BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday July 21, 2013
LOOK FOR QUALIFIED SPIRITUAL LEADERS
(We need leaders who help us grow in CHRIST)
In Paul’s, now famous, letter to his associate, Titus, he attempts to focus the young pastor’s attention on the need for proper Christian living, even in an atmosphere that showed unusual hostility to GOD’s Word, and in fact, was corrupt to its core. Christians are “GOD’s elect” in the simplest sense, and Paul’s message in this epistle is that a true Christian Church leader must show the world, through his or her own life and behavior, just what the grace of GOD can do for anyone who chooses to follow HIM.
Titus had been left on the island of Crete, a seemingly GOD-forsaken place, by Paul, to help strengthen the newly founded Christian Churches there. He was to select qualified ministers and elders, and then train them in the Word and ways of GOD. He was not only to select good leaders, but also was to instruct the other believers with basic Christian teachings.
And so it was necessary for Paul to go into great detail concerning the qualifications of church elders, and, to give instructions for others in the church as well. In these many instructions, Paul also touches on the problems that a true servant of GOD will have to face, and, on how these problems should be met, only through the use of GODly guidance and directions.
In the Greek, the word used for “truth” is “alethia”, and it is “that which is in harmony with reality”. Christian truth is a revelation of reality. When we know this truth and accept its reality, we then began to live by it, and thereby, be led into GODliness and righteousness by it. This Christian truth can never be separated from morality, because it is not just an intellectual undertaking, but rather, it is an actual commitment to deal with, in a GODly manner, the realities that must be dealt with in our everyday human existence.
When a person enters into the Christian Church, he is entering into an institution that is a product of the mind of GOD. In the worldly sense, it has a human history that spans back to the first century A.D., however, in reality, since GOD doesn’t have to come up with emergency measures on short notice, because HE’s sometimes caught off guard, we need to understand that the idea of the church finds its origins also in the eternal intentions of an All Knowing GOD.
The “Christian Hope”, despite the sound of the term, carries no hint of “uncertainty”. Instead, it is a term that conveys a sense of “settled confidence” and “earnest expectations”, for all those who believe, and, we are certain of an eternal life with GOD when this life here on earth comes to an abrupt end, because we live by HIS revealed truth. In other words, the true Christian does not wait for death, but rather, we anticipate, or, look forward to, an everlasting life with our eternal FATHER in Heaven.
In verses 6-9, Paul gives us a detailed list of the qualifications that we must insist on when we are selecting elders to serve in the Christian Church. Here we see that:
· An elder must be well thought of because he lives a good life (Have a good reputation).
· He must be faithful to his wife, and his children must be believers who are not wild and rebellious.
· He must seek to live a blameless life, because he is GOD’s minister.
· He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered.
· He must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or greedy for money.
· He must enjoy having guests in his home, and must love all that is good.
· He must live wisely and be fair.
· He must live a devout and disciplined life.
· He must have a strong and steadfast belief in the trustworthy message he has been taught.
· He must be able to encourage others with right teaching, and show those who oppose GOD’ s Word, just where they are wrong.
In verses 10-11, Paul paints a picture of the “unqualified” false teachers that had already infiltrated the Churches at Crete, and they were mostly of Jewish descent. These false teachers tried to present the people of Crete with the idea that, before they became Christians, they had to first, convert to Judaism, partaking in the ritual of “circumcision” and other Jewish rites. They sought to teach the people that they needed more than just JESUS to be “saved”. Such teachers, Paul says were;
· Empty talkers
· Deceivers, who upset whole households with their lies
· Teachers who only want the peoples’ money
As a result of their unholy influence, the people of Crete were sinking farther into sin, and in fact, one of their own prophets said that, “the people of Crete are all liars; they are cruel animals and lazy gluttons” (v.12). And even Paul agreed with his assessment (v.13a). And so he urged young Titus to rebuke them as sternly as necessary in order to make them stronger in the Faith (v.13b).
Religion without morality will always be counted as no more than “a sham”, and purity will always be a matter of the heart. To the person who is “unregenerate”, nothing is pure because their minds and consciences are defiled. Such people claim to know GOD, but they deny GOD by the very way that they live. However, to the person whose heart has been transformed by GOD, all things become pure and new (Vs.15-16).
A Christian leader must always strive to “keep themselves in the love of GOD” (Jude 1:21a). We must never let the impurities of this world infect our mind and thought pattern, lest everything that we encounter, be seen through the fog of our own iniquities. We must never let ourselves decline to the point spiritually, where everything that enters our minds will be soiled by our very own thoughts. As Christians who wish to escape our own uncleanness, we must cling tightly to the ways of CHRIST, and walk closely in HIS cleansing presence at all times.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website