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Today’s reading is from Titus 1:5-16 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— 6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.
Paul had left Titus in Crete for a reason. He was to put the church there in order and get the leadership set into place.
Elders in every town! Every town.. think about this. Not just the big cities, but every town. Seeing to the establishment of the church everywhere.
What are the qualifications of an elder?
- above reproach
- husband of one wife
- Children are believers
- Not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination
- Not arrogant, quick-tempered, a drunkard, violent or greedy
- Needs to be hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
- Must hold firm to the word being trustworthy as taught.
- Needs to hold firm to the word as trustworthy so that he can teach others sound doctrine AND to be able to rebuke those who would contradict that truth.
I read through that list and being chosen as an elder is hard work. like hard! Trustworthy, holding to the word, no charges able to be brought against, hospitable, self-controlled and more. Elders are good men. REALLY good men. Not a position for the faint of heart is it? Able to teach and rebuke!
So we know what an elder needs to be. Now the question is this. WHY? Why are the qualifications for elders so tough?
What is the danger?
Paul answers this: For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers. These people need to be silenced, their shameful for gain preaching is wrecking families. They shouldn’t be doing this and therefore need to be rebuked for doing so. Knowing well God’s word and trusting in it gives them the tools they need to do so properly.
Titus is working with the Cretans who have the reputation for being “liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” so Paul reminds Titus to be firm with them, rebuking them sharply for his end goal is this: That they be sound in the faith. He wants them to know well the truths of God and not get caught up in myths. Myths such as Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.
Knowing truth will keep them from denying God, and being detestable, disobedient and unfit for any good work. He wants them to be pure and undefiled. So in other words.. Paul wants them to live to the life they have been called out of. Live to being filled with HOPE, purity, loving good and so much more. So Titus needs to be tough with them for their own eternal good.
Man… tough job eh? Makes me grin in a way though.. like working with stubborn Dutchmen! 🙂 Not for the faint of heart. But God calls us to the task we are suited for. And if Titus needs to work with the liars, deceivers, lazy gluttonous beasts of Cretan, he must have the ability to do so eh?
Original photo by : Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash