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Trouble In The Church
The Way the Truth and the Life!
In Paul’s epistles to the Church, he addressed a diversity of people and problems. The problems and people were not very much different than we have today. One place in particular was the Island of Crete. It was populated with many types of ethnic groups. Whenever there was trouble in the Church Paul would write a letter, go him self or he sent trusted appointees. At this time the Church met in the homes of the many saints. On this particular occasion Paul had left Titus who was one of his many trusted son’s in the ministry on the Island of Crete. Titus was a trouble shooter as well. Crete was an island that was known for its gluttons and liars it was considered a very carnal place.
Paul wanted Titus to straighten out some of the many things that he had left unfinished. Paul had given Titus the assignment to appoint elders in the various towns as well. Paul told Titus that he had particular standards that he wanted him to look for. He wanted Titus to stress the importance of daily implementing God’s principles in their lives. It was important that they be trustworthy, not after dishonest gain, not quick tempered, not drunkards or violent. These characteristics were prevalent in many of the Cretans. It was important that they learn to love what is good, be self controlled, not given to much wine, disciplined, upright and holy. He wanted to instill in them the need for good righteous living. It was also important that they know the Gospel message correctly in order to encourage sound doctrine to others.
The Church at Crete is a great example of what happens when the Word is set aside. There were many brutal Cretans who were known to be liars and gluttons and their testimony was not true. There was concern that some would fall prey to myths as well as false doctrine. They claimed that they knew God but their behavior displayed otherwise! There are many that are more concerned about controlling others rather than teaching them about GOD! Just like now there were then many talkers and deceivers that were running about and teaching what was Not considered sound doctrine! Because of this Paul said “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.” Paul really wanted Titus to teach them sound doctrine. He also wanted Titus to rebuke those in error sharply so that they would become sound in their faith. The Church at Crete had many immature Christians. Many participated in idol worship. He wanted them to know the Truth of the Gospel. Titus was genuine in his concerns. This is why Paul wanted him to appoint elders over the various cities. This is why it is so important that sound doctrine is taught today as well.
Paul encouraged Titus to teach them sound doctrine. Titus was to firmly exercise his authority. Paul knew what was necessary to put the Church in order. He was to exhort, refute false doctrine and encourage good deeds. He was to demonstrate in his own lifestyle godly moral principles as he lived to "Please God!" Through Jesus Christ we too are given the authority to rebuke, exhort, teach, preach, encourage and also to embrace godly principles wherever we go. He warned against those who distorted the Truth. Titus had advice for both the young and the old. He wanted the younger and older women to be subject to their husbands and love their children. He wanted them to be self controlled, pure and not slanderers. He wanted the younger and older men to be self controlled and to set examples by their lives of what was good. In other words he wanted to make sure in today’s terms that they were “walking what they were talking” in order to be effective. By doing so they would make the idea of becoming a Christian attractive and without hypocrisy. He goes on to say that “The grace of God teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives.” This was not only for then but is true and necessary now.
Today many overlook and lay aside the very principles that Titus stressed. Titus knew that when properly applied God’s principles would bring about true deliverance and transformation in the life of the believer. He knew that in order for the Church to continue to grow spiritually and in numbers, God’s principles must be embraced. Titus starts out by telling us that “GOD CANNOT LIE.” Therefore God would not tell us to do something that is not possible! Jesus gave His life to redeem us from the curse of sin.
The Cretans did not readily have the Word of God in the form of the “Bible” as we do now! We now have this precious advantage. We in America, have the advantage of freely studying the Word of God and worshiping God that many in other countries still do not possess. God truly has blessed us in many ways. We should relish the time we have and readily study and embrace the Word of God. It is our life’s road map. It is our resource instructional manual for life and good righteous living. As believer’s we are given the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit. We must learn to nurture and cultivate an internal environment for His Spirit’s infilling abiding presence.
Paul stressed clean healthy living. He wanted them to devote their time doing what was good. He also wanted them to “avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments……..” He realized that their were many divisive people He knew then just like it is now that there are those who will do just about anything to get their way. This is why he instructed Titus to handle things in a godly fashion.
Why do we have all the trouble in our places of worship today? God never intended for His Church to become a mere social club with various activities to serve the whims of a manmade hierachy. God’s principles are often laid aside. Many do not realize that the true Church actually consists of a multiplicity of men, women, boys and girls who are His children from many diverse backgrounds, ethnic and non ethnic groups and cultures ALL over the world! Collectively functioning under The Holy Spirit whose agenda is to share "The Gospel of Jesus Christ!" The building is the actual place that the Church uses to congregate or come together to commune and fellowship. What really needs to be stressed is the importance of having a personal relationship with the Lord and the significance of living in His presence daily.
We really need to listen and take heed to God’s Word! Today almost everyone wants their way now, just like they did on the island of Crete. Some want to lead without taking heed or to instruct and not live out the principles therein. They want the Church to grow but instead use divisive tactics. God has a better way. There are also on the other hand many wonderful men and women of God who pastor, serve and minister that; truly love the Lord and work diligently to teach, preach, evangelize and equip the saints! They need to be commended for their sincerity!
This is why it is very important to know God’s Word so you will know the difference. Doing things God’s way is always the best way. A sure way of growing the Church spiritually is to handle situations or any trouble that arises in a way that pleases the Lord. The Spirit of the Lord will draw and add when His presence is truly welcomed! The Word of God is not just a "Message" to be delivered. It is inclusive of a lifestyle to be lived daily! We NOW have His WORD compiled in the Bible! It is milk and meat for all our souls. It is spiritual food to be digested for our spiritual nourishment. It is manna from heaven. It is “quick and powerful……..” It is alive! I Peter says; “ Like newborn babies crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation ” Pure spiritual milk for living and enduring through life challenges and applying the Word of God.
God’s principles are meant to become incarnate in the life of every believer! Too often things are instead done impulsively and hurriedly to make a point rather than foster a healthy worship environment. When the opportunity arises, rather than embrace God’s principles they are all too often laid aside in order to satisfy the desires of those who are most demanding. This is true regardless if it is right or wrong. This is the very reason so many remain stagnated, confused, and harnessed by sins grip on their lives. God wants us to live a better way. Paul too realized that he was dealing with a diverse group of people from all walks of life and of every age group. This is why he sent his trusted friend Titus to put some things in order. He gave them sound doctrine to remedy the problems that existed. But just like today God’s way is grossly overlooked.
Paul really wanted them to “Repent” so they could experience a certain quality of life. He wanted them to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work. Through the power of the Holy Spirit regeneration is possible. God has given us important messages through Paul’s epistles to add to His Church. They contain pertinent information that tells us how to effectively grow the Lord’s Church both spiritually and in numbers. It is so important to know; The CHURCH is the people not the building! God has promised to meet all of our needs. Remember “God cannot lie!” As Christians our home life should also be a learning place and an extended reflection of the principles given by God in His Word lived out. Did you know that before the Christians were called Christians in Antioch they were referred to as “The Way?” God’s Word is true. Jesus still today is “the Way the TRUTH and the Life .”
God did not save us because of the righteous things that we have done. He saved us because of His love and mercy. “He saved us through the washing and rebirth and renewal, by the Holy Spirit whom He poured out generously through Jesus Christ our Savior so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” God’s Word is “EXCELLENT and profitable for everyone.” To GOD be the Glory!”