The Ideal Church

21 June 2020 AM – Titus 1:1 – Tit20 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Open your Bibles to the first chapter of the book of Titus. This brief book contains only 46 verses, yet it is full of doctrine and practical applications for Christian living. There are six references to “good works” in this brief letter (Tit 1:16; 2:7, 14; 3:1, 8, 14). Christians are not saved by doing good works, but they ought to maintain good works if they truly are saved. The book of Titus is also God’s manual for growing an ideal church.
Transition: This morning we are going to look at the book of Titus from three different perspectives that I believe will give us some things to apply to our lives.
  1. The Origin of the Book of Titus
a.         The author
1)         The opening word of the book reveals that Paul was the human author of the book. As with every book of the Bible, the human author was inspired by God to write down God’s word for generations to come. (2 Timothy 3:16) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2)         Paul was a Jew born in Tarsus far north of Israel. He was well educated and became a chief persecutor of the followers of Jesus. He placed his faith in Christ while on a mission to persecute and from that day forward, he became a powerful preacher of the Gospel of Christ.
3)         Paul identified himself as “a servant of God” (v.1). Such a servant was a slave with no rights of his own. However, it was an honour and privilege to be considered a servant of the Lord. Famous men like Job (Job 42:7-8), Abraham (Ge 26:24), Moses (Jos 1:1), Joshua (Jos 24:29), David (2Sa 3:18), Elijah (2Ki 10:10), Hezekiah (2Ch 32:16), Daniel (Dan 6:20) James, Jesus’ half-brother (Jas 1:1), Peter (2Pe 1:1) and Jude (Jude 1:1) were all called God’s servants.
a)         If you are a Christian, you ought to consider yourself a servant of God. Servants do the humble jobs. They work to please another rather than themselves. He lives to serve his Master.
b)         If you will humbly serve the Lord, He has promised to lift you up. (1 Peter 5:6) “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
4)         Paul also called himself an apostle of Jesus Christ. An apostle was one who had seen Christ and was a messenger of God. There are no apostles today, but every Christian ought to be a messenger of God. If God has saved your soul, you have a message to share with others. One of Jesus’ last words before returning to heaven was, (Mark 16:15) “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
5)         It seems likely that Paul wrote this book between his first and second Roman imprisonments about A.D. 65.
b.         The recipient
1)         The book of Titus was one of Paul’s Pastoral Epistles. Most of the New Testament was written to local churches, but the Pastoral Epistles (1-2 Timothy & Titus) were written to preachers.
2)         Titus was a Gentile by birth (Gal 2:3). Paul himself led Titus to Christ (v.4). Titus travelled some with Paul (Gal 2:1). While Paul was at Ephesus, he sent Titus to Corinth to check on the local church there. McGee states, “Frankly, we know very little about either of these young preachers, Timothy and Titus. Titus, however, seems to have been a stronger man, both physically and spiritually. Paul expressed less concern for Titus’ welfare than he did for Timothy’s. Titus was probably more mature, and he possessed a virile [i.e. energetic] personality.”
3)         Paul charged Titus with three challenging duties. First, he was to appoint elders or pastors in the local churches and correct problems (Tit 1:5-16). Second, he was to teach practical sound doctrine in the churches (Tit 2:1-15). Third, he was to instruct the churches on godly conduct for Christian living (Tit 3:1-11).
4)         It may not be God’s will for you to be a preacher, but if you are a Christian, God does have work for you to do. We talked about that on Wednesday night. Find out what God has for you to do and then get busy for Him.
2.        The Mission Field of Titus
a.         Crete
1)         A large Greek island in the Mediterranean about 160 km south of Greece. (See map) It is 260 km long.
2)         In the first century, it had about one hundred cities.
b.         The Cretans
1)         The people of the island were not the easiest with which to work. Paul painted a sorry picture of the Cretan people (v.12). They were liars. They acted like wild beasts. They were lazy gluttons. That is not a very pleasant group of people to whom he had to minister.
2)         It is likely that Paul had learned that Titus was finding his mission rather difficult and thus he wrote this letter to guide and encourage him.
3)         Is our world today any better? Perhaps not. Anti-God, anti-Bible, anti-Christian and immoral sentiments are rapidly increasing. It was not easy to preach the Gospel in the first century and it is not easy today. However, we need to ask God for an attitude like that of Paul who said,  (Romans 1:16) “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
3.        An Overview of the Book of Titus
  1. Vernon McGee once said, “The ideal church, according to this epistle, (1) has an orderly organization, (2) is sound in doctrine, and (3) is pure in life, ready to every good work.”
a.         A local church must be organised (Tit 1).
1)         Churches are assemblies of Christians who meet to worship, sing, learn and serve the Lord. Though some NT congregations met in houses, they were not just home Bible studies. They were organised churches.
2)         Every local church needs a pastor to be its shepherd (v.5).
3)         We will learn that not just anyone is able to be a pastor (v.6-8).
4)         A pastor needs to hold fast the faithful Word of God as he has been taught (v.9). He must be able to use sound doctrine to exhort and convict those who oppose truth (v.10-16).
5)         If you have not formally joined our church as a voting member, I encourage you to do so. Come and talk to me about it.
b.         A local church must be sound doctrinally (Tit 2).
1)         We will see that sound doctrine is both practical and it is for everyone (Tit 2:1-10). It is for both the elderly and the young, for both men and women.
2)         Sound doctrine is about salvation (2:11), but it is also about separation from ungodliness and righteous living (2:12).
3)         Sound doctrine is about looking for the Lord’s return (2:13-14).
4)         We must not be ashamed of sound doctrine (2:15). Any church that does not actively preach and practice this sound doctrine is not a biblical church.
c.          A local church must be full of good works (Tit 3).
1)         Christians in local churches ought to be different from unbelievers in the world. We must be law-abiding citizens with changed lives for God’s glory (3:1-3).
2)         Christians are not just religious people, they are those whom the Holy Spirit has saved and renewed (3:5). They are justified or fully forgiven (3:7).
3)         Bible truth must be constantly preached so that Christians might maintain good works for God’s glory (3:8).
4)         Local churches must practice church discipline and not allow members to live and speak contrary to the sound teachings of the Bible (3:9-10).
Conclusion: As we looked at the origin of the book of Titus, the mission field of Titus, and at an overview of the book, perhaps the Lord has challenged you about something you should be doing. (Salvation, baptism, membership, service, etc.) If so, let God have his way in your life.
Song: Have Thine Own Way – 388