What do we know about Titus the man? Not much at all. We know his name appears 13 times in the New Testament, we know he was a Greek man converted by Paul and who later worked very closely with him. We know that Titus was involved in taking up a collection for the Jerusalem Church and we know that he attended the Jerusalem conference with Paul.
The book of Titus, is the 12th letter written by Paul, and it is one of his shortest. It’s a personal Letter to Titus and just like 1 Timothy, it was written during the time Paul was “between prison sentences.” The book of Titus is a response to Pau’s 4th Missionary Journey where Paul visited Crete on his way to Ephesus. But before he left, Paul asked Titus to remain so that he could continue to strengthen the Churches in every city on the island.
Last week we looked at 2 Thessalonians and we spent a good portion of that time talking about work – and the book of Titus is Paul’s instructions to this young pastor about how to build and maintain the church – it’s sort of a church planter’s handbook so there is certainly a lot of “work” in Titus,
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work…
Those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.
Titus 3:14 Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works
But I feel like we covered all of that last time, so I want to present the other side of this coin and I wan to talk about grace.
D.L. Moody said: “Grace isn’t (just) a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It’s a way to live. The law tells me how crooked I am. (and) Grace comes along and straightens me out.”
In Luke 18:18 The rich young ruler asked of Jesus, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” This is the mentality that most people have when it comes to salvation: WHAT MUST I DO TO GET IT?
It’s the idea that you can fake it until you make it, you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps, you can be a self-made millionaire, or you can even be president if… you only work hard enough. And we “work” on everything don’t we?
“Hey can we hang out later?” No, I have to head home and work on my house, my wife and I need to work on our marriage, when I hit the gym, I’m really going to work my abbs.
Maya Angelou said “Nothing will work unless you do.”
Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
And faith is no stranger to work either. Many faiths and religions require their disciples to work, or to earn their way or the pass through circles or rings of effort.
But even though there is a lot of work in the Bible and even instruction on how and why we work – the gospel message – the good news of the scriptures is not one of works, but rather of being saved by grace.
Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
And I think the reason that we fall back on work, is because – work we understand. Work can be measured, work can be seen (both by ourselves and others). For work, people pat you on the back and they say “that’s a job well done,” but what about grace?
What is grace?