Appoint Elders in Every Town
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: Paul writes the letter to Titus, prompting him to complete the task of appointing elders for the benefit of the church. The letter is full of exhortations deriving from Paul’s status as a servant of God and apostle of Jesus Christ. These exhortations include areas of responsibility in the church, the home, and the world; they involve leaders and laypersons; younger and older persons; and private and public life matters. It is expected that Titus will receive these exhortations and pass them along to the elders, who will, in turn, embrace this way of life for themselves as they seek to encourage the church to follow the apostle’s original commands. Paul’s reminder for Titus to appoint elders in every town underscores the need for select men in every church to encourage biblical thinking and Christian living while modeling good authority and preserving church unity.
01. We have elders in the church because we are prone to think unbiblically.
02. We have elders in the church because we are prone to live unchristianly.
03. We have elders in the church because we need models of good authority.
04. We have elders in the church because we need voices for congregational unity.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. What is an apostle? What authority did an apostle possess that was not transferable to others? What does the combination of Paul’s reference to himself as a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ (verse 1) suggest about his understanding of authority? How would it help believers in positions of authority to think of themselves primarily as a servant of God rather than the singular voice of God?
2. Read and list the exhortations found in Titus. Does the list seem long? Does the list seem invasive? What does the amount and nature of these exhortations suggest about the Lordship of Jesus in our lives as believers? Put another way, is there any area of our lives that we can cordon off from Jesus? Are there any areas of your life mentioned in Titus that need further reflection or repentance?
3. According to Paul, believers are products of God’s grace through Jesus Christ. Since we are saved by grace, why is so much focus given to good works in Titus? What do our works suggest about the nature of our faith? In what ways do your good works demonstrate a faithful anticipation of the return of Christ?
4. Why did Paul instruct Titus to appoint elders? How would you respond to a believer who says, “I don’t need elders or pastors or anyone else telling me how to live for Jesus—I can do so without help from anyone”? How does such a comment reflect a poor understanding of church structure as evidenced in the New Testament?
5. Our society is increasingly anti-authority and often suspicious of authority. In what ways can elders model good authority? Why is Paul concerned with character first as it relates to those who would be appointed as elders? Pray for present and future elders at Northpoint who will model good authority.
For Further Reading: Jonathan Leeman, Authority: How Godly Rule Protects the Vulnerable, Strengthens Communities, and Promotes Human Flourishing (Crossway, 2023).