Tuesday, March 29, 2016

STUDIES IN TITUS (PT 14)

A leader of the church

must be

just.

(Titus 1:8)


Again, as with the word “sober,” which we looked at last time, the word “just” brings up interpretations and applications based solely on a limited English understanding of the word.

The last meaning of the word from Thayer’s Greek Lexicon is “in a narrower sense, rendering to each his due and that in a judicial sense, passing just judgment on others, whether expressed in words or shown by the manner of dealing with them,” which is the most common understanding and application of our English term. (see the entire definition and usage here.)

You will see that the first and primary definition is “righteous, observing divine laws.”

An elder/bishop/pastor/overseer must be just, that is, righteously observing divine laws.

In other words, a church leader must be one who lives by and follows the Book.

We won’t know whether he/she does if we are not People of the Book.

And since we long ago left off being people of the book, we have now come to the place where we are governed by those who follow their own counsel, rather than the counsel of the Lord (Jer. 5:31).

I was not involved in the things of God for almost 14 years, and when I came back, I was appalled at how far the Church had slithered down the slippery slope of subterfuge.

Listening to men stand in the pulpit and preach things out of their own thinking that go contrary to scripture; hearing them take a verse and twist it right in front of the congregation with no one raising a question; and having them explain things away are all things I’ve experienced since my return.

I have often reached the point of despair, but then the Lord will allow me to hear someone whose heart is in tune with His, and my faith is restored.

Please understand. I am not talking about doctrinal differences that for ages have divided the Body of Christ—water baptism, Holy Spirit baptism, Rapture, pre-, post-, a-millennial, pre-, mid-, post-tribulation, etc.

The truth is, however, as I’ve implied above, that if we do not individually return and become a person of the Book, then there is no hope for this to turn around any time soon.

Regardless of a person’s education or lack thereof, they can determine if someone is being scripturally accurate with a particular verse of the Bible.

One does not have to know the whole Bible or what the Bible teaches about a particular subject to know if the verse being presented is being handled accurately.

In that place, one can always ask, “What did you mean by…?”

There are many other things that occur, however, for which we must have a working biblical knowledge in order to spot the misuse or abuse by a leader.
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Mk. 7:7), but that no longer seems to faze the Body of Christ. As long as we can find someone “who will preach for us,” we think that we have maintained our peace with God if we show up once in a while and put some money in the plate. (Judg. 17:8-13)
My heart aches as I consider the warnings of Scripture.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hos. 4:6)
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:” (Amos 8:11)

I see these things happening to the Church in this time as we are “tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine…” (Eph. 4:14) because the requirements of ministry are no longer held up as a standard by which we select men and women for our leadership positions.
But, then my heart is encouraged as I consider the promise of the Lord to give us “…pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” (Jer. 3:15)
Dear reader, please do not take this lightly, or think that this is just another “doom and gloom” preacher, or that I am simply ‘not with it’ so that everything else is just 'sour grapes' to me.
No. This is extremely important!
As judgment begins to fall on the house of God (1 Pet. 4:17), you do not want to be anywhere near those for whom the judgment is intended, because it affects all those in the vicinity. (Josh. 22:20)
How do I end this article on a good or positive note?
I don’t know.
This is a heavy burden on my heart for the Church in this hour.
I know that God always has “a remnant who have not bowed the knee…” (Rom. 11:14).
Reader, if you have bowed the knee to convenience and lack of discipline, will you make a decision to reverse that today?

Will you return to your first love (Rev. 2:4) and begin again to measure everything by the plumb line (Amos 7:8) of God’s Word?

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