Friday, June 17, 2011

Titus - True Son of the Faith

"As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for your benefit." (II Corinthians 8-23, ESV)

If there ever was a title or description that I would like to have attached to me it would be the one the Apostle Paul used to summarize his dear friend and partner, Titus. Titus is my κοινωνος, (koy-no-nos’). Titus is my  "partner, associate, comrade, companion." He is my "sharer in anything."

Titus was not just his friend and companion, but Titus was a fellow co-worker with the Apostle Paul in the spread of the gospel. Paul used his friends without ever alienating their affections for him. Paul sent his friends and co-laborers on great errands of importance. Paul posted these various friends and co-laborers in various churches, locations, and places where they had appropriate assignments to complete.

The greatest and closest companion and fellow co-laborer to the Apostle was of course Timotheus or Timothy. We can trace a long record of intimate relationship between these two messengers of the gospel. There are few words that can adequately describe the love, respect, camaraderie, and relationship between the Apostle Paul and his son in the faith, Timothy.

Next to Timothy, we discover in the New Testament a companion and co-labor who stands at a  close second to Timothy in the heart of Paul. That companion is Titus. Paul loved and respected Titus as much as he did Timothy.

The New Testament records very little information and detail concerning Titus. Galatians 2:3 tells us that he was a Greek. Titus may have been born and raised in Antioch. He became one of Paul's first companions and co-laborers. He joined Paul and Barnabas on their journey to Jerusalem. While there a heated demand was made that Titus as a Gentile would have to submit to circumcision and to keep the Jewish law in order to be considered a Jewish Christian. Paul refused to allow Titus to be circumcised responding to both the debate and demand that believers do not have to be circumcised in order to received by Christ. Titus was allowed to continue in both ministry and his duties without being circumcised. (Galatians 2:1-5)

It is possible and even plausible that Titus was brought to faith by the efforts of the Apostle Paul. In Titus1:4 Paul calls Titus, " true son in our common faith..." Paul also refers to Titus as his "brother" in II Corinthians 2:13. It seems that Titus traveled with Paul on Paul's second missionary journey and on most of Paul's subsequent trips.

Paul placed tremendous confidence in Titus. Paul sent Titus to Corinth with the mission of correcting all the problems that existed in that church. If one were to take the time to truly study the references to Titus in this mission,one can see some tremendous qualities about this young man. First, Titus was very willing to go to this very difficult church (I Cor 8:7); second, Titus had a genuine love for this troubled congregation (I Cor 7:15); third, Titus had a deep concern and a real eagerness to help the Corinthian Church get back on track (I Cor 8:16); fourth, he took time and effort to minister without taking advantage of them (I Cor 12:18). These qualities in this young man made it easier to find success in this ministry. Would that shepherds in today's congregation, especially the troubled ones exhibit and operate with these same qualities.

It is interesting to note, at least by me, that the Corinthian Christians responded well to Titus. They did right many of the wrongs that he came to address. He was also able to finish taking up the benevolent offering they had promised for the Jerusalem Church. This caused Paul's fears for the well-being of this congregation to be dismissed and joy.

Titus is not mentioned in the book of Acts. We don't have any reason why we don't have any more information on Titus, why his ministry and personage are not highlighted in Acts. We do know that Paul sent him to Crete and Titus also served in Dalmatia (West Balkan coast.)

Paul and Titus traveled to Crete to visit the churches that had been founded there earlier. Apparently there were several problems that had cropped up so Paul left Titus on Crete to fix those problems. At some point Paul asked Titus to join him in Nicopolis as soon as Tychicus could arrive at Crete and relieve him. It seems when Paul was imprisoned at Rome for a second time Titus was with Paul for a short time. Paul had to send Titus to Dalmatia for some urgent business that we know nothing about.

We really don't have much information to put together a biography of Titus. Suffice it to say he had a shepherds heart. Titus had genuine Christian character along with tremendous leadership abilities. Titus was devoted to Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, and the Church. Titus apparently was willing to serve in the shadow and the background of men like Paul and Timothy. We have no information on what happened to Titus after Paul sent him to Dalmatia. It must have broke Titus's heart to be away when Paul was beheaded for his faith. We do not know if Timothy arrived in time. All we know is that Luke was there at the end with Paul.

Maybe, just maybe, since God is so gracious and spares us from more than we can handle, God chose to spare both Timothy and Titus by having Timothy traveling toward Rome and Titus away from Rome. Then possibly these two children of Paul in the faith, these two mighty and stalwart companions and co-laborers did not have to see him die. God left the end of Paul to his beloved Physician, Dr. Luke.


welcome to my world of poetry said...

Hello Gregg hope all is well with you, loved the post, very absorbing to read.


Joel the Immerser said...

Very interesting and informative post, brother; I enjoyed reading it!

God bless.

Anonymous said...

True Son of the Faith is a title that all true believers should love to be tagged with. Sadly, to often the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak and many are departing from the faith in these last days.

Pat Donovan said...

Paul start out hard and abrasive, but you can see by his love for timothy and titus and others in scripture that the love of the Lord softend his hart. May God smooth all are ruff edges that we would Love one another with the love of God.

Penned Pebbles said...

True Son of the Faith. The word "true" is worked out in faith 'action'. Great post, pastor Gregg!