"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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Sunday, November 27, 2022

CROSSING The T’s STUDY in TITUS – Biblical Precepts and Principles for Pastoral ministry: CHAPTER 3 & Conclusion

INTRODUCTION: The following instructions were given from Paul to pastor Titus, who in turn was to give them to the saints and most especially the elders. Such being the case, these admonitions are all about Christian conduct in relation to government, people in general, and most of all to the LORD; what the life of a disciple should look like as a result of that relationship with the Savior.

The apostle then reminds Titus of what Christians should avoid: things that engender strife and division, that hurts the body of Christ and therefore Christ Himself.

In these succinct verses, the epistle is concluded with indispensable knowledge and wisdom. Thus, words we ought to pay particularly close attention to.

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work,

The King James Version renders “rulers and authorities” as “principalities and powers”, which is to say, the governmental agencies that rule over the masses in organized, orderly fashion.

Elsewhere “principalities and powers” refers to the organized, orderly fashion of Satan’s kingdom (ROM 8:38; EPH 3:10; 6:12; COL 1:16; 2:15). The apostle is obviously endorsing Christians to obey those rulers and authorities where they address human agencies and governmental powers among human beings – not those of Satan’s domain.

Our relationship with our fellow men and Satan’s minions are diametrically different; we are to be respectful ambassadors to the lost souls of humanity (2 COR 5:20), but resolute warriors against the fallen angels that rebelled against the throne of GOD (EPH 6:10-12) and have set about the second world order that resents and battles against the first – that beings GOD’s own order.

This is further elaborated on the Christian’s relationship with government in:
ROMANS 13:1-3
1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.
Such government that governs well, governs least – a non-interference on the liberties of it’s citizens whose rights is the government’s job to safeguard. Government is to be based on truth and justice – the one cannot survive without the other. Good is the evidential fruit of truth and justice. And those who do good have no reason to fear such a government, only those who seek to do evil.

And if truth is abandoned, justice is soon to follow, and then one is left with despotic, tyrannical government that doesn’t have the well being of its citizens at heart, but their own and with incumbent assurances that they will remain in power, oppress the citizens, and condition the people’s thinking that this is what they truly want to begin with.

What then are Christians to do who live in a government that’s prone to evil, such as is described above? 
Such governments that have within the infrastructure of its constitution and laws, conditions, and policies in place to abrogate the existing government and to bring substantial reform and redress areas that have strayed from the founding principles have the right to do so. Our own Constitution of the United States makes such provisions.

Unfortunately the powers that be, have been in place for so long, that they’ve been entrenched, and to extract them, it would take more than bills turned into law, lobbying the help of willing politicians and to reestablish the former parameters with peaceful measures. This might have been successful 100 years ago, but if such measures were attempted today, it would mean a lot of chaos, bloodshed, and a complete ruin of the infrastructure of our society.
In fact, the powers that be are hoping, even yearning for such an uprising of the American people, who would take up arms and assault the national capitol and other centers of power (most especially that center of power located on 58 E 68th St. in NYC). Such a profound display of chaos, disorder and havoc would play right into their hands. The expression of the globalists is “Ordo Ab Chao” – that is, from the chaos, an order.

They would allow such a rebellion for so long, and then strike it down, using Star Wars military tech against shot guns, semi-automatics, rifles – perhaps a few grenades here and there, and maybe some more formidable arsenals; but nothing compared to hyper-sonic and particle beam weapons and others developed in Black Ops projects by DARPA and others. The only way such an enemy could be taken down would be an initiative by GOD resembling a David and Goliath scenario but on a far larger scale.
Rather than this, we as Christians can rest easy and with the understanding that because our kingdom is assured and eternal, we can forgive our oppressors and forego any wrath or vengeance upon them, allowing the LORD to take care of it all. AND HE MOST CERTAINLY WILL!

Check out the updated version of HE IS OUR PEACE IN THE MIDST OF STORMS 

In the meantime, we should do our best to remain obedient to the laws of the land EXCEPT where they are in violation with the Law of the LORD! Note the writings of the apostles who lived in such a society, that there were no admonitions to take down Caesar and the Roman government (which is what Israel was praying and hoping for the arrival of the Messiah Who would take action – and He will, at His Second Advent, not His First).

But where the line was drawn was when Christians were admonished to burn a bit of incense at an altar and declare “Caesar is Lord”. People of all religions were free to practice their faith, just so long as they paid homage to Caesar as the Lord. This simple deed was refused by the Christians who then suffered horrible atrocities at the hands of their persecutors, but they willingly laid down their lives rather than declare ANYONE BUT JESUS AS LORD!

TITUS 3:2-3
2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. 3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.

Speaking of politics – it’s dismaying to see so much mockery and ridicule on social media at the expense of our political leaders. Having said that – because the Word commands us “…to speak evil of no one (except for politicians?)” – let me say I am just as heatedly offended with our government as anyone else.

I hate the fact that politicians, especially the Socialists hiding within the Democratic Party (and with some Nazi-style Fascists hiding in the Republican Party as well) have denigrated our nation in the name of “Progressive Thinking” (read that rebellious thinking against GOD and His Word) by striking down every edict and law as GOD upholds as His Holy Standard.

The sanctify of life, of marriage, of human identity, of faith have all come under assault by antichrist forces that are intent on, and largely successful at, tearing down the established order of GOD, and replacing it with its new world order after the “doctrines of demons and seducing spirits” (1 TIM 4:1) that are preparing the way for the Beast.

Nevertheless, for the LORD’s sake, may we not speak evil of anyone – whether in our neighborhood or on the national platform. It’s one thing to expose evil, it’s quite another to ridicule the vessel that Satan is using to accomplish his agenda.

If there are those who revile and persecute us, let it be so because their accusations against us are false, not true (MATT 5:11). During this dispensation, we are to pray for our enemies, bless those who curse us; we are “to be peaceable, gentle, showing humility to all”.

We need to show this fallen world that we who were once just like them, have been changed by the grace of GOD, proving by our fruit that we are indeed His children, set apart from the ways of this wicked world – no longer given to “lusts, pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another”.

It’s not until the church age and conduct of the body of Christ is complete and over with (ACTS 4:19-30) and the wrath of the Lamb commences, that souls that crave justice are not rebuked for it, but simply told to wait until GOD’s perfect timing (REV 6:9-11).

TITUS 3:4-6
4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

GOD’s compassion, His “kindness” is unequaled! Inasmuch as He is Almighty in power, beyond compare, so is He all-merciful. Such is the love that GOD has for His creatures – humanity, as the well beloved verse has declared in JOHN 3:16. And “world” there refers to the whole of humanity, not in the least reserved solely for the church as some would have us believe.

This love of GOD our Savior has appeared to [all] men, insomuch that His love is directed to all of us in the shape of a Cross, erected in Judea, two thousand years ago! It was He that initiated this overture at the very beginning in GENESIS 3, whose light of truth shone the more brilliant as time passed on. Prophets and seers foretold of this climatic event that was witnessed on Calvary – and all of this, absent any works of righteousness in our own. This love and kindness was, and is based solely on His [tender]mercies and resulted in salvation for those of us whose cold, hard hearts were melted by the fiery and zealous compassion from our GOD Who stopped for nothing to see our relationship with Him restored!
[the LORD Jesus] went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
This means of salvation involved “regeneration” – the bringing back to life, as in rebirth. What is referred to elsewhere as being “born again” (JOHN 3:3-5; 1 PET 1:23). This in turn resulted in renewing of the Holy Spirit, that is, a renewing in how we relate with the Holy Spirit: saints in the New Testament relate very differently to the Holy Spirit than they did in the Old Testament!

No one of the Old Testament saints could rightly identify themselves as the temple of the Holy Spirit: that was reserved for the Tabernacle, and later the Temple as built by Solomon (and later still by Ezra and company).

Those in the Calvinist camp believe that man is so desperately wicked (true) that he isn’t even able to choose Christ on his own (mostly false), but that he must first be regenerated spiritually – become spiritually aware enough so as to enable him to make a choice – but isn’t actually according to his free will, but GOD’s predetermined election. This is all wrapped up in the Calvinist perspective of the sovereignty of GOD.

The actual term “regeneration” is just another word for what is elsewhere described as being born again, being saved. It isn’t something preceding salvation, it is itself salvation.

Note that verse 6 mentions that He (the Holy Spirit) is “poured out” which reflects back to “through the washing of regeneration…”. The only way we could possibly receive the Holy Spirit as the indwelling Presence of GOD in our hearts is if we received new hearts: our old hearts are desperately wicked (JER 17:9) as has been previously mentioned. The Hebrew word for “desperately” means incurable.

Hence, GOD dispenses with it altogether, creates in us a new heart, wherein the Spirit could find suitable habitation (EZEK 36:26). This pouring out in this baptism into the body of Christ is accomplished solely by Jesus Christ our Savior.

Something pointed out previously: vs. 4 speaks of “GOD our Savior” and vs. 6 mentions “Jesus Christ our Savior”. In light of ISAIAH 43:11, which states that besides the LORD there IS no savior, we have to conclude that both the Father and the Son can equally claim to be Savior, and not contradict that there is only one, since the Father and the Son are in fact, one (JOHN 10:30).

…that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

I’m completely confident that we saints will be entirely astonished when we come to realize what “the inheritance of the saints” will entail (COL 1:12). The heirship of the saints as spoken of here is in regards to eternal life, a steadfast and secure hope that leaves no room for doubt!
ROMANS 8:16-19
16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 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. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
The Father has appointed the Son as “heir of all things, by Whom also He made the world” (HEB 1:2). I don’t think it’s hyperbole when it says, “all things” – and since we are joint-heirs with Christ, so we qualify to inherit “all things” as well, with the one stipulation that “if indeed we suffer with Him”. Many believe that this suffering involves suffering for righteousness sake, being persecuted in the Name of Christ. They tie this in with “the fellowship of His sufferings” (PHIL 3:10).

I agree completely with this assessment, but I think that suffering for Christ’s sake entails more than persecution only.
The verse from PHILLIPIANS quoted above states that we “may know Him…the power of His resurrection…fellowship of His sufferings…made conformable unto His death”.

I believe the saint who is suffering the last stages of cancer, or the saint who is wounded, grieved, even vexed (2 PET 2:7-8) over the sinfulness of this world, the one who sheds tears over lost loved ones, righteous citizens of heaven who are spurned and rejected by the world, even prejudiced against, denied the basic rights to life – these are all suffering, and if they do so willingly, offering up “the sacrifices of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (ISA 61:3) in their sufferings, seeking to be conformed to Christ’s own likeness through these things, that these sort are included in the suffering saints who are martyred for the cause of Christ, being joint-heirs of the LORD Jesus!

Being declared as “righteous” before a holy GOD solely on the basis of grace, ensures that we have this unshakeable hope of eternal life: that whatever burdens and vexation, frustration and hardships we may have to endure, we know that at the end of it all, we will leave this planet that’s under the curse of sin, step into eternity, and there enjoy the everlasting blessings of holiness and peace from that moment forward! THAT is a blessed hope (TITUS 2:13)!! That is when the manifestation of “the [adopted] sons of GOD” will happen!

We shall see Him on that glorious Day and be entirely conformed to His likeness with not the slightest difference found anywhere in soul and body! All weakness, frailty, and sinful tendencies will vanish away! What a joyous prospect we have, that one day, our position of righteousness and holiness we have in Christ will be fully realized in practice.
1 JOHN 3:1-3
1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
We’ve never known a world that wasn’t under the curse of sin, but we will! Talk about the “breath of fresh[est] air!!”

8 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.

This is a most solemn declaration from the apostle when he “affirm[ed] constantly”, that those who have expressed faith, having entrusted their souls to Christ for salvation (in all of its aspects) and committed to Him their spiritual wellbeing, that they should give all due consideration as the highest priority in their conduct, the practice of good works (vs. 14). Paul said that these things are “good”, that is, valuable, virtuous, worthy of the saint. 

They are helpful and advantageous for the promotion of GOD’s kingdom. Every saint is a showcase on display for the Father – to honor Him in producing “much fruit” (JOHN 15:8), and also on display before the world. They should see something in our lives that’s fundamentally different, particularly the “love, joy, peace” – all the fruit of the Spirit (GAL 5:22-23). They should be provoked into asking us what sort of hope this is we have, particularly in such a dreary and hopeless world that we are passing through on our journey Home and why we live lives of righteousness (1 PET 3:15; 2:11-12; HEB 11:13-16).

It's been said many times: we are not saved by good works, we are saved for good works. The good works don’t provide salvation, they prove salvation. Every tree produces after its own kind. A corrupt tree can’t bear good fruit, nor can a good tree produce corrupt fruit; every tree that doesn’t bear good fruit is “cut down and thrown into the fire [of hell]” (MATT 7:17-19).

Some Christians, especially baby Christians are cut to the quick by such statements, because they haven’t been disciples for very long and they are extremely concerned about not having any good fruit in their lives.

But if they are true Christians, then they have the fruit (the evidence, the work) of repentance (ACTS 26:20; HEB 6:1); their love for Christ and the Father (JOHN 8:42;14:21), for their fellow brothers and sisters in the faith (1 PET 1:22), for the Holy Scriptures, for the lost souls that need salvation (JUDE 1:22-23) – as well as their hatred of evil, injustice, and sin in all of its detestable varieties is a testament to a changed nature:
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
Any profession of faith that is absent of fruit of this kind should be scrutinized carefully, for the possibility of a false conversion is rather likely. If one can’t perceive a marked difference in one’s life as a result of confessing Christ as LORD and Savior, this would seem to indicate no change in nature, that is, from a sinful nature only, to a godly nature that struggles and fights against their sinful nature (GAL 5:16-17).

TITUS 3:9-11
9 But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.

Good works are profitable, but disputes, genealogies, contentions, striving about the law are unprofitable and useless. Note that contrast because it’s important. Even among Christians there are disputes over pet doctrines and biblical viewpoints (like the rapture, Calvinism vs. Armenianism, etc., gifts of the Spirit – for today or not) that lead to strife, division, even animosity.

It’s not at all that such discussions shouldn’t happen, but simply done charitably, respectfully and making allowances for our own potential need to learn greater and deeper truths, whereby we may find out that we were wrong, and our opponents were correct after all!

What we should emphasize therefore is fruit growing, good work producing, edifying of the saints, sharing with the lost; being able students of the Scriptures for ourselves, honoring GOD in all things.

The KJV says “heretick” rather than “divisive” but the Greek word means “a schismatic” or someone or something that brings division.

Since we are to be united in “the faith” (EPH 4:5; the body of doctrines contained in the Scriptures), any such departing from “the faith” (1 TIM 4:1) would be divisive and caused by those who, rather than giving heed to “sound doctrine” turn away from it and instead, give heed to doctrines of demons and deceiving spirits.
So if a guest speaker comes into your church and begins to teach doctrine that is against Scripture, and later after the teaching, you’re asked what you thought of it: you point out the doctrinal errors as being wrong, then you might be labeled as divisive.

If you ever are, understand that it wasn’t you being divisive, it was the guest speaker, because rather than standing united in the faith, by teaching sound doctrine, they’ve departed – apostatized in fact – and created a schism, a division.

Such a person is given two warnings in such things, and admonished to keep the unity of the Spirit (EPH 4:3), and should they fail to do so, they’re to be rejected, no questions asked.
TITUS 3:12-15
12 When I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, be diligent to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey with haste, that they may lack nothing. 14 And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful. 15 All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

There are seasons and times for every GOD-ordained purpose under heaven (ECCL 3:1). There is a time for labor and a time for rest. While I find it hard to believe that Paul would indulge in an excessive repose, the winter season was upon him and so he wintered in Nicopolis (meaning “victorious city”), the Roman capital city of the province of Epirus Vetus in Greece.
I can easily see Paul and his entourage entering this city and rejoicing in the victory in Christ they all experienced, having delivered the Gospel to so many, and seeing them delivered from the kingdom of darkness, into the kingdom of GOD’s dear Son (COL 1:13).

After this much needed rest, Paul and Company would resume a third and final missionary tour that would eventually land the apostle in a Roman “house arrest” and later on darker, damp, disheartening prison cell which in turn led to his beheading – itself the precedent event of his receiving his reward at the nail scarred hand of his LORD and Savior!
2 TIMOTHY 4:6-8
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
AND THIS COMPLETES this study on these epistles, "CROSSING The "T's" from 1st THESSALONIANS and 2nd THESSALONIANS, as well as the pastoral epistles of 1st TIMOTHY, 2nd TIMOTHY and TITUS!

NEXT UP: A study in one of my favorite Old Testament books, NEHEMIAH! Afterwards, I’m prayerfully considering doing a study either on the book of ACTS or the epistle to the HEBREWS.

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