Thursday after the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Titus 1:1-16 (NKJV)
1:1 Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, 3 but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;
4 To Titus, a true son in our common faith:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you—6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. 7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.
10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. 15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
St. Titus is charged by St. Paul to place into the churches of God faithful pastors. For the devil and the world, as enemies of the Church, always seek to pervert the pure word of God. They entice away many through spreading false doctrine, turning people away from the things of God to the things of this world, and getting people to trust in every false idol but the One, True, Triune God.
The faithful minister of God stands in defense of his parish to refute false doctrine. They are to point out the falsehoods that the devil and the world preach through false preachers and heretics. They are even charged with rooting out the falsehoods that reside within mankind through their sinful thoughts and desires.
The faithful minister of God leads people away from the world and her lies, to the Word of God, which teaches us about the Lord Jesus Christ. He has defeated the devil once and for all on the tree of the holy cross. He has won forgiveness for all those who believe on His Name. We as Christians have been baptized into Him, and bear His Name. For this reason, the devil and the world seek to take this great thing away from us through lies and deception. Thanks be to faithful ministers who guard and protect us from the lies that these false preachers would have us believe and keep us in the one, true faith.
We pray: Keep, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy Church with Thy perpetual mercy; and because the frailty of man without Thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by Thy help from all things hurtful and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.