Titus is one of three pastoral letters written by the apostle Paul along with 1 and 2 Timothy. Paul addresses Titus as a fellow missionary whom he left in Crete to serve the church there. Chapter one addresses two major topics: church leadership qualifications (v.5-9) and secondly, dealing with transgressors in the church (v.10-16). Paul, recognising Titus’ gifts and God’s calling left him in Crete to serve as a church leader with the very important task of selecting elders for the various house churches on the island (v.5).
In his introduction Paul clearly identifies himself as the author and an apostle of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, there have been and continue to be pastors in church leadership who have not conducted their lives in a proper manner. Some have resulted in church splits causing considerable pain for those church members who had looked up to their leadership with respect and expectation. It is sometimes pride and self-ego that corrupts their ministry, they believe in their own importance over and above others. A church leaders’ role is to be one of servanthood, obedience and integrity. Paul provides a list of qualifications and attributes required when selecting church leaders and it is still used to select church leaders today. The characteristics include family relationships together with their teaching ability to faithfully guide fellow Christians in sound doctrine. Church leaders are also to display sound character in the way they conduct their lives each day with self-control, holiness and discipline and Paul instructs Titus to rebuke those who contradict sound doctrine.
Verses 10-16 speak of false teachers who deliberately set out to deceive and the importance of silencing those who upset entire families in the process. Paul directs Titus to rebuke them sharply in order that they may return to sound faith and truth. Paul is quite firm in his directives here to Titus whom he entrusts complicity to carry out this very important task.
How do you react and respond when you see or experience someone in a trusted and respected church leadership role display a lack of integrity and/or responsibility?
Lord God I pray for all in positions of church leadership that they may display integrity, honesty self-control and holiness. I pray that they would teach true doctrine in accordance with your word in order to build up your church in sound faith and humility. May your Holy Spirit guide and protect them from attacks by the enemy empowering them to resist all temptation to stray from their chosen path, in your precious name. Amen.