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7 - A Few Godly Men in the Church and World (Titus 1.7-8)

Notes & Transcripts

A Few Godly Men in the Church and World (Titus 1:7-8)

Preached by Pastor Phil Layton at Gold Country Baptist Church on June 1, 2008

www.goldcountrybaptist.org

God’s Word refers to itself as a sword, and I want to ask all of you soldiers of Christ here to please take out your swords, unsheath your weapons and be turning to the book of Titus. If you don’t have a sword with you, you’re unarmed, soldier.  Make sure you bring a Bible next time.

Last week we saw that our heavenly Commander-in-Chief has always been looking for a few good men to lead each local division of the Lord’s Army, which is sometimes called the church militant. We fight for truth until the day all divisions of true soldiers are united in the church triumphant with our triumphant King Jesus.

Titus 1:5-9 (NKJV) For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you— 6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination.
7
For a bishop [overseer] must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,
8
but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled,
9
holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

May God help every one of you in this room to be pursuing this type of character and lifestyle with a wartime mentality, knowing we are in a spiritual battle for the future, not just in California for marriages and families, but for churches as well; a war over souls.

            Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross!

We know Jesus will win in the end, because we’ve read the end of the book. But in the meantime there are battles being waged for the hearts and minds of young people and of church-goers. No protests or pacifism will change reality or our duty to our Commander-God who requires we be engaged and deployed in this fight of faith.

As we turn to the NT, we see soldiers often associated with God’s truth and the gospel, which is an image Paul will later pick up on.

-         When John the Baptist comes preaching repentance and clearing the way for the gospel, there are soldiers who ask him what they must do to repent.

-         There is a soldier, a Gentile centurion who comes to Christ for healing of his servant and Christ says He has not seen faith like his of any in Israel, and He says this Gentile soldier will be in the kingdom but many Jews will not.

-         There is the soldier watching Jesus die who praises God and says “surely this was the Son of God” – arguably the first convert after Christ’s crucifixion

-         In the book of Acts, we see many Roman soldiers come to faith in Christ. Cornelius is the most notable first Gentile convert, a soldier commander involved in this most crucial event in the early church, in light of the Acts 15 council

-         Much of Paul’s life is spent with soldiers, sometimes transporting him, often chained to him, probably sitting next to him as he writes 4 of the books in our NT

-         Undoubtedly, Paul is looking at the soldier guarding him when he writes these familiar words from Ephesians 6:

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints

As we look at the requirements for all the saints that will go marching in the Lord’s army in Titus 1, I want you to think of the visual that was probably very fresh in Paul’s mind as he writes.

Any guard who had a turn guarding Paul probably would not have had his whole armor on if sitting chained to Paul. When his shift was over (4 hours or so), if he was a soldier reporting directly to duty in the Roman army, the scene may have been something like:

-         putting off his other garments, then putting on full armor

-         he would gird up his loins so that nothing would entangle his ability to move quickly or impede his forward progress

-         he would put on his breastplate, and his shoes, and pick up his shield, and put on his helmet, and ready his sword

In a similar way, Titus 1 talks about the preparation of a soldier of Jesus to serve, putting off what a soldier is not and putting on what a soldier should be.

A good soldier must BE FREE FROM THESE VICES (verse 7):

not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,

A good soldier must BE FOLLOWING THESE VIRTUES (v. 8):

hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled,

Paul often writes in this type of pattern:

negative -> positive

put off -> put on

            run from -> run to

            flee -> follow

1 Timothy 6:11-12 (NASB95)
11 But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith

2 Timothy 2:1-4 (NASB95)
1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
3 Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.

We need to be freeing ourselves from whatever so easily entangles us, if we are to be useful and pleasing to the Lord who enlisted us. That is why Titus 1:7 lists several vices that we must be freeing ourselves from so that they do no ensnare us.

2 Timothy 2:21-22 (NASB95)
21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.
22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

2 Timothy 4:7 (NASB95)
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;

And then Paul goes on to name some who deserted or defected from the army, and he says you must not do that. Fight the fight, keep the faith! Flee from these vices, follow after these virtues.

We’re going to focus on verses 7-8 here of these elder qualities, but it’s important you keep in mind that ultimately everything in this passage is a quality God requires of all believers in His Word.

 

I put this handout together that I would encourage you to take home and study further. I want you to visually see that these things are not only qualifications for leadership, but each of these areas are qualities commanded for all of God’s people at all times.

All of the cross-references in the far right column we won’t have time to turn to today, but I’ll try to quote some of the key texts. I hope you will study each of these further. This would be a good study to do with your spouse or family if you have, or on your own to examine your heart as to how you’re doing in these areas, because God holds each of us accountable to all of these standards.

Don’t miss this! It’s not that there’s a higher standard or greater requirements for pastors or elders, God calls all of us to the same character standards. It’s true there is greater damage to the name of Christ the more public or well-known you are when you sin seriously and repeatedly in these areas. Your sin may not end up on the news like it might when a visible spiritual leader falls, but it still is sin that grieves God and has big consequences in your life.

When God comes looking for a few good men, a few godly soldiers, He looks first in the home, as we saw last week. How is your character and integrity in your private life, when no one else is around? If you’re married and have children, how are you presently demonstrating faithfulness in your relationships at home?

We won’t turn to the verses for those first 3 boxes on the far right, but I hope you will look those up on your own to see that this is God’s will for all of you to be faithful in your home, your family.

God looks for a few godly men first in the home, now in verses 7 and 8 he comes looking for a few godly men in the church and world. As the parallel passage in 1 Timothy says, he must also have a good reputation with those outside the church.

Verse 6 instructs us as we saw last week Be Faithful in the Home

Verse 7 tells us negatively Be Free From These Vices. 

Robertson's Greek Grammar says that the repeated negative stresses strongly that none of these are true of the one who would lead the church.  The characteristics are all negated equally and are all accusative in agreement with overseer/bishop which is another name for elder or pastor or shepherd (same requirements for all). 

Verse 7 begins with another description of the elder, and that is a “steward.” A steward was someone given management responsibility of a household, which the parallel passage (1 Tim 3) describes as God’s house the church (v. 4-5, 15). Stewards had duties that might include oversight over other workers, managing money, or business interests, or some decisions. Integrity and faithfulness were required and one must ‘execute his duties to the fullest according to the master’s wishes … as Paul employs the concept elsewhere, the factor of obligation or compulsion may be added. Put simply, stewardship was not an appointment that one took up or laid down at one’s own pleasure.’[1]

If you look at verse 7, anyone who is controlled by these things you wouldn't want to manage your family or possessions and neither does God. His stewards must not be marked by these sins.

BE FREE FROM THESE VICES

First one in verse 7 is SELF-WILLED (item #4 on your handout)

Strong personality, dominant, aggressive, self-confident. You can  read secular business experts that list attributes like this near the top of the list for the world's ideal of leadership and the one who often rises to the top in business. But this word is the opposite of the servant-leader Paul introduced himself as, and God inspired Paul to put this word at the top of the list of vices, the pre-eminent trait of what NOT to be like in spiritual leadership.  In the 1 Timothy 3:6 parallel, Paul warns against being conceited / prideful.

We all know of people with the reputation “it’s my way or the highway” – but that’s not the Lord’s way for shepherds or sheep, to be stubborn, self-assertive, overbearing, arrogant, inconsiderate.

The original word is derived from Greek words 'to please' (root of hedonism) and 'oneself.' This is the root issue with this sin. In Rom 15 listed on your handout, Paul says none of us Christians are to:

“… just please ourselves. 2 Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. 3 For even Christ did not please Himself …”

A self-pleaser is antithetical to Christ and His Word; self-focused, self-centered, and just about any other sin you can hyphenate with the word self, summed up as self-love, selfishness or pride.

Jesus had a lot to say about self – Luke 9:23 says you cannot be a follower of Jesus if you don’t deny self and die to self daily.

Did you know the Bible discusses “self-esteem” – or at least there is one verse in the Bible with the word “self” and “esteem”

Philippians 2:3-5 (NKJV) Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests [the literal meaning of the “self-willed” in Titus 1:7], but also for the interests of others.
5 Let this mind [lowliness, humility] be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

Josephus used the word “self-willed” with the connotation of arrogance. Pride is the chief occupational hazard of God’s servant.

The next vice on the list is QUICK-TEMPERED (#5 on chart)

This is a word for someone who is hot-tempered, easily angered, short-fused, hot-headed, someone who loses it often, who blows up, who goes off, goes postal, or goes ballistic, etc. It’s one thing to get angry on occasion, but are you known for your temper?

Family members and friends know to steer clear when you’re having “one of your days”? Do you have a reputation in this area? “Never know what will set him / her off.” If I talked with those closest to you, would they say this phrase describes you?

As I go through this list, there’s a temptation for all of us to think of a particular person we know who commits that sin, but let me urge you to resist that and use this time to examine your own life.

Do you control your anger or does your anger control you?

The verse that came instantly to mind that I put in the far right column as the opposite of “quick-tempered” is James 1:19 which says “everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger” (the first two phrases there are related to the third)

In column 2, I’ve added the words from the parallel in 1 Timothy 3:2 where it says an overseer must be “gentle, not quarrelsome / not contentious” – no Christian is to be this way because of the damage it can do to relationships and family, and the damage is even more extensive for an elder serving the whole church family.

#6 on the list: “NOT GIVEN TO (OR ADDICTED TO) WINE

The island of Crete was known for its wine and drunkenness.

This comes from two Greek words:       Para – alongside

                                                            Oinos – wine

Literally, it is someone who is known for being alongside wine, who is around alcoholic beverages too much. Ephesians 5:18 is clear that no Christian should ever be drunk. Romans 14:13 warns against doing anything culturally questionable around others who may be weaker or caused to stumble. Paul also writes elsewhere that even with activities not in themselves sinful, we must not be mastered by anything, including any substance addictions.

Proverbs 31:4-5 (NASB95) … It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink, For they will drink and forget what is decreed, And pervert the rights of all the afflicted.

Is this only a concern for leaders?

Proverbs 20:1 (NKJV) Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

#6 is actually the word for brawler: VIOLENT (PUGNACIOUS)

This vice can be the result of the 3 sins we’ve already looked at – someone who fights is often a stubborn self-willed person, that’s the root problem. And that problem is compounded, the violent or pugnacious nature may be exacerbated by his quick-temperedness or when he is intoxicated. So these sins are not unrelated, in fact sins often are like dominoes, one leading to another, till all fall.

Every hockey player has pugnacious guys on the team, violent guys ready to throw down the gloves at any time. You can’t have guys like that on your leadership board at a church, though.

I’m thankful we don’t have this problem in our elder meetings here

Application: Maybe not just physical fighting but someone ready to fight someone with words or insults (which can hurt more). 

Proverbs 3:31 says of “violent man, do not choose his ways”

Proverbs has much to say about not hurting with our words, too

#7 – NOT GREEDY FOR MONEY (fond or sordid gain)

Titus 1:11 uses this phrase for the false teachers “teaching things they should not for the sake of sordid gain” (gain drives them)

Jesus was not quick-tempered, but what made Him righteously wrathful? Spiritual leaders who used their position for shady gain.

-         ask the money-changer table guys in the temple

-         ask the Pharisees in Matthew 23 who receive the harshest words Jesus ever gave for their abuse of position, including being “full of extortion” and “devouring widows houses”

-         ask the leaders at the end of Luke 20, who receive harshest words for taking advantage of widows financially, and the next chapter begins with an illustration of how these men would manipulate widows into giving all they had to them

-         Jesus says there about the temple that not one stone will be left on another, all will be thrown down -- the whole center of Judaism is judged and brought down because of their sins, but the one sin singled out in particular in the text is their financial abuse of the poor and helpless women

Few things anger our Lord more than those who fleece the flock and take advantage of them for improper personal financial gain instead of feeding the flock and caring for them. Next to immorality, financial improprieties may disqualify leaders most.

A true servant-leader will still serve just as sacrificially even if there were no gain to himself (not only financial gain, but gain of prestige or power or reputation or being up-front or whatever)

Many elders make money in jobs outside the church, and some elders are financially supported by the church as 1 Tim 5:17 says. But neither should be driven by money or gain. Neither should you

This is what God’s Word calls all of us to. Heb. 13:5 says “let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have”

Being content with what you have, is the key for our character being free from the love of money. We have a society falling apart from debt and credit card woes beyond a person’s means to repay, and often a root issue is lack of contentment with God’s provision.

In 1 Timothy 3:3 parallel, Paul adds a phrase that addresses the root issue: “not covetous” (or “free from the love of money”)

When Jesus began His first sermon in Matthew 5, the Beatitudes, He basically pronounced blessedness on the opposites of these sins

-         on the poor in spirit (contrast self-willed)

-         on the meek / humble, merciful (contrast quick-tempered)

-         on those who thirst after righteousness (not wine, or anything else that doesn’t satisfy our thirst or hunger)

-         blessed are the peacemakers (rather than the pugnacious)

-         blessed are those who are persecuted (not prosperity preachers who get rich by fleecing the flock – the beatitudes end with great is your reward in heaven, not a great monetary reward on earth)

A good soldier or servant is driven by godliness, not greediness

1 Timothy 6:8-11 (NASB95)
8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
9 But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.
10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
11 But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.

These are the vices we must be free from, we must FLEE FROM them. And at the same time, we must PURSUE GODLINESS

BE FOLLOWING AFTER THESE VIRTUES (VERSE 8)

 

The first positive quality listed in verse 8 is HOSPITALITY

Romans 12:13 says literally Christians are to “pursue hospitality.”

Of all the many commands God gives all Christians about virtues we should be pursuing, if we had to come up with a list of the “Top Six” critical areas that an elder must exemplify as we all pursue these, I wonder if anyone would put hospitality first on the list (or even on the list). But God does, drawing attention to this all-important responsibility that all believers have to be hospitable. 

If this word seems out of place to us along with the other phrases in the passage, perhaps that indicates our heart is out of place, or that we think of godliness or character only in terms of internal, rather than external manifestations of agape love to others. One of the themes of Titus is that godliness produces godly actions.

Alexander Strauch writes of this Christian duty of all (that should be esp. true of elders): ‘This cannot be done from a distance – with a smile and a handshake on Sunday morning or through a superficial visit. Giving oneself to the care of God’s people means sharing one’s life and home with others. An open home is a sign of an open heart and a loving, sacrificial, serving spirit. A lack of hospitality is a sure sign of selfish, lifeless, loveless Christianity.’[2]

For some of you, even a smile or a handshake or superficial visit would be more than you do now, and would be at least a start. Do you greet people, visit with other believers, have others over? Are you known as a friendly person? We always have places for people in our greeter’s ministry or to help deacons and elders with visitation. Are there people that sit near you every Sunday that you have never met?  Have you gotten to know anyone new this year?

The Greek word literally means “love of strangers.”

-         this word does not only mean having your buddies over

-         this word isn’t even limited to having people over or how gifted you are at entertaining (you can be hospitable here at church and anytime you reach out to strangers)

-         this word is not calling for everyone on Crete to look like and act like Martha Stewart; in fact verse 8 is talking about men as elders, and Romans 12:13 simply associates it with meeting the needs of the saints; helping, not just hosting

-         lastly don’t think hospitality is only for those who think they have the “gift.” It’s a responsibility commanded for all

Hebrews 13:1-2 (NASB95) 1 Let love of the brethren continue.
2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. [ex: Abraham in Gen. 18]

1 Peter 4:9 (NASB95) 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint.

I hope this church has or will have the reputation of hospitable and caring elders and that all of us are pursuing this. If we’re not, what are we doing to grow and help people feel welcome here?

Suggested application: Look for people to show hospitality and friendliness before and after a service.

Maybe, you could think in terms of trying to have one person or couple or family over a month to your home or getting together to fellowship. If we had 50 or 100 families in our church who tried to do that every month for a year, Lord knows what kind of blessing and community and fellowship we might enjoy!

What a place this could be if the majority of us had open hearts to strangers, open homes, open arms to others!

The next one (#10 on list) is A LOVER OF WHAT IS GOOD

This expression can refer to loving good things or loving good people (or both). It’s perhaps contrasted with love of money in 1 Timothy 3, and Aristotle contrasted this word with love of self.

We have a society full of people who are full of themselves and who love themselves. I believe it was J. R. Rider, an NBA player who when he was drafted predicted he would win the next Slam Dunk contest. When he did win, and they interviewed him afterwards, I think I still have the tape of the competition where he says, dripping with pride, “I predicted I would win, and I did. You know, I just gotta love myself for that.”

You, know God’s just gotta hate that. Proverbs says God hates pride, it’s an abomination to Him.

What God requires of us is quite different – to love what’s good.

Micah 6:8 (NKJV) 8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

This has always been required of all God’s people, not just leaders

Amos 5:14-15 (NKJV) Seek good and not evil, That you may live; So the Lord God of hosts will be with you … 15 Hate evil, love good; Establish justice …

How do you pursue love of good? Choose to think on what’s good

Philippians 4:8 (NKJV) Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Is just thinking about good things enough?

Galatians 6:10 (NKJV) 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

Be someone who loves what is good, clings to what is good, and abhors what is evil. Be devoted to what’s good and ready to do it

#11 on the list is SOBER-MINDED (OR SENSIBLE)

This word has the ideas of steady, prudent, discreet, moderate, self-restrained.  It means to be of sound mind, to be moderate in participation in legitimate activities. There’s a sobriety and dignity that is expected of soldiers. There’s a time to have fun, but when serious and spiritual things are at stake, 1 Peter 1:13 tells all God’s people to “gird up the loins of your mind, be sober” (NASB “prepare your mind for action, keep sober in spirit”)

1 Peter 4:7 (NKJV) 7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers [NAS “sound judgment and sober spirit”].

1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV) 8 Be sober, be vigilant [or “alert”]; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Right here in Titus, the same Greek word is used in chapter 2 twice

v. 2 (NKJV) older men be sober, reverent, temperate, [“dignified, sensible”]

v. 5 (NKJV) to be discreet [NAS “sensible”], chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.

#12 on the list is the word JUST

This is the word for an upright person, a righteous life, a just person who is fair and impartial, and one who lives in accordance with God's law (it’s translated as "law-abiding" in 1 Tim 1:9)

Romans 1:17 in your handout gives one of the most quoted verses from the Old Testament: “the just / righteous shall live by faith”

I John 3:7 defines it this way: "the one who practices [present tense habitual = lifestyle] righteousness is righteous.

If you have received God’s gift of righteousness, you’ll live like it

#13 on the list is HOLY

Again, this is not a standard only for priests or pastors – ever since God revealed His law, He repeatedly tells His people “Be holy for I am holy.”

This is a different word than the normal word for “set apart” – this is someone truly devout, pious, relating to God's law and right relationship to him, to seek to fulfill one's duty toward God, to have an attitude of seeking to be pleasing to God and have a holy purity. 1 Timothy 3 even speaks of a clean conscience. 1 Timothy 2:8 says men are to pray “lifting up holy hands” (purity of deeds)

#14 on the list is SELF-CONTROLLED

In the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:23, this is also the last one on the list there, kind of a catch-all quality that covers everything else not already mentioned. Everyone may occasionally sin or struggle in some of the areas mentioned, but you must control it. Verse 7 begins with NOT being self-willed and v. 8 ends with self-control.

The godly soldier does not let self rule, he rules himself. His sins do not control him, he controls his sin (deals with).

All humans sin, but no Christian is to let sin master him.

Paul says in 1 Cor. 9:25 that the athlete "exercises self-control in all things" in exhorting Christians to be like spiritual athletes and 2 Timothy 2 combines the soldier and athlete image. The word implies discipline, self-restraint, temperate, balanced judgment,

One way self-control is manifested is in the control of the tongue.

Prov 21:23 Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles

25:28 (NIV) Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.

HOW ARE YOU DOING WITH THIS LIST?

If you’re not doing real well with these, I want you to turn back a couple pages to 2 Timothy 3, because the text says that those who live the opposite of Titus 1 may have a bigger problem than not being an elder or deacon, you may not a Christian at all.

2 Timothy 3 gives the profile of unbelievers, who are unable to come to knowledge of the truth, resisting the truth, depraved men.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NASB95) … in the last days difficult times will come.
2 For men will be

lovers of self                                                                         [opposite of lovers of what is good],

lovers of money                                                                    [opposite of free from the love of money],

boastful, arrogant                                                                [opposite of self-willed],

revilers / blasphemers,                                                      [fruit of not sober-minded/sensible/prudent]

disobedient to parents                                                         [opposite of the elder’s faithful children],

ungrateful                                                                             [opposite of content with God’s provision]

unholy                                                                                    [opposite of holy]
[3] unloving                                                                           [instead of hospitably loving strangers]

irreconcilable, malicious gossips,                                   [1 Timothy 3 says we cannot be this way]

without self-control,                                                            [last requirement in Titus 1:8]

brutal                                                                                     [we cannot be pugnacious or violent],

haters of good                                                                       [rather than loving what is good],
[4] treacherous, reckless,                                                 [often results of temper and/or drunkenness]

conceited                                                                               [elders must not be conceited]  

lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God…              [opposite of Titus 1:7]

The verdict is that God’s power is not even present in such people, although they may have an outward form of supposed godliness. If your life is marked by the things in this list, rather than the other list, you need to repent, perhaps for the first time. Come to Christ, come to the cross, deny yourself, follow Jesus, repent of your sins, turn by His grace, and trust in Christ alone.

If you are a Christian here this morning, make sure you are putting off the vices and sins that hinder you, and putting on the full armor. The only weapon we have is the sword, and next week we’ll look at how God wants His soldiers to handle this weapon. God is looking for a few good men and women, not perfect, but pursuing these traits, battling for Him. May our Commander find us faithful soldiers to our duty, and may we fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith. May we step up and stand up.

 

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross

Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss.

From victory unto victory His army shall He lead,

Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.


----

[1] Phillip Towner, The Letters to Timothy and Titus, NICNT, p. 687.

[2] Alexander Strauch, Biblical Eldership, p. 194.

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