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April 24, 2020 1:00 am
So firm grip on the word of God allows an elder to get his arms around the work of God. If it elder strays away from the word of God, he will stray away from the true work of God. If he is all that interested in the word of God's work for God will in reality digressed to be nothing more than an appendage of his own ambitions and his own dreams and his own desires and ultimate liaison reflection mantle church leadership like a heavy and it is the standard that God sets forth in Scripture for the men who lead his church is high in the New Testament. The apostle Paul wrote a letter to a young pastor named Titus's goal was to help Titus identify the kinds of men who should be elders of the church gave a list of several qualifications. The overall nature of elders is that they are exemplary men in both public and private were working our way through Titus one here on wisdom for the heart and Stephen continues in that series today. Here's our Bible teacher, Stephen Davies, if you're able to open your Bible to Titus one as we get started with today's lesson. I was just sent a devotional book recently written by Chinese evangelist and missionary leader I've never heard of them before didn't really have time to read the book but read a lot of it this week just caught my attention. This leaders responsible for serving behind the scenes in a movement called back to Jerusalem. This is a movement of Chinese believers by the thousands, and we don't hear much about it but they are actually risking their lives to take the gospel to Muslim countries and Hindu countries where the gospel is forbidden, and that this particular leader has been imprisoned several times often hunted with reward on his head. Many times beaten and even tortured for his insistence on preaching the gospel in one part of his book. He talked about how one occasion in a Chinese prison both his legs were broken eroded his devotion at it 90 he would lie on his back and propped his legs up on the cell wall to try to relieve and ease the pain.
He spoke openly and transparently of the struggle to surrender to the will of God. At times there in the solitude of his suffering included in one section, how the church in China teaches five things that every disciple must be prepared to do about these interesting they must be prepared at any time to pray regardless of circumstances, to be ready to speak the gospel to be ready to suffer for the name of Christ to be ready to die for Jesus Christ and they must also be ready to escape if they can so they can continue preaching the gospel of Christ, that good, they apply that last directive from Matthew chapter 10 where the Lord told the disciples that if they persecuted in one place, flee to the next so they get a chance to escape the key preaching to the gotta be ready to pray, speak, suffer escape or maybe even die. This Chinese leader entitled the 19th chapter in his devotional chocolate soldiers and that caught my eye went further caught my attention was underneath the chapter title yet. A quote by another pioneer by the name of CT stud CT stud was 1/19 century British missionary that I had heard of and read about often who pioneered that the gospel to China, India, and in his later years in Africa when he was just kind of a he was just a tough guy having CT stud would take on anybody of anything. And in fact the gotta give you an impression of what kind of man he was.
He once wrote a two line poem that simply went like this. Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell. I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell that kinda sums it up for CT stud while in chapter 19 of this devotional. The missionary from China quoted CT stud delivering a similar challenge and never read this before. He said and I quote a chocolate Christian dissolves in water and melts at the smell of fire living their lives in a glass dish or in a cardboard box each clad in his soft clothing a little frilled white paper to preserve his dear little Constitution. God never was a chocolate manufacturer and never will be. God is he saying looking for, and developing Christians who will not melt or dissolve in the face of trouble. Peer pressure opposition tribulation and even persecution sounds a lot like the apostle Paul resident who challenged Timothy to endure hard times as a good soldier of Jesus Christ second Timothy chapter 2 verse three Paul further exhorted his son in the faith, to train himself for the purpose of godliness for 74 seven God is and in the manufacturing hollow chocolate soldiers in light of our study on the office and calling of the elder. I have little personal doubt that there are fewer men qualified or even willing to serve as leaders of the church at large today because of greater demands and greater pressure that will be placed upon their lives.
The requirements of discipline and study the toil of and the penalty of leading in front of perhaps even standing alone and to use the analogy of these missionary pioneers chocolate soldiers cannot wear the mantle of a shepherd is just too much danger lying in wait is too much fire to deal with. You might be tempted to run or even melt down under the pressure of all that needed so the apostle Paul gave Titus, a task that is been going on since the first century, Titus I want to go and find men who will be elders, bishops, pastors find these men who will not run who will not melt in the face of fire. Titus would naturally vast you know China resume.
Can you give me what kind of direction. Can you point me in the find a qualified shepherds will be able to garden and feed and lead and encourage and challenge and discipline and love and care for the flock of God, over whom they been appointed. So Paul gives Titus this list that we been studying a list, you can simply outline as qualifications of elders and began the list. If you are with us.
You may remember by telling us what an elder must have is a relationship to his wife and his children, and then Paul delivered to Titus five vices his candidates could not be known to pattern themselves after getting to the pattern of their lives in their verse seven of Titus chapter 1 he says the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, and he gives these five vices, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not greedy or fond of sordid gain. Now Paul moves on to deliver seven virtues that these men should pursue and again strive for in a pattern or as a pattern of living there not to do that. Not to be that kind of man, but they are to be hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word now and our last study together we study the first four of those seven virtues and today will address these final three and let me remind you as we get ready to dive in here as a church body. All of these qualities.
All of these characteristics are to be the passionate pursuit of every believer, for you will find that they weave their way in and through New Testament characteristics of those who follow the Holy Spirit.
These are fruits of the spirit. Many of them listed in Galatians chapter 5 so effectively what were saying is that none of us.
None of us are to be made out of chocolate, hard to say because I love chocolate. By the way, every time I see them get hungrier as the hours pass on. I love it, but were not to be made out of it were all fighting a battle early to make matters more difficult. Our struggle really is against flesh and blood, something we can see it's against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of darkness and wicked.
Ephesians 612. Certainly the body needs men who will lead the charge. Show the way in pursuing model. They can then pattern for those they lead. That will protect them and encourage them serve the flock. Well, as the flock deals with their own daily battles with the world and the flesh and the devil.
Little wonder then that Paul asks Titus to pry into the private lives of these other candidates gotta be confirmed as having private disciplines of godliness that the words at the at the latter end of this list translated breath in your translation as they are in mind without an self-controlled refer as much to private exercises as public demonstration. The word devout comes from the word Hosey's, which refers to holy piety holy piety in private he desires to commune with God and that just sort of filters out in his life. The word is used by Paul in first Timothy two and verse eight where he encourages every man to pray, lifting up holy hand is often misunderstood to say when you pray, raise your hands.
That's fine if you want to do that. But what he's actually saying here is that when you pray, God sees your hands and you can effectively listen to him as look, Lord. They are clean. They are holy. Hosey's they are they are pious hand their genuine there authentically following after you as Lord and Master. And so that's that's the kind of pursuit in private and his hands will be seen that way in public listen, dear flock, but the idea that whatever a man does in private does not affect what he does in public is utter nonsense is utter nonsense. In fact, it's corrupt, devious nonsense.
It gives those who would be leaders free passes. That is only self-destructed. According to the apostle Paul.
Whatever a man does in private qualifies whatever he hopes to do in public.
Why, because whatever you do in private is whatever you are and whatever you are will leak out in public and if a man cannot be trusted in private to care about the will and the character and the nature of God, he cannot be trusted to do in public care about any of that either one of the road. When Paul uses this word here for devout he's referring to an elder overseer who is fully dedicated to the glory of God and others. He isn't just dedicated to the glory of God where people can see he's dedicated to the glory of God in his private life. When the pressure is turned off and if he isn't he'll never live up to pursuing the glory of God out in public when the pressure dial is turned up the heat turned on. He might melt, so I must be personally devoted to God and that quality devotional be evident both privately and publicly.
Paul goes on to add one more virtue in verse eight.
The word translated self controlled, self-controlled again as much private as public.
To compound word made up of the words in IN and power in power. In other words, it describes a person who is in control of in power over in this case one's self to be in control of one's own impulses to be in power of one's own emotions, one's actions, self control. I do know it was like when you're a kid in elementary school that is really sweet. Mother came and talked to me and she had 1/5 grade daughter and then she said I got the same same thing on here, but when report cards were split in half, one half or the grades and the other half was character and then I get that report card. When I was in elementary school and I hated it. I dreaded it because I knew I might get an a in spelling and it I will take what I got.
Math was to say what many were near in the same region is that in all of history and reading but but what really was, was that the issue was the character qualities like courtesy and helpfulness and the dreaded self-control. I scored well on the other side but that would matter to my peers. Her priorities were all messed up they went immediately to that side, and it was usually Stevie come in here you got a bad mark in self-control and under self-control were all these blank line where the teacher could could tattle an end and gossip all sorts of other biblical things well you know it's true. If you're raising children. You know you got the save as you write your child wants to run a job and you can teach them now. Be still for a moment sit still. He wants to eat now and you tell them no weights in your teaching them control over how they feel they don't want a dessert no wait and eat vegetables first which is tougher than I love when kids respond to his class was asked when they buy the teacher would be learned recently in this little boy raises him and he said well I have learned recently that you cannot hide broccoli and a glass of milk. Evidently try to get float goods imported a mark of maturity is controlling or just having power over emotions.
Choosing the right act. The right response. Even then, they have fits hard even if it doesn't taste good. Get all older even if it goes against the crowd, even if it's painful, even if it's unrewarding, even if it's time-consuming you get the point. Titus you want to know what kind of Shepherd is not gonna melt make sure he is controlling his inner desires and urges in private by way because that's gonna show up somehow, someway, and a lack of self-control in public what author wrote perceptive words. He said an elder who does not continually than monitor his own life, submitting his sin to the Lord's cleansing and keeping a clear conscience is not fit to lead God's people no matter how outwardly righteous, his life may appear to be if he acts rights only when others are looking he is doing just that, acting the Pharisees had a dent in the they have their money and they prayed and they fasted to be seen in the word is final. My attempt to create a theater.
We are word from that they were putting on a show they were spiritual only because they were being watched, and they were good at it.
But when the pressure was on the spiritual leaders of Israel caved into the peer pressure and the greed and the jealousy in all his inner urges stoked by the enemy of our soul and their corruption ran free and they ultimately failed the test and melted down and the land in the chant to crucify self-control keep in mind this virtue of self-control is among the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5 in verse 23 for all of us. By the way, let me just turn the coin over her little bit and let you know that Paul wasn't telling Titus to find men who just have some unusual ability to stay stoic man with no emotion, their expression never changes that some sort of amazing internal system where they can control their malls in their hearts and their minds in their hands and they just start their good there just their superpowerful no is looking for men that just comes easy. Self-control is actually the result of being under the spirits control. It's a fruit of the spirit. It is self-control along with every virtue here it is.
It is that daily decision is that daily surrender to come under the influence of the Holy Spirit in both the elder shepherd pastor and everyone in the flock rights that daily battle to to get back under in the stay under because we want to crawl at go back under. We want to crawl. I go back under the spirits control. It's a daily decision. It's a moment by moment battle. At times he it is, it is the challenge of our lives and to come under his control means. His spirit is dominating our spirits and in that you discover the source and the power over and of self control.
So find men who are constantly talking to themselves saying you're out you're out. Go back under don't do that say that they go back under my men that are internally compelled to do that because they want to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit and then as a pattern. Live it for the flock's sake.