PAUL’S EPISTLE TO TITUS
DEALING WITH FALSE TEACHERS
TEXT: TITUS 1:9-16
1. Last week we saw the qualifications for the elder (Titus 1:5-8). The elder (bishop, pastor) must be a Bible preacher – “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught” (1:9).
2. This is the pastor’s primary occupation – “holding fast the faithful Word as he hath been taught…” (1:9). There is no such thing as RC (or Anglican) “apostolic succession,” but there is a succession of apostolic doctrine (cf. II Tim. 2:2; Acts 2:42).
3. The pastor feeds the sheep, but he also must protect the sheep from wolves, and the rest of Titus 1 deals with this theme. False teachers are referred to here as “gainsayers” (1:9), “unruly and vain talkers” (1:10), and “deceivers” (1:10). Second Timothy 3:13 says, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.”
4. Our Lord said in Matthew 24:11, “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.”
5. False teachers are master deceivers. We must ask God for spiritual discernment, and we must know our Bibles.
I. FALSE TEACHERS MUST BE REBUKED (1:9).
1. “To convince the gainsayers” (1:9) means to rebuke and reprove the false teachers. The shepherd must not only tend the sheep; he must also drive away the wolves (cf. Acts 20:28-32).
2. Some of these “unruly and vain talkers and deceivers” were Jewish – “of the circumcision” (1:10b). Cf. verse 14 – “Jewish fables” (Talmud and other Jewish traditions).
3. Paul says to “rebuke them sharply” (1:13). “That they (those in the church being led astray by the false teachers) may be sound in the faith” (1:13).
4. False doctrine always leads to bad living.
II. FALSE TEACHERS MUST BE SILENCED
1. False teachers “subvert whole houses” (1:11). Entire families are disturbed and turned upside down. Churches and schools are ruined.
2. The Bible is very clear that we have a responsibility to expose error and to rebuke false teachers (1:11; cf. 1:13 – “rebuke them sharply”). Their “mouths must be stopped” (1:11).
3. It is a fact that many Christian schools have been taken over by liberals. This happened at Harvard, Yale, Brown, Princeton, etc.
4. Liberal schools are run by false teachers and they are training the next generation.
5. But rather than silencing false teachers, many Christians are feeding them. I would not give a dime to any church or school that tolerated false doctrine, liberalism, apostasy, ecumenicalism, heresy, etc.
6. Most people think the SBC is conservative. While some Southern Baptist churches are fairly conservative, their schools were taken over by wolves in sheep’s clothing a long time ago.
7. Therefore, born again Southern Baptist people are paying the salaries of wicked liberal professors.
8. Paul described their motivation in Titus 1:11b. What they did, they “for filthy lucre’s sake” (cf. 1:7). All they care about is money.
9. I just recently received a big colorful brochure for a “Leadership Summit,” sponsored by Bill Hybels and his Willow Creek “church.” There is not one Bible preacher in the line-up of speakers – Colin Powell (general in the US Army & former Secretary of State), Michael Porter (professor from Harvard Business School), John Ortberg (holds a PhD in clinical psychology from apostate Fuller Seminary), Floyd Flake (liberal preacher from Queens; used to be a liberal Democrat congressman; supports abortion, homosexuality, etc.), and Carly Fiorina (worked for Hewlett Packard, she is a successful business woman).
10. It is unlikely that any one of these keynote speakers is even saved. Rick Warren does the same thing. He brings all sorts of worldly unbelievers into his church -- Barack Obama, Bono (wicked rock singer), Bill Gates, and others.
11. The word “lucre” in Titus 1:7 and 11 speaks of “gain.” The word “filthy” means “shameful.” Because they are deceptive, their gain is achieved shamefully.
12. The Cretans had a bad reputation (1:12, 13). Paul was quoting a well-known writer, Epimenides (c. 600 BC).
13. Both Aristotle and Cicero refer to Epimenides as a prophet in their writings. By referring to him as a Cretan prophet, Paul was not saying that he considered him an inspired prophet. However, Paul does endorse the veracity of the proverbial saying – “this witness is true” (1:13).
14. Money-loving false prophets in Crete were referred to by other ancient writers such as Polybius, Livy, and Plutarch (Word Pictures in the NT, AT Robertson).
15. The idea behind “evil beasts” in Titus 1:12 is that of behaving like a wild animal, living solely on the level of sensual appetites and passions.
16. Cretans were “slow bellies” (1:12), i.e., they were lazy gluttons. They hated to work but they loved to eat. They were self-indulgent, greedy, lustful, overfed, and perhaps in poor physical condition.
17. Teaching the “commandments of men” (1:14) is a mark of all false religion (RCC, JW’s, Mormonism, Islam, etc.).
18. Regarding verse 15, the great preacher and Bible teacher, HA Ironside, said, “The pure delight in purity, even as the unholy delight in that which is impure.”
19. False teachers are known for being immoral (cf. II Peter 2:1, 14).
III. FALSE TEACHERS MUST BE EXPOSED (1:16).
1. Verse 16 could describe many church members today. “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny Him.”
2. Let us conclude with four marks of a false teacher (1:16):
1. Over the years I have heard many complaints from people who do not like it when a preacher exposes false teachers. They do not want to hear anything “negative.”
2. Many people (especially the unsaved) have no spiritual sense and so they watch false teachers on TV, and listen to them on the radio, and they buy their books, etc.
3. The apostle Paul warned about them and so must we.