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Order in the Church!


"For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion."
Good Morning My Beloved,

Welcome to worship this Lord's Day!
We are grateful for our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ who have joined us today, we are glad that you are here. I would like to encourage you to visit our Prayer Wall, not only to pray for our brothers and sisters in their time of need, but to also add any prayers or concerns that you may have as well. We are all called to pray with and for one another, in keeping with the commands of our Lord.
There are many Christians that assume that the pastor, runs the church. In fact, the pastor who understands his authority is a blessing to the church because he operates within the boundaries of God's written word. However, most Christians today, do not understand how we operate as a church government and assume it runs similar to the U.S. government, operating as a democracy. While it is true, that he pastors and the elders are elected officers, at church business meetings, members can voice their disapproval to what they dislike and vote according to their preferences. I would like to point out, that there is no room for political maneuvering in spiritual leadership.While that governing system in place, is fine for America, and other nations, at the risk of sounding un-American, I have to say that democracy is not the biblical way to view church government. As disturbing as it may sound, God, the Creator of all heaven and earth, is not an American! God did not intend the church to function as a democracy, where the most powerful elite factions control the purse strings. We’re not given the authority or freedom to impose our American thoughts and ideas about government onto the church, unless we find those ideas in the Word of God!
Paul's letter to Titus, provides us with an interesting look as to what took place in the early church, as the he traveled and sent these young men as apostolic delegates to do special work for him in various churches. Later, in this letter, we'll get a look at the way in which the Christian church in Crete was living, and this was the kind of national character that Titus was up against. While they professed to know God, their minds and consciences were corrupted, therefore, they denied Him by their deeds. Sounds a great deal like the church today, doesn't it? Professed Christians, who are reflecting the attitudes and actions of the world. 
In verse 4, Paul calls Titus, his "true child in common faith." In order for the ministry to extend beyond one's own family, it must first be established within one's family. I believe that it is important to get your children grounded in faith and walking with the Lord. Whatever one desires to do in ministry, he must first do with his children! He must lead them in worship, serve them communion. Preach, teach and pray with them. Believe me, you will never regret investing time and ministry in your children.
Let us bow our heads in prayer.
Heavenly Father, 
Father, we are so grateful that You have provided us with a Word like this today, it is one that I feel in my own heart. Thank You for the grace that is granted to us in the Spirit and in the Word to maintain and pursue righteousness. Lord, I confess, that I am not a perfect man, yet in Your grace, You have kept me from scandal and above reproach. Lord, I pray for those in leadership who have fallen, I pray that You would fully restore them to You and to the body in which they serve. It is my prayer that the faithful, true church would hold them accountable, that they would preserve in teaching the inerrant truth and would not continue to lower the standard, that we have fought so hard to preserve, that the bride would be presented blameless, without blemish.
In Jesus' name
Today Message:  Order in the Church!
The biblical view of church government is to allow the living head of the church Who is Jesus Christ and allow Him truly to function as the head of His body. Therefore, I do not believe, that any of us should be seeking, or voicing for that matter, our will about various matters within the church, unless we are absolutely certain that our will coincides with God’s will, as revealed to us by God, through His Word! Rather than one man, and a board, attempting to run the church, what they "feel" is God’s way, when there is no Scriptural evidence to substantiate it!

Jeremiah 23:21-22 tells us that "I did not send these prophets, But they ran. I did not speak to them, But they prophesied. "But if they had stood in My council, Then they would have announced My words to My people, And would have turned them back from their evil way And from the evil of their deeds."
I believe that Jesus' Words in Matthew 23:33 were quite clear, "You serpents, you brood of vipers, how  will you escape the sentence of hell?"
In Titus 3:14, tells us in no uncertain terms, that "Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful." Is the church today influencing the world or the world influencing the church? There is an old saying "You can bring a pig into the parlor, it won't change the pig, but it will certainly change the parlor!" I believe that this is the problem we have occurring in the church today! I want to make something abundantly clear; He saved us. He saved us! Jesus Christ is the only one who can save us! I do not care how special you think that you are, you cannot save yourselves. 
Open with me your Bibles to Titus chapter one, verses 5-6. In our ongoing study of marvelous letter,  we finished our study of the greeting, which was the first four verses. There are a number of worldly trends that we are seeing occur in the church today, and, as you know, I try to frequently address them. I know that at times, I may sound like a broken record, however on of my duties as a servant to the Lord Jesus Christ, is to warn the body of Christ about the overreaching danger. As I was reading and studying to prepare our message for today, there were several essential qualifications for one who is to be a pastor of the church, that really stood out to me, that are being either selectively applied, or blatantly ignored in the church today. I believe that there is unfinished work to be done in every church. No church has fully completed its mission and no ministry is without messes. We all have work to do in a lot of areas. 

I would encourage you to follow along with me as I read to you , to set the text in our minds, as we prepare our hearts, for a Word from the Lord. Though today, we will be examining verses 5 and 6, allow me to read verses Titus 1:5-9.
"For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict."
We can see from the text, rather clearly I believe, there is a very high standard that placed upon those who would pastor or oversee the church. In verse 5, the Apostle Paul describes his purpose for leaving Titus behind on the island of Crete. While the Book of Acts does not record a visit from Paul to this island, his trip with Titus most likely took place sometime after his release from his first Roman imprisonment.
After Paul had spent some time in Crete, he moved on to preach in other cities, however, because there was still much work still to be done, he left Titus behind to put things in order. Specifically, for Titus, was to "appoint elders in every town, as I directed you." In other words, Titus was responsible for setting someone in office, appointing an elder to a position of authority. 
Jesus said in Matthew 25:21, "Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master."
Some have wondered how Crete could be evangelized so thoroughly if Paul never preached there during his earlier missionary journeys. We find the key to this in Acts 2:11, where we read that some Cretans were present on the Day of Pentecost, and after hearing the gospel in their own language, were converted and went back to Crete, where they spread the good news.
A trend that I find to be rather disturbing occurring in the church today, is the lowering of these standards or at least applying them selectively. Either by picking and choosing what you want to apply, or on other occasions applying all of it to some people but not to other people.What I find to be most disturbing, is the gross kind of moral sin being committed by many pastors today, only to step back into ministry as soon as the publicity settles down. The Bible is clear, very explicit that once a man falls into moral sin, he is unqualified. When a teacher of the Word falls into moral sin, there is a threat, a very danger of destroying the integrity of the church. There are very specific qualifications for one who preaches God's Word.
What I find even more disturbing, in a number of ways, even more than the commission of the moral sin itself, is the churches eagerness to bring them back into the ministry, revealing the moral character of the church, the level of corruption of the heart of the church. The fact, that virtually every sin has become widely tolerated, even accepted really with the body of Christ, it a very disheartening, grievous thing! It has almost become celebrated for one who has stained the pulpit with his sin, squandered his reputation, one who has sinned against the holy and gracious God, who called him to preach. I believe that once the purity has been sacrificed, the privilege of leadership, proclamation of God's Word by ones own example has gone. Certainly, a mans moral character, his moral conduct, his ability to lead the flock by his example, is the heart of his ministry and the church.

I want to be clear here, by all means, if a man is truly repentant, if he shows true remorse, we are to embrace that man, love and forgive him, seventy seven times, as Jesus tells us in Matthew chapter 18, giving s the process of restoration. We are to restore him to the joys of Christian fellowship, when his repentance is real. However, by no means should we restore him to a place of authority, a place of spiritual teaching. We cannot just erase the consequences of his sin by some elaborate recommissioning service, or a simple prayer. We are to measure the man who seeks to minister to the body of Christ, by the biblical standard, as written in God's Word. But because sin has become so pervasive in our world, so pervasive in the church, because there is such widespread tolerance of sin, pastors and congregations have become comfortable in their sin. Even becoming sympathetic to the pastors sin. Almost to the point that the greatly one sins, the more effective he is in his ministry.
Beloved, this is a very disturbing trend in the modern church today. The far reaching implications of that kind of thinking are terribly, terribly frightening to me. For more than two centuries, we have fought 
the battle for doctrinal purity, there where much of the attention has been focused, and rightly so. However, we are losing the battle of moral purity. Because we have so lowered the standard, increased the tolerance of sin, what we now have is a church with the right theology, who are living an impure life. I believe that we a loving, caring, forgiving, merciful and kind people, without lowering the biblical standard that is expected of a follower of Jesus Christ. 
We cannot lower God's standards of purity. In fact, we are called to hold one another to a higher standard. All the battles for the integrity of Scripture, for doctrinal purity has uselessly fallen by the wayside, if the people of God have forsaken Christ's model of purity and holiness. We fight for a pure doctrine, a pure theology, in order than we would have a pure standard by which to live. That is the purpose, is that we might have a people, who are pure, who are holy, and live above reproach. Therefore, I believe that the church must have pure, holy leadership. Anything less is an abomination to God and is disastrous to the church. We must not, we cannot adapt a worldly standard for the people of God.

In fact, I will be so bold as to say, that a man who fails to uphold the biblical standard, who does not meet these divine requirements, as written in God's Word, should be banned from the entrance of and continuance of the pastorate. That is exactly what the Apostle Paul is saying to Titus, giving him the standard that a leader of the church must be. First, his personal morality, secondly his family leadership, thirdly, his character, fourthly, his teaching skill. Any man who is to be considered for the position of leadership must adhere to these standards. I'd like to draw your attention to his ability to teach, while no less important, is to be lastly considered.

So, in verse 6, Paul tells Titus, and us that, "namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion." Any man being considered must be "above reproach." That is non-negotiable. Paul had to leave then and go to other ministries, so he left Titus, because he was a man of like passion with Paul. In II Corinthians 8:23, Paul says of Titus, 
"he is my partner and fellow worker among you;" He left Titus behind because he was a skilled and capable leader, he was a peacemaker, with a proven ministry to the church at church. So that Titus "would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city."  "Set in order" is the Greek word "epidiortho." The words epi and dio, are prepositions, and the word "ortho" is the word from which we get the words orthodontics, orthopedics, orthodics, meaning to straighten out. This is intensified by the two prepositions, meaning to fully and completely straighten out what isn't right. In other words, Paul is saying "I want you to completely set things straight."
At some point, Paul must have begun some process, had apparently taken place, though we do not know, however, what that process was. It may have been the process of handling sin, possibly some issue with the theology. Or perhaps dealing with ungodly leaders in the church. We do know that a process had been started, because Paul writes in verse 5, "set in order what remains." In other words, Paul is saying "get the church together, get the church organized the way it ought to be!"
We know this must have been a very challenging task, because in verses 10 and 11, Paul says "For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain." So, we know that the church must have been around long enough for these false teachers to try to sell the gospel of circumcision, because in verse 14 he says "not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth." So clearly there was a lot going on in the church besides organization, they were also dealing with people. And, in chapter 3 verses 9 through 11, Paul says "But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned."
We know that the church must have been widespread, because in verse 5 "in every city." Shepherding the flock is a great responsibility, because it involves not only the teaching of God's Word, but also caring for the flock, binding up the wounds of the injured, nursing the sick back to health, and helping the young to grow in health and maturity.  To pray for the church, the physically ill, imparting not only the gospel, but also their own lives. Titus had a great deal to contend with here, very challenging, along with ordering and organizing the church around the truth.  
It is likely that because was not the founder of the church, as he would have indicated that earlier on, that was stepping into someone else's work. And clearly, this church lacked spiritual leadership. Now, this is to more than just a human leadership, as we read in Acts 20:28, "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." In other words, it is the Holy Spirit that appoints the pastors, so Titus was to get inline with the Holy Spirit in appointing elders, because the Holy Spirit has a plan.
He is the One who calls, He is the One that ordains, He is the One with the gifts and, He is the One who sets apart. The delegated apostles, Titus, were responsible for knowing the mind of the Holy Spirit and carrying that out in the church.
In Acts 14:20-23, Paul gives us the pattern, "But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. The next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe. After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed." The apostles did it knowing the mind of the Spirit of God, and by praying and fasting, as was indicated in Acts chapter 13. So, allow me to point out, that men do not enter the ministry on their own whim. They are called. That calling was affirmed by the apostle, then generally stamped affirmed by the congregation. We see that example given in Acts chapter 6
Paul tells Titus in verse 6, this man is to be above approach, it is the Greek word, "anegkltos," it literally means, "unchargeable, without fault, without accusation, without indictment." In other words, there can no offense that can be brought upon this person, that's the point. He has no stain of sin, no mark, no vice, nothing that can held against him to call the virtue of his godliness, his holiness, his righteousness into question. There is nothing to disqualify him from being an exemplary model of spiritual character. He is to be a man without accusation, there is nothing that can be laid hold of, and taken prisoner. Because the church does not just listen, they follow. The church is to follow the example of the spiritual leadership of the church.
Paul wrote in Philippians 3:17, "Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us." The point here is, find someone with spiritual leadership and follow them. That's spiritual leadership. That is spiritual leadership.

In Closing...
Obviously, there is a basic need for people to hear sound doctrine. However, we must also see that moral character of the people of God is also addressed and followed. The system is not foolproof, because we are all human and men can certainly be deceptive hypocrites. Although none of us are perfectly mature, we must make every effort to insure that only qualified men are put into office. There are always some who may not be living up to the qualifications, we can either help them change or urge them to step down from the ministry, if necessary. However, it is important to hold all those in spiritual leadership accountable for their actions. Thankfully, God has provided a process for us to follow in His Word. One of the most important things we can do for one another is to pray. Therefore, we must always be in prayer for the leaders as well as the congregation.
We are called to live sober, godly, upright lives that bring glory to the Lord.
May it be so...
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name

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The Brian Monzon Ministries



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