There are a thousand different strategies from a thousand different denominations all advocating some unique selling proposition that the church MUST consider TODAY! It’s not only confusing, but it’s often at odds with the simple instruction provided in the Word of God.
The great Easter Egg drop of 2014. 7,000 candy-filled plastic eggs were dropped from a helicopter.
“You may ask, well, what does dropping an egg from a helicopter have to do with the resurrection? Uh, Absolutely nothing. It’s just fun.”1
Sums up the logic of the average church today. Church is all about entertainment.
What you win them with, you win them to.
Probably why they dropped 15,000 eggs the following year.
Titus is a manual for the local church.
Read Titus 1:1-4
What makes a church and how are members to act?
Written by Paul from Macedonia during 4MJ (AD 61-63). Paul wants Titus to complete his ministry in Crete (1:5), then visit him upon the arrival of his replacement (3:12). He expects the congregation to hear the letter (3:15).
Titus instructed to appoint qualified leadership, teach a foundation of doctrinal knowledge, and provide an explanation of proper Christian conduct.
Contexts: Church > Home > World.2
Titus is theological and ethical instruction for every church in every age.
Not both-and, but cause-and-effect relationship.
Obedience is the natural response to right doctrine which is to be taught and preserved by qualified leadership. Whenever there is a breakdown in one category, the other categories are certain to be weakened as well.
Moral separation from the world is one of the great themes of Scripture (Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:26).
Moral compromise is often preceded by doctrinal confusion which is often preceded by unqualified leadership (or at least, uninvolved leadership). Therefore, training up qualified leadership is the starting point > doctrinal instruction > moral integrity.
Oftentimes, the church reverses this order and focuses on the symptoms of moral disobedience without ever addressing the deeper rooted problems of poor theology and leadership. Indeed, knowing who you are in Christ > moral freedom.
With this context in mind let’s consider Paul’s greeting…
1 Paul’s apostolic calling was to support the faith and knowledge of God’s elect, those chosen by God (1 Cor. 1:26-31). How?
The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word, by which also, and by the administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and strengthened.3
The Spirit of Christ works through the ordinary means of grace (Word, Sacraments, and Prayer).
2 Increasing their hope of eternal life based upon God’s promise before times eternal (2 Tim. 1:9). Ponder that!
3 This promise had been revealed through the preaching of his word, which Paul was entrusted with.
In other words, Paul fulfilled his apostolic calling by preaching God’s promises to God’s elect.
Exemplary leadership places a heavy emphasis upon discipleship. Notice Paul’s focus upon people, specifically God’s elect, rather than programs.
Church Leadership should learn from Paul’s…
- Christ-like humility (slave) and authority (apostle, 1a).
- Desire to increase the congregation’s faith, knowledge, godliness, and hope (1b-2).
- Commitment to preaching the word that Christ had entrusted to him (3). He explains his calling in terms of equipping the saints, NOT transforming the culture.
We should also consider the recipient…
Titus is not mentioned in Acts, but still in close relationship with Paul.
Titus was a Gentile Christian, probably converted under Paul’s ministry. Paul refused to have Titus circumcised (Gal. 2:1-3).
He seems to have traveled with him on all but Paul’s first missionary journey. He had an extensive ministry in Corinth (mentioned 9x). Paul seems to have used him similarly in Crete (1:5) and Dalmatia (2 Tim. 4:10).
John Calvin dedicated his commentary on Titus to William Farell and Peter Viret, because he saw them as his “Titus” to whom he was passing on the work that was incomplete.
Thankfully, God has never left his church without proper leadership. The Pastoral Epistles ensure the perpetual existence of proper authorities in the true Church of Christ.
The modern disdain for authority should never infiltrate the Church, but unfortunately it has already corrupted it in many places.
“Grace and peace” Such a common refrain was certainly packed with significant meaning. These benefits are bestowed upon believers by “God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.”
- Grace A single word that summarizes the gospel. Jesus Christ has accomplished the work of redemption and his Holy Spirit has applied it apart from anything you have done.
- Peace is the result of grace, reconciliation with God. Not an emotion, but matter of fact.
The greeting provides…
- An Introduction to the Context
- An Introduction to Paul (1-3)
- An Introduction to Titus (4)
Leadership promotes knowledge which promotes godly conduct. This is the proper order we should keep in mind. Who you are inChrist precedes how you act for Christ.
Christ has given leadership to the Church in order to protect this truth. The safeguarding of the gospel is not granted to anyone, but only to those who have proven their exemplary qualities before the Church. We will consider those next week.
For now, let’s look to Christ Jesus, our Savior, for his help in preserving this gospel.