Empty Talkers and Deceivers

Titus 1:7-9 ESV

“For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”

An overseer in the church is like a pastor or an elder, someone who oversees the affairs of the church in a supervisory position of spiritual leadership over the people. He is to be a shepherd to the people of God, giving them biblical guidance and watching over them spiritually to counsel and assist them in their walks of faith in Jesus Christ. He is to care for them and to look out for them like a shepherd cares for his sheep. And he is also to lead them by example and to not lord it over them (1 Peter 5:1-4).

Now these overseers are to be chosen according to spiritual qualifications set down by God and not by other humans. And they are to be “above reproach,” meaning they should be free from all sinful practices, for such practices would interfere with them being able to lead by example, following the standards for godly living taught in the Scriptures. So, they should not be convictable of any wrongdoing. But they should be those who are living upright, holy, self-controlled, and spiritually disciplined lives for Christ.

And an overseer is to be someone who must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught by Jesus Christ and by his New Testament apostles. He is not to swerve from this, and he is not to add to or take away from the teachings of the Scriptures, the gospel of our salvation. And he is to be someone who is able to give instruction in sound doctrine, and he should not be someone who is altering and twisting the Scriptures to make them more acceptable and appealing to the ungodly and to human flesh.

And he is to be someone who is able spiritually to rebuke those who contradict sound doctrine. So, he must be well versed in the Scriptures and be taught to study them and to teach them in the proper context. And he must be someone who makes it his practice to test what he reads and hears against the Scriptures in their context so that he is not taken in by false doctrines himself, and thus he spreads those false doctrines to his people. And so he must be someone who is listening to and who follows the Spirit.

Titus 1:10-13a ESV

“For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true.”

Now what was described in the section above does not appear to be the norm these days in the church (or in what is falsely called “church”) here in America. This section here seems to be more the norm rather than the exception to the rule. Now this was in the context of Judaizers who were trying to convince Christians that they had to be circumcised and that they had to obey some of the Old Covenant liturgical and ceremonial and dietary laws and restrictions. But we can apply it more broadly than just that.

For the larger message here is that of making certain that those who are chosen to be overseers in the church are godly men who care for the Lord’s sheep and who are setting the right example in godly living and that they are instructing us sheep in sound doctrine and that they are rebuking those who contradict sound doctrine. And those who contradict sound doctrine today are mostly not those insisting on circumcision, but they are those who are altering the gospel to make it more acceptable to human flesh.

So, we have many overseers in today’s “churches” here in America who do not at all meet these spiritual qualifications but who are chosen according to their personalities and their talents and their ability to draw in large crowds of people from the world into the gatherings of what is called “church.” They are chosen a lot by their ability to smooth talk and to crack jokes and to be entertaining and to not be longwinded and to not be judgmental but to say what itching ears want to hear, and for their charm, too.

And they are diluting and altering the gospel of our salvation so that the people of the world will want to come to their gatherings, and so they will feel at home there, and so they will come back. But the true church is the body of Christ comprised of those who by faith in Jesus Christ are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and who are following the Lord Jesus in obedience to his ways, and who are worshiping the Lord in spirit and in truth, in the surrendering of their lives to Jesus Christ.

[Matthew 7:15-23; Matthew 24:11-14; John 10:1-15; 2 Peter 2:1-22; 1 Timothy 1:3-7; 1 Timothy 6:3-10; 1 John 4:1-6; Jude 1:3-23]

Titus 1:15-16 ESV

“To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”

Now there are believers in Jesus Christ who are following the Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands in walks of holiness and in righteousness. Sin is not their practice, but righteousness and obedience to Jesus Christ are what they practice. Now they are not perfect people, but they are not walking in sin using lack of perfection as an excuse for continuing in deliberate and habitual sin. But they are living holy lives pleasing to the Lord, doing what he says to do, and they are serving him with their lives.

But then there are many professers of faith in Jesus Christ who are believing a false gospel which is telling them that they can believe (undefined) in Jesus Christ, have all their sins forgiven, be on their way to heaven, but regardless of how they live or despite the fact that they continue in deliberate and habitual sin and not in walks of holiness and righteousness, in obedience to the Lord. And some of them are being told that they don’t have to repent of their sins nor obey the Lord, or that these are optional.

So, even though they profess to know God and to be in relationship with Jesus Christ, they deny the Lord by their deeds (by their actions, their works). And truly they are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work. And many of them are serving in positions of overseers and as pastors of church congregations because biblical requirements are not being upheld much at all these days, but rather fleshly desires are being given precedence over holiness and godliness.

So, what we need to understand is that the true gospel teaches us that we must deny self, daily die to sin and to self, and follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands. For Jesus died on that cross, and he was resurrected from the dead, so that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. But if we do not, but we go our own way, and so we live to please the flesh, and we walk in sin, and we don’t obey the Lord, then we will not enter the kingdom of heaven but we will die in our sins, and we will face the wrath of God.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: We’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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