Father, help me hold firm to Your trustworthy Word as I have been taught. Help me stay sound in the faith so I will be fit for every good work. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read Titus 1
Titus 1:1–4 Paul’s ministry was purposeful and sound. He planted churches purposefully. He worked so closely with Titus in these endeavors that he called him his child. Even after he and Titus were separated physically, Paul led and influenced both Titus and the churches they’d planted by writing a letter with clear directions. It was now Titus’ job to bring order and sound leadership to the budding churches on the island of Crete.
Titus 1:5–9 Not only was Paul purposeful in his church planting, he also spoke boldly when he set clear qualifications for elders. For the sake of sound ministry, he knew this must happen. In these verses, it’s clear that Paul, the same author who wrote the “Love Chapter” (1 Corinthians 13), was not afraid to speak bluntly and honestly; he was not afraid to address those in the church whose character needed to be rebuked.
Why is this? Paul believed that in order to give instruction in sound doctrine, church leaders must hold firm to God’s Word and even be able to rebuke those who contradicted it. God’s plan for His church is too important to allow disorder or unholiness of any kind to continue unaddressed. Therefore, Paul purposefully and rightly set the bar high for those in the role of elder/overseer. The proper handling of both the Word and mission of God requires our humble and holy lives.
Titus 1:10–15 After Paul emphasized the importance of holding firm to sound doctrine, he reminded Titus that those who profess to believe, yet live lives that deny Christ, remain unfit for any good work.
7 For an overseer, as God’s administrator, must be blameless, not arrogant, not hot-tempered, not addicted to wine, not a bully, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it.
- Elders hold serious responsibility, and Paul clearly wants godly church leadership to be a priority for these churches. Paul gave similar direction to Timothy as he was left to work with the church in Ephesus. Properly understanding God-given roles is important.
- Not all believers are called to be an elder/overseer. Those who aren’t, however, are called to be under an elder/overseer and should know what the qualifications are for those roles. Watch this six-minute video on Elders and Deacons. The leaders of the church must be exemplary, modeling for a congregation sound conduct and sound doctrine. All believers are called to make disciples, and that includes teaching these new disciples to obey all of God’s commands. Giving instruction in sound doctrine is a serious task that comes with serious responsibility.
- Does your character reflect one who can give instruction in sound doctrine? Do you idly give counsel or teach Scripture without humbly acknowledging the responsibilities that comes with it?
- Consider your approach to conflict. Are you purposefully standing up for sound doctrine? Are you willing to lovingly rebuke those who contradict it, or do you let things slide for the sake of political correctness, laziness, or even fear?
- Make a list of habits you need to start or stop this week to ensure that your character aligns with that of one who is able to give instruction. In what areas are you not living above reproach? Share with a friend one specific thing you will do this week to move your habits and lifestyle to be more in line with the purposes of Christ.
- Ask someone who knows you well to help you evaluate your ability to give or receive rebuke. Do you have passive-aggressive tendencies? Are you afraid to speak truth if it means offending others? Do you speak the truth without love? Do you understand when it’s appropriate to rebuke and when it’s appropriate to overlook an offense? Do you bristle when others speak truth to you? For the sake of sound purposeful obedience to Christ, give permission for honest and uncontested feedback in this area from someone who knows you well. Ask this person to hold you accountable where you fall short.
- Think through and prepare the “Go and Do” sections for the text you chose to write on. Are there any clear next steps the text calls for? It could be to praise God for something, or it could be some action step required. Share it with your friend to get their input. [Teaching Simply]