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Protecting Yourself From Spiritual Disease Document 01

Protecting Yourself From Spiritual Disease Document 01

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05/25/2012

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© 2007 mars hill church. all rights reserved.
 
1
Titus: Setting Things Straight: From Chaos to Christ
How to Protect Yourself from Spiritual Disease (Titus 1:9-16)
July 15, 2007Commentary notes compiled byPastors Scott Thomas (editor), Steve Tompkins and Bill Clem
For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers,especially those of the circumcision party. –
Titus 1:10
Introduction
Hypocrites and insubordinate deceivers were leading entire households astray with falsedoctrine and self-focused philosophies. This portrays the church today. Many churches aremisleading their followers with myths, legalism, religious traditions, and teaching devoid of Jesus. The remedy Paul suggests is to eradicate this false teaching by the qualified elders’ sharp rebuke with the authoritative Scriptures and by pointing the church to sound doctrine.Paul reminds Titus that he left him in Crete to set in order those areas still dangling and inneed of biblical reformation. To do this, he would establish elder plurality in the churches sothat they might model true Christianity and teach sound doctrine, as well as refute thosewho live or teach in contradiction to a sound faith. He has just spoken of solid, gospel-oriented men being qualified to serve the churches as elders. However, there were otherkinds of men in their churches, men that Paul identifies as "insubordinate men, emptytalkers and deceivers." Evidently, these men had another agenda in the churches—whetherknowingly or unknowingly—to turn them away from the gospel of grace and the godlybehavior that characterizes believers. Removing the diseased teaching from these youngchurches would be critical to their future spiritual growth and sustained viability.
Allow only qualified spiritual leaders to speak into your life—Titus 1:9-12
The first church had a firmly held, healthy, sound doctrine taught by the Apostlesthroughout the first century churches after Jesus’ resurrection (v. 9). Titus must set in orderthe things, which are lacking by ordaining gifted and qualified elders for the church. Theseelders must be “holding fast the trustworthy word” which Paul taught them, so as to be ableby the sound doctrine of that reliable word both to exhort, encourage the faithful, and refutethe false teachers.
Spiritual leaders must be submissive to authority (1:9-10)
. They cannot beinsubordinate—refusing to line up under other authorities, including Scripture. They are notto be empty talkers—flattering communicators without holding firm to the trustworthy word(v. 9). Their talk is to point people to the person of Jesus and His completed work of redemption for their life. They cannot be deceiving the minds of others with a false gospel.
“The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching earsthey will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” 
(2 Tim. 4:3-4).The Book of Titus shows how the gospel embodied results in lining up under others(subordination). Paul is a servant of Christ (1:1). Titus lined up under the authority of Paul(1:4). An elder’s children are to line up under their father’s leadership (1:6). Older womanare to have reverent behavior for the good of the younger women lining up under them(2:3). Young women are to line up under the leadership of their husbands (2:5). Employeesare to be submissive to their employers (2:9). The churches in Crete are to line up under
 
 
© 2007 mars hill church. all rights reserved.
 
2
the authority and corrective teaching of Titus (2:15). Believers are to be submissive torulers and authorities (3:1) and are to show perfect courtesy to all (3:2).It is cool to be insubordinate in Seattle. Many of us like to talk trash about the President,Corporate America and the ineptness of the local government. All authority must work itsway out from under the doubt initially cast upon it. In many ways, this creeps into thechurch as well. Pastors must work themselves out from under the stereotypes of fraud,deceivers, adulterers, and closed-minded conservative bigots. However, members of thechurch should be slower to accuse and quicker to see the hearts of their leaders and thetruth they proclaim. We are the church of the disillusioned and rebellious anarchists.
Spiritual leaders must be serving God with authenticity (1:11b).
The Cretanshistorically had a bad reputation for itinerate "prophets for profit" (Polybius, Livy, Plutarch).Church leaders can receive a respectable wage for their services but are not to takeadvantage of others. Additionally, their teaching is not to be gospel-plus anything. It is tobe the good news of Jesus as our Savior through faith in His death, burial and resurrection(1 Cor. 15:3-6). They taught
what they ought not to teach."
This is translated, "teachingthat which is unnecessary." This conveys something of the content of their teaching. Theytaught "unnecessary" additions to the gospel. They added to what Christ had done; notbeing satisfied that Jesus' death was enough to effectively atone for our sins and propitiatethe just wrath of God. More was needed in their estimation, such as following dietary laws,observing particular feast days, circumcision, and strict Sabbath regulations.
 
Spiritual leaders are to live gospel-centered lifestyles (1:12; 2:12).
Paul quotes aseventh century B.C. prophet by the name of Epimenides. Plato and Aristotle lauded him forbeing a divine prophet. His assessment of the Cretans, applied especially in this case to the
"insubordinate men" 
that were deceiving the churches, Paul considered right on target.
"One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, 'Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.' This testimony is true." 
 
The message of the first church was the message of Jesusas taught to them and as commanded to teach to others.LIARS (1:12)EVIL BEASTS (1:12)LAZY GLUTTONS (1:12)
GRACE OF GOD BRINGING SALVATION (2:11)
SELF-CONTROLLED (2:12)UPRIGHT (2:12)GODLY (2:12)The Gospel changes the character of man. God never lies (1:2). An elder with gospel-centered character will be above reproach (1:6) and will hold firmly to the trustworthy word(1:9). False teachers turn from the truth (1:14). Older women will not to be slanderous(2:3). Younger men will demonstrate honest, fruit-bearing character (2:7). Employees willno longer to steal (2:10).
Spiritual leaders are to teach a gospel a gospel-centered message (1:14-15).
Paulsummed up their teaching:
"Jewish myths and commands of people who turn away from thetruth." 
This is very evident by the implication in verse 15, that unclean foods and neglectingreligious rituals and associating with anything unclean nullifies the merit of Christ for thebeliever; that Christ is not enough. "Jewish myths and commands of people" weresuperstitions and ascetic practices passed along as truth, and legalistic commandssupposedly to gain righteousness. However, the fact is that these things cause a person to"turn away from the truth," with "truth" being a technical term for the gospel. Here is the
 
 
© 2007 mars hill church. all rights reserved.
 
3
crux of the issue. When someone teaches that there something other than Christ or inaddition to Christ, necessary for salvation, that person is a false teacher.
 
To protect yourself from spiritual disease, accept pastoral correction toyour life—Titus 1:13-14
The Cretan distortion of truth upset whole families. Submitting to pastoral correctionsilences our unorthodox teaching. False teaching must be rebuked by the testimony of theScriptures (1:13) and not the man-made commands (1:14). The trustworthy word instructsus (if we allow it) in sound (healthy) doctrine and rebukes us when we our thinking iscontradictory (1:9).In a familial, loving relationship (1:4; 2:1-10) we receive the corrective, order-causingteaching into our lives so that we may be sound in the faith (1:13). If continual falseteaching and wrongful living exists, rebuke is both necessary and commanded to thepastors. “Rebuke” means to bring to the light (to reveal hidden things). This is done by"Preach[ing] the word; be[ing] ready in season and out of season; reprove[ing], rebuk[ing],exhort[ing], with complete patience and instruction" (2 Timothy 4:2).We have fretted over the abuse of authority over the centuries. In spite of occasionalabuses, authority rests in the qualified elders to lead God's people in following after Christand modeling the gospel and disciplining believers. Too much is at stake to neglect the wise,humble, and Christ-honoring use of authority to help the church maintain its testimony of the gospel in the world. For those rebuked and who remain insubordinate, sharp rebuke(1:13) is necessary and misunderstood by casual attendees. To rebuke sharply is a termmeaning to cut as with a knife. Rebuke with authority. Rebuke with scripture. Rebuke forrepentance.Therefore, as we regularly attend to the proclamation of God's Word, as that Word isopened and applied to our lives; the Word lays those areas needing correction bare.Preaching instructs us in the ways of God and the gospel-centered focus of Christian living.It is sometimes difficult to hear (as well as often difficult to declare!). It sometimes causespain. Nevertheless, it is a necessary part of our sanctification so that we
"may be sound inthe faith."
 Our reception of the corrective teaching is helpful so that as we profess to know God, we donot deny Him by our works nor are we unfit for any good work (1:16). A major themerunning through the Book of Titus is the dichotomy between our beliefs and our behavior.Our belief is Jesus—redemption, forgiveness, love, mercy, truth, eternity, salvation, justiceand our behavior is often pride, self-centeredness and unbelief. This affects our marriage,our joy, our families, our work, our relationships, and our entire lives.
To protect yourself from spiritual disease, receive the true gospel—Titus1:10, 15-16
Simply,
the Gospel is the 'good news' of God's redemption
of humankind. It is a storythat has been unfolding since humankind’s rebellious, defiant decision in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve deliberately disobeyed God, and as a result, suffered theconsequences. This is what we call 'The Fall.' It was humankind’s fall from a place of closecommunion with God. It was and is the fall into darkness, misery, and ultimately eternal

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