8/16/17 Do Not Let False Teachers Corrupt The Whole Church

“All who try to lure people away from faith that Jesus died to pay the penalty for our sins, who try to make people believe that there are certain things that they must do in order to be worthy of His gift, must be cut off from the rest of the church, along with any who follow them and their false teaching, so that they will not corrupt the rest of the church.  This is the problem that the Pharisees have in Judaism – they have made their traditions hold more weight than the simple truth in the Word of God – and now they are trying to do the same to Christianity, by teaching that Christians must follow certain laws and stay away from certain kinds of food and such.  For those whose faith in Jesus as the only way to God is strong and true, there is nothing forbidden, because all that we do is done to please God.  But to those who seek their own gain in what they do, their very hearts and minds are corrupted, so that anything and everything has the potential to make their sinfulness worse.  Although they claim that they know and love God, they show just the opposite – that they have no idea who He is or what He desires for us at all, and worse, they do not care.  They go against His plans for them, disobeying Him and in their sinful selfishness prevent themselves from the salvation that they claim to be teaching.”

 

Titus 1:13b-16

8/15/17 Stop The False Teachers Of Crete

“Be on guard against those who act in their own best interests rather than that of the church.  They are devious, and they know how to use slick speech to get what they want.  Unfortunately, many of these are Christian Jews who believe that all Christians must follow the Law and be circumcised.  They are very persuasive and have managed to draw entire households away from the true faith that Jesus taught.  They are dangerous to Christianity and must be stopped, in the same way that Jesus stopped the Pharisees and Sadducees by His calm, wise, rational answers to the questions they posed to try to trip Him.  Their false teaching is for their own personal advantage, and they are completely disregarding God and His plan for our salvation – through faith in His only Son, Jesus, alone.  Even one of Crete’s own poets, Epimenides of Gnossus, Crete, wrote of his own neighbors, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’  While this is certainly not true of everyone on the island, the description fits those who are trying to steal faithful Christians away from Jesus.”

 

Titus 1:10-13a

8/14/17 Titus’ Charge

“I left you there in Crete so that you could oversee the church there, which I know is quite a tall order, with over 90 cities on the island and Christians in every one of them.  As I told you before I left, I need you to appoint deacons in each city and establish order in the church of Crete.  Here are the qualifications for bishops or deacons:  a man must live his life in such a way that no one can bring any real accusations against him, he must be a faithful husband in a monogamous marriage, and a good leader of his family, and his children must show good discipline, respect, and self-control.  A leader in the church, as a representative of God, must be above reproach in the way he conducts himself, both publicly and privately.  He cannot live by his own will, but that of God.  He must keep his temper under control, cannot be violent, love money, or drink excessively.  He must be welcoming to both friends and strangers, especially in these current times of hostility toward Christians.  He must show good self-control and be known for making sound decisions.  He must not show favoritism in making judgments, but must be open-minded and moderate.  He must strive to do God’s will in all that he does and says.  He must be known for his love of all things good and must not be afraid to stand strong against evil.  He must be faithful to the true and holy Word of God as it has been taught by Jesus and His apostles, so that he can use the Word of God in its entirety to teach the brothers and sisters, to build them up, and to rebuke those who are straying from the truth.”

 

Titus 1:5-9

8/13/17 Greetings To Titus

“This is a letter from Paul, a willing slave of God and apostle of His Son Jesus, for the purpose of spreading His message to all the world so that those who will believe may have the opportunity to do so, and to teach the entirety of His truth so that all who hear and believe can learn how to live as God intended, led by the hope in my heart of the promise that God, who is unable to lie, made before He created the world to all those who trust in Him, that we will be granted eternal life with Him in Heaven.  And God, in His own time, has revealed the mystery of His plan to us through His Son, and now through me, and all those He has chosen to preach His message by the commandment of Jesus, our Messiah.  I write now to Titus, who is like a son to me in our faith, asking grace, mercy, and peace for you from God, our Father, and Father of our Lord and Messiah, Jesus.”

 

Titus 1:1-4

8/12/17 Closing Reminders To Timothy, With Love From Paul

“Oh, Timothy, my son, I have such hope and such fear for you!  I pray that you would guard all of this in your heart, all that I have laid upon you, for the teaching of Jesus in the Ephesian church is now entrusted to you, and you must protect it with all that you have within you.  Stay away from gossip, from what you know to be false doctrine, and from the pointless debates over questions that cannot be answered until we get to Heaven.    Remember that some have been led away from their faith by believing things that are contrary to the true message of Jesus.  I pray that God’s grace will be with you always.  Amen.”  Paul finishes his letter to Timothy, praying for his son in the faith as he seals the letter and sends it off.  He thinks about all his dear brothers and sisters in faith that he has sent off to do God’s work.  He decides that his next letter will be to Titus in Crete, another man who he considers to be a son in the faith, to encourage him as he has tried to do in his letter to Timothy.

 

1 Timothy 6:20-21

8/11/17 Help The Wealthy In Their Faith

“As for those in your congregation who are wealthy, help them to see and understand that their wealth comes from God, who alone is able to give us all things, and that to trust in things is foolish, because all things are temporary on this earth.  Although there is nothing we can do to earn our place in Heaven, if we truly belong to Jesus, our greatest desire should be to do God’s will.  So teach them to seek after humility, knowing who they are in God’s sight, instead of being arrogant because of their wealth, and to put their trust in God, the one who graciously gives us so much more than we deserve simply for our pleasure here on earth.  Teach them to do good works so that they will consider the love and joy that will fill their hearts in doing these things to be their true wealth.  Help them to learn to share and to give of their wealth, their time, themselves, through which they are doing God’s will and storing treasures in Heaven, as Jesus taught us.  This is how they can learn to live truly and fully, both here in this world and later on in Heaven.”

 

1 Timothy 6:17-19

8/10/17 Keeper Of The Gospel Message

“You stand always in the presence of God, who alone is able to keep you alive, both here on earth and when He calls you home to Heaven, and before His Son, Jesus, the Messiah, who testified before Pontius Pilate that He was a king, though not of this world, and confirmed that testimony by His willing death on the cross.  Put this in the forefront of your mind each time you have a decision to make, each time you are tempted, even the slightest bit, so that this knowledge will strengthen you in faith and in your commitment to the charge I have laid upon you, to keep teaching the true and complete message of Jesus, unaltered and undefiled.  You have a great responsibility, to make sure that your life is lived for God and God alone, so that nobody can find fault with you, or with the church through your actions.  Along with this goes the responsibility to teach the pure truth of Jesus in its entirety.  This is a heavy commandment, and one that will continue until Jesus returns to take us to Heaven with Him, though nobody knows when He will come – only God knows.  God alone is Joy itself and the creator of all joy, the only true King – the King of kings and Lord of lords.  He alone is immortal and is able to grant immortality, invisible to all sinful creatures, living in pure and holy light to which none who sin may even draw near.  All honor and power is His forever.  Amen.”

 

1 Timothy 6:13-16

8/9/17 Fight The Good Fight Of Faith

“But you, my son, are a man of God, and as such, I beg you to run away from these temptations.  You are in a very precarious position there as head of a large and well-established church in such a grand and wealthy city.  It would be very easy for you to fall into the trap of lusting after money and a life of ease, living in these surroundings as you are.  I fear for you there, and although I know the strength of your faith, I feel I must warn you against this.  No matter how tempting it is to go along with those for whom money and status hold a higher position than God, you must struggle against this, seeking God’s will in all that you do.  Strive to be more like Jesus in every way, a little bit more every day.  Hold tight to your strong faith, practice love and patience and gentleness in every situation that comes to you.  Never stop fighting against evil and for good, staying strong in your faith, so that you may reach your reward of eternal life in Heaven with Jesus.  This is what you have been called to do.  This is what you have proclaimed as your greatest desire in life, before many witnesses.  Do not let Satan blind you so that you forget who you are, Who you serve, and what you are striving for.”

 

1 Timothy 6:11-12

8/8/17 The Love Of Money Is The Root Of All Kinds Of Evil

“The mere thought of people using Christianity to profit for themselves makes me sick, but that’s exactly what many people are doing, especially those who come from wealth.  That being said, there is immense profit for anyone who truly surrenders his or her whole self to God.  When we align our will with His, He gives us everything that we could ever need or want.  Remember that you were born naked, with nothing clasped in your hands, and when you die, you take nothing with you.  Every material thing we have now is temporary.  No thing in this world can bring us real, lasting joy.  If we have food to eat, clothes to wear, and a roof over our heads to provide shelter from the elements, we have all that we really need in this world.  Anything else that God gives us is an extra blessing.  People whose greatest desire is to be wealthy are easily tempted and easily trapped by that desire.  It leads them away from Jesus, away from salvation from their sin, and if they don’t escape from that trap it will lead them to hell.  Money in and of itself is not good or bad.  It is when we allow ourselves to make an idol out of money that it has the power to lead us down the path of evil.  Many people have abandoned their faith because of their greed, allowing their money and possessions to own them instead of the other way around, and giving themselves all sorts of otherwise unnecessary troubles because they put money in the place of God.”

 

1 Timothy 6:6-10

8/7/17 An Uphill Battle

“I know that there are many who disagree with me, and do so strongly.  They will speak out against you when you teach about such things as Christian slaves honoring and obeying their masters.  They will not abide by these rules.  They are blinded by their pride, so that in their strong belief that they know the truth, they actually are working against the truth.  In their zeal to be right, to win people to their side of the argument, they cause nothing but discord in the church.  Instead of working with these people who are supposed to be their brothers and sisters to do the work set before them by their Heavenly Lord and Master, they are preoccupied with trivialities, things that we cannot even know for certain one way or the other, until we get to Heaven and our Father reveals the truth of them to us.  And so they put up walls between brothers and sisters, dividing the church instead of uniting it.  But remember, Timothy, what I am teaching you is from the Holy Spirit, and based on the words of Jesus while He was here among us.  He taught us to pray for those who mistreat us, to give to those in authority over us what is due to them, to humble ourselves so that God might lift us up and honor us.  Those who sow discord are working against us, hoping to win favor for themselves through their supposed piety.  Stay away from such people.”

 

1 Timothy 6:3-5