Guardians of Truth & Sons of Faith

Today’s selected reading is found in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy. More specifically today’s passage is found in the three chapters which make up this New Testament book. “Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; but hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour; To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Titus 1:1-4).

 

            “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: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accuse of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:5-16).

 

            “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise,  that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned: that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world: looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority, Let no man despise thee” (Titus 2:1-15).

 

            “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hop of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.  A man that is an heritick, after the first and second admonition reject; knowing that he is that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself” (Titus 3:1-11).

 

            “When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Niopolis; for I have determined there to winter. Bring Zeanas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them. And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful. All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the flesh. Grace be with you all. Amen” (Titus 3:12-15).

 

            “It was written to Titus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Cretians, from Nicopolis of Macedonia” (Titus 3:15).

 

            When you come to the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Titus you will find another spiritual son in the faith to the apostle Paul. The previous two epistles written by the apostle Paul and found in the New Testament were written to another spiritual son in the faith—Timothy—whom the apostle Paul encountered while coming unto Lystra and Derbe. It’s actually quite interesting to read the words which are found within the two epistles written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy as well as the epistle written unto Titus for what we find within them is the apostle Paul writing unto two men whom he perceived and treated as sons—and not merely sons but sons in the common faith. In all reality the more I read the words which are found in these three epistles the more I am brought face to face with the fact the apostle Paul writing unto these men is similar to the words we find in the Old Testament book of Proverbs. If you turn and direct your attention to the Old Testament book of Proverbs you will find Solomon writing unto his son(s) and providing instruction unto him according to the wisdom that was given unto him by the living God. It’s truly interesting to read the narrative of the LORD God appearing unto Solomon by dream during the night and giving him permission to ask of Him anything he wanted and to read of Solomon’s request. Solomon could have asked for the heads of his enemies, Solomon could have asked for long life, Solomon could have asked for riches and wealth, or Solomon could have asked for anything else. Instead of asking for such earthly, natural and temporal things Solomon chose to ask the living and eternal God for a wise and discerning heart.

 

            Before we delve into the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Titus and consider it in light of the epistles which were written unto Timothy we must needs consider the narrative of Solomon son of David king of Israel when the living God appeared unto him by night in a dream. What’s more is that there is also a great need to consider—at least in part—the first few chapters of the Old Testament book of Proverbs which was written unto his son. It would be one thing to think of the great wisdom the living God gave unto Solomon in terms of the nation and kingdom of Israel, however, it is something else to consider that wisdom in light of his own personal responsibility to his family and household. There are a number of men and women throughout the years who have thought about the wisdom the living God gave unto Solomon in terms of his role as king of Israel, however, there are very few who think about that wisdom in terms of how he ruled and governed his own household. Of course we know that Solomon had his struggles with his love for foreign women and that he was a man of unbridled lusts and desires having countless wives and concubines. With this being said, however, we must needs come to the Old Testament book of Proverbs and consider the wisdom which Solomon would bestow unto and upon his sons. One of the greatest truths we must needs understand concerning this Old Testament book is that the wisdom which the living God had given unto Solomon was not wasted on his sons and his household. We must needs recognize and understand that the wisdom the living God gave unto Solomon was bestowed upon his son through this Old Testament book.

 

            I am sitting here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Proverbs and I am brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that the living God of eternity appeared unto Solomon and gave him the ability to ask of Him anything he desired and instead of asking for long life, instead of asking for riches and wealth, instead of asking for the heads of his enemies he asked for a wise and discerning heart. It was because Solomon chose to ask for a wise and discerning heart rather than all of these other things that the living God not only gave Solomon a wise and discerning heart but also gave him those things which he didn’t ask for. This is something we must needs consider when reading the Old Testament book of Proverbs for while the queen of Sheba came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon and while the kings of the earth also came unto Solomon to hear the wisdom the living God had given him he would exercise that wisdom within his own household. We know that Solomon exercised wisdom in the matter of the two women who had come unto him disputing over an infant whom the one claimed was taken from her because the infant belonging to the other woman died in the night. The narrative and account goes that Solomon offered to take a sword and divide the baby between the two women only to find the baby’s actual mother cry out for the life of the infant to be spared and given to the other woman. Upon hearing this Solomon discerned that this was the infant’s true mother and ruled the baby be returned to her. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this particular truth for it calls and draws our attention to the wonderful wisdom the living and eternal God gave unto Solomon at his own request. The living and eternal God offered Solomon ask Him anything his heart desired and his sole desire and sole request was for a wise and discerning heart that he might rule and govern the people of God.

 

            It is having said all of this I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the Old Testament book of First Kings as well as the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Second Chronicles. The words which we find here in these passages of Scripture bring us face to face with the Lord appearing unto Solomon in a dream during the night granting him the ability to ask of Him anything his heart desired. Consider if you will the following words which are found in these passages of Scripture beginning with the Old Testament book of First Kings:

 

            “And Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt, and took Pharaoh’s daughter, and brought her into the city of David, until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the Lord, and the wall of Jerusalem round about. Only the people sacrificed in high places, because there was no house built unto the name of the Lord, until those days. And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places. And the king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there; for that was the great high place: a thousand burnt offerings did Solomon offer upon that altar” (1 Kings 3:1-4).

 

            “In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprighteness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing. And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life;; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment; behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days. And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days. And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants” (1 Kings 3:5-15).

 

 

            “In that night did God appear unto Solomon, and said unto him, Ask what I shall give thee. And Solomon said unto God, Thou hast shewed great mercy unto David my father, and hast made me to reign in his stead. Now, O LORD God, let thy promise unto David my father be established: for thou hast made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people: for who can just this thy people, that is so great” And God said to Solomon, Because this was in thine heart, and thou hast not asked riches, wealth, or honour, nor the life of thine enemies, neither yet hast asked long life; but hast asked wisdom and knowledge for thyself, that thou mayest judge my people, over whom I had made thee king: wisdom and knowledge is granted unto thee; and I will give thee riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before thee, neither shall there any after thee have the like” (2 Chronicles 1:7-12).

 

            Please don’t miss and lose sight on the significance of the words which are found in each of these passages of Scripture for what we find here within them is a powerful picture of the living God appearing unto Solomon and giving him the ability to ask of Him anything he desired. In all reality this is the only time in history when the living God has appeared unto a man and given him the ability to ask of Him anything his heart desired and promised to grant it unto him. We know the living God appeared unto Abraham and promised him that his descendants would be as the stars of heaven and as the sand upon the earth. We know that the Lord hearkened unto Moses and Abraham in such a tremendous and powerful way—particularly when Abraham entreated the LORD on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah and when Moses entreated the Lord time and time again on behalf of the children of Israel. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the significance surrounding Solomon for this is the only time in recorded history when the living God appeared to a man and offered him the ability to ask of him anything his heart desired and promised to grant and fulfill it. What we find when the living and eternal God appeared unto Solomon was his asking the LORD for a wise and discerning heart to understand judgment and to be able to rightly govern the people of God. This is something we must needs recognize and understand when considering the Old Testament book of Proverbs for the wisdom which the living God had given unto Solomon was not used solely on the nation and kingdom of Israel. The wisdom which the living and eternal God had given unto Solomon would indeed be passed on to his son that he might also walk in that wisdom.

 

            As surely as I sit here today thinking about and considering the tremendous wisdom, understanding, knowledge and discernment the living God gave unto Solomon I can’t help but think about the fact that wisdom in and of itself is of no use if we hoard it unto ourselves. I am absolutely and completely convinced that wisdom—particularly wisdom granted us by the living God—is entirely and altogether wasted if the sole purpose of it is to make ourselves wise, understanding and discerning. The living God did not grant Solomon the vast amount of wisdom He did for Solomon to claim the title of the wisest man who ever lived. The living and eternal God did not grant Solomon the vast wealth of wisdom He did that Solomon could arrogantly boast of such wisdom. The sole reason and purpose the living God granted Solomon the request for wisdom was because Solomon did not ask for it for himself. If you truly take the time to read the words which Solomon spoke unto the living God you will find that even when asking for wisdom he did not ask for it for his own benefit or for his own good. It would be very easy to think about and consider these words were asked by Solomon for his own benefit and for his own good, however, the truth of the matter is that Solomon didn’t ask for a wise and discerning heart for his own personal benefit and gain.

 

            I am absolutely convinced there is perhaps no better demonstration and manifestation of the purpose of the wisdom, knowledge and judgment Solomon asked for then in the Old Testament book of Proverbs. Perhaps one of the greatest truths surrounding this Old Testament book I cannot help but be absolutely gripped and captivated with is the fact that the wisdom the living God gave unto Solomon was exercised within his own household. The Old Testament book of Proverbs wonderfully and powerfully demonstrates the tremendous reality that the wisdom the living God gave unto Solomon would indeed be passed down unto the next generation. We know that the wisdom and knowledge the living God granted unto Solomon would indeed be used to rightly judge and govern the people of God, however, we must needs recognize that first and foremost this wisdom was needed within his own household. Tell me dear reader—what good is the wisdom the living God gave unto Solomon if he did not teach and pass that wisdom on to the next generation? What good would the wisdom the living God granted unto Solomon be if he did not take that wisdom and impart it unto the next generation that they too might walk in the wisdom of the living God? With this being said it’s important we recognize and understand that the wisdom Solomon exercised was not his own wisdom but rather it was wisdom granted and given unto him by the living God. It wasn’t earthly and natural wisdom of man which Solomon exercised but rather the wisdom, the knowledge and the understanding given him by the living God. Consider if you will the following words which are also found in the Old Testament books of First Kings and Second Chronicles concerning the wisdom which the living God gave unto Solomon king of Israel:

 

            “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahohl: and his fame was in all nations round about. And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts and fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which heard of his wisdom” (1 Kings 4:29-34).

 

            “And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions. And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart. And Solomon told her all her questions: there was not any thing hid from the king, which he told her not. And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon’s wisdom, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her. And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the LORD thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the LORD loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice. And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon. And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones. And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the LORD, and for the king’s house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day. And the king Solomon gave unto the queen of Sheba all her desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon gave her of his royal bounty. So she turned and went to her own country, she and her servants” (1 Kings 10:1-13).

 

            The words which we find in these passages of Scripture must needs be considered for they bring us face to face with the tremendous wisdom the LORD God granted unto Solomon. In each of these passages we know and understand that kings and rulers from the nations of the earth came unto Israel for to hear and witness the great wisdom which was granted unto Solomon. Within these passages of Scripture we find the living God gave unto Solomon great wisdom to speak of earthly and natural things such as cedar trees and the moss which grows in the wall, however, there is something we must not miss when considering these passages. If you read the words which are found in these passages of Scripture you will find that Solomon wrote about three thousand proverbs and more than one thousand songs. The Old Testament book of Proverbs is perhaps a portion of the proverbs which Solomon had written according to the wisdom which the living God had given him that night. Scripture isn’t clear whether the living God granted Solomon all this wisdom at once or if it was perhaps given unto him in increments and waves. We cannot discern nor tell from Scripture whether or not Solomon was granted this wisdom that very same night the LORD God had appeared unto him by a dream or if it was granted unto him the next morning. If there is one thing I can’t help but think about and consider it’s whether or not Solomon was aware of that moment when the living God who had appeared unto him had granted unto him the wisdom, knowledge and understanding he had asked for. I can’t help but wonder if Solomon was ever aware of that moment when the living God bestowed upon him and filled his heart and mind with His own wisdom in direct response to his prayer. What we do know and understand is that not only did the living God answer Solomon’s prayer for wisdom but that wisdom was also manifested in the midst of the nation and kingdom of Israel and attracted kings and rulers from the nations of the earth.

 

            It is at this juncture I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in the first couple chapters of the Old Testament book of Proverbs. That which you find here in these passages of Scripture not only demonstrate the tremendous wisdom the living God granted unto Solomon but also how Solomon took that wisdom and taught it unto the next generation. You cannot read the Old Testament book of Proverbs without encountering and coming face to face with the tremendous amount of instruction Solomon taught and passed down to his son that he too might walk in the ways of the Lord. In all reality—when we speak of the wisdom of God we must needs recognize that at the very core and center of it is the knowledge of the ways of God that we might walk in a manner that pleases Him. We dare not and must not think for a moment that the wisdom of the living God does not have at the very heart and center of it the ability to know the ways of the living God and to walk in a manner that pleases Him. In fact if you read the Old Testament book of Proverbs you will encounter the tremendous truth of the wisdom, the knowledge, the understanding and the discernment within the heart of Solomon being centered in the ability to know that which pleases the living God and walking in a manner that pleases Him. It is with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the Old Testament book of Proverbs beginning with the first verse of the first chapter:

 

            “The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; to know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; to give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: to understand a proverbs, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: we shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof. Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, how long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? And the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: Behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: for that they hated knowledge, and did not chose the fear of the LORD; They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil” (Proverbs 1:1-33).

 

            “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou sleekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: to deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things; who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness; who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the forwardness of the wicked; whose ways are crooked, and they froward in their paths: to deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the strange which flattereth with her words; which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life. That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous. For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it. But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it” (Proverbs 2:1-22).

 

            “My son, forget not my law: but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: Bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: So shalt thou find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: Fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days are in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens. By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew. My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: Keep sound wisdom and discretion: so shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: Yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken. Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee. Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee. Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm. Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways. For the froward is an abomination to the LORD; but his secret is with the righteous. The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just. Surely he scoreneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly. The wise shall inherit glory: but sham shall be the promotion of fools” (Proverbs 3:1-35).

 

            I sit here this morning writing these words and I am absolutely certain you might be wondering why I have chosen to spend such a considerable amount of time rehearsing the life of Solomon—and not only the life of Solomon but also the wisdom of Solomon. If you take the time to read the words which are found in the Old Testament book of Proverbs you will find that the living and eternal God had granted great wisdom, knowledge, discernment, understanding, justice and judgment unto the heart of this king of Israel. While it is indeed true that Solomon exercised this wisdom, understanding, judgment and discernment as he governed the people of Israel it is also true that he sought to teach the next generation the wisdom of the living God. What’s more is that at the very heart and center of the wisdom of the living God is knowing His ways that we might walk in a manner which pleases Him. If we think and perceive that the wisdom of the living God is for any other purpose than knowing Him, knowing His heart, knowing His ways and walking in a manner that pleases Him then we are entirely and altogether deceived. Those who think and perceive that the wisdom of God within their hearts and spirits is simply that it might make them wise are misguided and fall into the same trap and snare that Eve did in the garden. You will recall that when Eve looked upon the fruit she not only saw that it was good for food but also that it had the ability to make one wise. It wasn’t just the fact that the fruit was good for food but it was also that the fruit had the ability to make one wise—and not merely wise but like unto God Himself.

 

            The more I think about this the more I am brought face to face with the tremendous truth that if we pursue the wisdom of God simply and solely as means to make us wise we have entirely and altogether missed the point. The wisdom which God desires to impart unto us and bestow upon our hearts and spirits is not simply so we can be wise in our own eyes and even in our own conceits but rather that we might know and understand the heart and mind of the living God. What’s more is that I am convinced it is for this reason the apostle Paul instructed the saints which were at Rome to be transformed by the renewing of their minds and no longer be conformed to the pattern of this world that they might know and understand what is that good and acceptable will of the Lord. If you want to truly understand the purpose for the wisdom of the living God it is to know His will, His words and His ways. Those who would dare argue and contend that the wisdom of God is given and bestowed for any other reason other than understanding the words, the will and the ways of the living God are entirely misguided and deceived. Be very wary and cautious around those who preach the wisdom of God apart from knowing the will of the Father and the ways of the living God which are righteousness, truth and life. If the wisdom which you think you possess does not lead you along paths of righteousness and in a manner which pleases the living God then I would dare argue and contend the wisdom you are pursuing might very well be earthly, natural and carnal in its nature. If the wisdom you claim you possess is simply and solely for the purpose of making you wise in your own eyes and in your own conceits then I would argue and contend that you have a wisdom that is not after the kingdom of heaven but after the pattern of this world. Oh having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the first chapter of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian saints:

 

            “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:17-31).

 

            Please don’t miss the incredible importance of this for when we come to the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Titus we not only find the apostle Paul writing unto the first bishop of the Cretian congregation but we also find the apostle Paul writing unto one whom he perceived a spiritual son in the faith. The apostle Paul referred to himself as a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness in hope of eternal life, which God who cannot lie promised before the world began. The apostle Paul spoke of how in due times the living God manifested his word through preaching which was committed unto him according to the commandment of God our Saviour and wrote unto Titus who was his own son after the common faith. The sole purpose of this epistle was that the apostle Paul might teach, exhort, encourage and instruct Titus as a father would his son. If you want to truly understand the words which are found in this epistle you must needs recognize and understand that at the very heart and center of it is the tremendous intention of the apostle Paul to write and speak unto him as a father would his own son. The apostle Paul viewed Titus as a son according to the common faith that was in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and wrote unto him that he might instruct him in the wisdom of God, the ways of God, the word of God and the will of the living God. The apostle Paul desired to impart unto him the wisdom the Lord Jesus Christ had given unto him much like Solomon sought to instruct his son according to the wisdom the living and eternal God had given unto him.

            The apostle Paul begins and opens this epistle by speaking unto Titus of his leaving him in Crete that he should set in order those things which were wanting and to ordain elders in every city as he had appointed him. That which the apostle Paul goes on to write in this particular portion of the first chapter is the guidelines and manner of person those who desired to be elders and bishops among the saints of the living God. Titus was indeed the first bishop among the saints which were at Crete and we must needs recognize the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for what we find here are powerful words and language concerning the nature and manner of person those who desire to move and operate in the office of elder or bishop in the midst of the congregation and assembly. Within this epistle we find the apostle Paul writing unto Titus concerning bishops and elders and what they ought to be like in the midst of the house of the living God. If you begin reading with and from the fifth verse of the first chapter you will find the apostle Paul declaring unto Timothy the same words which he had written unto Timothy who was the bishop in Ephesus. It would be in the first epistle written unto Timothy the apostle Paul would also provide the guidelines concerning what manner of man one who desired to be a bishop in the house of God among the saints ought to be. Consider now the following words written by the apostle Paul—and not only consider them in light of what is necessary to move in the office of bishop but also concerning who and what manner of person you are before the LORD in His sight:

 

            “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: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always lairs, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are deviled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate” (Titus 1:5-160.

 

            If you read the words which are found in this epistle you will find that it is such that was written by the apostle Paul—as well as the two epistles written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy—as pastoral epistles. These epistles were not merely written unto these men concerning the manner of persons they were in the sight of God but also concerning the function of the house of God in the midst of the earth. You cannot read these epistles without encountering and coming face to face with the awesome and powerful truth concerning the order of the house of the living God and that which is required of those who would be servants in the midst of His house. In the New Testament gospels there were accounts of Jesus entering into the Temple of the living God and overthrowing the tables of money and driving out the money changers. While in the Temple he would emphatically declare that His Father’s house was to be a house of prayer and they had made it a den of thieves. When we read these epistles we must not necessarily think of them as Jesus entering into the church and overthrowing money tables and driving out the money changers but rather bringing order into the house of the living God. It was the apostle Peter who emphatically declared that judgment must first begin in the house of God—something which demonstrates and brings us face to face with the awesome and wonderful truth concerning the order that is required in the house of the living God.

 

            As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words which are found in this epistle. The words and language we find here present us with the wonderful and powerful truth concerning the church and house of God—namely, the tremendous need for sound doctrine, for sound teaching and for biblical principles. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand when reading the epistles written unto Timothy as well as the epistle written unto Titus it’s that in the house of God there must needs be sound doctrine and sound teaching. I am absolutely convinced there are countless churches present among us where there is anything but sound doctrine and sound teaching. What’s more is there are countless churches where the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ—the suffering of Christ, the death of Christ, the burial of Christ and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ—are not preached unto those who would gather together. What we find within these epistles is a powerful and clarion call given unto both Titus and Timothy that all manner of deceit, all manner of false doctrine, all manner of false gospel, and all manner of false teaching might be eradicated from within the house of God. Not only must there be with the witness and testimony of elders, deacons, bishops and the saints of God but at the very heart of the house of God must be prayer, worship and sound doctrine and teaching. The apostle Paul earnestly desired that Timothy and Titus be vessels and conduits of the truth of the Spirit and the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ that they might rightly divide the word of truth and preach the full gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Within this particular epistle is a powerful call to Christian living which does in fact have at the very heart and center of it sound doctrine and teaching. When we think of our witness and testimony in the earth we must needs recognize and understand that we are to be those who are sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity and patience. We must be sober minded and in all things showing ourselves a pattern of good works. Concerning doctrine we must show uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, and sound speech which cannot be condemned. What’s more is that in the world we are to recognize and understand that we have been called to serve those who have been given authority over us with reverence, with fear, with honor, with humility, and with meekness knowing that we do not serve men but the living God. What’s more is that the grace of God which has brought us salvation has appeared unto all men teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts we ought to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. Not only this but we have been called to look for that blessed hop and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people who are zealous for good works. Oh we must needs be those who anxiously and earnestly await and long for the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ who is going to come again for His Church—a glorious church without spot or wrinkle. There is a great need for us as the saints of God and disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ to be those who eagerly and earnestly look for the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ and that we be those who are not only ready and waiting but who are also watching and praying.

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