A Terrible Thing To Waste
Pastor Steve Ellison
Paul’s letter to Titus details the function of church leaders who are called to develop additional leaders. Titus 1:10-16 points out some dangers that a church leader should look out for, “For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain. 12 One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." 13 This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.” NASU
The first danger concerns would-be leaders who are rebellious, speaking words without corresponding action. The Bible says that faith without works is dead. On the other hand the Bible also emphasizes the opposite danger of falling into legalism. Paul notes especially the danger from “those of the circumcision”. These legalists who were teaching that circumcision was a necessary requirement in order to be saved were upsetting whole families. Sometimes it is easy for us as church leaders to fall into the trap of adding requirements to the free gift of salvation in Christ. We often look at our experience and try to get others’ experiences to match ours, instead of sticking strictly with the simple (yet marvelous) gospel. In keeping with the rest of Scripture, Paul points out that greed is always a problem to be reckoned with. Church leaders must be careful to examine their own motives to ensure that they have not fallen into the trap of focusing on money rather than ministry. The fact that verse 7 and verse 11 in this chapter both mention avoiding “sordid gain” provides great emphasis that church leaders need to be especially aware of this danger. Any perception that we are after dishonest gain or simply greedy will greatly diminish our ability to minister in the name of Christ. We must take great pains to see that we do not fall into this sin.
Titus 1:16 provides a very sobering warning. It is entirely possible that we can profess to know God and yet our actions are a denial that we know Him. This idea is found in other places in the Bible. 1 John 2:4 states, “The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” NASU Jesus Himself said in Matthew 7:23, "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” NASU Titus 1:16 goes on to give another warning related to the main theme of Titus, which is being and doing good. Our disobedience makes us “worthless for any good deed.” Titus 2:14 states that Christ“gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” NASU It is a sad thing indeed that our own willful disobedience keeps us from fulfilling Christ’s wonderful plan for us. Being a purified people for Christ’s own possession is a marvelous destiny. That is a terrible thing to waste. …...…..firstname.lastname@example.org