Titus 1.10-11 – Character in Action

Having laid out for Titus the character of those whom he should appoint as elders to help him lead, Paul now details one of their tasks; to silence false teaching.

For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.

Titus 1.10-11

Sadly as true today as it was when Paul penned this, there are those who move in Christian circles who are insubordinate, not wishing to submit to the authority of the Word or to those whom the Word installs as leaders. This is usually followed by empty talking, deceptive speech, upsetting speech, and often comes with a personal agenda (…for shameful gain…).

The character of an elder, there to help put what remains into order must be ready and willing to speak out against such divisive, deceptive, and destructive talk. If, as we said, this character is what we are all progressing towards, by extension we should all be ready and willing to speak out against such talk. 

That’s not to say today that you must seek out and silence those who err from an orthodox teaching of the Word, but, when presented with a false teaching, when presented with empty talk, with deceptive talk that doesn’t line up with Scripture, with upsetting speech, or with personal agendas, our Christian character in action must be ready and willing to take a stand, knowing that those who take a stand for the truth of the Word will be rightly rewarded (1 Peter 3.13-16Matthew 5.12). 

Is your Christian character ready for this?

Is your Christian character willing to do this?

Titus 1.5-9 – Christian Character

After a few introductions, Paul gave Titus the task to put what remained into order, and appoint elders…He now lays out the exemplary character that needs to be displayed by these men who are to be appointed by Titus to spiritually oversee the churches.

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— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, 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 trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

Titus 1.5-9

Even though this list of character qualifications is specifically listed as being needed by those who are appointed elders in the church (v.5), we would all do well to see that really, this is the benchmark for Christian character in general, elder or not, male or female, Jew or Greek, this is how Christians should conduct themselves.

Don’t we all want to have such a solid character reputation that people trust us,

don’t we all want to be loyal, have a great family life, be humble, peaceable, consistent, content, welcoming, Spirit-filled,

and a good witness of Christ to those around us?

Don’t we all want to be known as someone who stands on Scripture for our equipping, edification, and examples (Timothy 3.16)?

Yes, elders are appointed to model this character to us all in church, but they should never be the only people who live like this. Simply, this is how we are all to live having professed faith in Jesus and submitted and committed to living under His Lordship.

It might seem like a tough task but, as we said previously, we need only say ‘Here I am, send me!‘, and allow the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to work in us as we are being transformed, day by day, towards the image of the ultimate example of Christian character, Jesus.

Titus 1.5 – Up To The Task

Having laid the foundations for his letter, Paul now gives Titus a task,

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…

Titus 1.5

Rather than look at the church leadership structure implications here, let us instead look at the character Titus needed for the job. His task was pretty big,

After a successful evangelistic campaign on the island of Crete, there were a lot of young Christians to take care of…When a job is hard, there are basically two kinds of people. With one you say, “The job is really hard, so we can’t send him.” With the other you say, “The job is really hard, so we must send him.” Titus seemed to be of the second kind.

David Guzik

Titus had the big job of putting what remained into order, and he also had the job of appointing elders. It stands to reason that Paul thought Titus was up to the task. 

Taking this from there to here, them to us;

if God were to give you such an important task,

if you were given a job of the importance of Titus’ from Paul,

are you up to the task?

Are you willing, ready, and able to say ‘Here I am, send me!’ (Isaiah 6.8)?

Do you feel up to the task, no matter what the task may be?

Do you know, really know deep-down, that where God guides, He provides, and that no matter how weak, small, or feeble you feel that this will actually improve your ability to be up to the task (2 Corinthians 12.9)?

Taking aside our ability to actually do the task God gives to us, perhaps this is a better thought to carry into today – am I ready and willing, am I willing to say ‘Here I am, send me?’.

Titus 1.4 – A Common Faith

Having introduced himself and the foundation for the letter Paul now addresses the recipient,

To Titus, my true child in a common faith…

Titus 1.4

We read of Titus a few times in the New Testament. He pops up in 2 Corinthians a couple of times (2.13, 8.23, 12.18) and in Galatians 2. He is suggested by tradition to be the brother of Luke, author of Luke and Acts

Paul addresses him as my true child in a common faith. The same faith that Paul had, the same things that Paul believed in (1 Corinthians 15.1-11) was the same faith that Titus had. Paul describes their faith as common, and he means that this belongs ‘equally to several people‘. Often we think of common to mean cheap, regular, kind of boring, but the word Paul uses here is very similar to the word often translated as fellowship, or partnership

Simply, Paul is reminding Titus of the truth that faith in Jesus is common in that it belongs equally to all who profess it. It is common too in that it brings a common salvation (Jude 1.3), and that was just as true for Paul, as it was for Titus, and as it is for you. 

The same faith that Paul had was held by Titus, and this same faith is available for you too. Same object, same outworking, same conclusion. The common faith that believes in the birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and second coming of Jesus, the common faith that believes that He died for us whilst we were sinners to offer us reconciliation to God, this common faith in Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and will be the same tomorrow (Hebrews 13.8).

How encouraging this is for us, that we are joining those who went before us in professing faith in something so ancient, so established, something that belongs equally to us as much as it did to them, and will do to those who come after us. 

Today, take a moment to think on this; have I truly accepted that my faith allows me to be part of something so much bigger, longer standing, and eternally reaching that myself?

Titus 1.2 – The Chance

Lots of people build their lives on lots of things, don’t they. Career success, providing things for their children, financial acquisitions, property purchases, the pursuit of pleasure…None of these things, inherently, are bad. In fact, there is a degree to which all of them are good. But, are they firm enough to build a whole life on? Are we really in control of any of them? Today, Paul writes to Titus and sets forth what he is basing his hope, his ministry, and his life on.

…in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began…

Titus 1.2

Did you see what Paul is hoping for, anticipating, and expecting? Did you see on what Paul is building and basing his life?

…in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began…

Paul is writing to Titus to instruct and to encourage and in the hope of eternal life. So, what he is going to teach and share as his letter continues has further-reaching consequences than the here and now. How can Paul be so sure that this is the case?

…in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began

What Paul is standing on for present empowerment and future fulfilment is something that was promised before the ages began, something that was spoken forth by Someone who never lies.

This same promise, this same hope of eternal life is available to you today and every day. As I recently read, this is not based on wishful thinking, broad brushstrokes like ‘Good people go to heaven‘, or ‘If you’re sincere, that is enough‘, this hope of eternal life is based on thousands of years of demonstrable history, hundreds of recorded evidences and examples of its truth, a tangible benefit to society that many often forget (see ‘Dominion’ by Tom Holland), and the changed lives of millions.

God, who never lies, has laid out before you the chance to choose the hope of eternal life. God, who never lies, has given you the chance to radically change your life and have it extend into eternity. 

Have you taken that chance?

Titus 1.1 – What’s On Your Business Card?

As with the custom at the time, Paul begins his letter to Titus (and the wider Christian body in Crete) with his name and his introduction. He writes,

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;

To Titus, my true child in a common faith:

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Titus 1.1-4

If we look at the first few words again, Paul introduces himself as

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ

I love how David Guzik refers to this in his EnduringWord Commentary. He writes that this is, in essence, Paul’s ‘business card‘. This is how Paul introduces himself, this is how he wants to be known.

He leaves out his Jewish family credentials, his educational knowledge, his church planting and evangelistic prowess and humbly introduces himself as a slave of God by choice and a messenger of Jesus.

I wonder, if we all had to design and title our own business cards, what would we write on there?

Would we include all of our worldly achievements, our professional qualifications, our personal highlights and highs? 

What we would choose to write on there would give others a glimpse into how we see ourselves. Do we find fulfilment in being a follower of Jesus first and foremost? Do we see ourselves as carrying the major purpose of glorifying God, carrying the name of Jesus follower, and being Spirit filled and led?

Today, take a moment to think on this; Paul saw himself first in relation to God. How do you see yourself?