Sermon Notes & References

The Fundamental Priority

Titus 1:1-4

September 2, 2018


 

A. What We Know About Titus

    1. “Paul’s Letter to Pastor Titus”

 

    2. Who Was Titus? 1


 

B. Priorities for Paul & Titus

    1. Problem of Priorities

 

    2. Truth of Scripture

 

    3. Certainty of God’s Promise 2

 

    4. Christ’s Deity

 

    5. Salvation by Faith 3


1  Titus 1:1-4. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Fundamental Priority

 

A. What We Know About Titus

    1. “Paul’s Letter to Pastor Titus”

        a. well, that is one thig that we really do not know!

            (A)    but, as we call this, along with First and Second Timothy, a pastoral epistle, that office naturally suggests itself

            (B)    however, an episcopalian in looking at the tasks given to Titus, might equally well recognise him as a bishop or an arch-bishop, since he was given the responsibility of ordaining elders on his own

            (C)   and others, each drawing from their own church polity, would give him accordingly different church offices

        b. Titus, though his name does not appear in the book of Acts, appears to have been a member of one of Paul’s missionary teams

            (A)    the only NT references to this man, other than in this, are found in Paul’s letters: 2 Corinthians, Galatians and 2 Timothy

            (B)    yet in this letter Paul refers to him both fondly and favourably

 

    2. Who Was Titus?

        a. as we mentioned, Titus is not mentioned in the book of acts

            (A)    that book, in 18:23-21:15, records in some detail Paul’s third missionary, starting from Antioch, going through Galatia, spending over two years in Ephesus, then Philippi in Macedonia into Greece, then back through Philippi (where the author of Acts, Luke, joined him), to Troas, Miletus (seaport of Ephesus), back to Palestine 2 – a journey in which Titus joined Paul part way through

            (B)    so why does Luke not mention him in all the other details? One suggestion is that Titus was Luke’s brother – pure speculation!

        b. what we do know about Titus

            (A)    He was a Greek:”1 Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. 2 And it was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. 3 But not even Titus who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised.” (Galatians 2:1-3)

            (B)    Titus 1:4 tells us that Titus, like Timothy, was one who came to faith directly through Paul’s own witness.

            (C)   he had been sent to Corinth to trouble-shoot & to follow up on the appeals in Paul’s first letter to them and then to report back to Paul

                 (1)    6 But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus; 7 and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more. 8 For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret … 9 “I now rejoice, … that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance;” (2 Corinthians 7:6-9)

                 (2)    I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Titus did not take any advantage of you, did he? Did we not conduct ourselves in the same spirit and walk in the same steps?” (2 Corinthians 12:18)

            (D)   Paul had expected Titus at Troas: “12 Now when I came to Troas … 13 I had no rest for my spirit, not finding Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I went on to Macedonia.” (2 Corinthians 2:12-13)

            (E)    Then, it was Titus that was sent to gether the collection for the church in Jerusalem: “16 But thanks be to God, who puts the same earnestness on your behalf in the heart of Titus. 17 For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest, he has gone to you of his own accord. … 23 As for Titus, [he is] my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brethren, [they are] messengers of the churches, a glory to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 8:16-17, 23 NAS)

        c. Finally it was Titus that Paul left in Crete to trouble-shoot the state of the church in the various cities on that island: verse 5 of chapter 1, “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains, and appoint elders in every city as I directed you”

            (A)    but when did this happen? ... its not recorded in the book of Acts

            (B)    for this and other reasons, Bible scholars have concluded that after Paul’s first trial, to which he makes reference

                 (1)    At my first defence no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them.” (2 Timothy 4:16 NAS)

                 (2)    there was a period, from about 63AD to 66AD, when Paul was free to make a fourth journey

                 (3)    and Paul was now on that journey writing this letter.

        d. so, Titus appears to have acted as Paul’s special envoy

 

B. Priorities for Paul & Titus

    1. Problem of Priorities

        a. you have all experienced this; the difficulty in setting consistent and God-honouring priorities

        b. well, maybe not so much in setting, as in carrying them out

            (A)    something at hand overshadows something next week

            (B)    this moment’s needs, the concern for the future, for eternity

            (C)   and people use the same philosophy in deciding – at least in their own minds – what the church, the local body of Christ, should do

        c. well, in these opening verse, Paul makes reference to some key items for the church of Jesus Christ to keep in mind

        d. it is difficult, if not impossible, to isolate in these first four verses of Paul’s letter the one item that is of paramount importance; rather is is the combination of what is said that form the fundamental priority for the pastor, his ministry and the church.

 

    2. Truth of Scripture

        a. verse 1: “Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ

        b. verse 3: “with which I was entrusted, according to the commandment of God our Saviour

            (A)    when the bond-servant speaks, he speaks on behalf of his Master, and his words bear the full authority of the Master

            (B)    an apostle is “one sent; an envoy”, and so carrying with him the delegated power of the master

            (C)   in Roman times, a “Legate” – an ambassador speaking on behalf of his king and kingdom

            (D)   likewise, Titus had, therefore, a like authority delegated from Paul

            (E)    so you and I, when we speak God’s word in sincerity and truth, with the power of the Holy Spirit, can do so with authority – Billy Graham was known for these three words: “The Bible says ...”

 

    3. Certainty of God’s Promise

        a. verse 2: “which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago” or “before the ages began

            (A)    two different rendering (both possible) influenced by understanding of other Scriputres

                 (1)    Calvin: God cannot promise something to Himself; the promise was made first to Eve, then Abram, and so on

                 (2)    others: God purposed this in eternity, and once purposed it is as good as made; the promises were effected in time

            (B)    regardless, the truthfulness of God makes His promises perfect

            (C)   Illustration – The Word of God stands - Beecher -In commercial crises, manhood is at a greater discount than funds are. Supposing a man had said to me last spring, "If there comes a pinch in your affairs, draw on me for ten thousand dollars." The man said so last spring ; but I should not dare to draw on him this fall. I should say, "Times have changed; he would not abide by it." But God's promises are "from everlasting to everlasting;" and He always stands up to them. There never was a run on heaven which was not promptly met. No creature in all the world, or in lying, audacious hell, shall ever say that he drew a draft upon heaven, and that God dishonoured it. 3

        b. verse 3: “but at the proper time manifested

            (A)    literally, “in His own appointed season” – just as this is the harvest season, so God had a set time to make the promise known.

            (B)    planned in eternity

            (C)   promised to Eve, Abraham & the Patriarchs

            (D)   prophetically manifest (shown or demonstrated) as in the “Gospel of Isaiah) (chs. 40-66)

            (E)    historically manifest (shown or demonstrated) in the NT, in the life of Christ and at the cross

            (F)    currently being manifest, as following Paul, e.g.,

            (G)   verse 3: “even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted” – as is the case with everyone who has known the call of God, who can say with Paul, “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.” (1 Corinthians 9:16 NAS)

 

    4. Christ’s Deity

        a. verse 3: “the commandment of God our Saviour.

        b. verse 4: “from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.

            (A)    whether the Father, or Jesus, they are alike our Saviour

            (B)    the two are correlated as equal

            (C)   J. B. Phillips weak paraphrase destroys this truth, when he renders the same Greek word “who saves us”(v 3) & saviour (small ‘s’,v4)

        c. a further confirmation of this truth will come later in the letter – see if you can find it!

 

    5. Salvation by Faith

        a. verse 1: “for the faith of those chosen of God

        b. verse 4: “Titus, my true child in a common faith:

            (A)    faith is uncommon – this was the experience of Jesus Christ, “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.” (John 8:45 NAS)

            (B)    but the word common does not mean that here, nor vulgar, etc.

            (C)   in England – and perhaps elsewhere – there are sections of land called the “commons” – which means that anyone can go onto them, can even pasture their animals on them – shared ground

            (D)   that is what the word means here

                 (1)    this is the faith that all Christians have in common

                 (2)    and this is in particular saving faith, because as the context shows, “it is the gift of God”

                 (3)    In Luther’s figure, it is the marriage-ring wedding us to Him, not a trafficking (business) but a trysting act. ...( it is He to which faith holds that saves) ...” (NICNT)

 

C. Conclusion

    1. Many Omissions!

        a. the truth in these verses have not been exhausted this morning – though you may have been!

        b. but just a word to leave with you – godliness

        c. though it is easy to understand that word as meaning “God-likeness” or “Christ-likeness”

            (A)    that is not the real meaning of the word

            (B)    as far as meanings go, it could be rendered as piety or worship

            (C)   but in some way that makes it impersonal, as well as a virtuous accomplishment of the Christian

        d. rather, then, let us explain it in what may be more practical terms: it is when you as a Christian walk in such close relationship to our Father God, that our lives speak a testimony to the gospel

        e. Now, there is a challenge for me!


Footnotes

Endnotes

1

© 2018 by Garth Hutchinson, Faith Fellowship Baptist Church of Aurora (Ontario): may be distributed or quoted freely, only let this be done to the glory “of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ” (Titus ii.13). Except as noted otherwise, quotations are from the New American Standard version, used by permission. Various other English versions of the Holy Bible may be used in this sermon. Explanatory additions to the Bible text are shown in [braces]. Version identifiers are:

 

              AV          Authorized (King James) Version of 1769

              NAS        New American Standard version © 1960, 1995 The Lockman Foundation (usually the 1995 edition)

              NIV         New International Version © 1984 by the International Bible Society

              NKJV              New King James Version © 1979 Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers

       NRSV             New Revised Standard Version © 1989 Division of Christian Education of national Council of Churches of Christ

       JBP         The New Testament in Modern English, J. B. Phillips, Geoffrey Bles Ltd

       UBS        Greek text of the United Bible Societies; particularly that published in 1954 by The British and Foreign Bible Society

       WEY               The New Testament in Modern Speech © 1902, 1912 R. F. Weymouth

 

Some of the commentaries and resources used in the preparation of this message are identified as follow:

 

       Barnes –  Notes on the New Testament by Alfred E. Barnes

       Calvin –   Commentaries on the Bible, by Jean Calvin; translated into English & published in the Online Bible.

       EB   -      The Expositor’s Bible, edited by Sir William Robertson Nicoll, C.H., D.D., LL.D., 1903

       EBC             The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, © 1986 Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 49530, MI:

       EGT             The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Hodder & Stoughton; 1903

       Gill       Exposition of the Old Testament, Exposition of the New Testament, by John Gill, D.D.

       JFB  -      Commentary on the Old and New Testaments, Jamieson, Fausset & Brown; S. S. Scranton & Co. 1872

       Kerux –   The sermon & illustration data base compiled by Rev. David Holwick at the web-site, www.holwick.com.

       RWP             Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament, by Dr. A. T. Robertson

2

See various maps, most of which are in substantial agreement

3

BM, in loc.