Dear Student of the Word,
I realize I sent you a study last week even though recently I have sent one every other week. But I am anxious to finish this verse-by-verse project of the New Testament, and now I only have Philemon and Jude to complete and I'm done! After that, I will begin to recycle past studies on a biweekly basis, starting with Ephesians.
In this last of three studies from Paul's letter to Titus, we look at the topic of sowing division after Paul told Titus to warn a divisive person and then have nothing to do with them if they don't repent:
3:10 – Proverbs warns us of how God feels toward a divisive person:
There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers (Proverbs 6:16-19).
God is interested in those who promote harmony and peace and not those who stir up trouble in His body. Are you a source of unity or division? How do you know? What kinds of things do you think could take place that would cause this dreaded division? One of them is arguing about doctrinal issues that don’t contribute to holy and righteous living.
Paul instructed Titus to confront anyone who was contributing to division. Titus was not to just leave it alone or ignore it. It had to be dealt with “head-on.” How are you when it comes to confronting someone with a bad attitude or wrong behavior? Do you have the courage to speak your mind, without judging or assuming you are correct? The latter is so you can still listen to the other person to insure you have the correct assessment of the situation?
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen (Ephesians 4:29).
If the person ignores the rebuke, then that person is to be avoided and shunned. This “shunning” can certainly be abused and applied for any manner of perceived or real sinful behavior. The “shunning,” however, should only happen for those causing division, since contact with that person is spreading a virus that must be “quarantined.”
v. 11 – I am not sure what it means to be “self-condemned.” Does it meant the divisive person knows they are doing wrong but continues to do it anyway? Paul was blunt, however, that this person is warped, steeped in sin. It is part of man’s fallen nature to create havoc in organizations and relationships by being selfish and argumentative. We can believe we are expressing our individuality, but we simply contributing to a dysfunctional church or organization.
Are there any biblical examples of a man who sowed discord among brothers?
Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing." Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches (Acts 15:36-41).
While John Mark was a great man and minister, he contributed to tension in the ministry team by departing, probably over an offense taken from the way his cousin Barnabas was treated. My goal is not to be a source of disunity in any organization in which I serve. Is that your goal, too?
As always, I welcome your comments to this week's study. For additional New Testament Bible studies, check out my website archive, which contains a complete collection of all my verse-by-verse Bible studies from Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1&2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1&2 Thessalonians, 1&2 Timothy, Hebrews, James, 1&2 Peter, Hebrews, 1-3 John and Revelation, along with the unpublished volumes of The Faith Files.
OPERATION PETTICOAT: I went to the mailbox last Saturday and found almost $1,000 had come in for Operation Petticoat, which makes a total of $1,700 contributed toward the cause of underwear for my birthday. (You can read about my underwear project at Operation: Petticoat.) I think we have all we need that will enable me to take 2,000 sets of undies and 550 bras to Kenya. Thank you so much for your wonderful and generous response.
I depart on May 13 and could still use some contributions toward the Sophia Fund, which we use to feed HIV/AIDS orphans and widows in Kenya. If you can send even $5 toward feeding an orphan, it will go a long way and be greatly appreciated.
You can give through my website or send a check to PurposeQuest, PO Box 91099, Pittsburgh, PA 15221. Just let me know if your contribution is to be used for food or underwear and I promise to apply it where you direct.
KENYA TRAINING: I am delighted that peole are registering for The Pacific Institute (TPI) seminar I will conduct in Nairobi from May 17-19. Attached below is the brochure for the event. Frankly speaking, TPI is the best training I have ever experienced and I love to share it with my friends. I invite you to join me in Nairobi for what I know will be a life-changing experience.