Saturday, May 22, 2010

Order In The Church: How To Maintain Good Works: Titus 3:1-15

Titus 3:1-15

Theme: Promote Church Order

5. By maintaining good works (2 - 3)

Chapter three explains several more reasons and ways to maintain good works. First, ways:

Submit to authority (1). "Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed" (NAS). Also see Romans 13 and 1 Pet. 2:13 - 3:7. 

Show consideration (2) "Remind them to ...malign no one, to be uncontentious, gentle, showing every consideration for all men."

"Malign" ("blaspheme"), is a compound word which comes from the roots "blapto" (meaning "hurt", or "injure"), and "pheme" ("fame", "report"). It means to speak in such a way as to injure someone's reputation. "Uncontentious" means "not a fighter", and may refer to physical or verbal contention.  

"Gentle" seems to carry the idea of being "like", or agreeable. In the context of another reference, this word stands in contrast to being greedy (1 Tim. 3:3), a brawler (1 Tim. 3:3b), or covetous (1 Tim. 3:3c). On the other hand, being "gentle" is associated with such virtues as "meekness" (Tit. 3:2 ["consideration"]), being peaceful or easy to entreat, mercy, fairness and justice (James 3:17). 

"Consideration" stands in contrast to disciplining someone with a rod of iron (1 Cor. 4:21). This word is closely related to "gentleness" (2 Cor. 10:1; Gal. 6:1; Eph. 4:2), "self control" (Gal. 5:23), "lowliness", "patience" (Eph. 4:2; 1 Tim. 6:11), "love" (Eph. 4:2), mercy, kindness, and "humbleness of mind" (Col. 3:12). All of these positive virtues are fruit born by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, as believers yield to God (Gal. 5:16ff.; cf. Rom. 6:1-14).

Avoid "foolish controversies" (9). The word "foolish" is "moros", and literally means "moronic". The scope of speech to avoid would include questions, speculations, debates, or other talk, about ideas which do not come from the Bible, but which may be mixed with it (see 1 Tim. 1:3-11). Such "speculation" is "fruitless", "unprofitable and worthless" (Tit. 3:9), as it fails to  further "the administration of God which is by faith" (1 Tim. 1:3 NAS). 

Reject factious men (10-11). The word "factious" ("hairetikos"), comes from a root meaning "to choose". 1 Corinthians 11 uses a similar word to describe those who took food for themselves, with the result that those who were hungry had nothing to eat, thus creating divisions. In this context, a heretic is apparently one who takes and holds for himself, ideas or opinions which are not taught in the Bible. This kind of behavior also generates contention and divisions in the church. Thus, you promote order by rejecting a factious man after giving him two warnings.  

The word "reject", literally means to "beg off". It comes from two roots meaning "away", and "to incline". It is in the present, active, indicative, which means it is an ongoing action. The idea seems to be that you plead to be spared from something. In Luke 14, those invited to the wedding feast tried to "excuse" (same word) themselves from attending. In Acts 25:11, Paul used the same word for reject, to show that he refused to die for the false accusations that were being brought against him. Rather, he rejected such arguments by appealing to Caesar, and arguing strongly against the false accusers in court! Heb. 12:19 uses this word to describe Israel's reaction to God's voice, when they found it too terrible to hear, and plead for it to stop. Rejecting can carry the idea of avoiding, inclining away from, or even arguing strongly against (Acts 25:11; 2 Tim. 2:23; Heb. 12:25). 

The word "warning" is a compound word coming from roots meaning "to lay down" or "set forth", and "understanding" or "mind". It apparently means to set forth an understanding in such a way as to warn someone. 1 Cor. 10:11 uses this word to set forth the account of OT saints who "craved evil things", grumbled against God, and were destroyed, as an "example" to warn believers against such behavior.

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