A Man Above Reproach (Titus 1:7-8)
Titus was a man on a mission. Paul had left him in Crete to put in order what was left undone. He had to go to all the towns and appoint elders to lead the churches. Who should he pick? What are the qualifications for the job? There is no doubt that Paul told him before he left Crete, but this letter solidified the qualifications and would impress upon its readers the necessity of choosing qualified men for the job. Plus this letter would circulate to different churches and, therefore, so would the list of qualifications. Titus was not to create his own list of qualifications. He was not to pick based on personality or personal preference. He was to pick men according to a certain set of Holy Spirit-given qualities. Charles Spurgeon said, “The ministry has been very often degraded into a ‘trade’. They are ‘selected by man’, they are crammed with literature; they are educated up to a certain point; they are turned out ready dressed; and persons call them ‘ministers’. I wish them all God-speed, every one of them; for as good Joseph Irons used to say, “God be with many of them, if it be only to make them hold their tongues.” Man-made ministers are of no use in this world, and the sooner we get rid of them the better.” So, the task of leading the churches was to be given to only a specific set of men who met the list of qualifications laid down by the Spirit of God. Last time, we saw that some qualifications dealt with the way the man had ordered his family life. Was an elder candidate above reproach with one wife and obedient children? If so, then he has made it past round one. Round two delves into his personal life. What kind of man is he at his core? As Spurgeon also once said, “The work of ministry is no child’s play!” It requires someone whose character will be able to withstand the onslaught of the world, false teachers, his own flesh, wayward sheep, and the devil himself. With this in mind, let us look at what an elder or overseer must be.