Today’s Reading: Titus 1-2
I am convinced after studying Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus that he was kind of a mix of evangelist, church planter and district superintendent. He went from region to region sharing the message of Jesus Christ to which he had been called (evangelist). At times, revival would spread across that community and a new Church would begin (church planter). Paul would appoint leadership within the new body of believers and give them specific instructions on how the Church should conduct itself as the household of God (district superintendent or bishop).
For the Church on the island of Crete, Paul had appointed Titus to a place of leadership. He gave him the responsibility of finishing the work Paul had begun, while appointing leadership (elders) in each town over every body of believers. He gave Titus specific instructions on what to expect from these appointed elders.
An elder must live a blameless life. He must be faithful to his wife, and his children must be believers who don’t have a reputation for being wild or rebellious. An elder is a manager of God’s household, so he must live a blameless life. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or dishonest with money.
Rather, he must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must love what is good. He must live wisely and be just. He must live a devout and disciplined life. He must have a strong belief in the trustworthy message he was taught; then he will be able to encourage others with wholesome teaching and show those who oppose it where they are wrong. – Titus 1:6-9
Paul insisted that the leaders in the Church must do more than claim to know God and know about God, they must show proof of this relationship in the way they live out their lives (1:16) – in their character and in their good deeds. But this kind of holy living is not just for pastors and leaders, it is for all who belong to the FAMILY of GOD – young and old.
As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience.
Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.
In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching. Teach the truth so that your teaching can’t be criticized. Then those who oppose us will be ashamed and have nothing bad to say about us.
Slaves must always obey their masters and do their best to please them. They must not talk back or steal, but must show themselves to be entirely trustworthy and good. Then they will make the teaching about God our Savior ATTRACTIVE in every way.
For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds (Titus 2:1-14).
The way we live our lives should help attract people to Jesus. We must turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. He died to free us from EVERY kind of sin, to wash us of all unrighteousness and to make us His own! His plan is for us to be TOTALLY COMMITTED to doing good deeds. And consistent with all of Paul’s letters, he again touched on the fact that we are saved by grace and not by works, but we are saved to do good works and live a holy life.
When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life. – Titus 3:4-7
Saved BY grace, saved FROM sin, and saved FOR good deeds – all for the glory of God and for the purpose of attracting others to their Savior, Jesus Christ!