A.This afternoon we are going to start a study in the letter of Titus. So whenever I am scheduled to preach on Sunday afternoon I hope to continue this series.
B.In our lesson today we will have a brief introduction to this letter and then we will look at the first 4 verses of the letter.
C.Also I will give a prize to anyone, after services, who can say these first 4 verses in one breath, because it is one sentence, something Paul is known for is his long sentences’.
D.Paul is the author of this letter and although there are some who debate that fact I am sure we all agree with the Bible here this afternoon.
1.We find out that he writes this letter to Titus in verse 4 and that Titus is in a place called Crete, verse 5.
2.If you would look up here on our map you can see that Crete is this island right here, kind of right in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.
3.We do not know very much about the people who live on this island except for what we have here from Paul.
a)Reading over this letter we find out that there are both Gentiles and Jews living on the island, verse 10
b)We also learn a disturbing truth concerning a generalized statement about Cretans in verse 12 that this people are liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons.
c)Now this is not to say every single one of them, but it is a generalized truth according to Paul.
E.Now Paul tells Titus in verse 5 “For this reason I left you in Crete” giving us the idea that Paul was there.
1.Verse 10 also gives this same impression it seems that Paul has run into these groups he is discussing so he is writing to Titus to tell him how to handle the situation.
2.The only record we have of Paul being in Crete is from Acts 27:8-12 where they stayed the winter in Fair Havens.
3.This was on Paul’s journey to Rome as a prisoner, but he could have met the people and brought them to Christ while there.
4.Now Luke never mentions Titus in Acts, but according to Paul’s writings in Galatians and in the Corinthian letters Titus was with him on several occasions.
5.Was Titus with Paul during his trip to Rome, we don’t know, but this is the best we have are trying to figure out when Paul was on Crete and how he knows what he says in the letter.
6.So here is a map of Paul’s journey to Rome and you can see here where they stopped in Crete which makes sense.
7.Now when wrote this letter again no one is for sure exactly when.
a)As I believe Paul left Titus in Crete on his way to Rome as a prisoner. Over in 3:12 Paul says to Titus to meet him in Nicopolis.
b)Obviously this would not be Rome and it would suggest that Paul in no longer a prisoner.
c)However, Paul is released from prison the first time around it is his second imprisonment where we believe he is killed.
d)So Paul could have written this letter while he was in prison, but close enough to know he was getting out soon.
F.One more thing I would like us to examine before we get into the text is the purpose of the letter.
1.If you again look at verse 5 Paul makes it easy for by telling us his reason for the letter right here, “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you”
2.Titus is to set in order what remains, that being what perhaps Paul left behind unfinished, for he was on his way to Rome.
3.I think the things he wanted Titus to set in order was the peoples conduct
a)Starting in chapter two Paul outlines this in more detail conduct of the older men, the older women, the younger women, the young men, that of slaves, and he ends the chapter with the basis of all Christian conduct.
b)Chapter three Paul goes into the conduct of Christians as a whole toward the world.
4.Now for most people, when they think of the letter to Titus they think of the appointment of elders.
a)Which is true Paul does deal with this and it is very important. This is the first thing Paul deals with in the letter.
b)Titus is to appoint elders in every city, just as Paul had directed him.
5.Another portion of this letter resides between the appointment of elders in 1:5-9 and the conduct of Christians 2:1-3:11
a)As always there are those who wish to make trouble for Christians and one group especially likes to do this and that is the Judaizer
b)Yes, even on this island several hundred miles from the coast of Israel we have Judiazers causing havoc for the Christians.
G.Now let us turn our focus to the first 4 verses of this letter (read). Here in the first 3 verses Paul is introducing himself and he gives us his overall purpose in the kingdom of Christ.
1.Now this strikes me as odd because Titus knows Paul very well and this sort of introduction is not necessary.
2.In verse 4 Paul specifics this letter to Titus, but I believe that it is meant to be announced to the churches as well.
3.I think Paul is helping Titus establish creditability with the Christians there in Crete with these words and others as we will see throughout our study of Titus. Ok, let’s begin…
I. In verses 1 to 3 Paul introduces himself and his overall purpose in the kingdom
A.Paul introduces himself as a bond-servant and an apostle in the first part of verse 1.
1.A Bond-servant in the Greek literally means slave
a)Not just any slave, but a slave of God. Paul has given himself over to God willingly and completely.
b)He does not act according to his own will but according to the will of God and that is what is meant by being a slave of God, to completely give one’s self over to the will and authority of another.
2.Paul also introduces himself as an apostle of Christ
a)If you remember, apostle means one who is sent forth and it was Christ who sent Paul forth, not man.
b)Now these are things that Titus knows all too well, yet Paul writes them here and I believe it is for the benefit of the Cretans.
B.From this point till the end of verse 3 Paul tells of his purpose in the kingdom, again this is something Titus already knows.
1.Paul says right off the bat that he is a slave to God and sent out by Christ to do the will of Christ which is to first…
a)Strengthen the faith of God’s chosen
1)“for the faith of those chosen of God”, Paul after receiving the truth from Jesus on the road to Damascus started preaching the gospel of Jesus.
2)Throughout the book of Acts we see him going all over to spread the good news and to bring people to Christ.
3)On top of these things we see Paul also going back to the different congregations to see how they are doing and to strengthen them
4)Paul would write letters to them to help with issues that may have arisen and even send his pupils Timothy, Titus, and others out to help build up these churches.
5)Paul sent Titus and wrote this letter to strengthen the faith of the Cretans, they are the “chosen of God” because they accepted the truth which they had heard and obeyed.
b)Paul also was sent to strengthen their knowledge of the truth
1)As was the case for many of the congregations that Paul planted there are those who wish to distort the truth that the people had.
2)So Paul would send people like Titus and write letters such as this one in order to help strengthen their knowledge of what the truth was so that they may be better guarded against false teachings they would receive from the Judiazers.
3)Truth is that which is genuine as opposed to what is false. The Cretans have received the truth, but there are those who wish to draw them away being pawns of Satan.
4)But Paul says he was sent by Christ to help strengthen them in the truth and that is what he is doing here.
c)This truth in which Paul wishes to strengthen in the Cretans and all Christians “is according to godliness”
1)There are many truths out there, but Paul is speaking of a truth that brings about “godliness”.
2)The only truth that can possibly do that is the truth that Christ gave us through His apostles, which by the way is what Paul is!
3)“godliness” means to have respect for God and His Word. That we would approach Him with great reverence.
4)And when we have faith and we strengthen out knowledge of the truth which is found in Christ then our reverence, respect, our godliness will grow.
2.In the hope of eternal life
a)The reason that Christ came and the reason why He sent forth His apostles was to give His people the “hope of eternal life” which is only found through Him.
b)This is why we have faith, because it is the assurance of things hoped for, which is eternal life.
c)This eternal life was promised by God long ago to Abraham when He said that all the nations will be blessed through him, Genesis 12:3
d)Why would Paul tell Titus who has been with him for many, many years now and Paul trusted enough to leave him with the congregations in Crete tell Titus that God cannot lie?
1)Titus knows this, he knows God cannot lie, but this letter was meant to be read by all the Christians who are in Crete.
2)The reason they need to hear that God cannot lie probably stems from their social environment, all Cretans are liars.
3.Paul has told them that the promise of eternal life was given ages ago and he gives he reason the Cretans have not heard of this promise before in verse 3.
a)First, it was not manifested until the proper time
1)The promise was not manifested to man until Christ came preaching the good news to the Jews.
2)Where Paul says “even His word” he is pointing to the gospel and how the Cretans received this was “in the proclamation” that is preaching, “with which I” Paul, “was entrusted”.
b)Paul preached this word, the gospel, by God’s command, “according to the commandment of God our Savior”
1)Paul is a “bond-servant of God”, he is doing His will and Paul was sent forth by Christ, for he is the “apostle of Christ.
2)Preaching the Word and strengthening the congregation’s faith and strengthening their knowledge of the truth is Paul’s mission and purpose of which no one can deny.
3)Paul does this for it is the “commandment of God”
(a)Just like the 10 commandments of God to Israel were unbendable, they were a mandate and must be followed.
(b)So too are these to Paul, a commandment, it is his whole purpose.
4)“God our Savior”, He is the Savior, He sent forth Christ who died for the sins of Paul, Titus, and the Cretans.
C.There is so much in these few verses and we just skimmed over them for there is not time to cover all the details, but please read over them and ponder upon what Paul is saying here. But not right now, we need to move on to the next section.
II. Here in verse 4 we come to the recipient of the letter, Titus as well as Paul’s greeting to him.
A.Who is Titus?
1.Paul says that Titus is his “true child”
a)The word true means genuine and Paul referred to Timothy this way as well over in I Timothy 1:2
b)Now Paul is not saying that Titus is his actual physical son for we know that is impossible, because Titus was a full blooded Gentile as Paul tells us over in Galatians 2:3
c)What Paul means by “true child” is that Titus is like a son to him, back then the son would follow in his father’s footsteps, in his same work as well.
1)Just as Jesus was a carpenter because his step-father Joseph was a carpenter.
2)Paul was probably the one who brought the gospel to Titus. He also took him in as his pupil and taught him the Word more thoroughly.
3)We see Titus going with Paul down to Jerusalem with Paul over in Galatians 2 and Paul sent him to check on the Corinthians more than once.
4)Titus proved to be a good student in the word just as Timothy was and so Paul saw him as a true, genuine child in a common faith.
d)Common faith being that they shared the same faith which is in Christ Jesus.
2.Are these words written here for the benefit of Titus only? Of course not, but we see Paul laying down a foundation of creditability for Titus with the Cretans.
B.Finally we come to the end of the greeting here in verse 4b.
1.Here we see the typical yet important greeting that Paul always gives, “Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior”
2.Grace is the unmerited blessing we receive and peace is that peace on mind we have for knowing that we as Christians have a place reserved for us in heaven. Peace is also that peace that we now have with God which was lost at the Garden of Eden.
a)We have received this grace and peace from God our Father and from Christ Jesus our Savior.
b)God sent His Son Jesus to die upon the cross for our sins and Jesus did this willingly.
c)Christ’s blood is always there washing away the sins we have committed as long as we obey Him and His Word, that is grace and it provides us with peace.
A.I have greatly enjoyed studying these few verses which open this letter to Titus. There is so much here that I wish we had time to look into.
B.So please go home this day and read through the whole letter of Titus and ponder closely at these words Paul says here in verses 1 to 4.
C.Paul opens this letter that is not only to Titus but is for all the congregations in Crete, and he shows the purpose of his life of how God had given him a charge to go into the world and preach the Word of the gospel, strengthening those whom God had chosen.
D.What an encouragement to Titus and to the Cretans and for us today. For Christ gave us a charge to go into the whole world and preach the good news, to baptize those who believe and to continue to teach them of His Word.
E.Are we doing that? Are we sharing the gospel? This is not a request from God, but a command, just as Paul was commanded to proclaim His Words, so too are we.
F.If you find that you have neglected this command of God and want to know more about how you can reach a lost and dying word we can help you with that. Feel free to approach me, Ty or Guy after services.
G.Now as is our custom we would like to offer to you the invitation of Christ. It is His invitation which He has offered from the beginning of the church.
1.That if you wish to be added into His body so that you may share in the joy and the hope of eternal life with Him in heaven.
2.Then won’t you come forward now, confess Him as the Son of God, repent of your sins and be washed in the watery grave of baptism. Come forward now as together we stand and sing.