Summary: This message is the first in a series through the book of Titus in which we learn how to grow a healthy church.
Growing A Healthy Church: The Person & Purpose of Paul
Titus was written by Paul to Titus. Titus came into Paul’s life during Paul’s second missionary journey.
Titus follows much of the same purpose of I & II Timothy. Paul’s goal was to encourage and strengthen these pastors whom he had disciple. Paul had great confidence in both Timothy and Titus. He was their spiritual father; he had led them to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
In one real sense, he was passing the baton of leadership to these pastors who were ministering in difficult situations.
Titus was ministering on the island of Crete and he faced opposition from both inside the church as well as outside the church.
This letter to Titus was designed to instruct Titus and other leaders on Crete as well as the individual churches. It also served to back up the leadership and authority that Titus was to have….he was Paul’s representative to that area.
And this was a difficult area.
Crete was located in the Mediterranean Sea, southeast of Greece and North of Africa.
It was an island that was 160 miles long
Because of its location, it had been exposed to both Greek and roman civilizations.
The churches on this Island were new and young in the faith and very small.
The churches attracted rebellious men, empty talkers, deceivers, and false teachers
This church needed to be grounded. It needed to be healthy if it was going to survive and be effective.
It is for that reason that this book contains, doctrinal truths, practical instruction, warnings all leading to build a healthy and grounded ministry, hence the name of this series “Growing a Healthy Church.”
Chapter 1 focuses on the qualifications of church leadership. Chapter 2 focuses on the character and conduct of church members. Chapter 3 focuses on the character and conduct of both leaders and members before an unbelieving world
These were all concerns for Titus. Paul wanted the churches on Crete to become a more effective witness to the lost. When Christians distort the reality of sound doctrine, their witness is negated. When Christians live in sin, they testimony is ruined. When the church opens its doors to false teachers, truth ceases to be taught.
Paul wants the church at Crete to have an effective witness, and to be evangelistic, and to grow in the knowledge of God. He wanted them to live godly lives.
Tonight we are going to jump right in and look at verses 1-4.
Look with me at the book of Titus and follow along as I read verses 1-4
1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
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.
These first 4 verses serve as the introduction of the letter to Titus. Many times we like to skip over and rush through these introductions to these books in an effort to get to the good stuff, but many times they are absolutely pack full of heavy teaching, and major doctrinal truths. Such is the case with this introduction.
Right off the bat Paul identifies himself as the author of this book. But more importantly that him identifying himself as the author is how he identifies himself. He indentifies the person and the purpose of Paul.
He identifies himself as two things.
1) A servant of God
2) An apostle of Jesus Christ
This may not seem like a big deal but these two identifiers of Paul says a lot.
1) A Servant of God
This is the only time Paul uses this phrase in Scripture. Usually he refers to himself as the servant of Christ.
Most of you are probably familiar with the biblical meaning of the word servant. This is a positive titles, by which he acknowledges the fact that God is his master. Slaves had no property, no rights, no privileges, and no freedoms. So why would Paul use this term? Why would he refer to himself as a slave of God? There are a couple of reasons:
One- he understood that we, as humans, are under power of sin without choice. We are not to live as a slave to sin; we are not to live under the control of sin and our flesh. But once we are redeemed, once we are saved we are freed from the slavery of sin and have been purchased by the blood of Christ and are then we are joyously slaves of God.