Summary: The first sentence of Titus highlights some power-packed truths about God, the Gospel, and our hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
The First Sentence of Titus
© Sterling C. Franklin, 2009
Free for use, but all rights reserved
Text: Titus 1:1-4
Introduction: Context & Biography
I. Verse 1: Aspects of Paul's Ministry
A) Paul's status in his ministry
B) Paul's purpose in his ministry
1) Faith of the chosen
2) Knowledge which leads to godliness
II. Verse 2: Three Truths
A) Hope of eternal life
B) God cannot lie
C) God promised eternal life long ages ago
III. Verse 3: Manifested in God's Timing
IV. Verse 4: Greeting
Invitation & Closing
Illustration: Have you ever seen a Billy Mays commercial? He endorses a lot of products, always keeps a loud voice volume, and enthusiastically sells some of the most ridiculous items on the market. One of the items he endorses is called the Awesome Auger. Billy Mays says in his commercial, "It takes the hard work out of yard work." It can do a wide variety of tasks, whether relating to boring massive holes in tree roots or relating to mixing gallons of paint. Anyway, I am not saying that you should necessarily go out and buy this product, but I will note that the Awesome Auger is a small tool, but it is POWER-PACKED.
Our text today is the first sentence in Paul's letter to Titus. I am reminded of products like the Awesome Auger when I think of both this text and the entire book of Titus. Titus is a very short book, but at the same time, it is very dynamic (power-packed) and useful in its content. It covers a wide array of topics, and we will be exploring its admonitions through these next weeks.
Context & Biography
Titus is one of the pastoral epistles. In these, Paul gives instruction to his fellow-laborers as a guiding shepherd.
One commentator, William Barclay, put it very succinctly when he stated that these epistles are extremely important in giving the image of, "a little island of Christianity in a sea of paganism" (Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, ix). The Christian Church did burst at the seams in growth during this Apostolic era, but the spread was not nearly final. What we also had during this time was an amazing number of converts, but not many who were grown to maturity in the faith.
Sometimes Paul would send letters to church assemblies when things were going very wrong and needed correction (e.g. the church at Corinth). In this case, Paul's letter to Titus was one of encouragement as well as instruction, as Titus was to go to Crete to put elder boards/leadership teams into place, as well as oversee the overall spiritual health in the area. In a modern-day context, this would be a good church planting handbook.
[Background of Titus]
Let's take a quick look at Titus. Titus was a follower of Christ who was mentioned a few times in the New Testament, so we know some about his background, but not everything (see Barnes, Notes on the New Testament, 257-9).
- He was a Gentile (Greek) - Galatians 2:3
- He believed in Christ through the Holy Spirit's work through Paul - Titus 1:4
- It is likely that he did ministry with Paul for a reasonable amount of time. First, the letter to Titus shows familiarity, but second, Titus was mentioned in 2 Corinthians 8:23 as being Paul's fellow-helper.
- He was highly trusted to do the work which Paul could not accomplish (he was in prison at the time, around 62 AD) -- Titus 1:5
Reading of Text
Titus 1:1-4 (NASB)
1 Paul, a bond-servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness,
2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,
3 but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior;
4 to Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
As we have read the text, let's go through and see what God's Word has to teach us today:
Verse 1: Aspects of Paul's Ministry
Titus 1:1a - Paul, a bond-servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ...
Paul was an apostle of Jesus Christ -- Apostle literally means, 'One who is sent.' Paul was a messenger sent to proclaim to Good News of Salvation to the Gentiles.
One commentator, William Barclay, notes very well:
"He was the envoy of Jesus Christ…" (Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, 260).
How does he define, 'envoy'?