Summary: Paul tells Titus to train Godly leaders to rebuke and silence the many false teachers on Crete.
Titus: Building a Healthy Church
Confronting False Teachers
Pastor Jefferson M. Williams
Chenoa Baptist Church
He is Risen?
The sun was shining. Little girls had on Easter dresses. Two churches gathered together to celebrate the Risen Lord Jesus Christ as one.
The pastor from the other church welcomed everyone and began his Easter sermon with these words:
“Everyone here understands that Jesus didn’t actually rise from the dead. That’s not what we celebrate this morning. We celebrate the idea of resurrection. The Bible story of the resurrection is a metaphor for new life, of spring, of beginning again.”
Half the auditorium nodded in agreement. The other half was stunned and horrified. One person told me that they didn’t know if they should stand up and say something or simply walk out in the middle of the service.
What would you have done if you were there that morning and encountered this false teaching?
We are going to see that Crete was full of false teachers and Titus needed to appoint elders in all the churches so that they could combat the heresy that these individuals were peddling for profit.
In verses 5-9, we learn that Paul left Titus in Crete so he could “put what remains in order” and “appoint elders in every town.”
Titus was to “put in order what was left unfinished.” “Put in order” is a Greek word that means to set a broken bone or to straighten crooked teeth.
The Cretan churches were a mess and Titus was charged with straighten them out.
What did Paul consider unfinished? We learn that from the second directive he gives Titus. He is concerned with the lack of leadership in the local churches on Crete.
Paul writes to Titus that his main goal to create healthy churches is to “appoint elders in every town.” There were up to 100 towns on Crete so this would be a daunting task.
Everything rises and falls on leadership and Paul wants to make sure that the Cretan churches have a firm foundation of leadership as they grow and multiply.
Paul lays out the qualifications for these elder leaders in verses 6-9 and then Paul adds one more qualification that these men need to have that will lead us into our discussion today:
“He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” (Titus 1:9)
Elders must be convinced that the Scriptures are the priority of our preaching, the ultimate authority for the church, and that orthodoxy (right teaching) will lead to orthopraxy (right living).
These men are able to teach and encourage the church with sound doctrine, and refute those who oppose it.
With so much immorality and a herd of false teachers infiltrating the church, finding and training these type of men would be absolutely crucial to Titus’ mission.
That brings us to our verses for this morning.
Turn to Titus 1:10-16.
[Slide] A Description of the False Teachers
[Slide] “For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group.” (Titus 1:10)
Why is so important that Titus identify, train, and equip these elders in the churches?
Because of the plethora of false teaching that was becoming common on Crete.
First notice there were “many.” Do you know what the Greek word for many is? It’s “many!”
Paul doesn’t mince words when he describes these false teachers.
[Slide] He says that they are “rebellious.” Your translation may have the word “insubordinate” , “unruly” , “out of control.”
I love the Pontiac Holiday basketball tournament. That tournament has seen the likes of Derrick Rose, Eddie Curry, and Jabari Parker.
[Slide] I remember standing in the lobby when his team came out for their game. Jerome Richmond was in the house. He was a 6 ‘ 8’” 205 pound who could hit the three, defend smaller faster guards, and tear the rim down with ferocious dunks that sent the crowd into a frenzy.
He had committed to the Fighting Illini, was a McDonald All-American and Mr. Illinois basketball player of the year.
As I watched him lope up and down the court, it was apparent that he was a man playing against boys. He was the real deal. First round one and done NBA lottery pick. Illinois fans were gearing up for a ride to the top of the ranks.
Except that never happened. He fought with the coaches and other players. He didn’t go to class. Bruce Weber could never reign him in. As the Illini went to play their first round tournament game, it was announced that Richmond had been indefinitely suspended from the team.
It turns out that he had already hired an agent to get ready for the NBA, which is a big time college no no.