The first half of Titus chapter 1 Paul makes it clear what the characteristics of church leaders should be. They are definitely worth reading so you know what to expect from the men that are being placed in positions of leadership in your church. If these characteristics are not present in your leadership staff, I don't think there is any doubt we should be asking questions.
My focus tonight is not what these characteristics are; but why they are important and what the church leadership should be doing....and if they are not.....why not?
After Paul gives is prerequisites for leadership candidates, he follows up with why:
Titus 1:9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
Paul sure seems to use that term quite a bit...SOUND DOCTRINE! That's not the only term he uses more than a few times....another one is REBUKE! Paul commands the leadership of the church to REBUKE those who contradict SOUND DOCTRINE!
WOW! That doesn't sound like the “touchy feely” “everybody is on their own path to God” kind of doctrine we hear being peddled today. Somebody you like, or maybe even love, in your church may be preaching a weak doctrine, and they may even be convinced and sincere in their belief. But let me ask you this question....”have you ever heard of somebody being sincerely wrong?” If I pointed a loaded gun at you, but I sincerely thought the gun was empty, would that change the outcome if I pulled the trigger?” Sincerity has NOTHING to do with it!
Of course we have those that are not sincere, they only desire to fill their bank account:
Titus 1:10-11 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.
Did you catch what Paul said? He said, “their mouths MUST be stopped”. He didn't say, have a teleconference with them and find common ground! What fellowship can light have with darkness? NONE! My comment earlier about somebody having a “weak doctrine” was not accurate....”weak doctrine” is a worldly statement....the truth is, if it is any other doctrine except that of the sound doctrine of Jesus Christ, it is a doctrine of demons, and anyone that preaches it shall be accursed:
Galatians 1:6-9 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
Why did Paul say that those preaching false doctrine should not only be rebuked, but rebuked SHARPLY?.....that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to fables, myths and the instruction of men:
Titus 1:13-14 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.
Jesus said, “you know a man by his fruit”. That is how you distinguish between the real and the fake Christians. Somebody doesn't have to deny God in word when they are already denying Him with their actions. They deny Him with what they do with their time, their money, things they read, shows they watch, what makes them laugh, what gets them excited....we've all heard the saying “actions speak louder than words”.....apparently they got it from Titus 1, because that is basically what verse 16 says:
Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.