Purpose of the Church & Ministry #2


Fred R. Coulter—December 9, 2000

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I want to review just a little bit so that we understand that all who serve as elders, who are overseers, keep the perspective correct and that we all understand that any elder/overseer is a steward of God.

  • it's not a badge of reward
  • it's not a badge of authority

though there is authority that all elders have, that is given in the Word of God

  • but that they are in a special covenant with God

This is what they have to understand.

Acts 20:28: "Take heed, therefore, to yourselves…" That's one of the most important things that an elder needs to do:

  • to take heed to himself
  • to teach himself
  • to yield to God

don't get all caught up in:

  • vanity
  • authority
  • running and controlling people's lives

The job that Christ has given to the elders is to teach the brethren that they become responsible, that they live their lives before God. The elder is to teach and give counsel, to anoint when there's sickness, to be able to give leadership to the brethren in a right way. That is the leadership of the Holy Spirit of God and the Word of God to serve the brethren. That is all included in "Take heed, therefore, to yourselves…"

"…and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers…" (v 28). It's something that comes from God, though the flock also has to approve of those who are elders so that we don't have men coming along that just because they're good speakers they are made elders. Just because they have a great personality that now they are made elders.

It has to be that you see and know that they love God first, that they feed the flock, they feed the sheep, and all of those things are necessary before one has hands laid on them to be an elder who is an overseer.

"…to feed the Church of God, which He purchased with His own blood" (v 28). This is where the covenant is. The covenant is with God because here is the blood, which is necessary, that has made those who are elders overseers and they have a charge from God. Part of the things they are to do is not only watch themselves, but they are to watch the flock.

Verse 29: "For I know this: that after my departure grievous wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock." They have to guard against wolves coming in.

That's why we have it now that if someone comes from another Church of God organization who has been an elder there, we do not automatically accept their eldership and transfer it right on over into the Christian Biblical Church of God. We have to know by their fruits and by the approval of the congregation

Also, if a man has been ordained as an elder, when he comes to fellowship with us and takes a backseat an sits down, that's fine. If God does not raise up brethren that he serves, then he must consider that his eldership was only in the other church and has no validity with any of the fellowship groups or congregations of the Christian Biblical Church of God. Or, in the case of one man that we went ahead and just recognized his eldership—years ago—before we understood what God wanted us to do, and instead of brethren being raised up for him to serve, the brethren told him that they didn't want to hear you speak, 'we don't want you being an elder over us.' All right, then he is not an elder with the Christian Biblical Church of God.

Verse 30: "And from among your own selves… [those who do not take heed to themselves] …men will rise up speaking perverse things…" Today there is not excuse having divergent doctrines when we have the whole Word of God, and we've had many doctrinal disputes through the years, that if we haven't gone through to prove all of these things, then we haven't learned anything, yet. You will have more strength of God's Word and more understanding of the Word of God so that these things won't happen.

Not only is it the responsibility of elders, but it's also the responsibility of those who are the brethren to not let these things occur. In the event that they see these things happening with an elder—just like they had to approve him to be ordained or re-confirmed—they could also come to him and say, 'Look, we as a congregation or fellowship group perceive this, which is not of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. 'If you do not change this, if you do not serve us the way God wants you to, then we can say we no longer want you to be an elder to serve us.'

This then will be the self-purging devices that the congregation and the elders combine. Just like with us here, there are many things that you bring up and you say to me.

This will give a proper balance in being able to minimize those men who would rise up "…to draw away disciples after themselves" (v 30), or rise up and say, 'I have a mission from God' and they don't. Also, in the past we've had it where ministers in our past church experience would come in and destroy a local congregation so the church hierarchy says, 'What are we going to do with this man, he's upset the church.' Well, we'll transfer him to another church. So, they let him go and destroy another church!

I know of one man, in his travels in the Worldwide Church of God probably is solely responsible for destroying at least ten congregations. Now then, with the Christian Biblical Church of God, if an elder moves to another city, if there is a congregation or fellowship group there, then they must approve him themselves to be an elder to serve them. It's not an automatic transfer over just because you have been made an elder to serve the congregation here, that does not necessarily mean you will serve a congregation there.

However, if you have the fruits of the Holy Spirit and you have been doing what God has wanted, and if you honor the covenant with Jesus Christ and God the Father as an elder or overseer, chances are you will be approved by them, in whatever period of time they need to get to know you and be assured that you are an elder.

Verse 31: "Watch, therefore, remembering that for three years I ceased not to admonish each one night and day with tears." Paul warned him for three years. What is our church experience that we can learn from, for how many years we can look back and see that God was warning us, but we didn't have a clue. We need to learn from those years. If, after three years, they still didn't get the point, then we, after the years of experience that we have, still don't get the point, then we're in trouble, indeed!

How is an elder to conduct himself?

After the fiasco of Mrs. Zebedee bring James and John to Jesus to say, 'I want my sons to sit on your right and left hand'—which was a political maneuver instigated by mother. It sounds a little bit like Rebecca and Jacob. Jacob would have received the blessing anyway, because it was prophesied, but in order for it to look like this was done by men, God allowed the deception. Jacob came in with the goat-hair on the back of his neck so he would smell and appear like Esau. Jacob was punished and had deception brought upon him so that when he bargained fro Rachel he got Leah and then he had to do double-duty for 14 years, which was his punishment.

Matthew 20:24: "And after hearing this, the ten were indignant against the two brothers." The reason that they were was because some of them probably wanted to get there first, before they did, and others were upset because they didn't want to have to submit to James and John. So, you have the full realm here. Jesus said, 'It's not mine to give; it's what the Father has given, now let me tell you what you need to do.

To all 12 disciples, v 25: "But Jesus called them to Him and said, 'You know that the rulers of the nations exercise lordship over them… ['kataexousia'—downward in a hierarchical structure] …and the great one… [religious leaders] …exercise authority over them. However, it shall not be this way among you…" (vs 25-26). They were to be apostles, carrying the direct authority from Jesus Christ.

If it was not to be so among them, how much less is it to be so among those who are elders, who were not taught directly by Christ, who were not ordained directly by Christ, who are not directly commissioned by Christ to go into all the world.

"…but whoever would become great among you, let him be your servant" (v 26)—Greek: 'diakonos'—which is from where we get the word deacon. The apostles are deacons; they're both if you serve. If you are sent as an apostle, bearing the authority of Jesus Christ, you're to still serve.

Verse 27: "And whoever would be first among you, let him be your slave"—Greek: 'doulous'—someone who is a purchased slave; you're not your own. That's exactly what everyone is who is ordained into whatever function that God gives in the ministry or eldership. They are the purchased slaves of Christ. That's how they are to conduct themselves:

Verse 28: "Just as the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve… [noun form of 'diakonos'] …and to give His life as a ransom for many." Even Christ, Who was the Son of God and the Son of man was a deacon—One Who served! This deflates all the vanity and pride that men attach to the title of an office.

Read, again, John 21 where Jesus asked Peter three times, 'Do you love Me? Feed My sheep! Do you love Me? Feed My lambs! Do you love Me? Feed My sheep!' And that every elder has to love God first of all 'with all his heart, mind, soul and being.' Next, that he serves the brethren by feeding them, and that is a demonstration of his love to God.

It is not the badge of authority that men give; it's the blessing of God's Holy Spirit through the grace that is given to be an elder, to serve the brethren.

Ephesians 4:11: And He gave some asapostles…" This means that He gave a certain number as apostles—not to be as some translations have it—indicating an office to be fulfilled if it is vacant.

In every case where we have an apostle, when Judas fell, the apostles in Acts 1 got together and they said to search out two men that had been with them from the beginning and 'we will cast lots to see whom the Lord wants to replace him that fell.' This is the only place that we have in the entirety of the New Testament where lots were cast. The reason being was that they were not to make the choice themselves. Christ chose them individually, and it was by lot so that Christ would inspire the choice and the lot fell to Mathias. You don't see them doing it that way again.

Likewise, when you come to Acts 13, when Saul—later called Paul—and Barnabas were ordained to be apostles the Holy Spirit made it clear and said to separate Barnabas and Saul 'unto the work where I have called them.'

This tells us very clearly that in this day and age, unless God makes it absolutely clear to others that He has called a person to be an apostle, and it is crystal clear as Acts 13 that we should have no apostles. Otherwise, we presume to take upon ourselves something that God never gave us the authority to do.

I think we see that in the fruit of what happened to Worldwide when Herbert Armstrong said that he was not an apostle, which was as late as 1965, they retained more of the Truth, but as soon as his wife died and he accepted the term of apostle, look what happened! So, we would have to say very clearly, unless where there is a group of ministers fasting and praying asking God for guidance and direction, and the Holy Spirit made it clear to all of them, that So and So is to be ordained an apostle, brethren, we will have no apostles. We're not going to claim an apostleship for anybody.

This is our authority: "…and some prophets… [inspired speaking, as well as, those who foretell future events] …and some evangelists…" (v 11). These are all functions; these are not offices. An evangelist is as Paul told Timothy, 'Do the work of an evangelist, and Timothy was an elder. He did the work of an evangelist, and he was an evangelist as long as he was evangelizing.

Most of those who were made evangelists were really administrators. What happened is that you ended up with so much politics going on because they were made evangelists. I don't know what happened to them. Almost everyone who was ordained an evangelist somewhere went off the deep end. If you look around today, where are they? Nowhere! So, beware!

"…and some, pastors and teachers" (v 11). I think if we all who consider ourselves to be elders to be shepherds to the flock—that's what it means here by pastors—it's not an office, it's a function of an overseer.

Jesus said, If you love Me, shepherd My sheep.' That is pastoring—shepherding. It does not mean to rule over; it is not a higher office of an elder. It is a function that is to be done. But we should consider ourselves teachers so that we teach the Word of God. Then, in teaching that—if God inspires us—then we have prophesied, as a function.

Here's the whole purpose of it; not for an self-aggrandization, or a title for any man or person, but: Verse 12: "For the perfecting of the saints…" God wants the saints perfected, meaning:

  • they're to grow up in Christ
  • they're to be taught the Word of God
  • they're to be responsible before God
  • that they know how to live their lives

To be fully spiritually mature Christians!

"…for the work of the ministry… [service] …for the edifying…" (v 12)—up-building. The root of this verb is like building a house—which the Church of God is likened unto a temple as well as a body—for:

"…the edifying of the body of Christ" (v 12). The easiest correction that can be done for anyone, including those who are teaching, is if you teach yourself and correct yourself, and in teaching the brethren you teach them how to correct themselves. Therefore, you don't need to come and lambaste them and correct them. You need to inspire them to want to change, grow and overcome.

Verse 13: "Until we all…" All of us! As James said, 'Don't desire many of you to become teachers, because don't you know that we shall receive the sterner judgment?' But we all:

"…come into… [motion toward; something we are growing in constantly] …the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man… [a spiritually mature Christian] …unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (v 13).

  • That is the goal of teaching!
  • That is the goal of understanding the Scriptures!

That's why it must be that everyone who teaches learns how to teach 'line upon line, precept upon precept' and put the Scriptures together. You teach the Word of God; you don't use the Word of God! There's a vast difference.

Verse 14: "So that we no longer be children, tossed and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the sleight of men in cunning craftiness, with a view to the systematizing of the error"—which they have done! Now, since it is systematized, we know the error, and can stand strong against any teaching that does not come from the Word of God inspired by Jesus Christ. That's what we need to look to.

Verse 15: "But holding the Truth in love…" Again, it comes back to John 21, 'Do you love Me? Feed My sheep.'

"…may in all things grow up into… [Greek: 'eis'—movement toward] …Him Who is the Head, even Christ" (v 15). That's why there's got to be always movement toward. Christ is the Head of the Church.

Ephesians 1:20: "Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above every principality and authority and power…" (vs 20-21). Any spiritual religious authority on earth, be it a demon or person; government agent or king.

"…and lordship, and every name that is named—not only in this age, but also in the age to come; for He has subordinated all things under His feet, and has given Him to be head over all things to the Church, which is His body—the fullness of Him Who fills all things in all" (vs) 21-23).

What we do as brethren and elders in yielding to Christ as the Head of the Church, we let Him fulfill:

  • His will in us
  • His purpose in us
  • His Truth in us

That's the whole purpose!

Ephesians 4:16: "From Whom all the body, fitly framed and compacted… [made firm, established, strengthened] …together by that which every joint supplies… [the mature responsibility of all the brethren and elders combined together] …according to its inner working in the measure of each individual part, is making the increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."

Now that we reviewed that, we're ready for Titus and see some of the other things that Paul commanded Titus. We're also going to examine, again, the function of the job, and also the authority that an elder or overseer has.

As we went through 1st and 2nd Timothy, concerning doctrine, the elder has unilateral authority to rebuke anyone for preaching wrong doctrine. And with the second and third admonition, to ask them to depart; reject.

Now then, with disputes between brethren, they are first to solve the problem themselves. If that doesn't work, then they get a couple of other brethren and establish everything. If that doesn't do it then it comes before the congregation. That is a different function.

A minister does not have the responsibility to unilaterally take it upon himself to intervene in a dispute between two brethren, which they have not solved themselves. His responsibility is to say, 'You go to your brother, as Christ says, and you resolve it. You follow Matt. 18, and then if it cannot be solved, then you let me know and we will call a meeting with the congregation to let the judgment be made.

There are two different functions there. That's why the minister is to have knowledge of the doctrine, and to know the Word of God.

  • he is to guard the doctrine
  • he is to guard the Truth
  • as well as, preach and teach the Truth

Book of TITUS

Titus was a Greek, who was an elder, and who was not required to be circumcised (Gal. 2).

Titus1:1: "Paul, a servant of God… ['doulous'—a bondservant or slave] …and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the Truth that is according to Godliness; in the hope of eternal life, which God Who cannot lie promised before the ages of time, but revealed in its own set time in the proclamation of His Word, with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior" (vs 1-3).

There, again, Paul was showing here that he was entrusted with God's Word, and to complete it; to write it (Philip. 1).

Verse 4: "To Titus, a true son according to our common faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior. For this cause I left you in Crete, so that you might set in order the things that needed to be done…" (vs 4-5).

This follows right along with what we covered before, that everything be done in decency and in order (1-Cor. 14:40). There is not to be chaos within the congregations of God. But there is not to be a hierarchical authority, but there is to be order.

"…and might ordain elders in every city, as I commanded you" (v 5). Paul had to approve of them before he finished them. And, of course, we understand that the congregations also had to approve.

"…in every city…" obviously means that in every city where there are brethren. You cannot just ordain a man who is solely living in a city with no brethren to serve and make him an elder. How can he oversee anything when there is just himself.

Now then, he gives a summarized form of the qualifications of an elder, who is an overseer, as we read in 1-Tim. 3. Let's just briefly review it:

Verse 6: "If any man be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children…" Obviously, faithful children means those children still in his household. Those who grow up and lead their own lives—who then become unfaithful—he has no control over them. They are adults and he is not accountable and responsible for them.

"…not accused of debauchery or rebellion. For it is obligatory that as God's steward an overseer be blameless…" (vs 6-7). A steward is one who takes care of someone's property! He is in effect what is called a trustee; Christ is the Trustor. Christ gave His property, like we find in the Parable of the Talents and Pounds (Luke 19, Matt. 25) to exercise those to increase them. He's a steward accountable to God!

That's why he is "…not self-willed…" (v 7). However, do not mistake being mentally strong with doctrine that you will not change easily. I know a lot of people have accused me of being hardheaded. That is true when it comes to doctrine. But I do listen to people, and if they give me good advice, I follow it. If they give me advice that I don't need, I don't follow it.

I will say this: I think that all of us need to have the heart of David, the mind of Christ and the forehead of flint of Ezekiel! I think that will get us in good stead.

"…not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not a bully, not greedy for material gain; but hospitable, a lover of good…" (vs 7-8)—good people, good things, and so forth

"…sound-minded, just… [a sense of justice] …Holy… [motivated and guided by the Holy Spirit] ...self-controlled" (v 8) He doesn't need someone watching over him and controlling him.

Verse 9: "Holding steadfastly to the faithful Word…" As we learned in the messages about the 12 steps of covenant, we are to hold the doctrines of Christ. We are to defend them, because the enemies of Christ become our enemies, and the doctrines that Christ rejects and abhors we are also to reject and abhor.

We do that "…according to the teachings… [Greek 'didache'—doctrine] …of Jesus Christ…" (v 9). They all come from Jesus Christ, whether Old or New Testament.

"…so that he may be able both to encourage with sound doctrine… [rightly dividing the Word of God] …and to convict those who are gainsayers. For there are many rebellious and vain talkers and deceivers, especially those from the circumcision party, whose mouths must be stopped; who are subverting whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of selfish gain" (vs 9-11).

This shows how we are to defend against false doctrines! Many people have said, 'Fred Coulter, why do you hate this doctrine, or what do you expose that man for his teaching? Because we're commanded to in the Scriptures! Sometimes you can just expose a false doctrine. Other times you need to name the man, so that people will understand it.

Paul did it! Even wrote of Peter and James—didn't he? Then we find that those he named in 1st & 2nd Timothy, for teaching other doctrine, for saying that the resurrection is already past. It would be like someone coming in here who is supposed to be a teacher and says, 'Now, brethren, I've got new truth for you; we're all going to heaven.' You all stand up and gather him by the arms and escort him out the door! Their mouths must be stopped!

Now, today we have the Jewish prayer shawls, that if you take this prayer shawl or 'yamaka' and put it on your head, 'your prayers are going to be more effective.' The truth is that if you don't have faith your prayer isn't going to be affective at all! You can put on 10,000 prayer shawls you are committing idolatry even if you put on one, because you are not looking to God to answer the prayer, you are looking to a physical device to answer that prayer.

In other words, you are coming to God—by sacred name, prayer shawl, all the other claims of the Judaizing 'Christians'—and they're all false teachers. That's why we need to know the doctrines. Those things, brethren, are no different than an idol in a Catholic Church, than the beads of the rosary—for either Catholics or Hindus or Muslims. They all have beads that they pray by. Those are all physical devices, which people think will coerce God to answer a prayer. It won't! It will not!

  • That's why they are hypocritical and vain talkers!
  • That's why their mouths need to be stopped!
  • if we don't answer these doctrines
  • if we don't go through and show about the nature of God
  • if we don't go through and show the Truth of the Passover

which day it is and the whole meaning of it

  • if we don't go through and show about sacred names and all of these other things:
    • Sunday-keeping
    • Christmas
    • And all the rest of it

Then we're not doing our jobs!

Verse 12 refers back to v 9 because these hypocritical teachers were teaching those to become gainsayers, the Cretans. They were taking these doctrines of the Judaizers and were coming back as gainsayers. This is talking about the Cretans who would do this:

Verse 12: "One from among them, even one of their own prophets, said, 'Cretans are always liars, and evil, wild beasts, and lazy gluttons.'" Talk about the politically-correct society for today.

Sidebar: I was listening to Michael Savage—a talk show host who gives his opinion very savagely. He let a Democrat come on and talk about the election that was coming up. The Democrat was quite open saying, 'We want to win, because we are going to enact more hate laws and you will be off the radio. And all of those who preach the Bible will be convicted of hate crimes.' That, brethren, is the battle!

Verse 13: "This testimony is true. For this reason you must rebuke them severely…" An elder has the authority to rebuke when it comes to this point. For what reason?

  • To put him down? No!
  • To show his authority? No!
  • To show the authority that Jesus Christ has!

"…that they may be sound in the faith" (v 13). That's why! It's not a personal motivation. It is not because an elder is offended personally by what someone may say or do; he has to set that all aside. But "…that they may be sound in the faith."

Verse 14: "Not paying attention to Jewish myths… [which is a charge to the elder and the congregation] …and commandments of men, which turn away from the Truth." That happens!

Let me just tell you something here. I got a paper that a man and woman from Australia wrote claim that you should never eat out on the Sabbath, and on the Holy Days you should never hire a meal to be brought in. You are not to buy and sell anything on the Sabbath Day—period!

When I went to Australia, I made the trip to answer that. I did partially answer it in some previous sermons, which they got. When I got down there in Brisbane, I expected them to be there, but they weren't there. I had one of the members—they only lived a half-hour away; we just delayed the meeting there—to call them on the phone and see if they would come. We gave them 45 minutes to get there. They didn't come, so we began the Bible study where I went through and showed the various things in the Old Testament and New Testament.

As it turns out, that was only an ideological mask for their true false doctrine, which was a 15th Passover. But they didn't bring that out until later.

So, whenever everybody brings up something in the way of contrary doctrine, we always need to be wary—of brethren or elders—that this is only the tip of the iceberg, and they may have another agenda. What they want to do is create enough furor so that the people would agree with them and begin to assemble with them so later they could spring a 15th Passover on them, in spite of everything that was written in The Christian Passover book: Not giving attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men, which are turning men away from the Truth!

Verse 15: "To the pure… [those who have the Spirit of God] …all things are pure… [we are looking to pure motives, to pure doctrine] …but to those who are defiled and unbelieving; nothing is pure; rather, both their minds and consciences are defiled." How are they defiled? Not only are they defiled, but their consciouses are seared:

  • because they don't have the Holy Spirit of God
  • because they don't love God
  • because they don't love the brethren

But they have an agenda:

  • power
  • lordship
  • authority

The way they do this by false doctrines.

1-Timothy 4:1: "Now, the Spirit tells us explicitly that in the latter times some shall apostatize from the faith, and shall follow deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons." That's where a lot of the false doctrines come from.

Verse 2: "Speaking lies in hypocrisy, their consciences having been cauterized with a hot iron."

(go to the next track)

That's how a conscience is seared!

Titus 1:15: "To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; rather, both their minds and consciences are defiled. They personally profess to know God…" (vs 15-16).

  • Oh yes, we're God's chosen people
  • Oh yes, I'm God's minister

"…but in their works they deny Him, being abominable and disobedient, and reprobate unto every good work" (v 16). We've seen that time and time again. We've seen that with the Judaizing infiltrators into the Churches of God—whether they be the large Churches of God or whether they be small fellowship groups—they come in and try and bring in Judaism.

There's even one man who goes around trying to show the brethren how they can have a Seder meal for the Passover. His real objective is a 15th Passover. Yet, he's considered an ordained minister in one of the Churches of God—his name is Blaylock

Titus 2:1: "But as for you… [contrary to these] …speak the things that befit sound doctrine." You'll notice going through 1st & 2nd Tim. and Titus, doctrine is important. Anyone who comes to you and says that 'doctrine divides and shouldn't count because we don't want to be divided, we all want to be united' you better know that he has alterative motives, because doctrine is designed to divide! Christ wanted it to divide!

  • to divide Truth from error
  • to divide true brethren from false brethren
  • to divide true minister from false ministers

So that we can serve Christ. It's all made to divide!

Verse 2: "Teach the older men to be temperate, serious-minded, respectable, sound in the faith, in love, and in patience." In other words, teaching them to grow up in Christ (Eph. 4).
Verse 3: "In like manner, teach the older women to be in their behavior as it is fitting for Godly women, not slanderers, and not enslaved to much wine, but teachers of that which is right." Women are to teach what?

Verse 4: "That they may teach the young women to love their husbands and to love their children." They can tell the younger women, whenever they have difficulties at home, that since you've experienced some of those things, you can say: 'Now now, dear, it's not over just because you've had a fight. It's not over just because you're having difficulties. Here's what you need to do.' That's what they are to teach.

If we had that today, think how much better this society would be. If we didn't have all the older women out playing bingo and going on tours to Reno and Las Vegas to play the slots and cards—which a lot of them do; they waste tons of money—or sitting alone with nothing to do, if they could teach the young women how to train the children, how to cook, sew, how to do the things that build up a household. How much better would our society be with mother having been educated that way? So that when the children come home from school, there's mom?

They're not turned over to their own devices because mom is out working somewhere, to earn money because the society now dictates that the head of the house cannot earn enough money to make it. In many cases women have to work. If they have to work, don't neglect your children. But if you do it to the neglect of your children, you're in trouble and your children are in trouble. That's just the way it goes. Sometimes those things in this society cannot be helped. What I'm saying is that within the Church it should be done this way.

Verse 5: "To be modest, chaste, keepers of the home… [that's a big job] …to be good and to submit themselves to their own husbands, so that the Word of God may not be blasphemed." That's quite a statement! If women don't submit to their husbands, their blaspheming the Word of God. Maybe some women don't look at it that way.

If you have difficult marriage, then you have a difficult marriage, but you have to work it out. You're still bound. God is not going to loose you because you married someone that is difficult to live with. You have to work it out, whether male or female.

Verse 6: "In the same way, exhort the younger men to be sober-minded. In all things you yourself set an example of good works; in doctrine uncorrupted, serious-minded, and sincere; use sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that the one who opposes you may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say about you" (vs 6-8).

When we have jokingly said that we are the no hassle, recycled, last resort Church of God maybe in a sense there is more truth to it than just saying it. When people today, after hearing the Truth, go out exalting themselves, God's judgment is not far behind. We can see this. We've seen it time and time again!

Verse 9: "Admonish slaves to submit themselves to their own masters, to be well pleasing in everything, not answering back; not misappropriating anything, but showing all good faithfulness…" (vs 9-10).

I heard that the Queen of England has had some labor problems in her palace because some of the perks and goodies that she gave to her servants—whom she does not pay very much—and one of them was that they could go to the royal bar and get two or three drinks during the day. Because she was taking that away, now she's having problems with them. Well, I guess if the queen giveth the queen can taketh away!

But Paul also admonished those who were masters, to treat their slaves with love and concern, because they're brethren. It's going to be hard for the servants in Buckingham Palace to stay away from the bar. They may have a little 'bootleg' service going on, who knows!

"…showing all good faithfulness so that they may do credit to the doctrine of our Savior God in everything" (v 10). That's interesting phraseology: "…do credit…" In other words, you are doing what the doctrine says, which then is a credit of your Savior God, showing that Christ is God in everything:

  • in your personal behavior
  • in your understanding of the doctrine

Verse 11: "For the grace of God, which brings salvation for all men, has appeared…. [not just for the elite, but for all that God calls] …Teaching us that… [Paul was including himself as well as Titus] …having denied ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live moderately and righteously and Godly in this present world… [here's the reason]: …looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our Savior and great God, Jesus Christ… [there it is in the space of three verses where Jesus Christ is God] …Who gave Himself for us, so that He might redeem us from all lawlessness, and might purify for Himself a unique people, zealous of good works" (vs 11-14).
Here's the whole goal of everything, of any elder, teacher, of doctrines, of Christ and God; the whole thing here. "…a unique people…"—those who are to be the sons and daughters of God, to be spirit beings, born into the Kingdom of God at the resurrection. "…zealous of good works." Yes, we are to have good works, but those good works don't bring us salvation. Only Christ can bring us salvation.

Verse 15: "Speak these things, and exhort… [to encourage, up-build] …and rebuke… [if there's correction to be done] …with all authority…" That's the authority that an elder has:

  • for service
  • for the up-building
  • for the guiding
  • for the directing
  • for the leading

"…Do not let anyone despise you" (v 15). This is just a good summary as to how elders are to serve, because they love God, and that the brethren are the property of God

  • He has called them
  • He has given the Holy Spirit to them
  • God the Father has begotten them

So that they can be born into the Kingdom of God. This is the whole purpose of it. Quite different than most people view through the clouded glasses of a hierarchy of those who are in charge, and those who bear rule and so forth—quite the opposite.

Titus 3:1: "Remind them to be subject to rulers, and to obey authorities, and to be ready for every good work." We should do that. Now is not the Kingdom of God. Jesus said, 'If My kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight.' That includes those who are trying to restore the nation to the original Constitution, which they cannot do, those sovereignists who want to take over the government by military force; we are not to do that. We're to be subject.

If we have to give a testimony because of what we believe, then we do it whenever that happens. If we are falsely arrested and accused and put in prison, then if that happens, that is so. But in any case, we're to rely and trust in God in everything.

Verse 2: Not to speak evil of anyone…" To speak evil of them, as we mentioned concerning things which are true. You are to expose false doctrine and teachings, and in some cases even name the names of those who do so, that everyone will know they are to avoid them.

But speaking evil is to say thing about someone that is not true. To report evil conduct, which is true, is not speaking evil of that person, but it is speaking the truth to expose the evil conduct.

"…not to be contentious…" (v 2). We're not to have a chip on our shoulders and be argumentative in everything.

"…but gentle, showing all meekness toward all men. For we also were once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving all kinds of lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another" (vs 2-3). This is telling us, like where we started where Paul said, 'Take heed to yourselves…' We're all to remember where we came from. We look back at some of our behavior in our lives growing up and then living before God called us, and we all fit into this category one way or another.

Verse 4: "But when the graciousness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared." God reached down and forgave us. I'm beginning to see that having the mind of Christ is not just the knowledge of doctrine. It is also having the love of God, the mercy of God and the forgiveness. There must be forgiveness! If we, in our relationship with one another:

  • husband and wife
  • family and children
  • brethren one toward another

do not have mercy and forgiveness we shall not receive mercy and forgiveness. If we do not have it, then we are going right back here to being hateful and hating one another. I'm beginning to see that having the mind of Christ and forgiveness is profound, and the very cornerstone on how we deal with each other.

Remember what Peter said? Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me? Seven times and I forgive him? Jesus said—which is a reflection of the mind of Christ: 'I say to you until seven times seventy, or 490 times!' God is interested in the rehabilitation of the person, because He does not delight in the destruction even of the wicked. Some problems are deeply entrenched and take a long time to overcome! But in that we have to exercise forbearance.

Notice how we are called, v 5: "Not by works of righteousness, which we practiced…" Let's understand something very clearly, so that we all get it straight. {Note sermon series: Grace of God and Romans—because the whole book of Romans goes through and shows this very clearly}

No law, even the laws and commandments of God—which we are required to keep—bring salvation by virtue of the fact that you have kept them!

The Protestants understand that, so they throw it all out and say that salvation is not contingent upon that. Not true! Please understand that all the commandments of God are required to be kept. Salvation comes through Jesus Christ with God's Spirit through the sacrifice of Christ. Remember that nothing—no law, no work, no doctrine—can substitute for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ! That's why Paul is summarizing it here.

{note sermon series: Justification by Faith}

"…but according to His mercy He saved us… [by His calling, by His Spirit] …through the washing of regeneration… [referring to baptism] …and the renewing of the Holy Spirit… [renews our mind] …which He richly poured out upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior" (vs 5-6).

The biggest mistake that every church and church organization makes is that they begin in the spirit and then they end up trying to be perfected in works or hierarchy.

All of those things then become the commandments and teachings of men, which is proclaimed by the authority of a hierarchy, have the guise of the authority of God, but are not! All you have to do is just look at all the things that the churches of this world require, and religions of this world, who do not profess Christianity, require. Look at all of the things that Catholicism and Orthodoxies and Protestantism require. Look at all the things that Islam requires and Hinduism and Buddhism. Those are all the righteousness of men that rejects Christ.

But the worst of all is the mystery of iniquity or lawlessness under the guise of Christianity, where it appears righteous. None of those things save you. Christ alone saves you! But all of those things are required.

  • Does God use the Sabbath Day? Yes, He does!
  • Does God use the Holy Days? Yes, He does!
  • What is the function and purpose of those? To fellowship with us and to teach us!

If we do not keep those days and keep the other commandments of God, then we lose all the benefit that God will bring to us because we do through His grace.

Luke 17:3 "Watch yourselves; and if your brother commits a sin against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him." How much more so in the marriage estate?

Verse 4: "And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him."

That is the greater commandment; that's the mind of Christ. Do you expect that when you sin, and you repent to Christ, that He forgives you? Of course! Christ expects you to do the same!

Verse 5: "Then the apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith.'" We all want to have our faith increased—don't we? Yes! No doubt about it! I need more faith, you need more faith, all the brethren need more faith. We're to grow in grace and knowledge, and love, faith and hope.

Verse 6: "But the Lord said, 'If you had faith as a tiny mustard seed, you might say to this sycamine tree, "Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea," and it would obey you.'" That's if it's done for a lawful and right purpose. Not out of vanity so you can say, 'Lord, Lord, look what I did! I cast 10,000 sycamine trees into the ocean, and boy did we have the greatest Sunday-services ever.' Jesus would say, 'I don't know you, you work iniquity.'

Verse 7—he gives an example: "But which of you having a servant… ['doulous'—slave] plowing or shepherding will immediately say to him when he comes in from the field, 'Come and sit down and eat'? Rather, will he not say to him, 'Prepare what I may eat, and gird yourself, and serve me while I eat and drink; and afterwards you may eat and drink'?" (vs 7-8). This would set every unionist on edge. No rights!

Verse 9: "Is he thankful to that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not…. [it's required] …Likewise you also, when you have done all the things that are commanded you, say, 'We are unprofitable servants, because we have done that which we were obligated to do'" (vs 9-10). If we do with the right attitude of love and service and open-mindedness to Christ, what is He going to do?

  • fellowship with us
  • bless us with knowledge
  • give us understanding
  • encourage us
  • inspire us
  • lead us

It's all what Christ does!

Titus 3:5: "Not by works of righteousness, which we practiced… [our duty to do] …but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, which He richly poured out upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior; so that, having been justified by His grace, we would become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and I desire you to strongly affirm all these things… [everything that he's taught here] …so that those who have believed God may apply themselves to doing good works…." (vs 5-8)—motivated by the Spirit of God. You do things because you love God and love the person you're doing it for, even though it's an obligation to do, you don't do it as an obligation. You do it because you love the person.

"…These things are good and profitable for men" (v 8). That's how we're to live our lives. I think here that's exactly how we operate. All the brethren everywhere need to grow into that.

Then Paul gives a warning, v 9: "But avoid foolish questions…" That's why if you sent me a paper based upon a foolish question, and you do not get an answer from me, or I do not answer according to a sermon that I may give, do not feel bad. Go learn something of more substance.

For example, I had a man write me and say that 'you should not travel 250 miles on the Sabbath. You should travel no more than a half mile. That's what Sabbath Day's journey is.'

In talking to him on the phone when he called to castigate me for saying that if you travel, it's permissible to eat out on the Sabbath, even if that has to become a thing of 'binding and loosing' If, in conscience, he doesn't want to, then he doesn't have to. But when I told him that I drive up north I have to go over a toll bridge and have to pay $2 to get across, and he said to go some other way. I said that would entail another 75 miles in driving to go around it! Well, for the sake of not paying the toll, so that I could please his picky doctrine, I should drive another 150 miles round trip and make it 400 instead of 250? That's not proper judgment.

So, if I don't answer a question like that, just consider it a foolish question. Go learn something more important.

"…and genealogies…" (v 9). I don't care who you are. So what if you can trace your linage back to the Queen of England? Don't brag on it; go read about their sins and hope that you don't do the same thing.

"…and debates… [you don't need debates; let the Scriptures settle it] …and quarrels about law…" (v 9)—which we've had. Don't eat out on the Sabbath. I don't eat out every Sabbath, but when there is a need, that's fine.

One man said, 'Let the brethren provide for you.' I don't want to presume upon the brethren to feel obligated every Sabbath that they have to do this for me. I'm making them work on my behalf. And there are many other things.

"…for they are unprofitable and vain" (v 9). We don't want Sabbath services to be filled that way, and put everybody on edge making it just a carnal thing. We've all gone through Sabbath services that way! I tell you what, brethren, we aren't going to return to it. If you want to return to it, go form your own group. God lay down your own laws and see if God blesses you.

Verse 10: "After the first and second admonition, reject a man who is teaching heresy…" You don't have to put up with it, and the elder or minister can do that unilaterally; he doesn't have to ask the congregation if it's permissible. They're probably waiting for him to do it so they don't have to suffer at the hands of this person coming up after Sabbath services and saying, 'Hey, did you know…' Spare us all!

"…knowing that such a person has been subverted and is sinning, being condemned by his own words" (v 11). That's how you bring peace in the congregations of God.

We have an open-door policy. Those who want to fellowship with us can fellowship with us, but you have to beware, because the brethren know their Bibles pretty much. So, if you come bringing another doctrine, or if you come with a secret agenda, know that that will be known, and when it is understand that the door works the other way.

Also, another thing that is true: There are brethren who have come an associated with us who thought that they knew a better way. They would go out and, lo and behold, found that they didn't know a better way. They have repented and come back. Well, they can come back. If you repent and learn the lesson, come back. But everything will be done in decency and in order, according to the Word of God, and the Spirit of God, in love and truth to serve all the brethren, so that we may continue to have the fellowship of Jesus Christ and God the Father with us every Sabbath and Holy Day.

When we get down to our own carnal devices, God the Father and Jesus Christ remove Themselves in degree until sooner or later, if we don't change, they no longer fellowship with us and we are just left with our own carnal Sabbath-keeping and Holy Day-keeping, deceiving ourselves into thinking we're doing the will of God. That's where we are with this, and this is what Paul is saying here. Then he gives some admonitions:
Verse 12: "When I send Artemas to you, or Tychicus, make haste to come to me at Nicopolis; for I have decided to spend the winter there. Be diligent to equip Zenas the lawyer and Apollos for their journey, so that they may lack nothing. And let our brethren also learn to devote themselves to good works for services that are needed, so that they may not be unfruitful. All of those with me salute you. Salute those who love us in the faith. Grace be with all of you. Amen" (vs 12-15).

We won't go through the Epistle of Philemon except to say read it yourself and you will see how Paul handled a very difficult situation of a runaway slave, who came and served Paul and who repented and needed to go back and serve his original master. Paul said that 'if there's anything that he owes you, you lay it to my charge. But if you can, give this man his freedom.' I think that's a good lesson for all of us on how to handle situations between one another.

This gives us a complete set and I hope this helps everyone. It gives us the foundation and understanding, and now we have it completely put together in one package.

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version by Fred R. Coulter

Scriptural References:

  • Acts 20:28-31
  • Matthew 20:24-28
  • Ephesians 4:11-15
  • Ephesians 1:20-23
  • Ephesians 4:16
  • Titus 1:1-15
  • 1 Timothy 4:1-2
  • Titus 1:15-16
  • Titus 2:1-15
  • Titus 3:1-6
  • Luke 17:3-10
  • Titus 3:5-15

Scriptures referenced, not quoted:

  • John 21
  • Acts 13
  • Matthew 18
  • Galatians 2
  • Philippians 1
  • 1 Corinthians 4:40
  • 1 Timothy 3
  • Luke 19
  • Matthew 25

Also referenced:

  • Book: The Christian Passover by Fred R. Coulter
  • Sermon Series:
  • Grace of God
  • Romans
  • Justification by Faith

Transcribed: 2-23-15