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Standing up isn’t easy

June 5, 2017

Don’t we often think that standing up for the right thing, for the truth, isn’t really that hard?

Charged with that task, the preacher studies the Word of God and proclaims the truth. Parents help their children know the truth and to speak the truth. A student seeks for the truth and shares what he learns.

When Paul writes to Timothy about the qualifications for church leadership, he includes that as a skill that must be evident. “He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine…” (Titus 1:9). And that is probably what most aspiring preachers anticipate. Standing in a pulpit, sitting at a table, or in someone’s living room, with the Bible in his hand and teaching the truth of God’s Word.

But did you notice the … ? That means something is missing. “…and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced…” (Titus 1:9-11).

In the following verses, Paul uses some harsh words to describe these “empty talkers and deceivers.” And reminds Titus that it is the task of the church leaders to silence them.

Often it appears to be easier to ignore the dissenters, or the trouble-makers, or the false teachers. We don’t want to risk driving them off and not having an opportunity to minister to them. Or that the risk is great that they’ll take others with them, if we make them mad.

But Paul says a couple of times in Titus, and in his other letters and in his farewell speech to the Ephesian elders in Acts, “Stop them! Get them out!” Zero tolerance is the message that comes through clearly in his instructions for the churches and the leadership.

Some practical applications for those of us in the pews:

  1. Pray for your pastors and leadership that they’ll have the wisdom and boldness to follow these instructions. Most of them are people-pleasers and this is a very hard task.
  2. Don’t be afraid to point out and correct false teaching and practice in others in the church. Obviously, with tact and clarity, but you’ve got the Word of God on your side.
  3. Be ready to take correction from others. The one who lovingly corrects you has your spiritual life as his primary concern. You can grow through this experience.
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