but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled,Titus 1:8(NASB)
The goal of Paul's ministry was to spread the gospel of Christ and its salvation message to many people. His goal also included giving godly instruction to those that were saved by grace through faith in Christ, and to remind pastors and teachers to preach the Word of God in season and out of season, and to correct, rebuke, and encourage the flock of God with great patience and careful instruction.
But Paul also knew that there were many unscrupulous overseers, ungodly elders, and false teachers who were preaching a distorted gospel which allowed pagan philosophies and worldly attitudes to infiltrate the Church of God, and so Paul gave wise counsel to godly pastors like Timothy and Titus on how they should live, and who should be appointed to have oversight of the people of God in their local assemblies.
Such elders and leaders were to be above reproach. They were to be the husband of one wife, with obedient children who also trusted in Jesus as their Saviour. They were not to be accused of dissipation, rebellion, or of having a wild and ungodly lifestyle. Such elders and overseers were to be considered as humble and obedient servants of God.
They were to be good stewards of Christ; not self-willed or over-bearing, not quick-tempered or arrogant, not addicted to wine or given to drunkenness, not pugnacious, quarrelsome, or violent, and they were not to be greedy for money or involved in pursuing dishonest gain: "They are to be hospitable to others, and people who love that which is good. They are to be sensible and self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined." Indeed, such men are to be servants of God who hold firm to the trustworthy truth of God's Word so that they may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine to others, enabled to rebuke those who contradict, and to set godly standards that honour the Lord.
The high moral standard that was required of such elders and overseers of the early Church are equally true today, not only for those that are entrusted with the oversight of a local church assembly, but they should also be the criteria for all God's children who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus.
May we examine our actions and attitudes to see if we fall short of God's best in our lives, and learn to be gracious and hospitable, appreciative of that which is good and turning away from that which is evil. May we individually and corporately seek to be sensible, honest, moral, and self-controlled in all that we say and do so that Christ may be glorified in our lives as we grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the book of Titus and the many teachings it provides on living godly lives for Your honour and glory. Thank You for the life of Paul and for entrusting him with the truth of the gospel of grace. Thank You that Your Word is true and never fails and that You determined before the foundation of the world to redeem mankind from their sin, by grace through faith in Christ. Praise His holy name, AMEN.
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