Summary: In Titus 2:15 the Apostle Paul shows the Preacher’s Authority through 1) The Authority of the Word (Titus 2:15a), 2) The Authority to Exhort (Titus 2:15b) and 3) The Authority to Rebuke (Titus 2:15c).
When I grew up in Toronto, I attended the Catholic Church, went to Catholic schools and participated in Catholic service origination's. I sought to be faithful to what I thought God desired. I went to Church, was an alter boy, attended spiritual retreats and tried to be active in service projects. What I heard on Sunday morning was usually just a short parable and some general instruction. As I read the bible, I began to have more and more questions that were not being addressed. Questions like why the Church operates like it does, what is the role of the Bible in Christian life, issues of salvation and assurance. I went to my Priest and began to ask him a whole series of questions from the Bible. After a while, he said: “Matthew, you have to understand. (Pointing to the Bible) that is the little book. Life and Church teaching is the big book”. At that moment, it seemed like a light was coming on. I finally understood how church authority and general life, was seen as the arbiter of truth. I knew that I needed to have a fixed, permanent guide for my life against shifting cultural views. It needed to be Scripture and Scripture alone as the inerrant, infallible and ever relevant authority for all things of faith and practice.
After Jesus’ first cleansing of the temple, “the chief priests, and scribes, and elders came to Him, and began saying to Him, ‘By what authority are You doing these things, or who gave You this authority to do these things?’ ” (Mark 11:27–28). “These things” referred not only to His driving out the moneychangers from the temple (vv. 15–16) but also to His authoritative teaching (vv. 17–18). Those leaders knew that Jesus had not been educated in a scribal school or personally tutored by a leading rabbi. Nor did He ever credit venerated scribes or rabbis as the source of His teaching. When the men declined to answer Jesus’ question about whether John the Baptist’s ministry was from heaven or from men, He refused to answer their question about the source of His authority (vv. 29–33). Jesus’ authority did not come from an ecclesiastical title, scribal training, or sacerdotal position, none of which He possessed. Nor did it come from the popular Jewish beliefs of His time, many of which were based on myths, legends, and religious and racial prejudice (cf. Titus 1:14). It clearly did not come from rabbinical tradition. On one occasion in the temple, Jesus did choose to tell the Jewish leaders the source of His authority. “My teaching is not Mine,” He said, “but His who sent Me. If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself” (John 7:16–17). In other words, if a Jew, or any other person, sincerely seeks and obeys God the Father, he will recognize the divine authority of the Son. “When you lift up the Son of Man,” He said a few days later, “then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me” (John 8:28; cf. vv. 38, 40; 12:49).
If Jesus, the sinless and perfect Son of God, limited Himself to speaking nothing during His incarnation except the truth He received from His Father, how much more should those who have been called into His ministry speak only on the authority of divine Scripture (cf. Titus 1:9, 2:1; 2 Tim. 4:2) Unfortunately, for over half a century, educational philosophies have accommodated natural resentment of authority by exalting personal rights, personal choice, personal independence, self-expression, and self-sufficiency. During this time, the secular media has waged an ever-increasing campaign against social authority—parental, religious, police, and political. Personal vengeance and civil disobedience are glorified as legitimate answers to injustice, real or perceived.
Titus 2:15 gives the answer to an age of rebellion, in one of the clearest and strongest statements in Scripture about the spiritual authority of men whom God calls to minister His Word and shepherd His people. In Titus 2:15 the Apostle Paul shows the Preacher’s Authority through 1) The Authority of the Word (Titus 2:15a), 2) The Authority to Exhort (Titus 2:15b) and 3) The Authority to Rebuke (Titus 2:15c). Using the word of God, it is the command to hear, believe and obey God.
In Titus 2:15 the Apostle Paul shows the Preacher’s Authority through:
1) The Authority of the Word (Titus 2:15a) The command to hear and understand.
Titus 2:15a 15 Declare these things; (exhort and rebuke) with all authority. (Let no one disregard you). (ESV) We will spend just about all our time this morning on this first point.
Declare/Speak (lalei) points to the pastor’s responsibility to preach, announce, reveal, and disclose, with the intent of making clear God’s truth so that those who hear may understand. Careful and faithful biblical preaching gives them knowledge of that truth. Having given a list of instructions for different people in the church, Paul lays down the theological basis for godly living. He argues that God’s salvific workings intend more than salvation, that integral to the salvation is the recognition that the free gift of grace comes with a cost, that of obedience. To separate salvation from ensuing obedience was at the core of the opponents’ “knowledge ” (Titus 1:16) but is foreign to the Pastoral epistles and Paul as he makes abundantly clear in Rom 6. (Mounce, W. D. (2000). Pastoral Epistles (Vol. 46, p. 433). Dallas: Word, Incorporated)