Two Sundays ago I picked up my preaching series through the Pastoral Letters of Paul and am in Titus (Sunday nights). I started with a sermon that gave an overview or summary of the letter before I started going through each chapter. As much as time permits I will recap those messages here.
In his letter to Titus, Paul charges this young pastor to get the truth out. Titus has been heavily involved with Paul on his third missionary journey particularly with the church at Corinth. Paul references Titus nine times in his second letter to Corinth calling him “my brother” (2:13) and “my partner and fellow worker” (8:23). In this letter Paul calls Titus, “My true child in a common faith” (1:4). This young pastor was well-trained and well-educated by Paul and Barnabas. He was still up for quite a task in Crete.
False teachers were spreading lies and the church needed men who would take a stand. So Paul gives Titus two basic tasks while on this beautiful Mediterranean island: 1) Put qualified teachers in place and 2) Teach the truth.
The first task given to Titus is to “set in order what remains [to be done from Paul’s ministry there] and appoint elders in every city” (verse 5). Paul then goes on to list the qualification of these elders (overseers/ pastors) in verses 6-9. An “elder” is one who is vested with the responsibility to lead by God’s Word, equip the congregation in God’s Word, and guard the people with God’s Word.
Paul goes on to instruct Titus on specific areas where the truth needs to be taught and lived. In verse 15 of chapter 2 Paul says, “These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.” Within the church the responsibility of the congregation is to live out God’s truth among the different age and gender groups (Ch. 2). We don’t need be tribal when it comes to age-groups. We need to invest in each other and sow the truth of God in each other’s lives.
Then in chapter 3 Paul explains that with outsiders the responsibility of the congregation is to live out God’s truth in the world. Our responsibility both inside and outside the church is based on the gospel having saved our souls and changed our lives. People need to hear and see the truth in us now. We glorify the Lord in this way (Romans 12:1-2). That is what Titus was to be about and that is what our churches today are to be about.