Paul is beginning to wrap up his letter to young Titus in this passage, but is still writing very theologically-packed and important statements. In verse 8, Paul asks Titus to “insist on these things.” What are these things? The gospel. Paul is asking Titus to insist on teaching his church the message of the gospel and all that it entails. Titus should be explicit in his preaching of the gospel, letting sound doctrine be his guide. Paul reminds Titus that the gospel is trustworthy, and worth being preached every day.
If Titus is faithful to preach the gospel to his church, those who believe the gospel will be faithful to be devoted to good works, which give glory to God. The gospel evokes in Christians a desire to honor God with all we have, and when pastors faithfully preach the gospel week in and week out, their congregations will be devoted to good works. The gospel produces good works within the believer. As Paul says, “These things are excellent and profitable for people.”
Paul then changes his tone a bit. He warns Titus to stay away from false teaching. Some examples of false teaching are listed in verse 9: controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law. As opposed to the gospel and its implications, which are excellent and profitable for people, these false teachings are called by Paul to be “unprofitable and worthless.” False teaching is a cancer to the church. It destroys the good that may have been done by the power of the gospel. Nothing can bring a church done more quickly than unbiblical doctrine. Pastors and church members alike must always stay aware of the deceitfulness of false teachers and their messages. We must always guard the good deposit that has been made in us by God.
Verses 10 and 11 of our passage have to do with the final steps of church discipline. Church discipline is explained in greater detail in 1 Corinthians 5 and Matthew 18:15-20. Just like false teaching, a person who stirs up division in a church is a cancer to the church maturing spiritually. The church must be active in protecting itself against these things. Though the gospel and sound doctrine may be proclaimed boldly from the pulpit and other teaching ministries of the church weekly, people will still attempt to stir up division. This is where church discipline must be exercised. Church discipline is not a popular idea in the modern world, but we must accept that it is a command from God, and it should be carried out in our churches, both to protect the flock and give those who are being disciplined a chance to repent. Paul is clear about protecting the church by ridding it of those who seek to cause division for division’s sake. These people do not believe the gospel and are attempting to destroy the bride of Christ. They are “warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” (A great resource for church discipline can be purchased here).
As Paul closes the body of his letter to Titus, he exhorts him to preach only the gospel. We would do well to remember this. Always preach the gospel. Be a gospel-centered church. Let your good works flow from your belief in Christ as Savior. Avoid false teachings. Pray that God would keep you from the deceitful false doctrines that are out there. Keep yourself centered on the Word of God and find a church that preaches the Word and presents the biblical gospel.
Soli Deo Gloria.