345 - Paul Writes to Titus
December 11 - Nº 345 Titus 1 – 3
When Paul completed the ministry God had given him in Macedonia (see #343 - December 9), he and Titus visited Timothy in Ephesus. From there, they sailed on to Crete. There were several Christian churches on the island. A number of Jews from Crete had been in Jerusalem on the day the Holy Spirit first came, and they had heard the Gospel being preached in their own language (see Acts 2:11). Some of them believed in Jesus at that time and took the Gospel message back to their own country. But the churches they started were now struggling. Although Paul had been on a ship that anchored off Crete when he was a Roman prisoner (see #330 - November 26), this was the first time he was able to personally visit the island. He and Titus traveled to the various cities preaching the Gospel. When it was time for him to leave, Paul left Titus to continue the work they had started, and he sailed on to Corinth. From Corinth, Paul wrote a letter filled with instructions and sent it back to Titus. It was similar to the manual he had written for Timothy at Ephesus (see #343 - December 9). Crete was not a pleasant place. The islanders were known for their sexual immorality and violence. Paul quoted one of the Cretan’s own philosophers named Epimenides who said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, and lazy gluttons.” Then Paul emphatically added, “This saying is true!” They were so notorious for not telling the truth that the word “Cretan” in Greek became a derogatory term to describe anyone who was a liar! Much of Paul’s instruction manual addressed sinful behavior that was taking place in the church. The first task Paul gave Titus was to appoint new elders in every town. The current leaders were false teachers and evil men who were “in it for the money.” They were more interested in creating their own rules than in obeying the ones God had given. Paul instructed Titus to remove them from their leadership roles and appoint new elders in their places. These new elders needed to be mature in their faith. This would be evident by their godly character and ability to manage their families well. They needed to be able to teach and willingly defend their faith in Jesus. Paul then told Titus to warn church members who were constantly engaged in controversies and quarrels to stop being divisive. After a second warning, they were to be asked to leave the church. Paul insisted that the goal of every believer should be to make the Gospel message attractive to unbelievers by living godly lives. Any immoral behavior had to be replaced by good deeds. Elderly men and women were instructed to model integrity and self-control. Husbands and wives were told to live together in love and respect so they could teach the younger generation the importance of family and faith. Slaves were encouraged to be trustworthy and to try to please their masters. Paul explained that it is God’s amazing grace that makes it possible to live an attractive godly life. And it is His promise of eternal life that makes it worthwhile. Since He provided a way for us to live with Him forever, we should not only feel obligated, but we should also feel privileged to live in a way that attracts others to Him!
Our beliefs about God impact all our decisions and actions. If we really understand His holiness and love and sacrifice for us, we will want to live the kind of lives that please Him and attract others to our faith. What is one thing about your faith that attracts others to Jesus?