Defiled Minds and Consciences

Titus 1:7-9 ESV

“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, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 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.”

An overseer in the church, which is the body of Christ, is a pastor, elder, or deacon, and there are spiritual qualifications for those positions (note: a pastor is an overseer). An overseer is anyone in a position of power, rule, and authority and spiritual oversight over the people of God. And in a sense, a Christian husband and/or father is the overseer of his family who is to lead them spiritually and to love them as he ought, in a protective manner.

God, in his design, designated that the man is to be the one to lead the family spiritually, and the church spiritually. But in the absence of men (or of qualified men) some women have taken or have had to take these positions because the man (or men) is/are spiritually AWOL. Biblically speaking, though, a woman is not to have authority over a man, but this doesn’t mean she can’t prophesy (share the truths of the Scriptures in practical ways).

Now, most of these qualifications apply to all of us, in reality, but if someone does not fit these qualifications, he is not to be in a position of pastor, elder, or deacon. And “above reproach” means that he is a person of integrity, that he is not a person who deliberately or habitually sins against God and other humans, but he is a person who is walking in obedience to the Lord in holiness and in righteousness, in purity of devotion to the Lord Jesus.

He must not be arrogant (prideful, full of self), quick-tempered, a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain. How many pastors today fit that bill? How many Christian husbands and fathers fit that description? Do we even think about these things with regard to the men we submit to as our pastors? We should! But he is to be hospitable, having people into his home, and he is to be a lover of good (and not evil), and he must be self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. Wow! Do you know many people like that today?

Why is it that the church (or what is falsely called church) today seems to not follow these qualifications when choosing their pastors, elders, and deacons? Even when I was a small child, elders were chosen because they were older men in the church or men of prominence or wealth and it had little to do with whether or not they were godly and holy men of God. But today it is so much worse! Now many pastors are con artists and clowns.

Okay, then it goes on to say that he must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught (by Jesus and by the New Testament apostles), so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. Do you know anywhere this is really happening today? From what I can ascertain, most pastors today are not holding firm to the truth of the Scriptures but they are altering the Scriptures to appeal to human flesh.

Titus 1:10-14 ESV

“For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.”

Yes, there are! And they abound today in America! Wow! Just listen to some of these TV and internet preachers who have very large followings. And listen carefully to their words, for they are good at manipulating the truth and twisting the Scriptures to teach what the Scriptures do not teach. And then test their words against the Scriptures, please! For so many men in today’s pulpits are charlatans and wolves in sheep’s clothing who are not feeding the sheep but themselves, and for greedy purposes, too.

So many of these men who claim to be Christians, and who are in positions of rule and authority over the church and over their families are not serving God, and are not serving their people, and their families, but they are serving themselves. They are living no different from those who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ, and sometimes they are a lot worse! They are those who take advantage of the weak, the naïve, and the vulnerable who trust them, and they are leading the people astray.

Many of them are actors, just playing a role, and some of them are womanizers and abusers and sex addicts and manipulators who use their positions of power and authority to abuse people. They don’t love God, and they don’t love those under them in authority, but they love (prefer) the world and the lusts of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life and they are harsh and cruel to those whom they are to love and protect.

So, we must be on the lookout for those who are not truly of God but who are still operating in the flesh, and who are conducting the gatherings of the church (or what is falsely called church) with an iron fist or in a manipulative and controlling manner which makes them king over the people and not the people’s servant. And they can be smooth-talking charmers who people just love but watch out that those tongues don’t get you with a snake’s bite, for many of these men are liars and thieves who are not telling you the truth.

Titus 1:15-16 ESV

“To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.”

The big concern here is that many of these overseers of the people are teaching a gospel which is not the pure gospel, and which is not the gospel that Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught. What they teach may have the appearance of truth, for they do quote Scriptures, and there is some truth in what they say, but it is usually a clever blend of truth and lies together which makes what they teach still a lie.

So, if they are telling you that you can make a one-time decision to believe in Jesus which secures you heaven for when you die, but they do not teach that faith in Jesus Christ involves repentance (the forsaking of our sins) and walks of obedience to our Lord, in holiness and in righteousness, they are not telling you the truth. And especially if they leave you with the idea that repentance and obedience to the Lord are not necessary for your salvation, and so you can continue in deliberate sin, then they are lying to you.

These are people who profess to know God (to know Jesus Christ) but by their works (deeds, actions) they deny him, because they continue in deliberate and habitual sin against the Lord, and they lead others to do likewise, while they promise them that when they die that they will go to heaven. And they do not insist on holiness, righteousness, godliness, integrity, honesty, obedience, the forsaking of sin and submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. So they are unfit for the office of overseer.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-32; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:26-27; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Happiness is the Lord

By Ira F. Stanphill

Happiness is to know the Savior
Living a life within His favor
Having a change in my behavior
Happiness is the Lord!

Happiness is a new creation
Jesus and me in close relation
Having a part in His salvation
Happiness is the Lord!

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