Once the Devil was walking along with one of his cohorts. They saw a man ahead of them pick up something shiny. “What did he find?” asked the cohort.
“A piece of the truth,” the Devil replied.
“Doesn’t it bother you that he found a piece of the truth?” asked the cohort.
“No,” said the Devil, “I will see to it that he makes a religion out of it.”
Klyne Snodgrass, Between Two Truths – Living with Biblical Tensions, 1990, Zondervan Publishing House, p. 35.
The world we live in has many versions of truth. Some versions would suggest that everything is truth; it just depends on your personal journey. On the other side of the spectrum, we have versions of truth that create rigged rules that are strictly enforced. From the inception of the Church there have been arguments, feuds, and even wars fought over truth. During the time of Paul’s church leadership he attempted to uphold the purity of the Church by appointing Godly leaders, teaching God’s people, and reminding them of God’s grace. Paul takes these themes in the book of Titus to remind the Church of the importance of following after God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. Titus is a reminder of what it looks like to be abandoned to your will and live through the empowering Spirit of God. Over the next three weeks we will look at the book of Titus addressing the main themes of each chapter. We’ll begin with Paul’s instruction to Titus on what to look for when appointing Godly leaders.
Appointing Godly Leaders:
In my opinion the words Christian and leader are synonymous. We have a new way of living. The way we think, feel, react, interact, love, etc. should lead people to Christ. Jesus asks us to follow him and he will make us fishers of men. This is a clear picture that we are to be the conduit that God uses to lead people to himself. To be that conduit we must look at ourselves as leaders.
How are you being lead by the Lord throughout your day?
How is he leading others to himself through you?
An interview with Actress Jodie Foster from Women.com
Women.com: Back to the topic of leadership, what else can we be doing to promote leadership in women?
Foster: Well, I have this really outdated philosophy about success in a corporate structure, and you’re going to think I’m really romantic and a fool, but here it goes. I think that if you are moral and you’re right and you have the right ethics, that eventually somewhere down the line you’re going to end up being successful.
In our business, anyway, you’re always going up and down, and at some point you’re going to find yourself down. You’re going to need somebody to say, “Hey, I remember you. You’re the one that treated me right, and I’m going to lend a hand out to you…” It’s your responsibility to conduct yourself ethically throughout the process — always ethics first — so that somewhere down the line, somebody’s going to let you live up to your own potential.
Women.com: Do you live your life that way as well?
Foster: Yeah, I really do. I mean, I think I try to be the best person I can. Lord knows I make big mistakes. I make big mistakes all the time. But I try to be as honest and direct as I can.
Everyone seeks the fundamental truths. Jodie Foster wants it. The only way that she’ll truly find what she desires is seek the truth of scripture and live those truths out in the context of the church. Anything else is a facsimile of the truth.
A conversation with Jodie Foster about being a single mom in the glare of celebrity, By Tamar Laddy, Women.com, May 2000.
Read through Chapter 1. The majority of what we read compares the characteristics of the Godly vs. the ungodly. In the ESV the words Pure and Defiled are used to characterize these behaviors. Here is a list of the characteristics for to review.
These characteristics paint a stark difference between the Godly and ungodly. Unfortunately, to often we take lists like this and attempt to beat our lives into submission to these characteristics rather than submitting to God. Godliness comes from God not from us. If we desire to be a pure people it comes from embracing the full love of God and allowing it to transform you.
Is Christ savior and Lord of your life?
If he is, then is your character Godly?
The second part to of this chapter applies to how Christian leaders need to protect the Word of God and the Church. Titus 1:10-14 paints a vivid picture of how we approach ungodliness in the church. Take a few minutes to read verses 10 -14. The language is hard and aggressive, but the intent is to uphold the purity of God’s word and to present the Church as a perfect representation of Christ. This is accomplished by living out the Word of God, and lovingly correcting those that are abusing the Christian faith. It is important to remember that if the abuse continues love demands that the ungodliness be addressed. What that looks like depends on the circumstances, the Word of God, and the direction of the Spirit of God.
The Bottom Line
As the chapter ends the major thoughts are summed up in verses 15 and 16. Here we find a clear summation of what the pure life and the defiled life truly are.
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.
Lets look at the defiled and unbelieving life first. Simply stated: they are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work. These are the people that have hurt the church for centuries. Their heart is truly spoilt. They are rotten, decaying, and destructive.
I love the way the ESV says this, “to the pure, all things are pure.” This focuses on the condition of the heart and mind rather than the actions, but there is a direct relationship. The pure will have pure intentions, motives, desires, and ambitions. They are perfectly recreated, filled with the Spirit of God, and obedient to is will.
If you’re anything like me I find myself shifting back and forth from these two extremes. So how do we make that final turn from defiled to pure?(Hebrews 12:1)
- Chase after God
- Chasing after something requires a deep desire to get what you are chasing. When I was a kid there was nothing that would get in the way of me catching what I was chasing after. It was the only thing on my mind, my heart longed for it, and my body ached for it. Is God what you chase after?
- Join with others that are Chasing God
- We are better together. When I was in High School I ran track. My best times were always against the fastest runners. They pushed me, motivated me, challenged me, and inspired me to reach down deep and engage another gear. Who are you chasing after God with?
- Service those that you’re running with and that you pass along the way.
- When I attempted my first long distance mountain run I was not prepared. Fortunately I had someone with me. This guy could have kept going but he stayed behind and served my needs. Along the way he would serve others too. He shared his water, food, conversation, etc. His willingness to serve got me through the journey. Is your service out of love or obligation?