Titus 1v1-4

Friends, because the new series is a topical one we thought it might be helpful to take a break from the present preaching series and come back to it later on. For the next few weeks we’ll be working our way 

through the letter to Titus.


Week 1 Day 1

1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness – 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Saviour,

4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith:

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

 

Paul saw himself in only one light – who he was before God.

Some years ago part of my grading for a black belt in martial arts I was asked to describe myself. At that time, in preparation for the grading, I’d been training every spare moment for a couple of months. Prior to that I’d been training for about 6 years. Your training doesn’t just work on your body and your skills but also on the way you view yourself.  It as much about training the mind as the body. I was a martial artist – it was part of my identity. The question made me think about who I really was. Was I, fundamentally, a martial artist, or something else?

 

Paul, as you may know, had been a pharisee, and a leading light in that group. He had trained under Gamaliel, one of the great teachers of his day. He was a man on the way up, if he hadn’t reached the top already. Yet he describes himself as “A servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ.” That is his identity. In Philippians he wrote “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.” [Phil 2:3] In fact he derides selfish ambition on 3 other occasions [2 Cor 12:20; Gal 5:20; Phil 1:17] and James does the same thing on 2 occasions [James 3:14, 16]. In the end, all that really matters is who we are before God. 

 

And there are two ways of viewing who we are under God. Firstly, there is how God views us: we are his adopted, rescued children. We are co-heirs with Christ. We are his chosen ones, the elect he calls us in v 1. That is how God views us. How do we see ourselves in the light of how he views us? We are his willing servants. Is there a contradiction there – children and servants?  Not at all. Love drives us to serve those we love, not unwillingly, but joyfully and voluntarily. It is our delight to serve our Heavenly Father. 

 

What is your fundamental identity? What words come to mind when you ask yourself who you are? How do you introduce yourself to others?

 

PRAYER

Loving Father, give me such a love for you that my service of you will be a delight and a joy. Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Devotional

\Day 2

1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness – 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Saviour,

4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith:

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

 

Yesterday we looked at the way Paul viewed himself, and by extension how we see ourselves. He was a child of God and servant of God.

 

How was his servanthood demonstrated? In his service of the people of God. His goal was to further their faith. Now Paul was given a definite commission to bring the good news to  the gentile world. [Acts 9:15] What about us?

 

As disciples of Jesus we have been given what is called “The Great Commission” – to go and make disciples of all nations. [Matthew 28:19-20] But there is more!  Hebrews 9 tells us that we are to stir each other up to love and to good works.  Gal 6 tells us to bear one another’s burdens and to do good to all people as we have the chance, and especially those how are fellow believers. In Romans 12 we’re told we are a family where each member belongs to the others and that we are to use all of our gifts and abilities to serve the well-being of this family.

 

We too are servants of God through our Lord Jesus. How is your servanthood displayed? Have you encouraged anyone recently to love and to good works? Are you serving others? 

This teaching of the Bible about servanthood is not about sucking all the goodness out of life, but rather about pumping life into us. Servanthood is the way to real adventure and joy in life. “For the JOY set before him Jesus endured the cross.”

 

PRAYER

Father help us to walk in the steps of our Lord Jesus, the Servant King, and to find the joy that comes from serving others.  Amen

 

 

 

Day 3

1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness – 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Saviour,

4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith:

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

 

There is an apparent contradiction in this passage – the hope that is promised.

Usually hope is something that is unsure, wished for, but here the hope is promised. How is that?

In Romans 8 Paul talks about this hope and he says that our hope is something that we do not yet have but that is assured. “23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”

It is only a hope in that we do not yet fully have it, but it is sure. It is like having an inheritance that comes when someone turns 21. It is not yet theirs, it is a hope, and yet it is theirs, they just need to wait for it to come to fruition. 

 

God has promised “our adoption, the redemption of our bodies” as Paul puts it in Romans 8:23. And as Paul affirms here in Titus, God does not lie. We can be sure of our salvation. We can be sure of our place in heaven. God has promised it, and he did so before the beginning of time. “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” [Eph 1:4] 

 

That is pretty emphatic.

 

PRAYER

Lord God, thank you for you very great promises which give us hope and all joy in believing. Amen

 

 

 

Day 4

1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness – 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Saviour,

4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith:

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

 

God can and does deal with people in many and varied ways including dreams and visions, but primarily we are people of The Book. The Bible is the written message, the record of God’s words, his speech, to mankind. In New Testament times but before the New Testament was written, it was spoken. The authoritative spoken message came through the Apostles, those appointed by Jesus to relate his teachings [John 14:26]. They were the arbiters of the truth [Titus 1:9].  The Bible tells us that we are to assess those who claim to speak the word of God and test what they say. How? By the word of God. [2 Tim 3:16; 1 John 4:1]

 

Here in Titus Paul tells us that God’s promised hope of eternal life has come to light by the preaching entrusted to Paul. Such earth shattering news comes through broken human beings. It’s part of the wondrous glory of our God that he allows us to be the vehicle of his plans for the world. It is only as the message goes out, lived out by the messengers as well as spoken, that lives can be changed. [Romans 1:16].

 

Has the Christian church of today lost its confidence in the gospel? Have we as individual believers? The sharing of the message is God’s chosen means of  changing lives. The apostles have gone to glory. Their words remain but are only words on a page in a book not everyone reads. Those words are given wings when they reach the ears and hearts of those who don’t know. That is our role, those of us who love the Lord.

 

Why not pray for the opportunity this week to share the good news, or at least to do some “God talk.”, i.e. mention what you learnt at church, or what happened at your Bible study group, or offer to pray for someone.

 

PRAYER

Father almighty, give me confidence in the Good News and the opportunity to share it this week. Amen

 

 

 

Day 5

1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness – 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Saviour,

4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith:

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

 

Notice in the passage how Paul talks about “God our Saviour.”

That is not the context we normally use the word ‘saviour’. Normally when talking about our saviour we mean Jesus. Yet God is our saviour. Sometimes people have the idea that God is the angry one and Jesus the loving one who somehow, by his death, forces the Father to forgive us. That is so far from the truth!  It was all God’s plan that Jesus should die on our place, and it was motivated by God’s love for us. [Acts 2:23-24] Romans 8 says:

If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 

As Lloyd-Jones puts it “the whole purpose of the work of the son is to bring us to God the Father.” [Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones Romans 1 pg 63]

 

Now look at Paul’s prayer for his protégé. “Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Saviour.”

Without grace there would be no Christians. Without grace there would be no blessings. So here Paul is praying that Titus would experience all the goodness that God has to lavish upon his people, all his love poured out on us, though we are underserving.

 

And peace? That is where the grace of God leads. Peace is not just the absence of conflict. It is far more positive. It’s the absence of conflict in that we who once enemies of God are now his children [Romans 5:10], but it includes well-being and blessing. Elsewhere the Bible calls it “rest”. 

 

Grace and Peace – they sum up the blessings of the faith. So much is bound up in each word. What a great prayer for us to pray for each other!

 

PRAYER


God of grace and peace, fill your people with these great blessings and make me aware of them in my own life.  Amen

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