The Way - Day 171 (Titus 1)

Daily Reading:
Titus 1
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
Verse 15 has some strong statements for folks that aren't believers.  Reflect on this, Then who is the rebuking for?  Tell a time when someone spoke falsely, what did you do or what did you wish you did?
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 82:3-4
OPTION 2: Proverbs 21:1
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:27-28
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for Titus 1 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
This pastoral letter was written by the Apostle Paul around AD 62-64 to the young pastor, Titus. Paul's writing to Titus is very similar in nature to 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy because he is mainly providing advice and encouragement in the operations of the church. Titus was most likely converted under Paul's ministry during his first missionary journey and showed great promise as a young leader. It is likely he became a traveling companion on Paul's second and third missionary journey. Through his times with Paul, he had been exposed to many situations which equipped him for the ministry. Titus had labored together with Paul on the island of Crete where he was eventually left behind to "set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city...." (1:5). Titus had a large task ahead but Paul knew he could handle it through the power of Christ. For the churches in Crete to be effective, Paul wrote that the leaders must be godly (1:5-16), the church must have right behavior within the church (2:1-15), and the church must have right behavior outside the church (3:1-11). Living in this manner would assure the churches of Crete that they would be effective in their witness and carry out the work of God. I believe the letter of Titus will serve as a great reminder to live holy in this present age.

TITUS 1:1-4
In his introductory words to the young pastor, Titus, Paul introduces himself as "a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ." By referring to himself as a bondservant, he was confessing his unwavering service to God. When I picture a servant, I imagine one who gives himself completely and willingly over to the will of another in order to accomplish the task at hand. Paul was truly an example of one who had devoted his life to accomplishing the purposes of God. He also describes himself as an apostle. An apostle is defined as one who delivers a message for another. In Paul's case he was proclaiming the wonderful message of the gospel to all who would hear and receive. God had called him to preach this message on His behalf which gave him the authority to speak in the name of God. So, Paul willingly submitted himself as a servant of God to spread the truth of the gospel as an apostle. With this authority given to him by God, Paul was concerned about continuing the spread of the gospel to the next generation. Much like Timothy, Titus was also a young pastor who had been left on the island of Crete to provide leadership to the churches. Paul writes to Titus as "a true son in our common faith" (1:4). From the very first words of this letter, we can surmise that Paul had a sincere love for Titus and desired to see him effectively minister the truth to all in Crete. I think these first few verses are a great challenge to the church to invest time and much effort into future leaders. Paul knew he would not live forever, but he was assuring the continuation of his ministry by developing young leaders in the faith. Let us not ignore the youth, but raise them up to be communicators of truth and the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. If you are a spiritually mature leader, invest time in the youth. If you are young leader in the faith, seek wisdom from those who have experience in ministry. By doing this, we can be assured that the next generation will hear and have the opportunity to receive the truth.

TITUS 1:5-9
One of the main reasons Paul left Titus on the island of Crete was to "appoint elders in every city" (1:5). Weak leadership in the church would lead to instability and disunity, so Titus needed to empower men who were spiritually mature to pastor and oversee these congregations. This would be no easy task because not just anyone could be an elder, but only those who were qualified. Paul goes on to list the qualifications of an elder which are very similar to the ones he had written to Timothy (1 Timothy 3:1-7). An elder must be blameless. Being blameless is probably the primary characteristic of an elder because it implies a life free from controversy or indiscretion. Someone who was plagued by a shameful public testimony should not hold the office of an elder. Secondly, he must be the husband of one wife which literally means he should be a one-woman man. His children also should be be faithful "not accused of dissipation or insubordination" (1:6). Simply put, the pastor must be able to handle his own household before guiding the church. An elder is a steward of God meaning that he has been entrusted to carefully handle the truth as well as the church (1:7a). Paul goes on to write that one who leads the church must not be "self-willed, quick-tempered, given to wine, violent, or greedy for money" (1:7b). On the other hand, the elder must be "hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word...that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict" (1:8-9). Yes, the standard for being a leader in the church is high, but God desires people who will represent Him well before the people. Again, God is not expecting a man to be perfect, but to be completely devoted to follow in His steps. The church is very close to the heart of God. Paul even wrote in the letter to the Ephesians that Christ loved the church and sacrificially gave Himself for it, so an elder must also have a great love for the people of God. Let the standard remain high for those who wish to lead the people of God and may they continually submitted to His will. If you are already a leader in the church, rededicate yourself to exhibiting these characteristics in your ministry. Represent God's church blamelessly that others may see your example and seek to follow.

TITUS 1:10-16
After providing Titus with the type of person who could lead the church, Paul turns his attention to the responsibility of the elders. The task ahead would not be an easy one, but God would grant the strength to handle every circumstance so that His church can be effective in spreading the gospel. Paul reminded Titus that "there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain" (1:10-11). These false teachers were Jews who believed that circumcision was necessary for salvation. Apparently, they were spreading a false message to the churches in Crete seeking to deceive many for the purpose of financial gain. Paul further defined the character of these false teachers by using a quote from the Cretan poet, Epimenides: "Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons" (1:12). Paul knew these men must be stopped, but he understood Titus would not be able to do this alone. Titus needed spiritually mature men to come alongside him and conduct the ministry of the churches with integrity, consistency, and doctrinal purity. The task of the elders would be to rebuke those people who were listening the false teachers and bring them back to a position of being "sound in the faith" (1:13-14). Although the words of the false teachers sounded spiritual, the faithful should have been able to tell they were lying because of the sinfulness of their lifestyle. Paul writes that the false teachers "profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work" (1:16). The church must remain a place of sound doctrine and not allow deceitful men to enter in with teachings which do not reflect the word of God. There are even many in our modern day churches who are saying things in the name of God, but in reality are not speaking the truth. One of the best ways to distinguish what is being said is to examine the actions of the teacher. What is in the heart will always manifest itself in action. Do not be a Christian who is always caught up in the latest "doctrinal trend" but be discerning and a lover of the truth. God has provided us with His word to give us guidance and direction. Never grasp on to something labeled spiritual without first comparing it to Scripture.

Dear God, I desire to be a discerning Christian who is faithful to uphold the purity of the word of God. May I reject those who attempt to teach that which is contrary to Your word. Protect the church by sending many wise men who will stand for truth.