p. 355) and legalistic, extrabiblical commandments of men that "turn away from" (apostrepho , Ibid., Arndt & Gingrich, p. 99-100) Scripture truth, Titus 1:14.
- Thus, local church leaders were to give attention to Scripture versus extrabiblical stories or legalistic commandments of men, being discriminatory in what they tolerated in teaching content!
- Since Paul was critiquing especially Jewish false teaching (Titus 1:10b, 14a,b), he commented to some extent on their errors in Titus 1:15-16 (as follows):
- Paul referred to one of the main errors of such teaching in Titus 1:15a in writing that to those who are pure in Christ, all material things are pure, especially regarding one's diet, cf. 1 Timothy 4:1,3b-5 with Acts 10:10-16; Romans 14:1-17. Thus, a false legalism that denied certain foods was a key error of these teachers. (Another issue regarded extrabiblical rules established by Jewish teachers on physically touching things considered to be unclean in the dispensation of the Mosaic Law, Colossians 2:20-22.)
- Paul observed that to the unbelieving such as these teachers, nothing is pure, but even their mind and conscience is defiled by extrabiblical, legalistic views of what is right and wrong, Titus 1:15b.
- Paul added that these false teachers profess to know God, but in their works they hypocritically deny Him, being detestable, disobedient and unfit to do any good work, Titus 1:16.
Application: May local church leaders thus protect God's flock, and may the flock heed their ministry.