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Siblings in faith

Scripture Union http://www.wordlive.org

Text: Prepare

 

'Faith is.' - how would you complete this sentence?

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Bible passage: Bible passage: Titus 1:1-4

 1 I, Paul, am writing this letter. I serve God. I am an apostle of Jesus Christ. God sent me to help his chosen people believe in Christ. I have been sent to help them understand the truth that leads to godly living. 2  Faith and understanding rest on the hope of eternal life. Before time began, God promised to give that life. And he does not lie. 3  At just the right time he made his word plain. He did it through the preaching that he trusted me with. God our Savior has commanded all those things. 4  Titus, I am sending you this letter. You are my true son in the faith we share.May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace.

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Text: Explore the Bible

 

Standing for truth

We are switching books. Today we turn to a different letter, written to a different person  (Titus), in a different location (Crete) but with the same theme - standing for truth in the  midst of false teaching. Titus is a Gentile Christian who has worked and travelled with Paul

 (Galatians 2:1-3), and who is now in Crete to oversee the church there.  

Paul begins by reminding Titus that, like Timothy, he is 'my true son in our common faith' (v 4; see also 2 Timothy 1:2). This faith trusts God's promise that there is eternity ahead - this world is not all there is (v 2).  

A truth that changes us

It is also founded in a truth that changes us, that makes us more like Jesus (v 1). And this faith is revealed through preaching (v 3). To a church wrestling with false teaching, this is a profound reminder of who they are. 

How about you? In a world that defines truth as what is true for you, do you realise that you are connected to brothers and sisters who share the same faith in Christ? We are all siblings 'in our common faith' as we cling to the truth of the good news, as we are changed to be more like Jesus and as we wait in expectation of spending eternity with him!

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Text: Respond

 

Ask God to remind you afresh this day of the faith that you have, and to give you joy as you live that out in your daily life. 

Vicky Kowarick

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Text: Deeper Bible study

 

Sometimes we need to stand back and look at the big picture. We can see our lives as housework, praying, educating kids, filing, negotiating deals, directing companies and so on. In contrast, Paul here takes a high vantage point to view all his travel, beatings, preaching, praying and tentmaking. From this perspective, the messiness of his life is seen as serving the living God, speaking with the authority of Jesus Christ, engaged with truth that will see people transformed to be like God. He is playing a part in a divine plan that stretches back beyond time and is now being worked out through him and his preaching. All in one sentence! It is breathless writing and breathtaking stuff! Even if we are not the apostle Paul it would benefit us sometimes to lift our heads and see our share in God's plan. It may seem our part is very limited, but we are partners in this enterprise. 

It all starts with a God who makes promises that cannot be threatened by forgetfulness, misjudgement or external hazard. His promise is eternal life: human beings entering into and sharing the very life of God. He calls people to enjoy this unprecedented privilege. The truth transforms them. There is no such thing as a merely academic or head knowledge in the economy of God. Paul's job is to communicate knowledge, and the only way he can assess the success of the venture is in godliness (v 1). If you want to know that God's truth is at work, look at the quality of life - not the quality of prayers or the excellence of Bible knowledge but, as we shall see from the rest of Titus, the quality of relationships and the number of people 'doing what is good' (3:1,8,14)  Andy Bathgate

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Text: Background: Titus overview

Who was Titus?

 

This letter was probably written about the same time and from the same place as 1 Timothy. Like Timothy, Titus was also one of Paul's converts (1:4). He was no doubt converted fairly early on in Paul's ministry. He accompanied Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem 17 years after Paul's conversion (Galatians 2:1).

 

Paul gave Titus the difficult task of trying to sort out the problems in the church at Corinth, and in his second letter to that church we hear something of how he fared there (2 Corinthians 7:6,7). Clearly Paul had great confidence in Titus' abilities because later he was left in Crete to play a leading part in the life of the church (1:5). The Cretans in general were noted for being a turbulent people, difficult to handle.

 

Unlike Timothy, Titus was a pure Gentile and was not circumcised (Galatians 2:3). He has been described as 'the most enigmatic figure in early Christian history'. It has also been said of him that he was 'a red rag to the Judaizers but the flag of freedom for The Gentiles'. In modern parlance we could describe him as a 'trouble shooter' - the man to handle a delicate situation. He was certainly a great source of encouragement to the apostle Paul.

 

Practical advice

 

When Paul heard that Apollos was about to go to Crete, he seized the opportunity of sending a letter by him to Titus. The letter is full of practical advice and warnings against false teaching. One gains the impression that Titus was probably a stronger character than Timothy, for Paul seems less anxious about him and how others might treat him.

 

The letter contains two of the most comprehensive statements about the gospel in the New Testament - 2:11-14 and 3:4-7. It is sometimes argued that the apostle Paul was less concerned about Christ's return in his later life, but we see from this letter that this was not so (2:13).

 

Taken from The Bible in Outline (SU, 1985)

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Text: Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year. Today's readings are:

 

Daniel 4,5

 

1 John 5

 

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Text: Podcast

 

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