■■■■■† 화란한인교회에 오신 것을 환영합니다. 암스테르담, 암스텔담, 암스텔빈, 암스텔펜 한인교회 †■■■■■
English Sermon ('19.06.02) That You Might Appoint Elders
2019-06-12 22:32:20, view [
That You Might Appoint Elders (Titus 1:5-9) 2.6.2019 KRCN
5 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— 6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
Paul had co-workers such as Barnabas as well as successors such as Timothy and Titus. Timothy was left at the church of Ephesus, and Titus in Crete. Taking it over from Paul they pastored and looked after the churches there.
Of the two, Titus in particular was Greek. He probably was blond and with blue eyes. It could be the reason why Paul left him in Crete. It was an island where many Greeks lived.
Paul describes the 2 reasons why he left Titus in the remote island: one was to ‘put what remained into order’ and the other was to ‘appoint elders in every town’.
‘What remained’, as Paul refers to it, would be what had been given to Paul as his duty in the first place. Now he gives it to Titus that Titus may put them in order. This means that Paul wishes the duty he has received from God to be accomplished and completed in the hand of his successor. For Paul is released from imprisonment in Rome and now going to Nicopolis to spend the winter there.
Preaching the gospel is Paul’s duty. He has said, ‘But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)’ In Titus Paul has indicated that he is entrusted with the ‘preaching of the gospel’ by God, as God ‘at the proper time manifested his word’
That is why, this work of preaching was to be started by Paul, carried on as well as completed by him. In addition, when Paul would have completed the preaching, that fruit would have been his reward and his crown. But rather Paul is entrusting Titus to put it in order. Through this, Paul makes us think about the duty Paul was given by Jesus, that is, the nature of the preaching of the gospel.
The work of preaching is witnessing God’s gospel of grace. That duty was given to a particular apostle. Yet, it is to be entrusted and transferred to others. Preaching is to be completed in this way. A man’s lifespan might run out or through an accident he might have to rest from the work, but the work of preaching the gospel is the infinite work of God that has to go on passed on to others.
The second reason why Paul says he left Titus in Crete, was probably with such characteristic of ‘preaching’ in mind. It is said “appoint elders in every town as I directed you”. God entrusted Paul with the preaching, then Paul hands it over to Titus. Further, Titus appoints others to be elders. In this manner, Paul’s remaining work of the preaching is put in order.
This is not only said to Titus, but it is seen also in what Paul said to Timothy. “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.” (2 Tim. 2:2)
In this respect, the preaching of the gospel, does not just end by witnessing the gospel to someone. Rather, it is about appointing someone trustworthy as an elder, letting him take over the work. It is not about some one-off special event the church should organize, to get it over and done with; but this work of preaching is completed when you let it be carried on and be continued within the church.
Think about why it had to be to the old rather than the young and vibrant this work should be entrusted. Because this work of preaching is not like politics where people vote for the competent not minding the age in fashion with contemporary populism. To appoint an elder means that you assign someone who have grown old there and lived there for a long time as a representative; that the church has a tradition.
From the point of being appointed, the members in the church should all be the steward of God. So they should live a life that is not ‘arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain’. And when they have grown old having living such a life, they should all be elders according to the order of the church.
They will be ‘hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined’ and ‘hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught’ and when such attributes form the whole of their lives, they should become elders.
Titus 1:6-9 are the verses we often think as where the qualification for an elder is written and memorise. The reason Paul mentions such qualification to Titus is not as if to select a qualifying person out of the non-qualifying; rather it is to let him see to it that all members of the church should live and grow old bearing such qualities.
The point lies in that you let the ones who have lived a long time as a faithful person, their time, and their lives be the tradition in the church and have them grow old living a life of such qualities. It is not about preventing someone who does not have such qualities from being an overseer, but rather about having the continuity of such persons becoming overseers: when one dies, another who has lived such a life becomes an overseers again. This is the kind of succession that has to be continued as a tradition.
Eventually, ‘preaching of the gospel’ is not to come to an end when all nations and tribes are ‘evangelised’, rather, it will be completed by passing on the way of living and keeping the trustworthy word of God as taught from generation to generation.
This is an era where many people put their efforts in preaching the gospel, missionary work over the world. So as much that South Koreans now hold a second rank in the number of sending out missionaries in the world. Then, would this work be finished, if the gospel is preached in every nook and corner of world? Is the mission complete when you have just build churches? On the grounds that it is said that the end will come when the gospel will be preached to the whole world, does the kingdom of heaven really come down to earth?
The completion of mission that God gave us will be completed by appointing elders in a church. From this aspect, Paul thought that when it happened, then what remains would be put in order. By doing this, the mission is finally completed and the preaching in which God manifests His word at His proper time is also finished.
In v.9, the duties the elder should do are written. One is to give instruction in sound doctrine and the other is to rebuke those who contradict it. Therefore, today we call the person who encourages according to these duties a pastor and the person who rebukes an elder. These two duties are merged into one called collectively an overseer.
Then, who should perform these duties? The role of teaching and governing in church? As Paul pointed out it is the one who hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught that should carry out these duties. We call them the ‘steward’ of God. Namely, as Jesus spoke in a parable, he is the one who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.
This is why he must be above reproach, not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain; but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.
Finding someone like that is not what is important. Rather, it is important to have someone like that appointed as an elder, let him continue to live such a life, let his life be the right teaching the church to gives and let the example of his life be the rebuke on the people. Would it not be the way for the whole congregation to follow and live such a godly life, live the kingdom of heaven?
Many churches today are missionary-orientated. They have many magical programs that boosts the church growth. But be it the duty and mission entrusted by God to the saint, then such work should be manifested in a church as it grows eventually up to the point of appointing an elder.
Just because many dependent churches or prayer places emerge, that does not means it is the end. Rather the congregation of the churches should live and grow old the life of the qualities illustrated in the qualifications of the elder, and then someone out of them should be elected as an elder.
In the church history, the 20th century was an era of revival that went on for 100 years. But at the end of that 100 years the church began to decline. This does not only mean the number of Christians declined but that no one was appointed as an elder in there. No one lived a life of an elder.
From that perspective we regret whether various movements of the church in the past were not far from the duty and mission entrusted by God, that has nothing to do with the preaching of the gospel. The Spirit movement, church growth movement, missionary movement… it might have increased the size of congregation but whether it prevented them from living a life of an elder.
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