“Trouble-Shooting With Titus”
“The Great Commission” 1:1-4
What is it that these men are commissioned to do (v1)? To further the faith of God’s elect, that is to educate God’s people, the Church through the instrumentality of preaching. There is much to learn about the Christian ministry here in this short greeting, whether the ministry is that of an evangelist, pastor, teacher, the lessons are important ones. Who are God’s elect? Well the New Testament is quite clear on this issue, those chosen in eternity, before the foundation of the world, justified by God and called to be holy (Ephesians 1:4; Romans 8:33; Colossians 3:12-13). To dodge the issue of God’s loving choice, you have to dodge a lot of God’s word. How do we know who are chosen though? Well we don’t, none of us do, only God knows. If you have been chosen just praise and thank God that you have been, and leave others to him. The only evidence ‘we’ have that a person has been chosen by God is, that they believe the message of the gospel, and go on doing so, faithful to the end. Our business is simply to preach the gospel faithfully, and indiscriminately, to all creatures (Mark 16:15). Let us be diligent in doing so.
But this man Paul is into excellence when it comes to evangelism. He is not the kind of preacher who is content with a simple response, a commitment of faith, no, he is no head-counter, he wants to see evidence of new life, he wants to see growth. Why? Well one, this is another indication of election. And two, because his call to preach is no meaningless task, he expects it to bear fruit. Fruit that is, in terms of people being saved, and fruit from the preaching of the truth which “leads to godliness” (v1b). If there is no fruit, then we must judge there is no life there, whether in terms of an individual or a Church. This is a saving message, and if people are not being saved and growing in godliness, then it is our place to ask the question why? And I believe eventually we must act (Luke 13:6-9), we have no mandate to waste either resources or time. We must always be looking at what we are doing, and the way we are doing it. Is what we are doing, our proclamation I mean, is it attractive (Titus 2:10)? Is the context of our preaching conducive to good hearing? Are we putting up barriers which hinders the work of the Spirit in applying salvation to others. Are we ourselves one of those barriers?
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1998)