Sunday, March 11, 2018

Paul's Epistles – Titus – Part 1: Introduction

Paul's Epistles – Titus – Part 1:
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

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Unlike some of the other epistles attributed cautiously to Paul, nearly all agree that without a doubt, Titus is most definitely Paul’s workmanship.

Some thought that because of its strong emphasis on “works”, Paul did not write it. (1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:1, 8, 14 ), however Titus 3:5 gives the answer to that objection, “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,”

It is clear Paul is pressing the issue of works, not for salvation sake, but in an effort to promote “godliness” which comes from knowledge of the Truth, a godliness which “produces” works naturally as its fruits.

Galatians 5:22-23 “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

This letter was written approximately the same time, and more than likely the same place as I Timothy.

II Timothy Series (written after Titus)

Introduction to Titus

Titus 1:1-4 (65 AD, written between I Timothy and II Timothy)
Paul, 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 – in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior, To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

The overall message of this epistle to the church is;
God’s ideal for the Christian Church and Christian Workers

a. It is clear that Paul wrote this letter to Titus, one of his converts
                                                  i. Titus must have been converted early on, because he accompanied Paul and Barnabas on Paul’s first missionary journey 10 or so years after Paul’s conversion

                                               ii. Paul’s conversion was between 33-36 AD

                                            iii. The first missionary trip was late spring of 44 AD

                                             iv. So Titus has been serving the ministry for at least 23+ years at this time

b. Paul refers to Titus as his “true son in our common faith”
                                               i. While Timothy had been brought up as a Jew, and was circumcised by Paul, Titus was a pure Gentile and not circumcised (Galatians 2:3)

                                            ii. Titus was also older than Timothy, and much stronger physically and morally

                                         iii. We see this by Paul being less anxious about the conduct of Titus, and the way others might treat him.

c. The letter and its contents
                                            i. Paul does not give the Cretians a very good character.

                                         ii. Titus 1:12,13 “One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: ‘Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.’  13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith”
1. Those weak in faith and understanding may judge Paul saying, “Isn’t he gossiping? Isn’t that slander? Isn’t he talking about brothers and sister negatively?”

2. Nothing Paul said was a)false, or b) meant to hurt or defame

3. Rather, what was said was to prepare Titus for teaching and rebuking for THE GOOD of the Cretians spiritual growth and so they would have a strong, sound faith

                                      iii. Because the Cretians previous to Roman conquest in 67 BC were accustomed to a democratic form of government, they would likely struggle with Roman rule. For these reasons Paul gave Titus instructions which would be very unwelcoming to the Cretian converts.

                                       iv. Recognizing the difficulties they would have, Paul instructs Titus on this delicate mission and putting things in order.

                                          v. Paul had great faith in Titus’ wisdom, and ability

d. Paul also quotes Heathen writers in scripture
                                         i. Paul is the only New Testament writer who quotes from Heathen writers. He does so three times;
1. Titus 1:12 “One of Crete’s own prophets has said it:...”

2. Acts 17:28 - From the Cretan philosopher Epimenides; and the Cilician Stoic philosopher Aratus

3. I Corinthians 15:33 - From the Greek poet Menander

                                      ii. Paul was well versed and educated, and used his worldly knowledge to reach the world, he used things of the world to build bridges and relationships to reach the unreachable.

1. The ancient Greeks were so afraid of offending “the gods”, they had a statue worshipping Agnostos Theos, (LIT agnostos:Unknown Theos:God)

2. Angnostos is where we get the term Agnostic, meaning we cannot “know”, or it is “unknown” if there is a God, which is different from Atheist

3. Meaning there “is no” god

4. Paul seeing the people stood upon Areopagus (a prominent rock outcropping located northwest of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece), and told the people in Acts 17 that he knew who this God was, and used their pagan belief to build a bridge and minister to them the Truth of the Gospel.

                                   iii. This epistle (letter to Titus) enables us to see that Christ’s personal and pre-millennial coming, of which Paul wrote so fully to the Thessalonians thirteen years before in 52 AD, some 20 years after his conversion, was still to him in his old age a blessed hope. (Titus 2:13)

a. The somewhat short letter is broken into three parts
                                               i. An Orderly Church (Church Order)
1. The qualifications of eldership
2. Unruly character of Cretians (believers)
3. and a note in verse 15, “Unto the pure, all things are pure.”

                                            ii. A Sound Church (Church Doctrine)
1. A message for Titus
2. the Aged
3. the Young
4. and slaves
5. then Paul gives All the Gospel - Past, Present and future (Titus 2:11-14)

                                         iii. A Practical Church (Works of the Church)
1. Practical citizenship
2. Practical godliness
3. Sad retrospect
4. What led to our transformation
5. Need for practical piety (goodness, godliness, holiness)
6. What to avoid
7. Whom to avoid
8. Conclusion

a. Paul begins his letter to Titus by stating his intent

                                               i. Verse 4, ”as a servant of God {because} and an Apostle of Jesus Christ {because} to further the faith of God’s elect {to accomplish} and their knowledge of the Truth {to accomplish} which leads to godliness {the goal}

1. Because Paul is a servant of God and an Apostle of Jesus Christ

2. He set out to further the faith of Christians and their knowledge of the Truth

3. So that it would lead them to godliness

b. In hope of eternal life
                                               i. Not our modern use and understanding of the word hope, which is usually meant as a wish for something you want, i.e. “I hope I win the lotto.”
                                            ii. Today hope means a feeling of expectation and desire for something to happen

                                         iii. However in archaic times, hope was a feeling of trust for something you knew was coming or going to happen

                                          iv. i.e. “My hope is in the Lord

c. A hope of eternal life
                                               i. Meaning, that is what I have to look forward to

                                            ii. Which God does not lie (LIT. GRK vs2 “un-liable God”)

                                         iii. He does not lie, cannot lie, and has promised before the beginning of time.

d. At this appointed season
                                               i. God has brought light (understanding) through the PREACHING entrusted to me

CONCLUSION –  the overall message of titus

God’s ideal for a church: Orderly organization, soundness in faith and morals, and practical works of piety and philanthropy.

God’s ideal for a Christian worker: A love of order and method, a healthy and living prevailing attitude, a sober manor/demeanor, and disciplined speech.

 Next week we will look at Paul explaining how the church is to appoint elders.

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