Servant, Slave Of God
The apostle called himself "a servant of God." That was no allegory. He literally meant, "slave," one who serves his master by constraint, by commandment, and involuntarily. "Ye were the servants of sin, but ...being made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness," Romans 6:17-18. "Ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's," 1 Corinthians 6:20. You were involuntarily constrained by the world, your flesh, and the devil. Will you instead be completely constrained by Jesus Christ and righteous living?
Titus 1:1 - "Paul, a servant of God..."
Core Virtues Enable The Man Of God
Paul listed several spiritual virtues which enabled him to do the work of a SERVANT and an APOSTLE: First, was having the FAITH that God's elect people have. Second, was acknowledging the TRUTH OF GOD IN GODLINESS. Third, was having the HOPE of ETERNAL LIFE, which was promised by God from ancient times. Fourth, was manifesting God's WORD through PREACHING, according to the commandment which God had commited to him. You, too, can find providential enablement in FAITH, TRUTH, HOPE, and the PREACHED WORD.
Titus 1:1 - "Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ."
Greet Your Friend With A Blessing
In the same manner that Paul always opened his epistles to the Churches, he also greeted Titus personally; that is, with a prayer and a blessing. Our secular culture would smother out our spiritual conversations if possible. We sometimes feel too intimidated by godless people who invade our space in public, and we hesitate to speak spiritually to each other, but that should not be. We should sincerely greet one another with a blessing.
Titus 1:4 - "To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour."
Ordain Elders In Every City
Timothy was ordained by Paul (2 Timothy 1:6) and presbyters, that is, elders (1 Timothy 4:14), by the laying on of hands, and presumably a prayer of ordination. Later, when Paul sent Timothy to Crete to set the ministry in order, he instructed him to ordain elders there in similar fashion. Today, every minister should be ordained by presiding presbyters, or ministering elders, laying hands on, and praying for him.
Titus 1:5 - "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee."
All Christians Should Be People Of Prayer
The qualifications for Church elders and bishops are meticulously detailed in Paul's letter to Titus. It seems conspicuously strange that among those qualifications, Paul never mentioned prayer. Should not an elder or a bishop be a man of great prayer? Why did he not impose that qualification? Perhaps we should assume that prayer is such a universal expectation for ALL Christians, that the requirement goes without saying. I think so.
Titus 1:7 - "For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre."
Judas Iscariot was replaced after his death. Peter said, "Let his habitation be desolate, [Psalm 69:25] and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take [Psalm 109:8]." Peter called the office a Bishoprick. A Bishop is a general overseer of the Church.
Titus 1:7-9 - "A bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught."
Convince Gainsayers (Disputers) With Sound Doctrine
In every generation, there will be gainsayers [Greek: disputers] in the Church - those who speak against true doctrine, deniers, contradictors. Paul told Titus that men of God must hold fast the faithful Word of God so that he may by sound doctrine exhort and convince those gainsayers. You MUST hold fast to the Word of God and sound doctrine. Openly declare it, to silence subversive, defiant men.
Titus 1:10 - "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, ...Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake."
Deceivers Who Turn From Truth, Rebuke Them Sharply
A man of God has a solemn responsibility to plead God's cause. Men of God must not abdicate their responsibilities, but stand up for truth, and denounce error. When men of God refuse to discipline those who mislead others, the entire Church suffers profoundly. Preachers must confront error, and those who err, to prevent the Church from being subverted. Otherwise, the day will come with truth will be trampled in the streets.
Titus 1:13 - "Rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to ...fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth."
The Unbelieving - Cynics And Skeptics
What is wrong with cynicism and skepticism? Unbelief! Cynics trust nobody. They think everybody else has only selfish motives. Skeptics do not believe anybody else's facts, religion or character. Neither cynics nor skeptics want to believe anything but their own ignorant or bigoted opinions. God abhors that mindset. He loves open-hearted, open-minded faith. "But the... unbelieving... shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone," Revelation 21:8.
Titus 1:15 - "...unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled."
They Profess To Know God, But In Works Deny Him
A professing Christian who makes mockery of holiness and separation from the world is the very person of whom Paul speaks here. "Unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled." We are under a command to "touch not the unclean thing." Those who think they can defile themselves with the world all week, then walk into Church holy on Sunday are under the worst deception.
Titus 1:16 - "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."
Aged Men, Aged Women
The counsel Paul gave to Titus is rich. "Speak thou the things which become sound doctrine." It is a matter of doctrine (precepts, principle) that older men and women demonstrate godly maturity, especially as examples to the younger. Sober. Grave. Temperate. Patient. Holy. Today, more than ever, young people need godly elders.
Titus 2:2-4 - "That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women..."
Younger Women In The Church
The older women saints must teach the younger women to be godly. It logically follows, that the younger women have a divine mandate to learn from the elder women. Take note: "Be sober." Love your husband. Love your children. Be discreet (self-controlled as to opinion or passion), chaste (innocent, modest, pure). "Obedient" to your husband. Yes, it says that.
Titus 2:4-5 - "Teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
Younger Men In The Church
"Come-as-you-are, do-as-you-please" Christianity is dead wrong. Paul ordered strong discipline for young men. Be sober-minded. Have habitual good works and uncorrupt doctrine. Be grave and sincere. Have speech that cannot be faulted, so that anybody who might accuse you would be ashamed.
Titus 2:6-8 - "Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you."
Obedient And Pleasing Servants
You can digress into an argument against the evils of slavery, or you can embrace the reality that in every strata of society there are masters and servants, and learn the Christian precepts which govern such relations. Every one of us is in a subordinate position to someone. For God's sake, we should respect those who have authority.
Titus 2:9-10 - "Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things."
Purifying A Peculiar People For His Glorious Appearing
God's grace does not release us from the responsibility to live godly. Grace does not excuse us from ungodliness or worldly lusts. No matter how powerful God's grace is, your ungodliness and your worldly lusts will condemn you. Repenting before God and genuinely turning from sin makes us peculiar people in this world.
Titus 2:13-14 - "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."
Grace Teaches Us To Deny Ungodliness, Worldly Lusts
"The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world." Grace does not excuse you, but indebts you to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts. Grace indebts you to be sober, righteous and godly. Grace indebts you to be peculiar to the world.
Titus 2:14-15 - "That he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee."
Rebuke With All Authority, Let No Man Despise Thee
The surety of Jesus' coming back to gather His Church is the most sober reality the saints can contemplate. He is coming for purified, peculiar people, zealous of righteous works. If you are not purified, peculiar, and zealous of the work of God, the minister is authorized to speak, exhort and rebuke you authoritatively. Men of God are COMMANDED to rebuke you authoritatively. Do not despise their rebukes. Many modern Christians despise authoritative preachers, but God does not. He ordains and commissions them.
Titus 2:15 - "These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee."
No Evil Speaking Or Bad Behavior
"Speak evil of no man." You may not know anyone who lives by that rule, but you can. Never speak evil of anyone. Let God judge them. It is not your business. Then, Paul added, "Be no brawlers, but gentle..." The word "brawler" is also translated "contentious" (ASV), "cruel" (CEV), "litigious" (Darby), "fighters" (Geneva), "quarrelsome," (Young). If you will be a saint, you must not be a brawler, contentious, cruel, litigious, fighter, or quarrelsome. Saints must be gentle and meek.
Titus 3:2 - "Speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men."
We Were Evil, But God Showed Mercy
We should never speak evil of anyone, because "we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another." Despite our sins, God showed love and kindness. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing [in the blood of Jesus, and the waters of baptism in His name] of regeneration, and renewing [infilling] of the Holy Ghost."
Titus 3:7 - "Being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
Not Saved By Works, But We Must Have Good Works
Paul often instructed the saints to obey authority and do good works. "Be subject to principalities and powers, ...obey magistrates, ...be ready to every good work." "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us." Those who constantly rant against "salvation by works" must know that works cannot save you, but you cannot be saved without them. "Faith without works is dead."
Titus 3:8 - "This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works."
Use Faithful Words And Sound Speech, No Unruly Talk
Paul gave Titus several rules about how to speak. Men of God must "hold fast the faithful word as he hath been taught," and be "able ...to convince the gainsayers." He warned that "there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, ...whose mouths must be stopped, ...teaching things which they ought not." "Speak thou the things which become sound doctrine," and use "sound speech, that cannot be condemned." "These things speak, and exhort." "Speak evil of no man." Strive to say only the right things, and never the wrong things.
Titus 3:9 - "Avoid foolish questions, ...and contentions."
In every crowd, it seems that there is always someone with foolish questions or contentions. Some argue about the most impertinent things. Paul said that we should avoid all these things because "they are unprofitable and vain." If someone gets into heresies (schisms, divisions) you should completely withdraw from that person. Reject (beg off, decline, shun) the unreprovable person who causes division in the Church. They are subverted and condemned!
Titus 3:10-11 - "A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself."
Nicopolis was a new and modern city on the central west coast of Greece. On his last missionary journey, Paul decided to spend the winter months there, about which time we know nothing. From there, Paul sailed for Rome, where Nero threw him into the Mamertine prison, chained in a dark dungeon, until he was finally beheaded. Paul's last book (2 Timothy) was written in that dungeon. Nicopolis depicts the calm before the storm. Quiet, unremarkable times come. Be prepared for your next trial.
Titus 3:12 - "Be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter."
The Epistle to Titus concludes with, "Grace be with you all. Amen." We may not have noticed that it was a prayer if Paul had not concluded with "Amen." Amen means the same in the Old Testament Hebrew language as in the New Testament Greek. It means, "So be it; truly; firm; trustworthy; surely." More than seventy times, it is translated "verily." Jesus said, "Verily, I say..." which means, "truly, or surely, I say..." An "Amen!" signals your agreement with the preaching - "Truly! Surely!" It ends a prayer with "so be it!"
Titus 3:15 - "Grace be with you all. Amen."
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