November 13, 2014

Today you should read: Titus 2:1-8

Equal Standing, But Different Roles …

Coming out of chapter 1, Paul is now contrasting people who “profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works.”  We know this because Paul begins in chapter 2 with infamous words, “but as for you.”  Paul has used this phrase at other times in the book of 2 Timothy.  And here, Paul has just finished, in chapter 1, describing these false teachers whose lives don’t match their words.  Then he turns to Titus and tells him to be different.  He says, “But as for you…” live differently and lead differently.  Paul is painting the picture of how the church should look, and Titus will be following his instructions.

In our verses today, Paul is describing, “sound doctrine” in regards to gender roles and responsibilities within the church and home.  This is very important for a major reason.  He says in verse 6 that these roles and responsibilities should be followed, that the gospel may not be reviled.

Regardless of age or gender, we all have equal standing before God.  No one is greater and no one is lesser.  But just as within trinity, although there is equality, there is a difference in roles and responsibility.  Gender roles combine to accomplish great things for the kingdom of God.  And fulfilling these roles will represent the gospel to the world around us.  We can show the beauty of the Gospel (and not revile it) by fulfilling the responsibilities God has given us.

Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

Here are the focuses for each gender that Paul gives to Titus.  This is not an exhaustive list, and many of these roles should be the same for both genders, but it’s a great list to look at for gender roles and responsibilities:

Older men (and younger) are to:

  1. Exercise self-control
  2. Be worthy of respect
  3. Live wisely
  4. Have sound faith
  5. Be filled with love and patience

 

Older women (and younger) should:

  1. Live in a way that honors God
  2. Not slander others or be heavy drinkers
  3. Teach others what is good
  4. Train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands.

Paul lays this list out for us in a simple way.  Ask yourself today, how are you doing in your “assigned” roles and responsibilities?  This could be good to take with you as specific areas to work on in your daily life.  Will you give these areas effort?  Remember, when we live like this, the lost world around us will see the gospel in all of its beauty.  By fulfilling our roles, our families and churches can be walking billboards for what Jesus has done for us on the cross.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione

November 12, 2014

Today you should read: Titus 1:10-16

I’m so excited about our brief journey in the book of Titus – This letter, of course, was written to Titus by Paul and deals with order in the church among other critical themes.  It’s what we call a Pastoral Epistle.  Titus is the pastor on the island of Crete.

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Paul begins this letter get right into the thick of it – The danger of misusing our words in God’s church.  This was a problem in the early church and is still a problem today.

Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” – was crazy!  Words are our primary weapon of choice to inflict pain on others.  As we so often say at Center Point – before you speak you should ask three questions and then speak accordingly:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it kind?
  • Is it necessary?

Let’s do a short Bible study today on these few verses and see what God teaches us.

  1. We are RESPONSIBLE for our words. (v.10)

Paul tells Titus to deal with the following issues in the church:

  • Rebellious people
  • Engaging in useless talk
  • Deceiving others

We must be cautious of all of these – not having a rebellious heart – not practicing useless talk (and we do), and not deceiving others.

Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes–these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.  Ephesians 5:4

It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to fall into sin.  Luke 17:2

NOTE:  This is especially true regarding salvation (v.10b).  The critical danger in adding anything (like works or baptism) to salvation or taking anything away is overwhelming.

  1. The DANGER: Turning from truth to false teaching.  (v.11)

People follow false teaching because they haven’t been taught truth.  Truth is the solution to false doctrine.  When you know truth – you won’t accept error.  We must be extremely careful about this today.  There are many top selling authors and “preachers” who are marketing false doctrine and Christians are buying it by the millions.  And I DO MEAN millions – remember what verse 11b says – they do it only for money. BE CAREFUL!

  1. We must not hold on to myths – but TRUTH with a pure heart. (v.14)

We worship myths and traditions often more than the truth of God’s Word.  Stop listening to myths and check everything out with Scripture.

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.  Acts 17:11

  1. What we say and do REFLECTS our relationship with God. (v.16)

Remember it’s easy to proclaim our faith – but our faith isn’t confirmed by what we say – it’s by what we do.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’  Matthew 7:21-23

You can claim to know God with your lips but deny Him with you life.

What’s God speaking to you about today?  What do you need to tweak in your walk with Him?

Posted by: Tim Parsons

November 11, 2014

Today you should read: Titus 1:5-9

“Leadership is influence” ~ John Maxwell

Paul knew how important leadership was to the establishment of the church. He believed in it so much that he left one of his best disciples, Titus, in Crete for the sole purpose of appointing elders for the church. The same is true today for the church. We desperately need men to lead as overseers of our local churches, today maybe more than ever. Please note: we need women to lead too but not in this role. Not because women are not equal, but because that is how God has set it up per our passage today. The problem is we are very short on men ready to lead. This is not from a desire standpoint but from a qualification standpoint.

I know a lot of men and have heard of many more who desperately want leadership but they are nowhere near ready to be the kind of leader that God requires for his church. However, we need overseers and I want to challenge you if you are a man in your church to consider your own life. Ask yourself if God were to call me to lead in an elder role would I be ready? I want to talk about a couple things from our passage today that might help you think this through.

1. Are you a husband of one wife?

If you are single the question would be are you keeping yourself pure and are you preparing yourself for marriage if God were to call you to lead? Maybe he has called you to stay single like Paul, so are you staying pure in order to lead?

If you are a husband of one wife are you faithful?

Are you involved in an extramarital affair?

Pornography counts as infidelity. I know our culture has normalized pornography but God hasn’t.

Emotional affairs count too. If your female friend at work knows more about you than your wife, that is a problem. If you have to question it then it might be too far.

2. Are you above reproach?

Paul lists many shortcomings that we all need the Holy Spirit to work out of our hearts.

Are you actively working on this?

Remember the gospel should motivate us to act in godliness (John 14:23-24)

If your actions are off then your heart is off.

3. Are you true to the Word?

This is the most important thing for leadership. If you do not believe in the Word or stay true to the Word of God then you can’t lead.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”2 Timothy 3:16

Our obedience to the Word of God should come from our love for the gospel.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”Romans 1:16

I am very aware that leadership in the church is a tall order. However, God does not call perfect people to lead but he transforms broken people into leaders of his church. The key to the whole thing is a dependence upon God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”Ephesians 2:10

Posted by: Chad Wiles

November 10, 2014

Today you should read: Titus 1:1-4

We enter a fun new book today. The letter was written by Paul to Titus. Paul apparently had led Titus to Christ, and had taken Titus with him on a missionary journey to the island of Crete and left Him there for a specific reason. Paul wrote to give him some instructions for leading the church and “setting it in order” (vs. 5). Some corrupt things had become present in the church, along with some false teachings and presumptions. Overseers needed to be appointed in the various cities where the church existed. Maybe the church had never fully been organized at this point.

Let’s take a brief look at 1:1-4. Paul starts this letter with an introduction of who he is in Christ and the reason why he is writing. Paul labels himself as a bond-servant of the Lord in the first part of verse 1. A bond-servant is not a hired servant, but one who voluntarily chooses to be a slave for someone. Paul is a volunteer servant of the Lord who, through the power of the Holy Spirit, has committed himself to a life of surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ to do whatever He asks.

The next part of verse 1 and verses 2-3 begins the explanation of why Paul wrote to Titus. He wrote for the sake of the faith of those chosen of God and their knowledge of the truth. We’ll see in this book that he had a heart to protect the church, as well as a heart for believers to be grounded in their faith since there were false teachers amongst them.

In verse 4 Paul calls Titus his true child in a common faith. The language here seems to indicate that Titus converted to following Christ as a result of Paul’s ministry. Titus is Paul’s spiritual son because he led him to the Lord. Titus was serving in a pastoral role in Crete and Paul is about to give him instructions as to how to organize and lead the church.

As a point of application for myself and maybe you as well, look again at the first line of verse 1. Paul labeled himself as a bond-servant of God. Every time I see that label, it challenges me.

OK, honesty time. I cannot always label myself as one who serves God voluntarily out of love. In fact, sometimes, I approach my time in the Word as a burdensome duty or something I need to check off my list. Sometimes, I serve because I feel like I need to keep God happy with me. Sometimes, I would rather serve myself than Him. So, an application question I must ask is, “Am I a bond-servant of Christ right now, like in this very moment? I want to be. I hope you do as well.

I hope you will engage this book with us.

Posted by: Rich Duffield