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. 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.Well, welcome to the second paragraph of the letter to Titus (finally), and it's a doozer. We've pretty much pointed the finger at pastors over the last umpteen weeks (and that's what I intended to do, as you will remember), but here the pastor gets a brief respite because, as it turns out, the rest of you are no prize catch.
"They rest of us?" you say. "We're not Cretans, cent. We're Christians. We read this blog -- we must be pretty good stock even among the breed."
Yeah, well, take a closer look. There are "many" among the Cretans who are "insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers", especially among the young, restless and reformed. Oh wait -- he said "the circumcision party", and by that he didn't mean those who read a lot of books, memorized a lot of Scripture, and looked up to the great heroes of the faith in the past to tell us today how we might better follow the covenant God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, by taking on the signs and seals of the culture, did he?
Well, at any rate, these evil beasts and gluttons and liars need to be rebuked sharply to be sound in the faith. They profess to know God, but they deny Him by their works. They are in fact unfit for any good work.
So to that end, dear pastor reader, is the charge you have to consider today: is your job to see to what degree you can cut in on the culture's empty talk and deception in order to get somebody's attention, or is your job to rebuke those who are full of empty talk and lies and deception?
Whichever your hand finds to do in this section, do it with all your might. And that's the last time I'll mention it.