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Thursday, September 13 2012
The Epistles: Titus
Titus was one of a very few close associates of the apostle Paul during his missionary journeys (see Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey and Paul's Third Missionary Journey). Titus was with Paul and Barnabas at Antioch, and also accompanied them to the council at Jerusalem.
Paul's epistles were letters written during his travels that are recorded in the Book of Acts (which itself was written as an epistle; see The Epistles: Acts). While Titus is not mentioned in Acts, the epistles record him as being there throughout much of the time, and area - as Paul explained, for example, here in his second epistle to the Corinthians (see The Epistles: Second Corinthians).
"2:12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, 2:13 I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia." (2 Corinthians 2:12-13 KJV)
Paul's concern was relieved "by the coming of Titus."
"7:5 For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side [see also The Berean Lesson]; without were fightings, within were fears. 7:6 Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; 7:7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more." (2 Corinthians 7:5-7 KJV)
Titus was a Greek; Paul was more effective in Greece because of "fellow laborers" like Titus.
"7:13 Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all. 7:14 For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth. 7:15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him. 7:16 I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things." (2 Corinthians 7:13-16 KJV)
Titus was personally responsible for the conversion of many in the region, "Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also."
"8:1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia [see Can You See The Church?]; 8:2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 8:3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 8:4 Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 8:5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. 8:6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. 8:7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also." (2 Corinthians 8:1-7 KJV)
Notice that Titus, while assisting Paul, "of his own accord he went unto you." Why? "Thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you." They were all inspired by the Holy Spirit.
"8:16 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. 8:17 For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you." (2 Corinthians 8:16-17 KJV)
As a Greek, Titus filled the gap that Paul, as a Jerusalem Pharisee did not have. The situation inverted when Titus encountered people of Judah. There was balance.
"8:22 And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you. 8:23 Whether any do inquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be inquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ. 8:24 Wherefore show ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf." (2 Corinthians 8:22-24 KJV)
While Paul and Titus were different in personality, their behavior toward their brothers and sisters in Christ was the same, according to the LORD's example and instructions.
"12:18 I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?" (2 Corinthians 12:18 KJV)
Titus accompanied Paul to Jerusalem where his being a Greek became an issue with those who remained myopic ("not being able to see distant objects clearly") in their view of the Gospel (see The Worldwide Church of God).
"2:1 Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. 2:2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. 2:3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised [see Circumcision]: 2:4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: 2:5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.
"To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour"
With that background provided from elsewhere in the Scriptures, it is much easier to understand Paul's epistle to Titus himself, "To Titus, mine own son after the common faith."
"1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began [see Who Is The LORD?]; 1:3 But hath in due times manifested his word [see What Does Word of God Mean To You?] through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour; 1:4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour." (Titus 1:1-4 KJV)
Titus easily "qualified" as an elder or "bishop" (terms that have become very different in Christianity today).
"1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: 1:6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre [see What Does The Bible Say About Lucre?]; 1:8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
Paul wrote to Titus out of experience, not out of authority, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men."
"2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: 2:2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
Notice how much of what Paul describes is just as relevant, and prevalent, today.
"3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, 3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.
Fact Finder: Paul's "Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints" (2 Corinthians 8:4 KJV) was a counsel to pray. What does the Word of God tell us about how to pray?
This Day In History, September 13
585 BC: Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, the king of Rome, defeated the Sabines.
509 BC: The pagan temple of Jupiter ("enlightened" scientists of the modern world named a planet after that pagan god) on Rome's Capitoline Hill (see also Israel In History and Prophecy: Aelia Capitolina) was dedicated on the ides of September (the term ides was used for the 15th day of the Roman months of March, May, July and October, and the 13th day of the other months).
81: The Roman Emperor Titus (reigned 79-81) died at age 42. As a military commander before succeeding his father Vespasian, it was Titus who conducted the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. (see A History Of Jerusalem: Titus And The Zealots and What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones?).
122: Construction began of Hadrian's Wall in Britain during the time the island was under Roman occupation. Named after the emperor Hadrian (reigned 117-138), parts of the 120 kilometer (75 mile) wall remain visible today. Roman legions were occupying Britain at the same time that they occupied the land of Israel when Christ was crucified (see A History Of Jerusalem: Hadrian and Simon bar Kokhba and Legions Of Men And Angels).
335: The Roman Emperor Constantine consecrated Rome's Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Constantine was the creator of the Papacy and numerous of the Church of Rome's doctrines, most of which are also perpetuated by the "Protestant" churches (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy and A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).
533: The Battle of Ad Decimium, near Carthage in North Africa. General Belisarius of the Byzantine Empire defeated Gelimer and the Vandals (the term "vandalism" originated from the ancient Vandals who looted cities that they conquered).
1321: Italian playwright Dante Alighieri died. His farce Divine Comedy was the inspiration for much of the Vatican's development of the false doctrine of an ever-burning hell fire (see The Lake Of Fire Into An Ocean Of Fire - When?) and the non-existent Purgatory.
1515: King Francis of France battled the Swiss army under Cardinal Matthias Schiner at Marignano in northern Italy.
1549: Pope Paul III ended the first session of the Council of Bologna.
1609: Henry Hudson entered what would later be named New York harbor and claimed the area for Holland (Hudson was working for the Dutch at the time).
1759: The Battle of The Plains of Abraham, fought at the western edge of Quebec City, overlooking the St. Lawrence River. The English under James Wolfe, 32, defeated the French under the Marquis de Montcalm, 47, ending French and Indian Wars and settling the political future of Canada. Both leaders were killed. The place is named for Abraham Martin, a ship's pilot who owned part of the land.
1788: New York City (both the city and the state were originally named after England's 17th century Duke of York, James Stuart, who became King James II of England in 1685) was declared the first federal capital of the U.S.
1922: The highest recorded shade temperature, 58 degrees Celsius / 136 degrees Fahrenheit, was recorded at Al Aziziyah, Libya.
1941: Elias Disney, the Canadian father of Walt Disney (his mother was a German immigrant), died at age 82.
1942: During the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), the German army began its all-out attack on Stalingrad against stiff Soviet resistance.
1961: NASA launched into orbit, and later recovered, an unmanned Project Mercury capsule in preparation for the first U.S. manned orbital flight (the Russians were the first to launch a man into space - Yuri Gagarin, earlier that year, on April 12 1961), which took place the next February by John Glenn (Glenn was the third human to orbit the earth).
1991: Russia and the U.S. agreed to cut off arms supplies to the warring tribes in Afghanistan (both took their turn at invading and attempting to install puppet regimes Afghanistan - Russia in 1979, the U.S. in 2001).