The ESV (English Standard Version) uses the word “insubordinate” to describe the character of the false teachers. They appoint themselves as leaders, or sneak in when others are not watching as Paul explained to the Ephesian Elders. The first part of Titus dealt with having a good reputation in the community and being a good example for others to follow. In these verses about “dangerous dogs” he talks about those who set the wrong example. Everyone is an example! We are either an example for good or an example for bad in all the things we do. Respect of authority and submission to those appointed over us is a key principle taught frequently in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

The chain of authority for the Christian is the Living Word Jesus Christ as revealed to us in the written word. One of the great sins of the latter part of the twentieth century has been the sin of rejecting God’s authority. It is the breaking of the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me.” In commissioning His followers to make disciples Jesus began by explaining “all authority has been given to me.” To be truly Christian, one must respect Christ’s authority as God’s authority. Many today reject the Lordship of Christ and treat Him as just another good man, or just another prophet. He’s the incarnation of God into our world. All authority is His. He commissioned the Apostles and sent the Holy Spirit to lead them into all truth, which they passed on to us in the scriptures. When others ignore that chain of Command, they forfeit their right as spiritual leaders – thus justifying the reformation.

However, Paul urges us to follow him, just as he follows Christ, affirming the chain of Command in his ministry. To submit ourselves to Paul’s teachings is to submit ourselves to Christ’s teachings, which is to submit ourselves to God. Love and respect for godly leaders is given a high priority in the church. Paul teaches that we should esteem those who labor among us very highly in love (1 Thess. 5:13), and that the elders who rule well should be counted worthy of double honor (1 Tim. 5:17). He even instructs the Romans to be obedient to the governing rulers of the day. What a contrast is this teaching to that of the false teachers who would lead us astray! They reject the teachings of Paul and the other Apostles as recorded in scripture and therefore deny the Lordship of Christ.

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.” Hebrews 13:17