Titus 3:1-2 ESV
“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to be law-abiding citizens of our nations, with one exception. If a ruler or anyone in authority over us requires of us to disobey God – Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and Holy Spirit – and to disobey the teachings of his Word, we are to obey God rather than man. We are never to deny our Lord to be in submission to human authority.
If we have placed ourselves under human authority in a church situation, thus, where the leadership is not following the Lord and the Scriptures, and where they are abusing their authority for their own gain, or where they are taking liberties with the authority given them by God to manipulate and to lead astray the flock, we don’t have to follow them.
Scripture teaches that we are to run away from such strangers, from such thieves and robbers who are out to destroy the church. We are first to test the spirits to see if they are of God or not, and if not, then we are come out from among them so that we don’t share in their sins or in their punishment. We are not to be unequally yoked together with the world or to take part in any unclean thing (Jn. 10:1-18; 1 Jn. 4:1-6; 2 Co. 6:14-18; Rev. 18:1-5).
For in the institutional church of today, many pastors are more like cult leaders who gather around themselves a small number of loyal followers who will do their bidding, and who will stand against anyone who even questions what the pastor is doing. And, they will threaten the flock by trying to shame them into unity and into unquestionable allegiance to the pastor, over and above allegiance to Almighty God.
That is what we term as a toxic (poisonous) situation, where the people are being persuaded to follow the pastor above God, and to do what the pastor says above what God says. And, they will twist the Scriptures to their advantage to lord it over the people, and to suppress them, and to keep them in bondage to the pastor rather than to be servants of God.
So, please know that when it says to be submissive to those in authority over us, that there are biblical exceptions to that rule that we must follow. Where it says here to speak evil of no one, it is not saying that we can’t question those in authority if they are teaching what is false, and if they are trying to lead us away from our pure devotion to Jesus. It is also not saying that we can’t expose the fruitless deeds of darkness for what they are.
Where it says here to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy to everyone, it is also not saying that we can’t question false teaching or immorality in the church or toxic leaders who are wolves in sheep’s clothing masquerading themselves as servants of righteousness. It is also not saying that we should compromise with the world, and that we should avoid sharing the gospel so as not to offend anyone with the truth.
So, just saying here that all Scripture must be read in the context of all Scripture under the New Covenant Relationship we have with our Lord. Many false teachings come out of Scripture verses taken out of context, which are then used to lead people astray. Or, they are used to bully them into submission to toxic authority which contradicts, and which overrides the authority of God. So, be wise! God is to be your only God!
Titus 3:3 ESV
“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are also to put away our former lives of living in sin and for self. It should be said of us, too, that we WERE ONCE foolish and disobedient, etc., not that we still are slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days doing what our evil hearts desire.
For, Jesus Christ died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He died, too, that we might no longer be slaves to sin, but that we might now be bondservants of God and of his righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Rom. 6:1-23).
Titus 3:4-8 ESV
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.”
Toxic leadership also would like to convince us that faith in Jesus Christ means we do nothing. Yes, it is true that we are only saved by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, and this is not of ourselves, not of our own works, lest we should boast that we somehow attained our own salvation from sin (Eph. 2:8-9).
And, yes, our salvation from sin and even the faith to believe in Jesus Christ are God’s gifts to us, of the gift of his grace. But, since they are from God, they will submit to God’s authority.
Since Jesus died that we would die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, then by faith, in the power of God’s Spirit, we forsake our former lives of living for sin and self, and we now follow our Lord in obedience to his commands (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; Tit. 2:11-14).
For, although we do nothing in ourselves to earn or to deserve our own salvation, we are saved to do good works which God prepared in advance that we should do (Eph. 2:10; Tit. 2:14; Tit. 3:8; Rom. 2:6-8).
Titus 3:9-11 ESV
“But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.”
Toxic authority also likes to talk much about division and unity, but it is not generally unity with God and with his word, but it is unity with man and with human philosophy and human marketing plans and goals. But they use the Scriptures which talk about unity to try to shame their congregants into unity with the pastor and with the church’s marketing plans.
And, so they also call out those who are opposed to humanistic and worldly teaching and marketing plans for the Lord’s church, his body, of which he alone is to be head, and they call us disunifiers, and they use this and other Scriptures to justify them kicking us or inviting us out of their fellowships, although we have done no wrong in God’s sight.
If we question the lies, we are called disunifiers, and we are invited to leave and to go someplace else where we will be “a better fit.” And, they will even offer to help us find that “better fit,” so they say.
But they are all following a business model for how to build their “churches,” which uses business marketing techniques for how to gain those who will be moldable to their image, and which encourages them to discard those who are the discerning.
I have seen this same scenario play out just like a script they are all following from one institutional church to another to another, which are all following the same exact business model for how to grow their earthly kingdoms which they call “church.”
And, again, the Scriptures teach that we are to flee from such strangers who are wolves in sheep’s clothing who are out to destroy the church. We are to come out from among them and to be separate, and we are to touch no unclean thing. But our lives should be given over to Jesus Christ, and to him and to him alone (to God alone).
The Kingdoms of Earth Pass Away
Lyrics by Henry R. Trickett, 1887
Music by James H. Fillmore, 1887
The kingdoms of earth pass away one by one,
But the kingdom of heaven remains;
It is built on a rock and the Lord is its King,
And forever and ever He reigns.
The tempest may rage and its anger acclaim,
Yea, the wind and the torrents may roar,
And the strong gates of hell may assail it in vain,
Still the kingdom shall stand ever more.
The kingdom of God is now open to all,
E’en the vilest may now enter in;
There’s a welcome for all who will turn to the Lord,
Full salvation and pardon for sin.
Chorus: It shall stand, It shall stand,
Forever and ever and ever,
It shall stand, It shall stand,
Forever and ever. Amen and Amen.
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