Titus Highlights

This short letter written by Paul to Titus reminds me of 1 Timothy.  It is also a short with only three chapters, but rich book that is practical.  In Chapter 1, Paul discusses the  leadership in the church.  He wanted him to appoint elders in every city that he directed him.   He had to use certain criteria when selecting these elders:

Qualifications (1:6-9)
-above reproach
-the husband of one wife
-having children who believe
-not accused of dissipation or rebellion
-must be above reproach as God's steward
-not self-willed
-not quick-tempered
-not addicted to wine
-not pugnacious
-not fond of sordid gain
-loving what is good
-holding fast to the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so he will be able both to
  exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict

Paul also talks about another group of people besides those who are prospects for being an elder.  He said "there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain." (1:10-11)  These men were especially those of circumcision, meaning Jews, because there were some who professed to know God, but by their deeds, they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

If everything rises and falls on leadership, then it is essential that we, as those chosen of God, make sure that we know what God says we need to do to set in order our homes, our lives, our priorities, our values, and to appoint godly leadership over the church.  We can be certain that if godly men don't fill the positions of leadership, those who profess to know God but deny Him by their deeds will step in to fill the void.  This is why the appointment of godly elders, overseers, pastors, deacons--whatever title your church or denomination gives them--is so critical. 

Truth for the sake of knowledge alone will not accomplish the work of God.  We must live out the Word of God and put it into practice.  Truth should do more that intellectual assent, it should transform us from being ungodly in our conduct to being more like God.  When we embrace truth, rather than simply acknowledging it, it will produce good deeds.

Paul told Titus to speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. (2:1)  This is referring to truths about our character, our behavior, our relationships, our roles--good deeds which adorn the doctrine, the teaching of God.

God has a standard for His people: Holiness that instructs us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in this present age.  If we lived according to this standard, it would correct many of our socialproblems and restore us to our proper roles as men and women.  It would keep society from self-destructing.  To live with this standard is not impossible because Jesus redeemed us from every lawless deed and purified us for Himself.  Purification produces within us a zeal, a passion for good deeds. 

Chapter 2 discusses right living in the church with five different groups of people:   (2:2-10)
1) Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, and perseverance.

2) Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved
     to much wine, teaching what is good so that they may encourage the... 

3) Young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at
     home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

4) Young men to be sensible, in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds with purity
     in doctrine, dignified, sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so that no opponent will be put
     to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. 

5) Bondservants to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well pleasing, not
    argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of
    God our Savior in every respect.  

Although we don't have slaves now, bondservants could be also compared to those who serve under other people. 

Chapter 3 talks about right living in society.  "We are to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men" (3:1-2)
If you are a believer, do you remember what you were before you met Jesus Christ, before you were born again, regenerated and given the Holy Spirit.  Remembering this will help us all to be thankful of the sacrifice made for all mankind and help us be more considerate of other people who are where we once were.  "For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life on malice and envy, hateful, hating one another" (3:3).

When He saved us, it wasn't by our deeds but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (3:5).  Jesus saves us, and it is all pure grace.  However, I determine my reward by the way I appropriate that grace and live it to its full measure.  May God's gift of grace toward me not be in vain.

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