A Voice in the
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Preaching Established - (Titus 1:1-3a)
"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)
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?
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,
WHAT IS GODLINESS?
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.
"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (Jn14:6)
Appointed by whom? Men? (We'll get into this more in-depth in a couple of lessons) Paul said of himself,
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?
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...
"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...
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:
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...
But Jesus -did- raise His voice...
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"?
3) TO DELIVER
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?
And for those who think we need to learn "new truths"? That the Bible is ever-evolving to adapt to the times...
4) TO GIVE INSTRUCTION, especially in a tedious manner
What is "godliness"? (vs1)
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 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...
AND FINALLY... Peter gives exhortation to preachers (pastors - elders):
Commission - (Titus 1:5)
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:
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...
So, as we continue here... when Scripture speaks of "appointing" leaders, is that the only way a person can become a pastor/preacher?
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 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)
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
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,
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?
Qualifications - (Titus 1:6-8)
"...and appoint elders...if a MAN is BLAMELESS.." (vs5-6)
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.
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.
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,
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?
"Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called." (1Co7:20,24)
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
To what end? That's next lesson.
Mission - (Titus 1:9-16)
Paul told Timothy...
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...
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.
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...
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?
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...
"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)
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.
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?
"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)
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...
the Doctrine - (Titus 2:1-10)
All the problems the book of Judges records were because...
OLDER MEN: are to be sober. Not drunk; but of sound mind. (Ro12:3, 1Pt4:7) Being reverent and temperate are related...
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)
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.
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)
Paul here says "to love their children". God asks...
God seems to design judgment to be in proportion to, and IN KIND as the offense. In the end judgments the angels praise God,
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...
"..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...
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...
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...
Blessed Hope - (Titus 2:11-15)
"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)
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...
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.
Paul says to the preacher to..
Civil Obedience - (Titus 3:1-8)
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'...
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...
"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)
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...
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)
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...
"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)
And whatever other topics about which divisions contrary to Doctrine may arise...
Good Works - (Titus 3:12-15)
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.
This epistle is TO THE PREACHER. The preacher is to...
"...test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil." (1Th5:21-22)