Lead in Truth{Titus 1:10-16; 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. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. 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.

This is a difficult passage.  The main reason it is difficult is because of the way Paul characterizes the people of Crete.  To be fair to the apostle Paul, this was how much of the Roman Empire thought of Cretans (the people of Crete).  According to the poet Epimenides, most likely the “prophet” Paul refers to, said that Cretans were (1) habitual liars, (2) evil and savage, (3) lazy gluttons.

In our culture we desire to stay away from stereotypes because we don’t want to judge a single individual according to the standards associated with a particular group.  That doesn’t mean our way is better than the judgement of the ancient world, it just means that our culture sensitivities are bothered by what Paul wrote.

Putting that aside there are four great lessons that we need to remember when we are called to lead people in truth.

  1. The false teaching must be silenced:They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.”  – The platform for the false teaching in your church family must be taken away.  The reason it needs to be taken away is because the false teaching is causing the unity and peace in your church family to be destroyed.  Peace and unity are essential qualities for a church family to have in order to fulfill the task of making disciples in your community.  This is difficult, especially if it means asking a person or a family to leave, but for the sake of the greater good it must be done.
  2. The false teaching must be rebuked: Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith…” – This requires two steps: (1) through the correct use of Scripture demonstrate how the false teaching is wrong and harmful, (2) through teaching God’s truth so people will be better equipped to discern what is true from what is false in the future.  This goes back to why elders are so important in a church family, they are the ones commissioned to watch over the doctrine that is being taught to the larger church body.
  3. Acceptable teaching must be rooted in Scripture: “…not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.”  – The Bible is God’s gift to His people to guide our beliefs, traditions, and actions.  We are not lead by so called common sense, since this can change from one person to another.  Neither are we guided by the philosophies and politics of men, since these too can lead us to build up walls and away from the life God wants us to live.  Scripture must be the measuring stick that we use to determine what is true.
  4. Acceptable teaching finds a home in the pure of heart: 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.” – The person who is really following Jesus will accept the true teaching of Jesus and it will become evident in the way they live their lives.  Their lives will be marked by qualities such as love, goodness, kindness, patience, and self-control.  People who are not really following Jesus will hear the truth taught and twist it to fit their own desires.  The truth doesn’t make an impact on their heart.  The people we want to entrust with greater responsibilities are people who show that they have received and applied the truth by the way they live.

We must be on guard against false teaching.  Not only does false teaching cause divisions and arguments within a church family, it also leads people astray and away from Jesus.  This is why it is so important for us to be rooted in the truth of Scripture and defend against any teaching that doesn’t line up with the way of Jesus.

Questions to consider:

  • Have you felt the negative effects of false teaching in your life, family, or church family? What did you do about it?
  • How can we make sure the teaching that we receive is rooted in Scripture?
  • Why is the Bible such a blessing from God?

 

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