The Preview: “Simply put, there are some who should not teach. They are dangerous. They like to push buttons and see how far they can stretch the envelope of what people will tolerate. They are not bringing an understanding to the Scriptures, but creating doubt, suspicion, and harm.”
The Article: Titus 1:10-11 “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.”
Multiple times in the N.T. there are warnings about the rise of false teachers. Jesus first told of wolves in sheep clothing in His famous sermon on the mount. In Paul’s letter to Timothy there are warnings. In Peter’s letter there are warnings. And, here in our verse today, we find yet more warnings.
The Titus warning follows setting things in order, which meant appointing elders in the congregation. And the words of our verses today are directed towards those shepherds. There are mouths that must be silenced. Who would do that? The elders. Within the realm of protecting the flock and feeding the flock is making sure the sheep are being fed a proper diet. We understand that in our homes. If the kids had their way, breakfast would be M & Ms, lunch would be candy bars and dinner would be cake and coke. And it wouldn’t take very long until that diet would make them sick and you’d be spending half a day at the dentist’s office. Proper diet means saying “No,” to certain things. A proper spiritual diet means saying “No,” to certain things.
Notice some things from our passage:
First, those who are spreading the false teaching are not good people. They are not confused. It’s not that they meant well. Paul describes them as: rebellious; empty talkers; deceivers. Rebellious to the way of God. Rebellious to the apostolic way. Rebellious because their heart and spirit are not humble, thankful nor submissive to Jesus Christ.
There are some who just cannot admit that some religious teachings are wrong and some preachers are simply false. The kindness of some would somehow even excuse the devil. Paul’s not that way. The Holy Spirit is not that way.
Second, there seems to be two avenues of motives. First, it was to upset families. Get people thinking differently. Present alternatives. Challenge the Biblical way. Question the Bible. Create doubt. Toss out the years of learning from others.
The other avenue of motive seems to be personal profit. The passage ends with, “for the sake of sordid gain.” Sordid means dishonest. They are saying things to pad their pockets. Some preach just for the money. Their interests were not in helping people see Jesus. They were not concerned about building the kingdom. Rock the boat and make some money, seems to be what these wicked teachers were all about.
Third, there are some people who should not teach. The text states, “teaching things they should not teach.” One shouldn’t preach what he doesn’t know. Opinions, agendas, pet peeves should all stay at home and not be taught. Complaining, making fun of others, mocking God’s people are not matters that God smiles at.
Simply put, there are some who should not teach. They are dangerous. They like to push buttons and see how far they can stretch the envelope of what people will tolerate. They are not bringing an understanding to the Scriptures, but creating doubt, suspicion, and harm. Here in the passage it says that they were “upsetting whole families.” They were not making families stronger. They were not building faith. They were not making things better. Upsetting. Hurting. Trouble.
Fourth, the mouths of these teachers must be silenced, is what the apostle says. There was not period of wait and see if things get better. No. Stop the talk. Time for action. Mouths must be stopped. Now, how was this to be done? Paul is not inviting violence. He is not talking about someone physically escorting someone out of the church building. He is not saying that someone ought to punch these guys in the nose.
The way error is dealt with in the Bible is through the pure teaching of God’s word. Two things would take place. First, opportunities for these wicked teachers to teach would be closed. People would know about them. The doors of teaching would no longer be opened for them. Second, a positive and swift response would take place through the teaching of God’s word. By knowing and understanding what is right, these upset families would realize how crooked and wrong these others things were. They would recognize the danger they were in when they understood God’s perfect word.
Teaching the Gospel is God’s way of dealing with error. Truth has nothing to fear. Error will run. Error will hide. Truth stands the test of investigation. Error cannot answer the questions of truth. Error is inconsistent. Error changes.
We live in a time when a lot of things are said. Not all of it is true. Not all of it ought to be said. Hold up the Bible and measure everything by it.
by Roger Shouse