A Charge For Today

1_26_Paul_ordaining_Timothy-478-x-500When younger men are given authority by their Fathers, Elders, and predecessors, it is right to charge them with the responsibility they are assuming together with such authority.  It takes humility to advance in one’s career and life calling, so Fathers should be called upon to join in this charge and properly establish a sound foundation at the start.  Colleges do this at graduation ceremonies in a very impersonal mass process, but it is something, at least.  Other organizations do this including the church.  Paul the Apostle does it best with Titus, his spiritual son.  After he articulates, in brief, the power of the gospel message, he concludes, “These, then, are the things you should teach.  Encourage and rebuke with all authority.  Do not let anyone despise you.” (Titus 2:15).

This last sentence was striking, how can we prevent someone from despising us.  To despise is to feel a strong dislike for someone or something because you think that person or thing is bad or has no value.  We can not prevent a person’s false or hate based emotions, but we can show that our actions and message is only love and of great value to every man.  Moreover, as God’s servants doing His will we can do no more than to represent His great mercy and grace – we are ambassadors of Yeshua Messiah.

Titus was assigned to complete what Paul had left undone, including appointment of Elders in the local congregation.  Paul lays out very bluntly the status of the local social order.  “For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group.  They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teachand that for the sake of dishonest gain.  One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: ‘Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.’  This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth.” (Titus 1: 10-14).

The way of Yeshua is pure, true, right, and worthy of respect from all people.  We are not to acquiesce with meaningless talk and deception, but to silence it with rebuke.  The teaching of Yeshua is that we are to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.  Women are to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to drink, but to urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.  Similarly, the young men are to be self-controlled. Slaves are to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.  This produces a society that is honorable and respectable, subject to rulers and authorities, obedient, and ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

This is the irrefutable good news, God saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3: 5-7).  Lord, Yeshua, give your people courage and faith to act and speak out in love to put lies of the enemy to silence.  Let your congregation be a witness of your ways and righteousness and thereby give no basis for anyone to despise us.

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