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A Religious Problem (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
March 16, 2022 4:00 am

A Religious Problem (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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March 16, 2022 4:00 am

Remember the Pied Piper, who charmed rats with music until they followed him to their peril? Well, there are similar people within the church—subtle deceivers who draw people away from truth. Hear more on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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The story of the Pied Piper charmed the rats with his music followed him to their peril today on Truth for Life will hear about similarly persuasive people in local churches hears Alastair back with part one of a message titled a religious problem going to read from Titus in chapter 1 and verse 10 for there are many who are insubordinate empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they are not to teach one of the cretins a prophet of their own said Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy lessons.

This testimony is true, therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth to the pure all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure both their minds and their consciences are defiled, they profess to know God, but they deny him by their works they are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work that I want to read it again for you this time in the paraphrase the late JB Phillips has left to us for there are many, especially among the Jews who will not recognize authority who talk nonsense.

And yet, in doing so I've managed to deceive men's minds.

They must be silenced for the upset the faith of whole households teaching what they have no business to teach for the sake of what they can get one of them. Yes, one of their profits and said Cretans are always liars, evil and beastly lazy and greedy.

There is truth in this testimonial of theirs. Don't hesitate to remind them sharply for you want them to be sound and healthy Christians with appropriate contempt for Jewish fairytales and orders issued by man who forsaken the path of truth. Everything is wholesome to those who are themselves holes but nothing is wholesome to those who are themselves unwholesome and you have no faith in God. Their very minds and consciences are disease they profess to know God by their actual behavior denies their profession for their obviously violent, rebellious, and when it comes to doing any real good. They are palpable frauds planning that makes it fairly clear to that I find Phillips often very helpful. Just adding a little bit of bite. By the way in which he paraphrases some of the phraseology oriented last time in verse nine by noticing the vital importance of the elders appointed there in Crete to be man who quotes hold firmly to the trustworthy word as taught, and Paul tells Titus. The reason that is so important is in order that those men then may be able to give instruction in sound or healthy doctrine and at the same time will also be able to rebuke those who contradict it, and it is with this issue of the contradicting of their teaching that is sound and healthy that Paul then goes on to speak of the conjunction there for the little three letter word for that opens verse 10 is the hinge taking Isaac back to what he has just said in verse nine and taking us forward into the paragraph that now addresses this issue that is so prevalent amongst the church congregations in the island of Crete. There is a problem that is confronting the church. You might say will of course there are always problems confronting the church in every generation and that of his true and there are multiple problems and that is equally true.

The primary problem which Paul is addressing here is not a problem that comes from outside the church but one that is represented within it is not addressing here the problem of religion on those who are so clearly opposed to the truth of Jesus to the gospel to the good news to the trustworthy message that they live in an environment that is alien to these things is obviously clear as verse 12 points out, he very skillfully quotes one of their Cretans themselves is always good to use one of the people who are part of the establishment in order to criticize the establishment so is much easier for me to tell you that Scotsman are notoriously stingy. Then for you to tell me that Scotsman are notoriously stingy I can date it easier from myself than I can from someone on the outside and so he says even one of the Cretan profits. He is able to identify the problem and they have quite a resume.

These people they are liars, brutes and lazy ballets sound like a contemporary rock band, actually liars, brutes and lazy ballets is not a nice picture et al. of any kind of community and he is pointing out the fight that when you find these people who, on the one hand, have a lot of God talk and Dan on the other hand, have very little God, life, then you realize how close they are living to the fringes of faith and how the description of the community in the culture itself may actually be beginning to filter into those who should know a lot better than they do some of the problem that he is tackling is if you like the religious problem not be a religious problem. I many people today would be would say the strength of everything that goes on in an average week within the framework of contemporary America.

The real problem for the church is the problem of those who are not in the church. The problem of those who are so obviously opposed to societies for new atheism or the agnosticism that is fairly rampant. What is syncretism and ecumenism that is represented in the surrounding culture. While there is no question that those things are significant challenges but neither the present day, nor church history would bear out that thesis, but rather a careful reading of church history and a careful reading of Titus would point actually to the problem being a vastly different problem, namely the problem that emerges from people who profess to know God.

Those who profess to know God. Verse 16 but deny him.

Pioneer works. The problem here, he says, is a religious problem we're facing. These people have a routine but they have no reality. These people have a creamed butter conduct does not match their Crete. These people have faith talk, but there is no fruit that is seen in their lives and find they are not dissimilar to those that he mentions when he writes in his second letter to Timothy in chapter 3 of second Timothy concerning those individuals who have an appearance of godliness but denying its power and appearance of godliness but denying its power is why often say to you, the church is a dangerous place to be because I church like this provides an opportunity for individuals to make certain external changes in their lifestyle.

So for example attending as opposed to previously not attending listening as opposed to previously not listening beginning to try and change certain things about what we do and why we do. In other words, moving if you like from a position of interludes into a position of religion and then discovering that it is the religion that is actually keeping that individual from entering into the truths that we were just singing concerning Jesus from entering into the reality of the fact that I was standing before God is never on the basis of what we have done by external changes, but must always be on the strength of what he has accomplished in his death and making a propitiation for our sins. And until that penny drops, then a church family will be susceptible to those who want to do what was being done here on the island of Crete. As you look at it with me you will see the Paul first of all, identifies these folks. He points on the impact the dangerous impact of their influence and that he gives clear instructions as to how they are to be handled. I will use that as the template for going through the passage. First of all, Paul's identification of those that he is addressing in other places. He uses names, but in this instance, he doesn't provide any names or tall, it may be that is unfamiliar with individuals themselves. What he's doing is he's describing the characteristics of these folks so that when this letter is read out if you like people will disable if the Fits I should wear it. If this describes, means, and it describes me. It is also very straightforwardly clear that in verse 10.

This was not a marginal problem is not that there were just one or two people that work moving around the congregations. You will notice it says that there are many who are insubordinate. There are many who are insubordinate. These folks are marred by rebellion and they are like individuals who had enlisted in an army, a was submitted for GTD to very uniformly put it on, but as soon as battle commands. They refused to obey their commanding officer, so they were just a walking contradiction. Why then would you ever call yourself in the uniform. If you're not going to obey her commanding officer is a perfectly legitimate question is and he says there are many of these individuals.

They are insubordinate they are rebellious and particularly. He says those who are attached to the circumcision party that he doesn't exemplify that and is probably wise for us to leave it as he leaves it. It is clear as we will see looking lawn that is distinctly Jewish and I mentioned to the problem that he is addressing by these individuals who are insubordinate are also he says empty talkers.

They are like those he writes about in first Timothy 16 who have wandered away from the truth and are engaged in vain discussions, vain discussions, they basically just talk about nothing but a major sound of it like this like the most important thing you've ever in your life. They are always the Masters of intrigue there always the Masters of the esoteric are always the individuals who want to deviate from the main things in the plain things and get everybody off on the sidelines of their peculiarities and what makes it so staggering is that despite the fact that they are deceivers they are able to bring people into line with their insubordinate their empty talkers and the drawer people after them Be honest and recognize that there are people who are peculiarly susceptible to this kind of nonsense they did the is is he is not possible to have a product unless you've got a market and if our congregation is not versed in the truth if it doesn't have elders such as are just being described here are two verse nine. If these local fellowships and Crete are not instructed in the truth are not then led by those who are able to refute air then they will be susceptible for individuals who will be prepared to rise among them, and seek to draw people after that that was a problem in Ephesus.

That's why Paul when he left office is in acts chapter 20.

Remember, he gathers the elders with him on the beach and he says now listen here after I leave you after I leave you there will arise from among you from among wolves who seek to eat you up and that is why I am commending you to God and to the word of his grace. That is why I am urging you to make sure that in your leadership of the church you stand in the gap for this Paul and Peter and the rest of them are all going to go away by death and therefore it is imperative those to whom they entrust the responsibilities of leadership are men who are able to say hey wait a minute that's not right and then to be able to help those under their care to have the same kind of antennae so that they don't find themselves susceptible to the kind of nonsense that is proffered the danger in it of course lies as we've suggested in by way of introduction.

The danger that lies not in the center flight out onslaught approach, but in the creeping approach in the subtle approach. The biggest danger to contemporary Christianity in America is not to be found. As I say, from the onslaughts that come from without the preoccupation of so many arrests with those things is understandable, but it will and to spend too long on it under provide an opportunity for us to become increasingly skillful about how to engage people in conversations concerning the gospel, rather than giving us an opportunity did the morning everything in the first time he managed to grab a cup of coffee with some of our friends tomorrow morning and launch into some great diatribe about how dreadful everything is and how is all going to pardon. It was never like this before and who knows what our grandchildren will end up in all kind of thing. What do you expect for goodness sake. That's not the big danger know all the big danger is in the subtle interweaving of that which appears to be godly and true. With that which isn't so.

For example, Mormonism is a cult's not politically correct to say that but in qualifying's look out the definition is deviant on the person of Jesus Christ and therefore it is not Christian to say that his understanding oncoming about any Mormon friends or neighbors is simply to say you don't understand that then you are susceptible to the notion that were all actually the same. And as long as somebody mentions God or mentions Jesus. That's really all that matters one and you may be just as happy in the Christian science church while you're slipping there for a while as well because you be stupid enough to buy one because again you have your Bible and you love Mary Baker Eddy with you with Mary Baker explaining to your Bible without her.

You cannot get where you need to be.

That's not true or why not try the Jehovah's Witnesses for a little while after all, they are very zealous people and nice and diligent, and far more diligent than most of us is either tell other people about their story, therefore, will, and so many friends but deviant in relationship to biblical truth.

You see how the danger presents us and even when you step from that into a congregation like this. The danger that is represented is not the danger of those who are standing up to say I don't believe that in the doctrinal statement and I am opposed to that note is the danger that is represented by people who love to live on the fringes of things with fanciful stories, fairy stories, as Phillips paraphrases it at stories that intrigue stories that draw people away.

In this instance, stories about your Jewish ancestors and so on which we know very little impact. I'm sure and they combine that you will notice devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people. The commands of people, not commands of God. These are not people are being told constantly now. I hope you've got your Bible and I hope you have it open. I hope you're looking at it to see whether what I'm saying is actually in there not have. That's not what their face nor their face abuse is doing. Worry about your Bible, you keep your Bible). You just listen to me. I'll tell you what's in the Bible and furthermore I'll tell you what to do and there is a peculiar susceptibility on the part of folks who just basically want somebody to tell them what to do and then will be led astray by the commands of people notice who turn away from the truth, who turn away from the truth but they don't say follow me. I'm turning away from the truth. They have swear from the truth. And they say follow me, because the truth you think you have is not the truth you need to have and you need to understand this about that particular part of this particular notion and you need to make sure that you're doing this this this this and this and that you're definitely not doing this this this this and this is what it does is it it caters to our sense of achievement caters to our sense of self-fulfillment. If I do this this and this then then I'll be absent if I do this this and this will be accepted in the community. That's what you get with congregations that have never understood the grace of God congregation of never understood the gospel your congregations and that are trying to make themselves acceptable to God as a result of doing all these things instead of a congregation that says I do all of these things because in Jesus, I'm acceptable to God is all the difference in the world that changes every and that's what makes this so difficult.

Not only is there message wrong when you will notice that her motive is off SKU as well. Why are they doing what they're doing well.

He says there in verse 11 for shameful gain teaching when they are not to teach for profit that they are not to have nice and ugly concoction is there for your consideration. Form of externalism that fails to recognize the problem is on the inside.

That's why he says listen, you should realize that to the pure all things are pure to the defiled and the unbeliever.

Nothing is pure because their minds and their consciences are to file that Jesus had to do with that as well that the when he dealt with the Pharisees in Matthew Matthew 15 if you want to turn to you to see in his days tackling the very sin problem Pharisees came and said why do your disciples break the traditions of the elders traditions of the elders you notice what that is that the commands of men, for they don't wash their hands when they eat Jesus as well.

Let me ask you a question. Why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition terms of entirely upside out there.

They are to ask why they break the code why they bring the traditions of man. He says forget the traditions of men from all why do you bring the commandments of God, you want to talk commandments, Leslie, with God's commandments not your inventions that he goes on to say to them you know your rights leaders, hypocrites, and Isaiah prophesied well when he said the people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me in vain do they worship me, and here's the phrase teaching as doctrines the commandments of men teaching as doctrines the commandments of men and successful summarizing it at the end of verse 16 professing to know God denying them by their works they are detestable their disobedient and their disqualifying unfit for any good work.

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