In the previous article, we learned that practical discipleship involved a calling, valuing teamwork, and giving practical advice for the ministry. You can read that article here.
This lesson is actually a continuation of what we learned in the last lesson. What is the practical advice that Paul gives to his disciple, Titus? This advice is revealed in the commands that Paul gives to Titus.
I. Confrontation is a must
In chapter one of Titus, we discovered that there are troublemakers in every church all over the world. The question is, “how do you handle them”? Paul gives Titus the answer. Before we delve into Paul’s answer, I would like to address our natural response. Our natural reaction to confrontation is to avoid it. We ignore it and try to avoid those who are the troublemakers. The problem with this method is that, most of these troublemakers are vocal. In Titus’ case, they were teachers in the church. Paul’s advice to Titus, and to all leaders, is to confront them. Now, the other extreme usually comes in here. Most do not want to confront. Others, when they confront, they do not do it for reconciliation, for the good of the troublemaker. They do it to destroy the troublemaker. Paul urges Titus to confront the troublemakers with the purpose of helping them grow in their faith. They are not growing because of their attitude and actions. They need someone to take the Word of God and show them where they are wrong, with the purpose of helping them get right and grow as they now walk the right path. If you are going to make disciples, you are going to have to confront with the Word of God, in humility, for the good of the troublemaker. Are you willing to do this? How do you handle conflict and confrontation? Do you avoid them? When you do confront, why do you do it? Do you do it for reconciliation or to destroy the troublemaker.
II. Teach God’s Word
Paul’s next piece of advice for Titus is to share God’s Word in every way possible. Teach the Word. Preach the Word. Exhort with the Word. Lead according to the wisdom of the Word of God. Encourage people with the Word. As you work with all people, older men, older women, young men, bondslaves etc., teach them the Word of God. As you teach the Word of God, the Word will reprove people. To reprove means to show people where they are wrong. Some of the hearers may get angry. Do not let that bother you. It is the Word at work on mankind’s sin nature. The one thing that you must not do is let people disregard you. God has given you authority and you are to lead His people according to that authority. If you do not lead according to the authority that God has entrusted you with, then you are the one who needs to be corrected. There are many leaders today who do not understand this principle. Leading and acting in the authority that God has given to you will expose the troublemakers because they despise authority and do not want to submit because they do not want to submit to God. As a leader, is your main focus on teaching those who follow you, the Word of God? Do you lead in the authority that God has given to you?
III. Avoid certain things
Now, as a leader who is called to make disciples, you have an enemy, Satan, who does not want you to teach others the Word of God. He is sly and has been doing what he does for a long time. He knows that part of teaching the Word involves confronting the troublemakers. The Word can change troublemakers but It also pricks their sin nature. Instead of giving in to reproof and correction and submitting to the Word, many times, troublemakers will try to justify their actions and argue with the leader over controversial subjects in the Bible. If you chase that rabbit then you will become like the troublemakers and they will defeat you with their experience. Also, you will begin to emphasize the wrong things. Instead of teaching the Word to those who want to learn and submit, you will neglect them and not fulfill your calling of making disciples because you will be too busy arguing with troublemakers over things that do not really matter. Rebuke a factious man once. Confront him a second time. If he still will not listen by submitting to the Word of God, reject him. The word reject means to set aside, or in other words, do not focus on him. Instead, focus on the ones who are willing to listen. That is where you will see results. This does not mean that you ignore the factious man because if he is causing trouble, he must be confronted with the Word. Just don’t chase his rabbit trails because they are never ending and they lead to no where. Do you like to spend time trying to prove argumentative people that they are wrong? What have you accomplished in the way of making disciples by doing this?
So my dear friend, are you living out practical discipleship as a leader? Are you confronting the troublemakers with the Word? Are you teaching the Word to all who will listen? Are you raising up new leaders to carry on the ministry? Do you avoid endless arguments so that you can focus on accomplishing your calling of making disciples?
May the Lord help us all live out practical discipleship in our daily lives, if we call ourselves Christians!