Monday, September 17, 2012

THE FALSE TEACHERS: UNFIT FOR ANY GOOD WORK!




Titus 1:10-16
Are you disturbed by the prevalence of so many false teachers in our day? Listen to the radio, watch the television preachers, listen to those who preach in buses, go to most of the churches in this city and all over the world… it is deplorable and disgusting that many of those of those who speak in the name of God are false! One can very easily conclude that there is no one preaching the truths of the Bible! Do not be tempted to go the Elijah way and conclude that you are the only one who has not bowed to Baal. God has promised us that He has many who are His and this is the reason why are we are to ask this evening, what is our role in combating the false teaching of our day? Have ever wondered if there is anything you could do to deal with the false teachers and teachings of our day? What is the remedy and strategy given in the Bible as the manner of combating false teachers and their false teachings?
One of the basic reason why the church has to have godly leaders on the eldership, who are sound doctrine and so hold firm to the trustworthy Word as taught, is so that they may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also rebuke those who contradict it. The elders have to be able and willing to combat false teachers and their wicked teachings, if they will be faithful stewards of the church of God. No one should aspire to the office of the elder, if he does not have the spine or the guts to do this murky work. While you are appointing the elders to the church we have to be sure that he is a man who is able and committed to this task. You notice that there are many false teachers. Therefore, there must be many more elders who bring sound teaching to deal both with the errant and their errors.
The passage before us seeks to expose these false teachers – their identity and character as well as the influence they have on people. It also exposes the basic tenets of false teachings and its foundations are shaken. And finally we are given the manner in which we are to deal with these menace. Clearly, the Lord has not tell us to remain idle or silent on the ground that everyone has a right to express himself, has He? He has given us this word so that we may not only know who are false teachers and what falsehood they propagate, but He has given us clear instructions on how we are to deal with these liars, before He ultimately deals with them.

1.    Exposing false teachers’ identity

Their character (v.10,12):Paul describes them as insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers. This means that they are rebellious, they refuse to submit to the trustworthy word. They instead talk empty words, they are full of big and astounding promises which come to nothing, they are full of fruitless teachings. Unproductive talking so that even if you sit down with them, you rise up with nothing of substance that you can remember although you might have spent your full day! Even worse that empty talking, they deceive. They lie and cheat and con people! This is verified by their own poet whom they had given the title of a prophet and so Paul calls him a prophet as they did.
He said that that always liars! Their lies were every time they opened up their vile mouths. They make big claims for themselves, as being apostles and prophets. They claim big titles for themselves such as reverends and bishops and dress, and dress in a way that will deceive people. Furthermore, they were lazy-gluttons! What a contradictory character of people who want to eat and yet not work! Such must not eat as God has said he who does not work must not eat.

Their identity (v.10, 14): These people belong to the circumcision party. So the false teachers were Jewish, not the Judaizers who were arguing that circumcision was necessary for salvation (Acts 15:1) because these were sincere. These were people bent on deceiving others, by teaching Jewish myths and endless genealogies (1Tim 1:4). This helps us to know their identity as Jews.

Their motivation (v.11):Their basic motivation to the work they do is not to preach Christ or the gospel. These people are motivated by shameful gain. The basic reason for so many false teachers is not to honor Christ, it is not win souls to Christ, it is not because they would like to see sinners converted by Christ, by His gospel and conveyed to His kingdom of light. That is far from the truth. The truth is that they want to draw as many as possible to themselves, so that they can have them give as much as possible in order to enrich themselves. Why do they many of them preach error, it is to provide for themselves a quick means to gain.
True, there are many who are sincerely deceived, and we know that the Lord will deliver them. But there are many more who are doing it as a profession in order to make money. The effect of this is that they are upsetting many families. Many families have been torn apart by the greed of these false teachers. Be on your guard for people who have unending demands for money. Watch out for those who flash their M-pesa lines bank accounts so that you can send them money. Do not even listen to them, otherwise they may make a wonderful promise that you will struggle to resist, and then you will be in their hook!
Their end (v.16): Since they are neither subject to the Chief-Shepherd nor to His Word, they are false or foreign to His church, impostors who are leopards in sheep’s-clothing. Therefore they have to be unclothed! Their lies and deception has to be exposed, you have to know them and we are supposed to do everything to unveil their identity as deceivers who must not speak in the name of the Lord. Thankfully, the Lord has promised in His word, “they will not get far, for their folly will be plain to all…” (2Tim. 3:9).Clearly, they are unfit for any good work andtheir teachings are futile (1Tim 1:6). Do you notice many of the churches that have come up they have no confession of faith, they do not follow a traditionally accepted doctrine – their pastors invent their doctrines in the pulpit! Beware!

2.    Exposing the tenets of their errors

This passage seeks to help us expose the errors of false teaching by giving us threefold test to the teachings we here.
a)     Theyemphasize the commands of people (v.14)
First of these people have many commands that appear to be from the Bible. But they are not. Secondly, their commands are from human origin – following traditions of men. They tell their hearers, “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” and all these in reference to thing that all perish as they are used like food, clothing, places etc. according to human precepts and teachings. (Col. 2:21-22). The point is that these are commands of people and not of God. They emphasize blessings that their hearers could get from preachers (themselves as the ‘servants’ or ‘men of God’) if you could meet some conditions that they set and with the same breath, threaten with curses if you do not follow the recipe that they provide! Is this familiar?
You notice that in devoting themselves to commands, myths and superstitions construed by people, in effect, they turn away from the truth. People who are ever talking about what so and so said, whether from a vision or dream or revelation, reject the word of God of God. First because the place words of men at the same level with the Word of God and also because their attention is to the words of men rather than God.
b)     They have false understanding of purity  (v. 15)
These people who have much to say from men invent their own form of godliness. The reason is because both their minds (what they know and believe) and consciences (what they will and are able to do) are defiled, or corrupted and so unfit or unacceptable.Their understanding of holiness is not the biblical one, although they might talk about holiness as if they know what they are talking about. God’s word says, “These have indeed the appearance of wisdom in promoting self made religion and asceticism and severity of the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” (Col. 2::23)
Because they are defiled, nothing is pure to them, they think that the problem is what they eat or touch or handle. They look at food, places and things as agents of sin. The truth is that what defiles a person comes from the heart: things like evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy slander, pride, foolishness – all these are from within and defile a person (Mark 7:21-22) – sin is internal, in the heart and this is the problem. What defiles a person is not external. Since they have an erroneous understanding of sin they fail to have the right understanding of holiness and purity.
c)      The profess to know God, but deny Him by their actions (v.16)
All false teachers do not do what they teach – they are hypocrites. They even act contrary to their own consciences and knowledge. They live a lie because they do not have the light of dawn, of the word and the testimony. Their lives are characterized by this violent division of creed and conduct – what they say is not what they are, their words and deeds do not march – they profess God in word but deny Him in deed. Their faith is a dead faith since good works does not accompany it.
John Stott provides a very good conclusion regarding false teachers and their disciples. He says that we have to ask three questions about it.
·         First, is its origin divine or human, tradition or revelation?
·         Secondly, is its essence inward or outward, spiritual or ritual?
·         Thirdly, is its result a transformed life or merely a formal creed?
True religion is divine in its origin, spiritual in its essence and moral in its effect.

3.    Dealing with false teachers:

There are two ways prescribed here of how we are to deal with the false teachers. In both ways, their erroneous teaching has to be impacted. You cannot divide the false teachers and their false teachings and so whatever you have to do has to impact both. Undoubtedly, Christian leaders must not tolerate such.
a)     They must be silenced (v. 11)
With such dangerous men purporting to speak for God, in His name, using His word, enriching themselves to the detriment of whole families being destroyed, we have to get together to do what we must do to stop them. The way to stop them is silence them. Their mouths have to be muzzled. A gag is what will help the situation because laissez-fare will not do.  There is a need for the church to have leaders who will rise up to stop them from continuing to do what they are doing. By teaching things they ought no to teach, there are ruining the households. When they demand money from people, there families who go angry and yet others end up in great debts. But it is even worse than that because, eternal destiny of people is affected by teaching them things that do not bring any eternal profit but bring eternal ruin to people. This is the reason why we cannot remain unmoved.
The basic way provided in the passage on how to silence them is by having elders who hold firm to the trustworthy word and so are able to rebuke those who contradict them. Truthful teaching has to be preached far and wide. Elders who are able have to deal with the false teachers. In church history we know of such godly men like Augustine of Hippo who dealt with the false teaching of Arius in the 4th century, Asahel Nettleton who dealt with Charles Finney in the 18th Century, etc. we are to be concerned to publish the truth far and wide, by raising faithful men who are to take the gospel farther. This is our aim in the Pastors’ Theological Course. It is our prayer that the Lord may be pleased to bring more to be taught, and add more teachers to instruct the students in sound teaching. The church has to be very quick and active in raising preachers.
But the passage does not tell us exactly how to stop them although the rest of the Scripture has something to say about it. In 3:10, Paul instructs Titus, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once, and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.The first thing to with those in error is to warn them and admonish them so that they may be won over by truth. If he refuses, he must be sharply reprimanded and told to desist and if he persists then he has to be disciplined by the church and be handed over to Satan (1Tim. 1:20).
I am persuaded that the best manner to deal with the prevailing false teaching is by being more vocal in making the true gospel known in this city and beyond. I have been praying that the Lord may make it possible for us to get into the media by having our own radio broadcasting station, so that we could propagate the truths of the Word of God far and wide.
b)     They must be rebuked sharply (v. 13)
False teachers have to be rebuked sharply or decisively by the elders, when the Lord provides the opportunity. A sharp rebuke is the dose recommended by the Lord for false teachers. Such a rebuke will get through them. We must not give them an opportunity or tolerate them at all. How can they become what they are not if no one is going to withstand them to the face and tell them that they actions are unacceptable? This is done out of concern for them and their hearers. They have to change in respect to the truth, they have to stop saying and teaching what they are teaching and we must do all we can to admonish them who come our way. One day I was in a bust where a man was preaching false teaching and afterwards he came to sit by where I was and I got the chance to tell him that if he wants to preach, then he has to use the Bible and not his own imaginations! Though he did not like it, I told him.
v  We must not give up the false teachers as no one is beyond the reach of the grace of God – there is hope for them because God is very gracious and patient with people. Paul told Timothy that the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (2Tim. 2:24-26).It is my prayer that the Lord may help us all to be exactly like this so that the Lord may bring even false teachers under the authority of His Word, and under the lordship of Christ.
v  This evening we rejoice that the Lord has granted us a church that is committed to the Word of God. This is not something that we should take for granted there are many people who are looking for a church that is founded on the Word of God. The many people who have come to this church from other churches are a witness to what they have gone through.
v  Please pray for us in the eldership that the Lord may help us to remain faithful to the word of God – first of all to preach nothing but the truth of the Word of God to you. secondly, that we may be ever willing to rebuke and silence those who contradict the word of truth. And thirdly, to be able to identify and raise faithful men who are able to pass the truths of the word of God to others so that there will be continuity and propagation of the truths of the word in this city, in this country and beyond.
v  Let us be willing to give ourselves fully to combat the false teachers and their teachings by investing our time and resources towards the propagation of the knowledge of the truth that accords to godliness. Prayerfully consider what we as a church should do to combat the false teachers and teachings and be supportive. Meanwhile, our commitment is to the gospel and the preaching of truth because the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. (2Cor. 10:4-6)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Leaders who lead the church to godliness



(Titus 1:5-9)

The Lord Jesus Christ has designed His church to be a place where truth and godliness are upheld. Paul told Timothy that the church is the pillar and buttress of truth – truth both believed and lived. For this reason the church needs godly leaders who will lead believers to godliness. The truth that accords to godliness has to be preached by godly leaders who in their leadership, through the ministry of the word would inspire their congregation to godliness.
This is not easy to achieve by anyone but it is the standard set down by God for the leadership of His Church. As I preach this, I am very convicted of the truths in this Scripture. Do I qualify? This is the question that I have honestly given the answer, NO. But then I wonder, why did God let me in the ministry and at least two churches have witnessed that I qualify.
Let us consider the passage and fully understand the qualification laid down by the Master for His Church. As I bring this, please understand that I am also preaching to myself.
It does appear as a conjecture, after Paul was released from the prison in Rome in Acts 28, he travelled to encourage the churches and when they were in Crete, he left Titus there. Why did Paul leave Titus in Ephesus?
Paul gives two reasons for leaving Timothy in Crete:
  1. So that he might put what remained into order
It is the specific task of the leaders who begin churches, having been sent by their local churches, to make sure that the church functions normally with its own leadership structure in place. A church has to have at least two elders to function well. Where there is only one man in charge of a church, there is bound to be problems. This is why we are to pray for this church to have more than two elders. This is why we should aim at sending at least two men to go to church plant.
Putting into order what remained was quite a task for the young man Timothy. But this was work that he was going to do with the help of the Lord Himself, who is the Chief-Shepherd who loved the church so much that He gave His life to buy for Himself a people. He will give aid in the establishment, progress and consummation of the church. This why we have to fully rely on Him for the guidance, otherwise, we might not be able to bring up a church that reflects His glory.
  1. So that he could appoint elders in every town as directed by Paul.
Titus was to look for those who had the desire to the office of an elder. The desire, though not here, is very specific in the parallel of this passage in 1Timothy 3:1, as the beginning point to this office. The church had a role to play in these appointments. Or otherwise, how could he have been able to investigate personally each and every individual for every church in the towns of Crete? The responsibility of the appointment of pastors is joint responsibility of both the eldership and the church members. The elders recommend and the members investigate and finally appoints. This is why Paul stresses the fact that he must be ‘above reproach’.
The men to be appointed are called elders to reflect their seniority in the government of the church. But the ruling authority is unique in the sense that it does not use coercion to bring the church to his rule. Instead the Word of Christ is used to persuade and bring consciences of men into subjection so that they submit to the lordship of Christ. These men in charge of a church are also called overseers, as those who exercise oversight over souls of men before God, so as to give an account before Him. Instead of coercion and dominion, the Chief-Shepherd said that His disciples must not govern like the world or hypocrites do because they lord it over them, but rather “whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave” (Matthew 20:25-26). Then it does appear that it is the specific function of these leaders to equip the saints for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ until all members attain to the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:12-13). Eldership is like the joints to the body so as to make sure that every part of the church is functioning properly (Eph. 4:16)

What were the qualification(s) to this office?

It does appear that there is one general qualification that is expounded in the verses 6-9. Anyone who is above reproach or blameless in matters to do with his family (v. 6), in personal godliness (vv. 7-8) and in his ministry (v. 9), is eligible to be appointed to the work of eldership which is called overseers in terms of the task to be done. You notice that the general statement is made in verse 6 and verse 7, “… if anyone is above reproach… For an overseer as God’s steward, must be above reproach.” Only the leaders who qualify in regard to this qualification would be of maximum benefit to the church. What it means, is not that he must be faultless or unblemished or without any flaw, because then there would be none who qualifies except Christ. It means ‘without blame’ or ‘without an accusation against him’. It could also mean a person of unquestionable integrity in regard to his public or social life with people, beginning with those in the church who know him well. If a person is marred by disgrace and has glaring sin in his life, he stands unfit to be a shepherd of God’s flock and should not be considered for the appointment to this work.

  1. Elders must be blameless in their family life (v.6)
Charity begins at home and therefore, “The home is regarded as the training ground for Christian leaders” Donald Guthrie. Therefore, the one who is to be appointed to this noble office of eldership must have such home qualities that show his capability to exercise oversight in the church of Christ. This is to be manifested in his marriage life. He is to be “a husband of one wife” That is if he is married it has to be a monogamous relationship. He has to be a man who is committed to one woman as his wife. This is not designed to exclude the unmarried from being elders, but it is actually to qualify those who are married. You realize that sex scandals are so damning even for worldly leaders like it was the case of Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky in America. How much more damning it would be for a pastor to have such scandalous relationship because then he would put the name of the Lord and His church to shame. This is what we hear every time in the Roman Catholic and Anglican Church priests and bishops and now there are even gay bishops etc.! Obviously they are not qualified from serving in the church of Christ!
Their blamelessness is not just in marriage but also in their parenthood. Their children are to be believers, having been brought up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. The man has to learn to teach his family the Word of God and correct them in the manner that the children come to faith. Obviously, it doesn’t say that, they must save their children, it is for the Lord to save them but it is for the man to use the right means to bring them to faith in Christ.
The children must be obedient, faithful, pious and not be in open to rebellion and debauchery or unruly. “Children so faithful and obedient,” says Mathew Henry, “and temperate, will be a good sign of faithfulness and diligence in the parent who has so educated and instructed them; and from his faithfulness in the less, there may be encouragement to commit the greater, the rule of government of the church of God.” He must manage his own household well, with all dignity, keeping his children in submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household how will he care for God’s church? (1Tim 3:5)

  1. Elders must be blameless in their character (vv.7-8)
The title, overseer or ‘bishop’ here replaces ‘an elder’ to show that it is a reference to the same office so that pastors of a church were the final authority on earth to determine all church matters. He is entrusted by God with the church. Always bear in mind that the responsibility to be pastors of God’s church is a privilege (not a right) of trusteeship and therefore be very careful to watch over ourselves and the flock. We should have such a character that befits God’s stewards, knowing that we will give an account to Him. As elders here we will give an account for every soul. This is why you should not make it difficult for us but rather help us to do it with joy and not with groaning because that will be of no advantage to you (Heb. 13:17).
So as God’s stewards, elders-overseers must be:
  1. Negatively:
  • Not arrogant – stubborn, self-willed, so as to get one’s way. Unwilling to listen to others or take criticism.
  • Not quick-tempered – impatience with people and therefore anger and wrath is a great temptation to us all but particularly to pastors who deal with slow and obstinate people, who though by now ought to be teachers are still on the basics.
  • Not drunkards – not necessarily teetotalers but the moderate ones so that they do not control over themselves.
  • Not violent – pastors should avoid forceful disposition, rather it is by example (1Peter 5:3)
  • Not greedy for gain – seeking dishonest gain and love of money will always land one into trouble because those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is root of all kinds evils (1Tim. 6:9-10)
  1. Positively
  • Hospitable – willing to welcome into his home brethren and visitors, entertaining and accommodating.
  • Lover of good – he has to be a person who generously supports good causes for the good of the church in particular and the society in general for the glory of God.
  • Self-controlled – sober, reasonable and controlled in his judgments or governance of the church.
  • Upright – he deals with people honestly in good conscience
  • Holy – his standing, attitude and conscience before God is good.
  • Disciplined – he is to be self-controlled and honors the Lord in everything so that the Lord is glorified.
  • In these words, as John Stott puts, we have five areas of great temptation – pride, temper, drink, power and money. These are the greatest temptations for the elders. It is very easy for pride to come just like anger. But the gracious remedy given by the Spirit to the steward of God is self-control. Self-control is the last of the nine-fold fruit of the Holy Spirit and it shows a Christian who is mature. Christianity maturity is necessary for the pastoral responsibilities. The Holy Spirit, who indwells believers, so that they can be fruitful to the Lord, is the only one who can master earthly passions that wage war against our members. 
     
  1. Elders must be blameless in their doctrine (v.9)
  • The elders have to be those with a firm and strong grip of the truth, which is described as the trustworthy word taught. This is the objective faith taught by the Lord and the Apostles. This trustworthy word is the basic thing that the elders are expected by the Lord to hold firm and keeping on holding. They are to be people who well understand the word of truth for they will need it for two purposes:
  1. To be able to give instruction in sound doctrine
  • It is the responsibility of the elders to feed the flock with the right diet, that is, the word of God, which is able to make people wise for salvation. The eldership is made up of men who are able to teach others so that they may bring them up to maturity of faith so that they can be profitable to the Lord. The teaching ministry is very basic in the continuity and profitability of the church to its Master. The elders should seek to use the word of God to encourage and convince believers to godliness pointing them to Christ. They need to present the whole counsel of God diligently explaining and expounding as heralds sent by God to declare His will and as evangelists to win sinners to faith by proclaiming to them the gospel.
  1. To be able to rebuke those who contradict the truth
  • The second purpose for the elders to hold firm to the trustworthy word is to be able to expose error, uproot it where it had root, to overthrow and destroy it where it had overcome some truth. It is the responsibility of the elders to make sure that the flock is not fed on falsehood and so they have to warn the church of both false teachings and the false teachers as Paul did in 1 Timothy 1:19-20. He exposed Hymaneus who was blasphemously teaching that resurrection is already past (2Tim. 2:17-18). This is protecting the church from being trapped into the snare of false teaching.

    • APPLICATION:

  • The church without elders (plural) is incomplete or has some unfinished task. The church has to be governed by plurality of elders. The
  • The church ought to be very carefully by scrutinizing anyone who aspires to be her pastor. Those in leadership have to investigate the candidate well enough, together with the whole church, to ascertain the qualifications listed down in the specific areas of personal holiness, family and ministry. Once you have chosen someone to the office, it’s very difficult to come back on the matter, without causing undue tension. Therefore, when you start doing the work, you better do it well. There is no place for hiring pastors in boardrooms!
  • This qualifications are achievable that is why the Lord has appointed many men throughout history, many of them with such a bad past because He qualifies those He calls. He does not call those who are qualified – he calls men and qualifies them to the task of the ministry. Therefore, there is no one who should be able that far from him to be an elder because he is unqualified. In fact these qualifications are general and ought to be true for all Christians.
  • We should pray for such faithful men to be given by the Lord to look after His church. We should also look around for such like them and encourage them to the office of the overseer.
  • We are to support the pastors because of the awful responsibility and expectations that the Lord has set for them. There are many times I examine myself and find that I am per below per and so continue to pray that the Lord who called me will in due time fill me in so many areas I am lacking, strengthen me in areas where I am weak and encourage me to continue when I am weary. Please pray for us particularly that we will be godly in character, faithful husbands and fathers, and diligence in the ministry that we will bring honor and glory to the Lord.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Knowing the truth which leads to godliness



Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords to godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Saviour;To Titus, my true child in a common faith:Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.(Titus 1:1-4)

There two fundamental characteristics of the Christians – FAITH AND KNOWLEDGE, leading to GODLINESS AND HOPE OF ETERNAL LFE. This is what I would like us to consider in the next Sunday evenings. How our knowledge that led to faith and as a result we have continued to amass more Biblical knowledge can produce those two things in great measure so that we may be more biblically godly in the church, (chapter 1) at our homes (chapter 2) and in the world (chapter 3) as we eagerly await the second appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. All the commentators I read agree with this division.
He we have the third longest introduction of Paul to Titus. The first is to the Romans – 93 words, (which so much resemble this one with Paul calling himself both a servant and an apostle in both, with the talk of promise now fulfilled and grace and peace all coming from the same source). The second longest is in Galatians with 75 words.
He introduced himself as, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. In this Paul is calling himself a slave or a bondservant of God. Just like Old Testament Prophets were called servants of God, Paul takes this same designation. This is a title of humility because it shows one who is bought so that he doesn't have any personal right – he is owned by God and can only do and say only what He is told to do and say. How is he a slave of God?  He is supposed to serve God without question or any reservation. He is fully and totally under God’s direction and guidance. He is to obey God absolutely. Whereas many of those who call themselves servants of God also designate for themselves awful titles like right reverend to get noticed so as to be respected. We are to be aware that such titles are liabilities to one’s spiritual life because in them is no humility.
Paul is also an apostle of Jesus Christ. An apostle is literally a messenger. The twelve Apostles were received a very unique call when they appointed by Christ, because He then commissioned them and gave them great power and authority as His inspired messengers to carry on the work of establishing the church.  Those who call themselves by this title need to know that the qualifications for one were given when the eleven replaced Judas Iscariot the son of perdition. These qualifications are given in Acts 1:21 and were the following:
i)                   Man (as opposed to woman, there wasn’t a woman appointed by Christ).
ii)                 Who had been with Jesus and the eleven during His ministry (from John’s baptism to ascension)
iii)               A witness to the resurrection 
But there is one exception to prove the rule, one called Paul of Tarsus who was commissioned by the Lord Himself and taken to Arabia to be with Christ for personal instruction.
He therefore described Himself thus:
i)                   Christ last of all appeared to Paul and he is the last and the least of the apostles (1Cor. 15:8)
ii)                 Received the gospel through the revelation of Jesus Christ (Gal 1:13)
iii)               Commissioned personally by the Lord to be the Apostle to the Gentiles (Gal. 1;15
iv)               He had an apostolic authority as to rebuke even Apostle Peter to his face (Gal. 2:11-14)
This leaves no room for additional apostles today. This is because the Apostles and the Prophets are the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20) and there can only be one foundation laid by the twelve and Paul. Therefore those who call themselves apostles are lying imposters and have no authority.
Then Paul goes on to explain the purpose for which his servant hood and apostleship is given him. It is given in the interest of establishing, promoting and nurturing the faith of God’s elect, their knowledge of the truth (and only the truth that leads to godliness) and their hope of eternal life promised by God before the ages began and revealed now through the preaching of the word of the gospel that has been entrusted to Paul by the command of the saving God.
William Hendriksen explains it like this in his commentary on Titus:
“The service and apostleship are exercised in the interest of … the faith of God’s elect and (their) acknowledgement of the truth which accords with godliness, that is, they are carried out in order to further or promote the reliance of God’s chosen ones upon him, and their glad recognition or confession of the redemptive truth which centers in him, a truth which, in sharp contrast with the vagaries of false teachers, accords with … godliness, the life of Christian virtue, the spirit of true consecration.” (Titus p. 340)

CHARACTERISTICS OF CHRISTIANS

1.      FAITH
Those who have been elected by God have faith and confident trust in Him as the one to keep them to all eternity. Anyone who purports to the elect of God and lacks faith is liar.  Faith is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8) and is given as the evidence of the eternal plan of God to bring to salvation those that He had placed His grace upon. All those who are in the family of God are believers because the family of God is of faith. This is how Paul elsewhere describes Christians in Galatians 6:10 – the household of faith. No one who lacks in faith can belong to God because without faith it is impossible to please Him for whoever who would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him (Heb.11:6).
The Bible clearly teaches various degrees of faith so that our faith need to increase once it has been established by God in His grace. The disciples prayed to Jesus to increase their faith (Luke 17:5). Furthermore Jesus rebuked those who had little or great faith. Apostle Paul was overflowing with thanksgiving for the growing faith of the Thessalonians (2 Thess.1:3). There are those of weak faith (Rom. 14:1). Also there are those of false faith like the demons (James 2:19) and dead faith (2:17, 26). What type of faith do you have? You notice that makes all the difference in the making of elect because faith makes the election sure (2Peter.1:10).
Can anyone be a Christian without faith? NO! Therefore examine your faith to make sure it is genuine. Every Christian has to have faith in Christ firmly established and increasing and growing abundantly. As the faith grows then you are established. The growth in faith leads to Christian maturity so that one fully depends on the Lord Jesus Christ for life and godliness. You need to look at your Christian maturity to know whether your faith is growing and increasing.
Those who preach the gospel have the responsibility of establishing, nurturing and promoting this kind of faith among all people by preaching the word of God which able to make them wise for salvation. This is what Paul told the Romans that faith comes by hearing the word. We have to preach the gospel only.
You have to live this life by faith only, fully and wholly by the grace of God. Always remember that there is no amount of works can secure a single blessing for you from God. Paul knew this and so he said that by grace he was what he was. You have to know that by grace you are made and this is the only hope for you to obtain permanent and enduring peace with God as Paul wished Titus (v.4).
But there are those here who do not know anything about the saving faith in Christ. You are running aimlessly in vain and you will achieve nothing until you stop depending on yourself and instead trust and depend on Christ. I encourage now instead to put your faith, your trust and confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ because He receives everyone who comes to Him in faith. As long as you continue to trust in your own merit you lose. The grace is obtained by trusting in Christ to give it instead of trusting on yourself because by your efforts you can achieve nothing.
2.      KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH
Christians are brought to faith by hearing the solid truth of the Word of God. This knowledge is not some secrets construed somewhere by a group of people who by their human cunning and understanding purport to be know (gnostics), but it is the objective truth coming from God who never lies. This is the trustworthy word and worthy of full acceptance so that all those who have it come to faith in Christ and then are saved.
Our knowledge of truth is also to grow just like faith – in fact the two grow together. Apostle Peter warns us to take care that we are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose our own stability. But we are to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18). Paul is saying here that it was his responsibility to establish this knowledge of the truth, nurture and promote it in his apostleship. This is my work as well as your pastor – to labor hard so that you grow in the knowledge of the truth. But how will I know that you are growing in truth?
Growth in truth is marked by godliness. The truth that is of God produces leads or accords to godliness in believers. Whoever says that he knows truth but does not live holy life is untruthful and does not know the truth. Apostle John in giving assurance to his readers and he keeps on telling them ‘we know’. Some of the remarkable statements he makes is that the reason for writing his fist letter who not just to inform the mind, but to inform the mind with an aim that they may not sin (2:1). Therefore knowledge of truth has to lead to godly living.
Paul himself is only committed to presenting the word of God entrusted to Him by the command of God our Saviour. This is the truth he is talking about and this is the knowledge that he desires of his readers. The preachers who are committed to anything else other than the truth of the word of God are completely mistaken. As ministers of the Word of God, we have to have a commitment like this: “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled it is veiled to those who are perishing” (2Cor. 4:1-3).
3.      HOPE OF ETERNAL LIFE
Faith and knowledge have to produce one more thing that marks a genuine Christian – the hope of eternal life. Because you may ask, how is that our Christian hope, in contrast to all worldly and secular hopes, is so sure and secure and so reliable in full assurance of the eternal joy in the life after death? God Himself guarantees the hope of Christians. There isa fourfold guarantee from God in this passage of the eternal life in which we hope:
i)                   God promised eternal life before ages began
We could not be so sure where not for the fact that we are hoping in something that God promised us before the time began. This shows that is firmly established by God upon His own initiative and so nothing can go wrong since it depends on Him alone. See Ephesians 1:3-10 and 2Timothy1:9
ii)                God who made the promise never lies
Cretans were liars but the character of the eternally thrice holy God does not lie, he cannot lie, he never lies because He is faithful and cannot disown Himself (2Tim 2:13) and on this premise the Christian hope is sure and secure.
iii)              God has manifested this promise to us at the proper time by His word
God has revealed this promise to us which makes it binding because of His holy character to keep it. We are sure because it has been made public to us by God Himself and we know He will honor His word.
iv)               God has entrusted this message to preachers by His command
The gospel message bringing in knowledge and faith thus hope, continue to be preached to invite others to come to this hope f eternal hope. This makes us sure that our hope is founded on the promises of God and will come to pass. The promise, the character and the gospel message and messengers are the hope for us.
Paul commends Titus such a Christian in that he is his true son in a common faith.  This is to say that Titus has such a saving faith that Paul has. Titus has the same desire to grow and increase in the genuine faith as Paul in this they are one. Just like Paul, Titus was nurturing and promoting the faith of other people in the knowledge of truth, faith and hope – for these he lived. Titus has a true knowledge of God and his promises revealed in the gospel and a hearty confidence in God and in His redemptive, Christ centered love. We have Titus very well commended in the letter to the Corinthians in the second letter 9 times:
Just to have a glimpse of who Titus was in the ministry, Paul says, “But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you.” So Titus was appointed by the churches to travel with Paul and co. to take their contributions to Jerusalem. Titus is Paul’s partner and fellow worker for their benefit (8:16-24). Titus and Paul acted in the same spirit (12:18). They indeed had a common faith.
Paul therefore wishes Titus the very best from God – grace (the unsolicited and unmerited favor to overflow in him in Christ) and peace (the reconciled relationship with God). These two most gracious blessing are appropriated to the Christians believers by the Lord Jesus Christ and comes form God the Father.
God the Father is here called the Saviour (although a little strange, salvation is planned and effected by the Triune God, so there is nothing strange in this little but profound statement.) Jesus Christ is the Saviour with the Father (and the Spirit).

APPLICATION:

v  We are Christians, aren’t we? Much has been entrusted to us in terms of knowledge. What have we done with it? Has it translated to a more godly life? Do we love the Lord more and fear the Him more? Do we feel, think and do as those who belong to the family of God?
v  What do you have to show for your faith? Is it godliness?
v  What do you have to show for your knowledge of the truth? Have you sought to share it?
v  What is the anchor of you hope of eternal life?