What God Is Looking For In Men
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered January 1, 2006
Text: Titus 1:5-9
In our last message you will remember that Paul left Titus in Crete "set in order" the things "wanting," according to verse 5. The phrase translated set in order is just one word in the Greek, the word epidiorywsh epidiorthose (ep-ee-dee-or-tho’-ose) which, in those days, was a medical term meaning setting broken bones and straightening crooked ones. Paul was putting Titus in charge of straightening out the false teaching and doctrinal problems among Cretan believers (see Titus 1:10-11, 13-14 & 2:1). There were also some practical problems that needed correcting (Titus 1:16).
The word "wanting" indicates that there were some things that were left undone that Titus was to do. One of the specifics Paul reminds Titus to do in verse 5 was to "ordain elders in every city." The ordination of elders - presbuteros (also called pastors or bishops) and their qualifications will be the focus of this message today.
The word ordain in Titus 1:5 is a translation of the Greek word kayisthmi kathistemi (kath-is'-tay-mee) and literally means to place in an office, or to put in a position. So, exactly how did Titus do this? We do not know for sure, but there is no reason to believe that he did this except as the result of the choice of the people in the church that was organized, because of what was done in Acts 6:3 – "Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business." Dr. John Gill says, "we are not to suppose, that the ordination of elders was the sole act of Titus, or alone resided in him; but in like manner as Paul and Barnabas ordained elders in every church, by the suffrages (voting) of the people, signified by the stretching out of their hands."
Turn in your Bibles to Acts 14:23 "And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed." The ordained in this verse is a different Greek word that we have in Titus 1:5. The word here is ceirotonew cheirotoneo (khi-rot-on-eh’-o). This is a compound Greek word. Cheir is the word for hand, and teino means to stretch. It is an old verb that originally meant to vote by show of the hands. There is no reason to believe that Titus appointed elders any differently than they did in Acts 14.
Years ago I read a book called The Measure of A Man. It listed the attributes God wants to develop in men so they can be the kind of men God wants them to be. The book is based on the things listed here and 1 Timothy 3. The attributes that Paul tells Titus to look for in Christ men who will be the pastors (and later when deacons are chosen) in Crete are the attributes all men should strive to perfect in their lives. Let’s take a closer look at them.
What is in focus here is a man’s public reputation. The word translated blameless is anegklhtov anegkletos (an-eng’-klay-tos). It does not mean he must be perfect, without sin. The word is actually a legal word, which literally means, without being accused in court. Not merely unaccusable but unaccused, free from any legal charge. It refers to a person who has an upstanding character. As Matthew Henry says he "must have good report, even from those that are without (1 Timothy 3:7); not grossly or scandalously guilty, so as would bring reproach upon the holy function." When someone can point a finger at an officer of the church and accurately accuse him of dishonesty, immorality, etc., then the cause of Christ is hurt, and that man should not be an officer of the church. All believers should seek to live an upstanding life.
The focus in this verse is sexual morality. This verse does not imply that the pastorate should exclude either those who have never married or are remarried widowers. As one preacher put it, "Being the husband of one wife refers to the singularity of a man’s faithfulness to the woman who is his wife and implies inner as well as outer purity. A pastor must have an unsullied, life long reputation for devotion to his spouse and to sexual purity." Clearly, a pastor may not be divorced and or remarried, or the polygamous.
All Christian men should be faithful to their own wife and never divorce them.
The focus of this verse is family leadership. The late Kenneth Wuest, an excellent Christian Greek scholar, says faithful children means believing children. If a man cannot lead his own children to the Lord, he ought not to be the pastor of the Church. Further, a pastor’s children should not be "accused of riot or unruly." Riot describes a person who lives a rebellious, self-indulgent, depraved, life. The word unruly means disobedient to authority, uncontrollable.
The next Scripture portions have do to with general character.
A bishop (episkopos) should not be self-willed. The word refers to a person who is not arrogant, obstinate, stubborn, inflexible, conceited and self-pleasing. He is the steward of God, the one appointed by God over His household and family, the church, to find and do the will of God.
Every Christian man (and woman) should endeavor not to be arrogant, obstinate, stubborn, etc. but seek to find and do God’s will in his lives.
This phrase, "soon angry" is one word in the Greek - orgilov orgilos (org-ee’-los). It means one who is prone to anger, and refers to a person who is quick-tempered and does not have his anger under control. In verse 7 we are told that a pastor must not be like this. Pastors often find themselves in situations where they must try to minister to difficult and demanding people. They must not yield to the temptation to let them have it with "both barrels" so to speak. Turn with me to James 1:20 "For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." The meat of this verse is simply this: God’s cause is not promoted by personal anger. Angry people often make wrong, even sinful decisions. Moses in his anger smote the rock twice because he was angry with the people. The result was, God did not allow him to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land (Numbers 20:1-12).
All believers are to strive to be "slow to wrath." James 1:19 reminds us, "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:"
Alcohol is a mind-altering drug. A pastor friend of mine wrote, that alcohol is "a drug that takes away physical coordination, reduces mental capabilities proportionately to the amount consumed, destabilizes inhibitions and moral restraints causing a person loss of control and, on the top of all that, it is addictive with a history of destroying lives, marriages and families." Why any Christian would rationalize consuming the beverages today that contain alcohol is beyond me. Let me read to you what a former, drunk wrote about alcohol wrote --
Now, lets look at what we see in Titus 1:7 – "For a bishop must…not given to wine."
The phrase "given to wine" is one word in the Greek - paroinov paroinos (par’-oy-nos), which literally means staying near wine. Therefore a Pastor is not to stay near wine. Let me explain. The wine most commonly drunk in Paul’s day and in Old Testament times was either nonalcoholic or very low alcohol content. Fermented juice was mixed with water (as much as 8 to 10 parts of water to 1 part wine) to lessen it power to intoxicate, particularly when the weather is hot and much fluid is consumed. Because water was frequently contaminated, as it is today in many third world countries, the slight alcohol contend of common wine acted as a disinfectant and had certain other health benefits.
The passage is clear, a pastor should not indulge in drinking alcoholic wine. I should also note that today’s wine would be classified as "strong drink." Dr. Norman Geisler writes this: "Christians ought not to drink wine, beer, or other beverages for they are actually strong drink and forbidden in Scripture. Even ancient pagans did not drink what Christians drink today." You should know, distillation, which increases alcohol content, was not discovered until A.D. 1500. Modern wine has 9-11% alcohol; 80-100 proof whiskey and brandy has 40-50% alcohol; Biblically and culturally, these would have been unthinkable!
And I should also tell you that there is NO reason for any Pastor or any Christian to drink the alcoholic beverages of our day. Proverbs 20:1 says, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." Proverbs 23:29-35 explains some of the effects on human behavior. Honor God by abstaining from drinking alcoholic beverages.
The word striker is a translation of the Greek word plhkthv plektes (plake’-tace), which means ready for a fistfight. Apparently in early New Testament times grown men would often settle disputes with their fists. Pastors are NOT to be strikers. This is NOT the way for Pastors or any Christian to settle things. However, there is another appropriate application that can be made here I believe. A pastor should not be pugnacious. The word pugnacious refers to a person who has a quarrelsome or combative nature. As one commentator said, a pastor "should have no part in meanness, abusiveness, or retaliation, no matter how cruelly provoked." This should the true with all Christians. Turn with me to Romans 12:18-19 -- "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord."
This compound Greek word means one who is not fond of sordid gain or shameful greed. Paul is referring to a person, who without honesty or integrity and who pursues wealth and financial prosperity at any cost; A person driven by greed who uses shameful, dishonorable ways to get money.
As John MacArthur says in his commentary on Titus,
The phrase "not given to filthy lucre" points to the pastor whose focus is preaching and teaching the Word of God not on pursuing financial prosperity at any cost. He seeks to shepherd the flock of God. He will not use dishonorable means to get money.
Paul warned Christians, "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." 1 Timothy 6:10
There we have it. We have seen today that Christians should not…