Summary: Paul sent this small letter to encourage Titus to identify and train leaders on Crete.
Titus: Building a Healthy Church
Pastor Jefferson M. Williams
Chenoa Baptist Church
A Feast in Three Chapters
[Charlie and the Chocolate Factory clip-stop at 1:34]
Today, we begin our study of the book of Titus. Just like that little piece of gum that contained a three course meal, this small letter to Titus (three chapters/46 verses) is a feast of doctrine, church leadership, and directions for practical living. it won’t turn you into a blueberry at the end!
Background for Titus
Titus is part of what we call the “pastoral epistles” - I Timothy, 2 Timothy, Philemon, and Titus.
These were personal letters to individuals but they were not meant to be private. They were to be read out loud to the congregations that these men represented.
Paul’s missionary journeys took him to the island of Crete where he planted multiple churches.
Crete is in the Mediterranean Sea and is the largest of the Greek Isles. At one point, it was the center of the ancient Minoan civilization.
Paul left Titus in Crete to supervise the churches and later wrote this letter (sometime in the mid 60s) to encourage and strengthen him for the task ahead.
While it seems that Timothy was lacking self-confidence, Titus was Paul’s troubleshooter. If there was a hard assignment, Paul knew he could trust Titus to pull it off.
In Paul’s day, it was inundated with cults and temples and the inhabitants claimed that Zeus was born on Crete.
The island was mountainous and there were no road systems. But more importantly, the people of Crete were known as “liars, evil brutes, and gluttons.” (Titus 1:12)
It was a place filled with idol worship and immorality and out of these Cretans, Titus was to train and ordain leaders for the church.
Titus had his work cut out for him.
Why Study Titus?
Pastor Paul Apple gives us five reasons to study the book of Titus:
1. To learn the qualifications for God ordained leaders in the local assembly
2. To grasp the essential connection between sound doctrine and good works
3. To gain the fortitude to strongly reprove false teachers who profess to know God but are exposed by their deeds
4. To understand the distinctive role of gender/age specific groups in the church
5. To live with the sense of hope and expectation that the grace of God is intended to nurture.
Titus can be summarized:
Chapter one - love what is good
Chapter two - teach what is good
Chapter three - do what is good
For the four verses that we will look at this morning, I took 14 pages of notes this week! There is so much meat in this little book.
Turn with me to the book of Titus. ?
Grab your fork and let’s dive in!
1. Paul’s Position
“Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ…” (Titus 1:1a)
The author of this letter is Paul. That is the name that God gave him. Before that, he was known as Saul.
He was born into a Jewish family from the tribe of Benjamin. He grew up in Tarsus and was educated under the famous Rabbi Gamaliel. He was also a Roman citizen.
He was a strict Pharisee who persecuted the church. In fact, we first meet him in the Bible as he is holding the coats of the men who were stoning Stephen, one of the first “deacons “ of the church.
He hated Christians and even went from town to town rounding up followers of Jesus. It was on one of these missions, that he had an experience that changed his life and direction forever.
One the road to the city of Damascus, he had an encounter with the risen Jesus.
He was blinded by the light and was led by the hand into Damascus with the help of his companions.
The persecutor became the preacher! He would be the one to take the Gospel to the Gentiles on multiple successful missionary journeys, would do miracles, would be beaten, stoned, and nearly killed multiple times, would go on to write 2/3 of the New Testament, and would have his head cut off as a martyr in Rome.
Interestingly, Paul doesn’t begin the letter with, “Paul, the highly educated famous brilliant theologian.”
He simply states that he is a “servant of God.” Your translation may say “bond servant.” The word he uses is actually uses is slave.
In Paul’s day, being a slave was usually a temporary status. At a certain age or after a debt was paid off, they would be set free.
But if a slave decided that he didn’t want to leave, the master would pierce his ear and that would represent his willing servitude.
Pastor John MacArthur writes, “Paul was in complete but willing bondage to God. He had no life to call his own, no will of his own, no purpose of his own, or plan of his own.”