Bible Pathways - Dec. 11, 2007
In Today's Reading:
The qualifications of church leaders; a warning against false teachers; eternal life not by our works of righteousness but by His mercy; 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 (manager for) God; not selfwilled, 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 hath 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 and is His Body on earth. Therefore, 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 bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly 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 Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity (lawlessness), and purify unto 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 unto 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 (Philemon 1:1). 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 thee always in my prayers, Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints (Philemon 1:4-6).
Titus 2:10 purloining =b> stealing small things; Philemon 1:8 enjoin =b> give direction, order; 1:12 mine own bowels =b> out of my very heart.
Pray for Staff: Beth Carlton • Government Officials: Sen. Max Baucus (MT) and Sen. John Kerry (MA) • Country: St. Kitts-Nevis (42,000) in the Leeward Islands of the West Indies • Major language: English • Religious freedom • 74% Protestant; 7% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Begin every day with prayer (Psalm 88:13).
Memory Verse for the Week: Hebrews 12:15