Feb 26, 2016

TITUS: He is our Faithful Pastor!

  • APPOINT 1:5
  • TEACH:   2:1
  • REMIND: 3:1
·         Titus was no stranger to conflict. He was a long-term companion of Paul who was a valuable aid in two of Paul's greatest crises.
·         Titus first appears in the New Testament in Galatians 2:1, where Paul says he took Titus along on his trip to Jerusalem with Barnabas.
·         Titus was a Gentile, and the issue at hand was whether Gentiles should have to comply with Jewish ceremonial rites (circumcision, diet restrictions and so on) in order to be full members of the Christian community.  With the young Paul at one side and Barnabas at the other, he was essentially "tried" (and acquitted) by the leaders in Jerusalem.
·         Titus appears again in the middle of Paul's struggle with the church at Corinth. In that deeply divided church, he represented Paul. He had the unwelcome job of delivering what we call the "severe letter" which Paul refers to in 2 Corinthians 2:1-4 and 7:5-13 and then staying there for about a year. Then he delivered the letter we now call 2 Corinthians in which Paul takes on his critics and calls the church to honor an unfulfilled financial pledge.
·         Titus was in Crete at the time Paul wrote him. Crete was a seaport, a sleazy port of call for cargo ships traversing the Mediterranean. It had been socially backward for 1400 years when the Minoan civilization was destroyed by a devastating earthquake. We do not know exactly when Titus went with Paul to Crete, but one possible scenario places it after Paul's release from his first imprisonment in Rome.
·         Paul had preached in Crete and was giving Titus the job of following through with developing a healthy church. This letter was sent while he was in the midst of his task and reviews his assignment. It shows Titus as a forceful personality and skilled administrator. It seems he was made of tougher stuff than Timothy, but his assignments were shorter. By the time Paul had written 2 Timothy, the job in Crete was done, and Titus had been sent on to Dalmatia (part of modern Yugoslavia).
·         This letter gives us two very valuable things:

·         (1) A showcase of Paul's strategy for leadership in the midst of chaos—Timothy was given a long-term assignment in an established church; Titus was sent to follow up an evangelistic movement and give the Christian body some coherence;
·         (2) a model of hope in the face of a very messy situation; Paul's confidence in the power of the gospel shines throughout the letter.
Titus 1   New International Version
1Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— 2in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,
4To Titus, my true son in our common faith:
Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
Appointing Elders Who Love What Is Good
5The reason I left you in Crete was that you might put in order what was left unfinished and appointa elders in every town, as I directed you. 6An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believeb and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.
Rebuking Those Who Fail to Do Good
10For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group.11They 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. 12One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.”c 13This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 15To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.16They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

Titus 1 The Message (MSG)

1-4 I, Paul, am God’s slave and Christ’s agent for promoting the faith among God’s chosen people, getting out the accurate word on God and how to respond rightly to it. My aim is to raise hopes by pointing the way to life without end. This is the life God promised long ago—and he doesn’t break promises! And then when the time was ripe, he went public with his truth. I’ve been entrusted to proclaim this Message by order of our Savior, God himself. Dear Titus, legitimate son in the faith: Receive everything God our Father and Jesus our Savior give you!

A Good Grip on the Message

5-9 I left you in charge in Crete so you could complete what I left half-done. Appoint leaders in every town according to my instructions. As you select them, ask, “Is this man well-thought-of? Is he committed to his wife? Are his children believers? Do they respect him and stay out of trouble?” It’s important that a church leader, responsible for the affairs in God’s house, be looked up to—not pushy, not short-tempered, not a drunk, not a bully, not money-hungry. He must welcome people, be helpful, wise, fair, reverent, have a good grip on himself, and have a good grip on the Message, knowing how to use the truth to either spur people on in knowledge or stop them in their tracks if they oppose it.
10-16 For there are a lot of rebels out there, full of loose, confusing, and deceiving talk. Those who were brought up religious and ought to know better are the worst. They’ve got to be shut up. They’re disrupting entire families with their teaching, and all for the sake of a fast buck. One of their own prophets said it best:
The Cretans are liars from the womb,
    barking dogs, lazy bellies.
He certainly spoke the truth. Get on them right away. Stop that diseased talk of Jewish make-believe and made-up rules so they can recover a robust faith. Everything is clean to the clean-minded; nothing is clean to dirty-minded unbelievers. They leave their dirty fingerprints on every thought and act. They say they know God, but their actions speak louder than their words. They’re real creeps, disobedient good-for-nothings.

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