Intro: Paul sends letter to Titus, a pastor on Crete, on how to do ministry.
After many pastors, our church needs biblical clarification of a pastor's role.
Study will encourage our church leaders to grow spiritually; will help all of us
to live more intentionally, displaying the Gospel's attractiveness. Last week, learned
God's grace is the only glue able to hold a church together!
Titus' Responsibility! (Sermon focuses on 1:5.) Paul commands Titus to straighten
out what was left unfinished, specifically, to appoint elders, to establish godly
leadership. But Titus would have known this already; why remind him? So rest of
the church will hear Paul's apostolic command to Titus: Titus has the authority,
the responsibility to appoint and build up other leaders! But how is Titus to do
this; how are elders to be selected? Apostles/church planters were involved in the
selection process. (Read Acts 14:23 w/footnote variations!) Democratic process w/apostles
exercising oversight, evaluating the character of those selected. Contrary to some
denominational sentiments, being an elder is not a position open to anyone! Important
to see what God's Word has to say about the requirements for being an Elder, (see
Titus 1:6-9); we'll examine those next week!
The Elders' Purpose! "Elders?" Church leaders! Different titles depending
on your church's history/tradition: Elder, Overseer, Bishop, Presbyter. Disciples
have Elders; Baptists usually don't. NT indicates that there was to be more than
one elder in a church. (Read Acts 20:17, 28; I Timothy 5:17.) Why? From Jewish culture; multiple
leaders in local synagogues. However, Titus is setting up elders in Crete, a primarily
Why multiple elders? Wisdom! Important to understand that the Elders' core responsibilities
are to teach God's Word and to exercise authority over God's church . Different
types of governmental rule: Monarchy, (Rule by a king.) Democracy, (Rule by majority.)
Aristocracy, (Rule by a few.) Bible presents a church government that combines all
three types! As a congregation, we are submitted to the authority of our King, Jesus.
When we hold our annual business meeting and vote on issues, we function as a democracy.
But we also have the Elders providing leadership, direction for our church. Having
multiple Elders safeguards against a single person acting sinfully and abusing their
authority. Having multiple Elders also safeguards when a church majority is acting
contrary to the Bible. Church might not listen to just one person, but when all
the elders warn that the church is going in the wrong direction, they may keep church
from departing from the faith! The Elders' core responsibilities are to teach God's
Word and to exercise authority over God's church . Why? Accountability!
To protect the church, pastor, and each other against false teaching and sinful
Application: A Matter of Trust! (Read I Timothy 3:14-15!) Certainly believe that Bible is sufficient
to help us live Christian lives. But the Bible also addresses how our church government
should be set up. Our church should have multiple elders, people of spiritual maturity
selected by the congregation. The elders submit to each other, keeping each other
accountable to each other, to the church, and to God. Recognizing the elders are
submitted to Christ's authority, the church recognizes and respects the elders'
spiritual authority. The Elders' core responsibilities are to teach God's Word and
to exercise authority over God's church .
Talk about authority and accountability, humans, especially Americans, get suspicious.
America started through a rebellion against unjust authority. We can't imagine people
with authority acting responsibly, godly. But it comes down to trust! Do
we trust our Christian brothers and sisters to select godly leaders? Do we trust
the pastor to train and equip those leaders to exercise godly authority? Do we trust
those leaders to make decisions that will impact our church? Do we trust God to
help our church as we grow together, following His will, and keeping each other
humble and honest as we carry out our responsibilities as leaders?