“For there are many, especially the converts from Judaism, who rebel and deceive others with their nonsense. It is necessary to stop their talk, because they are upsetting whole families by teaching what they should not, and all for the shameful purpose of making money.
It was a Cretan himself, one of their own prophets, who spoke the truth when he said, “Cretans are always liars, wicked beasts, and lazy gluttons. “ For this reason you must rebuke them sharply, so that they may have a healthy faith and no longer hold on to Jewish legends and to human commandments which come from people who have rejected the truth.
Everything is pure to those who are themselves pure; but nothing is pure to those who are defiled and unbelieving, for their minds and consciences have been defiled. They claim that they know God, but their actions deny it. They are hateful and disobedient, not fit to do anything good.” Titus 1:10-16 GNT
You all know the story of Little Red Riding Hood. When she went to visit her grandmother, the Big Bad Wolf knew that she was coming. So he got rid of Grandma and disguised himself to look like Grandma in bed.
Little Red Riding Hood may have suspected that something was out of order, but she kept inching closer, commenting, “My, what big eyes you have, Grandma!” “The better to see you, my dear,” answered the wolf.
“My, what big ears you have, Grandma!” “The better to hear you, my dear!” answered the wolf.
Finally, Little Red Riding Hood said, “My, what big teeth you have, Grandma!” To which the wolf replied, “The better to eat you with, my dear!” He leaped out of bed to grab her, and Little Red Riding Hood barely escaped with her life.
The moral of that story is that without discernment, you put yourself in serious jeopardy. Discernment will keep you from flirting dangerously with enemies who want to destroy you.
Many Christians need to take to heart the lesson of Little Red Riding Hood. Many wolves in sheep’s clothing prey upon God’s flock. Some are masters of deception and disguise. They talk like Christians. They use the Bible. They seem like nice people and they appear to be so loving! But they will draw you in to eat you for dinner!
Because the enemy is so active in promoting destructive heresies, elders must be godly men of the Word who vigilantly guard the flock. They must be able to refute those who contradict, “For there are many rebellious men….” In our text, Paul shows that…”Elders must guard the flock by refuting false teachers and by correcting any believers who have followed false teaching”.
Paul tells Titus that these men must be silenced (1:11). While it may not be possible to stop them from talking, it is possible to stop them from spreading their errors within the church.
Note two things about such false teaching. First, false teaching always damages people.
Heresy is cruel because it damages souls. Therefore, to confront error is an act of love. If you care about people, you cannot let them go into destructive heresies without warning them.
Second, the greatest danger for false teaching always comes from within the church. These false teachers professed to know God. No doubt they seemed to be nice people. Satan is smart enough not to use men who look like evil villains. Nice false teachers have you over for a meal. They invite you to their gatherings. Everyone makes you feel like you’re a part of the group. But their teaching is deadly!
“Sound” doctrine means healthy doctrine. It leads to healthy spiritual growth and maturity. Teaching that does not confront the cancer of sin is not sound teaching. If teaching just feeds curiosity it is not sound teaching. Properly taught, Bible prophecy should lead to the fear of God and to holy living, not to mere speculations.