A.Last week we started a lesson series of the letter of Titus and we looked at some introductory material on the letter and the first 4 verses.
B.Today we are going to continue this series here in Titus 1:5-9, if you have your Bibles please open up to this section and let us read it together.
1.Most of our Bibles have this section properly titled as “qualifications of elders”
2.The word elder means an old man, like Guy here is my elder based on our age difference, he is very much my elder.
3.Here in our passage today we find this word “elder” in verse one and we know that Paul is talking about the office of an elder based on the context of this passage.
4.Because he is talking about the qualifications of such a position.
The word “elder” implies the first qualification, they are to be of an older age, and therefore I could not be an elder because I don’t meet that qualification.
C.Now let’s look here at verse 5 because it sits on its own, yet it leads us into the section on the qualifications for an elder.
1.Paul says in this verse that he left Titus in Crete for two reasons: one that he would set in order what remains and two so that he would appoint elders.
a)This first part is found in chapters 2 and 3 where Paul deals with the conduct of a Christian.
b)The last part is going to be partially dealt with by Paul in verses 6 thru 9 where he gives us the qualifications for the men who wish to be elders, but not how they are chosen.
2.The word “appoint” here literally means “ordained”
a)Titus is to ordain the men qualified as elders, he is not going to personally pick these men out.
1)If you remember from last week we said that Paul wrote this letter to Titus and to the Cretans so that to give Titus some creditability with them.
2)Now we can see here why Titus needs this creditability with them if he is the one to ordain/appoint the elders.
b)Now the reason why I say he is not the one who picks out the elders is because of an example we have over in Acts 6.
1)This is where the deacons are chosen for the church to help distribute food to the widows.
2)The apostles said that they needed to spend time in God’s word and in prayer and asked the people to chose men who were “full of the Spirit and of wisdom”
3)They asked the people to chose because they knew each other very well and could discern these things.
4)So they chose and presented the men to the apostles whom in essence ordained them.
c)Same thing here with Titus and the Cretans.
I picture Titus reading this letter to the Cretans and then maybe a little sermon about elder qualifications.
d)Then the people chose for themselves men who fit these qualifications and presented them before Titus and he would “appoint” them to the office.
3.Titus was to do this in every city in Crete where there was a congregation and Paul said “as I have directed you”.
a)So Paul has talked about this before to Titus concerning these things in this letter
b)But now Titus has written word from Paul in order to show to the Cretans.
D.Now Titus is to go and appoint these elders, but what is he to look for or have these men of Crete look for in themselves?
1.That is found in verses 6 to 9 and we can break this section up into two parts.
2.First Paul discuses the family qualifications of an elder in verses 6 to 7a and then in verses 7b to 9 it is the personal qualifications of the man for the office what he should not be and what he should be in order to become qualified for the office of elder.
!!! *I.The first point is found here in verse 6 where Paul goes over the family qualifications of an elder*
A.The first qualification in this section is that the elder should be a man and is “above reproach”
1.He tells Titus “if any man”
a)Now the word “man” is not found in the Greek text it is actually “someone”, but the word is masculine and so is the Greek word for “elder”
b)Therefore only a man can be an elder and not a women, these are not my rules, but God’s commands to us.
c)I know for us here today these things are obvious, but for some in this world it is not and they try to find way to break God’s commands so that they can do what they want.
2.That brings us to the next part, he must be “above reproach”
a)This means he is to be “guiltless”, not that he is to be perfect, but that he is to be considered by his life a man who strives after doing the right thing.
b)People will blame him for things that is without a doubt, but if the accusations made against him are true quite often and he cannot explain himself, then he is not above reproach.
B.The second qualification is that he is “the husband of one wife”
1.We are going to spend some time on this because there are many views to this qualification and I would like us to review the more prominent ones.
a)The first view is quite easily thrown out and that is the Roman Catholic view.
1)They say that the elder is married to the church and therefore cannot be married to any woman.
2)This is taught because it is the only way they can legitimatize their stance on elders remaining celibate.
3)Well to accept this view you would have to view this one verse as being spiritualize while the others are literal.
4)This is obviously a false teaching and can be thrown out as a possibility.
b)Another view some take on this passage is that it prohibits polygamy, being married to several women.
1)Now we know that Paul did teach against such a practice in I Corinthians 7.
2)The very phrase “husband of one wife” tells us that the man seeking to be an elder cannot be a husband of 2 wives or more.
So I think this fits with our passage here in Titus.
c)The next view I would like us to look at is the prohibition of widowers being remarried.
1)In this view they say that an elder can be married once and only once.
So if their wife dies then they may not remarry.
2)The biggest problem with this view is that nowhere in scripture does it forbid a widower to become remarried
3)Paul clearly taught in Romans 7:1-3 that the death of one’s spouse dissolved the marriage bond.
4)To say in any way that a second marriage was unholy is to impugn the scriptures.
Therefore a widower who remarried can be an elder, for they are a husband of just one wife at the time of appointment.
5)However, if an elder becomes a widower then they are no longer the husband of one wife, therefore they would no longer qualify for the position.
d)Ok, we have seen three views so far and now we come to the last one that this is a prohibition of divorce.
1)This being divorce either by scriptural means or by unscriptural means.
2)If a man has been divorced unscripturally, then that in itself would disqualify him for the position of elder.
3)But what about a man who was divorced for scriptural reasons could he not be an elder?
4)Well if he was remarried then that would make him a husband of one wife only because his last marriage was dissolved according to the scriptures.
5)So this to fits with what we see the passage saying here in Titus 1:6.
2.Now I am sure there are many more hypothetical situations that people have come up with, but each situation is to be held in the light of the scriptures and not according to our feelings toward the person in question.
C.The third qualification is that he is to have believing children
1.The word “believe” here means “faithful” or “trusting”
a)Typically when we see the word “believing” we think of in accordance to God’s Word.
b)And that may be implied here, but I think it in light of their father who is seeking to be an elder.
c)Are these children of his faithful to him and do they do what he tells them to do faithfully?
If no, then he is not qualified.
2.Paul goes in to more detail with this though here at the end of verse 6
a)He says the children are not to be accused of “dissipation”
1)Here is a word you can add to your word of the day list, “dissipation, it means “a process in which energy is used or lost without accomplishing useful work”
2)This is a word Guy use on our Friday morning meetings quite often concerning my lessons.
3)Here Paul is speaking of the man’s kids, are they wasting away on their own amusements such as drinking and living in a dissolute way?
If so then he is not qualified to be an elder.
3.He says the children are not to be accused of “rebellion”
a)That is if they do not subject themselves to the fathers will then they are being rebellious.
b)This ties in with the children needing to be faithful to their father and not being rebellious.
D.If an man cannot keep these qualifications then he cannot be a steward of God
1.Look here at the first part of verse 7, “For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward”
a)“above reproach” is the bookend to this thought on the family qualifications of an elder.
b)Paul started with it in verse 6 and here he ends with it, but continues in the qualifications of elders, but in the personal qualifications.
c)We already said what “above reproach” means, its that being guiltless before a court.
d)The word “steward” means that the overseer is God’s manager of His house, this is who God decided to put in charge until He sends His Son, Jesus.
e)Therefore the man who wishes to be an elder must have a life that reflects that he is indeed a servant of God’s
2.If he has or has had more than one wife then he has reproach and thus cannot be a steward of God’s
3.If he does not have faithful children then he has reproach and thus cannot be a steward of God’s
!!! *II.Now the second point Paul has is the personal qualifications of an elder and this can be broken up into two sections: what he should not be and what he should be.*
A.First let’s look at what the man who wishes to be an elder should not be
1.The first qualification is that he should not be “self-willed”
a)Literally this means “self-pleasing”, which is they are doing whatever they can to serve self.
b)He has to have things go his way or no way at all, we call this arrogant and it is not characteristic of an elder.
c)Imagine being in an elders meeting where one of them was self-pleasing”.
Two things can happen either nothing gets done or only what he wants gets done.
d)What should be happening is God’s will is getting done; therefore having this characteristic in one’s life disqualifies him from being an elder.
2.This man seeking to be an elder is not to be “quick tempered”
a)I am sure we all know someone like this where you know when you are speaking to them you have to tread carefully otherwise you’ll fall through the thin ice and he bursts into anger.