Book of Titus Chapter One
(Part Two)

Introduction: A key idea in the book of Titus is to stay focused on God’s will. Today, we hope to discuss Elders in the Church.

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Body:

Read Titus 1:5-9

II. Elders in the Church. A. Their Desirability (vs. 5). B. Their Qualifications (vss. 6-9).  In the book of Acts Paul reminds Titus that he was appointed to set things in order and appoint qualified leaders. The qualifications of elders/overseers are given.

The qualifications deal more with character than skills or competencies. The elder/overseer is to be able to encourage by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Applications -

- Staying focused. Notice in vs. 5 of the book of Titus that Paul reminded Titus of his mission or assignment in Crete.

There are times when we can become so disoriented by the challenges that we face or the activities of the day that we forget what we have been assigned to do.

The church has a mission - godly evangelism and edification. Every believer has a mission - love God and others, as we love ourselves. Spouses have missions - husbands are to be loving leaders and the wives are to be submissive helpers.

We are at our best, when we are focusing on our mission. We are at our worse, when we become distracted. Let’s work on helping one another stay focused on God’s mission for our lives.

The word mission can be replaced with God’s call, purpose, expectation, will, or the like.

- Order and qualified leaders. Notice is vs. 5 that Titus was to set things in order and appoint qualified leaders. First, even though the church existed before Titus arrived, it was out of order. That is why Titus was to set it in order.

We should strive to be in order, instead of being offended by someone helping us to get in order. The measure of order is not traditionalism. It is the will of God.

Second, we see in the book of Titus the leaders were to be appointed by Titus. The danger of electing all of the leaders in the church is that you run the risk of putting the most popular in place, instead of the most qualified.

The danger of allowing the appointment of the leaders is that that appointees may simply be “yes” people to the one doing the appointing.

We should strive to follow God’s will and pray for Him to control the outcome. Thank God we prayed so hard for God to send us Pastors after God’s own heart and we continue to pray for God to lead and direct them, right?

Let’s work on supporting the setting of God’s church in order and the appointment of qualified leaders.

- Leadership qualifications. Notice in vss. 6-9 of the book of Titus there are a number of qualifications given for church leaders.

First (titles), what the New Testament calls Elders, Pastors, and Bishops is often referred to as Pastors in the Black Baptist tradition.

However, the principles of our text should be considered in selecting any of the leaders in the church - Deacons, Deaconesses, Ministry Managers, Teachers, and the like.

Second, we see from the book of Titus blamelessness is a major qualification. On one hand, even church leaders have sin in their lives. No one is without sin.

So blameless is not perfection. Blameless is more like above people being able to quickly discredit the leader’s being a mature Christian. Blameless is more like being above reproach or legitimate and significant criticism.

On the other hand, the first test of blamelessness is the leader’s home life. What a person does at home says more about a person’s character than what they do at church for a few hours a week.

Third, “wife and children.” In the book of Titus we see that the most popular way of interpreting the idea of leaders being the husband of one wife is that they have only had one wife in their lives.

One wife at a time is obvious and too low of a requirement to be listed. On one hand, the ideal leader should be a solid family person and leader.

If one’s personal family and church is out of order then what can be expected with a larger family and church? On the other hand, the notions of grace as well as supply and demand need to be considered.

No one is perfect. There are some good leaders who have never been married, who are widows, and who are remarried.

There are some good women leaders like Deborah. There are some good leaders whose wives and or children simply have a mind of their own.

If we wait until we have the perfect candidate, we may never do much of anything in the church. Balance instead of being too literal and narrow may serve the church better.

Four, the leader should not be out of control. He is not to be overbearing, quick tempered, given to drunkenness, violent, or pursuing dishonest gain. As with comment three, balance is important.

But we should note that being a leader with a vision will tempt you to be too overbearing with slow and rebellious people.

The devil can work through people and tempt leaders to loose their temper and sometimes engage in violence, even though there are some times for righteous indignation like when Jesus cast out the money changers from the Temple courtyard.

Drunkenness is never the solution to dealing with the pain and frustration of wanting more for the people than they want for themselves.

All gain is not dishonest (e.g., a laborer is worthy of his hire, the ox that is treading out the corn should not be muzzled, and those who preach the Gospel should live by the Gospel; see I Tim. 5:17-18; I Cor. 9:13-14), but dishonest gain should never be the motive of the leader (e.g., stealing or misappropriating funds, misleading people, not giving enough time and energy to your work, etc).

Five, the leadership should be loving and righteous. We learned from the book of Titus that he is to be hospitable, love what is good, be self controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. Being friendly and responsive to the needs of people, especially the members of the church, should be normal.

Leaders should be passionate about those things that are good like children doing well in school, marriages standing the test of time, and members doing well with their health and wealth stewardship.

Being self controlled and discipline is very important because the devil knows that if he can upset the leader then the followers will scatter.

Being upright and holy are essential because leaders ought to lead by way of word and deed. But again the issue of balance and grace need to be lifted. I don’t know of any leader who matches this description all of the time.

Let’s prayerfully develop, be, and seek godly leaders in our churches. Training Union is a good place to start weeding out those who should not be leaders.

- Pastoral Duties. Notice in vss. 7, 9 of the book of Titus that the leader has several duties. He is to oversee the church, encourage others with sound doctrine, which requires his holding it firmly first, and refute those who oppose sound doctrine.

First, in order for things to be done decently and in order, in the church, there must be a leader and overseer. That is the Pastor’s job. Others may assist, but the Pastor is called to be the leader of the local church.

Second, the Pastor is to encourage people to understand and live by the Word of God, which is the source of sound doctrine.

Preaching, teaching, and modeling are essential ways of encouraging people to live by sound doctrine like accept Christ as savior and love God and people, as you love yourself.

Third, the Pastor is called to refute or counter those who oppose sound doctrine. On one hand, there are times when the Pastor is to be hospitable and slow to loose his temper.

On the other hand, there are times when the Pastor is to reject those who oppose sound doctrine. Without opposition, the devil will take a few people and a few wayward doctrines and cause all kinds of trouble in the church (see I Cor. 5:6-7).

Let’s pray for the Lord to strengthen Pastors to do the challenge work that they have been called to do.

Conclusion: Let’s stay focused on God’s will. God has much for those who obey His will.

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