As Paul closes out the final chapter he has a few short but rather comprehensive points to make. He begins by telling Titus that he needs to constantly speak out with conviction and authority the great need for the church to maintain good works, that is, to do them and continue to do them no matter the opposition. Doing these good works is said to be profitable and good for all men. That means that when the church lives like she should evangelism is enhanced and all men, especially the lost, profit by hearing the gospel.
In maintaining good works they had to be on the look out for things that would be unprofitable and take away from their testimony and the truth. Paul names four things to avoid, that is, to turn away from. The first is foolish controversies. This refers to “moronic investigations”, foolish questions that lead to fruitless debates and specualtion. Secondly, geneologies. These were mystical interpretations of past occurrences, attempts to trace the origins of teachings and doctrines that were at best questionable and at worst demonic. Thirdly, contentions. This is self serving strife and personality conflicts. Fourthly, disputes about the Law. Remember, Paul and Titus were fighting the Judaizers, those who would drag the church back under the Mosaic Law as a means of maintaining salvation. The role of the Law had been settled by the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 and yet the early church continued to struggle with the influence of these false teachers as they confounded the Old and New Covenants and made attaining grace a work of obedience to the Law.
Paul also tells Titus to use church discipline. If a person in the church was listening to and following these false teachers then they were to be warned twice. First they should be approached alone, then with witnesses, and then the church should be told so that the congregation could take appropriate action to maintain purity and holiness. If a divisive person would not submit to the teaching and teachers of the church, then they were to be put out, shunned, removed from the congregation. They were twisting Scripture and their unholy lives were evidence of their condemnation.
As he nears the end of his letter, Paul tells Titus that he will be sending Artemas or Tychicus to replace him as pastor of the church. At that time, he is to come to join Paul in Nicopolis, a city on the west coast of Greece north of Athens. Later, it is in Nicopolis that Paul would be arrested and sent to Rome for his final imprisonment. Paul also tells Titus to help assist Zemas and Apollos on their journey, likely another missionary journey.
Finally Paul ends where he began, emphasizing the role of good works in the life of the church. If the church is hearing and heeding sound doctrine then the church will be doing good works in obedience to the Word of God. The people were to be encouraged to meet each others needs. In other words, Titus as the pastor was to be “equipping the saints for the work of ministry” (Eph 4:12) as the church was taught the Word and applied it through doing good works and taking care of each other, especially those with urgent needs within the Body of Christ.
His farewell greeting is full of grace, as usual, as Paul examplifies what it means to bear quality fruit and mentors and disciples his fellow ministers in the gospel to do the same.
In the end we see that bearing quality fruit is a mark of a quality church, a congregation that has been called by God, qualified for service by His saving grace and mercy, and equipped to serve the Body and profit the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. What we believe motivates what we do, and if we are not doing what is right then we are not really believing the truth, no matter how often we make confessions to the contrary.
Faith leads to Works, and a faith that does not work is dead and useless.
Here is the outline for our message this week:
I. Profitable & Unprofitable – vs. 8-9
A. Profitable (vs. 8)
1. A Faithful Saying
2. Affirm These Things Constantly (with conviction and authority)
3. Believers Should Be Careful to Maintain Good Works
4. These Things are Profitable, especially for the spread of the gospel
B. Unprofitable (vs. 9)
1. Avoid Foolish Disputes
a. Shun, turn away from, turn around – 1 Tim 6:3-5
b. Moronic Investigations that lead to Futile Arguments
2. Avoid Genealogies – mysticism, tracing doctrines to try and give credibility – 1 Tim 1:3-7
3. Avoid Contentions – Self-Centered Rivalry (personality conflicts) – 2 Tim 2:15-17, 23
4. Avoid Strivings about the Law – Gal 6:12-13
a. Disputes about the Role of the Law – Acts 15:5, 10-11
b. Disputes over things settled by the Word – Acts 15:19, 23-29
5. These Things are Unprofitable, Worthless, Futile, and a Waste of Time
II. Warped & Sinning – vs. 10-11
A. Reject – have nothing to do with
B. Divisive Men – factious, un-submissive, self-willed
C. After Two Warnings – Rom 16:17-18; 2 Thess 3:14-15; 2 Tim 2:25; 2 Cor 13:11
D. Warped – twisted lives by twisting Scripture
E. Self-Condemned – his behavior reveals the fruit of his doctrine
III. Commissioning Companions – vs. 12-13
A. A Man to Replace Titus as Pastor
1. Artemas – unknown to us but trusted by Paul
2. Tychicus – Asian Believer
a. Missionary Journey to Asia Minor – Acts 20:4
b. Delivered Epistles – Col 4:7; Eph 6:21
c. Replaced Timothy at Ephesus – 2 Tim 4:12
B. Nicopolis – Victory City, north of Athens, where Paul was arrested and taken to Rome for his final imprisonment and from where he sent Titus to Dalmatia (Croatia) – 2 Tim 4:10
C. Men on a Ministry – send them without lack
1. Zemas, unknown lawyer
2. Apollos, eloquent Egyptian – Acts 18:24-27
IV. Maintain & Meet – vs. 14
A. Maintain Good Works
B. Meet Urgent Needs – Eph 4:12
C. Be Fruitful, not Unfruitful
V. Greetings & Grace – vs. 15
The Qualities of a Sound Church are given by God through Grace and Mercy to Us so that we might serve Him, one another, and the lost. Don’t resent the people we are called to serve and reach!