Stay In Crete Sunday, September 24, 2017
By James L. Thornton
1. You need Crete.
2. Crete needs you.
3. God needs you in Crete.
Titus 1:4. To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.
5. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee:
This is the beginning of a letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to Titus, a discouraged young preacher, encouraging him to stay on the job, don’t abandon the people of Crete.
We can imagine Titus communicating with Paul and saying, “Brother Paul, it’s a difficult situation here in Crete. Brother Paul, I appreciate you recommending me to Crete, but I didn’t know how bad it really was until I had been here awhile. Brother Paul, you said yourself these people are liars, vulgar, slow bellies (idle gluttons). (Titus 1:12)
Paul writes, “The witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they be sound in the faith.” (Titus 1:13)
“There are three reasons you need to stay in Crete,” Paul reminds him.
1. FIRST THING YOU NEED CRETE.
Crete will make an accomplished minister of you. If every day was a life of ease and contentment we would never grow in our Christian experience. Hardships and problems cause us to pray and seek God for answers, and stimulate our personal commitment to the cause of Christ.
These tough places are like medicine for the soul. When I was a small child my mother would give me a dose of castor oil if I had the stomach ache. If I woke up with the croup she would come with coal oil and sugar, which I seem to be able to still taste. These medicines were primitive but always seemed to help. If I fought against them she would say to me, “come on and take your medicine like a man.” That’s what Paul is telling Titus, “Take your medicine like a Man.”
To take a stand for God turns the world against us, but God needs someone to do this. There is enough meanness in our town that we need to take a stand against for Christianity, just like Paul was telling Titus in this letter.
Think of the Crete’s in our lives. We needed them, they helped us to mature. I get tired of people giving up every time the going gets rough. Think of the Apostle Paul in Ephesus being brought into the arena (Acts 19:29) for taking a stand against idolatry. Someone has said “the Church was built upon the blood of martyrs.” God give us “First Century” preachers with backbone and grit to tell the truth even when it hurts.
Everybody wants to see the Red Sea parted but nobody wants Pharaoh after them. Everyone wants to see the mouth of the lions closed but they don’t want to get in the den. Everyone says they want a Pentecostal revival but they don’t’ want to go to the “upper room” to tarry and pray.
2. CRETE NEEDS YOU.
Crete needs people who are on fire for God. Your Church needs people who are on fire for God. Your Church needs soul winners, people who will testify to this lost generation. Paul was a soul winner. When he met people he wanted to know whether they had received the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:1-2). When Paul left that city (Ephesus) there was a thriving Church there. (Acts 19:10, 20)
There are thousands of places with no soul winning Church. God needs people who will go to these cities and work and pray, like Paul told Titus to do, and establish a soul winning Church there. It will not be easy, but it wasn’t easy in Ephesus (Acts 19:23-41), in Philippi (Acts 16:19-40), in Corinth (Acts 18:6), in Galatia (Acts 13:18-26), nor any other place the Gospel has gone.
If there ever was a time that God needed ministers to preach His message to a lost world it is this day we are living in. If someone does not take up the mantle the truth of God’s word will not be heard and Satan will have his way more and more.
Don’t let Crete change you! You change Crete! Tell the aged men to “be sober, grave, sound in faith, and to be examples of Holiness. Tell the aged women to straighten up there lives, live clean and holy. Tell them to use their tongues right, to give up their social clubs, quit drinking their cocktails. And they are to be an example of Christian virtues to the younger generation.
Tell the young women to love their husbands, love their children. Urge them to be chaste, to be free from all taint of what is lewd or salacious. Tell them to be modest, innocent and pure in thought and act. Tell them to be keepers at home and not to be busybodies in other people’s matters.
Tell the young men to be sober minded (self-controlled), to be an example of good works, in doctrine showing incorruptness (soundness), be sincere, have sound speech, not vulgar, and to show some responsibilities.
The meaner they are the more they need you in Crete.
Tell the servants (slaves, workers), to do what they are told to do; doing everything they can to please their master or employer. Don’t be stealing or pilfering from their master or employers, but show themselves honest in all things that they may be a shinning light for Jesus Christ.
3. GOD NEEDS YOU IN CRETE.
Paul is letting Titus know that God needed a witness in Crete. He went on to tell Titus to stay in Crete and “Speak these things, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise (find fault) thee. To put everyone in mind to be subject to principalities and powers (laws of government), to obey magistrates (government officials), always doing what is right and proper.
Tell the people to not to speak evil of any man, but to show meekness and gentleness to all men. Titus is to tell people about the love of God toward ungodly men. Paul reminds Titus of our former life of disobedience and lustful living. Then Paul reminds him of the day Christ appeared to us and showed love and mercy to us when we did not deserve mercy (Titus 3:1-4).
Then Paul reminds Titus of his duty to affirm constantly the above things so that the people of Crete who believe in God would maintain (keep doing) good works. Paul says these things make for good preaching (Titus 3:8).
Paul also instructed Titus not to get involved in foolish questions and things that cannot be proved by scripture for those things only bring about arguments and strife and lead to people falling out with one another.
If Paul were living now I feel he would have the same advice to give to all the ministers who are discouraged to stay in Crete or whatever the name of the city, town, or community God has called you to minister to. Take heed to the advice Paul gives to Titus “and make full proof of your ministry.”
I hope you enjoyed this article on Staying In Crete and will read the other articles on the home page.
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By James L. Thornton