Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday is TITUS day!

I blogged last week about my New Years Resolution to read through the Bible in a year. I'm officially able to cross Titus off my list! If you decided to do this with me, tomorrow is Philemon.

Author: Paul

Audience: Titus - According to e-Sword (a study guide) Titus is one of Paul's converts (convert means to change or transform, so I'm guessing that Titus is one of Paul's disciples?) This is what e-Sword said specifically in regards to the historical aspects of Titus: "There is now a long interval in the history of Titus, for nothing further is recorded of him till we come to the Pastoral Epistles. From Paul's Epistle to him these details are gathered: On Paul's liberation at the conclusion of his first Roman imprisonment he made a number of missionary journeys, and Titus went with him, as his companion and assistant, on one of these - to the island of Crete. From Crete, Paul proceeded onward but he left Titus to "set in order the things that were wanting, and appoint elders in every city" (Titus 1:5) . Paul reminds him of the character of the people of Crete, and gives him various instructions for his guidance; charges him to maintain sound doctrine, and advises him how to deal with the various classes of persons met with in his pastoral capacity." So Titus was entrusted to "set in order" the church in Crete. This letter is what Titus must do in order to establish this church with good teachers.

Purpose: I'm not 100% sure on this, but if I put into account what I know about Paul and what he believed about the teaching of God's word and how he left Titus in Crete to establish good leaders, or teachers, then I'm guessing the purpose verse is 1:5 "This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you -" The remainder of Titus points back to how Titus is do this: church leadership, recognizing false teachers, and what to teach. This letter gives specific instructions to Titus and Paul is insistent on these instructions. Chapter 3, verse 8, "... I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works." Chapter 2:15, "Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you." So that is my best guess.

Observations and Applications:
  • I know Paul believed in teaching people sound doctrine, so the people in Crete would rightly handle God's word and pass it on to the younger generation. I love this because it points back to what our church is currently doing in regards to discipleship. The older generation, as it says in 2:2-7, is directed to teach the younger generation. I am being taught by Deb, who is definitely wiser and more mature in the Bible than I am, and I am teaching a high school student to rightly handle God's word. Paul gives specific instructions to older men and women, obviously I'll pay more attention to 2:3-5. :) "Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled." I also like verse 7, "Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us." Basically, if I am going to teach God's word to the younger generation I need to be a model of good works, I must show integrity, dignity, and be a sound speaker (EVERYTHING I TEACH AND AND DO SAY AND BELIEVE MUST BE FROM GOD'S WORD). Wow. That's difficult. I have not been perfect in the first 27 years of my life. Thankfully I've been slowly changing these last 3 years and although I will never perfectly live to these expectations, I know the behavior to strive for in my day to day walk with Jesus Christ as a teacher and model of His word.
  • When I think of how Paul told Titus to set up this Church, I think of our own church. Do our elders and deacons meet these requirements? Elders must be "... above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination." Overseer's (or deacons) "... must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworty word as tuaght, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it." (1:6-9) Thankfully, I can honestly say, YES! I do believe the elders and deacons of our church meet these requirements!
  • In every church you are going to have, as Paul described it, "... insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers..." so true. It is the responsibility of these appointed leaders to silence them!
  • I LOVE 2:11-13 "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works." Waiting for our blessed hope - the day I meet Jesus and spend eternity with Him!
  • Chapter 3, verse 1-2 goes right along with what I've been blogging about in regards to parenting and authority! "Shepherding a Child's Heart" and Parents! YOU'RE IN CHARGE! Deal with your bully! "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people."
  • Just like Paul says to Titus in 3:1 to "Remind them..." I'm also needing daily reminders, which is why I have Deb as my teacher. She holds me accountable to God's word and I need that! Because I'm not perfect and it'd be so easy for me to go back to who I was before. In fact if you read on in chapter 3, verse 3 Paul states why Titus needs to remind them: "For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another." I underlined that verse in my Bible and put a big, "YuP!" next to it. I was (still am at times) foolish, disobedient, led astray, slave to various passions and pleasures, envious, a hater... so that daily reminder, someone to hold me accountable... yup, that's just what I need.
  • Chapter 3, verse 4, goes on to give us hope. Even though we were these things: foolish, disobedient, etc. we are saved through Jesus Christ our Savior. "... he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior." THANK GOODNESS it has nothing to do with what I do cause I'd be damned. I fail God daily, BUT thankfully Paul reminds us that our salvation has nothing to do with our own works. CHRIST saved us. Hallelujah!
Hopefully, you gained as much (or more) from the reading of Titus as I did. I'm looking forward to hearing what God has to say in Philemon tomorrow.

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