Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Empty talkers and deceivers………

“For there are a lot of rebels out there, full of loose, confusing, and deceiving talk. Those who were brought up religious and ought to know better are the worst. They've got to be shut up. They're disrupting entire families with their teaching, and all for the sake of a fast buck. One of their own prophets said it best:

The Cretans are liars from the womb, barking dogs, lazy bellies.  He certainly spoke the truth. Get on them right away. Stop that diseased talk of Jewish make-believe and made-up rules so they can recover a robust faith. Everything is clean to the clean-minded; nothing is clean to dirty-minded unbelievers. They leave their dirty fingerprints on every thought and act.”   Titus 1:10-15 The Message Bible

So how can a church recognize unqualified leaders?

Paul calls them "rebellious men," that is, men that refuse to submit to the authority of God's Word and the truth of the gospel. They rebel against the gospel of Christ and the divine intention in the gospel.

"Rebellious men" not only reject the sufficiency of Christ alone for salvation, but also the evidence of good works that follows true faith in Christ.  Instead, they put their emphasis on outward show and rituals that gave pretense of spirituality, but have no substance.

Rebels are easily spotted since they are "empty talkers and deceivers".

They use a lot of words but when all is said and done, there is no substance to it. Yet through the smoothness of the tongue, the convincing arguments of human reasoning, or the browbeating manipulation of legalism, they are able to deceive.

Evident in their tactics is found in vs 11b:

These "rebellious men" used a teaching platform to carry out their intentions, which Paul described as "teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain."  They wanted to extract something from those under their power and influence, whether money, power, or material goods. "Sordid gain" translates into two words that mean “dishonest profit”.

They teach "for the sake of" or by reason of gaining something for self without regard for Christ and His kingdom. They were spiritual mercenaries, fleecing the flock in order to make a personal profit.

The same kind of motivation for the sake of grabbing money or power or attention or even sexual favors shows up far too often in our day.

"Rebellious men" are just that-rebellious against the gospel, rebellious against God's law as a standard and guide for Christian living and rebellious against depending upon the grace of God in Christ alone for merit.

Paul recommends that we take a look at their lives to see if the gospel has made a distinct difference in their behavior, in their conversation, in their desires, and in the way they treat others. The testimony of the gospel lives in those whom Christ has redeemed and set apart for leading the flock.

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