What do you need? A million bucks? I often daydream about how a million dollars would free up my life. But that’s not really what I need. What do we need? We conclude this week’s blog posts on Titus 1:1-4 today looking at what Christians need.
If you haven’t read the previous four posts, I encourage you to pause reading this one, and jump back to part 1 and start there. The previous posts will set the stage for this one.
Then turn to Titus chapter 1, verse 4, and you’ll see that the author of this letter, Paul, mentions a name: Titus. Who is Titus? Titus is the guy that PUal is writing to, and in the previous posts we saw that Titus was one of Paul’s most trusted associates in ministry. Paul dispatched Titus to go to the Island of Crete in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, where previously they had traveled and helped establish churches. Titus has a mission to help those churches, a mission that we will learn about much more next week when we study Titus 1:5-9. For now Paul greets Titus in this letter, calling him, “My true son in our common faith.”
Titus was not Paul’s biological son, but instead Paul led him to faith in faith in Jesus. Paul was his spiritual father. Fascinating, isn’t it, that we can have sons and daughters in the faith? Paul had reached out to Titus to help him understand that there is hope in Jesus.
Who is your Paul? Who is your Titus?
Church attendance across the country is declining. People are less and less interested in Christ.
What do we do?
Some stats say that 80% of people who are invited to church will say yes, especially if you commit to be there with them, pick them, go out for breakfast, and then go to the worship service together. But a vibrant relationship with Jesus is about much more than one hour per week at a worship service. Paul calls Titus a son. That’s a deep family word that means Paul was deeply invested in Timothy’s life.
Faith Church recently had an excellent Discipleship Training session, and our trainer, Clint led us to conclude that discipleship involves the following: Meet weekly with a few other people to study and apply the Scriptures with the aim of multiplication. Here is what each part of that description looks like.
Meeting weekly – needs at least this frequency to build momentum and relationship
With a few other people – beyond 3-5 people is too large. Also team up and have two leaders. Recommend same gendered groups.
Study & applying the Scriptures – the Bible is essential to disciple-making.
With the aim of multiplication – keep growing and splitting the group. Initial group can be to study one book of the Bible, and then re-eval. But have heart to grow.
And what does Paul say to Timothy? He starts with “Grace and Peace,” a very typical Pauline greeting. What does Paul mean? Why does he share this? Is it just perfunctory?
Grace is defined as “a favorable attitude toward someone or something—‘favor, good will.’ (Louw & Nida). Paul is saying to Titus, “may you have favor, may you have good will.”
And may you have peace, which is defined as “a set of favorable circumstances involving peace and tranquility.” (Louw & Nida) Sounds very good, right?
Grace and Peace. We need that.
Notice that these are not grace and peace from Paul. Instead Paul says that the grace and peace are from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
Though Paul calls Titus his son, he properly refers to God as their Father. Paul is not truly father to Titus. God is father of them both.
And from God, from Jesus, there is grace and peace.
Let those words settle on your heart and mind today. In one sense it was just a customary greeting. In another sense, there is something deep and important grace and peace. We need grace and peace from God.
I’m reading the story of Brian Johnson of Bethel Music, and his struggle with anxiety. He said that it was a struggle for him as a child, but for 15 years he experienced grace and peace, until adult life and ministry got intense, especially as Bethel Music started growing. The anxiety returned. Maybe you’ve felt that with work, with raising a family, with finances, with school, with friendships. There are many pressures in the world. Do you need grace and peace?
Paul reminds Titus that grace and peace are rooted in God our Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. Brian Johnson says that for him, in the moment of panic and anxiety, that is when God became real. I sense Paul would say the same thing. Jesus is the truth, and in Christ alone we have the source of grace and peace. Turn to him in prayer, in his Word, not alone, with others (with your Titus!). Turn to Jesus, the source of grace and peace.