16 April 2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; 2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; 3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour; 4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour. 5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.” (Titus 1:1-5 KJV)
There is not a great deal of reference to Titus in the Epistles of Paul, but that which is given paints the picture of a strong and dependable minister and evangelist of God. Titus is a Gentile name shared with other notable figures of the time including the Roman General Titus who wasted Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Titus seems to have become Paul’s go between with the Gentile churches of Asia Minor and Crete. He was a man of character whose word and commitment were sure. Such men are not easy to find in our day. But dependability and trustworthiness are values uncommon in the world, but of particular application to true ministers of God. This characterizes great military leaders as well. For example, the Centurion of Luke7:
“. . . . a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. 3 And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. 4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: 5 For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. 6 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: 7 Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. 8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, “I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Luke 7:2-9 Many today are spectacles of disappointment in this regard.
As we saw in the Epistle of 3rd John, the Apostle John refers to himself as an elder, or bishop – an interchangeable term. On the other hand, Paul proclaims himself an Apostle of Christ. In fact, both John and Paul were Apostles; but John had an intimate relationship with Christ, and Paul had a profound meeting with the Lord that changed him totally from a persecutor of Christians to one who sought to evangelize all men. He considered it the highest honor to have been the last called Apostle of Christ during the time when Christ had ascended. But Paul also considers it a high honor to be called merely a servant of God. The title, Servant, carries a preeminent acclaim since one can neither be an apostle, deacon, or Christian without that title.
Paul exercises his office “according to the faith of the elect,” or chosen of God. This faith is secured by the Godly truth that is revealed by Paul’s teaching and is the seal of authority for it.
“ 2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; 3 But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour.” We see in these two verses the foreordained predestination of God in providing a Savior long before the worlds were made or ere Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden at Eden to tend it. This promise of God was fulfilled in the coming of the Redeemer and Savior as the Lamb of God sacrificed before the foundation of the world. “ 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” Ephesians 1:3-4 and “19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,” 1Peter 1:19-20. (see also Revelations 13:8).
Paul considered the adoption of the sons and daughters into the Kingdom of God to reflect his own fatherly teaching and responsibility in the Word. “To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.” There are a very many young men and women of Korean heritage who have come to the Throne of Grace at St. Andrews in years past whom I consider my own sons and daughters in the faith. I love them one and all. Paul, likewise, considers Titus a faithful son “after the common faith.” That reference to the ‘common faith’ fits nicely with that courageous faith of the great reformers of England and Continental Europe. These gave to us a faith based upon Holy Scripture and in such form of worship that it was common to all in its biblical truth, reverence, and good order. Paul adds that good order to the ‘common faith’ elsewhere: “Let all things be done decently and in good order.” 1 Cor 14:40
As evidence of the trust and confidence Paul placed in Titus, we need only observe his remarks concerning Crete. “5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.” Titus organized and set in good order the worship and doctrines of the church at Crete. This was no easy matter when one understands the nature of the culture and character of the people of that island. The Cretans, by culture and character, were thieves, liars, and a disorderly people. It would require a firm hand and a convincing preacher to organize these people into a church of God demonstrating love, loyalty, truth, and reverence before God. Such is the proof of the civilizing sweet influences of the Gospel top not only change the hearts of individuals, but also of nations.
Titus would have acted with the authority of a bishop in ordaining and ordering the churches of every city as Paul has instructed.
The first five verses of Titus serve as an introduction to set the atmosphere for its study. The Book of Titus may be outlined as follows – an outline to which this brief study will adhere:
TREU AND FALSE CHURCHES AND MINISTERS 1:6-16
A. True Elders or Ministers 1:6-9
B. False teachers 1:10-16
THE MESSAGE OF SOUND DOCTRINE
A. Behavior of Believers 2:1-10
B. Grace of God 2:11-15
C. Civic Duties of Believers 3:1-2
D. Life without God 3:3
E. Life WITH God – Salvation 3:4-7
F. Warning to Believers 3:8-11
CONCLUSION – REMARKS OF SOME COMMITTED CHRISTIANS 3:12-15
NOTE; We may cover more than one of the above topics in a single devotion for the day.