Truth that Changes Lives
Almighty God, I praise You for Your Word and for all the rich wisdom You’ve put there for me.
Read TITUS 1:1-16
 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness-  a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,  and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,  To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.  The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.  An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.  Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless-not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.  Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.  He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.  For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group.  They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach-and that for the sake of dishonest gain.  Even one of their own prophets has said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.”  This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith  and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth.  To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.  They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat is the danger posed by these “deceivers” (10)?
“What is the world coming to?” Whether it is the latest grim news or a personal slight, we all have more than enough examples of how broken our world is. There was plenty of ammunition for despair in first-century Crete. Paul abandons niceties and political correctness as he quotes a local man describing the people as: “liars, cruel animals, and lazy gluttons” (12-16).
It doesn’t lead him to despair, though. These Cretans are not beyond the reach of the life-transforming truth. Such is his confidence in the power of the Gospel that, as he writes to Titus, he highlights the key institution for change: not government or schools, but the local church! He urges Titus to appoint leaders across the island who can handle this gospel dynamite (5). Titus is to seek people with good family records (6), godly characters (7,8), and Bible-handling skills (9) for both encouraging and refuting, because even in religious circles there is no level playing field for the truth (10,11,16). These leaders are the key to the local church being an agent for change rather than merely a defender of the status quo.
What about our world might cause you to despair? How can your church make a difference for change?
Lord, I pray that You’ll raise up those who know Your truth and can use it to bring changes for good.