In the 1800’s a new term surfaced through a prominent newspaper out of Philadelphia.
“The Jig Is Up!”
More than 2 millennia later this terminology lives on.
“The jig is up” by its very definition is intended to communicate that the truth of any circumstance or situation has surfaced despite an intentional effort to mislead others by pulling the wool over their eyes. It’s literally as to say, you’ve been found out! No more pretense. No more games. No more faking or facades. The jig is up!
This past Sunday I preached week 3 of our “Timeless Truth” series from Titus 1:10-16 and was blessed to address how, through our actions and the fruit of our lives and faith, we can absolutely determine a person’s commitment to Christ. I also had an obligation to address church splits and the byproduct(s) of a body of believers divided. Not only does a church split divide the body of Christ, it devastates entire communities!
Here is the passage from Sunday’s message:
10 For there are many rebellious people who engage in useless talk and deceive others. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation.11 They must be silenced, because they are turning whole families away from the truth by their false teaching. And they do it only for money. 12 Even one of their own men, a prophet from Crete, has said about them, “The people of Crete are all liars, cruel animals, and lazy gluttons.” 13 This is true. So reprimand them sternly to make them strong in the faith. 14 They must stop listening to Jewish myths and the commands of people who have turned away from the truth. 15 Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good. (Titus 1:10-16 | NLT)
In comparison to the 17 qualities and characteristics of an appointed elder in the church, God shows us 5 opposed character traits and behaviors of false teachers that are intentionally looking to divide the church and ruin the community of Christ through luring people away from the church and the truth of God.
Here are the 5 characteristics Paul calls out to Titus, that Titus is responsible to be aware of and on the lookout for:
#1 // False teachers are rebellious
Rebellious means to “come against authority, wanting to seize control, engaged in opposition, and a defiant spirit”. We must be careful to examine the motives and intentions of those wanting to assume responsibility within the church. It is our responsibility to examine their practices as opposed to recklessly adopting their words and weigh all things with Scripture. Those that truly love God will actively set aside their own agendas, making every effort to KEEP THE UNITY OF THE BODY!
#2 // False teachers engage in useless talk
Useless talk as is mentioned in Titus addressing the people of the churches in Crete affords us the opportunity to consider 2 things:
First: Religious people like to puff-up their own ego and self-righteousness – they like to hear themselves talk and attempt to prove their worth and merit by what they say. This talk is meaningless!
Proverbs 26:4 (NLT): “Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools,or you will become as foolish as they are.”
Titus 3:9 (NLT): “Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time.”
Second: This problem is also indicative of poor leadership; of people saying one thing with their mouth, but not following through, backing up their speech by their actions!
Proverbs 14:23 (NLT): “Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!”
2 Timothy 2:16 (NLT): “Avoid worthless, foolish talk that only leads to more godless behavior.”
Matthew 5:37 – “Let your ‘yes be yes’ and your ‘no be no!'”
In short, as Christians, our responsibility is to not get caught up in useless theological debates meant for causing division. Instead, we have an opportunity to look to create unity in the body with our words and the conversations that we’re a part of and that we facilitate. Beyond this, we also have an obligation to follow through on what we say – not making commitments with our mouths only to abandon our obligation(s) for another opportunity that we see as more beneficial to our lives.
#3 // False teachers deceive others
These are people that like to and do talk senselessly for personal gain and their own benefit. These people are drawing others away from the truth of God by their deliberate and selfish actions.
Though there are many problems with this outright sinful behavior, the greatest damage is done in the heart and lived out through the actions of these deceivers.
Consider what the Bible says:
Philippians 2:3 (NLT): Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
Romans 12:10 (NLT): Love each other with genuine affection,[a] and take delight in honoring each other.
#4 // False teachers are focused on religion
These are those who insist on religion over relationship (circumcision before salvation) and were known as the Judaizers. These Judaizers were Jews and the “religious elite” that taught how Gentiles had to obey all the Jewish laws (613 in total) before they could experience Christianity. The greatest problem that I see without stating the obvious of how absurd and ridiculous this superimposed religiosity is on people is that…IT IS NOT BIBLICAL!
Far too many body of believers and those hiding behind the banner of Christianity are doing more harm than good, leading people to believe that they have to have “everything together” before they can come to church or encounter Christ. What the heck does this even mean, to have “everything together”? It’s ridiculous and a complete manmade system of thinking so as to puff themselves up and create unnecessary barriers for the people that most need an encounter with Jesus to experience Him. STOP IT!!!
Another problem that I see with Judaizers is that this is an incredible example of religion OVER a right-relationship with Jesus; of people choosing to try and will their way to salvation rather than experiencing the GRACE of God in their lives.
Ephesians 2:8 (NLT): “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.”
HOW DOES GOD VIEW RELIGION?
James 1:27 (NLT): “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”
#5 // False teachers do what they do for their own personal gain
In other words, these are the people only concerned with their personal gain and greatest benefit to themselves, willing to sacrifice anything to get their desired outcome. And what does the Word of God say about these false teachers?
THESE PEOPLE MUST BE SILENCED!
“Silenced” = Σπιστομιζω | verb | epistomizo | ep-ee-stom-id-zo // “to muzzle, to be silenced, to stop the mouth”.
One of the many responsibilities of our pastors, elders and the leaders of our church is to ensure sound doctrine and to protect against false teachers. We have a responsibility as elders to protect the flock, guide the sheep, and defend against harm and predators!
In short, what Paul is encouraging to Titus with regards to the early church(es) on the Island of Crete is to identify, call out and inform these false teachers that The Jig Is Up!
No more pretense. Masks and games set aside. We’ve identified you for who you are based on your actions and how you live your life.
What’s more is that for us as Christians seeking to honor God in all things, we must move away from mere lip-service and into a active lifestyle!
1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 (NLT): “Finally, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You live this way already, and we encourage you to do so even more. 2 For you remember what we taught you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. 4 Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor— 5 not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways. 6 Never harm or cheat a fellow believer in this matter by violating his wife, for the Lord avenges all such sins, as we have solemnly warned you before. 7 God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. 8 Therefore, anyone who refuses to live by these rules is not disobeying human teaching but is rejecting God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. 9 But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. 10 Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more. 11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 12 Then people who are not believers will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.”
For more on this subject, be sure to click the video link above and follow along as I walk us through the entire passage from Titus 1:10-16.