Summary: Fourth in a series on shepherding/mentoring in the church.
Sermon for 2/4/2001
Able to refute, rebuke
Tevye, the Jewish dairy farmer in the Fiddler on the Roof, lives with his wife and five daughters in czarist Russia. Change is taking place all around him and the new patters are nowhere more obvious to Tevye than in the relationship between the sexes. First, one of his daughters announces that she and a young tailor have pledged themselves to each other, even though Tevye had already promised her to the village butcher, a widower. Initially Tevye will not hear of his daughter’’ plans, but he finally has an argument with himself and decides to give in to the young lover’s wishes. A second daughter also chooses the man she wants to marry: An idealist revolutionary. Tevye is rather fond of him, and, after another argument with himself, he again concedes to the changing times.
A while later, Tevye’s third daughter wishes to marry. She has fallen in love with a young Gentile. A no-no among faithful Jewish people. This violates Tevye’s deepest religious convictions: It is unthinkable that one of his daughters would marry outside the faith. Once again, he has an argument with himself. He knows that his daughter is deeply in love, and he does not want her to be unhappy. Still, he cannot deny his convictions. “How can I turn my back on my faith, my people?” he asks himself. “If I try and bend that far, I’ll break!” Tevye pauses and begins a response: “On the other hand…” He pauses again, and then he shouts: “No! There is no other hand!”
A. Last time we were talking about how the mature Christian will be able to teach in any and every situation.
1. Learn more and more of the Word of God
2. Believe more and more of the Word of God
3. Live more and more of the Word of God
B. We talked about how a good teacher will gently instruct.
C. Timothy and Titus are in different areas. Timothy is in Ephesus which has already had several years of the gospel in the region. Ephesus is a place of culture and a place of a strong church.
D. Titus on the other hand is not in that kind of surroundings. Crete has not had the gospel in its lands for many years. Crete also is a place where the people do not have a good reputation. Much like Nazareth. Our verses today tell us that the reputation they have is true.
E. Titus is told to be more stern with them. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. Titus 2:15.
F. When we come across people like this we need to refute them. Do it in a gentle, kind, understanding way. However, once this approach does not work we must be stern, rebuke them, correct them.
G. Refute- to prove to be false or erroneous; disprove.
H. Rebuke- To criticize or reprove sharply; reprimand.
I. Especially Christians who know better. Have been taught the Word of God and are not doing it and know that they are not doing it and have no regard for it, must rebuke them.
J. Read the passage Titus 1:9-16.
K. A mature man of God is to “hold fast” to the “faithful word.”
At the same time, he does not allow himself to get involved in (2 Tim 2:23 NIV) foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.
L. A mature Christian knows when he needs to stand firm and when we needs to give some ground. Only way to know that is to know the Word of God. If the Word of God speaks about it, hold fast. If the Word of God does not speak about it or is unclear, compromise, give some ground.
M. Vs. 10 and Vs. 14
N. Tevye- With his first two daughters he gave some ground, compromised his positions. However, with his last daughter, he would not because he had to remain true to the Word of God. “No other hand.”
O. Must be silenced- especially in God’s church. Those who do not hold to the faithful teachings.
P. The difficulties in Crete were beyond the stage of “gentle” dialogue. Titus was facing those who were totally corrupt- men who had consciously rejected the “faithful word.” These people were deliberately setting out to thwart God’s purposes.
Q. These people that are described claim to be Christians. Vs. 16
R. They must be directly confronted with the Word of God by godly people. Paul’s hope was that these people would respond to this kind of direct confrontation.
S. How did Jesus react to those who distorted truth either by twisting Scripture or by living an ungodly life? Matthew 23- Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Woe to you, blind guides! Fools and blind! Serpents, brood of vipers!