Text: 2 Corinthians 7:2-16, 8:16-23
This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order…”
Titus 1:5a, ESV
Welcome to the tiny book of Titus – or, as I like to call it, Titus’s Big To-Do List. Titus was a member of the very early Church, a believer led to Christ by none other than the apostle Paul. This 3-chapter book is a letter from Paul to Titus, his spiritual son. While it does indeed contain a long list of do’s and do not’s, this book is so much more than an instruction manual.
Paul’s letter to Titus is about godliness, but it is also about the Gospel. In fact, each and every item on Titus’s Big List is rooted in, established on, and fueled by Paul’s knowledge of and hope in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Some things to know about Paul and Titus as we begin our study:
Paul was a traveling church planter and preacher (emphasis on “traveling”). A quick look at a map of our man Paul’s missionary journey and you can easily see, Paul covered a heckuva lot of ground with the Gospel of Christ. Carrying this Truth and Hope to various cities and establishing local churches was, you might say, Paul’s jam. It was his life’s ultimate calling, and he gave himself to it fully. As you can imagine, he couldn’t do it alone. He needed other missionaries to come alongside him, others who were equally sold out to the Gospel. He needed people like Titus.
Titus was Paul’s co-laborer in the cause of the Gospel. Paul calls Titus his “partner and fellow worker” (2 Cor. 8:23), and he has only good things to say about his spiritual son and brother. He expresses his confidence in Titus’s calling and his ability to further the Gospel (2 Cor. 7:14).
Titus’s obedience was a blessing. His dedication to the Gospel is described as a comfort to the people and even to Paul himself (2 Cor. 7:5-7). Comfort must have been a welcome respite for a man like Paul, tirelessly enduring travel and tribulation in his work for the Lord.
Crete was not Titus’s first assignment. Titus only appears a few other times in the New Testament (Galatians 2, 2 Timothy 4, 2 Corinthians), but it is enough to see that he is instrumental in the establishment and growth of the early church.
So how did he do it? He had a change of heart (2 Cor. 8:16, ESV).
Our hearts for the Gospel come from the Lord. (Just like Titus and Paul’s!)
The hope of the Gospel comes from the Lord.
Godliness in the Gospel comes from the Lord.
Today, let’s pray together. Pray that God will meet with us as we read this divinely inspired piece of mail between his servants Paul and Titus. Pray that He will soften our hearts to receive His instruction. Pray that we will seek Him in the words that make our hearts soar and the words that make us squirmy and uncomfortable.
May our study of His Word bring Him glory and honor. Amen.