Starting on May 27th we will be taking a short break from the Gospel of Luke to begin an 8 week sermon series through Paul’s letter to Titus. Join us as we learn how the gospel of grace results in unwavering hope, good works, and greater devotion to our God and Savior!
Why Preach Through Titus?
This short letter is saturated with encouragement and wisdom that is just as relevant for the church today as it was in first century. At ECC, we believe that God’s Word is totally sufficient for life and godliness and preaching through books of the Bible, verse-by-verse, helps us remain faithful to Scripture, and to preaching the whole counsel of God. Therefore, our preaching is driven and directed by what God has said, not merely the latest hot-button cultural issue, news headline, or Hollywood blockbuster.
Titus provides us with a picture of the church with all its needs and shortcomings. It reminds of our daily need for the good news of “God our Savior” (Titus 3:4). Overall, Paul is reminding Titus that the church is to be shaped by and saturated with the gospel of grace. Throughout this series, we will learn what God’s Word has to say regarding matters of church leadership, sound doctrine, Christian discipleship, and devotion. We will see how we are to live as Christian men and women, how to deal with false teaching and divisiveness, and the importance of fluency in the gospel.
Background to the Letter
This letter, along with Paul’s two letters to Timothy, make up the “pastoral epistles.” These were the last New Testament letters written by Paul before his death during Nero’s reign (most likely between 62-67 AD). If you ever wanted to know what happened after the book of Acts and what the church was facing, or the last things Paul wished to say to the church before his death, then look no further than these pastoral letters!
As the church is being established, the Apostle Paul writes to a young pastor named Titus. Titus was left behind in Crete so that he could “put what remained into order” (Titus 1:5). Not surprisingly, there were some who were attempting to take advantage of grace and others trying to earn it. Paul felt it necessary to instruct Titus, and the Christians in Crete, on what exactly needed to be done to carry on faithful gospel ministry in the local church.
Themes in Titus
Here are some of the themes that we will see and explore over the course of this sermons series.
Sound doctrine: The Trinity and the gospel (Tit. 1:1-3; 2:11-14; 3:3-7). God the Father working through the Son and the Spirit to bring about our salvation
Discipleship and godliness: The “good works” of the Christian’s life and witness. (Tit. 1:1; 2:1–10, 14; 3:1–2, 8, 14). Paul gives a rather detailed picture of inter-generational discipleship.
Biblical church government and leadership: The qualifications of elders (i.e. pastors/shepherds, Tit. 1:5-9). Paul did not tell Titus to appoint CEOs, Apostles, or Prophets, but elders.
Preaching: The hope of eternal life is manifested through the ordinary proclamation and reading of Scripture (Tit. 1:1-3, 9). The saints are brought to faith, made holy, and are ultimately glorified by the power of the gospel (Rom 1:16; Rom 10:13; 1 Pet. 1:23-25)
False teachers: Dealing with and silencing their divisive teaching (Tit. 1:10–16; 3:9–11). False teachers have and will continue to plague the church. Elders are called to preach the gospel and rebuke those who corrupt it.
Eschatology: The second coming of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Tit. 1:2; 2:13-14). Christians are not only saved from sin, and for good works, but ultimately to enjoy communion with God forever.
Although written to a pastor, this letter is not just for pastors, but for all Christians. As David Schrock helpfully points out, “while some men are called to become elders, and others are called to a full-time vocation of preaching and teaching, all men and women are called to the same characteristics of godliness.”
Resources for Further Study
Titus For You, Tim Chester
Adorned, Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Exulting Jesus in 1 &2 Timothy and Titus, David Platt
The Message of 1 Timothy and Titus, John Stott
Matt Bedzyk is an associate pastor at Elmira Christian Center. He received his Master of Divinity from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Matt and his wife Brianna have one daughter: Lorien Grace. In his spare time, you can find him reading, playing music, enjoying coffee, and supporting Manchester United. You can follow him on Twitter @mattbedzyk