The Life of the Church
Pastorals Topical April 21, 2002
The Pastoral Epistles, or letters, are so called because they are instructions by the apostle Paul to Timothy whom he has left in care of the church at Ephesus and to Titus whom he has left in care of the church at Crete. These trusted representatives that Paul has groomed for the care of the church were facing elements of dire concern in their churches. Timothy faced the destructive and divisive elements of a growing Gnostic type of heresy, a resurgent form of wayward Judaism, and a false type of asceticism in an established church. Titus faced the challenges of establishing leadership and refuting false teaching in a new church plant in the midst of moral decay.
Since Paul was not able to be there in person, he writes to these men as pastors that he has left in the care of these churches. Although these letters are addressed to these men individually, Paul must also have intended to have their contents addressed to the church at large since the salutations are in the plural. At any rate, they are pastoral in nature and deal generally with the various elements that both establish and maintain the viable life of the church such as spiritual discipline, behavior, leadership and administration, doctrine, and the spiritual life of the pastor himself. As such, they have continuing value to all churches in all ages regarding the sustenance of spiritual life for the church itself in all its elements.
There is a strong emphasis on both right behavior and correct doctrine as can be seen from a word frequency study. For instance, eusebia [piety, godliness, religion] occurs 10 times (8 of those times in 1Tim., 1 time in 2Tim. and 1 time in Titus), didascalia [doctrine, teaching, instruction] occurs 15 times (8 of those times in 1Tim., 3 times in 2Tim. and 4 times in Titus). Part of the message of these letters is that correct doctrine affects right behavior and that behavior reflects belief. This connection between faith and practice in the pastoral letters is established both by being explicitly taught and by being set over against the falseness of the opponents teaching, and specifically over against their conduct.
Paul's concern for explicit teaching is observed by the exclusive use of the phrase pisto" o logo" [faithful the word] used only in the Pastoral Epistles. We find it used 3 times in 1Tim. and once each in 2Tim. and Titus. It is used as a kind of confirmation formula by Paul to introduce a saying as supporting evidence for his argument. But the saying can come either before or after the introductory formula. So it appears that Paul is giving his pastors solid doctrinal truth and tradition to hold on to for themselves and for their churches in the face of difficult times.
Again, the lives of the churches are at risk and Paul intends these letters either to reform (as in 1Tim.) or form (as in Titus) their progress. Hence the title, "The Life of the Church."
The Life of the Church
Preserved Through Proper Relationship Toward Difficult People
Preserved Through Proper Leadership and Administration
Preserved Through Proper Doctrine
Preserved Through Proper Worship
Preserved Through the Spiritual Life and Purpose of the Pastor
The Life of the Church
Preserved Through Proper Relationship Toward Difficult People
Right relationships are essential for the life of the church. Since the church is founded on a right relationship to God in Christ, it must flow through its people in Christ-like relationships to each other. But even when the church is threatened by difficult people within it, there is also a right relationship in discipline that must take place toward those whose actions or teachings would threaten its sanctity, purity and progress.
How can the life of the church be maintained in dealing with difficult people?
1. We Must Remember Love - 1Tim. 1:3-7
Paul's instruction to Timothy begins with confronting false teachers. He is to be quite serious about it since Paul gives him the authority to "command." But the intent of the command is to bring them to truth since they "don't know what they are talking about or so confidently affirm." They have strayed into error and even though "commanded" they must be loved back to a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Love is to be the bottom line of any authority that Timothy takes. Like Christ, we should lose none of those whom the Lord gives us, if possible. We are to love, and command if necessary, which also is in love, since the life of the church is to be protected from false teaching. And the false teachers are to be protected from themselves if they will see it. If they are truly a part of the redeemed church they will see it and repent. And so love prevails in relationship even toward those who must be disciplined in order to save both them and their hearers.
2. We Must Find the Good - 1Tim. 1:8-11
In confronting difficult people with a view toward loving them and saving them we must affirm whatever we find that is good. In this passage, Paul affirms that the law that the false teachers want to be able to teach has its good points, if used properly. And properly used, the law is placed in subjection to the gospel in the sense of judging whatever is contrary to the gospel.
3. We Must Maintain Humility - 1Tim. 1:12-17
Whenever we are called upon to command correct behavior, we must not lose sight of where we ourselves have come from, taking a humble view of ourselves lest we destroy our objective of saving our opposers by being arrogant. Paul remembers his own humble beginnings as a believer and implies that grace and mercy should also be shown to those who endanger the life of the church. Ultimately, this is so they might themselves add to the life of the church rather than take away from it. They, like Paul, have acted in ignorance. Here we see the first of the "trustworthy sayings" that Paul gives to his pastors to hang on to: that Christ came to save sinners – not destroy them – and that I am the worst (but of course now redeemed). We were shown mercy so that we might show mercy. In fact, the longer we live as believers, the more merciful we should become since we grow in the knowledge of how sin works and how sinful our sin really is. The desired result is eternal life, even to those who oppose us, to the glory of God.
4. We Must Remember Our Calling - 1Tim. 1:18-20
Also, if we are to command others to right behavior, we must be in command of ourselves. Paul instructs Timothy about his own spiritual beginnings that he might remain faithful to them and be courageous in confronting evil in the church as well as in himself. We are to be reminded lest our own behavior falter, and Paul reminds Timothy of Hymenaeus and Alexander whom he had put out of the church. Ultimately, this is what will and must happen to false teachers who refuse instruction as well to pastors who disqualify themselves.
5. We Must Affirm Our Purpose - 1Tim. 4:11-16
Paul affirms Timothy's pastoral authority to command and teach. In this, considering his age, there may be some who look down on him as having no right to command or teach them. Paul's advice to counter this is for Timothy to persevere in exemplary conduct, proving himself worthy to command and teach, in order to silence his detractors and preserve the life of the church. Difficult people can be won over in time by the power of Scripture, preaching and teaching, and carrying out his pastoral gifts. As he grows, so will others. With his perseverance in excellence he will save both himself and his detractors.
6. We Must Remember Our Context - 1Tim. 5:1-2
We must remain respectful of human value, social sensitivities and morality in any discipline we are compelled to give in the church. Paul is quite practical here in how each class of people is to be treated. In essence, the truth in love must prevail in the church as we treat each other as members of a family should be treated.
7. We Must Consider Caution - 1Tim. 5:19-20, 22
Many times, only one person is all it takes to create potential trouble. Here, Paul cautions Timothy to not act hastily on some accusation against a church leader unless there is corroborating evidence from more than one witness. But he is also cautioned to act decisively if sin is proven so that trouble may be put to rest. Better, be cautious in whom you choose as leaders and whom you associate with.
8. We Must Be Unhindered By Favoritism - 1Tim. 5:21, 6:1-2
Paul is well aware that it may be difficult for Timothy to deal with difficult people on an equitable basis. Position and status must not come into play in protecting the spiritual life of the church. Whether it is an elder (1Tim. 5:19-20) or a slave (1Tim. 6:1-2), divisiveness and sin are to be dealt with. There are more categories of difficult people than just false teachers. Even those who have no power, such as slaves, can be difficult. The church contained all classes of people and slavery was a social convention of the time. Timothy is to teach slaves not to be difficult for their masters primarily because the life of the church in name and in teaching is at stake. We must obey those we are subject to because we are believers and even more so if they are believers. Troublemakers may exist even among the downtrodden, oppressed, and disadvantaged.
9. We Must Expose Deception - 1Tim. 6:3-5
Paul cuts sharply into the motives of the false teachers who are cutting into the life of the church by exposing their greed for money falling prey to their own deceptions in denial of Christ that divides the church. In robbing the church of its spiritual life they themselves have been robbed of the truth. Difficult people must be exposed for what they truly are so we ourselves are not deceived. Indeed, in v. 6ff Timothy is challenged not to fall into it himself since the desire for money leads to grief instead of contentment.
10. We Must Overcome Arrogance - 1Tim. 6:17-19
Speaking of money, another source of difficult people in the church are those who are rich since they are often driven to arrogance by their misplaced hope in wealth. Timothy is commanded to teach them the source of true richness in God leading to good deeds through generosity instead.
11. We Must Exalt Truth – 2Tim. 2:14-19
After his trustworthy saying about the necessity of faithfulness to the doctrine of the resurrection, Paul commands Timothy to warn those who have quarreled divisively about it. He is to exalt truth just as this trustworthy saying does. And, as usual, Paul warns Timothy not to fall into the same error. He must work hard at the truth since it is truth that will overcome error. The impenetrable wall of exalted truth that he is to work hard to teach and maintain will overpower those who have wandered away from it. We are comforted knowing that the Lord knows those who are his.
12. We Must Overcome the Devil – 2Tim. 2:24-26
Timothy is challenged not to fall into quarreling and resentfulness in his relationship with difficult people which plays into the devil's hands but to teach with kind and gently instruction in hope of their repentance. We are to help people escape the devil's snare by using the Lord's methods and not the devil's own methods.
13. We Must Remain Realistic – 2Tim. 3:1-9
Nevertheless, we are in the last days when godlessness will seem to prevail. There will be those who may seem to want godliness but deny its ultimate claim upon them. Timothy is instructed to let them go, since it is inevitable that some will be rejected as far as the faith is concerned. He is also to take comfort in knowing that the folly of those that reject the whole truth of faith in Christ will be ultimately clear to all who truly believe.
14. We Must Be Willing to Suffer – 2Tim. 3:10-13
Dealing with difficult people often entails persecution and suffering as Paul recounts for Timothy. He is reminded that this is part of the price of godliness even as the wages of sin increase as evil men go from bad to worse. But in spite of the possibility of suffering, Timothy is to continue in what he knows to be true, becoming equipped even for the possibility of suffering.
15. We Must Maximize the Time – 2Tim. 4:1-5
No matter what it looks like, whether in season or out, and in view of the judgment to come, Timothy is to continue preaching the Word while anyone at all might listen – even difficult people. For a time will come when that opportunity might be lost on them. We are not to give up in ministry.
16. We Must Be Mindful of God – 2Tim. 4:9-18
Paul has been quite realistic that not everyone will be saved, even of those in the church. Here he recounts some of his losses: Demas deserted him because he loved this world more than the faith and Alexander did much harm to him in opposing his message. It appeared that all those Paul was depending upon deserted him, but he forgave them. Paul was driven even further into the arms of God in whom he trusted implicitly. And this lesson is passed on to us, that in dealing with difficult people, we must and can trust God in the midst of it all.
17. We Must Silence the Rebellious – Titus 1:10-16
Even though efforts must often be made to redeem those false teachers who are themselves deceived, there are times and situations where the stakes are so high and the opposers so corrupted and disruptive that they must be silenced sharply before they do any more damage. The spiritual life of the church and others in the church are precariously at stake. The authority of truth must have the upper hand.
18. We Must Draw the Line – Titus 3:9-11
Falling into the trap of discourse with false teachers is foolish and useless. After they have been warned to be silent, they should be shunned because of their self-condemnation if they continue.
So in order to protect the church from human difficulty we must:
Find the good
Remember our calling
Affirm our purpose
Remember our context
Overcome the devil
Maximize the time
Draw the line if necessary in order to protect God's precious possession –
Conclusion: Dealing with difficult people is, shall we say, difficult. But the secret is to trust God and apply godly principles. In so doing we will "save both ourselves and our hearers." (1Tim. 4:16) And isn't that what this kingdom of God is all about? Let us then apply a curious yet effective mixture of boldness and restraint overlaid by love, trusting his leadership over the nature of our flesh. Let us all be used by God and not by the enemy. The life of the church is at stake.
If you ever discern that you are being difficult, hindering God's program or others of his people, repent and rediscover his will for you and the church. Its not about you. Its all about him. Be on guard against letting the enemy twist truth unto discouragement so that you in turn discourage others.
If you are on the receiving end of one or more difficult relationships, perhaps you too need to repent of how it may be affecting you. And you too may need to rediscover God's will for you and his church, believing he will prevail if you let him. Christ has the victory over all difficulty, even difficult people, even over your discouragement. Be on guard against letting the enemy twist truth unto discouragement so that you in turn discourage others.
The enemy is trying to draft an army of discouragement in these last days. Be on guard lest he draft you. He would like nothing better than to discourage the church before the end. He would like nothing better than to turn your heart to stone so that your love grows cold due to the increase in wickedness.
Preserved Through Proper Leadership and Administration
1. Choosing Leadership
a. Elders – 1Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9
Just as Moses needed to appoint elders for the wise administration of Israel, so too the church, and here we see the qualifications for such men. The qualifications are stringent. These men are to be set apart from the ordinary. They must be proven spiritually and gifted, of good character, high morals, and positive reputation, modeling the Christian life in such a way as to bring glory to Christ in leading others in the right way. Proper leadership is important in working with and supporting the pastor. The purpose and life of the church is too important to take leadership for granted. If the elders are not in the same Spirit as the pastor then the life of the church will be surely threatened.
b. Deacons – 1Tim. 3:8-13
Deacons, as servants in the church under the headship of the elders, must also be spiritual men of good report. They too must be proven and faithful to the truth. Additionally, their wives, as helpmates in their service, must complement their spiritual and character qualities.
c. Leadership in General – 1Tim. 5:22, 24-25
The laying on of hands signifies the spiritual process of ordaining an elder or pastor and setting him apart for ministry. This should be the end result of an intensive process in order to protect the life of the church from unqualified or insincere, even sinful, leadership. Credibility will be lost if leadership is embraced unwisely. The bad decision will rub off on whoever has supported them and their sins will be attributed to those who chose them. Paul gives strong advice that it is not that hard to discover a person's character if it is investigated.
2. Administering Benevolence – 1Tim. 5:3-16
Deciding who will receive help from the church and how much is a major task of leadership. If done poorly by not understanding needs, or done unfairly, this too can detract severely from the life of the church. Probably the largest category of need is widows (today as well as then) which Paul addresses with wisdom and practicality. In general, help should not be given frivolously. If others can care for her then they must. But if she has only God to rely on then the church should be God's agent. A widow who lives, or has lived, outside of God's guidelines disqualifies herself. So benevolence is for those who are singularly godly and dependent. This upholds the standards of the church and contributes to godliness and the life of the church. Wisely, younger widows should do what seems natural and remarry, raise a family, and be self-supporting. It appears the older widows form a cadre of church workers devoted to Christ and worthy of support.
3. Supporting Leadership – 1Tim. 5:17-18; 6:3-10
Elders who serve the church full time are to receive honor as well as financial support since the church is their only source of livelihood. Paul draws parallels with Scripture to support this. The life of the church is worthy of full time paid support. However, this leadership should not have their focus on earning a livelihood, but rather on serving the church.
C. Preserved Through Proper Doctrine
Central to this topic is a word search on didoskalia meaning doctrine, teaching or instruction. It appears 15 times in 15 verses in the Pastoral Epistles. Certainly, the core of what we believe in Christ is central to the lifeblood of the church. Paul refers to this theme a number of times in various ways through application and context to make his point. So there are 15 direct references to doctrinal truth that will be related to the context in which they are found. But there are also 5 references to a phrase (pisto" o logo" – faithful the saying) that is used in the New Testament only in the Pastoral Epistles. This phrase seems to refer to a doctrinal tradition that Paul puts forward as being worthy of "full acceptance" (kai pash" apodoch" axio" – and full acceptance worthy). This latter part of the phrase is attached to two of the five occurrences. Doctrinal tradition is important for the life of the church as something assuredly unchanging and trustworthy to hold on to in changing and perilous times.
1. References to Doctrinal Truth
a. Exalting the Gospel - 1Tim. 1:10
The gospel is held forth as the substance of correct doctrine or teaching. Therefore, whatever is contrary to it is not true doctrine in the fullest sense. Those who teach the OT law rather than the gospel are caught in a focus on what is condemned by the law rather than on what is enabled by the gospel. So the OT law, though good in the sense of condemning sin, is contrary to the gospel if it stops there, because it cannot give release from sinful behavior. It is the true doctrine of the gospel that gives release from sin through forgiveness in a right relationship to God in Christ, and this is essential to the life of the church which is the substance of Christ. Paul says that the true doctrine of the gospel is a trust that he (and we also) should hold dear.
b. Exposing the Lie – 1Tim. 4:1, 6
Paul is not unaware of the spiritual battle for truth, realizing that demons teach deceptive things that are not true doctrine and draw people away from the truth of the gospel. Demons influence people to teach falsely. In context here he refers to false asceticism that is a form of works righteousness rather than faith righteousness. He urges Timothy to be a good minister by not falling into this trap and remaining true to what he knows. Victory over the flesh is subservient to, and only possible, by pursuing godliness. Knowing the forces behind what opposes truth is essential to the life of the church.
c. Remaining Diligent and Watchful – 1Tim. 4:13, 16
Timothy is urged to be devoted to teaching right doctrine, to take great care regarding it, and to persevere in it, since true doctrine is essential to salvation both for himself and for those he instructs.
d. Regarding Co-laborers – 1Tim. 5:17; Titus 1:9
Besides the pastor, elders are also charged with the responsibility of teaching true doctrine. Paul holds this forth as worthy work in the life of the church (1Tim. 5:17) and part of the calling and capability of those who serve as elders (Titus 1:9).
e. Affecting Behavior – 1Tim. 6:1; Titus 2:1, 7, 10
The effect of true doctrine is to influence proper behavior. Paul gives an aspect of this in how it should affect the relationship between slaves and masters. Proper behavior shows the power of true doctrine so that God is honored by what he teaches through the church (1Tim. 6:1). Beginning in Titus 2:1, Paul continues with a broad list of what the teaching of sound doctrine is to accomplish by listing categories such as older men, older women, younger women, young men, and slaves (there must have been many more slaves than masters in the early church since masters are not mentioned as a category). He then lists an explanation of Christ-centered doctrine that is to affect behavior (Titus 2:11-14) and gives a summary of proper behavior in Titus 3:1-2.
f. Exposing False Teachers – 1Tim. 6:3
Paul describes the spiritual condition of those who teach false doctrine. They are caught up with themselves, controversy, and personal gain rather than an uncompromising commitment to truth.
g. Contextualizing Truth - 2Tim. 3:10, 16
Regarding the increase of evil attitudes and behaviors in the last days, Paul charges Timothy to remain cognizant of his teaching, example, and perseverance in truth as the only effective alternative to the times. He reminds Timothy that this truth is found in Scripture, and its application is all encompassing and all sufficient.
h. Anticipating Rejection – 2Tim. 4:3
Understanding that true doctrine will be naturally opposed, considering the nature of sinful man and the increase of sin in later times, it is also natural that sinful man will attempt to bend doctrine to support their sin. Timothy is warned, then, that the preacher of true doctrine will be increasingly opposed and even persecuted. He is charged to persevere as Paul is doing.
2. References to Doctrinal Tradition
a. Acknowledging Sin - 1Tim. 1:15
The human sin condition is the reason and necessity for ministry. It is the reason Christ came into the world to minister to us and it is the reason we minister to others in his Name. But it is imperative that the preacher of righteousness do so with a proper acknowledgment of his own dire need for transforming truth before he preaches to others.
b. Establishing Leadership - 1Tim. 3:1
This saying establishes the necessity of godly leadership. "Therefore, suffice it to say that the saying exalts the office of ruler and emphasizes its value. --- The fact that in the early church there has developed a saying about the episkoph indicates how very basis and important this office was considered to be for the life and well-being of the church." (19. p. 61) This saying sets apart the office of elder as a high calling – a work not to be undertaken lightly, to which Paul subsequently outlines requirements.
c. Exalting Hope - 1Tim. 4:9-10
In the context of false teaching inspired by demonic opposition, Paul gives another faithful saying to give hope in the midst of spiritual battle. It is that our hope is in the living God who is active in our behalf, and that there is hope even for those deceived by demonic influence since Christ is potentially the Savior of all men, but affirmed beyond any doubt as the Savior of those who believe. It is the assurance of salvation by the preacher of truth that enables him to continue in faith for himself and others.
d. Persevering in Faith - 2Tim. 2:11-13
Timothy is to persevere in ministry, keeping his eye on the objective and the reward. This saying is to be an exhortation to himself, to those he enlists to help him, and to the elect in general. We are reminded of the claim of the gospel upon our lives and the glory to follow, and we are warned to continue in faith, which we are enabled to do since God remains faithful to us. Whenever and wherever we might lack faith, God is an infinite supply.
e. Reiterating the Gospel - Titus 3:4-8
After an extended explanation of proper behavior demanded by sound doctrine, Paul reiterates the gospel as the distillation of it all in this longer faithful saying. It is the antidote for all human wickedness. It begins with the love of God toward man in the coming of Christ. It is founded upon his mercy and not on our merit. It is through the agency of the Holy Spirit that has come through Christ so that we are made right with God and might become heirs of God having the hope of eternal life. Through this grace we are enabled to do right.
D. Preserved Through Proper Worship
1. Establishing and Maintaining the Opportunity - 1Tim. 2:1-8
Paul realizes, and instructs Timothy accordingly, that the life and work of the church is better accomplished when it is unhindered. If the church can proceed with its mission to bring all men to salvation in order that the one God and one mediator between God and man might be worshipped (according to Paul's purpose as the apostle to the Gentiles), then the life of the church according to the will of God will surely be established. Paul sees the first line of defense (or offense) in this as prayer, both for troublemakers who have left the church (1Tim. 1:19-20) as well as those who could make trouble for the church such as kings and those in authority. We should pray for peaceful lives in order to have opportunity to accomplish the Lord's work, and this will surely preserve the life of the church by bringing people into it to worship him. Paul not only mentions prayer as the means of establishing worship but also maintaining it. He mentions prayer in 1Tim. 2:8 almost as a definition of it. It is to be done in peace and is also the means by which peace is obtained.
2. Maintaining Propriety – 1Tim. 2:9-15
Our time in worship is not the place to showcase ourselves physically, but to exalt God in Christ. When Christ is diminished, the life of the church suffers. Women here are mentioned as being particularly susceptible to the distractions of outward appearance, but true worship is of the heart as seen in good deeds instead. There must also be propriety as seen in submissive actions where women maintain a godly view of created order rather than trying to showcase themselves intellectually. Women must understand their God-given place and purpose. If they are mindful of these things they will not create disturbance in worship and the life of the church will be enhanced.
E. Preserved Through the Spiritual Life and Purpose of the Pastor
Central to this topic is a word search on eusebeia meaning godliness, religion or piety. It appears 10 times in 10 verses in the Pastoral Epistles, and it is found only there in the writings of Paul. The spiritual life or godliness or true religion of the pastor sets the tone of spiritual life in the church. The pastor can take no one further than what he has already come, or is willing to go, in the spiritual life. He must be in process ahead of the flock. He cannot lead unless he is in front. Driving from the rear scatters the flock. But the result, and the desire of the pastor, is that everyone in the church should be godly.
1. Desiring Godliness – 1Tim. 2:2
Timothy is given direction regarding prayer for himself as well as for the church in order that the quest for godliness may proceed unhindered from trouble as much as possible. It is further explained that this is God's desire so it therefore must be ours. In short, the pastor must pray (and teach prayer) with an end toward godliness.
2. Defining Godliness - 1Tim. 3:16
After writing about conduct in worship and qualities of leadership, Paul describes the church as the household of the living God and the pillar and foundation of the truth. He does this, no doubt, as part of the reason for its righteous requirements. But then he proceeds to further elaborate on what he means by "living God" in his rationale for those requirements, now renamed godliness. The mystery of the living God is seen in the living Christ, resurrected and glorified. So the definition of godliness can be seen in the life of Christ as the example for all people in the church, beginning with church leadership of whom the pastor is head under Christ.
3. Prioritizing Godliness - 1Tim. 4:7-8
Timothy is charged to put a proper perspective on the body and not to fall into the false asceticism of the false teachers. Certainly the body is to be under control, but that control is spiritual, not physical, even though the physical can not be entirely discounted. Priority in training must be in godliness which has value beyond this life. This should be the pastor's focus.
4. Exposing Ungodliness - 1Tim. 6:3, 5
Godliness is upheld at the conclusion of a discussion about choosing church leadership carefully. Those who do not agree with godly teaching (found in the teachings of Jesus) are exposed as troublemakers. Furthermore, they might be suspected of ulterior motives in using their false godliness as a means of financial gain. The pastor is charged (by implication as church leadership – 1Tim. 6:11) not to be one of these.
5. Expanding Godliness – 1Tim. 6:6, 11
In case godliness becomes a burden in conflict with other desires, Paul exhorts Timothy to add contentment to it as the greatest means of (spiritual) gain. If the truth would be known, a forced godliness is not true godliness. We must not begrudge God our purity of heart so vital to the life of the pastor and the church he leads. Paul specifically addresses this all to Timothy in 1Tim. 6:11 where he expands godliness with other spiritual qualities that surround and inhabit it.
6. Rejecting Ungodliness - 2Tim. 3:5
In the context of the unholy attitudes and actions that will increase in the last days, it will evidently be possible to appear godly without the reality of it. The telling factor regarding this will be that these people will indeed have only the appearance with nothing to back it up. They will have no power which means they have no consistent enduring spirituality. To the man of God this should be evident, and Timothy is charged to have nothing to do with such people who falsify godliness. The pastor must remain spiritually separate from ungodliness no matter how it appears.
7. Upholding Godliness - Titus 1.1
Paul writes as an apostle to Titus in order to encourage the elect in faith according to the truth that leads to godliness. So his bottom line purpose of writing is to promote godliness among those who are the elect of God. He goes on further to say that it all rests on the hope of eternal life through Christ as established from before the beginning of time. The entire letter then rests on the assumption of promoting godliness to secure the life of the church for which he is contending through his pastor-servant, Titus. Titus is to teach and uphold godliness.