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Titus 1:1-16 Titus 2:1-15 Titus 3:1-15
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Introduction To The Epistle Of Paul The Apostle To 

 

TITUS

 

“This is the third of Paul’s “Pastoral Epistles.”  The two letters to Timothy and this letter to Titus were pastoral letters written to pastors, to instruct them concerning the conduct of the church and the ministers.  We don’t know much about Titus.  He isn’t mentioned in the Book of Acts.  We know that he traveled with Paul and that Paul used him to deliver the second letter to the Corinthians and that he was also the one who colleted money for the needy church in Jerusalem [during a famine].  One of the first outreaches of Paul was to the island of Crete; and Paul eventually sent Titus there to help get the church established.  As Paul was writing this letter to Titus, Paul was probably in Macedonia, while Titus was in Crete.  It is thought that this letter was written about A.D. 62, probably at about the same time Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy.  In Titus 1:5, Paul says that he left Titus in Crete so that he could “set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city.”  So the emphasis of this book is the orderliness and organization of the church and the qualifications of the leaders of the church.  He also exhorted the church to live a life of grace and to demonstrate it by their good works.  As he described the qualifications for church leaders, Paul reminded Titus that the proper perspective of any church leader is “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).  Besides being one of the strongest declarations of the deity of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, this verse also reminds us to keep our eye on the sky, waiting for the Rapture of the church and living our lives knowing that Jesus could come back at any time.  Paul really packed some precious jewels into this short book, and it should be read often by every Christian and especially by every church leader or pastor.”  [The Word For Today Bible, New King James Version, p. 1602, opening comment on the Book of Titus by the late Pastor Chuck Smith]

 

Titus 1:1-16

 

“Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; but hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour; to Titus, mine own son after the common faith:  Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.  For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:  if any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.  For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.  For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:  whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.  One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.  This witness is true.  Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.  Unto the pure all things are pure:  but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.  They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.” 

 

Instruments Of Good Works, Their Character

 

“Hmm, somehow my notes got out of order, and they’re not making sense right now.  Hmm, interesting, didn’t realize that.  We are, hoping, praying, [laughter] that my notes get in order, because I got a lot of thought here.  Well, you know if I just had the front page it would help.  Well, that’s that, I don’t.  Turn in your Bibles to Titus.  We’re hoping to get our chairs this week, so, we’ll have a few extra seats by next week, pray they’ll come in.  We can fit a few more in this room, I know it’s getting a little crowded.  And not long into the future, we hope to go to two services, so if it’s getting a bit crowded for you, it’s only for a short season.  [This particular CC was in the process of going through a major growth spurt at this time, one of many they all go through as time goes on, just as happened with the original Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa.  See, http://www.unityinchrist.com/history/smith.htm. The founding pastor of the Calvary Chapels, Chuck Smith, just passed away.  That is his story.]  But as we get used to being in this building, and we’re still finishing our project, ah, we need to I think just keep it simple for just a few more weeks.  There’s plenty of other things to do right now.  But let’s say a word of prayer, and we’re going to look at this great letter, Titus, together.  ‘Well Lord, we are just thankful, as we are each week, that we can come together Lord.  Just the mystery of the Church and the mystery that you’ve done is amazing, that you’ve just called us, Lord, into this new life in Christ.  So we are so thankful that we are able to come together as a body.  And we do pray Lord that in this time you’d even now prepare our hearts, I pray you’d use that air-conditioner to it’s fullest to keep the temperature cool so that we wouldn’t be distracted by the heat.  But help our hearts just to hear from you, Lord, help us to be focused.  And we just thank you that your Word does nourish us, and that it does encourage us, and even convict us, Lord.  But lead us now, I ask Holy Spirit that you would just lead this time as I share and be upon all of us during this time of ministry.  And we thank you, in Jesus name, amen.’

 

We Were Created To Do Good Works

 

Reading from Ephesians chapter 2, verse 10, Paul says, ‘For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.’  The Bible says very clearly that you and I are made with a purpose, that God has made us, and ordained us for good works [see, http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/wearesalt.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Questions.htm].  He even created us for good works beforehand, he’s even determined beforehand what we were going to do.  You maybe remember God’s word to Jeremiah, he said to Jeremiah, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.  Before you were born I sanctified you, I ordained you a prophet to the nations,’ God says before you were even born I had your life appointed and you were appointed for good works, and it was the good work of being a prophet [see, http://www.unityinchrist.com/jeremiah/jer1.html].  What is God’s purpose for you, do you know what God has purposed for you in your life?  Why did God create you?  What was the reason?  And if you know God’s purpose in your life, do you fulfill it each day, do you go about living and seeking to fulfill his purpose in your life?  The Bible is very clear that you and I were created to be instruments in the hand of God.  Just as you and I use a spoon to eat our cereal before we came here or a fork when we go to partake in lunch, or maybe you’re going to go fix your car like I might later and pull out a wrench or a hammer or whatever it might be.  A hammer usually fits better in my car.  [laughter]  But you’re an instrument in the hand of God to perform a specific purpose.  And do you know what the purpose is?  Well Paul says to the church in Ephesus that it’s to perform good works, accomplish good things.  These next three weeks we’re going to look at this great letter to Titus.  Six times in this letter, just a short letter, six times Paul says to Titus this term ‘good works,’ or maybe ‘good deeds’ in your translation, or ‘to do good.’  He says that thought, “good works, good works.”  And Paul says to the Church, we are created to do good works.  Paul even concludes this letter to Titus, in chapter 3, verse 8 he says ‘That we should be careful to maintain good works, careful to practice them, careful to be in the habit of good works, you and I.’  Are you careful to maintain good works?  Paul is clear that good works are something that you and I should do.  But also he says as we go on, that good works don’t save us, works of righteousness.  But good works are the result of or the product of a Christian life.  So our next three studies that we’re going to have, ah, we’re going to divide this, obviously, into three chapters, three studies, first one being titled “Instruments Of Good Works, Their Character”, secondly, “Instruments Of Good Works, Their Example,” and thirdly, “Instruments Of Good Works, Their Practice.”  We’re going to look at the character of an instrument that’s been made and is being used for good works.  Let’s begin with verse 1, “Paul, a [bond]servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; but has in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour; to Titus, mine own son after the common faith:  Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.” (verses 1-4)  You know, Neal if you could crack that door a little more, just to get the AC flowing a little bit more.  The first thing that Paul refers to here is his call, he writes letters, and he always gives you the reason why he has the authority to say what he does, and to write the things that he does.  The first thing that he mentions here is his call, he says “Paul, called to be a bond-servant, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ…called to be a preacher” [New King James Version] he tells us about his call.  He says “a bondservant of God”, a slave by choice, not interested in doing my own will, but interested in doing the will of God.  Paul sees himself as an instrument in God’s hands.  Not wanting to do his own thing, but whatever God wants him to do that’s what he’s going to do.  If God wants to use him as a wrench or a hammer or a screwdriver, whatever God’s purpose is for him that’s what he wants to do, he’s a bond-slave of God.  Then he says, “an apostle of Jesus Christ” that’ his purpose, he’s called to preach the Gospel, he’s an apostle to go out and plant churches, and he says specifically, “for the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness,”  He says this is the ultimate purpose of being an apostle is for others.  ‘I perform this apostleship, I’m an instrument in God’s hand for the good of others, the good of bringing life, of fostering and nurturing their faith and knowledge in God.’  And he knows that this is an incredible calling, ‘because this is my calling, I’m an apostle,’ and as you work it through, ‘for the faith of God’s elect, for their knowledge,’ and then he says ‘of the truth which accords with godliness, which produces godliness.’  He knows ‘that as God uses me in the lives of others, the net effect upon their lives is that they’re going to become more like Christ.  That’s my purpose, to be used as something to prod you, to exhort your faith, to help you learn about the things of God and the ways of God, about his Word, that you would grow in the image of Christ, that you would grow more godly.’   And this is something that we’re consistently reminded of in his Word every single week, that if you and I want to grow in the image of Christ, if you want to become more godly, study his Word.  Because that’s what he says.  He says ‘according to the knowledge of truth which accords with godliness,’ it’s by the knowledge of the truth, it’s by learning his Word, by hearing his Word that you and I grow in truth, in the knowledge of the life of Christ, godliness.  We’re consistently reminded of that in his Word.  Paul told us just a letter ago in 2nd Timothy, he said ‘All Scripture is given by inspiration of 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.’  He says God has given us his Word, so that we’d be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  So Paul says ‘This is my purpose, it’s for the good of others, to build them up in their faith, and in the Word, and this godly life comes from God and goes back to God.’  That’s what he says, it starts with his Word, it’s a result of his Word in us, and just transforming us into his image.  So let’s take another prayer.  I can’t seem to get on track here, let’s say another prayer.  ‘Lord, your Word is so awesome, I’d ask you to help me to focus on, I’m distracted here, missing pages from my notes, but Lord your Word is beautiful, and I just ask that even in the heat you could help me to focus, I feel like I’m missing this thing here Lord, so I just ask God you’d help me to focus, focus all of us Lord, because your Word is so important to us, and we thank you for it, in Jesus name, amen.’  [That was kind of gutsy.  How many of you pastors reading this would have the guts to stop and pray this in front of your congregation?  We can all learn something from this pastor, that’s for sure.]  Sorry about that. 

 

Our Faith And Knowledge Of The Truth Rests On The Hope Of Eternal Life, Promised Before Time Began

 

Verse 2, “in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;”  Well the point is, do you see yourself as an instrument in God’s hands?  Do you see yourself as something that God desires to use, that is useful to him?  Paul says that by knowing the Word, and studying the Word we’re going grow in usefulness, we’re going to grow in godliness, and become more Christlike.  And Paul says this purpose is to build up our faith, and the knowledge of the Word, and he says all of this, as you go into verse 2, ‘rests on the hope of eternal life, it all sets upon that.’  Our faith and knowledge of the truth rests upon our hope of eternal life.  And obviously, as we’ve seen before, without hope it’s vain, it’s useless, it’s vanity for us to even be here this morning if there’s no hope of eternal life.  But it’s this hope that moves our hearts, it’s this hope that steadies my faith and focuses my mind and my attitude upon his Word, that just drives me ahead, it’s this hope of eternal life.  And we have this hope, Paul says we have this hope because God has told us that we have this hope.  And then when he says God has promised it, he says ‘God doesn’t lie.’  God has said that for those who believe in Christ they have eternal life [and obviously their belief is backed up and proven by their actions of obedience, they walk the walk not just talk the talk], and that’s just the truth.  So as Christians, the truth of the matter is, we have eternal life, God does not lie.  In fact Paul said in a previous letter, he says if God denies himself, he said to deny himself would be to lie, and God cannot deny himself, he cannot lie.  So he’s given us this beautiful promise of eternal life, and all our faith and our knowledge and our seeking him rests upon this promise of eternal life, and it’s a glorious hope.  And Paul then says in these verses, we’ve got to dissect them, because he always has a lot to say in a few words.  He says, “promised before time began,” it’s an eternal promise that has been from before the beginning, “but has in due time manifested his Word through preaching,” it was manifested, made known through the preaching of the Word of God.  And then Paul says ‘I’m called to be a preacher,’ he says, “which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;”  So he says “I’m called to be a preacher.”  And that’s how we know about the things we do, through the hearing of the Word.  Paul said the same thing to the church in Corinth, chapter 1, he says ‘For since in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.’  So Paul said that to that church, that God has ordained that the Word would go out through preaching, and that the salvation, this great eternal hope, so vital and so important, would go out through the vehicle of preaching.  And Paul said ‘I’ve been called to be a preacher.  That’s my calling, that’s the instrument I’m to be used as, a preacher of this glorious Gospel.’ 

 

Who Is Titus?

 

And then he says in verse 4, “To Titus, a true son in our common faith:  Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.”  Man, this Titus is a beautiful man.  We don’t know about him through the writings in Acts, there’s nothing mentioned there of him being with Paul.  It’s possible he’s a brother of Luke, it might be why, we don’t know for sure.  But we do know a bit about Titus through other mentions of Paul in other letters, especially 2nd Corinthians.  And he says ‘Titus, a true son,’ Paul thinks highly of this guy.  In 2nd Corinthians chapter 2 he mentions Titus, that Titus wasn’t with him, and for the simple fact that Titus wasn’t with him, Paul didn’t feel the freedom to preach in Troas.  [Where is Troas?  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandria_Troas]  So Paul moved onto Macedonia, he says ‘I couldn’t find Titus, so I just moved on.’  So he thought a lot of him, Titus was a great encouragement to him.  And then in chapter 7, it says that Paul was comforted by the arrival of Titus.  Titus delivered an earlier letter to the church in Corinth, and when he came back it says Paul was comforted by him, by the news he had, but also just by his presence.  And then you read in 2nd Corinthians chapter 8, verse 17, it says Paul thanked God that Titus had the same heart as he, and the same concern for the Corinthians.  It says he had the same attitude, he’s got the same heart, ‘he’s a true son, and I thank God,’ it even said he was more diligent, ‘and he went to minister to you of his own accord.  I didn’t have to twist his arm, he had the same attitude, a lot of concern for you, so he would minister to you.’  And then in 2nd Corinthians chapter 12, Paul says about Titus, he says, ‘Did we not walk in the same spirit?  Did we not walk in the same steps?’  I mean, like father, like son, that was Titus.  So he thinks a lot of Titus.  And he’s commissioned Titus with a task in Crete, so he writes to him to continue this work.  But he thinks a lot of this man.  We know also from Galatians chapter 2, that he was a Greek.  And then Paul says, ‘in our common faith, and again, the mystery of the church,’ here’s a Jew writing to a Greek saying ‘We have a common faith.’  And that’s the wonder of the Church, and this wonderful work that God has done.  He says ‘Greetings to you Titus, grace and mercy and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,’ this common greeting.  But as in the last letter and this letter, he says “mercy,” he includes mercy in this list.  Well that’s Paul’s calling, he knows what he was called to do, as this instrument of good works, he was a bond-servant, he was an apostle, and he was a preacher. 

 

We Must Be About Continuous Improvement

 

And now he gives this charge to Titus, starting with verse 5, he says, “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 committed you…” he says ‘I left you in Crete with this specific purpose of getting things right and getting things in order, that weren’t quite done, there were some things that were lacking, so I left you there,’ and evidently Titus has some administrative ability.  And Paul leans on him at different times, he says ‘This is why I left you there, to set things in order, and there’s some matters undone.’  And you know, I read that and I think of my time with G.E. in Lynn Massachusetts, their motto, maybe they have it here in Fitchburg too, at the G.E. plant there, I presume they would, but that of “Continuous Improvement.”  And things were lacking, so Paul just wanted to go and make them better, and get them right and set them in order.  And that’s a great attitude I think within the Church [Body of Christ], that do it today better than you did it yesterday.  And that’s something I’ve been thinking about as we do this building project.  You know, the last place we were in, it bugged me man.  And why it bugged me wasn’t because it was smaller, it was because it was undone, and there were things that were lacking.  And there were things to me that were kind of embarrassing and shoddy when you really look at the excellence of the Lord and of his standard.  We were just guys and I’m not pointing the finger at anybody, but it was just ‘I can’t wait till we move and get it right, and do it a little bit better.’  So we used the opportunity as we moved into this new facility to make it better.  Not to get the focus on the building, but just to be excellent about what we do, excellent with the doors, excellent with the windows, excellent with the lighting, excellent with the carpeting, and make it as good as we can do it.  But without getting too distracted, we’re about people, not about a church building, but we should be excellent.  And I’ve used the opportunity to just make it look more excellent, and we’re not done yet, but also to help set that mindset, ‘Let’s do it better than we’ve been doing it.’  And we’ve been having more meetings now, as, ‘You know, there’s a new building, a new change, a new atmosphere,’  so we’re talking about worship, we’re talking about security, we’re talking about ushering, ‘let’s just do it better, better and better.’  And that should be our attitudes as Christians.  We should do what we do better than the world does it.  And so often as Christians, we say ‘Well, grace, let it slide, you know, we’re in grace,’ and you know I walk a lot in his grace of course, as you can tell.  But, we should be striving for excellence, man, seeking to do it better.  And as we look at our short-comings, look at the past ways ‘maybe it wasn’t quite good enough,’ get at it and try to do it better, and better, and better, and better, and better.  That’s the standard.  Paul wasn’t satisfied with the disorder in Crete, so he sent Titus there to make it better.  So he sent Titus there to make it better, to set it in order.  And may that be all the more our perspective here, that we don’t just get comfortable with, ‘Well, the trim isn’t up, but that’s ok,’ or ‘the ac’s working halfway, it’s ok, we’ll get by, it works, people sort of listened on Sunday [or Saturday], the parking lot is black, it’s tarred, we don’t need lines,’ or whatever it might be.  But we want excellence, excellence in all we do, excellence in the children’s ministry, excellence in the teen ministry, excellence in everything we do, we want to do it better, and better, and better than the world.  So often you go to a worldly concert, or a worldly conference, like ‘Wow!  They really had it set up, they’re excellent,’ but then you go to the church, and it was just kind of thrown together.  But that’s not what God desires.  So continuous improvement is a great motto, if it’s the motto of the world, it should at least be the motto of our church.  And excellence is the standard.  And Paul sends Titus to make things better. 

 

Titus’ Assignment, Appoint Elders In Every City:  Train & Delegate, An Important Part Of Ministry

 

Verse 5, “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:”  And the reason things were lacking is these churches that were getting started, there really wasn’t strong leadership.  So Paul says, ‘Set thing in order by appointing elders in every city, in every little church, make sure there’s a good strong leader to lead that congregation, and to lead it in excellence.’  Paul doesn’t tell Titus ‘Go do it all yourself, go to every church and organize every church, and lead every church and make it right.’  But he says, ‘Go get some other men that can do the same job, and delegate these men, and give to these men the responsibility of making things right in these different fellowships.’  And I tell you, delegation is an important aspect of ministry.  Lloyd-Pulley, his words would be ‘The pushing down, the pushing down of ministry, taking it from leadership and pushing it further and further down, so that more and more people are involved in the serving, involved in the ministry.’  Of course Paul gives criteria of who you should delegate to, but delegation is an important part of ministry.  So many churches, you know there are one or two professional ministers, and the rest of the people are just professional lay-people, or for lack of better words, just professional sponges I guess, they just come and they absorb.  I’m thankful we’re not like that here.  But delegation and multiplication is an important part of effective ministry. 

 

The Bible’s Qualifications For Elders, Teaching-Pastors

 

Elders Must Be Blameless

 

So he sends Titus to Crete to get things in order, and to appoint these elders, and then he gives the qualifications, he says not to just put anybody there, but here’s the character of these people, and that’s the third part, we’ve seen the calling, we’ve seen the charge, and now we’re going to see the character of these men.  He says, “If a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.  For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.” (verses 6-9, New King James Version)  So he says, here’s the character of these men.  You know, if you look at that list, you’re like ‘Well, Steve, we just went over this, two letters ago, 1st Timothy, we went right through this same list, I hope you’re not gonna take too much time on it.’  I’ll probably take a little bit of time, because you probably forgot like I did, what they all mean at least in the day to day application.  But Paul says this is the list and he sent it before to Timothy.  So he wrote it to a guy who was overseeing a church in a big city [Ephesus], and he tells now a guy probably overseeing smaller churches in smaller communities, and that’s the truth, man…the people that oversee should be godly people, regardless of the size of the work.  This work is a cross-cultural, cross-generational, this type of life is necessary for the Church, regardless of the size of the church.  He says ‘First of all he should be blameless.’  We talked about that recently, he should be unquestioned in his integrity.  When he’s referred to, people shouldn’t be able to come forward and say ‘You know, he has done these things, and like pull out the Word,’ and you’re like ‘Wow, those things are really against the Word of God,’ that there’s things he has done that are very blatant, and against the standard of God.  Maybe he’s since repented of that, and he’s grown and matured, and it was years earlier, but if there was an issue with his integrity that people can bring out, he shouldn’t be a leader in the church, he should live a godly life, upright in character.  Because if he isn’t [or wasn’t in his past], he’s going to hinder the Work of God.  He’s not going to be a good instrument for good works.  He’s going to be an instrument, and maybe going about the business, but potentially he’s going to be used to do bad in the church, because of this issue of character.  Charles Spurgeon in “Lectures To My Students”, he says this, “It is with us and our hearers as it is with watches and the public clock,” he’s speaking to people that are in seminary, “If our watch be wrong, very few will be misled but ourselves, but if the Horse Guard or Greenwich should go amiss [the national clock of England] half London would loose it’s reckoning.  So it is with the minister, he’s the parish clock, many take their time from him.  And if he be incorrect, they all will go wrongly, more or less.  And he is in measure for all the sin which he occasions.”  So Paul says he needs to be a blameless man, and he needs to remember that.  Gregory says, “The hand that means to make another clean, must not itself be dirty.”  And if you’re going to try to wash people, and encourage people, you’re life needs to line up with it.  A dirty sponge, you know if you take a dirty sponge like I used to when I was a single guy, you know, with that dirty, moldy sponge, and try to wash the dishes, they get clean, but they smell when you’re done.  [laughter]  I can tell you from experience.  And Gregory says you need to be clean if you’re going to be an instrument, to bring the Word of God and truth to other people’s lives.  [Comment:  Now understand this, most, if not many Calvary Chapel pastors came out of sinful lifestyles, former drug addicts, alcoholics, etc.  It is their life after conversion he’s talking about, after they’ve been covered by the blood of Christ and washed clean, not before conversion.]  You know, there’s a great warning, there’s great examples of this in Scripture.  But you remember the story there in Samuel, 1st Samuel chapter 2, the sons of Eli.  Those two sons, Hophni and Phineas, these men were about the priestly duty, but they weren’t men of integrity, man.  And because they weren’t men of integrity, they compromised, and that issue of heart began to work its way through and the result of that, you remember, it says ‘Men were caused to abhor the offering of the Lord.’  They just detested the offering, so therefore they didn’t go to the Temple, because of these two priests.  So Paul says, ‘the men that are appointed to oversee should be men that are blameless.’  And that is to be an instrument of good work.  If the character lines up, is that of integrity, and therefore they’re going to be effective and not a hindrance.  So what is your character like?  We looked at these qualities recently.  But you know, we look at this so that we’ll become like this.  So what is your character like?  Are you an instrument of good work, you were created to do good works.  But you’re going to do good works, I mean, God is gracious in all things, sometimes he’ll make exceptions in this case, because he’s so gracious.  But in general, if you want to be an instrument of good works, you’re life has to line up with it.  There has to be integrity.  There needs to be a real statement by the way you live.  Or potentially you can be about the priestly duty, and be an instrument in the long run really of bad rather than good.  So Paul says ‘Make sure they’re blameless, without accusation.’

 

Elders Must Have Moral Purity, And They Must Have Faithful Children

 

And then he says “the husband of one wife,” there needs to be purity.  And there needs to be purity in the people that serve in the church, and there needs to be purity in all our lives, regardless of what our society is doing, regardless of what you see on TV or read about in the newspaper or hear people say at work, there needs to be purity in your life.  If you’re going to be an effective instrument there has to be purity in thought and heart.  And if there isn’t purity in thought and heart, there’s probably not going to be purity in your actions.  So Paul says ‘he needs to be the husband of one wife, just living a pure life,’ and then he says “having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.” (verse 6), believing children.  That his impact, you know we talked about this last week, Eric Little, if you want to be a great man, walk with great men, and you’ll become a great man.  Hang out with them and they’ll have an effect on you.  And Paul says here that his children should be believing.  If his young children aren’t believing, then there’s something not right.  If he’s been a believer for awhile, and walking with the Lord, yet he hasn’t had an effect upon his home, if he hasn’t been doing it right there he shouldn’t be doing it in the church.  The first discipleship that should take place with me as a man of God should be in my own home, discipling my wife, discipling my children.  So he says that these men, look at their home and see if they have kids that love the Lord.  You know David Jeremiah made an interesting comment this week on the radio, talking about parenting.  He says “You know, the thing with parenting, you don’t learn instantly how well you’re doing,” it takes awhile, to begin to see, the things that I’m doing today I won’t know till later how well I’m doing.  He says somebody told him that you really don’t know until you see your grandchildren.  But that is a good testimony, of a godly man, if you have godly grandkids.  Because that means you raised your children in such a way that they saw the value of training their own children in the ways of the Lord.  So if you’re a bit older today in the faith and life, and you’ve got godly grandkids, man, that is a great testimony that you did it right.  And if you don’t, I know a lot of us got saved later in life, we just pray and ask God to work powerfully, now our grandkids have at least got godly grandparents that are praying for them, and seeking to witness to them.  But he says, having believing children, and we must get it right there first. Donald Guthrie said “The home is regarded as the training-ground for Christian leaders.”  So if you want to be a Christian leader, start being one in your own home.  And that’s where it starts, as we’ve seen consistently…’that the children shouldn’t be accused of dissipation or insubordination,’ they should be believing kids and kids of somewhat self-control, you know, they shouldn’t be out of control and reckless, rebellious kids, kids that you repeatedly ask to do something, and they consistently disobey, and have no respect of authority.  He says if you’re going to put a person into leadership, they should have been a leader at home, and that is their kids should learn the value of obedience and walking in obedience.  These things are very important, Paul says, in his life, ‘and if he’s going to be an instrument of good works in the church, he should already be an instrument of good works at home.’ 

 

Avoid Choosing A Pastor With This Laundry List Of Bad Traits---“Even Little Flies Can Stop A Train”

 

“For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;” (verse 7)  He says, “For a bishop [Greek, “overseer” i.e. teaching-pastor] should be blameless as a steward of God,” then in past times of ministry and testing, he should be blameless, a faithful steward.  And faithfulness is a key characteristic in the life of a leader, or any of us.  Faithfulness is key, man.  It really comes down to that of being faithful, faithful in our good works.  And that’s what you look for in somebody that’s going to be ministering, someone who has a real faithful past, and it’s a blessing to have faithful people working with you.  Man, it’s a blessing just to have them around you, faithful at what God has called them to do.  But it says repeatedly he should be blameless, he’s to be blameless, there shouldn’t be issues in his life.  And that’s just this whole list as he goes on.  You know, just the smallest issue, the smallest issue left unchecked can really make a mess in the Church.  I was thinking about this, reading Charles Spurgeon’s book “Lectures To My Students” and reading about some of his examples, and thinking recently about our car, you know we have two vehicles, and they both have been giving us some trouble.  And the one car, we had some work done, but it’s just been running lousy, just been idling lousy, and it started to even get worse and stall on me, it’s the car my wife drives, and you know, in my mind it’s probably some big thing.  Well I happened to be putting a quart of oil in it last week and I opened the hood and I noticed that there was a hose on the top that had a leak in it.  And I said, ‘Maybe it’s leaking the oil there, it’s using up oil too,’ I decided real quick I’d go to the garage or the junk yard and get a little hose real quick, and I said ‘This is something I can do, I’m not too clever, but that hose is right on top and I can take those clamps off, I know I can do that little hose real quick,’ although when I actually tried to use the hose and extend it, I broke it, so I had to get a new hose, for sure, I had to get a new hose.  So now I’m on the way to the junk yard and it’s really running bad.  I’m like ‘wait a minute, maybe the problem isn’t the hose, because it’s even worse now,’ in fact I had to run with the emergency brake, I had to keep it idling or it would just stall.  So anyway, I went to the junk yard and right there I said ‘I’m going to put this on and try this out,’ and don’t you know it ran just great.  Put that little hose on there, and that little hose was little [probably a vacuum hose], just a little rubber thing.  But it played a big part in the way it ran.  And that’s what Paul is getting at, this guy’s life has got to line up, because even the little issues, the little issues can be significant in the long run, cause things to run out of sequence.  Charles Spurgeon referred to some train in the United States that just came to a stop on the tracks because there were flies in the grease-wheel, and the grease-boxes of the carriage wheels, there were little flies in there, just little flies in the grease that caused this big old train to come to a stop.  Well that’s a perfect analogy, Charles Spurgeon says, “A man in all other respects fitted to be useful, may by some small defect be exceedingly hindered or even rendered utterly useless.”  So the point is, you and I cannot just coast.  You and I cannot just tolerate sin in our life, maybe not just sin, but issues of laziness, or issues of not being very excited about the ways of the Lord, and just kind of coasting.  We can’t tolerate that.  Because even those little flies can stop a big train.  And I would certainly covet your prayers, as I desire to live a more godly life.  But I tell you, like we all can relate, it’s a challenge to, but by the power of God we keep pressing on, pressing on as Paul said to the church in Philippi.  He says again “blameless as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered,” this guy shouldn’t be a dictator at home, shouldn’t be a guy at work that you know in the conference meetings is always sure he’s right, and not a guy that’s unwilling to admit he’s wrong, not self-pleasing, not arrogant, not building his own little world around himself, but a guy who lives for others, not self-willed.  If he’s self-willed, man, keep him out of it, because he’s going to make a mess, he’s going to build his own little empire.  And that’s something a lot of men struggle with as you get to know them, they’re self-willed.  They might be serving, they might be doing different things, but they do it with the purpose of themselves, and meeting some physical lust or want to be seen in a certain way.  But he says, ‘be careful of those guys, don’t put them in the ministry, they can’t be self-willed.’  And they can’t be “quick-tempered,” they can’t be someone that flies off the handle, they need to be gentle.  You know, Proverbs says you and I can learn temper, we can learn that by being around people that do [have a bad or quick temper].  So you know sometimes you look at your child, and you’re like, ‘He’s got a little attitude [chuckles], where’d he get that?’  I was thinking that not long ago, ‘Where’d he get that?’  Then I remembered that.  Got it from somewhere, probably me.  Some adults are just like children, still throwing tantrums, you know, they didn’t get their way.  And he says, ‘If the guy’s like that, he doesn’t belong in ministry.  He can’t be an effective, a good instrument, effective for good works, there’s issues still to be dealt with.’  James says ‘you and I need to be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, because the wrath of a man does not produce the righteousness of God.’  So there can’t be a temper, there can’t be that.  So if there’s that issue in your life, it’s not acceptable, regardless of what you think about your gender or your ethnic background, we’re to be gentle people.  Anger itself, as you see in the Scripture isn’t a bad thing, there’s righteous anger.  But someone has said, “A temper is such a wonderful thing, that it’s a shame to lose it.”  Really, anger is a good thing, the problem is when we lose it, and we get out of control.  Anger for the right reason is good, but anger for the wrong reason is bad, and he says ‘this guy shouldn’t be given to a quick temper,’ “not given to wine,” we’ve seen that repeatedly, mastered by Jesus and Jesus only, “not violent,” for sure, not a violent man, that’s going to create a real mess in the church, remember Levi and Simeon?  These guys got angry, man, because of what happened to their sister, and they went in and cleaned house with an entire community.  But then the net result of that was the people of Israel were looked at shamefully for awhile, and then, when Jacob was blessing his sons, he said, ‘Man, I want nothing to do with you two, cursed are you,’ rather than blessing them he cursed them because of their wrath.  The men were recently looking at Moses, and Moses you remember, he lost his temper and killed that Egyptian, and it took 40 years, God sent him into the wilderness for 40 years now to make a meek man, a usable man.  Because you’re not very usable to the Lord if there’s violence, getting angry, of wanting to make things right in your own power.  There needs to be a meekness, a trusting in the Lord, and letting God work through you, and letting God take vengeance when needed.  “not violent, not greedy for money,” we’ve seen that consistently as we’ve been going through these Epistles, he must love God and just be content with whatever he has. 

 

Traits An Elder Should Have

 

“But hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled,” (verse 8 NKJV)  He needs to be a hospitable man, just somebody that loves to spend time with you, “a lover of what is good,” a great statement, a guy that gets excited about good things, loves what is good.  So because he loves what is good he doesn’t really like what is not good.  You spend time with him, you don’t see that compromise, you’re not like ‘Well how does he listen to that CD?  He says he’s a godly man, but that’s trash, man.  How does he listen to that?’ or ‘How does he watch that on TV?  He says a lot of godly things, but then he watches that?  He says he’s to be a lover of what is good, and therefore he can’t handle the things that aren’t good.  And that should be a character trait too in our life, if we’re going to be instruments of good works, we need to love what is good and hate what is evil, the Bible says.  He should be sober-minded, he should be just, to hate what is evil, the Bible says.  He should be just, such a man of integrity that he sticks by his word, and he practices what he preaches. He is just and he does exactly what he’s supposed to do, and what he says you’re to do, he does the same.  Charles Spurgeon, you know, he’s just going through this list here, that there just can be areas that are lacking.  He needs to be a man of God.  Charles Spurgeon says “We shall be likely to accomplish most when we are in the best spiritual condition,” or in other words, “We shall usually do our Lord’s work best when our gifts and graces are in good order.  And we shall do the worst when they’re most out of trim.”  So Charles Spurgeon encouraging pastors to live godly lives.  And a godly life makes you an effective instrument.  So Paul says he needs to, if he’s going to be effective, he needs to have this type of character, he needs to live a holy life.  And that just really summarizes the whole list, wholly set apart for the Lord, no flaws at all [or no flies at all, in the grease-boxes, pun intended], unstained.  McShane in a note to a ministry friend who was seeking to perfect his German, he wrote this letter to him, he said, “I know you’ll apply hard to German, but do not forget the culture of the inner man, I mean the heart, how diligently the cavalry officer keeps his saber clean and sharp, every stain he rubs off with the greatest care.  Remember you’re God’s sword, his instrument, I trust a chosen vessel unto him to bear his name, in great measure according to the purity and perfection of the instrument will be the success.  It is not great talents God blesses so much as likeness to Jesus.  A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.”  So Paul says, this man must lead a holy life.  And just as a guy cleans his sword, or a soldier is going to use his rifle or his pistol, man, he just makes sure that thing is spotless and continues to keep it prepared for that hour when he’s going to use it.  Paul says that these men, if they’re going to be effective and really instruments of a good work, this needs to be their attitude.  You know, Spurgeon referred to, in his book, an unregenerate, ungodly minister and his work.  And this was the result, he said this, “I read the other day, that no phase of evil presented so marvelous a parish, with a 12 hundred pound” that is the English currency “organ, a choir of ungodly singers and an aristocratic congregation.  It was the opinion of the writer that here could be no greater instrument for damnation out of hell than that.  People go to their place of worship and sit down comfortably, and think they must be Christians, when all the time all that their religion consists in is listening to an orator, having their ears tickled with music, and perhaps their eyes mused with graceful action and fashionable manners, the whole being no better than what they see and hear at the opera.  Not so good perhaps, in point of ascetic beauty, and not an atom more spiritual.  Thousands are congratulating themselves and even blessing God that they are devout worshippers, when at the same time they’re living in an unregenerate Christless state, and having the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.  He who presides over a system that aims at nothing higher than formalism is far more a servant of the devil than a minister of God.”  That’s the point Paul is making here.  Because in so many churches, it’s easy to go about the church-life, but not to live it.  And not to live it, and not to even know Christ, is just to be used by Satan more than anything else.  And that’s what he says, he needs to live a holy life [the guy you’re looking to make a pastor, context of what Paul’s telling Titus], a man that you know is spending time through the week with the Lord and seeking the face of God.  He should be “self-controlled,” disciplined, disciplined in every part of his life.  Able to by the power of the Holy Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit to control his flesh.  A minister of Christ should have his tongue and his heart and his hand in agreement, in all that he does. 

 

A Pastor Needs Two Voices:  One For Building Up, One For Bringing Down

 

And then it says, “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.” (verse 9, New King James Version)  He should be sound in the Word, knowing the Word of God, and therefore able to encourage those in the church, but also discourage those that are teaching false doctrine or trying to bring false teaching into the church.  And Calvin says, “A pastor needs two voices, one for the gathering of the sheep, the other for driving away the wolves and the thieves.”  And that is what Paul is saying here, he needs to have that real grasp of the Word, so that he can stand for the church and defend the church, but also so that he can continue to build up the church.  I mean, the Word of God builds up.  But also can tear down, if needed.  And that’s the ministry that this man should be able to do, of building up and bringing down.  So a summary of these lives is their character is in such a way that they are instruments and can be instruments of good works.  They should be noted for sound doctrine and for sound living, and to avoid of what Saint Austin says of some, “With their doctrine they  build, but with their lives they destroy.”  They should not do that.  They should be consistent.

 

‘Go Put A Cork In It, Man’

 

Let’s look at verse 10, we go from this calling, to the charge, to the character, and now we look at the cessation.  Paul says, note “For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.  One of them, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’  This testimony is truth.  Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.  To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.  They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.”  (verses 10-16, NKJV)  Here’s folk that are disqualified for good works, instruments of bad rather than instruments of good.  Paul says here the cessation, that is to silence, to silence these false teachers, he tells Titus to stop them and sharply rebuke them.  He says that’s the attitude.  There are many, he says, many who are insubordinate, many who are rebellious, many who are idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision he says, stop them, put a cork in it.  That’s basically what he says.  In the tense of the Greek, put a cork in it, stop them, sharply rebuke them.  Don’t just sit there and let it go on and on and on, but make a stand.  You know, as individuals and as a church and as a pastor, we should have the same attitude when it comes to false teaching, not to view it lightly.  You know I’ve been criticized in times in the past where I’ve stood and made a stand against certain false teaching that has gone through the Church and our community and in America, and people have come to me ‘Why are you taking a stab at them!?’  I usually don’t use names, but I’ll make a stab against the doctrine, and people have come to me and said, ‘Hey, you know, people can believe that, why would you put down that?’  Paul says very clearly, when it comes to false teaching, go put a cork in it, man.  Stop it, don’t let it just go on and on and on, make a stand, challenge it.  And those that challenge false teaching, sometimes are unpopular.  You know, I think of one guy that’s on the radio, his ministry is every day out there trying to challenge false teaching, and I hear a lot of people criticizing him, and maybe he could do it in a more gentler tone.  But you know, you look at the tense there that Paul says, man, Paul says ‘Sharply rebuke them.’  That is the attitude towards false teaching.  Have a real hatred for false teaching is what he says.  He says, ‘You, Titus in Crete, this is what you need to do, put a stop to this stuff before it defiles, and that yeast works its way through the Church.’  You know, Crete, Crete was an interesting area during Paul’s time.  It was said that during Paul’s time there were three bad seeds in that day, one was the Sicilians, they were bad news, secondly, the Capadocians, but thirdly the Cretians.  And it was said the Cretians were the worst of them all, they were just known to be a bad people.  And you see there Paul even quotes one of their prophets who says the same thing.  One of their sixth century teachers, Epmindis, he’s a sixth century teacher, said “The absence of wild beasts on the island was supplied by its human inhabitants.”  Weren’t a lot of wild dogs or bears, but there were plenty of human bears and human wild dogs.  The Greeks coined the term Cretus, using that word Crete they coined a word meaning to lie, they said Cretus, meaning ‘you’re like the guys in Crete, you’re a liar,’ or ‘you’re a cheat,’ and the noun Crestismos, they used to mean falsehood. So they actually coined from the state of this community, this nation of Crete, that it was so defiled they came up with this word to signify that.  But in the midst of it God was building his Church, God has sent Titus to go and encourage the Church, as God takes even these Cretians and regenerates them and makes them into useful godly men.  Paul’s strategy with this darkness, we live in a dark world, a dark America, I think America’s probably a lot like Crete here, but Paul’s strategy was to just multiply himself, get Titus to go out and find more godly men to just continue to be salt and continue to promote the Word of God. That was his strategy in this dark world, and that should be our strategy here. 

 

Who Were These False Teachers?

 

Well, who are these false teachers?  He makes a pretty clear description of them, they’re trouble-makers, they’re rebellious, they’re idle talkers, they talk a lot about nothing, they’re tricksters, they’re deceivers, and they’re especially those of the circumcision, the legalists that think that by certain works you can achieve righteousness.  And he says, what do they do?  They go in and they take over homes, they work their way in, they make one convert, and before you know it, they’ve just completely taken over and control an entire home, subverting whole households, and they go in and they take your money, teaching things for dishonest gain.  And Paul says even one of their prophets has said they’re lazy, they’re evil beasts, and they’re liars.  So, Paul quotes them and says ‘this is true, this statement that, you know this guy has stated this,’ and he says ‘they give heed to myths, they teach things they ought not, traditions of men, commandments of men, rather than the things of God.’  And then he says finally what they are is ‘They’re defiled, they’re disbelieving, they’re denying God, they’re disgusting and they’re detestable, disobedient and disqualified,’ I mean, he really doesn’t like these guys.  I mean that’s not the way you would want to be described as.  He says there they’re defiled, it says right there in those verses.  To the pure all things are pure, but these guys are defiled, they’re consciences are defiled, everything they look at, their perspective is just rotten, because of their heart.  But to the pure, all things are pure.  And that doesn’t mean because you have a pure heart you can go out and do anything.  That’s not the intent of that.  But he’s speaking of legalism, those that say you should go without certain foods to be righteous, and seeing certain foods as unrighteous, and things like that, that type of perspective.  Hey, if you got an innocent heart you can eat any kind of food, it isn’t about the food at all.  It’s what comes out of the heart, not what goes into the body.  [More and more it’s being proven that the Biblical food laws in Leviticus 11 are health-laws.  Yes, you can be righteous morally, following God’s moral laws, the Ten Commandments, right to the spiritual level, as Jesus brought out in Matthew 5, and still be eating that stuff, but you may not live as long J.  See http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/02/07/safe-levels-neurotoxin-found-in-seafood-may-cause-kidney-damage/ My daughter-in-law has only one kidney, so this is a real concern, this isn’t make-believe.  If you’ve had cancer, the doctors give you a “do not eat” list that might as well have been copied off of Leviticus 11.  I know, cancer’s been in my family twice.]  He says they’re disbelieving, they’re denying God, they profess to know God, but they deny him in their works.  And then he says they’re abominable, which is disgusting and detestable, these guys, real wretches, he says.  They’re disobedient to the ways of God, and therefore because of that, they’re disqualified from every good work, trying to be ministers, but they’re not ministers of good, they’re ministers of bad.  [Comment:  These “men of the circumcision,” who were teaching Jewish customs were the Judaizers who were following Paul around, and troubling his ministry, trying to subvert it, subverting whole households, as Paul says.  They in historic reality were some of the Pharisees who’d come to see Jesus as the Messiah in a physical sense, but as Pharisees and Jews, could not give up the ceremonial part of God’s Old Testament Law, even though it had been abrogated by Jesus’ very sacrifice, as Paul clearly states in Hebrews 10, and in Acts 15, that the sacrifices and various ordinances of washings, and of physical circumcision, which were shadows of Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross and the spiritual circumcision of the heart by the coming of the Holy Spirit. Recently discovered Church history shows the early apostolic Christian Church was Judeo-Christian, no doubt about it, but these guys were trying to restore the sacrificial parts of the Law of Moses, which in their eyes defined them and all Jewish people as Jews.  They were trying to wrest control of the early New Testament Church of God out of the hands of the apostles, and Paul in particular, and bring it back under Judaism and the Temple priesthood, as the Temple still stood and the priesthood was still in existence when these guys were running around doing all this.  God himself would put an end to that argument and false reasoning in 70AD with the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. Keeping of the Sabbath and Holy Days of Leviticus 23, days of worship, or following God’s food-health laws, had nothing to do with what these Judaizers were trying to do.  The historic evidence for what the early Church was like can be found at:  http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1.htm.  Some of these facts may amaze you, but they are real.]  So Paul says, ‘Titus, go and appoint certain people, certain men, whose character is in line, that they are qualified for good works, and therefore will  be instruments of good works in the midst of this darkness.’  Paul praises the Colossians, he says ‘That you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing him, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.’  He says that he prays for them, that they would be fruitful in every good work, instruments of good works, and we’re going to continue to look at that these next two weeks.  In Exodus chapter 29, the priests, you remember their garments, they had the pomegranates and bells, and they would alternate these pomegranates and these bells, and they are a figure, the bells of sound doctrine, and the pomegranates of a fruitful life.  So the priest had that about their garment, that they would be men of sound doctrine and men of sound living, symbolized in their own garments.  Well let’s conclude in prayer”…[connective expository sermon on Titus 1:1-16, given in a church somewhere in New England.]

 

related links:   

 

Good works, that God has ordained that we should walk in them, what is the purpose of doing them?  See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/wearesalt.htm and,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Questions.htm

 

What was the early Church of God like?  See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1.htm                

 

To compare with Paul’s list of qualifications for teaching-pastors in 1st Timothy, see,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/1stTim/1stTimothy3-1-13.htm

 

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