Sunday, May 27, 2012

Holding firm to the trustworthy word

Holding firm to the trustworthy word

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. (Titus 1:9)

There is no question that the greatest problem that the church has to contend with is the problem of heretics who bring in untruths as if it is the truth. And therefore for those of us who are preaching the gospel particularly the pastors have the specific work to guard the flock against false teachers. Brethren, it is obvious that much has been committed to us as pastors in charge of the souls of men and the Word of God. Therefore much is required. The Lord was categorical that “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required ...” (Luke 12:48)
But this has to begin with you to ‘Hold firm to the trustworthy word’ as taught…’ Why are there so many false teachers today? It would be either because they who are teachers have not been taught. It could as well be that that they are have been taught so that they twist the truth that they already know as they have been taught. But the question that I would like us to consider is, “Are we faithfully holding firm to the trustworthy word? But why are we to hold firm to the trustworthy Word?”
It is very easy to criticize others especially the charismatics. But are faithful with what was committed to us? Are we sure that what was taught us was trustworthy? It could have been trustworthy if it was based on the word of truth, not philosophy, not feelings or emotion or dreams or visions or what people call prophecy but the trustworthy word of truth.
Every believer has responsibilities in the church – that is why the Lord placed such a person in His church. Men has specific duties to discharge in the church for the Lord has ordained that His church is to be lead particularly by men in the two offices – pastors (not pastor-esses) and deacons not deaconesses. Women have their roles to play in the church – that of teaching younger women and children.
Paul instructing Titus of who are qualified to be pastors, he gave a long list to do with his character – personal, family and public. He also has to be apt to teach
As to doctrine
Man who would be called into the ministry of the gospel is expected to “Hold fast the faithful word, as he has been taught, keeping close to the doctrine of Christ, the word of his grace, adhering thereto according to the instructions he has received - holding it fast in his own belief and profession, and in teaching others (Matthew Henry’s Commentary). Those who are to lead the church of Christ must know what He has said about how His church is to be governed. There is a constant exhortation for brothers to ‘stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. (2Thess. 2:15). What is being encouraged here is a consistency in what a pastor believes and teaches.
In the right context of these words, this is part of the pastoral qualifications for those who are to minister the Word of God. We read in 1Timothy 3:2 that such must be apt to teach for the pastors and for the deacons, “They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.”(1Tim 3:9).  Surely every Christian must be able to teach others privately so that He may present Christ as the One and only Saviour but much more those who are called into the vocation of preaching the word? How much more are we required to know, to believe, to teach and to live the trustworthy word entrusted to us? How much more should we hold firm to the gospel, the power of God for salvation to all who believe? How much are we to hold the word that is trustworthy because it is from God? How much shall we contend for the faith?
To show how important this one is, consider how much Paul rejoicing for the Romans response to the faith, ‘But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, (Rom 6:17)
Why are we to hold firm to the trustworthy word?
It is obedience not only to be transformed by the Word of God but also to have a commitment to teach it to others. This is what all men are called to do to learn with the purpose of committing it to other faithful men who would be able to teach it to others (2Tim. 2:2). The cycle is not complete until what you hear is heard by your friends and relatives whenever the Lord gives you the opportunity.
1.      So that we may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine
They are to teach that which is true and it is the Word of which is truth and so able to sanctify men (John 17:17). That he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort, and to convince, both to teach and refute those who teach untruth – that He may build the church of Church as well as tear down the kingdom of darkness.  The Word of God, revealed in the scripture, is a true and infallible Word. The Word of Him that is the Amen, the true and faithful witness. The Bible is the product of a spiritual superintendence for those who committed it to the paper were guided the Holy Spirit - Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2Peter 1:21).
2.      So that we may be able to rebuke those who contradict it
Brethren, We are privileged that we have the Word of God committed to us. We are to rejoice in this wonderful truth. That although lives were lost and so much suffering by such men as John Wycliffe and William Tyndale yet we have copies of Bibles in languages we can understand. Praise the Lord that He has given us His Word so faithfully preserved for us. Although, we do not have the original manuscripts, yet we can rejoice that God by the superintendence of the Spirit has kept His Word pure and even though there are so many manuscripts, the points of disagreement are so minimal that the truth is always retained by vast majority of the translations.
May I also challenge you to give yourselves first of all to study the Word more than you would study for an examination? Give specific times to the Word of God. Look back and compare the time you gave to make it to the position that you have or the time you are investing to boost your opportunities of employment and the time you invest in the Word of God that is able to make you wise for salvation; the Word that is from God for you to know Him so that you will be in all eternity with Him. Imagine God has so much revealed Himself to us! Paul said of Himself that I had kept the faith… (2Tim._4:7),  because he knew it so that he was able to declare the whole counsel of God (Act_20:27).
Finally what would you is what you have done with all that you have been reading and hearing here? Have you been a faithful witness? Have you committed it to others who are to the same? I know of a number of Christians who are very good scientists of world standard and good Christians for that matter. If you were called for an interview by a TV stations would you even remember to say anything about your faith?

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