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Bible Pathways 12/11/2003

December 11

Read Titus 1 -- Philemon 1

In Today's Reading:

The qualifications of church officers; a warning against false teachers; Christian conduct; Paul's appeal for Onesimus

The churches on the island of Crete needed spiritual leadership, so Paul instructed Titus to ordain qualified men to fill these positions. Such men were to be blameless (above reproach), the husband of one wife, having faithful (believing) children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker (not violent), not given to filthy lucre (not greedy for financial gain); But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate (disciplined); Holding fast the faithful Word as he has been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers (opposition) (Titus 1:6-9).

The Church belongs to Christ. His qualifications for spiritual leaders must be followed; man's alternative options are unacceptable to God. Paul's letter to Titus warns that leaders must be blameless in their personal lives.

Paul gave instruction that older men and women should teach the younger men and women, instructing them to forsake evil passions and worldly ambitions, and to live honorably before the Lord. The Grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldy lusts, we should live soberly (sensibly), righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity (lawlessness), and purify to Himself a peculiar (special) people, zealous of good works (2:11-14). Our teaching must be based upon the threefold work of Christ for His people as a result of His death upon the cross. 1) He set us free — redeemed us from all iniquity (vs 14); 2) He set us apart — purified to Himself a peculiar people (special possession) (vs 14); and 3) He called us to be zealous of good works (vs 14).

Paul simply identifies himself as a prisoner of Jesus Christ. Although Paul was imprisoned by the Roman Empire, he knew Who really had control of his life. In his letter to Philemon he expressed the same attitude of gratitude. I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, Hearing of your love and faith, which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all the saints (Philemon 1:4-6).

Word Studies:

Titus 1:9 gainsayers = opposition; those who contradict and oppose; 2:10 purloining = stealing, pilfering, embezzling; 1:8 enjoin = to give direction, to order; 1:12 mine own bowels = out of my very heart.

Prayer Needs:

BP Staff: Jim Ryan · Pray for Brett Landry and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on KKAY-AM, Donaldsonville LA · Government Officials: Sen. Max Baucus (MT) and Sen. John Kerry (MA) · Country: French Guiana (168,000) on the northern coast of South America · Major Language: French · Religious freedom · 88% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray to the Lord with sincere lips (Psalm 17:1).

Memory Verse for the Week: Ephesians 5:6

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