The Gospels, Romans, Acts and Corinthians are usually used in sermons and talks, in order to teach believers. Titus is not quoted as often as it should be, so I have decided to do a 3 part post from Titus, taking one passage from each chapter and using it to teach us some valuable lessons. I’ll start off with Titus 1:5-11 which says the following:
Titus’s Work in Crete
I left you on the island of Crete so you could complete our work there and appoint elders in each town as I instructed you. An elder must live a blameless life. He must be faithful to his wife, and his children must be believers who don’t have a reputation for being wild or rebellious. An elder is a manager of God’s household, so he must live a blameless life. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or dishonest with money.
Rather, he must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must love what is good. He must live wisely and be just. He must live a devout and disciplined life. He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong.
For there are many rebellious people who engage in useless talk and deceive others. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation. They must be silenced, because they are turning whole families away from the truth by their false teaching. And they do it only for money.
The first two paragraphs of this passage are laying out the requirements for those who wish to be elders. If you are thinking that you have no intention of becoming an elder so this doesn’t apply to you, think again. This is a good indication of what we should all be striving for. Even if we are not an elder, should we not be striving to be the best that we can? Did Paul not instruct us to run the race well? Let’s have a look at some things that we are told that elders should not be, here is a list of what we should avoid. Don’t be arrogant or quick tempered. Don’t be a heavy drinker, violent or dishonest with money. If that is what we shouldn’t be, here are some of the characteristics we should have. We should live a blameless life and we should be faithful to our spouse. We should have well behaved children. We must love what is good, live wisely and be just. We must be disciplined, have a strong belief in the trustworthy message, so that we can encourage and correct others. Should I stop there? Has this given you enough to ponder? Let me just make it clear that this is not a list of rules, this is not here to ruin our fun. This is here to make us better people. This is here for our benefit. Look through these lists and see what makes you feel a little uncomfortable, what is God revealing about your behaviour that needs to change? What do you need to address in order to be a better person? Don’t see this as a rebuke, see it as an opportunity for growth.
The last paragraph of this passage is interesting. It is a warning about people who deceive others. This passage is talking mainly about people who insist on circumcision in order to be saved. I would like to throw this open to cover a few more options. Circumcision was a religious act, which was fulfilled by the gospel, which is no longer required. Circumcision is not the only act that falls under this description. This is a warning to us about people who add to the salvation message, people who add to scripture and add conditions that God did not intend. Now most people may do this for money, but don’t let that fool you, it often isn’t. This could include ‘new age’ messages where everything revolves around wealth and ‘all religions lead to God’ or it could be religious practises which are no longer required, yet we are told that we have to do them. I believe that we need to know what the scriptures say, we need to meditate on them, and we need to put them into practise. Don’t only rely on your pastor to teach you (however good he may be), take responsibility for your own walk with Jesus. Learn what the scriptures say, make up your mind, and then send everything that you learn through the ‘filter’ of the Word. If it makes it through, then fine, but if it doesn’t, rebuke it. This passage of scripture has given us guidelines of what do do, what not to do and what to look out for. Use it. Make the changes necessary to see an improvement in your life, and be aware of those who are trying to tell you things that don’t line up with scripture. The only way that you will know when there advice is un-scriptural, is if you know the scriptures.
Strive for your best.