A Voice in the
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~ Titus ~
the Preacher

Titus: -Topics

      01 - Preaching Established (1:1-3a)
      02 - Preaching Defined (1:1-3b)
      03 - Commission (1:5)
      04 - Qualifications (1:6-8)
      05 - Mission (1:9-16)
      06 - the Doctrine (2:1-10)
      07 - Blessed Hope (2:11-15)
      08 - Civil Obedience (3:1-8)
      09 - Heresy (3:9-11)
      10 - Good Works (3:12-15)
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Preaching Established - (Titus 1:1-3a)
    "The Lord gave the Word; great was the host of those who proclaimed it" (Ps68:11)

    "And how shall they preach if they are not sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those preaching the gospel of peace, bringing glad tidings of good things." (Ro10:15, Is52:7)

    "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the full true knowledge of the Son of God, to a complete man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph4:11-13)

According to the dictionary, combining the definitions of "preach" as they apply to the "gospel" which is the message, we find: 1) to proclaim or put forth, 2) to urge acceptance, 3) to deliver, 4) to give instruction, especially in a tedious manner.

First of all, if a preacher is preaching, -WHAT- is he preaching? What is the message? What is it that people need persuading towards? What is given that the messenger delivers? What is the topic of instruction? The rest of the epistle will cover that in detail. But Paul opens the book with a summary... the Foundation. If a preacher is preaching he must know what his authority is. If he is delivering something, he must know who the sender is, and its intended recipient. He must have a clear grasp of the message and where it comes from, and the goal and purpose for its proclamation.

WHEN DID THE MESSAGE BEGIN?
"before the beginning of time" (vs2) When was the 'beginning'?

    "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen1:1)
In other words, before God ever created the earth and humanity on it, there was the promise and hope of "eternal life". In the Garden of Eden were three choices: 1) to live life ambiguously day to day, 2) to partake of the Tree of Life, 3) to partake of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. It is not recorded that, initially, options 1 & 2 had any preconditions. But if the warning NOT TO partake of #3 was not obeyed, the result would be death. (Ge2:17) And when they sinned, God immediately guarded the way against the Tree of Life, lest they obtain Eternal Life in their state of sin. (Ge3:22-24)

God the Father and God the Son co-existed "before the foundation of the world" (Jn17:24) Eternal Life in the "heavenlies" was also "predestined" by God to us who believe "before the foundation of the world" (Eph1:3-5) ...before the beginning of time. When Adam and Eve sinned, God was not suddenly sent 'scrambling', wringing His hands in dismay (Whatever shall I do??) to "come up with a plan" for Salvation. He declares the "end from the beginning, and from antiquity things which are not yet done" (Is46:10) Everything that is, was known by God before time began. That's why the angel proclaims the "-eternal- gospel" to the world. (Re14:6)

WHAT IS GOD's CHARACTER? How do we know that Eternal Life is a valid "hope"? If a promise is made, how do we know the promise will be kept? It says that God is "without lie". (vs2) Most translations say variations of "God who -DOES- NOT LIE". Verb. But the word is actually an adjective. What goes behind behavior or action? The Law said "You shall not commit adultery" (Ex20:14) but Jesus went deeper into the heart,

    "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Mt5:28)
The thing that makes God NOT LIE, is that His character does not contain something called "LIE". Jesus said, "I AM...TRUTH" (Jn14:6) God's character is TRUTH. And so if God makes a promise about the "Hope of Eternal Life" we can know that IT IS SO. And so...

WHAT IS GODLINESS?
"Full true knowledge of the TRUTH" (vs1) As the psalmist says,

    "Through Your Precepts I get understanding; therefore I HATE EVERY FALSE WAY." (Ps119:104)
Precepts... God's -WORD-... that which is "proclaimed" (vs3)

God's preacher does not pontificate with human wisdom, but the prophet's call is, "you shall say to them, Thus says the Lord Jehovah" (Ezk2:4) The goal is for the hearers to KNOW and DO God's Word.

    "therefore you shall -KEEP- all My statutes and all My judgments, and -DO- them: I am Jehovah." (Le19:37, 20:8,22, De5:1, 7:11, Jn13:17, Ga3:10, Jn14:15, 1Jn5:3, etc)
The Message of the Gospel is wrapped up in one Person, Jesus Christ. He proclaimed...

"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (Jn14:6)

  • God promises the "hope of Eternal Life";
    Jesus Christ, the LIFE.

  • We know it is sure because God is "without lie";
    Jesus Christ, the TRUTH.

  • And we are not left wondering 'how' to attain it:
    Jesus Christ, the WAY.
As Paul said about his own preaching...
    "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1Co2:2)
And of all the ways God could have chosen to disseminate the message, He appointed -preaching-. (vs3) One person proclaiming to others. And while Jesus did say that all Believers are the "salt of the earth" (Mt5:13), Preaching, specifically, is an appointed position.

Appointed by whom? Men? (We'll get into this more in-depth in a couple of lessons) Paul said of himself,

    "Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead)" (Ga1:1)
Jesus had told the disciples to go to Jerusalem and "wait" for the Holy Spirit (Ac1:4), but Peter persuaded the rest gathered to take it upon themselves to appoint Mathias to replace Judas. (Ac1:15~) And we never after that hear of Mathias again. [link] But if Jesus had chosen twelve apostles, and Paul calls himself an apostle, appointed by Jesus Christ, then is it not clear that Mathias, chosen by men, was not a true apostle. There is a grievous error that those from the Babylonish/Roman, Reformation and Baptist traditions proclaim: that a preacher is not a preacher unless appointed by men. (Again... we'll get into this later)

But in this passage, Paul says that the ministry of "preaching" was "COMMITTED to [him]"...how? By his own whim and decision, and the advice of a seminary guidance counselor? By human appointment? By what?

    "according to the COMMANDMENT OF GOD OUR SAVIOR" (vs3b)
If there is only one thing you get from this study, and you forget everything else, it is this: GOD CHOOSES AND APPOINTS HIS PROPHETS... NOT MAN!

If you are contemplating going into the ministry, but you are NOT SURE? Then DON'T. If the man of God is such and has been qualified by God, and God -calls- him, he -knows- it. If you don't know it, you are not qualified. The apostasy already has way too many of whom God says...

    "The prophets prophesy lies in My name; I did not send them, nor have I commanded them, nor did I speak to them. They prophesy to you a false vision and a worthless divination, and a thing of no value, and the deceit of their heart." (Jer14:14, 23:32)
God is the one who sends. It is God's message. The veracity of God's message is that He is without lie. His message is Truth. The message is not the preacher's: it is not the -preacher's- sermon or -his- lesson... it is God's -WORD-. The boldness with which the preacher proclaims is because he is not his own authority, God is his authority. The preacher did not -devise- the message on his own (1Pt1:16); God puts the Word in his spirit, soul and mouth.
    "But when they deliver you up, do not be anxious about how or what you should speak, for it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you." (Mt10:19-20)
However, if the Lord didn't call you to be a preacher, that doesn't mean you don't know the Lord... that you are not a Believer, or that you are worthless as a servant in Christ's kingdom. It's just that the Body of Christ has "many members" that have their many unique tasks. (Rom12:4, 1Co12:11-31) And the question is postulated,

"Not everyone is an apostle are they? Not everyone is a prophet? Not everyone is a teacher?" (1Co12:29) with the contextually assumed answer, "No"

Just like in baseball: there is one pitcher (the most visible position) But unless the outfielders and infielders do their jobs, the ball doesn't get fielded, and the runner goes home and scores points for the 'other' team.

And don't think of the preacher as being a position of 'glamour'. It is one of great responsibility. They must "give account" to the One who sends them. (Heb13:17) They have "blood" on their hands related to their level of faithfulness. (Ezk3:17-21, 33:1-9, Ac20:26, 1co4:2) And also, as Paul says...

    "For if I preach the gospel, there is no glory to me, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship." (1Co9:16-17)
And of stewards...
    "Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful." (1Co4:1-2)

Preaching Defined - (Titus 1:1-3b)

Paul says the Word is proclaimed "through preaching". He says to "speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine" (2:1) and he closes that section by repeating, "speak these things" (2:15) But also that there are some "whose mouths must be stopped" (1:11) What -is- preaching?

Let us analyze those dictionary definitions:


1) TO PROCLAIM OR PUT FORTH

    "Cry aloud, do not spare; lift up your voice like a shofar, and declare to My people their transgression, and to the house of Jacob their sins." (Is58:1)
How much of this do we see today? Do we not see, rather, the results of the advice that was given to Micaiah, to speak "pleasant things" (1Ki22:13) If this were to be done, the speaker would be castigated as being too "judgmental", and filled with "hate speech". He would not last long in most congregations.

On the other hand... back in the early 70s when I was still a college music major, the choral department, supplemented by a chamber orchestra, performed portions of Handel's "Messiah" in this building which housed a local Presbyterian church. It was where the choir professor also directed the church choir and played organ. This professor was likely a better musician and choir director than any of the directors I sang under, later, professionally. The school choral department was of extremely fine quality. And for you who know, the Messiah is essentially, fully, quotes from Scripture, set to Baroque music; and it's about Jesus Christ. And it was a good performance that evening. Anybody who would be willing to hear God's Word certainly would have had no excuse after that concert, to not know. The Messiah is like preaching with music. So we get to the end, the final "Amen" chorus is sung, and the final sounds of the music after the final cut-off are gloriously wafting up through the rafters, not yet fully died away....

And suddenly: "PEOPLE OF BELLINGHAM... HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD!!!"

Startled, the conductor, we musicians, and audience look up (stage right) to the balcony; and hanging over the banister was this young man from the local street-preacher's group..."preaching". Well, the audience was already used to seeing these folks all over town, preaching on street corners, so they quickly started -applauding- (the music) and drowned him out, and put a quick end to that.

This group would also preach in public areas on campus (I never stopped to listen, so don't know what their doctrines might have been; in proper settings their preaching might have been OK? I don't know.), and also while singing hymns (to accordion accompaniment), the hippies that might be near-by would pair up and do some 'slow-dancing' to the hymns, and 'applaud' when the hymn was over. (Nice 'dance music'...in ridicule)

One of the primary verses for the existence of this group, and others like them, was this passage we are presently considering, to "proclaim His Word through -PREACHING-" (vs3) In presumed 'obedience', the young man was "preaching"

But is that what this passage is commanding? To disrupt another presentation of God's Word, which was powerful in and of itself? As the Spirit is moving, even though performed by mostly unbelievers, nevertheless it -was- God's Word, which does "not return void" (Is55:11) falling on the ears of the hearers; to snatch away what was just planted?

Some years ago I happened upon a David Letterman show where he had on as guest a little boy...perhaps 5 or 6 years old, who was a "preacher". And so, on queue, like a little monkey, they told him to "preach", so he raised his voice "like a shofar" and uttered words... of vitriol, in a tone of anger. Is that what this passage is about? As a phenomenon or 'curiosity', to 'entertain' before the filth of the world? Just like some people train their pets to "pray": they will sit on their haunches, and put their paws together up by their snout.

As this is being prepared, a case is going to the Supreme Court regarding 1st amendment and "free speech", the suit being brought by the parents of a dead veteran against Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, KS. This group goes around the country picketting funerals of veterans because "God hates soldiers" because "God hates America" because "God hates fags", and because America is becoming like Sodom and Gomorrah, which God destroyed, this is their mission. (And they picket against many other things) If one clicks one of their website links, they also proclaim, "God hates Israel", as their children are pictured, all smiles and smirks as they hold their signs. Their message to Israel is for the "elect" to hurry up and 'become Christians' before the Rapture; apparently not understanding that Israel's salvation will come during the time of Jacob's trouble; 'after' the Rapture. And their website favicon is an inverted US flag.

Certainly God "hates" sodomy. It is an "abomination". And in Israel, the theocracy (not Caesar's realm), such were to be executed. (Le18:22, 20:13) But God "loved" the world (including sodomites) that He sent Jesus for the Salvation of the sinner who believes. (Jn3:16)

But is -THAT- what Isaiah means, to lift the voice like a shofar, and proclaim "to My people their transgressions"? Is -that- (particular) soldier, whose death they are picketting, a sodomite? Or was he in service to Caesar? As Jesus said, "Render to Caesar...and to God" that which belongs to each (Mt22:21), as Paul also speaks of being subject to the authorities. (Rom13:1-8) Some of that subjection is in service to Caesar's military. What if that dead soldier would have happened to have been a Christian? Does God 'hate' him, too? ...like the Westboro Baptist Church does?

Yes, Jonah preached to Nineveh, "Yet 40 days..." and destruction is coming. That message he preached as he walked through the streets. John the Immerser called out, "Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bring forth fruit worthy of repentance" (Mt3:7-8) But it also says of Jesus, "He will not strive nor cry out, nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets" (Mt12:19) Was Jesus in -disobedience- to Is58:1?

In sending His disciples Jesus says...

    "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves." (Mt10:16)
What is -appropriate-? If it's a proper arena to raise the voice and speak, and God has called you to do so, then speak. Depending on zoning laws, in some places it is allowed. But does one go into a mortuary and raise the voice like a shofar? What about a hospital 'quiet' zone?

But Jesus -did- raise His voice...

    "On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes into Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." (Jn7:37-38)
Also, as Jesus spoke to the multitudes, it says...
    "And all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the -GRACIOUS- words going forth out of His mouth..." (Lk4:22)
Like the opening passage says, when God's messenger preaches, the message is the "gospel of peace" and "glad tidings of good things"


2) TO URGE ACCEPTANCE

But why should a preacher -care- whether or not people listen and receive God's Word? After all, do we not live in an age of "live and let live"?

Paul asks...

    "For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men?" (Ga1:10)
But judgment is coming. We are seeking to "snatch [sinners] out of the fire" (Ju1:23)
    "Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; and we are well known to God, and I also hope are well known in your consciences." (2Co5:11)
When before kings Paul asks,
    "King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you believe. Then Agrippa said to Paul, You almost persuade me to become a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am, except for these bonds." (Ac26:27-29)
When preaching before the lost, one proclaims their sin to them, but then also...
    "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent" (Ac17:30)
Truly, in view of recent well-known famous politics in this country, and our president's former pastor, "God damn America!"; and to be in agreement with this 'church' in Kansas, God -does- "hate" sin of all sorts, and as such America is swinging in the wind, hanging on the balance of His impending wrath and judgment. But rather than stop with such a message of "hate", the preacher needs to be like the OT prophet. God's message also includes...
    "As I live, declares the Lord Jehovah, I take no delight in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. TURN! TURN FROM YOUR EVIL WAYS! FOR WHY WILL YOU DIE..." (Ezk33:11)
As Paul travelled, it says that he
    "...reasoned with them from the Scriptures" (Ac17:2)
Which is what God implores...
    "Come now and LET US REASON TOGETHER, says Jehovah: Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Is1:18)
But if a person is in peril of the fire, and the attempt is to get their attention, do people stand around in a circle singing Kumbaya? Or do they not lift their voice "like a shofar", "C'mon! Get outta there!" or if one is reaching to lift the person, "C'mon! GRAB MY HAND!" There is not a lot of 'polite' and 'quiet' talk in 'hushed' tones. It is like John the Immerser, making a commotion, getting people's attention. C'MON! WAKE UP!
    "Therefore He says: Awake, you who sleep, stand forth out from among the dead, and Christ will shine on you." (Eph5:14)


3) TO DELIVER
    "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised the third day according to the Scriptures" (1Co15:3-4)
As I was pasting those verses in here just now, the mailman just walked in and put some paper on the counter. One was a neighborhood newspaper, and the other a piece of mail from my bank. The mailman -DELIVERED- my mail to me. What does that mean? Did the mailman 'write' the newsletter/newspaper? Did the mailman calculate my monthly credit card processing fees? No. The mail did not -originate- with the one 'carrying' the mail. He picked up his daily assignment, and goes door-to-door 'delivering' what -SOMEBODY- (out there) 'sent' to the recipients. The mail carrier 'carried' that mail and 'deposited' it to the various rightful recipients. The communications are not -to- or -from- the mail carrier. They are -from- "somebody" -to- the "recipient".

The preacher is like the mailman. Certainly, as a human being on this earth, God's Message -is- 'to' the preacher, otherwise he would still be in sin. But as a "PREACHER" the Message is FROM GOD; the preacher 'carries' the message and 'delivers' it to the recipient, the "HEARER"; and proclaims it. The preacher proclaims WHAT IS GIVEN to speak.

Thus Paul explains the origins of the Gospel Nutshell (1Co15:3-4) He "delivered" what he had "received" about Jesus Christ. That's what the preacher/messenger does.

Now, if the recipient rejects the message?

    "For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them." (2Pt2:21)
But if the preacher "delivers" what is given, his own soul is not tarnished with the sinner's blood.

And for those who think we need to learn "new truths"? That the Bible is ever-evolving to adapt to the times...

    "Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning the common salvation, it was necessary for me to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was ONCE FOR ALL DELIVERED to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were set forth to this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God, even our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ju1:3-4)
The message, God's Word HAS BEEN GIVEN. There is no more. There is nothing new or different. While there were different dispensations in the past, once Jesus came, that was God manifest in flesh. He came and "once for all" took the penalty for sin and provided Salvation. While the Millennial Kingdom is yet ahead, and then the New Heavens and Earth; regarding Salvation there is NO NEW MESSAGE. NO NEW DOCTRINE. NEVER WILL BE! The preacher must, as they say, "stick to the script".
    "But even if we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. (Ga1:8-9)


4) TO GIVE INSTRUCTION, especially in a tedious manner

What is "godliness"? (vs1)

    "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Ro8:29)
How do we become 'conformed' to His image? Do we not need to -know- Him. Here Paul says, "full true knowledge of the truth". To what depth do we seek to know Christ?
    "...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death" (Php3:10)
There is no greater love than to die for someone. (Jn15:13) But since Jesus already died for us, the closest we can expect is to 'share' in His death. The symbolism of immersion. (Rom6:1-8) Symbolically we -died- 'with' Christ. In some cases a Believer might give their life in martyrdom. When Stephen did so, Jesus -stood- to His feet to receive him. (Ac7:55-56) Standing is usually a show of respect. Where Jesus is said to be 'sitting' at the Father's right hand (Mt26:64, Col3:1, Heb1:3, etc); when Stephen gave his life in testimony, Jesus -stood-.

But then, where does "tedious manner" fit?

When God gave the Law in the OT, and the people were exhorted to obey God, they were told...

    "And these Words which I am commanding you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (De6:6-9)
A continual in-your-face approach. When merchants seek to sell their product, they -bombard- people with TV commercials, public billboards, and such things. If parents let their children sit in front of the TV every spare moment, they will become like the boob-tube...boobs. (foolish stupid person; a dolt) But when parents do like Moses said, which was something done when I was a child, plaques and posted pieces of paper with Scripture verses... on the walls, the fridge, etc. Everywhere a person looks. How do children learn? Repetition.
    "To whom shall He teach knowledge? And whom shall He make to understand the message? Those weaned from the milk and removed from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little" (Is28:9-10)
And perhaps, "tedium" is what we are doing right here, with this study. We have taken the term "preach" and are dividing it down into its various definitions, and discussing them, and seeing many Bible passages that speak to each of them. Take something and dissect it (cut it into pieces), examine it under a microscope, to look at it up-close and in detail. That is how one learns ALL ASPECTS of any given thing.

And that is the job of the preacher/teacher... to take the food (of God's Word) which the prophet "ate" (Jer15:16), and like for little children, cut the large portions into bite-sized pieces, to...

    "..give them their portion of food at the right time" (Lk12:42)
And if you are being called of God to be a preacher/teacher, but you are not quite sure how to 'prepare' to teach, perhaps "Bible Study Methods" [link] would be a good place to start?


AND FINALLY... Peter gives exhortation to preachers (pastors - elders):
    "The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory about to be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not eager for dishonest gain but with a ready mind; not exercising dominion over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away." (1Pt5:1-4)
Amen!
Commission - (Titus 1:5)
    "For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I assigned you" (vs5)
First of all, we need to address some prevalent errors; particularly two, they each being from opposite ends of the spectrum, but they both use this verse, in addition to their own other favorite passages.

While traditionally liturgical churches hold to it, they don't make a big deal of it to pontificate it, because by their very nature, being 'liturgically' oriented, everybody assumes it to be a legitimate form of polity, and so they hold to it. Ordination.

But certain Baptists, thinking themselves to be non-liturgical (e.g. Like Catholics), although they have their own brand of liturgy and ordinations, thinking themselves to be 'free' of liturgy, not recognizing their own brand of liturgy as being "liturgy"; but also sharing in doctrines with those who have "come out of [Babylon]" (Re18:4), and who meet in homes, because the organized non-liturgical churches have become apostate; but these Baptists think that these people should be in -their- (Baptist) churches and subject to -their- hierarchy. They use "not forsaking the assembling" (Heb10:25) as their 'guilt-trip' coersion proof-text. They also seek to de-legitimize the home churches of the "few" (Mt7:14) because their leaders have not been "ordained" or "appointed"; presumably by some 'legitimate' -authority- (they never say exacly who) such as -them-? And this verse is the linchpin of this dogma.

They interpret this verse to say that the "things that are lacking" is the fact that elders have not been "appointed". Thus, the manner in which Titus is to take care of what's lacking is -by- "appointing elders". Once the elders have been appointed, there will thus no longer be anything lacking. If a small group of people meets in a home, and the Lord has burdened one of them to assume leadership and begins to teach, their leadership is 'illegitimate' because some -person- has not "appointed" them. Their little group, as they study God's Word, is in 'disobedience'.

But is that what the verse is saying? Notice grammatically that there are two thoughts:

  1. set in order the things that are lacking
  2. appoint elders in every city
Notice that there are thing[S] (plural) that need fixing. But is not appointing an elder a 'singular' activity? So if there are thing[s] (plural) that need fixing, and elders are appointed, then WHAT ELSE needs fixing? If points 1 & 2 go together, why would Paul specify one solution, but not the other[s]? (plural)

In the non-reformed and non-liturgical-friendly translations (even the KJV which these Baptists use -only-) there is a comma. "...things that are lacking (comma) and appoint elders" In other words, Titus was commissioned with TWO DUTIES: Go to these places and "fix problems"; be a problem solver. And also appoint elders, leaders. Maybe said another way: plant churches. As there are Believers, organize them together into groups, and appoint leaders over them... As Timothy was also exhorted to -train- "faithful men who will also be able to teach others" (2Ti2:2)

The other error was brought to memory just before this section was to begin being prepared: There are those who don't believe in (as they call them) "one-man congregations". They claim that to have -a- man in leadership is un-Scriptural. (I don't know if they have studied the epistles to Timothy and Titus? What they think those are about?) But they nit-pick the little phrase, "appoint elders". Plural. That any given congregation did not have -one- elder; it (singular) had elder[s] (plural). Along with this view they also teach that to have gatherings where one person is teaching and preaching is wrong, that the NT churches gathered -only- to remember the Lord's Supper; not to have somebody preach and teach. They quote the passages dealing with "breaking of bread" (Lk24:35, Ac2:42,46, 20:7) They apparently missed in Ac2:46 how they broke bread -and- "ate their food with gladness". That's a -meal-...as people tend to do who 'fellowship' with each other. People fellowship around eating meals. And when they had "broken bread", Paul (one man) then proceeds to -preach-. (Ac20:7)

Also, Titus was exhorted to appoint "elder[s]" (plural) in "every city"; that's more than one city; or 'plural'. If there are city[s] (plural), there need to be elder[s] (plural); at least one in each of those cities; which overall becomes plural.

But these are people who came out of the 70s hippy generation where there was rebellion against authority, of all kinds. As the world rebelled against civic authority, those claiming to be Christian rebelled against pastoral authority. They would rather sit around in circles of dialectic consensus and pretend to be wise, and would not...

    "Obey those in authority over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you." (Heb13:17)
But as we began the series, God gave Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. (Eph4:11) By definition: -individuals- who are in positions of leadership. In other words, when they are leading, they are "one-man" up there...leading, teaching, exhorting...PREACHING.

So, as we continue here... when Scripture speaks of "appointing" leaders, is that the only way a person can become a pastor/preacher?

    "This is a faithful saying: If a man aspires to the position of an overseer, he desires a good work." (1Ti3:1)
What does "aspire" mean? To have ambition, to desire. Where does desire come from? One's heart. For the Believer, Who is in the heart? Is it not the Holy Spirit. Aspire is related to "aspiration", a word also related to breath or breathing; the same terms associated with S/spirit. Did we not see earlier that it is the Holy Spirit who gives the Preacher what to say. (Mt10:20) Was not God's Word given through the Holy Spirit. (2Ti3:16, 2Pt1:21) Does God only knock a person over in a vision, as the notable OT prophets? Not everything is that dramatic. Just as God's Word was like a "fire" in Jeremiah's heart (Jer20:9,23:29), in others it might be a burning desire...an aspiration. And if God is calling, who is another man to presume to "appoint" them, when God already has done so.

In the OT, during the days and weeks -between- the feasts when people went to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices, when they were living at their homes away from the temple, who led the people? To whom did Moses review the Law?

    "And these Words which I am commanding you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." (De6:6-9)

    "And it shall be, when your children say to you, What do you mean by this service?" (Ex12:26)

    "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but nurture them in the discipline and admonition of the Lord." (Eph6:4)

Fathers. These who insist that a special "appointing" is necessary -particularly- seem to denigrate the pastor/father and 'family-church'. But where does Scripture place the authority and responsibility? The fathers. What about women? Aren't women under the church hierarchy? No. They are exhorted to "ask their -own- husbands" (1Co14:35) as they are -subject- "to their -own- husbands" (Eph5:24, Tit2:5, 1Pt3:5)

And how many of the NT churches were in so-n-so's house. (Ro16:5, 1Co16:19, Ac12:12) Paul certainly taught in a 'school'. (Ac19:9) But even when the jailer was saved, his 'family' got saved. (Ac16:31-32) When Peter went to preach it was in the house of Cornelius. (Ac10:2) There is "Caesar's household" (Ac4:22) And other "households" (1Co1:11,16) And those of Stephanus' household, it says, "appointed themselves to the ministry of the saints" (1Co16:15)

Pastors/teachers came out from within the congregation. When Paul warned

    "Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves." (Ac20:30)
He was talking to the elders. They had come "from among". The warning was that wolves would come in from the outside (vs29); but also from within, from where their teachers came. He would warn Timothy about not laying hands too quickly (1Ti5:22) and thus bring evil.

But one thing we don't see, which seems to be the predominant method: that today's churches -call- their pastors. Other than the missionaries who went here and there, planting churches through evangelism, and going for temporary times to strengthen the Believers, there is no recorded incident where a congregation contacted their denominational seminary's resource department to find some young 'promising' graduate, to come and "candidate" for the -position- as pastor. They didn't have seminaries. The training was one-on-one. Titus and Timothy were commissioned as such 'trainers'. And the local pastors were not 'hired' from far far away. They were -local- people whom the Holy Spirit empowered for the task.

What is the group supposed to -do- when they get together? What liturgy is given to the NT church? The Lord's Supper? There is nothing in this epistle about the Lord's Supper. If these are exhorations to preachers, and the Lord's Supper was something they did everytime, but not teaching, don't you think it would be mentioned? But it's not.

There are the instructions we can read -as- Jesus instituted it. There are some mentions in Acts about "breaking bread", but how many of those are the Lord's Supper, and how many of them are merely eating meals? The only place where the matter is actually -taught- is 1Co11, and Paul says,

    "For as often as you may eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lordís death until He comes." (1Co11:26)
Why "-may- eat"? It is a "subjunctive". According to the dictionary, a 'hypothetical' case. Paul doesn't say, Everytime you gather and you do partake the Lord's Supper, everytime you are together. No. As often as you might be observing it, HOWEVER OFTEN THAT MAY BE, this is the description and explanation of the remembrance.

Considering human nature, can you imagine the perversion that would exist if it had been established as a 'ritual' to be done EVERY occasion they met. As it is, look at how idols have been made of various trinkets: crosses, fish, stars, flames, etc. Well...prime example is catholicism's eucharist where they claim to be re-crucifying Jesus; as they publicly disgrace Him! (Heb6:6)

But what is to be done when Believers gather? Sing songs? Certainly. (Eph5:19, Col3:16) But those are the only two verses that speak of it.

But what predominates?

    "...give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine... Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will deliver both yourself and those who hear you." (1Ti4:13,16)
And here we see...
    "holding fast the faithful Word according to the teaching, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict...speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine... speak these things; exhort, and rebuke with all authority." (1:9,2:1,15)

Qualifications - (Titus 1:6-8)
    "This is a faithful saying: If a man aspires to the position of an overseer, he desires a good work. An overseer then must be BLAMELESS, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, well ordered, hospitable, able to teach; not a drunkard, not violent, not greedy for money, but fair-minded, not quarrelsome, not loving money; one who rules his own house well, having his children in subjection with all respect (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a new convert, that he not be puffed up with pride and fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony with those who are outside, that he not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." (1Ti3:1-7)

    "...and appoint elders...if a MAN is BLAMELESS.." (vs5-6)

First of all, notice that this appointing is of -MEN-. The parallel passage in Timothy ch3 follows ch2 where Paul makes specific mention that woman are -NOT- to be in leadership over men. (1Ti2:11-13) Like in a past study from Timothy "Women Professing Godliness" And here in Titus, next chapter we will see the hierarchy of leadership between men and women. Each (both gender and relative age) have their roles and responsibilities.

What does it mean to be "blameless" in this world? If Jesus taught that Believers are "clean", only... they need to wash their feet (Jn13:10); the fact that the feet are dirty doesn't quite seem like WITHOUT blame, does it. On the other hand, if a person were to claim to be without dirty feet, one is not facing reality.

    "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us... If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us." (1Jn1:8,10)
And so the solution to "having...sin" is...
    "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (vs9)
So... what does "blameless" mean? It obviously does not mean "without sin"; because we also know that, until death, resurrection and rapture, we are still in a state of "corruption" due to sin. (1Co15:50)

Blameless is a legal sort of term. If a person stands before the court, there are various ways the verdict can turn out; which I will try to touch on, not being a legal scholar. If a person did not commit the infraction, "How do you plead?" "Not guilty" if one did not commit the offense being accused of. Now supposing it is a case involving "he said, she said" and accusations are flying back and forth, like one sees on shows like "Judge Judy", etc. Or it is a case that goes to a jury. By the time a week or more of trial is taking place, and jury deliberations, there are many parameters to consider. Perhaps the person is not guilty of the primary accusation, but throughout the testimony it is clear he -is- guilty of other related issues, or this or that. Perhaps the jury has a "gut feeling" that the person is guilty, but the "preponderance of the evidence" is not heavy enough to convict. Or this or that. Ultimately a decision is made, either by the jury, or by the judge. The judge might 'dismiss' the case. The person might be guilty of 'something', but the case is dismissed. As far as the person's record is concerned they are "not guilty". Or the judge might pronounce "not guilty", even though there might be little 'nuisance' issues of which the person is guilty. But as far as the court is concerned, and the primary accusation, the person is not guilty. They are without blame. As the passage says, "blameless". Nobody can look up the person's record and find any legal accusation. They have been acquitted. They are "free or clear from a charge or accusation". They have a "clean" record.

In the OT murder carried the death penalty. But when David had Bathsheba's husband murdered, he then repented, and the prophet said, "Jehovah also has put away your sin; you shall not die" (2Sa12:13) He repented and was acquitted. He continued being king. He was not removed from the throne. Paul, before he was saved, condoned Stephen's murder; but then he was saved, and was appointed an apostle, even though he considered himself to be "not fit" to be an apostle because of his persecution of the Church. (1Co15:9)

Does this mean that if a man has committed murder, or adultery, or stolen, or done whatever else a person might do in sin, that he cannot be a pastor/preacher? Some -human- agencies will refuse to ordain some such people. But if we understand what it means to be "blameless", it is not a position of inherent righteousness...because, "there is none righteous, no not one" (Ro3:10); but it is a position of 'acquitted' righteousness. When the self-righteous religious rulers walked out one-by-one after accusing the woman of adultery, and Jesus asks her, "where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" And of course, if there are no accusing witnesses to give testimony, there is no 'case'. So Jesus (the one they asked to 'judge' the case) says, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more" (Jn8:10-11) "Case dismissed", "for lack of evidence". However, the context makes it clear she -was- guilty. That's what "sin NO MORE" indicates. But she left Jesus' presence, "Blameless". By decree.

Go and SIN NO MORE.

This is what the pastor/preacher is characterized by. The sin has been confessed and forgiven. Now, he is continuing life, living righteously. And what follows characterizes his -present- (forgiven) life. If this were not the case, I could not be doing what I do with this web-ministry and writing these studies.

So, let's look at a couple of the following items. For the complete list, please read the passage.


HUSBAND of ONE WIFE

What does this mean? Does it mean "one wife" -ever-? Thus, if the wife dies, or leaves, either as a Believer (1Co7:10-11), or an unequal yoke (1Co7:12-15) does this disqualify the man? If the wife died, or was an unequal yoke, can he not marry again? (Rom7:1-3) What if he is never married? (Jer16:2) (please look up those references if you're not familiar with them already)

Some teachers will add a few words, "one wife AT A TIME". This passage doesn't say that. But is there Scriptural precedence for it? Of Israel's kings in the OT God commanded,

    "Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, that his heart not be turned aside..." (De17:17)
What happened when Solomon did not follow this? It says that his many wives "thrust his heart aside after other gods; and his heart was not perfect with Jehovah his God" (1Ki11:4)

If it is "better to dwell in a corner of the housetop than to share a house with a contentious woman" (Pr21:9, 25:24), what happens if the house is -full- of contentious women? Notice the next item speaks of "-faithful- children", but there is not a command -to- the man that his wife is to be righteous and properly behaved, as a condition of his ministry. While the man is to be head of his wife, that is a position about which she is to "submit" herself to him. The commands are to the woman to be submissive, but they are not to the man to -force- her into submission. (Eph5:22, Col3:18) She is an adult, not a child, and answerable before God for her own heart. (Ro14:12) Recall that God's judgments in Genesis ch3 were to Adam and Eve, individually...not as a 'couple'. Adam was not judged for what Eve had done.

Are there not several examples where a man had more than one wife, and their troubles. Hannah's competition gave her grief. (1Sa1:6) But it was through Hannah that Samuel was born. And who can forget Jacob and his two wives and their two mistresses, in competition and conniving to give Jacob children, lusting after his love and attention. David had several wives, but once the Bathsheba incident happens, we no longer hear of the other wives, as Solomon came through Bathsheba. However, there were problems between the children of his various wives... Amnon, Absalom, Tamar, Adonijah.

What if the man committed adultery and/or got divorced? Does that preclude him being in ministry ever-thereafter? What are the limits of God's forgiveness? Does God's grace not extend that far? Some denominations and ordination societies don't think so.

What does Paul say "by permission"? (1Co7:6) The basic premise of the argument is: WHAT STATE DO YOU FIND YOURSELF IN?

    "But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I command in all the churches." (1Co7:17)

    "Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called." (1Co7:20,24)

And if there is a question, follow Paul's example...
    "But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am" (1Co7:8)
Particularly in these days where society is so corrupt, those who know the Lord sometimes get themselves entangled. We've addressed this in the past: "Stay Put" Paul's discussion in 1Co7 is also in the context of those who are wishing to serve the Lord. As he says, "Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Do not seek a wife" (vs27) If you are married to a wife, stay with that -one- wife. If life has been messed up and you are now single, don't worry about getting married. Stay single, and stay pure...from now on. Go and SIN NO MORE. Your "example" (1Ti4:12) can also demonstrate how to pick up the pieces, after forgiveness, and move on in faithfulness. If you have confessed and forsaken the sin (Pr28:13) and are forgiven (1Jn1:9), you are "blameless", by definition.


FAITHFUL CHILDREN
    "..for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?" (1Ti3:5)
It used to be said of PK's (preacher's kids) that when they are good, they are -real- good, and when they are bad, they are -very- bad.

Children are different from wives. Christians are not like Muslims where husbands are instructed in the Koran to not share the bed and to "beat" a disobedient wife. (Su4:34) Wives are not like children where "foolishness" is to be "driven" out with the "rod". (Pr22:15) And so, where there was no requirement of the wife regarding the preacher's qualifications, because as an adult she is answerable to God for her submission to her husband, there is with regards to his children. The preacher is to "love" his wife. (Eph5:25,28) And Col3:19 includes that he is not to be "bitter" towards her. We've addressed this before, we won't again now. But a man cannot -control- his wife against her will. link - link - link

But children are to be "trained up". (Pr22:6) The responsibility for that is NOT the mother, but the father. Same with a father who is a preacher.

    "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but nurture them in the discipline and admonition of the Lord." (Eph6:4) See also: Deut6:7-9
With the desired outcome that...
    "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise: that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." (Eph6:1-3)
And how are children taught?
    "To whom shall He teach knowledge? And whom shall He make to understand the message? Those weaned from the milk and removed from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little" (Is28:9-10)
Now, if a preacher has some children that are having problems, does that preclude him from being a preacher? Esau and Jacob were adjudged as to what sort they would be while still in the womb. (Rom9:10-13) Was that merely God's foreknowledge that Rebecca would be a better mother than Isaac was a father? Ezekiel ch18 discusses the cases where a good father begets a son who turns out bad, and a bad father who begets a son who sees his father's evil ways and turns to God. Isaiah ch28 talks about little children still in predevelopmental stage. But eventually everyone comes to an age where they know "to refuse the evil and choose the good" (Is7:15-16) A good preacher can teach his children, but they grow up and go their own way, and become their own person; either good or evil.

There is a prime example of Samuel. God called him from sleeping next to the Ark in the Holy of Holies (1Sa3:3), and he became established as one of Israel's foremost prophets (1Sa3:20) Considering how great David was, that he became the earthly lineage ahead of Jesus; and yet it was Samuel who anointed him king. And yet, for as great as Samuel was, his own sons did not turn out very good.

    "Now it came to pass when Samuel was old that he made his sons judges over Israel.... But [they] did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice." (1Sa8:1-3)
As Israel saw his sons in action, that's where they ask for a king, which starts the ball rolling to select Saul, and then David.

Why were his sons evil? It doesn't tell us, like it does of David's son Adonijah who attempted a coup in the kingdom...

    "Now his father had not hurt him at any time by saying, Why have you done so?" (1Ki1:6)
We are not told that the fault was Samuel's, in not training them up properly. Nor does God remove Samuel from being prophet because his sons were turning out bad. They grew to adulthood, and became "accountable" to God for themselves, directly. (Ro14:12)

Notice Paul says, "faithful -children-". Not "adult heirs". Somewhat like the day this portion is being written, 'today' I ate at a local Vietnamese restaurant around the corner (they have a nice cheap rice/vegetable/chicken plate...I like to 'splurge' on Fridays for lunch), and right behind me this couple sat down with a tiny girl in the highchair. Pottery tea cups began to be BANGED against the table; after a bit of this, next thing you know the same tea cups started 'flying' and landing on the floor. They would be picked up and handed back to the child. How would parents keep the little one in check? How about moving the items out of the little one's 'reach'. If they are not in her hands, she cannot pound or throw them, can she. (I was amazed they didn't break when they landed on the floor! ...and that the parents were not containing or restraining her)

If dad is preaching at the pulpit, and there are children in the congregation stirring up a fuss... it should NOT be the preacher's kids! If preacher is going shopping, it should not be his kids running up and down the aisles, knocking produce on the floor. etc. There's a lot more that might be said on this, but this should be enough for now.


NOT ACCUSED of LOOSE BEHAVIOR or DISOBEDIENCE

Many years ago I was travelling somewhere in a car with a church pastor and several church leaders. It's been so many years ago I don't recall the purpose. Nor do I recall all the specifics. But as soon as we had pulled out of the church parking lot and were on-the-road, the air inside that car turned "blue" with some of the "coarse jesting" that commenced. (Eph5:4) Being somewhat young, and being 'blown away' by the fact that these were church 'leaders' who were behaving this way, I didn't know how to confront it, so bit my tongue.

Within a year or so after that, in the same regions, there was an area-wide crusade in which an evangelist from Canada came to preach. Since I was known for being a musician, I had been roped into being the local music coordinator, played organ for the meetings, and such things. The evangelist preached some -powerful- messages in the evening meetings, preaching against sin and corruption. But when he was in the back rooms before the meetings, I would observe him meeting old-time friends, and the greetings with some of those women...well...let's say he was behaving much as Jay Leno or David Letterman typically greet their female guests. Not "with all purity" as should be expected of a man-of-God. (1Ti5:2, 6:11) Not actual hook-ups in a motel...but "loose behavior". Suggestive behavior and talk. Behavior the opposite of what their preaching would have suggested.

Wife, Children, Behavior... What does it matter? After all, are not people supposed to appropriate God's Word to themselves, being answerable to God for themselves?

There is that old saying about: Do what I say, not what I do.

Well, God expects His men-of-God to also LEAD BY EXAMPLE...by DOING.

I put myself through several years of college by going to people's homes and teaching their kids piano lessons. One thing I discovered (my teachers did it with me): I could sit on the chair 'next' to the student and 'explain' a technique to them, or emote musical expression and 'conduct' them from the side as they played. But there was nothing quite the same as when I would 'scoot' them to the side, I would sit at the piano, and 'show' them "how" it was done. I might sometimes play the music a couple octaves higher, from the 'side'; but that, still, was not the same as if I took 'command' of the piano and 'illustrated' how-to-do-it. Then, they would sit down and come a LOT CLOSER to what it was supposed to be, than all the -talking- I might do...'telling' them.

In another case, I once knew of a university that had a choir director who, if the piano gave the note, he would also sing the note to the choir...flat. And his choirs pretty much always had pitch problems and sang flat. They sang what he exemplified.

    "For you yourselves know how you need to imitate our example, for we were not disorderly among you" (2Th3:7,9)
The preacher is the "steward of God" (vs7) If he is showing the way, he needs to be blameless, otherwise he will lead the sheep astray. How can he preach against anger, if he is "prone to anger"? How can he preach against drunkenness if he is "given to wine"? If he is always quarrelling, how can he mediate disputes? Is not "hospitable" the opposite of moneygrubbing. How can he preach about righteousness if he doesn't love "what is good"? And the remaining qualities in vs8 are all extensions of what's been said.

To what end? That's next lesson.


Mission - (Titus 1:9-16)
    "..holding fast the faithful Word according to the teaching, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict" (vs9)
Now that we have a preacher who is practicing what he preaches... what is the basis for his messages? What is his mission? Is he supposed to form political entities like the Moral Majority and jump into the political arena and urge christians to vote for so-n-so because so-n-so will help make this a "christian nation"? What did Jesus say about Caesar vs God? (Mk12:17) Is he supposed to organize a soup kitchen to feed the hungry? In the early days the apostles said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the Word of God and serve tables" (Ac6:2) so they chose the seven who took care of that. Is he supposed to run for president as part of the "black regiment"? During colonial days the activist preachers wore black robes (thus the name); and some today wish to emulate what they presume was going on in the 1700s.

Paul told Timothy...

    "Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine... Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will deliver both yourself and those who hear you." (1Ti4:13,16)
The Word of God (Scriptures), exhortation (teaching), doctrine (that which is taught). In the OT it was called the Law. For those who think we are no longer under Law, if you look up "doctrine" in the dictionary, one of the definitions includes aspects of 'law'. The 'principles' by which conduct and faith is governed.

Even though a pastor is supposed to be "hospitable", his primary duty is not "visitation". His duties here don't include grounds keeper, janitor, carpenter for that new addition, greeter, pot-luck organizer, choir director...and any one of a number of things that so many congregations LOOK FOR when they are "calling" their next pastor. He is called (by God) to be a -preacher- of HIS -WORD-. (vs3) And it is -God- to whom he must give account. (Rom14:12, Heb13:17) What account does he give? Was he preaching? ...or doing everything else under the sun?

What is the nature of the preaching? Exhortation and Conviction.

According to the dictionary, Exhortation is: "A speech or discourse that encourages, incites, or earnestly advises." As the prophet says...

    "This is the way, walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left." (Is30:21)
Thus, exhortation might be considered -positive-.

But Convict has to do with: Proving guilt, declare to be blameworthy, make aware of one's sinfulness or guilt. And notice how much verbal real estate is taken up in the rest of the chapter with conviction.

And what is the 'method' or 'basis' for conviction? Prevailing societal whims and political expediency? Group-think of "let's take a vote"? It seems to me? Feelings and emotions? No!

BY SOUND DOCTRINE

If the preacher is to refute and convict by SOUND DOCTRINE, it means he needs to -know- the Scriptures.

    "But you continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed by God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2Ti3:14-17)
The Supreme Court is supposed to adjudicate cases based on their knowledge of the Constitution, Bill of Rights and Amendments. State and local judges adjudicate based on State law. The reason judges and attorneys have so many books is to be able to "reference" the Law and case history.

The preacher's Library is One Book...the Bible...as Paul says, the "Holy Scriptures" When exhorting, it is based on the Bible. When refuting error, it is done with "thus says the Lord" as found in the Scriptures. Whatever a Christian needs to know, if the preacher has the Bible and knows it well, all the necessary answers can be found there. And when a preacher convicts, his words are not: This is what -I'M- telling you. You must obey -me- because I'm in "authority" over you. But rather: THE BIBLE SAYS! It is not the preacher's "judgment call"; but the judgment from the Most High, God Almighty. As Jesus says...

    "Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be, having been bound in Heaven; and whatever you loose on earth will be, having been loosed in Heaven." (Mt18:18) (Grammatically, notice the commas and verb tenses)
If "two or three" are "agreeing" together "in [Jesus'] name" concerning some judgment by SOUND DOCTRINE, the judgment is not theirs, but God's. (vs19-20) The judgment was -already- made in Heaven.

Those who CONTRADICT: The consensus-driven dialectic is NOT the prescribed way to conduct Bible studies. When unbelievers might be in the group and raise contradictions to God's Word, it is not the preacher's job to "facilitate" the -discussion-, and mix together the viewpoints of all gathered together, allowing the error to even stay on the table for discussion. The preacher is to show the error for what it is, refute it, and proclaim truth. Why?

    "For there are many insubordinate, idle talkers and seducers, especially those of the circumcision, WHOSE MOUTHS MUST BE STOPPED" (vs10-11)
Who are these who contradict? Academic intelligentsia of the world? Perhaps. But this passage says ESPECIALLY (particularly) those of the "circumcision". In NT language "circumcision" is another way of saying, "those who claim to be Believers"; circumcision in the OT was like immersion for the Church. Those of Israel, claiming to be 'experts' in the Law. (Romans ch2) Judaism was the Jehovah God "establishment". In the early days of the Church there was only -one- Establishment. After many centuries, today now, there are dozens: catholicism, presbyterianism, methodism, lutheranism, baptist, mormonism, SDA, episcopalianism, charismania, pentecostalism; and in these latter days of the apostasy many others are being embraced into the fold of "christianity", including: yoga, various forms of meditation, massage and acupuncture, tai-chi, unity, tattoo, voodoo, etc. These -all-, to varying degrees, will call themselves "christianity". But of the "circumcision" of Paul's day he says...
    "For not all those of Israel are Israel" (Rom9:6b)
In today's climate that would be: Not all christians are Christian. Or also: Not everything called church is the Church of Jesus Christ.

In other words, preachers are called to -convict- false "christians". What? No "dialogue" or "conversation"? No agreeing on the essentials, and agreeing to disagree (agreeably) on the non-essentials? No "unity in diversity"? Paul taught...

    "Be of the SAME MIND toward one another." (Rom12:16a)

    "Now I exhort you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all SPEAK THE SAME THING, and that there be NO DIVISIONS among you, but that you be completely fitted together in the SAME MIND and in the SAME JUDGMENT." (1Co1:10)

There -is- only ONE GOD (De6:4), ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE IMMERSION. (Eph4:5)

The false christians are "INSUBORDINATE". What does that mean? They don't receive authority. By definition, they are 'above' authority. Going back to the early 70s, many of the up-and-coming adults, in college, rejected Godly pastoral authority. Back in those days there were Godly Biblical pastors who preached the Word, but that generation rejected it. They rebelled: We don't need a pastor over us. Just who does he think he is to be an 'authority' of Truth! As they were learning from the eastern hippy ways: There are MANY TRUTHS. They would sit around in circles, with Bibles open, and discuss their OWN THOUGHTS -about- the Bible. But if a true believer might be sitting along with them in the circle and would point out, "This is what the Bible -SAYS-", their group-think would castigate the Believer and label them "judgmental".

Exactly! The Bible 'judged' -them- and their rebellious ways.

These false Christians are also "SEDUCERS". What is a seducer? One who leads away from accepted priniples or proper conduct. To entice or beguile. To win over; attract.

    "For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were set forth to this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God, even our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ju1:4)
To seduce suggests LYING. (who is the father of lies? Jn8:44) Sneaking in by stealth...give the appearance of one thing, while actually being something else FOR THE PURPOSE of leading astray. We are supposed to look straight ahead to Jesus (Heb12:2), and not be deviating off the path. (De17:11, Pr4:27) It is FALSE PROPHETS who lead astray. (Is9:16, Mt24:4-5, 2Ti3:13, 1Jn3:7, etc) And if a person deviates from the path to God and Heaven, there is but one other destination, the Lake of Fire. (Re20:15) which was "prepared for the devil and his angels" (Mt25:41)

THEY PROFESS TO KNOW GOD, but in works THEY DENY HIM. Regarding anything good (even though they profess to be good and "loving" Jn13:35) they are actually abominable, disobedient and reprobate. (vs16) Such words indicate the scum of the scum. They go into households (church gatherings) and stir things up away from God's Word. (vs11) While claiming to want 'acceptance' by the establishment, their purpose is actually to ruin the Church. It's like the 70s music group "Love Song" would sing about the "Little Country Church": the basic gist of the song was (when a person understands reality) that after all their pushing and infiltrating, that old stodgy Godly pastor, who only believed in preaching the Bible, but now is accepting of the goods they are selling, is "finally coming around". They wore him down, he caved and buckled, and now all the wolf pups are having free run of the place.

What is to be done?

Their MOUTHS MUST BE STOPPED. The local preacher is the congregation's 'pastor'...shepherd. The shepherd -guards- the sheep. When wolves and other predators come around, he gets his staff and strikes at the wolves if they are within reach. David was skilled with the sling. Today farmers and ranchers might carry a sidearm; or have a rifle within easy reach. If a wolf has a lamb in its teeth, it is shot. No negotiations. If it is lurking around the perimeters, waiting for a vacant spot to charge in and snatch a lamb, the shepherd raises a clatter and YELLS at the wolf: GET OUTTA HERE! GO ON!

Notice that Paul NOWHERE (nowhere!) exhorts Believers to have "dialogue" and "conversation" with false prophets. There is NOT "unity in diversity". In the Church "diversity" is not allowed. It is antithetical to the Church's character.

So... REBUKE THEM SHARPLY (vs13) Why?

    "...that they may be sound in the faith" (vs13)
But what about the scholarly works... all those books from the "church fathers" of the Reformation? In Paul's day it was "Jewish myths". After all, don't Jewish Believers have a closer 'connection' to God? What did Jesus say?
    "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God by reason of your tradition?" (Mt15:3)

    "And He said to them, Full well you set aside the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition... making the Word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down." (Mk7:9,13)

God gave Israel the Torah (Moses), Psalms and Prophets. (Lk24:44) But just like the false church has its writings of the Reformation and other such things, Judaism has their Talmud, Mishnah and Gemara...traditional rabbinic writings. The Mishnah is commentary on the Scriptures, and the Gemara are further commentaries on the Mishnah. Judaism has their traditions, commentaries on their traditions, and commentaries on those commentaries. But what does Paul say constitutes everything necessary for Godly living? The Holy Scriptures.

Mind you... Paul grew up a student of all those Jewish writings. He was a pharisee. He would have known them backwards and forewards, and likely could have argued and provided his own commentary along with the best of them. But when he experienced the "kindness and the love of God our Savior" (3:4) and was saved, he says that all that commentating must be STOPPED. If any of the apostles would have known the Jewish writings, Paul did... and he said their MOUTHS MUST BE STOPPED. And to REBUKE THEM SHARPLY.

Translate that to today... NO STUDYING the writings of the "great men" and "church fathers". One of the reasons there are so many denominations and their own unique doctrines is because people are busy saying, "I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ." (1Co1:12) And when people are doing that, he also says, "are you not carnal?" (1Co3:4) When they try to come in and "share" these things they've been studying, CUT THEM OFF AT THE PASS. Don't let their arguments be heard. When they spout off with false doctrines, STOP THEM SHORT and convict them BY SOUND DOCTRINE...from the Scriptures. It says of Paul that he "reasoned with them from the Scriptures" (Ac17:2) He was a pharisee and -could- have waxed 'scholarly' with Talmudic reasonings. But he did as Jesus did, "He opened their mind to UNDERSTAND THE SCRIPTURES" (Lk24:45)

When the congregation of Believers are of open and willing hearts, exhortation is easy. But when wolves come along wearing the disguise of sheep's clothing (Mt7:15), that's when the going gets tough.

Paul summarized, "I have not shrunk back from declaring to you the whole counsel of God." (Ac20:27)

We are exhorted the same...

    "Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning the common salvation, it was necessary for me to write to you exhorting you to CONTEND EARNESTLY FOR THE FAITH which was once for all delivered to the saints." (Ju1:3)
Amen!


the Doctrine - (Titus 2:1-10)
    "But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine" (vs1)
This epistle is to the preacher. So, what does the preacher do? It should be obvious: -SPEAK-. What does he speak -about-? What is it that encompasses doctrine? Behavior. When Adam and Eve were placed in Eden, what were the rules? Behavior. One rule: DO NOT EAT of that one tree. Otherwise the whole earth is before you: Live Life! In the previous verse those who needed to be rebuked were Reprobate... how? "with regard to every good work" (1:16) There was NOTHING good about them. As we anticipate Christ's return (vs13) what is the nature of our anticipation? "good works" (vs14) And so, if we are to have good behavior, what constitutes good behavior? What are the parameters of good works? What do we do that is considered "good", and what is considered "bad"? That's what Doctrine is about... not discussions about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, or what is the nature of spirit, or what does it feel like to die? By His question God knew that Job did not know about the "gates of death" (Job38:17) Doctrine is not about the ethereal unknowns to us. Doctrine is about where the rubber meets the road. Which is also why today's apostasy doesn't like doctrine, because they don't want to restrict their behavior. It was when I would suggest, in those early 70s college Bible studies, this is what the Bible -says-, and so therefore this is how we should -live-; Oh, you're so judgmental. What they considered of themselves to be "good" was thus judged by the Bible as "reprobate": morally unprincipled, shameless, condemned, disapproved of, rejected by God. They did not live according to what follows in the next verses...

All the problems the book of Judges records were because...

    "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was RIGHT IN HIS OWN EYES." (Jdg17:6) ...which Moses had exhorted them NOT to do. (De12:8)

OLDER MEN: are to be sober. Not drunk; but of sound mind. (Ro12:3, 1Pt4:7) Being reverent and temperate are related...
    "And do not be drunk with wine, in which is debauchery; but be filled by the Spirit" (Eph5:18)
Being filled by the Spirit pretty much defines being "sound in faith". And then love and patience follow naturally.

The Elders (that's what "older men" are) are to be the foundation, rock-solid, unmoved when the younger ones want to flit around here and there. When the younger ones are testing their limits, the older ones draw them back. And when the younger ones fail and need nurturing, it is the older stability which extends love, through patience; demonstrating reverence toward God, to bring along the younger ones. (1Pt5:5)


OLDER WOMEN -likewise-. In other words, the characteristics the older men are to emulate, the same for the older women. Good behavior is good behavior, whether it's men or women. If men are to be reverent, that does not mean the women are to be the jumping-around, shouting loud-mouths. In a lot of cases where you see a quiet/reverent man, often then the woman is boisterous and running at the mouth...taking charge. But if she is to teach the younger women to submit to their husbands, the older women also need to submit to -their- husbands.

What often goes with a loud mouth? What is that mouth doing when it runs along unchecked? It "slanders". It gossips. (1Ti5:13) It starts and/or perpetuates rumors... which are often false, and injurious to others. Often speculations about matters which she really knows nothing about. In other words... LYING. And also, often those who spend their time on nothing but gossip and slander are also at the bottle. This picture just painted is NOT a Godly woman. For a discussion on "MUCH wine" please see the lesson, "A Little Wine" [link] Paul is not teaching that a person should drink -NO- wine, at all, ever.

Older women are to be "teachers of good things;" (vs3) Is this in contradiction to 1Ti2:12 where Paul says, "And I do not permit a woman to teach or to usurp authority over a man, but to be in silence"? Which is it? Is she a teacher, or isn't she? What is the context? Notice the semi-colon. The sentence isn't finished.

    "that they admonish the young women..." (vs4)
She is not to be in authority over the man, but -is- to teach the younger women. Moses' sister Miriam led "the women" in song and dances. (Ex15:20) In keeping with the younger women's exhortation to "love their husbands" and to be "obedient to their -OWN- husbands"; the hierarchy given here is that the preacher teaches, and his authority is over the "older men" (vs2), who by inverse logic are over their wives, who in turn teach the younger women. If the pastor was -directly- in authority over the younger women, it would invade the proper chain of authority of their -own- husbands over them. In Numbers 30:3-16 is God's order of authority for the woman, under her husband or father (if not married). Just as we are suggesting that the pastor does not have -direct- authority over the women, in a similar sense God distances Himself from His own -direct- authority over the woman, in deference to the woman's husband or father. (Please read that passage) Even God respects His own rules. As Paul says...
    "But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." (1Co11:3)
Remember when Jesus spoke with the woman at Samaria, He says, "Go call your husband and come here" (Jn4:16) There were many parameters going on in the conversation that day, but as I think on this right now in this present context, it seems clear that Jesus was also making it clear to the woman that He was not "coming on to" her, in the usual manner in which she was used to dealing with men. He was not her 'customer'; and furthermore... she, in her manner of life, was not properly under the authority of a husband or father.

And so, if a man other than a husband should not be in authority, who can -personally- teach a younger woman? An older woman; who, herself, is under her proper male authority.

Supposing there is no qualified older woman? Years ago I used to know of some pastors who, if they were counseling women, would not do so without their own wives being present in the room. That would certainly accomplish two things: 1) It has an older woman's 'presence'. 2) It also keeps things on the up-and-up so that false rumors might not start regarding improprieties behind closed doors, and such things. Paul exhorts Timothy about counseling younger women "with all purity" (1Ti5:2)


YOUNG WOMEN... notice how much verbal real estate is being taken up with this. In the article from Isaiah ch3-4, "Oppressed People" [link] there is a lot of coverage of today's 'liberated' lascivious female. Everywhere one turns one sees young women who are doing their own thing, they don't want THE MAN, they are their own bosses...their own goddesses. And so Paul addresses those aspects that, if the young Godly woman heeds these things, she will do well. As Paul says...

    "she will be kept safe through childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control" (1Ti2:15)
What does this mean? What is perhaps one of the greatest scourges of feminism? Abortion. Just as I was about to start this paragraph, I had first read a NewsWithView.com posting by Coach Dave Daubenmire about breast cancer. Apparently the female breast is not fully developed until after 32 weeks of pregnancy. If the pregnancy is terminated before that, the breast is left "exposed to estrogen, which is highly carcinogenic." They have all sorts of campaigns for "cancer research"; whereas they don't disclose the full truth: that abortions not only kill the unborn baby, but also increase the risk to the mother of getting cancer. The increased epidemic of breast cancer seems to be in proportion to abortions.

Paul here says "to love their children". God asks...

    "Can a woman forget her nursing infant, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Indeed, they may forget..." (Is49:15)
And indeed they do! Abortion is the opposite of love... by definition. If a mother loves her child, she will bring it to term. She will have "compassion" on her baby and -protect- it from savage barbaric murder. And not only that... God's little design comes into play. She nurtures her baby? God's design is: NO CANCER. She lives.

God seems to design judgment to be in proportion to, and IN KIND as the offense. In the end judgments the angels praise God,

    "You are righteous, O Lord, the One who is and who was and who is to be, because You have judged these things, for they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink, for THEY ARE DESERVING. And I heard another out of the altar saying, Even so, Lord God Almighty, TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS ARE YOUR JUDGMENTS." (Re16:5-7)
What has likely been -the- prime female abuse of moral decency throughout history? Certainly lately again the hemlines have been rising. As this is being written (2010), I would guess that, out of the decades of my adult life as things go up and down with the trends, this year skirts and shorts are the shortest I ever remember them. But the thing that fashion purposely displays throughout history is the female breast.

And so as the young girl discovers she is maturing she learns to be provocative. The male comes along and takes the bait. She becomes pregnant. But pregnancy is 'inconvenient' right now; she has a life she wants to live to BE HERSELF, and not be under a man, not tied down with responsibilities... so she gets an abortion; not thinking that she is thus committing murder. As a result of the abortion, she develops breast cancer. She allured the male with her breasts, and God gives her cancer in kind. A different context, but not by much...

    "By however much she has glorified herself and lived luxuriously, by the same amount give her torment and sorrow..." (Re18:7)
She played around in sin, and she received her wages.
    "The wages of sin is death..." (Rom6:23)
And then... to Love their husbands. If we understand Jesus' words, "If you love Me, keep My commandments" (Jn14:15); if the young woman is loving her husband, she will be obeying him. And this is her -own- husband. (vs5) Not the pastor, not the board of elders; oh, and certainly not any other man. She is to be "discreet, chaste". She is not to be the proverbial "strange woman" who, when her husband is at work, or whatever, is bedding the postman, or any other male she takes a fancy to. Chaste means to keep sexually pure unto her -own- husband. Discreet certainly would cover today's big worldly problem...provocative dress. She will not be displaying the various parts of her body, in allurement, with today's outright bawdy fashions, or even the 'subtle' ones that give a little 'peek' if seen just right, with the flirtatious tilt of the head, pouty lips and twist of the body. If she is (as they say) 'flashing' to other men, she is not being good to her -own- husband. Her secrets are his, and his alone.
    "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord." (Eph5:22, Col3:18)
And in the church she does not -display- her 'spirituality' by boisterous behavior. Much of today's charismatic tongues and such things began with women 'showing off'. Paul says...
    "And if they desire to learn something, let them question their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church." (1Co14:35)
Again, in tandem with Numbers ch30, the woman's spirituality is in conjunction with her submission to her -own- husband. If she is rambunctiously letting fly in the assembly, she is not under her husband. And Paul also exhorts,
    "Let all things be done decently and in order." (1Co14:40)

    "..that the Word of God may not be blasphemed" (vs5b)


YOUNG MEN... "sound minds" (vs6) With everything that's been said to everybody else... Young man: have you been listening? As my father used to say to me when I was young and having difficulty with something: USE YOUR HEAD.

We shouldn't need to keep repeating. We've railed against the young women. But does not reason understand that it takes "two to tango". If the young woman is getting into trouble, she is not doing it without some young man. Therefore young man: Take note! Take heed! And if you need to, do some reading in Proverbs from the father to the son about the "strange woman". Remember: the serpent came to Eve, not Adam. (1Ti2:14) And then Eve enticed Adam. (Ge3:6)

But also remember Paul's exhortation regarding your wife...

    "Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter towards them." (Col3:19)
Does it seem like we're being terribly -negative- and misogynistic through this section? Well, remember back to 1:9 where the preacher is to "exhort and convict"; and how much more verbage was spent on convict than exhort. When people know the 'good' to do, there is nothing more that needs saying. You're doing good? Keep it up! Go for it! But when the 'wrong' is under consideration, the refuting of it, by its nature, requires more verbal real estate. So, thus we do, also. More of the Ten Commandments are "Do Not"s, than "Do"s. 8-to-2.


BONDSERVANTS:
    "Let bondservants be obedient to their own masters, well pleasing in all things..." (vs9)
We in our western cultures view "freedom" as a "God-given right". That is, that we can do "whatever we want", within the constraints of Biblical Law and Morality. However, most of Biblical history was written in the context of hierarchy. A king was on top, the king's servants were under him, and the general populace came next. Different kingdoms allowed different levels of individual free choice. And servitude as 'slaves' was not uncommon. That is, that the slave was the 'property' of the master. Some masters were kind, others cruel. Peter exhorts to be subject to -both- kinds: "not only the good and fair, but also the perverse" (1Pt2:18)

And in some cases a servant would be required to do things that might be contrary to God's law. When Naaman was healed, he also converted and made Jehovah his God. But when he went home, he would be required to bow next to his master, the king, as he was his personal assistant and was at his side, before the king's pagan deities. Elisha extends God's grace to him in the matter with, "Go in peace" (2Ki5:19) God who knows the heart (Ac15:8) knew that it was the king -worshiping-, but that Naaman was not; but Naaman was fulfilling his duties faithfully being "subject" to the king. In a similar manner Esther slept with the king (Es2:14,16); and through her faithfulness God rescued the Jews from Haman's plot.

Thus servants are to obey their masters, not back-talking, nor stealing; but being faithful...

    "..that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things" (vs10)
To "adorn"... to "wear". The Holy Spirit resides within the Believer. (Rom8:9) In the OT it was sometimes said that the Holy Spirit "clothed" the person. (Jdg6:34, 1Ch12:18, 2Ch24:20) When a person is clothed, others see, not -their- body, but the clothing with which they are attired. When a Believer is -clothed- with the Holy Spirit, the world sees, not the person, but God. In behaving Godly, the world sees Godly "doctrine" in action.


PREACHER: And where does this Godly behavior begin? With the pastor. In the first chapter the preacher's qualities were given. This chapter, the pastor -preaches- essentially these same qualities to those in the congregation. What the pastor is supposed to be, the Believers, in general, are to be. But in-amongst all the preaching, exhorting, convicting... preaching to others... don't forget your own behavior. As Paul says...
    "But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." (1Co9:27)
And if the preacher faithfully proclaims the Doctrine and its blessings, he also becomes a "fellow partaker". When something is said with the word "fellow" attached, it suggests an -equality-. The preacher is NO BETTER than the congregation. Those who used to scoff at the "one-man" congregation, taunting, "who does he think he is?" to set himself -up- as an authority. Well... he didn't set himself up...God did. And furthermore, he is not -above- the rest. It is not "clergy" vs "laity". Every Believer gives account -individually- before God. And so the warning: When you've preached, be sure you practice what you preach so that there is no condemnation, and any detractors who wish to argue do not have any 'steam' behind their huffing and puffing. That..
    "that [those in opposition] may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you" (vs8)
Sound Doctrine is about -BEHAVIOR-.
    "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but Jehovah ponders the hearts." (Pr21:2)
Amen!


Blessed Hope - (Titus 2:11-15)
    "...looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (vs13)
What is the focus of Doctrine? What is the goal?
    "I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Php3:14)
What is the point in Doctrine (being good) if there is no goal? If we just live, and then die...never to exist further...well: there's lots of people in the world having "fun" doing all the things that Biblical Doctrine tells us not to do. Paul makes the argument...
    "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable." (1Co15:19)
This world is not the end game. Like the song: "This world is not my home, I'm just a'passin' through" Paul was in anticipation of the resurrection...
    "...if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold, since Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have laid hold; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and stretching forward to those things which are ahead..." (Php3:11-13)
Since he was expecting to participate in the Resurrection, Paul obviously expected to die. But he also knew that not all Believers would die.
    "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed; in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." (1Co15:51-52)

    "For the Lord Himself will descend from Heaven with a shouted command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the DEAD IN CHRIST WILL RISE FIRST. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together at the same time with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord." (1Th4:16-17)

As Jesus explained it...
    "I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes into Me, though he may die, he shall live. (resurrection) And everyone living and believing into Me shall never ever die." (rapture) (Jn11:25-26)
What is the Blessed Hope? The resurrection? Certainly. But what is in the immediate context together here? Blessed Hope -and- Glorious Appearing. What is this glorious appearing? Is that when Jesus comes to set up His millennial kingdom? That, certainly, will be glorious, "as the lightning comes out of the east and flashes to the west" (Mt24:27) as He comes conquering as King of kings and Lord of lords. (Re19:16) Certainly that is glorious, as He sets foot on the Mt. of Olives. (Zec14:4, Ac1:11) But that is His "kingdom". Paul also differentiates between "His appearing and His kingdom" (2Ti4:1) Here he is talking about His -appearing-.

There is an expression that is used when there is a gathering and somebody "makes an appearance". The gathering is mingling and socializing, and the person comes through the door, says "hi"; perhaps makes a quick little speech; but because he is on a 'schedule', it is a quick "in-and-out". He comes, says "hi", and leaves again with promises of this or that nature.

Jesus' "appearing" is like that quick "in-and-out". He comes "in the clouds", makes an appearance, calls the "dead in Christ" back to life, having brought along "those who sleep in Jesus" (1Th4:14), gives the living Believers new incorruptible bodies, and summons both groups together up to Himself. Then He sets about to His 'schedule' of the end events.

Now, there are those who don't believe in a Rapture. But here Paul is quite clear that it is a "blessed hope". There are many things called "blessed" in Scripture, but this is the only one called "blessed -hope-". Hope indicates something in the future that hasn't happened yet. It is something that is anticipated with eagerness. And the way this group of verses is put together, it is as if this Blessed Hope is a -central- Truth. A central theme of the Gospel. We are given Salvation by Jesus who "gave Himself for us" and "redeemed" us from sin (lawlessness-evil works); we are "zealous unto good works" as we are purified; "denying ungodliness and worldly lusts" we live with "sound mind"; like we've already been discussing earlier. All these things have a singular focus... a goal. Paul was striving towards the resurrection. Those who are alive strive towards the Rapture. Both, aspects of the same event... the Glorious Appearing where Jesus fulfills His promise...

    "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (Jn14:3)
If there is no Resurrection and Rapture, there is no Salvation. And if this were the case, God would be a liar. But remember: We have the "hope of eternal life" (1:2) Eternal Life is the destination. What is the path to get there? It's like driving along to some destination, and then one sees the sign and entrance gate into the parking lot. The driver has had to be on the alert for potential accident hazards, and be diligent about obeying the traffic laws; but once turned off the road and into the parking lot and parked, they have 'arrived'... "safe and sound".

The stuff in previous lessons is the drive through the world's traffic, being alert against sin, and keeping God's Law. The 'gate' is this that we are talking about... the Blessed Hope. Jesus said we enter through the Door: "I am the door" (Jn10:7,9) When we see the Door, at the Resurrection and Rapture, and pass through, we are on the other side. Safe and sound in His presence. No more honking horns of "contradiction"; no more traffic hazards of temptations and lusts.

The Blessed Hope is the event of passing from this life into the Heavenly, in Jesus' presence.

And when we pass through, we are given a crown.

    "Hereafter, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all the ones loving His appearing." (2Ti4:8)
Like we said... there are those who say there is NO Rapture. They apparently do NOT 'love' His appearing. As such, then, they also will NOT receive the Crown of Righteousness. They are not saved. Like has been suggested in the past, the doctrine of the Resurrection and Rapture is part-and-parcel with the doctrine of Salvation. Every bit as important as Repentance and Faith, is the anticipation of the Resurrection and Rapture. If one has Faith, but not the acceptance of 'how' we get there, of what use is the faith? Like we have observed at other times, if a person contradicts Scripture regarding the Resurrection and Rapture, it is a pretty clear indication that they are not Saved. And NO... this is not one of those 'secondary' doctrines where we can agree to disagree, and don't talk about it. Next to Repentance and Faith, this is the next -primary- Salvation Doctrine.

Paul says to the preacher to..

    "SPEAK THESE THINGS; exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you" (vs15)
And once we have passed through the Door, the Resurrection and Rapture, what happens?
    "Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure." (1Jn3:2-3)
Amen!
Civil Obedience - (Titus 3:1-8)
    "But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (vs4-7)
So far, while we have had mentions of things related to the Christian and the world, the primary discussion has been about the Church and -to- the Church. Polity and Pastoral, not Evangelism. The pastor's qualifications to preach to the Church, so that the Believers learn not to be worldly, but to live righteously, and what the relationship of Believers is to one another. And as a result of Godly Doctrine, being ready to meet Jesus Christ at His Glorious Appearing. Essentially: the Christian Life. The preacher has not been exhorting the world. Sound doctrine is for the Church, not the world. And also, the Church's behavior is to be distinct from the world, not embracing the world's sin and immorality; but living according to righeous holy standards.

But just like the first Church in Jerusalem, while they were having great fellowship with each other, going "house to house" and "breaking bread", eventually when persecution arose they were scattered, and found themselves no longer in the comfortable 'fellowships' of Believers. They were now IN THE WORLD. Christians... surrounded by the world.

Paul often speaks of sports, so let's have one observation. When an athletic team prepares for competition, the coach does not invite the opposition into the dugout, onto the home field or court during practice and training. Training is between the coaches and their -own- team. They work hard, building up their stamina, learning plays, learning defense. But their purpose is not to -remain- in the dugout. Their purpose is to meet the opposition on the field, where they PUT TO PRACTICE what they have learned while in the huddle. The huddle is not to call players of the opposition in to chew them out for tackling your own players. No... the huddle is to get exhortation how to deal with those who are tackling your guys.

As much as we might wish we were in Heaven right now, we are yet on this earth. In chapters 1 & 2 we have learned how to be Christians before God, in anticipation of Christ's return. Now, ch3, how do we translate what we are PRIVATELY, to how we comport ourselves IN THE WORLD? (2Co1:12) We are "in the world" (1Pt5:9) but not "of" it (Jn17:14,16), but we are to "shine as lights" (Php2:15)

So, how does the world know we are Christians?

There used to be a song that was sung: "We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord...and they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love; yes they'll know we are Christians by our love" And so the commune-ists would busy themselves with "love", whilst laying aside Doctrine. When somebody would point out Doctrine, they were castigated as being "judgmental". But the -feelings- of "love"; that's what they concentrated on. Let's see... how much has been made in this epistle on Christian love? Other than women loving their husbands and children (2:4), once (2:2) But there's been plenty on other things.

How does the world know we are Christians? By our -feelings- for one another? Or by our behavior? Do we live as though we still have our feet mired in the mud, or do we "do works befitting repentance"? (Ac26:20)

However, since we are "not of the world" does that mean we are -above- the laws of the world? Both Paul (Ro13) and Peter (1Pt2:13) say we are to "be subject to" rulers and authorities. (vs1) While we may belong to Heaven, in this world there are rules that must be obeyed. And whatever is "good" in the Church, is also "good" in the world: not picking fights, being fair, displaying meekness. If we are doing "good", there will be no basis for anybody who wishes to accuse. They will not be able to bring up charges for evil-doing.

But this is not how we -were-. In our unsaved state we were just like the world: being disobedient, lustful, malicious, hating, etc. But we were SAVED OUT OF that. Notice that these good works are not HOW WE WERE SAVED. "not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works.." (Eph2:8-9)

When Christians spend so much time on Doctrine (behavior) related to HOW WE LIVE, it is easy for some to equate the good works with the means to Salvation. We have talked about the Hope of Eternal Life, but Church Polity doesn't really address "how" we -receive- Eternal Life. And the world, in all its paganisms, typically looks to 'works'. And so, if we are living 'good' lives before the world, will it be our own 'piety' that gains us entrance into Heaven? See how 'wonderful' that person is, and how much 'good' they do... surely they are "worthy" of Heaven. That is how the world sees things; and so do most of the apostate and false religions.

Salvation began with God's "kindness"; often also called "mercy" or "grace". We could not do anything righteous: we have "all" sinned. (Rom3:10,23) Salvation is not of our doing; it -all- 'totally' comes from God. Our filthy state was as God says to Israel: He came along and saw them "squirming in your blood" and pronounced, "Live!" (Ezk16:6) The Holy Spirit comes along and "washes" away the filth and "regenerates". And like that old song says, "What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus" (Re1:5, 1Pt1:2,19) This cleansing was "poured out" upon us, and so as Jesus offered, "out of his heart will flow rivers of living water" (Jn7:38) "But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into eternal life." (Jn4:14b)

The "hope of Eternal Life" which we discussed in ch1? We can trust God's promise because He has made us "heirs" (vs7) to which the Holy Spirit is the "earnest of our inheritance". It has been "sealed" by the Holy Spirit. It's a done deal. Eternal Life is there, waiting for the "redemption of the purchased possession" (Eph1:13-14) We've already been "purchased" with Jesus' blood. (Ac20:28) We are just waiting to be taken to Heaven and given incorruptible bodies. (1Co15:50-55) It's there "reserved in Heaven for you" (1Pt1:4)

But we don't get there -by- the good works. We are given Salvation by God's grace through faith...."UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Eph2:10) It is not good works that gains Eternal Life, but it is the new nature and the Hope of Eternal Life which leads to good works. Before Salvation we do "by nature" the deeds of wrath (Eph2:3) But Salvation gives us a new 'nature'...

    "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2Co5:17)
Dogs bark, ducks quack, and sinners sin. Dogs do not quack, nor do ducks bark. Nor is it in the nature of sinners to do good.
    "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard its spots? Then you also may do good, who are accustomed to doing evil." (Jer13:23)
But when we are washed by Jesus' blood, we are given the new Godly nature. It is now our 'nature' to do good.
    "Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and it is not his nature to sin, because he has been born of God." (1Jn3:9)
So, when we live 'good' lives before the world, what they see is not -us-, but the "clothing" of the Holy Spirit that we are wearing. (we spoke of this in an earlier lesson)

But we do still have free will, and the old nature of 'corruption' is still within us, until we are "changed" (1Co15:51), stirring up conflict. (Ro7) Thus, it is not enough to preach the Gospel unto Salvation, and... La dee dah... That's it! No. The preacher is exhorted to -remind- Believers of the basis of Salvation, and to "be careful to maintain good works" (vs8)

As wonderful-seeming as a "social gospel" might be, which many proclaim, thinking they are doing great service for humanity; Salvation and Good Works are the things God's preacher is exhorted to teach the Church as being "good and profitable to men" (vs8b) A soup kitchen might fill a stomach once, and then the person is hungry again. But as Jesus said...

    "Jesus answered and said to her, Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will not ever thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into eternal life." (Jn4:13-14)
If one claiming to be a Christian is not following up his claims with Good Works, he appears no different than the world. Of what benefit is such a testimony? It is then as Paul quotes...
    "For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you..." (Ro2:24)

    "But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, indeed, holding fast to salvation, though we speak in this manner." (Heb6:9)


Heresy - (Titus 3:9-11)
    "But avoid foolish questionings, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the Law; for they are unprofitable and vain. Shun a man of heresy after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is corrupt and sinning, being self-condemned." (vs9-11)
This installment will be real short. It -should- be necessary only to quote these verses. Are they not self-explanatory. Trouble is, for the ones to whom this refers, they don't "get" it. Those who wrangle about "foolish questions" and "contentions" are also those who will contend about the meaning of these words. As ch1 ended, they are "reprobate with regard to every good work" (1:16) And to 'excuse' their behavior they must wrangle with the Scriptures to "twist to their own destruction" (2Pt3:16) what they otherwise -know- refutes their desired behavior.
    "...who show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts meanwhile accusing or else excusing themselves" (Ro2:15)
Paul also says to Timothy...
    "O Timothy, guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and empty babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge; by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith" (1Ti6:20-21)
What are the sorts of things people will contend about? Both theoretical as well as practical. Not only will people of the world seek to contend with the Believer, this passage is speaking more directly to those -within- the congregation. Often the 'pretend' Christians; the wolves in "sheep's clothing". (Mt7:15)

At the theoretical level many will contradict, for instance, that God created the universe in six (6) 'literal' 24-hour days; as Genesis ch1 says, "The evening and the morning". They do this because, either they don't believe it, or they want to "fit in" with the world's intelligentsia that believes in Evolution, that will ostracize or deny promotions or tenure to a Christian who holds to a "Biblical world view" and Biblical Creation. They lust after the world's accolades (and the good salary) rather than God's "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Mt25:21,23)

The other primary category deals with conscience. A person desires "open" sexual relationships, so will distort some Scriptural passage to explain away why their desires are "supported" (or support-ABLE) by Scripture. Or this, or that, or the other thing. A person can teach pretty much anything they wish from the Bible, even as satan mis-contextualized Scripture to Jesus...

    "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. FOR IT IS WRITTEN: He shall give His angels charge concerning you, and, in their hands they shall bear you up, that you may not dash your foot against a stone. Jesus said to him, IT IS WRITTEN AGAIN, You shall not tempt the Lord your God." (Mt4:6-7)
Just one example from my college days back in the 70s should suffice. And remember: Doctrine is about what? Behavior.

After a couple years of Bible school I transferred to a state university, and having been told that IVCF was a more "sound" group of the college ministries, I looked up the local chapter and started attending the weekly Bible studies. But their Bible studies were different than anything I had ever been in prior to that. They did not have anybody functioning as a "teacher", as I was used to. In years since, I have learned the term "facilitator", for the round-the-circle 'discussions' and "sharing" and the one 'leading' the discussions. The dialectic, leading to consensus. It was being developed politically, socially and scholastically; and that which called itself "Christian" also adopted it unto themselves.

Our Bibles were opened, a passage having been pre-selected; but what followed did not really follow the text of the passage. Everybody -shared- what the passage "means to me". The sharing consisted of the 'open-minded' philosophies of the hippy generation of the day, rather than something claiming to be "Christian". So, when I had my turn to speak, being the Bible lover that I was, I would bring the group back around to what the passage -SAYS-. And in the spirit of "what it means to me", I carried the intent of the text further to (what we are learning in Titus) "good works", and further: What -defines- good works in the collegiate culture in which we were situated...which meant adhering to morality, shunning worldly practices, care to Godly fashions and dress. Such things as that. I spoke these things in -generalities-, not 'aiming' them at anybody in the group; since, at the time, I didn't yet know anybody. Just... this is what God's Word -SAYS-, therefore this is how we should -LIVE-.

Immediately there were hostile reaction[s] (plural) to my comments, that I was being "judgmental".

I didn't continue attending very much longer, but did attend the Urbana '70 conference that winter. Perhaps a year later I was meandering around one of the dorms, looking to meet up with somebody, and along the way what should I see, but a couple of these IVCF people sleeping together out on the front lawn of the building; a single-wide sleeping bag, with two people in it, male and female.

So...-I- was the "judgmental" one, eh? The hippy generation of the day was promoting "free love", do anything, if it feels good do it, etc. And I had spoken some 'generic' words about the morality of the day, the way the hippies and the -rest- of the world behaved; but -we-, as "Christians", do NOT do like the world does. And here, those who were claiming to be "Christian" were doing what the world does... out in the open, not even trying to hide it. Obviously, the -Bible- 'judged' -them-. I spoke -Doctrine- (behavior) in the Bible study, but they rejected Doctrine because they knew they were in disobedience to the Word.

The person of "heresy", going contrary to Doctrine, found out to be "corrupt and sinning...BEING SELF-CONDEMNED" (vs11) and unrepentant. (They didn't even appear to be embarrassed when I walked past them)

    "Were they ashamed when they had committed abominations? No, they were not at all ashamed, nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; in the time of their punishment they shall be cast down, says Jehovah." (Jer6:15,8:12)
And to Israel, furthermore God said...
    "Will you...commit adultery, and swear falsely... and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, [and go to Bible studies] and say, We are delivered [It's OK] to do all those abominations?" (Jer7:9-10)
There is really only -one- reason a person claiming to be a "Christian" will read God's -direct- Word and find reasons to twist it to mean something other than what it says: When a person understands that their own life is full of sin, but they don't wish to repent and conform to God's holy standard of morality and righteousness... when they know they are 'guilty as charged', but wish to excuse their way out of condemnation.

Are we supposed to "agree to disagree" with such people? This is addressing but one particular sin. There are many others. But regarding this one, something similar was going on in Corinth, and Paul exhorts them to...

    "deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus....

    "I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore put away from among yourselves the evil person." (1Co5:5,9-13)

Even before I found out what was going on, in my spirit I knew things were not right, and I stopped attending their meetings.

And whatever other topics about which divisions contrary to Doctrine may arise...

    "Now I exhort you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and snares, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and TURN AWAY FROM THEM. For those who are such DO NOT SERVE OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple." (Rom16:17-18)

Good Works - (Titus 3:12-15)
    "And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful." (vs14)
This phrase "good works" has appeared six times in this tiny epistle. Five times it has meant one thing, and this final time it is included in a slightly different context. Thing is, most of the world, the world's religions and false christianity assume the first five are defined by what this last one is paired up with. They observe people being diligent to fulfill #6 and assume they are thus pleasing to God in terms of 1-5.

Good Works (1-5) are all mentioned in the immediate contexts of righteous living, morality, shunning evil, being pleasing to God.

#6, while I suspect it also means the same as the other five, is placed next to "meet urgent needs". Oh... you seeeee? The Social Gospel! That's what we've been trying to say, cluck the apostates. We've gotta show "love" and "caring" to people by forming soup kitchens, handing out clothing, and giving some lost person a warm heart-felt 'hug'. After all, doesn't Paul say, "that they may not be unfruitful".

Yes, Jesus' disciples also gave "to the poor" (Jn13:29); but Jesus also said, "for you have the poor with you always" (Mt26:11) For as much as giving is done to the poor, there will always be poor people. And if a person is hungry, he might not be much interested in hearing preaching. Thus, I suspect that there is 'good' that can be done by the so-called "Gospel Missions". Moody Bible Institute used to produce these radio dramas of real-life testimonies of those who had been saved through the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago. As a youth I used to enjoy listening to the "Unshackled" program. (Hopefully they are still being faithful today, and preaching the Gospel of Salvation? Many missions these days don't, but cater only to the -physical- needs.)

Also notice that Christians should be diligent to 'support' those in ministry.

    "Send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey with diligence, that they may lack nothing" (vs13)
"send" them so that they are not "lacking". This is financial support. As Paul also says regarding those who minister the Word...
    "Let the elders who lead well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the Word and doctrine." (1Ti5:17)
And again...
    "Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel." (1Co9:14)
But this 'social' aspect is not the core of the ministry. The teaching apostles said, when people were complaining about not getting their share of the food hand-outs, "It is not desirable that we should leave the Word of God and serve tables." (Ac6:2) I can assure you that, if a person truly understands, and their heart is compliant, and are faced with a choice: They would MUCH RATHER enter Heaven starving, than to have a stuffed belly (Php3:19), to enter the flames of the Lake of Fire.

This epistle is TO THE PREACHER. The preacher is to...

    "speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine" (2:1)
Behavior. Holy living. Righteousness. Morality.

Again...

    "...give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine." (1Ti4:13)
Leading by example to...
    "...abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual perversion. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well." (Ac15:29)

    "...test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil." (1Th5:21-22)

Amen!
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