Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Letter to Titus

The Letter to Titus was written around the same time as 1 Timothy. Both of which are written by Paul to his "sons" in the faith. It says in Titus 1:1-4: "Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which is according to godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior; to Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior."

Titus, who had ministered with Paul for a period of time on the island of Crete , was left there to continue and strengthen the work that Paul had begun. The city itself had a reputation of being "liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons...Therefore [he was to] rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith" (1:12-13). According to chapter 3 and verse 12 Artemas or Tychicus were to relieve him and he was to join Paul at Nicopolis.

There were many things that Titus was to give his attention to while ministering on the island of Crete . He was to "appoint elders in every city" (1:5). He was to stop the mouths of the "insubordinate," the "idol talkers and deceiving, especially those of the circumcision" because they were subverting "whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain" (1:10-11). He was to "speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine" (2:1) to "the older men," "the older women," "young women," and "young men." He was to "exhort servants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things" (2:9-10). He was to "Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men" (3:1-2). All of these things he was to "affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works" (3:8). He was to "avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law" (3:9) as well as "Reject" those who were "divisive...after the first and second admonition" (3:10). This he was to "speak...with all authority" and let no one "despise his youth" (2:15).

All believers have a purpose in this life. We are to confront our world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Just as Titus was to "guard" and "set in order the things that were lacking" in the church, we all have a task. Ephesians 4:11-12 teaches that God gave gifted men to the church for "the equpping of the saints for the work of the ministry." Are you doing the ministry? Are you fulfilling your purpose? You might think that the task is too great but consider all the things that Titus had to do then realize everything else is an excuse.

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