Titus 3

To review, we started this our study of this letter by looking at the overall qualifications of leaders or elders and especially of overseers or pastors in the house of God.  We saw an overarching principle, in that the qualifications of the leaders were to be those that were present in all believers but especially those who were leaders in the church, most particularly in the pastor, and that those characteristics lived out in life were what gave authority to their words, as we saw in 1 Timothy.  We also began to see that these qualifications were based on not education, nor on achievement, nor on seniority, but on moral character.

Last chapter, we looked at what the relationships within the house of God should look like as they were lived out in all the various groups found in the church:  older men and women, younger men and women, and in the master-slave dynamic, which we can see today in the relationship between employer and employee.  Again, we saw that it was moral character that was required in those relationships, and that moral character is inspired and driven by the Holy Spirit in us based on our relationship to Christ.

This week, we arrive at the final chapter in this short letter, and Paul moves to how we should behave in relation to those outside the church.  As I prepared this study, I came to the realization that Canada has never really been a Christian nation, though Christians were here as early as the 1500s, long before this place was ever called Canada.  I cannot deny those earlier and even later Christian influences in our society, and would not, but when I think about the day we live in, I see a great comparison between now and the first century.  We live in a largely unbelieving society, and many of those unbelievers think they grace the church by their presence in our gatherings.  Although that is untrue, we welcome them anyway, because it is at least an opportunity to share Christ with them.  However, no one can deny the assault that anti-Christian forces at every opportunity are assaulting the people of the Book.  Whether it is a historical or educational attack, or the rapid and escalating rise of immorality in our day, this is the world we are no facing.

This has caused many of us in the Christian community to respond badly to our detractors.  In our attempt to fight fire with fire, so to speak, Christian organizations, publishers, broadcasters, and the like have all responded using non-Christian tactics.  And so we stand up for our perceived “rights” and have declared all-out war on the culture in some cases, and in other cases in our attempts to reach it have been compromised by our friendship with the world.  The former have become hostile to unbelievers, and it is these people that are the very ones that God has called us to love and reach with the gospel.  The latter have tried so hard in their outreach to win these lost people that they have become just like them in thought and action.  There is “church” in Canada today where theologically, anything goes.  And there are other denominations that are so hostile to unbelievers that they would gladly light the fire themselves given the chance.

The problem is that neither the New Testament nor the early church in their behaviour can justify either approach.  As John MacArthur says in his commentary on Titus, “…we must not become so engulfed in trying to force social behaviour to conform to our standards that we become enemies of those our Lord has called us to win to Himself.  We must reject sin and never compromise God’s standards of righteousness.  But we must also never engage in defamation and denigration of the lost sinners who make up our corrupt culture.”  This seems to happen when Christians enter the political arena and engage the people in the “corrupt culture” as the enemy instead of as the mission field.

Peter tells us in his first letter (2:5) that we are a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  Later (2:9) he says that we are that chosen race (i.e., human), a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so we can proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. (Cf. Ex. 19:6).  The purpose of a priest is to bring God to people and people to God.  If we do not lead the lost to salvation, nothing else we ever do for them will matter for them, no matter how much it may benefit, if they are eternally lost!  This puts the lie to those who carry the theology of “brining in the kingdom,” unless it all begins with a strong gospel campaign, and many come to righteousness.

We cannot afford to weaken out spiritual mission or priority of gospel proclamation by legislation of government.  It has been well said that righteousness cannot be legislated.  Any effort that aims at changing cultural behaviour is doomed to fail if it does not address the root condition, the sinful heart of man.  And even more critical than this, we cannot, we MUST not become the enemies of the lost, the very people we are to trying to win for Christ!  These are our potential brothers and sisters in Christ!  If our citizenship is truly in heaven as Paul tells us (Phil. 3:20), then we are merely residents of another culture, and no matter the culture, it is not to be ours.  We should not waster our time condemning the culture, and Paul did not encourage us to do that.  He also didn’t call all Christians to stand up against unjust laws or inhuman punishments.  Rather, he called on us to preach, teach, and witness to the transforming and life-giving power of Jesus Christ to a world that broke fellowship with God, and to live our lives in front of them, as those who have been given that new life, and transformed by its power, in an effort to give evidence of the power of God through Christ to a dying world. 

Reminding Christians of these truths is what Paul does in this chapter, and it should help us to keep from becoming hostile toward and superior to unbelievers – for such were some of us.  So let’s get into the chapter!

1:  Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,

  1. It seems fitting that the first word of this chapter is “remind.”  It is a command imperative that applies to all the exhortations of the passage.  It is in the present tense, and this connotes the need to do this continually and persistently.  Let’s look at those.
  2. Be subject to rulers.  This should be our attitude to the government of our municipality, our province, and our country.  Although I have mentioned all three levels of government we deal with, I should note that Paul does not, because he is making his statement about whatever level of government.  So if the municipality needs you to get a building permit to make a shed in your back yard, then pay your money and get the permit!  Gripe all you want about it, but you better do it!  If your government collects taxes, you should pay them!  Jesus never said taxes were fair or unfair, and he never even exempted Himself from them (He instructed Peter to pay for them BOTH). 
  3. Be subject to authorities.  This is more like the police today.  So if you see the lights in your mirror, pull over!  No high-speed chases.  Pay the speeding ticket!  Now there is one notable exception here, and I mention it specifically because of what is going on in Canada.  That is when the authorities (or the government for that matter) tell you to do something that goes against the direct command of God.  An example that is being seen in Britain today – if God tells you to go and preach out in the street, and while doing that, the police tell you to stop, you must non-violently keep preaching the gospel.  In Britain, you will be arrested for disturbing the peace, and because Christianity in Britain is now identified as a religion of violence, you will be handcuffed and put in a cell.  Chin up, brother.  God sees and will avenge.  Be faithful unto death and He will give you the crown of life.  That’s just an example.  Another would be, burn a pinch of incense at the shrine of Caesar once per year.  They are telling you that you must worship Caesar.  That’s happening in China, and Caesar is the communist party.  Resist that.
  4. Be obedient.  This is more of the same – do what they tell you, so long as they aren’t telling you the exact opposite of what God tells us in His word.  We used to call that being a “law-abiding” citizen. 
  5. Be ready for every good deed.  There is no reluctance in this statement.  We need to be willing and prepared to do every good deed we can to everyone around us.  You’ve heard that annoying phrase, “practice random acts of kindness?”  It’s annoying because it is random.  NO!  Practice DELIBERATE acts of kindness to everyone around you!  EVERYONE!  Even that cranky old guy that tells your kids he’s going to keep their ball if they hit it into his yard.  Actually, especially him!  Who needs a good deed done for them more?  If you can answer that question, then do it for them!

2:  to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.

  1. The list continues.  To malign no one.  Now think about this in the context of our anti-Christian world.  Because of my own degree, my mind goes immediately to a man named Richard Dawkins.  He is a biology professor from England, and he’s written a book called The God Delusion.  As a staunch atheist, he feels like it his professional duty (and from the emotion he puts into it, his personal duty) to debunk this myth called God and especially His Christ.  (I do find it interesting he directs his vitriol towards Christianity and not something like Hinduism or Islam, both of which are far more militant about what they do with unbelievers.)  Because of his smugness and poison pen, I personally feel a little singled out and want to fight back, and I don’t need to resort to ad hominem attacks on his character, I understand the science as well as he does.  I could fire back – but I won’t.  What I should do instead is to lovingly preach the gospel – because I used to be in the very same delusion as he is currently in.  Malign NO ONE.
  2. Be peaceable.  The Greek literally means to abstain from fighting.  Be uncontentious.  Be friendly and peaceable toward the lost rather than quarrelsome and belligerent.  Think about this.  What gives us the right to be hostile toward unbelievers, given that we once were unbelievers ourselves?  Well, nothing.  When an unbeliever is just being an unbeliever, it can be easy to become frustrated with them.  And God was patient with us, and drew us to Himself.  We cannot afford to be loveless and hostile in our approach to these people.  We do not know who God will save.
  3. Gentle.  This has the basic concepts of fairness attached to it.  Moderation in speech and thought on our part can be involved.  Patience, or longsuffering, in how they respond to us, and forbearance in how we respond to them.    We should not hold grudges but instead grant the benefit of the doubt to people.
  4. Showing every consideration for all men.  This is one of my favorite Greek words, prautes.  The KJV translates that most often as meekness, the NASB as gentleness, but it is far more.  It is power, but under perfect control when it chooses a response.  Vine, in his Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, comments that prautes “is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest; it is equanimity of spirit that is neither elated nor cast down, simply because it is not occupied with self at all.”  And that’s a big secret.  These people attack you personally, but they really are mad at your master, God.  You just happen to be there.  And God, at least at the moment, isn’t taking this personally because He is offering His grace to offenders who will turn to Him.  Yes, I know that is a limited-time offer – but we’re still inside the time it is being offered, and it is appropriate for us to offer it as well – at every opportunity.  In fact, prautes is a fruit of the Spirit and mentioned in that list in Galatians 5:23. 
  5. The phrase “all men” literally means “all men.”  Paul is speaking of every person on the planet that may intersect our lives.  After all, God desires “all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) 
  6. You know, I look at that list, and I see every place I fall short.  It grieves my heart, not in an emotional sense entirely, but it causes me to reaffirm my commitment to follow after Him, and walk in the Spirit so I will not perform the deeds of the flesh.  I would offer myself up to God as a living sacrifice so that He can transform me and renew my mind, and give me a heart of flesh, not that stony one that feels nothing.

3:  For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.

  1. Why do we need to display all these godly attributes toward unbelievers?  Surely at some point we have had enough of the garbage they spew and need to move on.  Or is that true?  I think Paul knew very much that he was formerly one of those unbelieving people.  I certainly know that about myself, and I am literally ashamed of myself for continuing in it after God saved me.  I know Paul felt the same way, because he recorded his struggle for us in Romans 7.  Paul has just listed 7 virtues that we are supposed to express toward the unbelieving world.  Now he lists 7 vices, character flaws that formerly (sometimes not formerly) reflected who we were as reprobate rebels against a holy God.  We’ll look at them.
  2. Foolish.  A complete lack of understanding, or total ignorance about a particular subject.  I think in relation to Paul’s gospel point (which he will directly state in the next verse) here is that no matter how well educated or intelligent a person may be, if they will not recognize God and trust Him for salvation from sin, they are (as we were) foolish regarding His most important truth about Himself.
  3. Disobedient.  Anything God ordained, we stood in opposition to it.  If God said do not steal, we were busy figuring out how to gain it and not get caught, even by God.  If He said, keep off the grass, the bottoms of our feet and our pant-cuffs would be green from walking all over it.  And it wouldn’t have mattered if we were caught or what the consequence would have been.  The wages of sin is death, says Romans 6:23a.  We still did it.
  4. Deceived.  The concept expressed in the Greek is “being purposely led astray.”  That’s Satan’s goal, by the way.  He wants his principle of sin to lead you to greater and greater sin, and so he will do what he can to keep you blind to the truth.  It is a good thing that God is bigger than that and is omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent and sovereign.  He knows how to deliver His chosen ones.
  5. Enslaved to various lusts and pleasures.  Remember, Paul is speaking to a time when we were unbelievers.  By our very nature, we were slaves to sin.  We would naturally choose it in willful fashion because we by nature are sinful, and we lacked the capacity to do thing one about it!  Lusts refer to the sinful desires we entertain, and pleasures refers to the satisfaction of those sins.  Think of how we would pursue that!
  6. Malice.  Literal evil.  This can be seen as a generally vicious character, and to some extent or another, all sinners, ourselves formerly included, spent our time being vicious to one another – or to ourselves.
  7. Envy.  This is a fascinating sin.  By definition, a person filled with envy cannot be satisfied until he has what he wants.  However, when he gets what he wants he discovers it does not satisfy him enough, and so he wants more – and more, and more, and more – and there isn’t enough in the whole universe to satisfy him.
  8. Hateful.  People who are hateful simply despise anyone who stands in their way or who displeases them for whatever reason.  There is no rational basis for hate.  They find themselves hating everything and everyone, especially those who are most like them, and ultimately themselves.  And we were just like that in every case.

4:  But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,

  1. Then something happened!  The kindness or goodness of God our Saviour and His love [philanthropia] for mankind appeared!  Kindness here is the genuine goodness and generosity of heart.  Our salvation from the way that we were, and from sin, and from being lost, and from death, came completely from the kindness of God.
  2. Note that Paul here calls Him God our Saviour.  This is the title for both God the Father and God the Son throughout this letter.
  3. His love for mankind appeared.  The word for love is actually different than normal.  The Greek here reflects not the self-giving, self-sacrificing love of God, but rather expresses his warm affection for mankind as a whole!  God also has affection for man!  This reflects His compassion, particularly in His desire to deliver us from the pain of sin and trial.  It is more than simple emotion, however, and it will always find some way of expressing itself as helpfulness.

5:  He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

  1. That’s right, when His kindness for humanity appeared, He SAVED us!  The term in Greek is sozo, and although it is used of temporal deliverance occasionally in the New Testament, it is most often used of spiritual salvation.  This is the good news!  He SAVED us!  Past tense!  As in, “It is finished!”  How?
  2. It is a gift.  This point is the big difference between true Christianity and all false religion.  False religion (including the cults, Christian or otherwise) all tell you how to earn salvation for yourself (a lie) or that you have no need to earn it, you just need to realize you are god (another version of the same lie).  Only Christ tells you the truth.  Yes.  You are a sinner.  You deserve to suffer in hell for eternity.  But Christ (God Himself) died so that you no longer have to.  He has both expiated you, that is made you righteous before God, and is your propitiation, that is your sacrifice, the substitution of His death for yours – all so that you could substitute your life for His!  Now that’s a good deal!
  3. And we could do nothing to earn it!  Look at the text!  Not on the basis of deeds we have done in righteousness.  Isaiah 64:5b tells us that all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.  Let me give you the Hebrew understanding of that.  All of our righteous deeds are like filthy, used menstrual rags.  It is disgusting in the sight of God and anyone else who can see the truth.  No, we could do nothing to earn our salvation.  It had to come from God alone, through Grace alone.
  4. According to His mercy.  MacArthur writes, “Mercy is from eleos, which refe3rs to the outward manifestation of pity that assumes need on the part of those who receive it and sufficient resources to meet the need on the part of those who show it.”  Grace relates to the guilt of the sinner before God, but mercy relates to the condition of the sinner in the affliction of his own sin.  Grace judicially forgives the sinner, but mercy helps the sinner to recover.
  5. By the washing of regeneration.  The term for regeneration is related to the idea of receiving new life, or being born again (or from above).  This is where the sinner is literally made spiritually alive, and the Holy Spirit gives us a new spirit, a new heart, depending on which Old Testament prophet you want to read (Joel or Ezekiel in the case of those specific terms).  Depending on who you listen to, that grace is irresistible (Calvinists) or can be refused (Arminians).  Assuming you listened to it, I’m not sure that matters at the moment, because whatever the case, YOU ARE SAVED by the grace of God by His mercy and rescued.
  6. Renewing by the Holy Spirit.  This third person of the Godhead, Himself god, is the one that energizes the whole show, and then pours out His power in us to make us want to follow Jesus – v.6 –

6:  whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

  1. For the record, the “He” in this verse is God the Father, who is the one that pours out the Spirit (previous verse) through the completed and salvific work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  And the Father even had a point for doing this.

7:  so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

  1. A great deal is made by many commentators on just what “justified” means here.  The more conservative commentators think that this should be more limited to simple justification, the removal of our guild and the associated punishment.  The more liberal scholars feel that this means all of salvation, in terms of including sanctification and even up to glorification, parts of our salvation that are yet ongoing.  As you are aware, I feel that I have to be very conservative in my approach as a teacher of God’s word.  To include more than the word says is at best eisegesis, and I must therefore say that this refers to our justification in the sense of the removal of our guilt before God and the associated punishment and judgement that go with that guilty state.  More than that is not required to give any kind of understanding to the surrounding text.
  2. All that being said, there is a statement of reason and purpose here – we were saved by the grace and mercy of God by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit (v.5) whom God the Father poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour (v.6) so that being justified by His grace, WE WOULD BE MADE HEIRS according to the hope (remember, the future expected certainty) of eternal life!  We are God’s heirs, whatever that may mean, along with Jesus Christ, our older brother as it were.

8:  This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.

  1. This is a trustworthy statement.  Remember Paul’s catch-phrase?  This is the fifth and final occurrence of it.  “Pay attention!  This will be on the test!”
  2. Concerning these things…speak confidently.  These things refers to the second and third chapters to this point about how to live our lives.  Why?  Those of us that have had a career in sales will tell you that it is confidence that sells, not that this is a sales pitch.
  3. So that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds.  In this case, it is NOT a sales job, but an inspiring confidence, the difference between the words of the man of God, who is a communicator on God’s behalf to the people, and the sales person who has something to gain.  As a preacher, I have nothing to gain by your doing good deeds to others, but if I can inspire you with my confidence, I have done my job.  As a sales person, I benefit directly from your buying my product in terms of commission.  What commission could I possibly gain if I inspire you to good deeds toward others?  I suppose I could gain reputation, which is a type of currency, but that itself is limited and of little value.
  4. Why do those good deeds?  That is, why demonstrate lives changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world and each other?  Because when we do this, it is, according to the Apostle, good and profitable for men – for the believers themselves and for the unbelievers who may be drawn to Christ by these good deeds.  God’s plan of salvation calls for strong churches that proclaim AND live the reality of the transforming gospel of Jesus Christ so that it is attractive to unbelievers!

9:  But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.

  1. Paul is now beginning to close this letter to Titus, and in his closing words, he identifies four separate and important categories of personal relationships within the church that have special relevance and significance:  relationships with (A) false teachers, (B) factious people, (C) fellow servants, and (D) faithful friends.
  2. False Teachers.  The word here is “avoid,” but the sense of the Greek text is “turn oneself around and purposefully away” from them.  “Shun” is a good alternate (from Darby and others).  We are not to shun them, but rather their specific errors:
    1. Foolish controversies.  In Greek, the word for Foolish is moros, where we get our English word moron.  Controversies is zetesis, that which is controversial and contentious.  Basically, anything that comes from the foolishness of the philosophy or even theology that is based on the intellect and reasoning of man.
    2. Genealogies.  We must be careful not to ignore the important genealogies in scritpure, like the royal lineage of Jesus, or the human lineage of Jesus, or things recorded for us in the Old or New Testaments.  If it’s there it is safe and not really subject to any interpretation other than what is there.  However, in the 4th century, Eusebius tells of a conspiracy after the apostles had died out that came from some of these false teachers of these nonsensical genealogies to propagate their lies.  Apparently these were a serious threat to the church even before the apostles were all gone, judging by the comments of Paul to Titus here and Timothy.
    3. Strife.  Apparently a term for all kinds of self-centered rivalry, it can be applied to any argument about what is true, or even any topic regardless of truth.  The term is general enough that it could apply to any heated discussion or argument.
    4. Disputes about the [Mosaic] Law.  Paul called this group as a whole, Judaizers, and Titus particularly would have known who these guys were and what they taught.  Titus was at the Jerusalem council where the issue of what constituted the gospel was discussed, and “bringing the Gentiles under obedience to the Law” was rejected and men did NOT have to be circumcised or keep any of the specific ceremonial laws or the like in order to be saved.  Titus knew how to handle these guys, too.
  3. All of these errors are classed by Paul here as unprofitable and worthless.  Remember, Paul here is discussing about how to deal with false teachers and their arguments.  Speaking with unregenerate men about theology, morality, or doctrine is simply pointless.  “False” teachers.  They have no desire to accept the truth, they just want to talk about their little fantasies as a means of making money.  The sad part is that many will listen to them and be led to destruction as a result.

10:  Reject a factious man after a first and second warning,

  1. Factious Individuals.  I have to pause here to say something.  I have been told by a number of people at this point that I rely in my preaching too much on defining words, and that at points my preaching sounds like lexographic lectures.  I have even been told by members in my congregation to take it easy on the Greek and Hebrew stuff.  I will admit, I can see their point, I might be boring a few people.  However, there are times when at least a basic understanding of the original text in its language is essential for understanding a critical verse meaning in the very word of God.  This verse is one of those times.
  2. Reject – paraiteomai – “have nothing to do with,” or according to Vine’s Expository Dictionary, to refuse, decine, avoid.  Do you hear that?  Reject.  Have nothing to do with them.
  3. Factious – hairetikos – “capable of choosing;” and hence figuratively, “causing division by a party spirit.”  This Greek word is the very word from which we derive our English word “Heretical.”  This isn’t just an argumentative man.  This is a man who wants to argue about key doctrinal truths, from the Greek.  And if you don’t understand that, you may misapply it to people you do not agree with.  You think you’re always right?  Try again, there is only One who is always right, and He inspired this warning.  And Sometimes you NEED to understand the Greek.  Maybe I do get carried away with it, because I find it an area of interest, so I will take it as constructive criticism.  But if I promise to do that, you have to promise not to roll your eyes when I start to talk about Greek lexography, because I think it is critical to understanding the text I’m preaching.  Deal?  Oh, that this applies to women as well.
  4. After a First and Second warning.  You hear that?  Three strikes and you’re out.  What I find interesting is that the topics being argued may be trivial and unimportant.  That they are being argued about is neither trivial OR unimportant.  And as an “overseer” or pastor, Titus would have been tasked with telling these people to either stop arguing about stuff or leave, because that would have been their choices.

11:  knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.

  1. Did you hear that?  A person that persists in arguing over things, regardless of how important it may be, is SINNING.  That word “perverted” has a slightly different meaning than what you may be used to, it does not have a sexual qualification, although in may have it in some circumstances.  It simply means “twisted,” or “turning inside out.”  And right here, Paul is listing this factious, persistent, and heretical arguing over even the most insignificant of things as SIN.  And in that such a person will not stop (nor perhaps be able to stop), he will condemn himself.

12:  When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.

  1. Fellow Servants.  Here we start with the list of names at the end of a letter that Paul is known for.  We know next to nothing about Artemas other than that he would be a fellow capable of replacing Titus, as was Tychicus, who we have encountered before.  Tychicus, you will recall, accompanied Paul on his missionary journey from Corinth into Asia Minor, and was a letter-bearer to the church at Colossae, which means he probably travelled with Onesimus and carried a letter for a certain elder there named Philemon.  He also carried another to Ephesus later, and was sent by Paul to replace Timothy there.  Paul remarks in this verse that he does not know which man he will send, but he will send one of them.  Titus was to join Paul in Nicopolis, where Paul was likely arrested for a second time, and from whence Titus subsequently departed for Dalmatia (current are of Serb-Croat territory).

13:  Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them.

  1. Again, Zenas, we do not know apart from this verse, but we do know that he was a lawyer.  The only thing that we can safely assume is that he was a faithful servant, or he would not have been so kindly mentioned by Paul here.  Apollos, on the other hand, we know well.  He was a Jewish preacher from Alexandria, Egypt, and he had some eloquence for preaching, having only been introduced to the baptism of John.  He met a couple named Prisca and Aquila, and they must have preached the gospel to him.  He became a missionary to the region of Achaia, and some of his disciples reached the church in Corinth before he did.  We don’t know what they were doing, or whether they were going to stay or were just passing through, but Paul’s instruction was that these men should be cared for “so that nothing is lacking for them.”
  2. This is really the point here – that spirit of care and support for brothers who are in the ministry should be a prominent characteristic of Christ’s church.  Although they might not be from among us, they work for the same master, and we are called to assist each other in this fashion.

14:  Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.

  1. Faithful Friends.  Say what you will about the role and responsibilities of leadership in a gathering, but I am coming to see that it is not possible for just the pastor or even the board of elders in a gathering to meet all of the pressing needs in our midst with our good deeds.  However, those in fellowship there, the members, CAN often step up on the occasion of the need with an appropriate good deed and take care of our own.  Speaking as the moderator of our congregation, I wish I could see this more often than I do.  But I DO see it.
  2. Understand that a loving gathering that is serving together in love will be a beacon of light to the world, that proverbial city set on a hill, and that visible testimony of love for each other in Christ will draw unbelievers to the light of salvation in Jesus Christ.

15:  All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith.  Grace be with you all.

  1. Paul sends his final greetings to Titus and the churches on Crete here, and says hi for everyone that is with him.  And his final words are for those that love us in the faith:  Grace be with you all.

And that’s the letter to Titus!

Next week, we will look at the letter which I have heard described as having no theology in it at all.  I disagree – I think it is rich in theology, and without giving too much away, it is a practical application of Christianity to a very interesting situation.  After that, we will take a week off for Easter, and we will begin our study of what I consider to be the last of the Pauline letters, the book of Hebrews.  I don’t think Paul wrote it, but it had to have been someone who spent a good deal of time with Paul, and an expert on the book of Leviticus.  I’ll say more when we get there.

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