We have to remember with this section in Titus and the whole Bible that the things we read do not exist in isolation. Last week we looked at what a Christian leader, what the church should look like.
False Teachers / False Teaching 10-12
As God’s people, we need to be able to identify false teaching!
What did the false teachers teach in Paul and Titus’ day?
- Adhering to the Jewish way of life
- Dietary rules
- Keep a kosher diet – no bacon
Observance of festivals
- Don’t touch certain things
- Sabbaths, new moons, Yom Kippur, Jubilee
- Physical sign of the covenant
These were things you must do to be considered an Israelite. These were the commands from God to Moses to belong to the covenant people Israel. In the minds of the Jewish people teaching this there was no other way to be connected to the promises of God. Judaism was not contextual. The Gospel in its beauty, simplicity, and focus on the person of Christ is amazingly contextual. And that was true.
That was true until Jesus came and established the New Covenant (agreement) by His blood:
“Cancel[ling] the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.” Col 2:14
What was required is no longer required. Now what is required is faith in the Son of God!
if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9
If you do this, you are part of the New Covenant
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” – Jeremiah 31:33-34
If anyone tells you that you need to do something more than believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to receive Him and be part of this New Agreement with God, then that is false, and they are teaching something false.
Now false teaching and false teachers is bad enough but these leaders in Crete were not just teaching false doctrine they were doing it for money. One is bad enough but the second makes it horrible. This is not something that is absent in our time. There are still those who teach false doctrine to make money. I will not name names, but we still have these people in our day and the antidote to false teaching is found in verses 13-14.
Silence false teachers so they will know the truth 13-14
As God’s people, we need to know the truth and why we speak the truth!
This is both silencing false teachers and proclaiming the truth. In doing this we follow God’s way of doing things. Read the prophets and you will find that God calls out falsehood to bring people back to truth. We silence, rebuke, and correct falsehood so those who believe it will know the truth. What does Scripture say?
“Rebuke them sharply, so that they may be sound in the faith” Titus 1:13.
Any other motivation is wrong. We are calling people to repentance and reconciliation. We are to be reconciled to God and each other.
False teachers are not the enemy, false doctrine, false teaching, hypocrisy, and deceit these are the enemies. People who teach false teachings either by wrong motives or ignorance are to be instructed in righteousness so that they may know the truth. Do not make the person the enemy, but zealously combat falsehood and false teaching for the sake of truth and so that those who believe or think otherwise will know the truth for their good.
The motivation and the approach make all the difference. This requires a knowledge of truth and the way of righteousness.
Requires an understanding of the truth
To rebuke or silence false teachers requires that you have an understanding of the topic. It presupposes that you know how to handle the Word of God.
We have to remember 2 very important things when we read the book of Titus.
- Titus was written to Titus
- Titus was also written for us.
Titus was not a new believer or someone unfamiliar in the way of Righteousness. 2 Corinthians chapter 8 tells us that Titus had a history of working in difficult churches with bad or twisted doctrine. This was not his first rodeo. He knew how to rightly divide the Word of God.
How do we know the truth? We know the truth because we read the truth, and God’s word is true.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness 2 Tim 3:16
The Bible does not claim to be a helpful book, the Bible claims to be the Word of God given to us for revelation of who He is and what we need to know about Him.
We can rest in the fact that the Bible is reliable. We believe it because it is true and then we act in faith based on what it says.
How do we know the Bible is true? There are many ways. A few quick points.
- When comparing manuscripts (copies) they have a 99.5% accuracy
- There are over 20,000 New Testament manuscripts.
- We have small manuscripts of the Gospel of John dated to about 100-150 AD
- The Bible has been studied to show that it is an accurate record of what the original authors wrote.
This means we can trust that what we read is what was meant to be read!
“Faith is relying on what you have reason to believe is true and trustworthy. – JP Moreland.
Just an aside if you ever hear anyone saying, “oh the Bible was written at the Council of Nicaea.” That is 100% false. They did not talk about the Canon of Scripture at Nicaea, they debated Arianism
We need to know what the Bible says, believe what it says, and then teach what it says so that people will be sound in the faith! We must never shy away from the truth.
How does this Play Out?
There is truth, and Truth is important! We as God’s people must be students of truth. We must learn it to protect ourselves and others from falsehood.
- There is truth
- Truth is important
- Truth leads to the way of life
- Jesus is the way, truth, and the life.
We can read something like rebuking false teachers and some will shy away from that, and others will run to it because they like to fight. Either way, we must come at it from the right motivation. We must first have a desire to know the truth, to be students of truth, and then have a desire to share (in love) the truth of God.
This is not all there is because the Bible connects this idea of silencing false teachers with the right motivation and knowing the truth with a truth about us a people.
Your heart is revealed in your interpretation of life
To the pure, everything is pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; in fact, both their mind and conscience are defiled – Titus 1:15
As God’s people, we need to understand that our heart is revealed by the way we interpret life. If your heart is true and your desire is Christ, His righteousness, and His holiness, then that will be revealed by the way you interpret the world around you. If you have falsehood and deception, then that will come out too. You cannot hide what is in you.
Have you ever met someone who is always accusing someone of something? Usually, they are hiding something. The truth and guilt are trying to get out, so it comes out in perverse ways.
What is in you will come out and when it does it will either
- set you free and lead to life
- Come out as a perversion of the truth and keep you in bondage.
- You choose.
The idea of being pure is of extreme importance. Jesus says that the pure in heart will see God. We need to be pure of heart to see Him because He is pure.
Your faith and works must match.
As God’s people, we need to understand that our faith and actions must match! In fact, your faith and your works will match because one informs the other.
They claim to know God, but they deny him through their works. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good work. Titus 1:16
Just like your heart is revealed by your interpretation of life your faith is revealed by your works. The way you drive, the way you grocery shop, the way you interact with your spouse your kids, your boss, and your employees. If you claim to know God, then do your actions reflect that?
In the secret place, in the dark, is your faith showing?
Paul says to Titus that these false teachers claim to know God, but their actions disprove their claims. Our actions and our words must match.
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? James 2:15-16 (NIV)
Remember we have talked about the fact that we are human beings and not human doings. Our doing comes out of our being and our being shows in our doing.
A good person produces good out of the good stored up in his heart. An evil person produces evil out of the evil stored up in his heart, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. Luke 6:45
We cannot say one thing and then do something that is the opposite and expect everything to be ok. The truth will always come out. It always does.
Call to Action
We are to have the truth be real and alive in us just like Titus did before he went and called out falsehood in Crete.
We silence false teachers and false teaching because we know the truth. But that also means we silence the lies in our own life because the enemy has taught us.
- You are not loved
- You did too much
- You cannot come back from that
- No one likes you
- You’re not pretty enough
- You’re not smart enough
- You’re not strong enough
- You’re not enough
We rebuke the lies so that the truth will be known. Maybe today some of us need to stop looking around for false teachers and instead look at the lies we believe and tell ourselves to be silent and believe Jesus.
Just like we said with silencing false teachers; The motivation and the approach make all the difference.
Do not condemn yourself but instead tell yourself.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:5
Before we run around and look for a false teacher to silence first make sure you kill the lies you believe!
Just a thought,