is an interesting difference between men and women. If you ask a woman, “what
do you do?”, you will get quite a variety of answers. Men, however, usually
will tell you by whom they are employed. Both answers reflect the truth that “what
you do” is really “who you are.”
is good at times to ask yourself the question: “Who am I?” Such
self-examination is good for the soul. We shall see some answers in this short
passage in which Paul tells us who he really is.
a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those
chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,
in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,
but at the proper time manifested, even
His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the
commandment of God our Savior, To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace
and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
(Tit 1:1-4 NASB)
take Paul’s answers and see if they could apply to us:
bond-servant of Christ
how exalted a position do you hold in the kingdom of God? Is your
humility sufficient to serve, and thus to rise in the kingdom?
to the contrary, is there something you won’t do for Christ? You may know
that you’re humble enough to clean the bathrooms, but what about
forgiveness? The servant of the most high God can be commanded to
forgive, can he not?
it simply that we wish to be a ruler, not a servant? Our pride will not
let us take the title “servant.” Sometimes our pride masquerades as
apostle of Christ
word means an ambassador – a messenger of the faith. Let us examine ourselves
others see us, do they see Christ? We are called as ambassadors, not
are to be the ambassadors of reconciliation – reconciliation between God
and man. Do we pray for those who are lost? Do we ask God to bless them
so that they may come near to Him?
we conduct ourselves with grace and dignity? Not the pompous attitude of
some, but the natural spiritual dignity that comes with being truly
humble; the flowing grace that marks us as men of peace?
indeed. Those outside the faith should see that as a genuine question; it
certainly isn’t for the money in it.
gives us his answer: for the sake of the faith – of others. It is not
allegiance to some abstract system of rules, but allegiance to Christ, and
therefore service to Christ’s chosen ones. Let us examine the character of
faith is given, not dreamed up or imagined, nor constructed in any
way. This faith comes from the heart – the heart of Christ – not the
foolishness of men. How much of what we believe is our own addition?
faith is entrusted to us – and is therefore a great
responsibility. Do we see it solely as a blessing, or is it something to
be carried with care?
we pass this faith along, or hope that no one notices?
is also for the knowledge of the truth. But this knowledge is given
with godliness, so that it might not be “head knowledge” only. Do we act upon
what we know?
we show that truth in our godliness? Does the truth so permeate our lives
that godliness is its natural result?
we seek to increase our knowledge of the truth? Do we study the word,
both in itself and as other minds have known it? Do we meditate on it,
pray through it?
is this hope? It is the hope of eternal life – life in the body in the
presence of our Lord. Is this your hope, or just something added on to a “be
good and God will reward you” faith?
is your attitude towards death? Does it frighten you so much that you
don’t want to go to the doctor, for fear of what he might find?
you live in the expectation of our Lord’s return? Or are you hoping He
delays a little longer, so that you can finally kick the habit you hope he
doesn’t know about?
by the one who cannot lie
you “standing on the promises?” When a question of ethics arises, do you
count on Him, or your own cleverness?
when the world threatens you with its disasters, do you remember the one
who taught you to ask for your daily bread – from Him?
you believe the prophecies, or do you think your Lord unable to control
the events of this world?
the proper time
you believe in coincidence, or providence?
you think God is in control – even in American politics?
there be no mistake: what this teacher is about – and all others who would be
true to the Word – is retailing. Or better put, retelling. The Word
became flesh; that is my story. Why do I teach it? So that I may ask you,
“Have you met the risen Christ?” Nothing else really matters.
now conveys his blessing to his protégé: grace and peace.
the unmerited favor of God Almighty. The very word itself
means a gift. Something that God has bestowed upon you out of His love, not
you see it as a true blessing, or something you are owed? Examine
yourself; do you conceive that God is rather lucky to have such a nice
person like you in the kingdom? Is grace just the sugar coating of your
own goodness, or is it the balm of the sinful heart? Have you thanked him
for it, or praised him for giving it to you?
you see it as a blessing so great that it must be kept alive and fresh?
Do you daily go to him in prayer and repentance? If you do, you will find
that his mercies are indeed new every morning.
word in the original means “to be at one with.” It is not the peace of
anesthesia, but the peace of reconciliation. We are to be one. There is
oneness in God; the Father, the Son and the Spirit are one.
you and the Father as one? Is your walk with Jesus so close that you are
always considered together? Is the Spirit living within you, or do you
reject the still small voice that calls you to repentance?
you one with his people, the church? Do you see them as brothers and
sisters, or just as other people who happen to arrive at the same building
on Sunday morning?
may now proceed to a more detailed description of who we ought to be.
this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and
appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely,
if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who
believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be
above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not
addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable,
loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the
faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able
both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. For there
are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the
circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families,
teaching things they should not teach
for the sake of sordid gain. One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said,
"Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons." This
testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be
sound in the faith, not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of
men who turn away from the truth. 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. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him,
being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.
(Tit 1:5-16 NASB)
is a fact that we are always encouraged to follow the examples of the leaders
of the church. We go from inner thought to outer view; here’s what a real
Christian looks like. The key: “Above reproach.” Here are some good tests
#1 – The Family
must begin by asserting what the liberal world now denies: the family is the
building block of society and civilization. It is not good for man to dwell
alone, says Genesis. The accomplished Christian, therefore, needs to have a
family life which passes the “don’t” tests:
husband of one wife. As a qualification for eldership this has sometimes
been taken too literally, as if the death of a man’s wife suddenly
disqualifies him. The intent here is simply this: the family is the
basic unit of the church. That basic unit is destroyed by adultery; it is
hard to build on a foundation of fornication. A one-woman man.
who believe. Nothing slips by the active minds of your children. They
hear your words and see your deeds. If words and deeds are in harmony
with Christ, you children will be also. In this day and age you
given to dissipation or rebellion. Wild parties and telling off the cop
are not signs of Christian maturity.
#2 – Self Control
7 gives us the key to self control: we are the stewards of what God has given
us. Is your wife a gift from God? Then do you cherish her as such? Let’s
look at the don’ts first:
“self-willed” – not given to pride and arrogant, me-first behavior.
easily angered. I’m pleased to note that he did not require “never gets
angry” – but the slower the fuse, the better the Christian.
addicted to wine. Enough said.
“pugnacious.” Did you ever know someone who enjoyed a good fight,
especially when he is in it?
this: there should be no fondness for money obtained in shady dealing.
there are some do’s:
– a word not much used these days; it means one who will open his home to
those in need. Note that this is required of a man; the keeping of the
home may be her concern, but its use for the Gospel should be his.
what is good – never having too much sex and violence on your VCR.
– not the kind to go off chasing wild theories (excludes flying saucer
controlled, holding fast – one who knows who he is in Christ Jesus,
standing upon that Rock, never to be moved.
#3 – able to exhort and refute
ever there were a justification for Bible study, this is it. The able, mature
Christian should be practiced at two things:
(or she) must practice the art of exhortation – not in the pulpit sense,
usually, but in the sense of one who comes along side to encourage,
comfort – and guide.
time will come, however, when the defense of sound doctrine is necessary.
We may think this to be only the preacher’s problem; it is not. If you
don’t know what you stand for, you’ll fall for anything.
the last, there is the parting of the ways. The word “pure” has not much
figured in this lesson – but it is the background of all of it. If you purify
yourself in repentance, prayer and study of the Scripture, things look
different. That person in your family who seems so wrong might just appear now
to be one in so much need. The eyes of the pure see the pure in all things,
is pure when it is all it is supposed to be – and nothing else. The mind of
the mature Christian sees with pure eyes, and is seen with a clear conscience.
So we come full circle: just who are you?