For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. Titus 1:10-11
Truth is radiant, uncomplicated, and unpolluted. When God’s Word begins to transform a congregation, it doesn’t take long for wolves to show up with attempts to disfigure what is holy. Paul predicted this kind of satanic activity back in the book of Acts. He said, “I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.” Acts 20:20
Paul named these disruptors, ‘rebellious people.’ The Greek language gives more specifics. They refused to submit to anyone’s authority. They disregarded restraint, were insubordinate, headstrong, and uncontrollable.
The first rebel, Satan, planned the first rebellion and he carried it out in the heavens. Though he was once a worshipper of God, his heart became corrupted. God speaks of him in Ezekiel 28. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So, I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade, you have desecrated your sanctuaries. No longer willing to be subject to God’s authority, Lucifer took his mutinous plan to the angelic hosts in heaven. His leadership gifting was impressive and effective as he persuaded one third of them to defect.
Akin to the first mutiny in heaven, rebellion is a force to be reckoned as it is fueled by the god of this age. False teachers are not always recognizable at first. They are articulate and their arguments are logical, even if twisted. Their true nature might not be fully revealed until there is a threat of exposure. This happens with a biblical confrontation. Their smooth veneer begins to splinter with the truth and their ability to cloak themselves in false light is diminished. Paul told the believers in Ephesus, “Do not participate in deeds of darkness. Instead, expose them.” Ephesians 4:11
Paul’s mandate to Titus was to pick strong elders who could contend for the faith. He did not advocate a quiet meeting behind closed doors with rebellious troublemakers, appealing to their good nature to change. He said they must be silenced. The elders Titus was searching for were to resemble Jesus ~ who knew when to extend mercy and when to initiate tough conversations with religious people.
It was hard for the people of Crete to recognize liars because this intersected their own native blind spot. I have not always been wise about spotting a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Show me why. Amen