Deal Biblically with Heresies
Copyright © 1986, Indian Hills Community Church, Lincoln, Nebraska
The following text is taken from a sermon preached by Gil Rugh, Senior Pastor at Indian Hills Community Church in Lincoln, NE. The text has been edited and condensed by IHCC staff for use as a Bible Study aid.
Paul has just given a clear and strong theological statement on the work of salvation accomplished in Jesus Christ (vs. 4-7). His purpose was to show why believers must live properly in their relationships with unbelievers.
He is now ready to give some final instructions and close this brief letter.
Verse 8 "A trustworthy statement" (lit. faithful saying) refers back to what he has just said in verses 4-7. Paul uses this expression four times in his letters to Timothy (cf. 1 Tim. 1:1k 3:1; 4:9; 2 Tim. 2:11). Titus is to speak confidently "concerning these things." This is a reference to everything he has said in 3:1-7.
"To speak confidently" (diabebaioomai) - The only other use of this word is in 1 Timothy 1:7 where it is used of false teachers who make confident assertions about things they don't understand. As believers, we are to speak the truth with confidence. (The word can also mean "insist.")
The purpose of this statement is to exhort believers to do the good works that should characterize them as God's servants. The stress on sound doctrine ought to lead to the believer's functioning as God wants Him to. The sound doctrine and the resultant good deeds are good and profitable for people. Paul puts the same stress on what is profitable or useful in writing to Timothy (cf. 1 Tim. 4:8; 2 Tim. 3:16).
A contrast is drawn with that which is "unprofitable and worthless." This looks back to the issue of the false teachers that was mentioned in 1:10-16. There are certain things that Titus is to "shun" (periistemi). It is important for effectiveness in ministry to know what to avoid as well as what to confidently pursue (cf. 2 Tim.2:16). Again the issues here would be connected with the Judaizers and their teaching which attempted to mix the Law and Jewish teaching with the message of Christ.
"Foolish controversies and genealogies" - This involved senseless or stupid inquiries into the genealogies of the Old Testament. This would entail attempts to fill in the genealogies recorded in Genesis with fictitious names and then developing stories around them. This is probably the same thing as the "Jewish myths" of 1:14.
"Strife and disputes about the Law" - Titus was not to get entangled in these worthless debates about the Law (cf. 1 Tim. 1:4,6,7; 6:4,5; 2 Tim. 2:23).
The reason Titus must avoid these kinds of debates is because they are "unprofitable and worthless." This stands in marked contrast to the things that are "profitable" in verse 8.
Those who continue to push such issues and thus cause divisions will have to be dealt with. Paul now addresses that subject.
"A factious man" (hairetilzont) We derive our word heretic from this word. It originally meant "that which one chooses for himself: an opinion." It came to mean a "sect" or "party."
It develops the negative sense of a self-chosen opinion or viewpoint. This person has his own teaching contrary to the Word of God and the fellowship of believers (cf. 1 Cor. 11:19; Gal. 5:20; 2 Pet. 2:1).
"Second warning" (nouthesian) The factious man is to be given two warnings. This man must be confronted about his sinful activity and admonished and instructed with the hope of changing him (cf. 1 Cor. 10,11; Eph. 6:4).
"Reject" (paraiteomai) We are to have nothing to do with a man who rejects the admonitions to stop his divisive teaching. We are not to drag this decision out, for it is not healthy for the body. If he does not respond to the first or second admonition, we are to have nothing to do with him (cf. 1 Tim. 4:7; 2 Tim. 2:23; also Rom. 16:17).
"Perverted." His stubborn refusal to heed the given admonitions mark him out as a man who is "warped," someone who is twisted or turned aside from the truth. The perfect tense indicates he is in a state of perversion. The passive voice may indicate the influence of Satan.
"Sinning" - present tense indicates he is living in sin.
"Self-condemned" - His self-chosen views and refusal to be corrected are his own doing. By his persistence in sin he condemns himself. This is important because people in this situation usually try to blame others for their condition.
On this strong and negative note Paul concludes the main portion of the letter. He now gives some closing remarks and greetings.
Evidently Paul did not feel the work at Crete was ready to stand on its own yet, and so Titus was to remain there until a replacement arrived. But Paul wanted Titus to meet him at Nicopolis when the replacement arrived.
This is the only mention of "Artemis." "Tychicus" was a frequent companion of Paul and often went on journeys for him (cf. Acts 20:4 Eph. 6:21,22; Col. 4:7,8; 2 Tim. 4:12).
"Nicopolis" was on the west coast of the Greek mainland. It was founded and made a Roman colony by Augustus Caesar (Octavian) to celebrate his victory over Antony and Cleopatra at nearby Actium in 31 B.C.
"Zenas" and "Apollos" may have brought this letter to Titus. Titus was to be sure that their needs were met and that they had ample provisions to continue their journey.
"Apollos" is a familiar figure in the New Testament (cf. Acts 18:24-28; 19:1; 1 Cor. 1:12; 3:4-6; 4:6; 16:12).
Again Paul reiterates what has been the theme of the letter, the doing of good deeds (cf. 1:16; 2:7,14; 3:1,8). Paul sees the opportunity to meet the pressing needs of others as a learning experience which would make them more fruitful and productive as believers.
Paul concludes with greetings and a benediction of grace.
Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, © Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977. All quotations used by permission.
Permission was received from Indian Hills Community Church for the posting of this file on Bible Bulletin Board. Our gratitude to the Holy Spirit for leading Pastor Gil Rugh to preach/teach messages that are bold, and doctrinally sound—they are so needful to this generation.
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