Thursday, August 24, 2023

2023.08.24 Hopewell @Home ▫ Titus 1:6–7

Read Titus 1:6–7

Questions from the Scripture text: What is the first qualification of an elder (Titus 1:6)? What is the second thing he must be? How many wives may this man have? What type of children should he have? Into what categories mustn’t they fall? What is the elder called in Titus 1:7? What qualification from Titus 1:6 must continue in his ministry? What relation does his office have toward God? Not living according to whose pleasure/will? What must he not become quickly/easily? What must he not be constantly alongside/given to? Also not what? And not characterized by what? 

How do we know whom Christ has called to be an elder? Titus 1:6–7 looks forward to the second serial reading of in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that we may recognize Christ-selected elders by the Christ-supplied grace of being Christ-obsessed. 

The apostle had opened the letter by pressing upon Titus how as God did what He had promised from eternity, He was using His slaves, in His order for the church, to accomplish His purposes by His grace. So, the natural question is: how do we know which ones are His slaves for the eldership? And the answer, which seems obvious after hearing it, is: by His giving them by His grace (cf. Titus 1:4) the qualities they must have in order to be a good bishop/overseer (n.b. “must be” in Titus 1:7). What are these qualities?

Blameless, Titus 1:6Titus 1:7. Above reproach. No ungodliness in his manner or conduct gives accusers something to latch onto. Even his family knows him to be godly enough that accusations are untrue before God. He is of a deservedly high reputation of character. This is repeated both in front of the man’s conduct in the home (Titus 1:6) and what he mustn’t (Titus 1:7) and must (Titus 1:8) be.

Husband of one wifeTitus 1:6. A “man of one woman.” Committed to monogamous marriage, and especially his own, if he is married. He is faithful, honors marriage, and is committed to the purity of the marriage bed (cp. Hebrews 13:4 as part of the Hebrews 13:1–6 character of the Hebrews 13:7, Hebrews 13:17 elder).

Having faithful childrenTitus 1:6. The children share the faith of their father. They are not categorized by those who know them as unsaved (more literal than NKJ’s “dissipation”) or ungovernable (“insubordination”). He is a graced man, whose use of the means of that grace the Lord Himself has blessed to his children.

Steward of GodTitus 1:7. One who acts in another One’s house. And this “other One” is God! Behind this word, then, is humility, carefulness, diligence, zeal, responsibility, accountability, service, treasuring.

Not self-willedTitus 1:7. Literally not self-pleasing. He lives to please Another. This dovetails with “steward of God” to give the picture of a man who is Christ-obsessed: Christ-serving, Christ-pleasing.

Not quick-temperedTitus 1:7. He is not someone in whom the heat of anger appears easily, nor does it rise quickly once it is there.  This indicates a man whose instability comes from trust and pleasure in himself rather than in the Lord.

Not given to wineTitus 1:7. Literally “not alongside wine” or “not attended by wine.” He employs wine in the right way, as a gift from God for various specific uses and benefits. It is not his constant companion. We should apply this principle to any self-indulgence. That would indicate a man living by his own impulses.

Not violentTitus 1:7. Not controlled by “force.” The word describes a man who brute-forces things. He interacts with those over whom he has some controlling advantage, and he unhesitatingly uses it. It could be literal strength, in which he is physically violent. Or, it could be a position of authority or wealth. It could even just be skill in manipulating others. Such a man is a bully and unfit to do the work of shepherding. He probably thinks it’s best for everyone if he is in charge. He may indeed desire to be an overseer (cf. 1 Timothy 3:1), but the church must avoid having him as one.

Not greedy for moneyTitus 1:7. The word is a combination of the word for “shameful” and “gain.” It is not actually specific to money, although money is a good example. The idea is that he does not see personal gain of any kind as an end in itself. Whether it’s money, pleasure, praise, or comfort, it must not be the thing that a man is always looking for. Someone who is always seeking how to profit from a situation is self-interested, not Christ-interested and others-serving.

The church is Christ’s flock to be shepherded, God’s house to be overseen. There is no room in her eldership for the self-obsessed. Only for the Christ-obsessed. And we must always pray and labor that by the Lord’s using them, every member would become Christ-obsessed as well.

In which of the areas above do you most need to grow? Try asking your spouse/parents the same question about yourself. If you are a male, why may it be especially important for you to grow in it?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You for giving Your Son to be our Chief Elder and our King, Who is the Son over Your household. Forgive us, O Lord, and help us, for we are not like He is. We are often ungodly so that others might rightly blame us. We do not honor marriage like we should. We forget that our household is Christ’s and that the church is His household. So, we often live to indulge our wills, our passions, our pleasures, our power, or our property. It is dreadful, O Lord, how quickly we slide back into serving created things, rather than You, the Creator, Who are blessed forever. So, we cling to You through Christ, asking that You would forgive us, and that You would use Your means to grow us in likeness to Him, which we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP73C “Yet Constantly I Am with You” or TPH446 “Be Thou My Vision”

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