Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Evening Sermon Notes -

Titus: God's Directives For Church Leaders In Deteriorating Cultures
Part II: The Need For Constituted Church Leaders In Every Local Church
(Titus 1:5 et al.)
  1. Introduction
    1. One of the most difficult and damaging spiritual experiences a group of believers can face, be they a Bible study or even a church group, is the devastating "implosion" of the group due to relationship problems. At times a pastor with almost total control of the group makes a very unwise move, or the Bible Study might implode amid serious interpersonal conflicts, and the group, study or even church totally disbands.
    2. There is a spiritual reason for much such failure, and the answer is found in Titus 1:5 in its context:
  2. The Need For Constituted Church Leaders In Every Local Church, Titus 1:5 et al.
    1. Paul left Titus on Crete for ministry, and that Island was in cultural deterioration as seen in Paul's citation of Cretan poet, Epimenides in Titus 1:12 who wrote, "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons."
    2. Accordingly, if ever local gatherings of believers could "implode," this threat was very present on Crete.
    3. For this purpose, Paul wrote that he had left Titus on Crete to "set in order further" (epidiorthoo, Abbott-Smith, A Manual Lex. of the N. T., 1968, p. 169) the things that "lack; are left behind" ( leipo, Ibid., p. 266), and a key component to that further orderliness was to fill up the lack of local churches was for Titus to "appoint, make, constitute" ( kathistemi, Ibid., p. 224) "elders" (presbuteros, Ibid., p. 377; U. B. S. Grk. N. T., 1966, p. 739) "according to [a, each] city" (kata polin ; Ibid.), Titus 1:5.
    4. There are four major lessons we can draw from this short but insightful verse (as follows):
      1. First, a gathering of believers is defective unless it has duly constituted (kathistemi) leaders, Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Titus 1:5. They must be leaders who arise in an orderly, credible way.
      2. <+@>Second, a gathering of believers is defective unless its duly constituted leaders are men (presbuteros, Ibid., Abbott-Smith, p. 377; Ibid., U. B. S. Grk. N. T.).
      3. Third, a gathering of believers is defective unless it has men who are respected by the subordinates: the term presbuteros really means "elder man" (Ibid., Abbott-Smith, p. 377), and in the patristic Middle East cultures, they were the respected community leaders (Z. P. E. B., v. Two, p. 266-628).
      4. Fourth, Paul directed these elders be appointed "in every city," that they be assigned to each local church, that there be such leaders available for oversight wherever believers congregated, Titus 1:5.
    5. The Biblical REASONS for such leaders is mainly the spiritual protection of believers in groups:
      1. The presence of duly constituted leaders makes the local church more orderly (epidiorthoo, cf. "II,C" above), a that fact helps guard the local church or group further from angelic conflict failure:
        1. Disorder exists if jealousy, selfish ambition and earthly, unspiritual focuses arise in a group of believers, and these vices in turn coexist with demonic activity, James 3:15-16 NIV.
        2. Thus, duly constituted leaders by (1) [implied] godliness in the leaders involved and (2) mutual accountability with a plurality of leaders helps check jealousy and selfish ambition both among the leaders themselves, and then among the whole body, protecting all from angelic conflict implosion.
      2. Duly constituted males as leaders also aligns with God's pattern to bless an institution opposite angelic conflict defeat that arises if the woman leads the man as is seen in the case of Genesis 3:1-7.
      3. Duly constituted male leaders who are respectable can provide order in the local church's ministries by directing when and how believers function so as to lessen unedifying confusion and bringing mutual cooperation and peace to the whole body, 1 Corinthians 14:26-40.
      4. Duly constituted male leaders who are respectable in each location where believers congregate give every group of believers the protection and edification they need for blessing in their group functions.
Lesson: One of the key elements in protecting believers' functions in group settings is to bring each group under duly constituted, male, respectable, local church oversight, the church being God's pillar and ground of the truth on earth (1 Timothy 3:15), for this helps guard groups from spiritual failure in angelic conflict defeat via jealousy and selfish ambition, and a lack of edification caused by confusion.

Application: May we always seek to keep each Christian group under the oversight of Biblical leaders.