Paul’s letter to Titus is a message to awaken flourishing lives resulting from right living through careful attention to theological truth. False teachers and immature Christians embracing divisive ideas were a threat to the church. Paul directed Titus establish group of faithful elders to oversee doctrinal purity and bring clear instruction about healthy conduct of believers.
Behind every sin you commit is a lie you believed.
Titus 1:15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. NIV
On this journey of life your mind is like a steering wheel. Your conscience is like your GPS. There have been times I knew where I was going but used my steering wheel to deviate from the course because I decided to take a shortcut. The intention was that it would be a brief deviation but so many times it winds up taking me places I simply never wanted to go. I’m sure we’ve all taken a shortcut only to discover it wasn’t a shortcut at all.
There have also been times when my GPS took me to the wrong place. I was willingly steering in full cooperation with the wrong directions not ever realizing I was going the wrong direction.
We are all going somewhere! Do you want to wind up where you are going? I’ve learned in so many situations that when I stop consulting God I find that when I get what I want I don’t want what I have.
God’s trying to get the right signal to you so you can navigate effectively so “#prayattention.” God’s plan is for you to flourish and experience abundant life. #prayattention to promptings! We’ve all had those moments where we desperately wish we had a time machine so we could go back in time and correct a mistake we made. So often we know in our hearts what we shouldn’t do before we decide to do it. Titus 2 reveals how this is God’s grace teaching us to do what is right.
Titus 2:11-13 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. NIV
God is our Father who loves us and wants his will in our lives even more than we do. He’s constantly guiding and directing our lives. So often our decisions bring with them consequences that we misinterpret as punishment from God. When Jesus died on the cross all of God’s wrath against sin was taken out on that cross as Jesus became sin so we could become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Judgment from God against humanity will not come until Jesus comes back.
If we don’t understand this we easily formulate religious arguments that are based on hate more than love. In the world’s system conviction happens after a person does the crime and then they are convicted to do the time. In God’s gracious system conviction comes before the person does the crime so they don’t ever have to face doing time.
Titus 3:4-7 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. NKJV
Interestingly Paul brings this message to Titus about the generous and gracious nature of Jesus that reaches us and awakens better lives. Then the next thing we see Paul writing about is the concern about divisive people in the church.
Titus 3:9-10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned. NKJV
It is very common for accomplishment to produce judgment. People who accomplish losing weight easily become judgmental about people who are overweight. People who are financially accomplished easily become judgmental about those who are poor oversimplifying their situation assuming they are just lazy. When a person misinterprets God’s grace religion promotes a false sense of accomplishment producing a harsh judgment against those who sin. We Christians sure get upset when people sin differently than we do. Paul warns against this attitude.
Earlier in Paul’s writings (Titus 2:13) he spoke of sharply rebuking those who were off in their theology. Paul wrote similar encouragements in 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and other places in the New Testament like Romans 16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. NKJV
If maturity were perfection then none of us would be mature. Repentance is a weapon so we must refuse to wallow in guilt and get back in the fight! Gracious love awakens a healthy desire!
One time a young boy had deliberately disobeyed his father. The father found out and called his son in to talk about the situation. As the father spoke he could see his son was clearly apologetic and sincerely repentant. The father took the opportunity to teach him about grace saying, “I love you. You’re forgiven now go out and play.” The boy went out and told everybody in the neighborhood how amazing his dad was and how much he knew he loved him. When we figure this out about God we will go out in our everyday life and do the same about our heavenly Father.
We Bring God’s Presence to Real Life: The God’s presence for real life action point of the week is memorize and rehearse Titus 2:11-12 every day this week, “The grace of God teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives.”
DISCUSSION GUIDE FOR COMMUNITY GROUP LEADERS
1. Share something you love to do and something you do not enjoy doing.
Paul’s life mission and purpose is summarized in the first verse of his letter to Titus.
Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness
Think about how you would define your mission statement. This is something that gets you out of bed in the morning. It may not be the same as Paul’s, but there is something driving you. What is it? What do you love?
2. Share something that you see driving you to some purposed action of trying to make a difference.
Paul goes into an explanation of qualities and characteristics of church elders. These are the mothers and fathers of the church that provide the example for us all to look to in the faith.
Titus 1:6 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. NIV
These qualities and characteristics are to be modeled by leaders as the goal for all of us. Notice the directive to be hospitable in verse 8.
3. Share how a sermon has made a difference in your life.
4. Share how somebody’s hospitality has made a difference in your life.
Hospitality is welcoming people into your life and at times your home, treating them in a gracious way, having a meal with them inviting another level of friendship. Our city will be transformed by Christian hospitality more effectively than by preaching sermons. Sermons are to be preached so Christians can be empowered to live out the love of Jesus.
5. Share one thing you can do this next week to more effectively extend hospitality to someone in your life.
Message Bible Introduction to 1st & 2nd TIMOTHY AND TITUS:
Christians are quite serious in believing that when they gather together for worship and work, God is present and sovereign, really present and absolutely sovereign. God creates and guides, God saves and heals, God corrects and blesses, God calls and judges. With such comprehensive and personal leadership from God, what is the place of human leadership?
Quite obviously, it has to be second place. It must not elbow its way to the front, it must not bossily take over. Ego-centered, ego-prominent leadership betrays the Master.
The best leadership in spiritual communities formed in the name of Jesus, the Messiah, is inconspicuous, not calling attention to itself but not sacrificing anything in the way of conviction and firmness either.
In his letters to two young associates—Timothy in Ephesus and Titus in Crete—we see Paul encouraging and guiding the development of just such leadership. What he had learned so thoroughly himself, he was now passing on, and showing them, in turn, how to develop a similar leadership in local congregations.
This is essential reading because ill-directed and badly formed spiritual leadership causes much damage in souls. Paul in both his life and his letters shows us how to do it right.
Chuck Swindoll’s Insights:
Who wrote the book?
Paul identified himself as the author of the letter to Titus, calling himself a “bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ” (Titus 1:1). The origin of Paul’s relationship with Titus is shrouded in mystery, though we can gather that he may have been converted under the ministry of Paul, who called Titus “my true child in a common faith” (1:4). Titus accompanied Paul on his third missionary journey, during which the apostle sent him to Corinth at least once (2 Corinthians 2:12–13; 7:5–7, 13–15; 8:6, 16–24). Paul clearly held Titus in a position of great respect as a friend and fellow worker for the gospel, praising Titus for his affection, his earnestness, and his bringing comfort to others.
Where are we?
Paul wrote his letter to Titus from Nicopolis in AD 63, after the apostle’s release from his first Roman imprisonment. Upon leaving Timothy in Ephesus to minister there, Paul accompanied Titus to the island of Crete, where he intended Titus to lead and organize the island’s churches in their early years of existence. While the gospel had no doubt spread to Crete soon after Peter’s sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2:11), Paul and Titus likely did a good deal of evangelism on the island in the weeks before Paul commissioned Titus to a leadership position there.
Why is Titus so important?
Three summaries of the incarnation dot the pages of Titus, providing a framework within which the Christian can view the work of God in the world and in individual lives (Titus 1:1–4; 2:11–14; 3:4–7). All three passages involve the manifestation, or appearance, of God in Christ, rooting the Christian faith in the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Only when God the Son took on human flesh in the person of Jesus was the believer’s faith in God made sure. In other words, since God poured out His grace on all humanity, He cleanses His people from their sin and purifies believers for Himself. This grace of God instructs us to live upright and godly lives in this present age (2:11–3:8).
What's the big idea?
The doctrine of the incarnation in the letter to Titus grounds its message of producing right living through the careful attention to theological truth. The churches on Crete were just as susceptible to false teachers as any other church, so Paul directed Titus to establish a group of faithful elders to oversee the doctrinal purity and good conduct of the believers on Crete. Paul exhorted Titus to “speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1), a clear direction that this should be the young pastor’s primary role.
However, Paul also understood that when a body of believers embraces sound doctrine, the result is changed and purified lives that produce “good deeds” (mentioned in Titus 2:7, 14; 3:8, 14). God’s grace is the motivation for all good deeds. Paul gave instructions to Titus about the roles of specific groups of people—older men, older women, young women, young men, and slaves—as well as general instructions to all believers about their conduct. Right living was essential because Christ “gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed,” saving us “by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 2:14; 3:5).
How do I apply this?
How seriously do you consider your beliefs about God in the overall scheme of your life? The book of Titus reminds us that our beliefs about God impact every decision we make. Sometimes it is difficult for believers today to see the point of getting all worked up about the person and nature of Christ or the doctrine of the Trinity. However, Paul made clear that a church that teaches and preaches sound doctrine will see results in the lives of its people. Not only will people be saved from their sins, but God’s grace will also motivate them to live out that saving faith with renewed and purified lives.
Many churches today focus more on the form of their worship—music styles, lighting, and building designs—than they do on the content of the faith they mean to proclaim. And while the form of a church’s worship is vital to reaching its community for Christ, without a firm base of sound doctrine, the church will lay its foundation in shifting and sinking sand. Make doctrine a priority in your own life, as well as encouraging it in your churches. Nothing is more significant than a solid foundation in Christ. Nothing is more motivational than grace to live a life of good deeds.