Today’s selected reading is found in the New Testament epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Titus who was a son of the apostle Paul after the common faith. More specifically today’s passage is found in chapters one through three of 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 thigns that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed the: 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 self willed, 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 convinced 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 Cetrians 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 disobey, 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 lover 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 in corrupt ness, gravity, sin fiery, 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” (Titus 2:1-10).
“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 2:11-15).
“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 hope of eternal life. This is faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be carful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and striving about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself” (Titus 3:1-11).
“When I shall send Artemis unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis; for I have determined there to winter. Bring Zena’s 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 faith. Grace be with you all. Amen” (Titus 3:12-15).
When you come to the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto Titus you will find a third epistle which is and has been referred to as one of the pastoral epistles. What is meant by pastoral epistles is not only an epistle meant to instruct one who was a leader in one of the churches during those times but also instructions on how the members of the body of Christ ought to live in community and fellowship with each other. I am absolutely convinced the epistles written by the apostle Paul unto Timothy and Titus should be required reading and given to studying by anyone who would seek to be a leader within a local church. There is a great need to recognize the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for the apostle Paul not only provides instruction to Timothy and Titus concerning themselves but he also provides instruction concerning deacons and bishops within the church. We must needs recognize and understand how absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the instruction given to those who would pursue a position of leadership within a church and what is required of them. Perhaps one of the greatest truths that is found within these epistles is the tremendous instruction given to those who would seek to be a leader in the church and how—in the words of Jesus—“to whom much is given much is required.” I am absolutely convinced there is a great need for us within the body of Christ to be those who truly understand what is required of us—regardless of whether or not we are a member of the body of Christ and hold no title or position or whether we are in fact a leader within the church.
The more I read the words which are found in this epistle the more I am brought face to face with the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding the instruction given to Timothy and Titus—not only concerning and for themselves, not only but bishops and deacons within the church but even for the members of the individual church itself. We cannot and must not miss and ignore this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that it is not enough to simply be a member of the body of Christ. With being a member of the body of Christ comes a tremendous responsibility to know and understand how we ought to live as members within that body. Regardless of whether we are a member of the larger corporate worldwide body of Christ or a member of the body of Christ within an individual church we are and have been called to be those who truly understand how to live in community and fellowship with each other. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is within our own hearts and lives. I firmly believe there are countless men and women who might have prayed “the sinner’s prayer” to “accept Jesus in their heart” and have even joined a local church where they attend on a weekly basis and yet they have absolutely no clue how they ought to live in fellowship and community with the other members of the body. I am absolutely convinced that we as the members of the body of Christ need to be taught, trained and discipled on how they ought to live within the body of Christ.
I am sitting here today thinking about the words which are found in these passages of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the absolutely astonishing reality that there are countless men and women who attend church week in and week out and yet they don’t know how to truly live in community and fellowship with the members of the body of Christ. Please note and understand that I am not even speaking about what we see and witness in the New Testament book of Acts and how the early church operated and functioned. With this being said I find it absolutely necessary to emphatically declare to you who are reading these words that we are preparing to enter into dark and dangerous times. There must be absolutely no mistaking this particular truth for it brings us face to face with the incredible understanding that we as the saints of God and we as the members of the body of Christ must truly learn how to recognize and understand that which is desperately needed in the coming days. What’s more is I feel within my spirit the way we have been doing church over the past several decades and even the past few centuries is not the same way we need and ought to do it in the coming days. I believe with all my heart that if the church is going to truly stand in the coming days and if the church is truly going to move and operate in the power and authority ordained and appointed for it it is going to need to get back to the basics and truly study the way the church moved and operated in the New Testament book of Acts. What’s more is I believe that the church right now needs to make themselves ready and prepare themselves for the days which are ahead for us in the midst of the earth. Much like Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream and used the seven years of plenty to store up and prepare for the seven years of famine so also must we as the people of God prepare and make ourselves ready for the coming days which are before us.
Having written these words I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the following words which are found in the Old Testament book of Genesis. I firmly believe that in order for us to recognize how we ought to live in the coming days we need to understand that which Joseph ordained and appointed for the land and people of Egypt during the seven years of plenty they were about to enter into. Joseph knew there was coming seven years of plenty and that those years must not be squandered for how those seven years were handled and managed would determine what would happen during the seven years of famine. Perhaps one of the greatest thoughts that went through my head is whether or not just as Joseph, just as the people of Egypt and just as the people of God who had come down to the land of Egypt—Jacob and his entire household of seventy people in all—went through the seven years of famine so might the people of God in the last days be ordained and appointed to go through the seven years of the great tribulation. There has been a lot of speculation as to whether or not the church will be caught up together with the Lord Jesus Christ prior to the great tribulation and will somehow escape the coming tribulation. I have to admit the more I read and study the scripture the more I am brought face to face with the incredible truth that we as the people of God can hope to be caught up together with the Lord prior to the great tribulation but must prepare as though we will indeed go through it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with believing the body of Christ will be caught up together with the Lord in the air prior to the great tribulation, however, what I would dare say we must needs recognize and acknowledge is that we need to live our lives as though we might in fact be ordained to walk through those seven years of tribulation. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the Old Testament book of Genesis concerning the dream which Pharaoh had as well as Joseph’s interpretation of the dream and the preparation for those seven years of famine:
“Then it came to pass, at the end of two full years, that Pharaoh had a dream; and behold, he stood by the river. Suddenly there came up out of the river seven cows, fine looking and fat; and they fed in the meadow. Then behold, Sven other cows came up after them out of the river, ugly and gaunt, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the river. And the ugly and gaunt cows ate up the seven fine looking and fat cows. So Pharaoh awoke. He slept and dreamed a second time; and suddenly seven heads of grain came up on one stalk, plump and good. Then behold, seven thin heads, blighted by the east wind, sprang up after them. And the seven thin heads devoured the seven plump and full heads. So Pharaoh awoke, and indeed, it was a dream. Now it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. And Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them for Pharaoh” (Genesis 41:1-8).
“Then the chief butler spoke to Pharaoh, saying: I remember my faults this day. When Pharaoh was angry with his servants, and put me in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, both me and the chief baker, we each. Had a dream in one night, he and I. Each of us dreamed according to the interpretation of his own dream. Now there was a young Hebrew man with us there, a servant of the captain of the guard. And we told him, and he interpreted our dreams for us; to each man he interrupted according to his own dream. And it came to pass, just as he interpreted for us, so it happened. He restored me to my office, and he hanged him” (Genesis 41:9-13).
“Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it” (Genesis 41:14-15).
“So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace” (Genesis 41:16).
“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph: Behold, in my dream I stood on the bank of the river. Suddenly seven cows came up out of the river, fine looking and fat; and they fed in the meadow. Then behold, seven other cows came up after them, poor and very ugly and gaunt, such ugliness as I have never seen in all the land of Egypt. And the gaunt and ugly cows ate up the first even, the fat cows. When they had eaten them up, no one would have known that they had eaten them, for they were just as ugly as at the beginning. So I awoke. Also I saw in my dream, and suddenly seven heads, came up on one stalk, full and good. Then behold, seven heads, withered, thin and blighted by the east wind, sprang up after them. And the thin heads devoured the seven good heads. So I told this to the magicians, but there was no one who could explain it to me” (Genesis 41:17-24).
“Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, The dreams of Pharaoh are one; God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do: The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads are seven years; the dreams are one. And the seven thin and ugly cows which came up after them are seven years, and the seven empty heads blighted by the east wind are seven years of famine. This is the thing which I have spoken to Pharaoh. God has shown Pharaoh what He is about to do. Indeed seven years of great plenty will come throughout all the land of Egypt; but after them seven years of famine will arise, and all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt; and the famine will deplete the land. So the plenty will not be known in the land because of the famine following, for it will be very severe. And the dream was repeated to Pharaoh twice because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass” (Genesis 41:25-32).
“Now therefore, let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine” (Genesis 41:33-36).
“So the advice was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. And Pharaoh said to his servants, Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God? Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt. The Pharaoh took his silent ring off his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand; and he clothed him in garments of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. And he had him ride in the second chariot which he had; and thy cried out before him, Bow the knee! SO he set him over all the land of Egypt. Pharaoh also said to Joseph, I am Pharaoh, and without your consent no man may lift his hand or foot in all the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh called Joseph’s name Zaphnath-Paaneah. And he gave him as a wife Asenath, the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On. So Joseph’s ent out over all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 41:37-45).
“Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt. And Joseph went out from the presence of Pharaoh, and went throughout all the land of Egypt. Now in the seven plentiful years the ground brought forth abundantly. So he gathered up all the food of the seven years which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities; he laid up in every city the food of the fields which surrounded them. Joseph gathered very much grain, as the sand of the sea, until he stopped counting, for it was immeasurable” (Genesis 41:46-49).
“And to Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, whom Asenath the daughter of Poti-Pherah priest of On , bore to him. Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God has made me forget all my toil and all my father’s house. And the name of the second he called Ephraim: For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction” (Genesis 41:50-52).
“Then the seven years of plenty which were in the land of Egypt ended, and the seven years of famine began to come, as Joseph had said. The famine was in all lands, but in all the land of Egypt there was bread. So when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. Then Pharaoh said to all the Egyptians, Go to Joseph; whatever he says to you, do. The famine was over all the face of the earth, and Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold to the Egyptians. And the famine became severe in the land of Egypt. So all the countries came to Joseph in Egypt to by grain, because the famine was sever e in all lands” (Genesis 41:53-57).
It is quite clear and obvious when reading the words which are found in these passages of Scripture that God showed Pharaoh through two different dreams which were one and the same what He was about to do in the earth. With this being said we must also recognize that not only did God—through dream form—show Pharaoh what he was about to do in the earth but He also revealed unto Joseph what He was about to do as the interpretation of the dream. What’s more is not only did God reveal unto Joseph the meaning of the dreams and what He was about to do but He also put within him a wise and discerning heart to know what Pharaoh and Egypt ought to do during the days of plenty. This is something we must needs recognize and understand for it calls and draws our attention—not only to recognizing what was going to take place in the coming days but also what needed to be done during the seven years of plenty. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely wonderful truth surrounding those seven years of plenty which would be consumed by seven years of famine. What’s more is the seven years of famine would not only touch the land of Egypt but would cover the whole earth and would touch all lands and peoples. It was as a direct result of interpreting the dreams and advising Pharaoh on what ought to be done during the seven years of plenty that would cause Pharaoh to conclude that there was no one as wise and discerning as Joseph in all the land. It would be this conclusion that would cause Pharaoh to set Joseph over all the land of Egypt and to oversee the very program he himself had suggested to Pharaoh immediately after interpreting the dreams.
If there is one thing we must needs understand when reading the words found within these verses—and especially those in the proceeding chapter—it’s that Jacob and his entire household who were living in the land of Canaan would not escape the impact and effects of the famine. The famine which came during those seven years would not only directly impact Jacob and his household but it would cause them to come to the land of Egypt after hearing there was bread and grain in the land. The rest of the Old Testament book of Genesis not only describes Jacob sending certain of his sons down into the land of Egypt but also the fun which Joseph seemed to have with his brothers. Ultimately, however, Joseph would reveal himself to his brothers in the land of Egypt and would invite his father and his entire household of seventy down into the land of Egypt so he could personally care for and look after them. What’s more is that it was God himself who not only sent Joseph ahead of his brethren and father into the land of Egypt to be positioned as second in command to Pharaoh but also to sustain the people of God in the midst of the seven years of famine. Of course we know and understand that after the seven years of famine the people of God would not immediately return to the land of Egypt. You would think that after the seven years of famine were over Jacob, his sons, his daughter and their households would return to the land of Canaan, however, after the death of Joseph in the land of Egypt there would arise another Pharaoh who knew not Joseph. Not only this but it would be in the land of Egypt the children of Israel and the people of God would multiply and become a great in the earth. Moreover—even though they would be afflicted and would be subjected to slavery, bondage and oppression in the land of Egypt—the LORD would ultimately preserve them during a period of four hundred and thirty years and would ultimately deliver them out of the land of Egypt.
Consider now if you will the following words which are found in the Old Testament book of Genesis concerning the famine striking the land of Canaan, Jacob sending certain of his sons down to Egypt to obtain bread, and ultimately Joseph revealing unto his brothers and father that which was going to come upon the face of the whole earth and his willingness to personally care for them:
“When Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, Why do you look at one another? And he said, Indeed I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down to that place and buy for us there, that we may live and not die. So Joseph’s ten brothers went down to buy grain in Egypt. But Jacob did not send Joseph’s brother Benjamin with his brothers, for he said, Lest some calamity befall him. And the sons of Israel went to buy grain among those who journeyed, for the famine was in the land of Canaan. Now Joseph was governor over the land; and it was he who sold to all the people of the land. AN dJoseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth. Joseph saw his brothers and recognized them, but he acted as a stranger to them and spoke roughly to them. Then he said to them, Where do you come from? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food. So Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him. Then Joseph remembered the dreams which he had dreamed about them, and said to them, You are spies. You have come to see the nakedness of the land. And they said to him, No my lord, but your servants have come to buy food. We are all one man’s sons; we are honest men; your servants are not spies. But he said to them, No, but you have come to see the nakedness of the land. And they said, Your servants are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and in fact, the youngest is with our father today, and one is no more. But Joseph said to them, It is as I spoke you, saying, You are spies. In this manner you shall be tested: By the life of Pharaoh you shall not leave this place unless your youngest brother comes here. Send one of you, and let him bring your brother; and you shall be kept in prison, that your words may be tested to see whether there is any truth in you; or else, by the life of Pharaoh, surely you are spies! So he put them all together in prison three days. Then Joseph said to them the third day, Do this and live, for I fear God: IF you are honest men, let one of your brothers be confined to your prison house: but you, go and carry grain for the famine of your houses. And bring your youngest brother to me; so your words will be verified, and you shall not die. And they did so. Then they said to one another, We are truly guilty concerning our brother, for we saw the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with us, and we would not hear; therefore this distress has come upon us. And Reuben answered them, saying, Did I not speak to you, saying, Do not sin against the boy; and you would not listen? Therefore, behold, his blood is now required of us. But they did not know that Joseph understood them, for he spoke to them through an interpreted. And he turned himself away from them and wept. Then he returned to them again, and talked with them. And he took Simeon from them and bound him before their eyes” (Genesis 42:1-24).
These verses reveal Jacob sending ten of his sons down into the land of Egypt to buy grain not knowing that Joseph his son was still alive and was now the governor over the land of Egypt. Eventually the book of Genesis transitions to a place where Joseph could no longer withhold his identity from his brethren and would reveal himself unto them. It is when you come to the forty-fifth chapter of this Old Testament book of Genesis you will find Joseph revealing himself unto his brother—and not only revealing himself unto his brothers but also sending for his father and his household that they might come down and dwell in the land of Egypt that he might look after and care for them. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the Old Testament book of Genesis beginning with the first verse of the forty-fifth chapter:
“Then Joseph could not retrain himself himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, Make everyone go out from me. So no one stood with him while Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept aloud, and the Egyptians and the house of Pharaoh heard it. Then Joseph said to his brothers, I am Joseph; does my father still live? But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence. And Joseph said to his brothers, Please come near to me. So they came near. Then he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to persevere a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He had made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father, and say to him, Thus says your son Joseph; God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not tarry. You shall dwell in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near to me, and your children, and your children’s children, your flocks and your herds, and all that you have. There I will provide for you, lest you and your household, and all that you have, come to poverty; for there are still five years of famine. And behold, your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin’s see that it is my mouth that speaks to you. So you shall tell me father of all my glory in Egypt, and of all that you have seen; and you shall hurry and bring my father down here. Then he fell on his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept on his neck. Moreover he kissed all his brothers, and wept over them, and after that his brothers talked with him. Now the report of it was heard in Pharaoh’s house, saying, Joseph’s brothers have come. So it pleased Pharaoh and his servants well. And Pharaoh said to Joseph, Say to your brothers, Do this: Load your animals and depart; go to the land of Canaan. Bring your father and your households and come to me: I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you will eat of the fat of the land. Now you are commanded—do this: Take carts out of the land of Egypt for your little ones and your wives; bring your father and come. Also do not be concerned about your goods, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours. Then the sons of Israel did so; and Joseph gave them carts, according to the command of Pharaoh, and he gave them provisions for the journey. He gave to all of them, to each man, changes of garments; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of garments. And he sent to his father these things: ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread, and food for his father for the journey. So he sent his brothers away, and they departed; and he said to them, See that you do not become troubled along the way. Then they went up out of Egypt, and came to the land of Canaan to Jacob their father. And they told him, saying, Joseph is still alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob’s heart stood still, because he did not believe them. But when they told him all the words which Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the carts which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived. Then Israel said, It is enough, Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die” (Genesis 45:1-28).
When Joseph revealed himself to his brothers in the land of Egypt two of the seven years of famine had already transpired and passed upon the fact of the earth. In the presence of his brothers Joseph revealed that there was still five years of famine left for the earth and instructed them to bring their father and his whole household down into the land of Egypt that he might look after and care for them. Jacob, his eleven sons together with their wives and children had already endured two years of the famine not knowing there was still five years of famine left and now in the presence of Joseph they learned of what was coming in the days ahead. This is something we must needs recognize and understand when we think about the days which are ahead of us for we are brought face to face with days which can and will be filled with tremendous darkness, danger and deception. We are in a season of midterm elections in the United States of America and on the same day of the midterm elections there was a blood moon that appeared in the heavens. I have to admit that I do not believe or subscribe to it being a coincidence that a blood moon appeared in the heavens the same day this country would prepare to vote for crucial house, senate and governor races within and throughout this country. I am absolutely convinced the blood moon was a sign appearing in the heavens as a warning and word of caution for this nation—and not only for this nation but also the nations of the earth. I am convinced the soul of this nation is hanging by a thread and we must needs recognize and understand the days which are ahead of us. There are countless men and women within this nation who were hoping for a red wave and a majority of Republican candidates winning their respective races. The truth of the matter, however, is that while a number of Republicans did indeed and did in fact win their races there is still much to be concerned with in the coming days. With this being said I can’t help but wonder if this country is not destined to enter into days of ease, days of comfort, days of rest and days of peace. There is a part of me that can’t help but wonder if there are men and women who are hoping for one thing within this nation and the divine will, plan and purpose of the living God is entirely and altogether different.
With this beings said I firmly believe that we as the saints of God and we as the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ must needs prepare and make ourselves ready for the days which are ahead of us in this nation. There is a great need for us as the people of God to be wise and discerning and to be as the sons of Issachar were—those who understood and discerned the times and knew what Israel ought to do. I firmly believe there is a great need for us as the people of God to truly understand and recognize what needs to be done in the days which are ahead. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this and how absolutely incredible it truly is for it brings us face to face with the need we have to prepare and make ourselves ready for the days which are ahead for this nation. In all reality I do not believe the days ahead of us are going to get any easier and will instead become darker, more dangerous and more devastating and destructive. Having said this I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the fact that even with this being true I believe there will be a mighty move of God and of His Holy Spirit in the earth. I believe that with great persecution, with great affliction, with great suffering, with great trials and troubles there will indeed be a mighty move of the Holy Spirit in the land. I believe that days of persecution can and will indeed be met with the power, the presence and the person of the Holy Spirit and many men and women will experience the very same manifestation of the Holy Spirit that was seen on the Day of Pentecost. I am convinced that it is the person and presence of the Holy Spirit that can and will help men and women truly be able to stand in the midst of the coming days which are ahead—days of tremendous persecution, affliction and suffering.
As I write these words I find it absolutely imperative to declare unto you that we cannot and must not continue doing church as we have been doing it in the past. What we have been doing as it pertains to church and the body of Christ might have worked to some degree and measure in the days in which we have been living, however, I am convinced that if we want to truly stand and endure in the midst of the coming days we can’t keep limiting ourselves to Sunday morning services and even midweek services. We as the people of God must needs recognize and understand that if we want to truly stand in the midst of the coming days we need to return to the basics and return to the foundation upon which the church was established and built in the midst of the earth. I firmly believe that what we witness in the New Testament book of Acts must needs be revisited and reviewed by ministers, leaders and members of the body of Christ alike that we might truly recognize how we can, will and must stand and endure in the coming days. The early church was able to withstand persecution, suffering and affliction and I am convinced they were able to do it as a direct result of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit within their lives. What’s more is I am absolutely convinced the early church was able to stand and endure during those days because they truly understood how to live in community and fellowship with each other. The early church drew their strength from the person of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, however, they truly relied upon each other as the community of believers and followers of the living God in the midst of the earth. What we find in the second, fourth and fifth chapters of the New Testament book of Acts are incredibly powerful examples and accounts of what is so desperately needed among us within our churches during the coming days which are ahead of us. Consider now if you will the following words which are found in the second, fourth and fifth chapters of the New Testament book of Acts beginning with the first verse of the second chapter:
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4).
“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on my menservants and on my maidservants I will pout out my Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. I will show orders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:14-21).
“And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, Be saved from this perverse generation. Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:40-47).
“Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. And Joses, who was also surnamed Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:32-27).
“And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both. Men and women, so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on bed and couches, that at to east the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities of Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed” (Acts 5:12-16).
It is absolutely incredible when reading these words for they call and draw our attention to the tremendous reality of what is so desperately needed in the days in which were are living. I absolutely believe and am convinced that what we find within these passages of Scripture concerning the breaking of bread, gathering and meeting from house to house, living in community and fellowship, continuing in prayer, being and coming together are what is so absolutely needed in the coming days. That which we find in the account of the early church must needs be carefully considered in light of the days in which we are preparing to enter for the days which are ahead of us are going to be days of tremendous trials, tribulation and trouble. There is a great need for us as the people of God to recognize and understand that which we have indeed and have in fact been called to in the coming days. I do not believe the days before us are going to grow and become increasingly easier but rather will become progressively darker and more dangerous and even deceptive. I keep feeling within my spirit that we as the people of God must needs prepare ourselves and make ourselves ready for the coming days and must needs do it through prayer, through fellowship, through studying the Word of God and through truly understanding the heart and mind of the living God during these days.
The more I think about this the more I am reminded of the words which are found in the twenty-fourth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. Not only this but I would also add that I am reminded of the words which are found in the fifth, tenth and sixteenth chapters of the same New Testament book concerning how we as the disciples of Christ in these days must needs prepare and make ourselves ready for what lies ahead. I am truly convinced we are preparing to enter into the days of Noah and the days of Lot if we haven’t already begun to enter into them. I am becoming increasingly convinced that we as the disciples of Christ need to prepare ourselves emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually for the coming days. The apostle Paul admonished the saints which were at Philippi to be anxious for nothing but in prayer and supplication for everything making their requests known to God. When writing unto the saints which were at Thessalonica he would instruct them to pray without ceasing with thanksgiving in their hearts before the living God. I am convinced that we as the disciples of Christ must needs guard our mental, our spiritual, our physical and emotional health with all diligence. I believe that we as the saints of God must needs be those who are mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically healthy in the coming days and needs recognize that we are to possess an inward strength within our heart, within our soul, within our spirit and even in our flesh and physical person. We as the people of God must needs cast all our cares upon the Lord knowing that He cares for us. Oh there is a great need to recognize that we have indeed been called to stand and endure in the days before us and with that being said we must needs deliver ourselves form the bondage of anxiety, stress, worry, fear, doubt and the like. It is with this being said I would like to now draw your attention to the following words which are found in the New Testament gospel written by the apostle Matthew beginning with the fifth chapter:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5:10-12).
“You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants two borrow from you do not turn away. You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:38-48).
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for my sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of man comes. A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both souls nd body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? Are not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Therefore whoever confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter in law against her mother in law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:16-39).
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26).
“And Jesus answered and said to them: Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, saying, I am the Christ, and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. Then if anyone says to you, Loo, here is the Christ! Or, There! Do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, Look, He is in the desert! Do not go out; or Look, He is in the inner rooms! Do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the docking of the Son of man be. For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:4-31).
It is evident and obvious from these passages that Jesus did not promise days of peace, days of rest, days of comfort, days of security and the like. Jesus promised that we would be hated of all men for His name’s sake and even spoke of us being persecuted and quite possibly put to death. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for we must needs be ready and prepared for the days in which we are heading into and approaching. There is a great need for us to be men and women who are watching and praying as well as men and women who can and will stand and endure in the midst of the coming days. We are indeed and are in fact entering into tremendous days of tribulation, trials and testing and there is a great need for us to be such who can stand in the midst of it such as Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael—the three Hebrews in the land of Babylon—refused to bow down before the image of gold which the king had set up in the plain of Dura. Not only did they refuse to bow down before and worship the image made of gold but when they stood before the king himself they emphatically declared they would not bow down before the image of gold. Even if the living and eternal God did not deliver them from the fiery furnace they would not bow down before the golden image which the king had set up. What’s more is we must needs be men and women who like Daniel will not comply with the decree and edict of the king who issued a decree that anyone who prayed to anyone but him for a period of thirty days would be cast into the den of lions. Not only did Daniel not comply with the decree but he also opened his window toward Jerusalem and prayed three times a day unto the LORD his God. Oh we as the saints of God and we as the disciples of Christ must needs be men and women who truly recognize and acknowledge that we are entering into and preparing to enter into dark and dangerous days which are before us. Perhaps one of the greatest questions we must needs ask ourselves is whether or not we are indeed men and women who have the courage, the strength and the endurance to be able to stand in the coming days which are going to come upon us.
With all of this being said so far I am convinced we as the people of God need to recognize and understand how truly important the body of Christ is—and not only how important the body of Christ is but also how important our place within the body of Christ is. Perhaps one of the greatest realizations and revelations we can have in the coming days is where our place is within the spiritual body of Christ. I firmly believe that God has ordained a specific place for each and every saint of His that only they can occupy. I do not believe for one minute there is anyone else who can occupy the place within the spiritual body of Christ which you and I have been ordained and appointed to. It was the apostle Paul who emphatically wrote and declared that God has placed each member in the body as he will and it was the Holy Spirit who distributed gifts unto the members of the body. We as the saints of God and we as the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ must needs be men and women who recognize and understand that we have been called to be men and women who know and understand our place within the spiritual body of Christ. In the days in which we are head there is great refuge and great strength in not only occupying our place within the spiritual body of Christ but also joining ourselves to the other members of the body. I am absolutely convinced that we as the saints of God must needs be those who recognize that we have been called to connect with a minimum of two other brothers or sisters in Christ within the body of Christ. Each and every one of us has been called to be members of the body of Christ but with that being said we must needs connect ourselves to those members which have been ordained and appointed for us to connect with. Just like the ankle bone cannot connect to any other bone but the bone(s) in the feet and the bone(s) in the lower leg so also we are meant to connect with those members ordained and appointed for us. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the twelfth chapter of the epistle written unto the saints of Rome, the twelfth chapter of the first epistle written unto the Corinthian congregation as well as the fourth chapter of the epistle written unto the Ephesian saints:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God ah dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to your faith; or minister, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:1-8).
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. Therefore, if a your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:9-21).
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit. There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through t he Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as he wills” (1 Corinthians 12:1-11).
“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of you; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. NO, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our presentable have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: First apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I will show you a more excellent way” (1 Corinthians 12:12-31).
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling: one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men. (Now this, He ascended—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into I’m who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:1-16).
As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it necessary to return to the pastoral epistle of the apostle Paul written unto Titus. This epistle is one of three epistles that was written by the apostle Paul which provides pastoral instruction—both for the minister within the church, as well as those who would desire to be deacons and elders in the midst. What’s more is that within these epistles we also find instruction given by the apostle Paul concerning the spiritual body of Christ itself and the individual members. The apostle Paul provided very clear instruction for the individual members of the body and how we are to live with and among each other. In all reality I am absolutely convinced we have been called to be men and women who truly understand how to live in community and fellowship one with another. We as the members of the body of Christ must need to know and understand how to live our lives in direct relation and connection with others. This is something we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws our attention to how we do indeed live and interact with the other members of the spiritual body. When writing unto Titus who was ordained a minister in Crete the apostle Paul diligently sought to provide him with instruction for the members of the body of Christ and how they ought to live in direct relation to each other. This is something we must needs understand for if we are going to truly be the spiritual body of Christ in the last days we must know how to live among each other and how to walk in fellowship and community with each other in the days in which we are living. We must know what is required and expected of us as the saints of the most High God and as the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is with this being said I leave you with the following words which the apostle Paul wrote unto Titus in this pastoral epistle concerning the church with its members and leaders:
“But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience; the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things—that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober minded, in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine, showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things” (Titus 2:1-10).
“Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and striving about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned” (Titus 3:1-11).