A.Open your Bibles to Titus 1, last week we discussed the qualification of elders for the congregations of Crete
1.Now these are not qualifications for just these congregations, but for all elders everywhere.
2.Paul brought this up because they needed to have these elders to help silence a group that causing some problems.
B.Let us read verses 10 to 16. Now this is not a reason for the qualifications of an eldership, but this is a reason why the Cretans needed an eldership.
1.These Cretans had all kinds of problems as a nation especially since the world seemed to view them as a nation of lairs.
2.Now because the world sees them this way does not mean that they all are liars.
a)The world sees America as being a nation of Christians, but we know that we are not all Christians.
b)The world sees America as being rich, but we know that not all are rich.
3.Not all Cretans are liars, but the nation has a reputation for its people in general for being liars.
4.So this is something that Titus will have to deal with and when he appoints elders they will have to contend with this problem as well.
C.In this passage we also will see a reference to people “paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men”
1.The group Paul is discussing here is “especially those of the circumcision” in verse 10.
2.This sounds a lot like the Judaizers. Those who profess to know God, but they also bind on people “commandments of men, that being the Law of Moses
3.They bind on people “Jewish myths”, this could be the way of the Pharisees.
D.Now mix these Judaizers in together with these lying Cretans and you make one bad apple.
1.This is what Paul is going to deal with in these few verses of 10 to 16
2.And he is going to first talk about the deeds and nature of these men and second he will tell Titus to reprove these men.
A.There are many of these men whose deeds and nature are…
a)There are many men Paul says that are “rebellious”. Remember Paul has been to Crete and he knows these people, therefore he can know this.
b)The word “rebellious” means one who does not subject self to rule or authority.
c)That is these men, they don’t like to be told what to do and they want to live their life just like they are now.
d)Wow, this sounds like people in our world today. Not much has changed has it?
1)We have many people in this present world who cannot stand to be convicted by God’s Words found in the Bible.
2)Sure they want to go to church and have their social ticket punched, but when the moral standards found in God’s Word are brought up they get offended.
2.Next Paul says that these many men are empty talkers
a)Some translations have this as “vain talking”. This means that their talking is useless
b)Whenever they engage in this “empty talking” there is no goal, it is just plain empty and helps in no way at all.
1)I get the picture that these men are arguing, being rebellious about some moral standard that they need to have as a Christian
2)So they begin to argue with empty arguments they lead to nowhere.
3.Another aspect of these men is that they are deceiving
a)This is nothing but misleading the minds of others so that they can get their way
b)They don’t want to be held by the standards of God’s Word so they lie to people and deceive them so that they can be who they want to be
c)The deceive because they want something and they are willing to lie to get it and these are people who are among these congregations in Crete.
4.Paul says here at the end of this group that they are “especially those of the circumcision”
a)Jews and as we have already discussed, these are more likely the Judaizers, trying to bind the Law of Moses on these Christians.
b)In order to do that they would have to rebel against God’s Word, they would have empty arguments, and they would have to deceive the people in order to convince them they are right.
5.This is the deeds and the nature of these men. When I say nature I mean that this is who they are, like we have the nature of Christ, well, they have the nature of deception.
B.Now Paul tells Titus what he must do which is to silence these men.
1.Literally shut them up, stop them from speaking, because they are upsetting whole families.
a)This word for “upsetting” means to destroy or overturn.
b)These men are turning the homes of families upside down, they are destroying them.
1)In what way? By deception and lies, they are tricking them into coming over to their side which is the way of the Judaizer.
2)Therefore the family is being destroyed spiritually and that must not happen, it must stop.
c)Titus is being charged to silence these men when he sees or even hears of this happening.
d)He cannot sit idly by and do nothing and nor can the eldership when they are appointed, they are overseers and must take care of the flock.
2.These men must be silenced because they are teaching things they should not
a)Things such as circumcision for the purpose of salvation and holding to the Law of Moses.
b)These are lies, Christians are not under the old Law, but under Christ and these men who teach these things are destroying spiritual families and lives.
3.They are doing these things for sordid gain
a)This word “sordid” means shameful, they are doing these things so that they may have support at the assembly, perhaps against Titus and other strong men.
b)They want to sway as many as they can to their side so if they can go into these homes and turned them then they will have support in the larger assembly.
c)How shameful! There purpose is not to save souls, but to gain a vote like a politician.
d)That’s the gain they seek, their own gain against other men, not a gain for God the Father.
4.These men must be silenced by Titus, by the eldership, and by any member who can see the wrong.
a)We need to do this when we see someone who is trying to teach a false doctrine such as baptism is not necessary.
b)Especially if we see it happening to a weak Christian, we must step in and silence this person.
c)Paul does not say how to silence them, but we have examples throughout the New Testament of this happening.
d)We use God’s Word to silence them, let them try to argue with this and see how well they stand up.
C.One of their own prophets agrees with these statements Paul has been making concerning these men, look at verse 12-13a
1.What does Paul mean with the word “prophet”?
a)Well, not a prophet as we may understand it, that is someone who is given a vision by God and can see the future.
b)But the words this man whom Paul is quoting are like that of a prophet, he said these words some 200-400 years prior and they are still true today.
1)And that is, Cretans (speaking of his own people) are all “liars” and we all know what a liar is, it’s a man who cannot be trusted.
2)Cretans are “evil beasts”
(a)This one is more interesting, I get the picture of this hungry wolf prowling around.
(b)Suddenly he finds someone and just pounces on them and destroys them.
(c)What this “prophet” is saying is that you better not cross a Cretan because he will do whatever it takes to destroy you.
(d)He will take it further then most of your enemies would, so tread carefully.
(e)This is what Titus has to put up with, this is what any man taking the position of an elder there will have to put up with.
3)Next, Cretans are “lazy gluttons”
(a)They don’t want to put out any effort to satisfy themselves.
(b)They are going to try and get others to do their work for them and to give them food, money, or clothing.
c)Not a great bunch of people is it?
1)Today New York City has an ok reputation, but back in the 80’s and 90’s this is exactly how I pictured the people of New York.
2)Now not all of them were like this, but the general population sure was.
2.Paul ends this quote with “This testimony is true”
a)It got the apostle seal of approval. This man nailed these people, this is who they are as a nation.
b)Not exactly what one would hope for, but nevertheless that is how it is.
c)Now Titus and the elders will need to silence these men for the sake of the congregation and for another reason.
A.Titus is to reprove these men severely because of their deeds, 13b-14
1.The word “reprove” means to convict a person or to expose them. The word “severely” means abruptly and sharply
a)When Titus sees these men teaching this false doctrine to the assembly or even at a person’s home he is to expose them right there, no waiting, but quickly end the problem.
b)Much like how Peter severely reproved Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8
1)Simon saw that one could pass on the gifts of the Holy Spirit just as the apostles were doing it by the laying upon of their hands
2)And Simon offered money for this gift and right there Peter reproved him for his actions.
3)By Peter taking action right then that is severely, Simon asked for his prayers that he would be ok.
4)Simon realized that he made a mistake and went from an unhealthy faith back to a healthy faith.
c)This is why Paul wants Titus to severely reprove these men
2.Do these things so that they may be sound in the faith
a)The Greek word for “sound” here actually means “healthy”, Paul wants these men to have a healthy faith and not one that is diseased. In which they are spreading to the rest of the congregation.
b)What Paul means is that when Titus sees the error happening reprove them right then and there so that they may see their error and come back to a right understanding of the scripture.
c)So that they will stop lying and deceiving people and have a healthy faith in the Lord.
3.Reprove them so that they may not pay “attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men”
a)“paying attention” means “to hold on to or to turn to”
b)These men whom Paul wants Titus to reprove are holding on to a false teaching that they received from the Judaizers.
c)They are holding on to a myth and not just any myth, but the Jewish myths of salvation by works of the Law of Moses
d)They are holding on to “commandments of men” when they should be holding on to God’s Word and not to the words of these Judaizers.
1)These commands are those set forth by men who turn away from the truth when it is offered to them.
2)They see no profit in the scriptures only they keep seeking out the weak Christians whom they may use to fill their bellies.
e)Therefore Titus is to keep an eye out for whenever he sees a weak Christian being pulled away by these false teachings so that he may reprove them and secure them back into the Lord’s fold.
B.Titus is to reprove these men severely because of their nature, 15-16
1.In this section Paul talks about those who are pure
a)He says “to the pure all things are pure”
1)Pure is that which is clean and void of any impurities. We have heard the illustration before of purifying gold in fire.
2)This is done so as to make the gold more pure, the fire burns up all the other impurities.
b)Well, for the pure of heart because that is where it begins, all things are pure
1)All things include all the creation God made, it also includes His Word’s to us, mainly the scriptures.
2)A person who is pure stays pure as long as they seek out that which is pure. God’s Word and not mans commandments and Jewish myths.
2.Next Paul discusses those who are defiled
a)“but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure”
1)Defiled means to pollute one’s self, it is like having a nice white robe and you don’t like so you dye it another color, therefore you have polluted the garment with a dye.
2)These men who have come in among the Christians in Crete pollute even the Word of God.
(a)They receive the Word, but they turn away from it and instead they tear up God’s Word and reorganize it so that it may say what they want it to say.
(b)They have defile God’s Word, for them nothing is pure. Everything they touch they defile it in order to make a gain from it.
3.Their outside life is defiled because their very nature is defiled
a)“their mind” is their reasoning and understanding. This is defiled because of the way they will distort the facts of God’s Word to make it fit their theology.
b)“their conscience” is what distinguishes between what is morally good and bad.
1)But the way they have reasoned in their mind and lived their life has tainted their very conscience so that it cannot no longer distinguish between what is pure and what is defiled.
2)At this point nothing they touch can be holy because they will distort it and twist it to use for their own bellies.
C.Their deeds reflect their nature and by these deeds they deny God
1.Now they claim to know God, they study the scriptures, but their study is not to seek out the truth, but so that they may twist the words and make God’s Word mold to them.
2.They deny God by their deeds in three ways
a)By being detestable. They have a hateful attitude toward life and others
b)By being disobedient. They have an unrighteous attitude, they do not seek to follow God, but they seek how they may bend the rules to get their way.
c)By being worthless for any good deed.
1)Worthless means that you don’t stand the test, you have been rejected.
2)When these men are tested against the Word of God then they will be rejected for anything good.
3)They cannot possibly do any good deeds because their very core is defiled, they cannot see what is pure because they do not seek it.
D.Paul is dealing with the congregations in Crete through Titus, his apostolic representative.
1.This letter is Paul’s aid to Titus to show wherever it may become necessary.
2.Whenever Titus has to silence the Cretan deceiver and when some of the church members think him to severe. (Lenski)
A.There are many lessons for us to learn from this passage
1.One is that there will always be trouble makers for the church not just on the outside in the world, but sometimes they will sneak in and try to upset households.
a)You may recall a group from the “church of Christ” in name only, called the Boston movement.
1)They would send small groups out to go into other churches of Christ who did not subscribe to their ideas.
2)These groups would enter in as new Christians and they would seek out weak leadership and take over.
3)Then slowly bring that congregation under the fold of the Boston Movement.
b)These things still happen today, now I am not saying to be paranoid.
1)But we need to be on guard against false teaching and we can recognize it only if we know God’s Word.
2)But if we do not study and we do not keep our guard then Satan will work trough someone to sway us from the truth.
2.Other lesson we can glean from this passage is how to deal with these situations when they present.
a)We deal with them immediately, we don’t wait.
b)If you see a false teaching that means you must know the true teaching
c)Using God’s Word, reprove them, that is expose the false doctrine for what it is and let the truth be known.
d)This will silence the false teaching and keep the weaker Christian in line.
B.God’s Word is the key here, this is the only judgment we have are these Words and not our own.
1.By God’s Word we have come to know our sins and how to become justified before God.
2.If you are not currently justified before God, that is you have not repented and confessed your sins then we want to offer you His invitation to do so now as together we stand and sing.