Category: Titus

Titus 3

I’m not so great at remembering.  My family gives me a hard time because I have forgotten about entire vacations or even places we lived growing up.  We all have things that we have a hard time remembering.  At times we also have a hard time remembering what our faith says about us and about other people.  In our passage today Paul tells Titus to help his people remember a few key things about their faith and how it plays out in their lives.

Remember to live in light of the Gospel.  Paul calls us to live a holy life that reflects the relationship that we have with God.  We are to live in such a way that honors other people, even when it is difficult.  We are to treat people with respect with our actions and our words.  Few of us would physically attack someone who was difficult to be around, but it is so easy to harm them with evil words or to slander them behind their back.

Remember who you once were.  It think that it is incredibly helpful for us as Christians to be reminded of who we were before Christ.  It not only helps us with our relationship with God, making us more gracious and thankful for his grace and mercy, but it also helps us as we relate to other people who have not experienced the transformation that God brings in our lives.  Understanding that we were once “foolish, disobedient, and slaves to our passions” helps us to have much more patience with those who have not yet met Christ.

Remember that our faith is expressed in actions.  As people who have been renewed by the Holy Spirit and justified by grace the expectation is that we would live in light of that renewal.  We are to embrace the work that God is doing in our lives and focus on being devoted to good works, not to gain righteousness, but to participate in the sanctification that the Spirit has begun in us.  As we devote ourselves to good works for God’s sake, he is glorified and made known to those who need to meet God.

Reflection
Are you participating in the work of the Holy Spirit in your life or are you working against it?  Have you devoted yourself to good works for God’s glory or to earn favor with others and God?  Does your life call people to Christ?  Ask God to show you areas in your life where he is at work.  Take time to remember who you were before Christ and allow those memories to grow your appreciation for the work that God has done in your life.

Titus

Titus 2

In an information rich world, it is easy to think that knowing things is an end in itself.  However, only when knowledge is applied and put to use does it make a difference.  We can know all about nutrition, but if we still insist on eating chocolate cake for every meal, we will not experience health.  We can know all about traveling to another country, but until we take the trip and turn that knowledge into an experience then all we have are daydreams.  We can know sound doctrine and be experts in the gospel, but until we seek to live out the implications, we are basically just religious study majors, not true disciples.

In our passage today Paul reminds Titus that there is a responsibility that comes with knowing sound doctrine.  After the knowledge comes the lifestyle informed by the information.  The gospel has implications for all of us at every age and social position.  Titus 2:1-10 explain the way that we would live when we have encountered the truths of the gospel.  These truths when expressed in our lifestyles produce godliness and good fruit.  They lead to peaceful living with God and peaceful living with one another.  The gospel is meant to transform the way that we live our lives, not just the way that we think about God and ourselves.

In Titus 2:11-15 we see why we do these things.  It is because of God’s work in the world and in us.  We live godly lives because we have experienced the grace of God and his salvation.  We do these things because that grace is transforming even our most evil characteristics and tendencies.  We do these things because we have a hope and a future through Christ that motivates us to think beyond our experiences on this earth.  We do these things because we have experienced redemption and have been given a new life and a new purpose.

Reflection
It is a real challenge for us today to be focused on applying what we learn about our faith.  It is much easier to learn about God rather than live for God.  It is also easier to think that having knowledge about God is sufficient when it comes to being a disciple.  Fortunately, we are called to a much more exciting and fruitful life.  Take some time to think about how your faith is put into action.  Does your lifestyle match up with what Paul describes in the first part of the passage?  What is the fruit that your life is producing?  Have you become satisfied with knowledge of the Bible and the gospel or are you seeking a lifestyle that reflects what you believe?  Ask God to help you grow into a disciple who lives according to the doctrine that you profess.

Titus

Titus 1:5-16

In our passage today we are told what qualifications someone must meet to become an elder or overseer of the church.  Paul is instructing Titus to be selective when it comes to who might lead the churches in Crete.  The list of qualifications is fairly detailed and specific regarding the required lifestyle of the elder.  From family to economic honesty, we see from this list how important it is for a leader to be able to lead from example.

As we look at this list, even those who do not plan on becoming elders or overseers can glean a picture of what it looks like to have the lifestyle of a true disciple.  As we pursue godliness, we see that these are the traits that our lives should also reflect.

However, it is not just the lifestyle of an elder that qualifies him to become an elder.  Paul also pays strict attention to the candidate’s ability to teach sound doctrine.  This was particularly true in Paul and Titus’s day as nearly everyone was a new believer or at least a first or second generation believer.  Teaching played a key role in the church just as it does today.  While doctrine and Biblical soundness often give way to more “interesting” teachings, they still remain the foundation of the elder’s responsibility according to Paul.

Again, we see that we as disciples must also embrace the responsibility of knowing and teaching the gospel.  We must be competent in our doctrine so that we might train our children up in this knowledge.  We must be competent in our doctrine so that we can have discernment when it comes to things that challenge our faith or our beliefs.  As Paul notes later in our selection, there are many people who would twist and distort the gospel of grace by adding to it or taking away.  If we are to be able to recognize distortions to our beliefs, we must have an understanding of them to begin with.

Reflection
Many passages in the Bible can serve as measuring sticks for how we are doing in terms of our discipleship.  As you read the qualifications for an elder, consider how your faith is developing along these lines.  Could these things be said about your faith.  You may not have achieved these things, but are you allowing God to make these things true for you?  Ask yourself if you have the lifestyle that Paul describes.  Take stock of your knowledge of the gospel and of the Bible.  Ask God to continue to do a work in your life that makes these things true of your walk with Him.

Titus

Titus 1:1-4

This week we turn to the book of Titus.  The book was written by Paul to a man named Titus who served alongside Paul and worked in the regions of Corinth, Crete, and Dalmatia.  The issues addressed by Paul in this book concern Titus’s work in Crete.  Paul gives instruction to Titus as he plants the seeds of true faith in the churches in Crete.

What do you find your identity in? Do you find your identity in your job?  Is it found in your social status or your address?  Do you find your identity in your skills or your talents?  In the greeting that Paul uses to begin the letter to Titus we see that he finds his identity in his faith and in his calling to serve his God.

While our inclination is to find our identity in our possessions or our circumstances, our identity as Christians should be found in our relationship with God that was made possible through Jesus.  We see this clearly in Paul’s greeting which is much more than a greeting.  In this greeting Paul lays out a concise depiction of the Gospel and how he sees himself as one chosen by God to spread this good news.

Paul is a servant of God and an apostle of Christ.  The purpose of his calling is to spread the knowledge of truth to those who come to faith in Christ.  This knowledge is the truth of the Gospel and the call for godliness that accompanies this truth.  Paul seeks to lead people to faith through sharing the good news.  As people come to faith, Paul then helps them come to a fuller knowledge of the gospel and its theological depth and practical applications which will then lead to godliness.  An effect of this life lived to godliness is that the elect live in a hope that God promised from eternity–the promise of an eternal life with Him.

Paul tells Titus that this is the message that has been entrusted to him to share by the command of Christ.  Perhaps it would be helpful to let you know that this is also the message that has been entrusted to you to share–by the command of Christ.  We too are messengers of this amazing news.  Why do we not always see it that way?  Why don’t we see ourselves as people whose identity is found in being messengers of this good news?  Perhaps we don’t share it because we don’t feel like we have the proper amount of knowledge of truth that Paul refers to.  Then let’s commit to learning about the most important thing in the world.  Perhaps we don’t see ourselves as a people who are called to share because we see it as the work of professionals who are paid to minister and evangelize.  Then perhaps we need to see things differently.

We are disciples and disciple-makers.  We are the evangelized and the evangelists.  It just makes sense this way.  We experience the gospel and then we become a part of it as we live it out and share it with a world who needs this good news.  May we find our identity in being a people who has been sent to be the messengers of hope to a hopeless world.

Reflection and Action
Take inventory for a few minutes of your desire to share the gospel with the world.  Do you truly feel like you need to grow in your knowledge of God and his truth?  Commit to taking steps to learn, but know that sharing your story of faith is a powerful way to share the gospel, even if you have not figured out all of the ins and outs.  Maybe you simply have not felt the urgency or perhaps you have not seen yourself as a messenger.  Take time to ask God to put people in your life even today that you can share the good news with.  We live in a hurting world, and God is calling you to be His messenger.

Titus