A.Last week we started a lesson series of the letter of Titus and we looked at some introductory material on the letter and the first 4 verses.
B.Today we are going to continue this series here in Titus 1:5-9, if you have your Bibles please open up to this section and let us read it together.
1.Most of our Bibles have this section properly titled as “qualifications of elders”
2.The word elder means an old man, like Guy here is my elder based on our age difference, he is very much my elder.
3.Here in our passage today we find this word “elder” in verse one and we know that Paul is talking about the office of an elder based on the context of this passage.
4.Because he is talking about the qualifications of such a position. The word “elder” implies the first qualification, they are to be of an older age, and therefore I could not be an elder because I don’t meet that qualification.
C.Now let’s look here at verse 5 because it sits on its own, yet it leads us into the section on the qualifications for an elder.
1.Paul says in this verse that he left Titus in Crete for two reasons: one that he would set in order what remains and two so that he would appoint elders.
a)This first part is found in chapters 2 and 3 where Paul deals with the conduct of a Christian.
b)The last part is going to be partially dealt with by Paul in verses 6 thru 9 where he gives us the qualifications for the men who wish to be elders, but not how they are chosen.
2.The word “appoint” here literally means “ordained”
a)Titus is to ordain the men qualified as elders, he is not going to personally pick these men out.
1)If you remember from last week we said that Paul wrote this letter to Titus and to the Cretans so that to give Titus some creditability with them.
2)Now we can see here why Titus needs this creditability with them if he is the one to ordain/appoint the elders.
b)Now the reason why I say he is not the one who picks out the elders is because of an example we have over in Acts 6.
1)This is where the deacons are chosen for the church to help distribute food to the widows.
2)The apostles said that they needed to spend time in God’s word and in prayer and asked the people to chose men who were “full of the Spirit and of wisdom”
3)They asked the people to chose because they knew each other very well and could discern these things.
4)So they chose and presented the men to the apostles whom in essence ordained them.
c)Same thing here with Titus and the Cretans. I picture Titus reading this letter to the Cretans and then maybe a little sermon about elder qualifications.
d)Then the people chose for themselves men who fit these qualifications and presented them before Titus and he would “appoint” them to the office.
3.Titus was to do this in every city in Crete where there was a congregation and Paul said “as I have directed you”.
a)So Paul has talked about this before to Titus concerning these things in this letter
b)But now Titus has written word from Paul in order to show to the Cretans.
D.Now Titus is to go and appoint these elders, but what is he to look for or have these men of Crete look for in themselves?
1.That is found in verses 6 to 9 and we can break this section up into two parts.
2.First Paul discuses the family qualifications of an elder in verses 6 to 7a and then in verses 7b to 9 it is the personal qualifications of the man for the office what he should not be and what he should be in order to become qualified for the office of elder.
A.The first qualification in this section is that the elder should be a man and is “above reproach”
1.He tells Titus “if any man”
a)Now the word “man” is not found in the Greek text it is actually “someone”, but the word is masculine and so is the Greek word for “elder”
b)Therefore only a man can be an elder and not a women, these are not my rules, but God’s commands to us.
c)I know for us here today these things are obvious, but for some in this world it is not and they try to find way to break God’s commands so that they can do what they want.
2.That brings us to the next part, he must be “above reproach”
a)This means he is to be “guiltless”, not that he is to be perfect, but that he is to be considered by his life a man who strives after doing the right thing.
b)People will blame him for things that is without a doubt, but if the accusations made against him are true quite often and he cannot explain himself, then he is not above reproach.
B.The second qualification is that he is “the husband of one wife”
1.We are going to spend some time on this because there are many views to this qualification and I would like us to review the more prominent ones.
a)The first view is quite easily thrown out and that is the Roman Catholic view.
1)They say that the elder is married to the church and therefore cannot be married to any woman.
2)This is taught because it is the only way they can legitimatize their stance on elders remaining celibate.
3)Well to accept this view you would have to view this one verse as being spiritualize while the others are literal.
4)This is obviously a false teaching and can be thrown out as a possibility.
b)Another view some take on this passage is that it prohibits polygamy, being married to several women.
1)Now we know that Paul did teach against such a practice in I Corinthians 7.
2)The very phrase “husband of one wife” tells us that the man seeking to be an elder cannot be a husband of 2 wives or more. So I think this fits with our passage here in Titus.
c)The next view I would like us to look at is the prohibition of widowers being remarried.
1)In this view they say that an elder can be married once and only once. So if their wife dies then they may not remarry.
2)The biggest problem with this view is that nowhere in scripture does it forbid a widower to become remarried
3)Paul clearly taught in Romans 7:1-3 that the death of one’s spouse dissolved the marriage bond.
4)To say in any way that a second marriage was unholy is to impugn the scriptures. Therefore a widower who remarried can be an elder, for they are a husband of just one wife at the time of appointment.
5)However, if an elder becomes a widower then they are no longer the husband of one wife, therefore they would no longer qualify for the position.
d)Ok, we have seen three views so far and now we come to the last one that this is a prohibition of divorce.
1)This being divorce either by scriptural means or by unscriptural means.
2)If a man has been divorced unscripturally, then that in itself would disqualify him for the position of elder.
3)But what about a man who was divorced for scriptural reasons could he not be an elder?
4)Well if he was remarried then that would make him a husband of one wife only because his last marriage was dissolved according to the scriptures.
5)So this to fits with what we see the passage saying here in Titus 1:6.
2.Now I am sure there are many more hypothetical situations that people have come up with, but each situation is to be held in the light of the scriptures and not according to our feelings toward the person in question.
C.The third qualification is that he is to have believing children
1.The word “believe” here means “faithful” or “trusting”
a)Typically when we see the word “believing” we think of in accordance to God’s Word.
b)And that may be implied here, but I think it in light of their father who is seeking to be an elder.
c)Are these children of his faithful to him and do they do what he tells them to do faithfully? If no, then he is not qualified.
2.Paul goes in to more detail with this though here at the end of verse 6
a)He says the children are not to be accused of “dissipation”
1)Here is a word you can add to your word of the day list, “dissipation, it means “a process in which energy is used or lost without accomplishing useful work”
2)This is a word Guy use on our Friday morning meetings quite often concerning my lessons.
3)Here Paul is speaking of the man’s kids, are they wasting away on their own amusements such as drinking and living in a dissolute way? If so then he is not qualified to be an elder.
3.He says the children are not to be accused of “rebellion”
a)That is if they do not subject themselves to the fathers will then they are being rebellious.
b)This ties in with the children needing to be faithful to their father and not being rebellious.
D.If an man cannot keep these qualifications then he cannot be a steward of God
1.Look here at the first part of verse 7, “For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward”
a)“above reproach” is the bookend to this thought on the family qualifications of an elder.
b)Paul started with it in verse 6 and here he ends with it, but continues in the qualifications of elders, but in the personal qualifications.
c)We already said what “above reproach” means, its that being guiltless before a court.
d)The word “steward” means that the overseer is God’s manager of His house, this is who God decided to put in charge until He sends His Son, Jesus.
e)Therefore the man who wishes to be an elder must have a life that reflects that he is indeed a servant of God’s
2.If he has or has had more than one wife then he has reproach and thus cannot be a steward of God’s
3.If he does not have faithful children then he has reproach and thus cannot be a steward of God’s
A.First let’s look at what the man who wishes to be an elder should not be
1.The first qualification is that he should not be “self-willed”
a)Literally this means “self-pleasing”, which is they are doing whatever they can to serve self.
b)He has to have things go his way or no way at all, we call this arrogant and it is not characteristic of an elder.
c)Imagine being in an elders meeting where one of them was self-pleasing”. Two things can happen either nothing gets done or only what he wants gets done.
d)What should be happening is God’s will is getting done; therefore having this characteristic in one’s life disqualifies him from being an elder. Thankfully.
2.This man seeking to be an elder is not to be “quick tempered”
a)I am sure we all know someone like this where you know when you are speaking to them you have to tread carefully otherwise you’ll fall through the thin ice and he bursts into anger.
b)Not many members of a congregation would come to an elder who had this personality trait because they would be scared of him.
c)Not only that but the community as a whole would think poorly of the church whose elders had outbursts of anger.
3.He is not to be “addicted to wine”
a)That is he is not to be a drunk, Lenski says that it is a person who sits down with wine for a long period of time.
b)Well, not much needs to be said on this, we know from just watching the news what intoxication can do to a man
c)As well as an addiction to wine or even drugs can do to warp a person perspective and judgment.
4.He is not to be “pugnacious”
a)We already had the disqualification for the man who was prone to out bursts of anger. Now we have the man who goes beyond and just punches you in the nose
b)Thankfully, I have not personally met anyone like this save my brothers, but I think they punched me because they wanted the practice for later in life.
c)The word “pugnacious” means to be inclined to violence, well when we get to what an elder should be then will see that this is exactly opposite from what an elder is.
5.Finally, a man seeking the office of eldership is not to be “fond of sordid gain”
a)That is he is greedy for the wealth of this world more focused on his own work to make himself rich rather than on the work of the church.
b)An elder is to be fond of the Word of God and of his flock over the things in his own life.
c)This does not mean that a man cannot not earn a good living, but that his focus should be on God’s Word and his work as an elder first over those other things.
6.Now these were the 5 things an man should not be in his life in order to qualify for the position of an elder in the church.
B.Now let’s look at what a man should be if he wishes to be an elder
1.First he is to be “hospitable”
a)Literally a “lover of strangers”, this man is to be generous to his guest that enters his home.
b)One of my friends was trying out for a preaching job in Kansas once and on his way home through Wichita Falls, TX he hit a massive Turkey that bent his front bumper and smashed in the windshield.
1)This happened around midnight and so they had to find a place to stay for the night until the car was fixed.
2)They called the local preacher, but he was out of town, however of the churches answering machine the elder had his phone listed. Which I think was very brave of that elder.
3)Anyway, he called the elder and he had them stay in his own home that night and he and his wife fixed them a breakfast that morning and even paid for his windshield!
c)Now that elder was being very hospitable, you could see by his actions that he loved helping people, he went further then asked by the breakfast and by helping with the windshield.
2.That story also ties into the next qualification, the man seeking the position of eldership is to love “what is good”
a)He is to love to do good things unto others it makes him happy just like the elder from our story.
b)We can see how these first two qualifications actually fit together
1)The first one literally being “a lover of strangers” and then this one here “loving what is good”
2)One is bringing people into your life and the second one complements it by loving to do good unto people in your life.
3.I think the third qualification works with these first two as well, the man who wishes to fill the role of eldership is to be “sensible”
a)This Greek word for “sensible” is only found four times in the Bible
1)Once over in I Timothy 3:2 where Paul is talking about the qualifications of elders.
2)And three times here in Titus once here for the elder qualification and then twice in chapter 2 discussing Christians conduct in this life.
b)So this is an important way of life for all Christians, if fact all of these are good qualities for us to have.
c)Now this word means to use “sound Judgment”, but in what way? Well I think it is in how they are hospitable to people.
1)A person can always go too far with this and help people who should not receive it.
2)A good example is the man who took his father’s wife over in I Corinthians 5. An elder who was sensible would see that they needed to separate themselves from him and not let him into their homes.
d)Also an elder needs to use sound judgment when doing good to others
1)People are always taking advantage or at least trying to take advantage of good people.
2)They do this by lying to them and saying they have 5 kids to feed and they just need 5 dollars for bus fare when in reality they just want to go by a drink at the local bar.
e)An elder needs to be sensible, to use sound judgment in dealing with the world, but mainly in dealing with the church and situations that may arise among its members.
1)Paul says the Cretans are all lairs in verse 12. So this is something the elders there will have to contend with by being sensible
2)Also we will study in verses 10-16 that there are false teachers in the midst’s of the congregations, these elders along with Titus will have to silence them.
f)Being sensible is a must have for an man seeking to be an elder, because it is hard work and it will take a sharp mind.
4.Next, he is to be “Just”
a)This is conduct of a man that meets the approval of the divine Judge, that is God.
b)This is a legal term and it is that the elder should always look to God’s verdict and not his own making himself the judge.
5.Another qualification is that he is to be “devout”
a)Just like “hospitable” and “loving what is good” complemented each other, so does “Just” and “Devout” complement each other.
b)Devout means conduct of man that observes the true and established ordinances of God.
c)That is looking to the Lord’s requirements as set down in His law.
d)So what Paul means here with being “just” and “devout” is that the elder should always seek Gods verdict and not his own and to seek out in God’s Word for what is right and what is wrong.
e)This is down by prayer and careful study and constant study of God’s Word.
6.The sixth qualification here in verse 8 is that he is to be “self-controlled”
a)Just like “sensible” binds together “hospitable” and “loving what is good” so too does “self-controlled” binds together “just” and “devout”
b)This word means “disciplined”. A person who is not in control of their mind and body cannot be “just” and “devout” to the Lord.
1)They need to be able to control their thoughts and their fleshly impulses so that they can approach the scriptures without preconceived ideas and wrong motives.
2)They need to have this control so that they can also be sensible and think straightly without bursting out with the first thing that comes to mind.
c)A man without this qualification listed here can look foolish by speaking before he really thinks it through and studies the scriptures for God’s verdict.
7.Finally here in verse 9 we have the last qualification to be an elder he is to be “holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching”
a)He is to hold firmly to the faithful Word. It is when you grab hold of your kids arm when crossing the street.
1)You don’t just lightly hold them in case the pull away all of a sudden and they dart off away from you.
2)But you hold them firmly with the intention of keeping them firmly in your grasp so that they will not get away.
3)So to must a man who strives to be an elder must hold fast to the faithful Word so that he does not lose it.
b)The word faithful means trustworthy and reliable
1)“the elders must hold to God’s Word which is in accordance with the recognized body of Christian truth taught by the apostles” (Kent)
2)This is the same teaching that Titus received from Paul and it is the same teachings that the Cretans heard from Peter in Acts 2.
c)Two reasons are given for the elders adherence to God’s Word.
1)First, so that they can “exhort in sound doctrine”
(a)The Greek word for “exhort” is parakaleo which means to call to one’s side.
(b)In this case the elder is to call one to the side of the “sound doctrine”
(c)Sound means healthy, so it is a healthy doctrine that the elders are calling their people too.
(d)Doctrine is that instruction we have from God that they received from the apostles, such as this letter from Paul.
(e)It is a call to a healthy instruction and not to something that would be unhealthy for them such as these false teachers bring that we will see in Titus 1:10-16.
2)The second reason for the elder to adhere to God’s Word is “so that he will be able… to refute those who contradict”.
(a)In this case the elder is to expose, that that refute, those who contradict the sound doctrine he is to teach.
(b)So that they don’t bring in disease and lies into the congregation causing them to fall away.
3)A man who wishes to be an elder is to always be ready for this it is their job to oversee the spiritual health of the congregation.
A.This is what Titus is to look for in the men brought before him from each congregation in each city for the office of elder.
1.Each qualification is just as important as the other and missing the mark on one will disqualify one for the office.
2.There are men in the some of these congregations in Crete that Paul wants Titus to silence as we see in 1:11.
3.When elders are established it will become their jobs as well to refute these men and help keep the congregation on the straight and narrow.
B.Are these qualities that only a person wanting to be an elder should strive for? No, we all need to strive to be like this.
C.If we don’t qualify for the role of an elder should we not strive any longer? Absolutely not, are goal is to be like Christ in our everyday walk.
D.We all need to hold fast to God’s Word so that we too may be prepared for any false teaching that comes our way so that we won’t be pulled into the darkness and forget the light we have right now.
E.Is the Word of God dwelling in our hearts, are we healthy on the inside? Or do we hold fast to a disease that is eating at our very soul?
1.If this is so we want to extend to you our helping hand, don’t take on the challenges of this life alone, come forward this evening so that we may help you in this struggle.
2.We offer you Christ’s invitation and not just to those who are in need of prayer, but to all and to those who are ready to put Christ on in baptism.
3.Please come forward now as together we stand and sing.