Thursday, August 31, 2023

2023.08.31 Hopewell @Home ▫ Titus 1:8–9

Titus 1:8–9

Questions from the Scripture text: What six characteristics must an overseer have from Titus 1:8? To what must he hold fast (Titus 1:9)? What sort of word is it? How does he know what to believe about it? What two things must he do to whom? How is he enabled to do so?

What must an elder persist in being? Titus 1:8–9 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 an elder must have a Word-formed character for his work in the Word. 

The elder’s characterTitus 1:8Titus 1:7 listed several things that an elder must not be. This is because those things prevent a man from being what he ought to be. Now in Titus 1:8, we read what he ought to be. (1) Hospitable: a “lover of strangers.” Someone for whom the image of God in someone else is abundant reason to provide care for body and soul at his own expense. (2) A lover of what is good. It’s just one compound word in the original. Whatever God is, he loves. Whatever God says is good, he loves. Not just approves of. Not just follows. Loves. The first two characteristics are love characteristics. This is a man of love. (3) sober-minded. The word means that he is controlled by wisdom. He learns and grows. He is a theologically principled man, not a pragmatist who changes with the situations, nor an impulsive man who changes with his feelings or inclinations. (4) just. He does what is right toward others; he is fair. (5) holy. He does what is right toward God; he is pious. (6) self-controlled. In possession of himself—particularly enabled to follow what the Word says because he is not manipulated by competing emotions or desires. 

The Word that forms the elder’s characterTitus 1:9a. The participle “holding fast,” at the beginning of Titus 1:9, serves as an explanation of how he came to be the man described in Titus 1:8. The elder is someone who is teachable. He did not come up with his doctrine; he was taught it. He grows, but not through instability; he holds fast to what he has been taught. He considers the Word to be faithful, because God is faithful. It is the Word of a faithful God. It is true, reliable, authoritative, effective and sufficient. And the elder continually gets his life from the Lord by means of His Word.

The work that the elder does in the WordTitus 1:9b. Just as the man in Matthew 7:5 gains skill in speck-removal by his own plank-removal, the elder gains more than just a godly character by his use of the Word. He gains experience in applying the Word to life. His own holding fast to the Word becomes the foundation for being able to exhort and convict. Others will not have sound doctrine, and he needs to be able to expose them by sound doctrine and apply it to them in whatever way is helpful. 

Whom do you have most difficulty loving and serving? What part of Scripture-defined goodness do you have most difficulty loving? Whom has the Lord given to teach you the Scriptures, and how are you practicing teachability and application? 

Sample prayer:  Lord thank You for working in us by Your Word. And thank You for giving us those who minister Your Word to us. Forgive us for when we do not live by Your word like we ought. Forgive us for when we are not hospitable. Forgive us for when we do not love what is good. Forgive us for when we are not sober-minded. Forgive us for when we are not just. Forgive us for when we are unholy. Forgive us for when we lack self-control. Forgive us for when we are unteachable, or when we do not hold fast to Your faithful Word as it was taught us. Forgive us, and help us, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH172 “Speak, O Lord”

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