Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org
Men's Leadership Support Group Meeting notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/mensupport/20061110.m.htm
MEN'S LEADERSHIP SUPPORT GROUP
Part XII: Functioning Effectively As A Leader In A Deteriorating Culture
D. Gently But Consistently Asserting Responsibly Reverent Living
Lesson: (1) Regardless how decadent is the cultural background from which they have come, no excuse for misbehavior in believers that mimics their decadent background is to be tolerated by their leaders; God's power to change and equip all believers to live godly lives is sufficient to give each one behavioral victory regardless of his background! (2) Leaders must then disciple subordinates to trust in Christ and then to live uprightly in God's power, and assert this gently, but firmly and steadily with all authority!
- One of the characteristics of a morally declining culture, one that exhibits deceit, abusive speech and lack of self-control, it the tendency to make escuses for aberrant behavior due to one's dysfunctional heritage.
- This tendency can lock people into an endless cycle of sin, so godly leaders are called by God to be gentle, yes, but nevertheless firm in consistently calling others unto responsibly reverent living, and that through faith in Christ and life lived in the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God (as follows):
- Gently But Consistently Asserting Responsibly Reverent Living, Titus 2:11-15.
- After describing how Church leaders were to teach others how to function well in their respective social, home and church roles (Tit. 2:1-10), Paul declared God's grace required such upright living, Titus 2:11.
- Now, we know that godly living is possible only as people believe in Christ to become indwelt by the Holy Spirit that they might live dependent upon His power for godliness, cf. John 3:16; Rom. 8:9b; 8:3-4.
- Thus, Paul explained how God's grace made it necessary for Christians from a decadent culture (such as believers on Crete, cf. Titus 1:12-13a) to live reverently in respect for God Who is over them in rule:
- Paul told how God's unmerited favor has appeared not only to the Jew, but also to the "unclean" Gentile -- even to all men, including the culturally-decadent Cretans , Titus 2:11 in view of Tit. 1:12.
- This grace actually "child-rears" or "disciplines" the believer as one does a child (paideuousa) , or re-rears them culturally away from their decadent heritage as in the case of the Cretan believers, Titus 2:12a; U. B. S. Grk. N. T., 1966 ed., p. 741 with Moult. & Mil., The Voca. of the Grk. N. T., p. 474.
- Now, such re-rearing should impress justified Cretans, like the saved Jew, to function as follows:
- Opposite the culture, the believer is to be impressed by God's grace to deny meeting the lusts of the flesh, the eyes and the pride of life in the world system, Titus 2:12b with 1 John 2:15-16.
- Opposite the culture, the believer is to be impressed by God's grace to live self-controlled, righteous lives of reverence for God and human relationships, Titus 2:12c,d with Titus 1:12.
- Opposite the culture, the believer is to be impressed by God's grace to be reverent of God as they anticipate a blessed, holy (separate from sin) destiny of gaining heaven's glory, Titus 2:13.
- Opposite the culture, the believer is to be impressed by God's grace to be eager to do good works, for Christ gave Himself on the cross ro redeem them from all lawlessness and laziness, Titus 2:14.
- As this information needed to be applied in the face of the opposing tendency for Cretan believers in a culturally decadent culture to make excuses for their bad behavior from their background, Paul told Titus to assert this teaching with all authority; no one in the Church was to make him back away from his authority on the issue, Titus 2:15. This assertion would reinforce Titus' call that his hearers respect God, beginning the "child-rearing" process to get believers to begin being reared unto God's ways versus continuing to wallow in the deeds of their decadent culture.
Application: May we who lead others in a decadent culture (1) seek to evangelize subordinates so they can be indwelt by the Holy Spirit (John 3:16; Romans 8:9b), and then (2) to disciple them to walk by means of the Spirit for behavior control (Galatians 5:16-23). (3) Having done so, we must admonish them to live ABOVE the misbehavioral abuses of their backgrounds, for the grace of God that saves and the power of God that equips believers allows them no excuse for doing otherwise! (4) Leaders must then PATIENTLY and GENTLY but yet CONSISTENTLY ADMONISH saved subordinates with God's authority to live holy, reverent, self-disciplined lives in victory OVER their decadent background!