Titus: New Testament Church Structure

There is very little known about Titus even though he was a companion of the Apostle Paul. The book of Titus clearly indicates that Paul and Titus conducted a missionary trip to Crete. Paul left Titus in Crete to establish a firm foundation for the church in Crete. The name “Titus” means “nurse.” Titus, a young preacher, had the difficult assignment of directing this new work. The Cretan believers needed to be nursed along. Paul, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, gave young Titus a threefold plan for building up and establishing a local church. Paul laid out three essential truths, or a threefold vision for a successful local assembly. Titus 1:5 reads, “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee” (KJV).

The three essentials are as follows:

I. The need for sound leadership (Chapter 1)
II. The need for sound doctrine (Chapter 2)
III. The need for sound works (Chapter 3)

I. Titus 1… The need for sound leadership…

Titus 1:5… “Ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.” Why? Because verses 10-13 talks of unruly men and vain talkers (vain, i.e., senseless, profitless, and manipulative talking; leadership with wrong motives, lying, greed, covetousness, not sound in the faith, not led by the Spirit). Sound leadership instills a vision in the church. Sound leadership equips the saints to fulfill the vision. Sound leadership changes lives from being self-centered to being Christ-centered. The apostle lays out the principles for sound leadership in verses 6-9. There is nothing complicated here. Holiness and righteousness are the main characteristics. A good family life, obedient children, moral soundness, a compassionate and tender spirit, the ability to rule one’s own life, and more. In the January 1984 issue of Eternity magazine, an Anglican bishop in England wrote that he went to Germany to find out why the Holocaust had occurred and why Hitler was able to find multitudes to follow him. He was told that the church had become complacent and had lost vision and purpose. Hitler rose to power because he gave Germany a vision. The bishop then remarked, “Wherever Paul went there was revelation. Wherever I go they serve tea.” Sound leadership gives the saints a vision and a purpose.

II. Titus 2… the need for sound doctrine…

Titus 2:1… “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine” (KJV). Peter tells us in 1 Peter 4:11, “If anyone speaks, they should do it as one who speaks the very words of God” (NIV). Sound doctrines (teachings) make both men and women sound in the faith. Chapter 2 lists what sound doctrines will do. It produces good behavior and holiness. Belief and practice work together. Sound doctrine teaches you good things. It helps people to overcome wrong passions, gives youth fresh visions and goals, teaches you to talk God’s talk, teaches you job behavior and relationships, how to overcome wrong and be an overcomer, teaches you how to deal with anything that comes against you… Sound doctrine teaches you how to live in this present world (Titus 2:11-12). Basically, sound doctrine is God saying to the believers, “Do it right.” This whole chapter teaches you how to live.

III. Titus 3… the need for good works…

Titus 2:14… “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (KJV). The word “zealous” means being responsive to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is urging the saints to action–heal the sick, preach the gospel, comfort, and exhort. Titus 3:1 says, “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.” The word for “good works” refers to the works of the Holy Spirit. Sound leadership and sound teaching will produce good works (natural works and spiritual works). When a church is birthed properly and taught properly, it will work properly. Good works follow sound leadership and teaching. Good works follow, not precede. Note, “Be ready to every good work.” The saints must be taught to be ready for the work of the Spirit in the assembly. The word “ready” means “preparation.” Adjust yourself to expect good works. Mark 16:17,20 says, “These signs [works] shall follow them that believe . . . And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.Titus 3:8 says, “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” Note, “Be careful to maintain good works.” The word “maintain” means “to practice good works.” Paul told Titus “affirm this constantly.” In other words, repeat constantly the importance of good works, i.e., the Lord working with you and in you. Don’t lose this vision. Titus 3:14 says, “And let our’s also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.” Note, “Learn to maintain good works.” Note, “Necessary uses”; i.e., every day there is a necessary use for the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, we will be unfruitful. People must learn to use the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:8-16 teaches this, and it is the five-fold ministry’s responsibility to teach these things.

The Lord is saying, “Do it right; do it God’s way.” Improper learning brings chaos, anxiety, and frustrations. People are dying for lack of the good works of the Holy Spirit. It’s very important to give clothes and food and shelter, and it’s also important to take care of people’s spiritual needs by addressing child abuse,  spousal abuse, pornography, abortions, crime, injustices, and the fears of war that fill society. Being zealous for the works of the Spirit is a silent item these days. It seems that we have developed a system of worship that is resistant to the Holy Spirit. Let the Holy Spirit guide your works.

Pastor George Belobaba

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