Thursday after the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Titus 1:1-16 (NKJV)
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.
The mouths of the insubordinate need to be stopped. It is not actually loving to let every idle talker and liar continue to spew forth his rubbish. If one is found to be unrepentantly opposed to the truth of God’s teachings, he should be silenced and admonished, not accommodated.
Righteous love is not expressed in negligent tolerance. It is expressed in discipline and protection. Real kindness does not let others harm themselves or the people around them. But again, this must be done in love. Love does not seek to merely dominate someone, telling them to sit down and shut up. It tells the one in error to be quiet and listen to Jesus Christ. In the living Word of God we find true wisdom and real love, which brings grace, mercy, and peace. The foolishness of man that comes from our own blathering spreads selfishness, division, and confusion.
This importance of God’s Word and teaching is why it is important that the Church call faithful, qualified men into the office of teaching as bishops and others who serve in the Ministry of the Word and Sacraments. These men must uphold, speak, and correct according to the sound doctrine of God’s teachings. They must administer the gifts of God according to His commands, which include discipline and love, because these gifts are the most important things God has given to mankind. It is in these precious gifts of the Church, His Word and Sacraments, that we receive the grace, mercy, and peace that make up our salvation in Christ Jesus.
We pray: Heavenly Father, raise up faithful men to give us the gifts that our Lord Jesus Christ has given for the salvation of our souls and life everlasting. In His Name. Amen.