What Are You Living For? (Titus Pt. 1)
What are you for?
· The gospel
· Personal growth
· World wide evangelism
· Transformed lives
What does it mean to live for something?
· To be an advocate
· To be intentional
· To be actively seeking
· Financial involvement
· Give time
What does it mean to give your life for something?
· To be all in!
· To surrender
These questions grow out of a study of the opening verses of Titus that we begin today.
The title of this study series is Live Like a Man, Lead Like Men.
Titus is a letter from Paul to Titus.
We could think of it as a memo from an older man to a younger with instruction on how to live like a man and directions on how to lead like men. It is lessons from one leader to another, one leader who is mentoring the other in how to live and lead.
In this memo Paul models what it means to live and lead as a man. His dedication, commitment, determination, and direction for Titus show the direction of his life and what he values the most. At the same time he teaches Titus how to live as a man, the kind of character it takes to be a man of faith and service for Christ.
Such a man is a man first of all and then he becomes a leader. First he must live like a man, then he can leader like men—redeemed men who make an eternal difference in their world.
This is always God’s sequence: live, lead.
Too many try to lead without living, they try to succeed without a core, and their leadership always collapses. What Paul teaches Titus to do is to lay an appropriate foundation so it will hold whatever you build on it.
Time out questions:
What kind of a foundation are you laying for your leadership?
Where are you trying to lead without an adequate foundation of manliness?
What is happening to your leadership efforts?
How can you strengthen your foundation so you can be a stronger leader
· Paul the apostle
· Titus the Gentile
Titus was a test case for the gospel of grace early on in Paul’s ministry.
Following the first missionary journey (Acts 13-14), a debate developed as to whether Gentiles had to be circumcised in accordance with the Old Testament requirement for entrance into God’s covenant family (Gen. 17:1=14). The Lord had appeared to Peter and sent him to Cornelius (the first Gentile convert) with no conditions of any kind and, when Peter presented the gospel, the Holy Spirit entered the Gentiles just as He had the Jews in Acts 2. There were no pre-conditions for the Spirit to indwell the Gentiles, and this was true throughout Paul’s first missionary journey. When Paul reported this, many raised questions, so a council was convened in Jerusalem to determine if Gentiles had to become Jews in order to have eternal life (Acts 15:15-1-35).
Paul took Titus with him to the Jerusalem Council as a private test case to determine if circumcision was required for salvation, but it was determined this was not the case (Gal. 2:1-3).
Salvation comes solely by grace through faith with no pre-conditions of any kind.
Titus is living evidence that the gospel is a matter of pure grace, that all of us come to Christ by God’s grace alone.
Point: The focus of Titus’ life is grace, and that’s at the heart of Paul’s memo to him as he teaches his protégé how to live and lead.
We live and lead by grace!
Time out questions:
Stop and think about what God’s saving grace means in your life.
List the changes in your life that grace has brought to you.
How does grace impact your motives?
How do you depend on grace to carry out your daily responsibilities?
What other thoughts do you have about grace?
There are several key themes in Titus we’ll be looking at as we work out way through the book. All of these themes appear a number of times in this short memo. I list them below in the order that they appear. Read the book and see how often each of them appears. Fill in this table below with the references you discover. Read the memo in several versions to understand it better.
Titus became a trouble shooter for Paul in Corinth helping him in one of the most difficulties moments in his ministry. He took I Corinthians to the church in Corinth and later met Paul to give him the good news that the Corinthians had responded well to his teaching and demands presented in his letter to them (II Cor. 2:13; 7:6, 13, 14; 8:6, 16, 23; 12:18).
Their relationship, the fruit of grace, was very special, and Paul called Titus “my true child in a common faith.” That is a very amazing statement in the ancient world where no Jew would own a Gentile as his “true child.” Gentiles were dogs to the Jews, and they had as little to do with Gentiles as they possibly. The common faith was the work of grace in both of their lives that brought each of them to Christ from very different places.
This is amazing. Paul, the Jew of Jews, and Titus, the uncircumcised Gentile, part of the same family holding the same faith as a result of the same grace.
Time out questions:
Who is in your family of common faith that you would never have a relationship with apart from grace?
What is that relationship like?
What does that relationship mean to you?
Write a word of appreciation to this person expressing how much it means for you to be together in God’s grace family.
Occasion for the memo:
Titus is on another trouble shooting venture for Paul. They were traveling together when they came to the island of Crete south of Greece and a bit southwest of Turkey in the Mediterranean. Paul saw great needs in the church that had already been established on Crete, so he left Titus there to do two things: set in order what remains to help the church to become healthy and appoint elders. Both of these are leadership tasks, and Paul wrote his memo to remind Titus of what these responsibilities required.
This is why Paul begins his memo the way he does.
Paul starts his directions to Titus in the same way as anyone in the ancient Greek world would begin an epistle, with the form of a standard salutation, although his content was different, of course. In fact, this is the only time Paul begins in quite this way and this beginning takes us back to our opening question:
What are you giving your life for?
Let’s look at Paul’s answer to this question. As you read these words remember that all that matters in life is contained in this short sentence.
Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God who cannot lie promised long ages ago (Titus 1:1-2)
Time out question:
Before reading ahead write out the core principle that grows out of these words as you read and think about them.
Here is my core principle:
Whatever you give yourself for defines who you are and determines what you do the way you do it and why you do it.
Look at it this way:
Who Person slave identity
What Purpose for reason
Way Passion apostle/leader responsibility
Why Persuasion hope motive
Because Paul is for the faith of the chosen (because Paul is giving everything he is and has to purify and strengthen the faith of the chosen) he is a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ living out of the absolute certain hope of eternal life.
Time out questions:
Before reading ahead in these notes think about what it means to give yourself for something. What is involved in giving yourself for something? List at least three things giving yourself for something demands of you.
Here’s my answer.
To give yourself for something demands
You must give yourself over to whatever it is you are for. You cannot hold back anything or you’re not really for it. You can’t be for the Cowboys and hold anything back, no matter how much they disappoint your. And because you’re for the Cowboys, you keep coming back for more and more punishment.
So we say we are for Christ. What does it look like to release ourselves to Christ in shoe leather?
To release yourself to something because you’re for it means you give up all control of life and time in pursuing the thing you are for.
Think of your career. You’re certainly for your career. And you’re certainly giving yourself over to the control of your career.
So we say we are for Christ. What does it look like to give all control over to Christ in our career?
Whatever you are for demands a price from you—a very high price. Just think of what Jerry Jones is getting for seats in his new stadium. This means you are paying a price for whatever you release yourself to, for whatever controls you.
So we say we are for Christ. What price are you paying to be for Him?
And if you discover through this time that you’re not for Christ, what are you for? And what is your ROI on the investment of your life for something other than Christ?
Extra study assignment:
Read Exodus 21:1-6 and list the characteristics of biblical slavery.