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Setting the House in Order: Stay on Track

Setting the House in Order   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Setting the House in Order: Stay on Track

 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Introduction

We have been dealing with Christian responsibility as our yearly theme!
Setting the House in order, the good order of the Church is important to the development of the Church and it’s reflection of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
Stay on Course, stay on track
Story of my father telling me to stay focused.
The church also needs to stay focused on Who we belong too and who we are

I. The good order of the Church is necessary for internal protection of the persons within the congregation

Last two Sundays we talked about leadership that looks like Jesus being important to the life of the universal Church and the local congregation
In this verse, Paul provides the rationale for why he has given Titus the internal and depositional qualifications for elders/bishops. The reason is that there are many who are seeking to use the ignorance of those who are disciples of the Lord for their own benefit and gain.
Christian leaders are not just alternatives to the world, but holy opposition to those who seek to disrupt the hope and faith of those within the congregation

II. The good order of the Church is necessary because of the need for sound faith within the congregation

Paul calls them rebellious and idle talkers and deceivers. This is an indication of the nature of their hearts and the method of their rebellion and its fruit. They are are rebellious but rebellious against what.
They are in rebellion against God's order for His Church
And in having a rebellious heart, they engage in idle chit-chat that is purposeful to them, but worthless because it is not in line with the purpose of God for His Church, to reveal the gospel of Jesus not just propositionally but personally. They are of the circumcision, this should let us know something, That this is an internal issue-believers against the will of God. not simply the jews but jewish Christians, who posit that to be Christ's one must first adhere to the law of Moses- their was nothing wrong with the law, but it was improperly placed. faith in Christ comes before obedience to the law. They heretically take the faith out of sequence, and thus negate the gospel. We do this now, people who posit that I can do what I please, because I belong to Christ. We sin and are heretics in the opposite direction-in the direction of grace. but to over emphasis grace or the law, wounds our faith in Christ, and thus negates the gospel. And what is worse, it comes from people who should know better. They are not folk who are outside the people of God, but rather who are inside the Body!

II. The good order of the Church is necessary because of the need of sound faith within the congregation

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Paul expresses that is necessary to silence them. Because through their rebellion they are ruining not just persons, but families. This is the basic unit of society. In this part of the world, one does not solely exist as an individual. In this world it is impossible to be just you. Because you is the summation of all the moments that have come before this point. And in this moment is both past, present, and future. So the disruption of families indicates not simply false teaching, or motivation, but the disruption of the people of God and a hindrance to the kingdom of God. We must remember that God operates in the world through families. powerful concept. And this is why Satan seeks to disrupt family so vigorously. Because the disruption of family creates a ripple that moves beyond the particular moment and lays bare the sins of the past, the foolishness of the present, and the pain of the future. When one disrupts a family, and God's purpose for family- we disrupt the Church.
When we disrupt the church, we disrupt the family of God in a very dangerous way. It is dangerous to take on the Church. And often if satan can get people in the church to leave God's purpose for the Church, he can set the Church against itself! Churches like families, like marriages, are destroyed from the inside out. And it is the responsibility of the leader to short the process of disruption by teaching that it is the responsibility of every disciple to hold on to God's purpose for every moment, because churches and families and even persons are destroyed when the forget their purpose!
So those who are disrupting families are doing it by teaching that which should not be taught. In the greek, it is teaching this which must not be. They are giving life to that which hinders God's purpose, and are giving shape to that which disrupts God's will for His people.
But the real sad part is why they are doing it. They are doing it for selfish gain. They are not teaching to grow people, but to uplift themselves. We have to recognize that even in Church there are people who will teach and preach, and worship for themselves- not for God or others! The focus of the Church (us a persons) is to love others so much that we will continually kneel to lift them up. When we live God's values and live with God's worth- we understand that to be like God is to give like God. Many forget that God's true power is agape love- a love that seeks out to do good for those who are not just undeserving but hostile. A love that does not seek its own- but seeks the lost. A love that is so sure of itself, that it can stand to sacrifice. Some folk can't sacrifice because they don't have nothing to give! Because you don't give resources, but you give you! And as the Lord taught and showed us with His very life, it is more blessed to give than receive. Because to give of ourselves is to be like God, but to do anything in a selfish and self seeking manner- even the things of God, is to be not divine but demonic.

III. The good order of the Church is necessary so that Christ’s people can be healed.

And it is a selfishness that is ultimately rooted in fear- not love or God's providence.

but to first present the gospel one has to know the people. Paul quotes a Cretan poet/ prophet Epimenides who lived almost 600 years before Paul- but who's analysis of the people of crete were so profound that it stood the test of time. In fact the people of crete had such a terrible reputation that to cretize or to play the cretan was to lie or to engage in purposeful deception.
Sometimes we have to learn to get out of ourselves to understand the people we are around. To learn them, and not our assumptions. We have to learn to see people from not just a poetical perspective-but a prophetic perspective we have to see people the way God sees. We have to be real with what we see and how we see. so that we know how to apply the salve of the gospel to the lives of those we minister too. Notice that Paul did not use this prophetic testimony as a way to down play the Cretans, or as a read on the cretens- but as a means to best using the gospel to heal the cretans. We have to do the same thing.
Sometimes we have to learn to get out of ourselves to understand the people we are around. To learn them, and not our assumptions. We have to learn to see people from not just a poetical perspective-but a prophetic perspective we have to see people the way God sees. We have to be real with what we see and how we see. so that we know how to apply the salve of the gospel to the lives of those we minister too.
Notice that Paul did not use this prophetic testimony as a way to down play the Cretans, or as a read on the cretens- but as a means to best using the gospel to heal the cretans. We have to do the same thing.
The testimony is true, and is to be used to reprove the cretans, not for their mistreatment but for their healing. We don't see people to judge them, but to heal them! This is the difference between the Church and the world. We seek to see who people are to be conduits of healing and restoration as God heals and builds them as He sees fit. They are to be made sound in the Faith, the Gospel. not sound in our preferences- but in God's will. The order in the Church is for the healing of souls, not for the perferences of the saints. We must learn that in healing folk, we don't point them to what we want, but what God wants for them.

IV. The good order of the Church is necessary so that the congregation can be oriented to the pattern of Christ

Here Paul lifts up two different errors in the church at Crete. 1) Jewish myths and 2) commands from people who have turned from Truth.
A myth does not have to be fake, or untrue, instead a myth is a story a tale that orientates and gives purpose to our lives. Myths can be true, they can be false, but the veracity is not the point, it is the ordering of the life that is the point. Here lives are being ordered by something else other than the Gospel and Christ.
The second is that they are being commanded by those who have no relationship with the truth. it is a shame that often in the Church, we can be led by folk who are not enlightened by the truth of Christ, from the inside out! We are led by what we value however. That is a telling and chilling reminder that we often get the leaders we deserve because we choose and accept the leaders that appeal to what we value.
the problem is not even the Jewish myths, or even the commands, but that the saints are so off base that they pay attention to them. What we pay attention to is a good indication of the order of our hearts, and the order of the Church. Church order has to begin inside of us, and what we chose to give our attention to reveals much about our hearts. What we focus on says so much about the condition of who we are and where we are. Why because everything we do, we have a vested interest in. What we listen do, we have a vested interest in. What we pattern our lives on, we have a vested interest in. And when we who claim to be the Church, pattern our lives and order our congregations on Christ, and nothing else. It is hard to be handed a false bill of sale when we are sold out to Christ. When we are set in order- we will strive to be like Christ, and imitate Christ, and when we are striving to be like Christ, we will not be taken in by rebellious people. Notice that the two end caps of this pericope are rooted in what regulates our lives. Those that seek to distrupt are self-regulated and patterened, those who are secure in the faith are Christ regulated.

Celebration

Where is the Celebration in this? In that when we pattern our lives on Christ, and we are sure and secure in our faith, then we become like Christ. It is impossible to imitate Christ, and not be changed, transformed by Him. Thus it is the responsibility of the believer to not just imitate Christ, but allow Christ to live within us!
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