April 26, 2018

Today you should read: Titus 1:5-9

This is one of the two (1 Timothy 3 being the other) times in Scripture that God gives us the qualifications for an elder or pastor. I love how it starts off showing that Paul prioritized raising up elders in each town and church plant he started. A priority many churches, church planters and those who feel called to revitalize a church should do today. Like 1 Timothy 3, the apostle Paul then shares the characteristics of an elder/pastor. An elder or pastor should:

  1. Not be afraid of conflict (5b)
  2. Raise up other leaders (5c)
  3. Be above reproach (6a)
  4. Be a one woman man (6b)
  5. Shepherd his own family well (6c)
  6. Be a good steward of what God entrusts us (7a)
  7. Be humble (7c)
  8. Be patient & content (7d)
  9. Be sober-minded (7e)
  10. Not be violent (7f)
  11. Not be greedy (7g)
  12. Be hospitable (8a)
  13. Be a lover of all that’s good (8b)
  14. Be self-controlled & disciplined (8c,f)
  15. Be upright and holy (8d,e)
  16. Trust & Teach God’s Word (9)

This list is why pastors or elders will be judged by a higher standard. It’s important to not expect or think that a pastor or elder will be perfect but the general public and sheep should see these qualities in their shepherds.

Knowing how important this is, comment below with the different qualifications you DON’T see in our elders and pastors and let’s see how many jumpstart readers would agree…

JUST KIDDING, JUST KIDDING!

On a more serious question,

  • How has God used some of these qualifications in the pastors or elders in your life?

Also, will you take some time and pray for the pastors and elders of CPC as we do our best to live these out by the grace of God and shepherd the flock while leading them on mission at the same time. We love you all and are honored to serve you.

By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor

April 25, 2018

Today you should read: Titus 1:1-4

There is a general feeling about Pauline introductions that if you’ve read one you’ve read them all. However, in seminary I was confronted with an amazing fact—Paul is awesome and doesn’t waste words. Often times, his introductions serve to build up his readers before he brings a spiritual smackdown (look ahead to verses 10 & 11). In the first four verses, Paul is already starting to correct the view of who God is, what He has done, and what we should do about it.

As usual, when I step into a new book I love to step over to YouTube to see if the Bible Project guys have a video. This is a lot better than reading a boring ol’ introduction in a study Bible.

God is unlike any other gods. As we consider the world in which Paul’s young disciple, Titus, lived and worked, it was a world of confusion about religion, truth, and practice. Moreover, Cretan’s were not known for their virtue. Soon after hearing the Gospel they were combining the religion of their culture into their Christianity. There were counterfeit leaders in this church proclaiming a defiled truth. If truth leads to godliness (1), then untruth leads to sin. The truth of God’s Word must be the standard in the life of a believer, lest we deform our worship and defame God. Right belief leads to right action—in fancier words—orthodoxy leads to orthopraxy.

What truth is Paul stating to correct falsehood? 1. We have the assured hope of eternal life through Christ (2a). 2. God is completely unlike the Roman gods who were flippant, jealous, manipulative, and petty (2b). 3. God has made promises that He will keep. His past faithfulness is a pattern and promise that He will do that which remains unfinished (2c–3). This is only an introduction so he doesn’t expand these ideas yet, but we can see the foundation he is laying. Titus’ primary job will be to establish leaders who are grounded in these truths and can combat the counterfeit leaders.

How does this apply to us? The main principle that is primary to God’s Word is that truth leads to godliness. When the church bends to the will of culture, bad things happen and the slimy tentacles of sin start to take hold. We see this in many ways. We are in a culture of identity crisis, nobody knows who they are or what they’re supposed to do. Thought leaders proclaim the death of God and religion because of science.  Every four years our nation (and churches) divide left and right based on who people believe to be the best savior of our nation. Even sports have a way of segregating communities—how many of you reading this would love to have a pastor who was a die-hard Duke or University of Louisville fan?

The church needs leaders grounded in truth who practice righteousness. These two ideas are inseparable!

What cultural ideas have you adopted into your Christian faith? For example: How has science challenged your view of God? What does it mean to “love your neighbor” when you are considered a bigot for not accepting their way of life? Has there been a time when a sports win or loss negatively affected how you spoke to your family or community? Has your politics ever gotten in the way of relationships?

How does God’s truth change how we should respond in each of these areas and how have you seen the Church (hopefully not CPC, but the universal Church) bow down to cultural pressure?

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate

November 15, 2014

Today you should read: Titus 3

Titus 3 reveals one of the clearest pictures of what God does in the doctrine of salvation.

First, we see our desperate need for salvation in the first place. Titus 3:4-5a says

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness,

A lot of people don’t believe that they need to be saved from their sins or try to get saved by the wrong things. Those who don’t believe that they need salvation usually don’t believe in sin or that their sin is bad enough for God to punish. As long as we’re not committing mass genocide, we should be good. Others who recognized that they need to be saved from their sins usually try to obtain it in the wrong ways. Some try through religion, through good works and others believe everyone is going to get saved and it’s just one big religion and god anyways. However, just like this verse says, we can’t be saved by our own righteousness but only through His righteousness and that’s when His grace, goodness and loving kindness appears to us through the proclamation of the Gospel. He saves us. We can’t save ourselves.

So what happens when God does save us through the believing power of Jesus? Titus 5b-7 explains.

but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

First God regenerates us, (v. 5b) which is when God gives us a new heart and new life in Jesus. Your old sinful self becomes a new creation in Christ. As C.S. Lewis once said “Christians are not just nice people, they are: or are supposed to be new people.”

Second, God justifies us (v. 7) which is when Jesus took our place in the wrath and punishment of God. Where at one time we were guilty of sinning before a Holy God, He now sees Jesus’ righteousness instead of our unrighteousness.

Third, He sanctifies us (v.5b renewal of the Holy Spirit) which is the continual process of us being set apart from the world for God’s purpose and will through the Holy Spirit He has given us when first accepting Christ. This is also how we will persevere as Christians and shows us that God is not done with us when first just saving us but is continuing to make us more like Him.

Lastly, we are glorified (v. 7b become heirs) which is the promise that we will be everything God intended us to be before sin came into the world and into our lives. We will have a glorified body like Jesus’ resurrected body that will be immune to sin, disease, and decay. It will be glorious, powerful and spiritual.

Now all of these big words and this theology doesn’t really matter unless you live it out like v. 8 says.

The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people

Regeneration doesn’t matter unless you’re living out your new life in Christ in front of others. Justification doesn’t matter unless you continue to trust in how God looks at you and forgives you unlike the world. Sanctification doesn’t matter unless you are making every effort along with God’s grace, to grow to be more like Him and glorification doesn’t matter unless you’re living a life that’s looking forward to a time and place with no sin or suffering. Devote your self to the good works that God has give you in salvation instead of just reading about it in theology books.

Posted by: Erik Koliser

November 14, 2014

Today you should read: Titus 2:9-15

“Then they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way.” Titus 2:10

This is the starting point for the rest of today’s passage. Verses 11-15 tell us of God’s grace revealed to us in salvation through Jesus. It tells us of how we are cleansed from sin, freed from its power and made to be a people for God. This passage is chalk full of some great truths that I encourage you to meditate on and pray through. What I want to hit on are verses 10 and 15. In verse 10 Paul talks about making the teaching of God attractive and in verse 15 he tells us to teach these things (all these truths we just read). So here is what I think we need to walk away with today:

Does my life make Jesus look good?

We don’t need to market or package Jesus any differently than He is to make Him more palatable for those around us. Sadly many churches are doing just that and it is distorting the gospel and making Jesus into someone He is not. We do, however, need to live a life that makes our Savior look good. We need to live in such a way that people notice a difference and want what we have. If we live a life that looks the same as everyone else then people will see no need to “add Jesus” to their lives. And the opposite is true as well. If we go out on the corner with a megaphone telling everyone to “turn or burn” we will turn people off to Jesus. But if we live our life believing the truths from today’s passage and then lovingly share them with others then we “make teaching about God our Savior attractive in every way”.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd