Summary: Standing for truth

Titus 1:10-16 October 9, 2011

Turn with me this morning to the book of Titus, chapter 1. I trust that by now you have learned where the book of Titus in located - in the middle of the NT, right after 1 & 2 Timothy, and right before Philemon and Hebrews. This letter is written by the Apostle Paul to one of his young protegés, a young Greek man named Titus. Paul had left Titus on the Greek island of Crete, a 160 mile long island in the Mediterranean Sea, just south of Greece - an island filled with pagans. But the gospel had come to this island, and in the midst of the idol worship, many churches had been established. But there was a problem - the churches needed something straightened out: they needed leaders. Just like someone with a broken leg needs to go to the doctor and get the bone set, the broken bone needs straightened out, so Paul knew that the churches were hurting because there was a major problem that needed straightening out: the church needed capable leaders. So Paul left Titus on Crete to straighten out this problem.

In 1:5 Paul writes, 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. We talked last week about these elders. Paul gives Titus a list of qualities to look for in these leaders. But we often dismiss these verses as not applicable to our lives - either we say I’m not an elder or let’s see if our elders measure up - but the whole purpose for elders as we discussed last week is to give US an example to FOLLOW! So really these qualities are ones that should be in our lives as well!

But then after listing the qualities, Paul goes on state further the job of these elders. That’s where we’ll pick up today. Starting with verse 9. Read 1:9-16 - Pray.

It says here that elders must hold firmly to the truth. We use the truth in two ways:

• we encourage others through sound doctrine, - we build up the church by teaching right things, and

• we refute those who oppose sound doctrine. Both of these sound pretty scholarly. Far too often we come with the mentality, I don’t want to hear doctrine - that’s dry, stuffy, academic stuff: just give me some inspiring, devotional thoughts. We say, I don’t want to study deeply, I just want something that will make me feel good - that will give me warm fuzzies. Give me 5 easy steps to spiritual maturity. Let me have the daily bread and read a little Max Lucado and I’ll be good. [And let me pause to say I’m not knocking Max Lucado - but reading his books does not make us mature Christians.]

So, we need to focus on the truth. We grow through studying right doctrine. And don’t get scared off by that word “doctrine” - doctrine simply means teaching. We need to learn what is right, and that will be an encouragement to us. 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Right teaching helps us do right. But we need to understand that there is a lot of confusion out there about what is right.

A helicopter pilot was flying over Seattle and got lost in the dense fog. As the pilot emerged from the fog, he had no idea where he was. He saw a tall building nearby with people working, so he hovered the helicopter near one of the windows and held up a sign asking “Where am I?” One of the workers wrote a response and held up a sign that said, “You are in a helicopter.” The pilot nodded his thanks and flew straight to the airport.

One of the passengers was curious and asked, “How could that sign ‘you are in a helicopter’ help you know where you were?” The pilot said, “Simple. The answer that guy gave me was technically correct, but completely useless, so I figured that building must be the Microsoft Technical Support building, so then I knew where I was!”

Many Americans are circling around in a moral fog with no idea which direction to go. They don’t know what the bible really teaches. Many Christians simply turn on the TV to listen to their favorite televangelist, but that only creates more confusion about what the truth really is.

Most churches will put up with a lot of unbiblical preaching, as long as their preacher is a nice man. They don’t want someone who is rude or sharp. But it’s interesting that part of the leadership needed to have healthy churches is the willingness to offer rebuke and refutation.

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