How to get kicked out of church: Divisiveness

Near the end of his letter to Titus Paul says, Titus 3:10 Reject a divisive person after one or two warnings. 3:11 You know that such a person is twisted by sin and is conscious of it himself. I think this is an example of not applying Jesus' process as outlined in Matthew 18. Perhaps the very divisive person gets one warning, but lesser dividers get two. It probably depends on the scope of their influence. Nevertheless, everyone gets warned, at most twice. The issues of division in Crete, where Titus led, seemed to be over genealogies, quarrels about the law, and need of circumcision in the Christian's life. Paul wants to keep the Gospel the main thing. How does Paul boil down the good news for Titus? Titus 3
3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work. 3:2 They must not slander anyone, but be peaceable, gentle, showing complete courtesy to all people. 3:3 For we too were once foolish, disobedient, misled, enslaved to various passions and desires, spending our lives in evil and envy, hateful and hating one another. 3:4 But “when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, 3:5 he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, 3:6 whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior. 3:7 And so, since we have been justified by his grace, we become heirs with the confident expectation of eternal life.”
The good news is Jesus saved us from the consequences of our sins, hell, and to a life of good. Paul has little tolerance for those who want to destroy the fellowship within a church by quarreling over stupid stuff. We can't earn our salvation, so circumcision won't help. We aren't saved based on our heritage, so genealogies don't matter. As I've heard well said, God has no grandchildren. However, our behavior proves our words true or false. Earlier in the letter Paul writes, Titus 1:16 They profess to know God but with their deeds they deny him, since they are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for any good deed. When our deeds deny our Savior, we need to repent.

Is there ever an occasion to divide in the church? Yes. If the leader is leading people away from Jesus and the simplicity of the good news, then get away. If you are going to warn others, make sure you are right, because you deserve ejection otherwise.

Comments

Popular Posts