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Tuesday, March 12 2013
Titus: Walking In The Same Spirit
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 (see The Meeting Of Paul And Barnabas and The Ministry Of Paul And Barnabas), 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 Acts: Luke's Second Letter To Theophilus). 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 1 Corinthians: That Rock Was Christ and 2 Corinthians: The Devil's Fight Along The Way).
"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.
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 The Kingdom Of The LORD God]; 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. Notice also how far a teacher of the Gospel should go in preaching it to those who have come to know, but fell away: "A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject."
"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.
Studies For The Book Of Titus
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, March 12
538: Vitiges, king of the Ostrogoths, ended his siege of Rome. He retreated to Ravenna, leaving the city to the victorious Byzantine general, Belisarius.
1470: During the Wars of the Roses, Edward IV defeated the rebel forces at the Battle of Empingham.
1496: Jews were expelled from Syria.
1609: The Bermuda Islands became an English colony.
1664: New Jersey became an English colony, named after Jersey in the Channel Islands of England.
1689 The Williamite War in Ireland began.
1799: Austria declared war on France.
1814: British troops under Wellington captured Bordeaux in France (Britain put only a small fraction of its military forces into the War of 1812-14 against the U.S.; the bulk of the British army and navy was involved in fighting Napoleon's French Empire in Europe and Africa e.g. British Admiral Horatio Nelson's victory over the French fleet at Trafalgar and Wellington's victory at the Battle of Waterloo).
1832: Charles Cunningham Boycott, the Englishman whose name is now synonymous with protest ("boycott"), was born.
1854: Britain and France formulated an alliance with the Ottoman Empire against Russia during the Crimean War (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1879: The British-Zulu War began.
1894: Coca-Cola was sold in bottles for the first time (as its name states, the original formula for Coca-Cola, which was created by a pharmacist for the Eagle Drug and Chemical Company in Atlanta Georgia, was cocaine and caffeine).
1912 The Girl Guides (later renamed the Girl Scouts in the US) were established in the U.S. The Girl Guides were created in England years before, in 1910, by Robert Baden-Powell, a British Army officer who also created the Boy Scouts.
1913: Canberra became the capital of Australia.
1930: Canadian fighter ace Billy Barker was killed in a plane crash near Ottawa, Ontario. Barker was awarded the Victoria Cross for shooting down 54 enemy aircraft during the First World War. Barker was one of the top three fighter aces of the war, which included the famous "Red Baron" of Germany, Baron Manfred von Richthofen (the "Red Baron" was shot down and killed by another Canadian fighter pilot, Arthur Brown of Carleton Place, Ontario, on April 21 1918).
1933: German President Paul von Hindenburg proclaimed that the swastika and German flag be flown together (see also Ein Volk! Ein Reich! Ein Euro!).
1938: German troops marched in to "anschluss" ("connect") Austria, one day after Arthur Seyss-Inquart became the chancellor of Austria. Adolf Hitler was born in Austria.
1940: A treaty ended the Russia-Finland war, with Russia's demands for Finnish territory met.
1945: Anne Frank, the Dutch-Jewish girl who kept a diary of her wartime experiences, died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany at the age of 15 (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1985: The U.S. and the Soviet Union began weapons of mass destruction control talks in Geneva.
1994: The Church of England ordained women as priests for the first time (ironically, with the reigning monarch being "The Supreme Governor of The Church of England, the head of the Church of England was a woman - Queen Elizabeth II).
1999: Former Warsaw Pact members Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland joined NATO.
2011: A day after a major earthquake there, a reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan experienced a meltdown and explosion, causing a release of radioactivity into the atmosphere.