Summary: A sermon examining certain troubles in the church that must be addressed.
Problems In The Church That Must Be Stopped
Jesus is patient, forgiving, compassionate and merciful and for that we are thankful. But scripture proves that there are some things that He will not tolerate. In John Chapter 2, as the Passover drew nigh, Jesus and His disciples went to Jerusalem. Upon arriving at the Temple Jesus found some men selling animals and money changers in the Temple. This infuriated the Savior and He made a whip of small chords and drove these people form the Temple. He poured out the coins of the money changers and threw over their tables. He said "take these things away!" ..."make not my Father's house a house of merchandise". Jesus made it clear that there were some things that are not to be tolerated in the Father's House.
Since the foundation of the church, there have been certain individuals who have caused great trouble. There are some who would love nothing more than to see the church destroyed. Others want complete control and will cause great turmoil when they don't get their way. Some work against the plan of God and seek to mold the church into their own likeness. One of the greatest problems throughout church history is the rise of false prophets. Jesus knew that this would be an issue. He warned us of this in Matthew 7:15, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."
Almost 2,000 years later the troublemakers in the church are still with us. Here in Titus 1:10-16 Paul focuses on rebuke and confrontation of those troublemakers. In the previous passage Paul instructs Titus to "ordain Elders in each city". He also reveals to Titus that he is in Crete to "set things in order". In verses 5-9 Paul describes the qualification of faithful ministers who serve the Savior. Here in verses 10-16 Paul now addresses the troublemakers who need to be stopped immediately. These types of people are still in the church today. They cannot be avoided or ignored... they must be confronted and stopped.
We need to know who and what needs to be stopped as well as how to stop them. Fortunately the answers are found in our selected text. I would like examine these verses and preach on the thought... "Problems In The Church That Must Be Stopped".
- The first of those problems that I would like to consider is:
I. The Infiltration In The Church That Must Be Stopped
To "infiltrate" is to enter or gain access to (an organization, place, etc.) covertly and gradually, in order to acquire secret information. The FBI has brought down organized crime families, gangs, and other groups by sending in agents to "infiltrate" these organizations and gain valuable information.
Satan does the same thing with false prophets, he will use these individuals to infiltrate the church and cause as much harm as possible. And they have been very successful. Consider if you will:
A. The Position They Hold - v10a "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision"
There was an abundance of false teachers on the island of Crete. Paul says that there were "MANY unruly and vain talkers". He was especially concerned about those of the "Circumcision". Here he refers to Judaizers. This group believed that Salvation could be earned though works, rituals and ceremonies. They offered a Jesus plus works theology. When one attempts to add to Christ they actually subtract from Christ.
They taught that salvation required physical circumcision as well as adherence to Mosaic Law. Much like the Pharisees, this Judaizers were known for putting on a show of outward holiness. But inside they were corrupt and spiritually dead. Some of these individuals had infiltrated the church and worked their way into positions of influence. These false teachers were very personable and persuasive. They taught just enough truth to deceive the immature believer. Though they had worked their way into leadership positions in the church, Paul says that they are "insubordinate". They would not be held accountable to anyone... even today, this a tell-tale sign of all false teachers.
- Because of the positions they held, they were able to influence many in the church, Consider:
B. The Division They Create
Paul tells Titus that these false teachers "subvert whole houses". They were causing entire families to turn from the truth. This caused great division in the church. Because there were many of the false teachers, their influence in the church spread like cancer.
Why would someone do such a thing? What was their motivation? The answer is found in verse 11:
C. The Compensation They Desire - v11 teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
These unruly and vain talkers were not motivated by genuine concern for spiritual matters. They were in it for what they could get out of it! 1 Timothy 6:4-5 says these people “suppose that godliness is a means of gain.”