Titus – a letter written with a fix for broken churches
Men whose lives display the power of the Living Word and the Presence of the Living Christ!
Paul had left Titus in Crete to shore up churches that were “broken” and had gone renegade.
What is a “renegade” church?
Church that has allowed self-focus and self-interests to negate the Power of the Word and the Presence of Jesus Christ
A self-focused Church is a deserter from the “Body of Christ”
Titus 1:5 This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you—
These churches had not been started by Paul. A short two or three month stop before heading to Rome in Acts 27 was not sufficient to start churches. Besides, Paul was under guarded arrest, awaiting appeal before Caesar. This trip to Crete mentioned in Titus was probably after Paul was released for a couple years. Paul had seen a need among the churches on Crete, and made a point to return and work on fixing the problem. Paul and Titus probably visited Crete sometime between AD 63-67. They preached among the many cities, where churches were already established. What Paul saw led him to leave Titus there to straighten out the “renegade” churches. Paul went on to Greece and sent this short business-like memo to Titus via Zenas and Apollos (3:13). The Letter to Titus is meant to encourage Titus, and to reinforce his mission there on the island of Crete. This memo reveals Paul’s vision of the church, and is foundational for us as we begin GraceLife Community Church. There is no room for churches that do not show forth the power of two spiritual realities-The Power of the Word of God and the Presence of Jesus Christ in their lives. This is the test that Paul applied to healthy churches, and the churches on Crete had failed. They were not influencing the culture of Crete with the power of the Gospel. Rather, the churches were becoming infected with the Cretan way.
Paul charged Titus with an “Elder-Fix”
Two Forces were at Work on Crete
The Cretan Island Culture
The Gospel of Jesus Christ
These first churches started on Crete when those who were saved at Pentecost returned home. Acts 2:11 records that Cretans were in the audience when the tongues of fire fell upon the disciples. They heard the mighty rushing wind. They cried out “what must we do to be saved?” They repented, came to Christ and were baptized. They went home, told other Cretans, and churches were born.
Something happened to these churches. Instead of growing into Christ, and effecting the culture of the communities around them, the Cretan island culture crept into the churches. They became “broken” as far as demonstrating the power of Christ. Churches went renegade, and Paul wanted to correct the problem.
Crete was called the island of a thousand cities. Evidently they could not get along with each other, could not trust each other, and as a result, would get mad and move and start a city somewhere. This happened with the churches as well. People would get upset and leave to form their own church in a city nearby. Because the churches had become infected with the Cretan Island culture, they were benign when it came to changing people’s lives. The Gospel of Christ had become of no effect.
The character of Cretans was well known in Paul’s day. Just as saying to Corinthianize meant to prostitute, to call someone a Cretan was to say they were liars and not to be trusted. Putting labels on people is nothing new. There were no red-necks in Paul’s day, but there were Cretans.
God’s solution to confront godless culture has always been MEN! God used Noah to rescue His creation. God used Abraham to counter a society of idol-worship. God used Judges to restore order and worship to people who had forgotten the power of God. God used Elijah to stand against a godless nation. God used John the Baptist to prepare a nation for His Son. God
The Church combats Culture & Division with Christ-Led Elders
Set things in ORDER – things that are lacking, failing
Picture of a Physician setting broken bones.
Elders were needed because things were broken, things were lacking, and the churches were failing.
If you have ever broken a bone, you know how painful it can be. I was moving a concrete stop block that weighed over 80 pounds, and dropped it on my foot. It shattered my big toe. The ER Doctor showed me the X-Ray and said there was not much he could do, as it was shattered in several pieces. So he molded it back together as best he could. Now if it had been my arm or leg, you know they would have used as many pins and screws to get it back to normal.
These churches may have known something was wrong, but they needed Dr. Paul to set things right!
In Paul’s short stay on Crete, he saw that the churches were failing to present the true LIFE of Jesus Christ on the island. The churches were failing to impact the culture around them.
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