Summary: How was Titus going to "straighten out what had been left unfinished" in Crete? It was an evil land and he was only one man. How did God expect him to do such a daunting task?
How many of you have ever heard of a television show called “This Old House” (the majority raised their hands). It is a popular home improvement show that is now in its 36th season – that’s 36 years it’s been on TV. It’s popular because people are intrigued with how this team of experts take older homes and show how repairs can be made to different challenges.
On one of their episodes, they showed a remodeling project in San Francisco. The home-owners were remodeling an old church into a private home. When the crew went into the basement what they found shocked them - the central beam of the building was sitting on a one foot block of wood; and that block of wood sat on a 6 inch block of concrete; and that block of concrete sat on a half-wall along the foundation.
Now the reason this shocked them was that this is not the way to build a house. That kind of foundation would be unstable at the best of times, but we’re talking San Francisco here. What’s San Francisco known for? Earthquakes! It sits on a major fault line and is a major earthquake zone. Any kind of significant tremor would have dropped that old church building like a house of cards.
Now think about this: the church that built that building that failed to build their building on a firm foundation.
(From a sermon by Gregory Dawson on sermoncentral.com “By This Baptism”)
This sermon series is called “God’s Building A Church”, and - as you might imagine – God is very interested in how His church is built. God wants HIS church built HIS way so that it won’t be shaken up by the tremors of a world built on a fault line of sin.
Now that brings us to the book of Titus we’re reading this morning.
Titus was sent by Paul to the isle of Crete to strengthen a church in an evil land.
In Titus 1:10-12 Paul tells Titus “… there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach— and that for the sake of dishonest gain.
Even one of their own prophets has said, "Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons."
So Paul tells Titus “The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished…” Titus 1:5
Now, how’s he going to do that?
How’s Titus going to straighten everything out?
I mean - he’s just one man.
How is one mere man going to straighten out a church that existed in such a mess of a society - such as Crete obviously was?
Well, here’s the deal.
God didn’t expect Titus to do this all by himself.
That would have been like building a house on a one foot block of wood, set on a 6 inch block of concrete, set on a half-wall along the foundation
It would never work.
God never intended His church to be built around one man - one pastor.
I know a lot of churches do that, but you cannot do what God wants done doing it that way!
Let’s take a look at how GOD wanted Titus to “straighten everything out.”
“The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.” Titus 1:5
In other words: Titus, you NEED help.
Titus, you NEED to enlist certain men to stand beside you.
Because the strength of any church does not depend upon the man in the pulpit.
It depends on the men who stand beside the man in the pulpit.
Now, as I work on sermons, my mind tends to flit back and forth all over the place, and as I was preparing this sermon, my mind strayed back to something I’d read in the book of Judges.
Judges 2:7 “The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the LORD had done for Israel.”
As long as the Joshua and the Elders lives, the people served God.
But over and over again in Judges we read that God would raise up Godly, moral men, as judges. And as long as that judge lived… the people would obey God.
But over and over again “when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping them….” Judges 2:19
As long as there were righteous men standing in the gap, the people obey God.
But when those Godly men disappeared – when they died - there was no moral leadership to guide and protect God’s people.