We will be continuing our study in Titus through different media formats. The first two sessions, covering Titus 1:1-9, were completed in video form, I refer you to the FBC Seminole Facebook page if you have not yet started the study and wish to see the first two sessions. The next few sessions will be published on this site. In a effort to be careful with video fatigue I thought this might be a good change of pace, plus, we all need to keep our reading skills sharp…right? I want to approach this as a personal Bible study for you, so, I would encourage you to read this blog with your Bible and maybe a pen and notebook as well. So, lets get started…
First, read over Titus 1:1-16. Get yourself acquainted with the text. Maybe read it twice.
Second, let us examine today verses 10-14. Paul has made it his aim to encourage young Titus on the Island of Crete on his ministry assignment to “appoint elders” and “set right what was left undone.” Titus has quite a task in front of him. The message of the gospel has shifted from its pure and faithful delivery that once impacted the lives of these new believers. Over a short period of time there have been those who have sought to transform the message of the gospel to meet their personal expectations or personal preferences. So, the gospel message now requires a ministry assignment from a godly teacher who can “set right” what has been distorted. After Paul gives Titus the qualifications for elders that must be appointed to minister in this effort he then moves into the actual problem that has become manifest in the churches. This brings us to verses 10-14.
We read that Paul describes these people who are harming the church in three basic categories:
1. “For there are rebellious people…” – Paul first describes these false, disruptive, and divisive voices as rebellious people. Nothing will ruin a good thing quicker than a rebellious heart. In anything in life, in any situation in life, a single rebellious person can sure cast some dark shade on a joyful occasion. The joy and purity of the gospel that was once shared by these saints has now been tainted by a group of rebellious people. Rebellion is the manifestation of selfishness. The selfish attitude of the heart quickly rots away the joy and celebration of the heart. Over time, that heart becomes rebellious and seeks to infect all those around. This is what has happened in Crete. Rebellion has led to disfunction within the body and dishonesty with the gospel message.
2. “…in order to get money dishonestly.” – Paul first describes them as rebellious people, but now he describes them as greedy people. Like rebellion, greed will direct your steps and cause you to abandon all that is good simply to satisfy your personal desires. Greed is the foundation of the prosperity gospel. A gospel that tells people that if they would simply believe the message of the false prophet and invest financially in the false prophet they will experience all the wealth, health, and favor imaginable. It is a message that sells, people buy this message. Why? Because we are all desperate people. We desire security, we desire possessions, and we desire favor. So, the true gospel which causes us to see the great eternal value of the life to come is leveraged against a message that says, “you can have it all now…everything. No need to wait for eternal glory, pick up your riches now.” For many, this is appealing. They believe in God, so why wouldn’t God want them to have all they desire? Makes sense, right? Greed produces a short-sighted message. And the rebellious people Paul describes here are short-sighted people. They are missing the beauty of the true gospel for the bounty of a false gospel.
3. “For this reason, rebuke them sharply…” – Paul now describes them as people rebellious, greedy, and under rebuke from the Lord. Paul gives this instruction to Titus because the instruction is determined by God. As God has given the gospel of grace in Jesus Christ to the church He uses the godly to protect that gospel. The elders of the church are charged with rebuking the false teachings and the false teachers that the church will be protected. Paul gives this instruction not only for rebuke but also for correction. It is not simply about chastising the person but correcting the persons message. Paul says, “…that they may be sound in the faith.” The gospel message must be protected and “set right” but it is also the people that must be considered in this ministry as well. It is for the good of the church that false teaching is rebuked. It is a benefit to the entire body, even those that are easily persuaded. There is hope that all members of the body of Christ can be protecting in the pure gospel if the elders would be faithful to correct false teaching. This is the chief priority in shepherding God’s flock, to protect the flock from a false message.
In these verses we read here today we are challenged to look clearly at the gospel message, meditate on it, and make every aim to protect the purity of the gospel message, and to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.” (Jude 1:3).
Church, let us be faithful with the gospel message given to us in the Word of the Lord and let us be careful as we are so very tempted to set our ears to the world and listen to her divisive message.
Soli Deo Gloria,