Duties to Pagan Leaders
23 November 2014 pm – Titus 3:1-2 – Tit 14 – Scott Childs
Introduction: It would be great if all of our government leaders were fine godly Christians and all the laws of the land were biblical and just. That ideal situation does not exist in this sin-cursed world. Most of our government leaders are pagans not Christians. As a result, Christians sometimes think they are justified in disobeying pagan leaders, but God tells us otherwise.
Transition: In these two verses, the Holy Spirit identifies seven duties that Christians have toward pagan leaders (those who reject God).
Titus’ instructions were to “Put them in mind”. This means he was to cause the Christians in every Cretan church to remember. He was to remind them. The duties in this list are not new. They are duties that every Christian ought to know, but the devil would like us to think we do not have to do them to pagan leaders. God reminds us that we do.
1. To be subject to principalities and powers
a. This is the third time in this book that we have found this word translated “subject” (cf. Tit 2:5, 9). You may remember that it means voluntarily to arrange yourself under, to subject yourself. As Christians, we are humbly to follow those over us whether they are Christians or pagans, gentle or harsh.
1) The word principalities refers to any leaders. Kenneth Wuest states that, “The word speaks here of the persons first in order of rulership in a community.”
2) The word powers refers to any authorities. “Powers” may refer to delegated authority (Wuest).
3) The principalities and powers over Crete then were no friends to the Christians.
b. Just as the slaves were to subject themselves to their masters, so every Christian (bond or free) is to subject himself to pagan leaders and authorities of civil government.
1) We are to obey the laws of the road, parking laws, and laws about mobile phones in the car.
2) We are to obey the copyright laws and tax laws.
c. The only time we find justification for disobeying civil law is if it commands us to disobey the Bible. This was the case when the apostles were commanded to stop preaching.
V (Acts 5:29) “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”
2. To obey magistrates
a. This phrase is one word in the Greek. The primary meaning is to be obedient in general; however, it implies the obedience is to a superior.
b. Our sinful nature rebels against obedience, yet over and again God commands us to be obedient.
V (John 14:15) “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
V (Colossians 3:20) “Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.”
V (Hebrews 13:17) “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
c. Obedience is something on which we must work diligently.
3. To be ready to every good work
a. The word “ready” also means prepared. Christians are always to be prepared to do good.
1) Paul, in the book of Romans, reminds us that good works are the opposite of evil works.
V (Romans 13:3) “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. …”
2) In his first letter to Timothy, Paul wrote that sharing and helping those in need was connected with good works.
V (1 Timothy 6:17-18) “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;”
3) It is God who enables us to do good works.
V (Ephesians 2:10) “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
V (2 Corinthians 9:8) “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”
b. A Christian should not need to be urged, coaxed, or persuaded to do good works. We ought to have a cheerful willingness to get involved in good works.
4. To speak evil of no man
a. This word means to blaspheme or slander someone.
b. This is not condemning speaking against a false teacher or a person who has done wrong. Titus was instructed to exhort and convince the gainsayers (Tit 1:9).
1) Speaking evil is saying things to hurt a person. That is wrong.
2) When we must speak against someone, we should not exaggerate or speak about his motives.
c. Guarding our mouths is one of the most difficult tasks that we have. The Lord reminds us of this in the book of James.
V (James 3:2) “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.”
V (James 3:8) “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”
5. To be no brawlers
a. A brawler is a fighter. The word includes verbal fighting, arguing, and quarrelling.
b. As Christians, God does not want us always to be looking for a fight.
c. Again, in the book of Jude we are told to contend for the faith. That describes the struggle we must endure to keep our faith pure, but that is far different from being contentious.
V (Proverbs 26:21) “As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.”
6. But gentle
a. The word “gentle” has many shades of meaning: forbearing, mild, reasonable, fair, fitting, appropriate, suitable, and proper.
b. This may refer to our reaction when someone tries to draw us into an argument. Keeping a proper attitude when aggravated can be a huge challenge.
c. In times like that, the advice of the Proverbs is helpful.
V (Proverbs 29:11) “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.”
V (Proverbs 14:3) “In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.”
7. Shewing all meekness unto all men
a. Meekness is a quality that is difficult to define and even more difficult to master. It has to do with being mild or gentle.
b. The root from which we get this word “meekness” means “mild” of things, “tame” of animals, and “gentle” or “pleasant” of persons (Bromiley p.929)
c. Peter Pett suggests, “That is they must be self-controlled and not always looking to their own interests.”
V (Proverbs 15:1) “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”
V (Proverbs 25:11) “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”
Conclusion: In the context, these seven duties are to pagan leaders. If God requires us to treat unbelieving leaders in these seven ways, how much more ought we to treat Christian leaders and fellow Christians in general in these ways.
Each of us has his own weaknesses, but in my life, I know that I struggle with some of these duties. I am reminded of God’s words in the book of James, “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty [the Bible], and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” (James 1:25) I must be a doer not just a hearer.
If God has spoken to your heart about these duties, why not join me in prayer that God will give us strength to do right, control our attitudes, and guard our mouths.
Song: His Way with Thee – 367