In my last post on Titus we explored the solution Titus offers to rebellion in the church as the appointment of Elders. The end of the post left us with with two questions: what should you expect leaders to be like? And what should we expect leaders to do? This post will tackle the first of these, what you should expect leaders to be like.
First of all what do you look for in a leader? We often look for skills – good preaching, a dynamic personality. But Paul is much more interested in the type of person they are.
We should expect someone who is blameless in their home. Look at verse 6: ‘An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.’ In other words, they must already be leading in their home. Why? Look at verse 7a: ‘an overseer manages God’s household’. The way a man leads his household will tell you how he will lead God’s household, the church. If he’s domineering in the home then he’ll be domineering in the church. If he fails to take responsibility in the home then he will fail to responsibility in the church.
Second, we should expect someone who is blameless in their character. Look at verse 7-8: ‘Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless – not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.’ Paul’s primary concern is with character. That’s because truth-failure starts with moral-failure. It’s because skills used for selfish ends become destructive.
Third, we should expect someone who is blameless in their doctrine. Look at verse 9: ‘He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.’ The elders must have the ability to encourage and refute. But even here the emphasis falls not so much on skills, but on holding fast to the truth. It’s not just ability, but a passion for the truth. (The content of that message we’ll see when we look at 3:3-8. Paul says in 1:9 they must hold ‘the trustworthy message’ and in 3:8 he says that 3:3-8 are ‘a trustworthy saying’.)
What should you leaders to be like? Blameless in their home, their character and their doctrine.
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