The Indonesian government is about to employ crocodiles as prison guards. The country has strict laws against drug dealers and is having problems keeping those sentenced to death in prison. Apparently through bribery and blackmail of prison guards these drug convicts are able to escape. The problem is at the point where the government is seriously considering building a prison on an island and having crocodiles as guards. The Anti-Drug Chief Budi Waseso said crocodiles can’t be bribed, and, so he is making his proposal all while searching the country for as many of these crocodiles as he can get. Personally I think he’s on to something. A crocodile has 3700 pounds of bite force, compared to a humans 150 pounds, Chief Waseso is hoping to take a bite out of the flow of escapees.
How would you like to have a moat around EFC with some crocodiles in it? Well, we may not have a moat, but, the Bible teaches that pastors are to be crocodiles guarding the church. Like David protected his father’s flocks and herds from lions, bears and wolves, pastors are to guard the flock of Christ. Now, while the croc’s guarding prisons in Indonesia are to keep people in, pastors are to keep certain people “out”. And just like the escape of these drug criminals from prisons would endanger society, so too the infiltration of certain people into the Church endanger it. So, there needs to be vigilant and toothy crocodiles insulating both Indonesian prison, and local churches.
#1: The Description of these False Teachers (v10, 12)
Paul describes these false teachers in verse 10, “….” And then notice verse 12. Notice the contrast in character between the pastors who were appointed, as described in the previous verses, and the character of these false teachers who were to be dealt with. Pastors have outstanding character and false teachers are reprehensible.
He describes them as “many”. In 2006, a New York Times article was published where former director of National Intelligence John Negroponte said the U.S. had nearly 100,000 people as spies throughout the world “assigned to stealing secrets and analyzing information”. That’s a lot of people actively infiltrating foreign governments.
How many covert operatives do you think Satan has trying to infiltrate the Church? There are lots of them – not a few, but lots of them. After all, it was Jesus who said in Matthew 7, “wide is the road that leads to destruction and there are many on it.” First John 4:1 says, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” When speaking of false teachers in Second Peter 2:1 says, “But there were false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.” There is a reality of an imminent, continuous threat of false teachers attempting to infiltrate and subvert the mission of the Church. We are told continuously to “Be aware”, “be alert”, “be on guard”, “keep watch,” and so on. It is a normal part of church life to give attention to those false teachings and teachers. Paul dealth with Judaizers. Peter faced off with Charlatons. Jude warned libertines. John the Apostle battled the Gnostics. On and on, down through today it continues. The fact that there are many false teachers means we will be forced to engage them often. Contending for the faith, pointing out error, warning against false teachings will all be normal in a good church.
Then, secondly, Paul describes these men as “rebellious”. Rebellious here means unruly, unwilling to come under authority, out of control and ungovernable. This is the same Greek word used in verse 6 about children. They are grown men acting like wild children. It’s the picture of a wild horse that hasn’t been broken. They are all about breaking down, overthrowing, and undoing everything that God has ordained and established in His word. They sneer the sneering at authority: “You aren’t gonna tell me what to do” and “No one is the boss of me”.
These rebellious people on Crete refused to recognize the authority God has placed in the Church and instead they run around rebelling against sound teaching, telling everyone a bunch of religious nonsense. People like this get a sense of pride in being un-submissive, feeling like they’re in control, bucking authority, like they’ve got some special knowledge, new or re-discovered. Titus had the hard task of confronting these men, and asserting the authority Paul gave him over them. That’s why Paul says in chapter 2 verse 15, “Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.” Do not let anyone despise your authority Titus.
Rebellion is driven by pride and a prideful person God opposes. Rebellious people are ungodly people. Scripture emphasizes the dignified maturity of submission and orderliness in a believer’s life.
Thirdly Paul describes them as “mere talkers”. They’re windbags. Their speech has absolutely no value or benefit for anyone listening. All they do is push a lot of air around with their mouths. Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Clouds without rain, trees bearing no fruit. They do a lot of talking, but they don’t do any good. One thing you can be impressed with about false teachers: they are very active. They are zealous to promote their false teachings, and this requires the Church be zealous to refute them.
Fourthly Paul describes them as “deceivers”. These men are liars. Unlike the elders Titus was to appoint, men who were to hold to the truth (v9), these false teachers let it go and gave way to false teachings. When they are teaching they are not telling you what is true. Either intentionally – which would be malicious, or unintentionally – which would mean incompetent, they arrogantly talk about things as though they are experts even though they have no idea. Paul said this in 1 Timothy 1:7, “They want to be teachers of the Law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.” Their words lead people away from truth, not to it. Their words confuse and twist the truth, rather than clarify it. Their teachings are obstructions to the truth.
Notice Paul says, “especially of the circumcision group”, which is a reference to Jewish Christians. Quote Phillips, p249.
This specific problem of Judaizers made Titus the right man for the job. As a Gentile Titus was never convinced he needed to be circumcised to be acceptable to God (Gal. 2:2-3). Jews wanted to weigh believers down with all the commandments of Judaism, Illustration: Obama’s challenge to read the Obamatrade, 3 ½ feet thick.
Christians do not need to follow the Law in any part – the ceremonial or the moral. We don’t need the Law to be saved, or to be sanctified. People today tell us we need to follow the Law to grow in Christ, but, Paul rebuked that idea in Galatians 3:1-5. Here is the point: We don’t start out with faith and end with Law. When we come to Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit doesn’t then lead us to the Law. We are not under law, we are in Christ. The only law we must fulfill is the law to love (Romans 13:8-11). The only debt remaining for us is to love. All teachings in the NT expound on how to do that.
Paul’s description of these false teachers continues in verse 12, when he quotes Epimenides, who lived around 600 BC and was one of the 7 wise men of Greece. “….” Paul rounds that description off with his own affirmation of its accuracy. The reputation of how bad the Cretans is the stuff of legend. Leonidus said, “When was there ever an upright Cretan.” Like there is not one good Cretan, not one to give some redemption to all Cretans. Polybius, the famous Greek historian declared, “…you will hardly find anywhere characters more tricky and deceitful than those of Crete.” The lying and cheating of Cretans were so notorious that the Greeks invented a word “kretizine”, which meant to lie and cheat. Then there was a proverb that developed out of the depraved reputation of the Cretans, “to Cretize against a Cretan”. What did that mean? It meant to match lies with a Cretan. In other words you were trying to out-lie or out-cheat a Cretan. Good luck! They’re experts.
This is a bad way to be described as a person, especially as a supposed believer. This is a bad way for a supposed teacher of God’s Word to be described. James 3:1 says, “Let us not all aspire to become teachers, brothers, for we know that we who teach will be judged more severely.” Let us not give ourselves to such men so that we may be a good church before God.