In today’s (chronological) Bible reading… Ephesians 5,6; Titus 1-3… Paul gives practical advice to the church in Ephesus (and to us), and practical advice to a fellow preacher named Titus.
The letter Paul wrote to Titus was filled with practical advice for Titus, but is also useful for any pastor and for any church.
Titus was a Greek who Paul won to Christ, and then mentored as a pastor. Like Timothy, he became one of Paul’s assistants, sent to churches – especially tough churches – as a representative of Paul. Titus was serving in Crete when Paul wrote this letter. Paul wrote it, probably from Corinth, after his release from prison.
The letter to Titus emphasizes good works. “Good works” is sometimes misunderstood by Christians. We are not saved BY good works; we are saved to DO good works! Good works are to be evidence of our salvation. Apparently those in the church Titus was sent to lead were better at talking their faith than they were doing it.
And, we don’t have to go too far to find Christians just like those Christians today.
Paul sends Titus some reminders:
– Remember what you should do (3:1,2) Christians are citizens of Heaven as well as citizens of this earth; and we should be the kinds of people described in these 2 verses.
– Remember what you were (3:3) God has forgotten your sins committed while you were lost; and you should, too. But, we should remember what it was like when we were lost – without God; and we should remember the grace it took to save us.
– Remember what God did for you (3:4-7) Did you deserve to hear the gospel that saved you? Did you deserve to receive the gift of eternal life? No. Everything good that happens to us happened because of God’s kindness, love, and grace. “He saved us”; we did not save ourselves. He has washed away our sins. We stand justified in His sight because of Him. We face the future with confidence because we are heirs of God.
– Remember what God expects of you (3:8-11) Again, a major theme in this letter is “good works”. People who are busy for the Lord do not have time for useless arguments.