"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .


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Friday, October 28, 2022

CROSSING The T’s STUDY in TITUS – Biblical Precepts and Principles for Pastoral ministry: CHAPTER 1

: The apostle Paul considered Titus to be a spiritual son of his (as he did Timothy; TITUS 1:4) as well as a brother whose company the aging apostle craved (2 COR 2:12-13), and also a co-laborer (2 COR 8:23) for the kingdom of GOD. He was likely older than Timothy, spiritually more mature, as he apparently was given more responsibilities than Timothy. The apostle Paul assigned him on missions to Corinth (2 COR 8:16-18), accompanied Paul to Jerusalem (GAL 2:1), was established as the pastor of the church at the island of Crete in the overseeing of multiple fellowships, as this epistle ably demonstrates. He served very much in the same sacrificial spirit as did Pau’s other spiritual son in the faith, Timothy – both mirroring the ministry of their mentor (2 COR 12:17-18). He was at one point one of only two companions with Paul during his imprisonment in Rome, but he eventually left for Dalmatia (probably by instruction from Paul; 2 TIM 4:10).

Ona side note: he was a full-blooded Greek (GAL 2:3), whereas Timothy’s father was Greek, his mother Jewish (ACTS 16:1).

He was instructed by Paul to establish pastoral elders in every city in Crete, so as to offset the self-appointed preachers who wanted a following for themselves, who didn’t truly serve Christ and His church.

Counsels and exhortations make up the majority of this epistle, duties, and doctrines, with an emphasis on “maintaining good works”.

Key verses are:

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you. And…

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.

So without further ado, let’s get into this three chapter epistle by Paul to his other son in the faith!

1 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness

Submission is not a word that’s embraced in our culture’s rebellious mind-set today. For some time being “bad” has been admired and being “good” is ridiculed. We want to make our own way, chart our own course, call the shots – and so, to submit my will to that of another threatens my sense of autonomy, or can we say, defiance to authority?

Yet bond servants did this very thing, unreservedly!

This is the very word that Paul (and John, James, and Peter) described themselves as: “bondservants” (LEV 25:39; EXOD 21:5-6). They were doulos, entirely committed and devoted to the LORD Jesus Christ, with no personal rights of their own, and had to seek the LORD’s will for every decision in their lives.

Here’s the thing though: the rebellious that disdain the idea of being a slave to Jesus Christ don’t know what they are denying themselves. I can speak from personal experience that my life under the LORDship of Jesus Christ is exceedingly far superior to life under my own power!

Truth be told, I was never free – I only traded slavery from my former master (Satan, who is the slave master of all sinners who won’t receive redemption through Christ as LORD) for slavery to JESUS – and He treats His slaves infinitely better than Satan would ever!

In Pau’s case (and Peter’s and John’s) he was an apostle, but whereas we would think of this as being a lofty position with all kinds of prestige and benefits, but they followed the King of kings example – taking the lower place, so that others would be benefited (1 COR 4:9). Paul described his servanthood to the LORD by serving His bride, the church (2 COR 11), but he was never motivated by the directives or desires of the saints, but as a true bondservant, his sole motivation was in serving Christ!
For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
And this service was in accord with “the faith of GOD’s elect”, that is, in accordance to biblical doctrine which is truth, and brings about godliness – as truth always does for those who submit to it.

Those who live a life of secret sin will inevitably be affected in their doctrine, and those given to false doctrine, this will inevitably affect their morality. The two are irrevocably intertwined!

TITUS 1:2-3
2 …in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, 3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;

It’s not always obvious when we think of things that GOD can’t do (He is the Almighty, nothing is impossible for Him to do! We say), but here is one: He can’t lie! GOD cannot tell an untruth because He is Truth! He can’t become more perfect, more powerful, more knowledgeable, wiser, more loving, etc. He can’t learn (knows it all already), He can’t travel (He’s already there).
He can’t make us love Him. If love is not given freely, then it isn’t love; thus He leaves us with a choice: love Him or reject Him.

I prefer the former – and this blesses His Almighty, Eternal heart, and brings blessings both now and forever. However, as with Job, we saints love the LORD for Him – not for the blessings He bears to us (though we are of course thankful)!

That’s where Satan underestimated Job’s devotion to GOD – he thought Job served the LORD for the perks, but this man of GOD proved that his love for his LORD was genuine, independent of circumstances, and it carried him through the horrendous circumstances that were weighed upon him!
Eternal life was always the plan of GOD since before there was space, time, and matter upon the first day of creation. Long before the Fall of man occurred the salvation of mankind was in place (1 PET 1:19-20) and revealed in the fullness of time in order to restore our relationship with GOD (GAL 4:4-5).

The resulting salvation was the birthing of multitudes beyond count that have obtained eternal life through Jesus Christ! That eternal life incorporates heirship of “all things” to all overcomers (appropriated by faith; 1 JOHN 5:4) through Christ Jesus our LORD and Savior – truly staggering to contemplate!
6 And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.
Paul’s LORD, Master, and Savior had spoken! He issued command that he should preach Christ in this holy dispensation:
16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed to me. 18 What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.
Note that vs. 3 states that GOD is our Savior; yet as we see in the next verse, Paul declares the LORD Jesus Christ to be our Savior.

We know what ISAIAH said about this:
ISAIAH 43:10-11
10 "You are My witnesses," says the LORD, "And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me. 11 I, even I, am the LORD, And besides Me there is no savior.
The Eternal GOD declares that He inhabits eternity, the limitless expanse of that which is without physical creation (ISA 57:15) so it wasn’t possible for some other ‘God’ to exist prior to Him – nor was there any ‘God’ formed afterwards (sorry New Agers and Mormons!) – He is THE One Man Show, and there are no rivals!

He then states that He alone is the LORD (since He created all things, all things belong to Him, He owns it all, and has the right of rule as LORD), and other than Him, there is no savior!

This makes a great proof text to show the truth of the trinity. GOD claimed to be the only Savior, but Paul also states that Christ is Savior. Two Persons united in the ministry of salvation as One Savior – and actually there is Three! This also shows the Deity of Christ.

Here Paul addresses his son, brother, and co-worker in Christ:

TITUS 1:4-5
4 To Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. 5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you.

This faith is expressed as common – that is, the established doctrinal truth, particularly of the Gospel that is believed universally among all believers (not exclusive to a higher tier society as was the case with Gnostics), of which Gospel Titus was a committed disciple. Most often Paul’s salutation is “grace and peace” but here (as well as in the epistles to Timothy) “mercy” is added.

Who needs mercy more than the ministers of Christ who, for all of their fumblings and stumblings, are still used of GOD by His limitless grace that so empowers and overflows, that His ministry through us more than compensates for our ineptitudes!

It was because Titus’ faith was so well grounded that Paul left him in charge of the ministry, not to a single fellowship, but to all the various churches that had been planted in the cities of Crete. He was to appoint elders in every city, just as the apostle instructed him to.
This shows a certain rank in authority that flowed from the Father, to the Son – the LORD Jesus Christ the Head and Cornerstone of the church, to His apostle Paul, to Titus, the pastor and on to elders that would be appointed.

Pastors are themselves elders, but it would seem that not all elders are necessarily in the office of a pastor, but at the least, they should be “apt to teach” (1 TIM 3:2; 2 TIM 2:24).

TITUS 1:6-8
6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled,

Here, as in the epistles of Timothy, the criteria to approve elders (also known as bishops, 1 TIM 3:1-2; or overseers, ACTS 20:28). Blameless doesn’t mean being sinless in nature, but one whose reputation is godly, upright, not living in sin, one that can be used as “an example of the believer” (1 TIM 4:12).

Note that this doesn’t way “the wife of one husband” – why I bring this up is because there are still those who teach the validity of women pastors, while they can’t produce a single example in doctrine or Scriptural documentation of a woman pastor. Prophetesses, deaconesses, evangelists – yes! But pastors? Not even one.

Mike Winger did a video series that carefully goes throughout Scripture to search out any significance to women as pastors. Check out Part One here.

Faithful children are obedient children, faithful in following their parents admonitions and exhortations, not being accused of disobedience in any way. If they rule their house well, then they’ll be qualified (if not selected) for the office of an elder (1 TIM 3:5).

Being a steward of GOD means that one keeps sacred and safe those things that are treasured by GOD’s heart: such as His children, the saints. This is why pastors ought always to pray to be an extension of the LORD’s hands, mouth and heart, so that they minister to GOD’s flock the way that the LORD Jesus would, were He here in the flesh.

It also means that one keeps sacred and safe the doctrine of GOD’s Word, which we know He esteems higher even than His most holy Name (PSALM 138:2). In the heart of every pastor there should burn the passion of prohibition against false doctrines and practices that would seek to invade and corrupt the body of Christ; that same passion rejoices in the truth of GOD’s Word and delights to feed the saints the good provender provided by the Senior Pastor, the Great Chief Shepherd of the sheep (HEB 13:20; 1 PET 5:4).

Shepherds (pastors) were gentle with those who are with young, gave a firm but loving hand to ornery sheep, and dealt with deadly blows the wolves that would prey upon the sheep.
Pastors are watchmen, that safeguard both Scripture and sheep, and are to sound the alarm when either are threatened, but more than that, they engage in the fight with a heart settled on victory through Christ!

Some articles would be appropriate here:




These traits are almost identical to those listed in the epistle to Timothy.

Self-willed is to be given to pride, stubbornness, lacking in humbleness, not teachable: all of these things should be lacking, and their absence makes for a good pastor. A quick tempered man is one who lacks patience, and an impatient pastor – should look for another occupation!

According to this criteria, a pastor should not be quarrelsome (not violent), not one who becomes intoxicated (in fact, for elders, any sort of intoxicants are off the table; 1 TIM 3:3). Pastors are not to be greedy, especially for money. That qualification alone should knock just about every televangelist off the air and booted out the front door of their churches!

Pastors are to show hospitality (“a lover of guests”), welcoming of visitors, delighted to see the saints – or sinners for that matter, for the purpose of expressing the love of Christ in a welcoming, winsome manner.

People who know me, understand my love for frivolous fun and lighthearted humor, being very fond of puns, and making people laugh.

Yet when it comes to spiritual matters, dealing with the Word of GOD and the welfare of immortal souls, I am appropriately serious (“sober minded”), and in Paul’s admonitions in this epistle, we will see this directive applied time and time again.

Self-controlled is for practical purposes the opposite of self-willed. Those who are self-willed desire their will to be done. Those exhibiting self-control are those who will deny themselves and allow the LORD to have His way, or even the will of others (providing they don’t lead to sin).

Holiness as a qualification of a pastor is something that we grow into, but the fact of the matter is that we are all called to holiness (HEB 12:14; 1 PET 1:16), and those who lead are to exemplify this trait more than others as proper examples to the flock because we will receive a stricter judgment by the LORD on that Day (JAMES 3:1).

TITUS 1:9-13
9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,

To “hold fast” in this instance is “to adhere to, and to care for” something; in this case, “the faithful word” which is to say, the doctrinal truths of the Bible, which Titus was taught, and by these doctrines have the ability to exhort and convict any who are unbiblical – or worse: opposed to biblical truth. As was seen in 2 TIMOTHY, these are those who will not endure sound doctrine (2 TIM 4:3). Being proud, they won’t submit to biblical teaching, biblical practice, and especially not biblical pastors and teachers!

Worse than that, they are practitioners of deception, especially where the Gospel of grace and the message of the LORD Jesus Christ are concerned; they want to exalt the Gospel of Legalism, and of Law which is contrary to grace:
6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
These are identified here as “those of the circumcision”. The apostle had strong disagreements with these sort before in the book of ACTS:
ACTS 15:1-2
1 And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." 2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.
This chapter clinches a solid case for the church in regards to the Law of Moses – it was determined by the council AND the Holy Spirit (ACTS 15:28) that Christians were in no way obligated to observe the Law. The apostle to the circumcision, Peter, was so bold as to say that Jews could get saved just as the Gentiles are, without the Law (ACTS 15:11). Obviously, this doesn’t give Christians license to live a life of lawlessness, but that we live out the righteousness that the Law requires by the Spirit (ROM 3:20-22; 8:4; 10:3-4; GAL 2:21; 3:21).

For a comprehensive treatment of this, look at this two part article on: WHERE ARE YOU? LAW vs. GRACE; Part ONE and Part TWO.

Today’s ministers, especially those on television are certainly guilty of “dishonest gain” – and they have been aptly described in such passages as 2 PET 2:12-22; JUDE 1:10-13; 1 TIM 6:3-5).

“Rebuke” is a word that can cause offense; when a person is rebuked (“sharply” as is the case here), they could be tempted to rear up and demand who such a person thinks that they are, that they have no authority “to rebuke ME!”
2 TIMOTHY 3:16 states that Scripture is profitable for reproving and for correction; as long as the person doing the rebuking is on biblical grounds for doing so, and from the motive of love and care, rather than anger or even malice, then the one on the receiving ends stands to profit – if they will humble themselves and submit to the correction by the Word of GOD.

4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), 5 to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
Procrastination and laziness ought not to be mentioned in a description of a biblical Christian. We are to be diligent always in every matter, whether it’s in our homes, at church, at work, etc. (1 THESS 2:9; 2 TIM 2:6; EPH 6:5-6; COL 3:22). The old expression, “Idle hands are the devil’s playground” is an admonition we need to heed!

Consider the words of the teenager, Y’shua, son of Mary and step-son of Joseph:

"Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" (LUKE 2:49). What a glorious example to follow, from the lips of this devout Jewish young Man, Who happens to be the LORD of creation!
What is it that we are “about”? What captures our affections and interests? What enterprises are we involved with that will earn eternal rewards? Certainly none of the “business” of this world!

Yet for those working in GOD’s fields – we are working for the Eternal King of Glory, and His treasure vaults are insurmountable! How wise is the saint who not only works for his LORD but does so with the fullness of his mind and might!

We only have so much time to labor in these enterprises for eternity, before our time on this tiny, little planet is done (there are no do-overs!) and we go to find how rich (or poor) a reward we will receive from the LORD:
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with [all] your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
TITUS 1:14
14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.

Jewish fables are rife throughout their belief system, and some of those seeped into the early church, but have no biblical bearing, nor value to the child of GOD. Such current fables of today’s modern society are the virtues of socialism, the self-identity movement, the notion of “love is love” is as much a fiction as anything else.
What about evolution? The idea that a frog was kissed by a princess and then “millions and millions of years” later, it evolved into a prince!

Fables are not real. Reality is real. GOD is the Maker of reality, both seen and unseen. Therefore what we read in the Word of GOD can be taken as absolute, objective, and also ontological truth, and where man disagrees, his words may be confidently disregarded (ROM 3:4). May we not be as others “who turn from the truth” (ROM 2:8; GAL 3:1; 5:7) but contrariwise, embrace and obey the truth (JOSH 24:14;1 PET 1:22)!

TITUS 1:15-16
15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

Have you ever had the experience of seeing a movie again, that you saw prior to your conversion? You remember that it was “so good!!” but upon seeing it again as a Christian, you cringe, and grimace and flinch at all of the swearing, the skin, the senseless violence – and you wonder, “How did I ever think that movie was any good??”

For one, you are a new creation – and you’re seeing that movie with sanctified vision that catches all the vileness and doesn’t at all think that “it’s not that bad!”.
Another thing, is that as a saint, your mind is being purified, and even the memories of things you experienced in the past are being scrubbed clean – a legitimate form of “brain-washing” perhaps?

I love how the LORD can return even the most hardened of sinners into saints with a restored child-like innocence. THAT is a work only GOD can do! – and does!!

Yet on the other hand, those who are unregenerated can take the most inoffensive idea or action and twist and pervert it into meaning something dirty. I know of such former sinners who were adept at that sort of thing.

Upon conversion GOD sanctified their thinking and abilities so that they could take any idea or action and turn it into something – funny! Or edifying! Or useful!

“…believed in vain.” Is something that Paul spoke of in 1 CORINTHIANS 15:2. It’s not enough to profess faith in Christ, you must possess faith in Christ. It’s a living faith that produces ‘live’ works (as opposed to “dead works” (JAMES 2:17,20,26; REV 3:1).

This seems to be something common among all true saints of GOD, born of His Spirit, in which the seed of the Word has produced fruit (some thirty fold, some sixty, some one hundred).

In our text before us, this is quite apparent: “They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him”.

In the profession of these “false brethren” (2 COR 11:26; GAL 2:4) we make the following observations; to “profess” here is “to make a covenant, to acknowledge, confession, promise”. To “deny” means “to contradict, to disavow, abnegate, to refuse”
Essentially they are unfaithful in keeping covenant – in this instance, the new covenant in Christ as the propitiatory sacrifice for our sin.

They cannot truly know GOD, that is, be in possession of eternal life (knowing GOD in this way is eternal life; JOHN 17:3) because their works say otherwise.

The LORD said it like this:
MATTHEW 7:16-21
16 "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 "Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 "Therefore by their fruits you will know them. 21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven
This is why the elder James stated that faith without works is dead (JAMES 2:17-26); he didn’t say salvation without works is dead, but faith. Salvation is the gift of GOD and cannot be earned; it’s granted solely by grace.

However if our faith in Christ is genuine, then that faith will produce “good works” (EPH 2:10).

For more on this subject of salvation, our faith and that which is produced, check out this two-part article SHOW CASE SALVATION: Part ONE and Part TWO.

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