Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday, February 17th

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Leviticus 5-6, Psalm 34, Mark 6
Today's scripture focus is Titus 1:10-16

Titus 1:10-16

English Standard Version (ESV)
10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. 15 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. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Accompanying John MacArthur sermons: Men Who Must Be Silenced Part 1 and Part 2
Accompanying Robert Rayburn sermon: Controversy

I actually listened to all 3 of these sermons and they were all so good.  So much is packed into these passages.

Note the very first word - "for".  It's the link to the previous section.  The reason Titus had to appoint elders of strong character who held firmly to the Word and was able to instruct and rebuke with sound doctrine is because there were many false teachers inmeshed in the churches - Jewish false teachers (the circumcision party).

Part of strong spiritual leadership is silencing people who should not speak.

MacArthur contends that you can silence them by not giving them a platform from which to speak - if it's within your power to do so, don't publish their books, don't have them as a guest speaker, don't put them on the radio, don't give them the opportunity.

You can also silence them by overpowering them with the truth.  We need to be knowledgable so that, when given the opportunity, we are not the ones embarrassed.

You can also silence them by living holy lives to back up the truth you are speaking.

Unfortunately, as this text says, there are many of them.  Many false teachers who are rebellious and deceitful, spewing empty lies.  When someone falls for their deceit it creates chaos in the home and in the church.  And they do it for money.

Paul has some very harsh words for these people - detestable, disobedient, worthless.

We need to know the truth in order to spot the error.  We need to be ready to rebuke with the truth - in love and compassion. And, in particular, we need leaders who are willing and able to do so.

Rayburn closes his sermon this way.....

Paul, as we know from his whole corpus of writings, was very careful to distinguish between killing errors and more benign misunderstandings. He knew that real Christians sometimes gave place to bonehead ideas. He knew how to be patient with people who didn’t understand things correctly. He knew how to teach and instruct and refute in ways that made proper distinctions between various kinds of errors and various kinds of persons. He knew where to draw the line and where not to draw it. All of this is also the task of the one who would contend for the truth and the faith once and for all delivered to the saints. Such contention is an art as well as a science and requires godliness and love as well as education and intellect to do well. They said of Augustine that he was sauviter in modo, fortiter in re; that is, he was gentle in his manner but unrelenting in regard to the issue itself.

But all of that being said and heard, it remains the fact that the truth that sets men free is always and everywhere being subverted from within the church. Congregations and whole denominations filled with believing people generations ago are now empty of spiritual life. Once thriving spiritual nurseries are now morgues. The churches of the men of whom you hear so much from me: Chrysostom and Augustine in the early church, Francis and Bernard of the medieval church, Calvin and Knox of the Reformation church, Owen and Bunyan of the Puritan church, Whitefield and Edwards of the Great Awakening Church, Charles Simeon, J.C. Ryle, Charles Spurgeon, and Alexander Whyte of the Victorian Church, these churches are dead or dying and it was in every case a self-inflicted wound that killed them.

If you love your souls and the souls of your children, you will care about the battle that Paul is calling upon us to fight and you will care that you have leaders capable of acquitting themselves faithfully and ably in that battle.

Tomorrow's scripture focus: Titus 2:1-5
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Leviticus 7-8, Psalm 35, Mark 7

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