Monday, August 12, 2013

A New Study On The Book Of Titus - Preview

Other than a few videos and some sermons that I found to be helpful I haven't really posted much of anything in several months. In order to correct that I am undertaking a short study of Paul's letter to Titus (and yes I know that I said a short study - those who know me know that whenever I do a study it tends to be anything but short. We'll see).

I decided to undertake this study because in the ESV's introduction to this book it states the following:

Paul instructed Titus to complete his assigned job of establishing overseers (elders) for the churches under his care. He described what sort of people these leaders should be ...

Think about that, Paul is, in this letter, describing the what sort of people the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ should be. But I don't want to approach the study from the perspective of  if you want to be a leader in the church this is what your life should look like. Instead I want to approach it from the perspective that all that Paul is describing here is what a mature Christian's life should look like, and that the principles that he lays out in this letter are not limited to just those among us who are in positions of leadership (pastors, elders, deacons), these characteristics apply to all believers. After all, what Paul is really saying here to Titus is that he is to look at who the mature believers are in the churches that are under his care, and appoint those men to positions of leadership within these churches.

There are many other things that we will see in the short letter, but my plan is to tie them all back to this same topic - this is what it look like to be a mature believer in Christ.

And no, I am not saying that I have attained all of this in my own life, or that I don't have any work still to do. I am still growing just like everyone else and I am looking to this letter as an description of the things that I need to work on myself (and by work on what I mean is is that I need to surrender more and more to Christ and allow Him, through the power of His Holy Spirit, to make me more like Him. I am not in any way advocating any kind of works salvation). So as we work though this study know this, that if in the course of our time together you feel like your toes are being stepped on, mine were stepped on first.  

In addition to this letter showing us what our lives in Christ should look like, this is also a letter that emphasizes evangelism. In  his introduction to Titus in The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Dr. MacArthur writes:

Titus is an evangelistic letter whose ultimate purpose was to prepare the church for more effective witness to unbelievers... Paul knew that the saving truth of the gospel message falls on deaf ears when those proclaiming it live ungodly lives that show no evidence of redemption. When Christians live in open sin, they can hardly expect unbelievers to heed a message that purports to save men from sin. One of the most compelling testimonies a Christian can give is that of a righteous, holy, self-giving life. It was for that same reason that Paul reminded Christians on Crete that our Lord “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (2:14). And it was for that reason that the Lord Himself commanded, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).

God is a saving God, who saves people that they might live godly lives in order that others might also be saved through the proclamation of gospel truth supported by the testimony of transformed lives. God demonstrates His saving power through saved people. Although Paul was speaking in Titus 2:10 specifically of bond-slaves, the life of every Christian should “adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect. For the grace of God has appeared,” he continues, “bringing salvation to all men” .[1]

I am looking forward to where God is going to take us in this study, and I hope to have the first post completed and up in the next day or two.

[1]MacArthur, John: Titus. Chicago : Moody Press, 1996, S. 0
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