Little Letters: Titus, Chapter 1

Freshwater Staff   -  

Earlier this year, we spent eight weeks studying our identity as followers of Jesus in the book of Ephesians and then another three weeks observing the transformation of Peter from the gospel accounts. After that, we devoted six weeks to exploring our four core values of discipleship at Freshwater.

Our summer sermon series, “Little Letters,” picks up where those messages left off. Over the next six weeks, we’ll focus on how the principles we’ve been examining through the first half of the year show up in books that often don’t get much attention in Scripture: Titus, Philemon and Jude.

Pastor Sean got us started in the book of Titus, a letter written by Paul around 65 AD to guide Titus in his ministry on the corrupt island of Crete. Crete’s culture, steeped in the worship of deceitful gods like Zeus, contrasted sharply with the truth of a God “who cannot lie” (Titus 1:2). Paul’s letter emphasized the need for church leaders to be blameless and faithful while reflecting values that stood in stark opposition to the prevailing cultural norms of the local Cretans.

In Titus 1:5-9, Paul outlines the qualities of elders (or overseers) who must lead by example in a society filled with rebellion and deception. These leaders are called to disciple others, fostering a countercultural movement rooted in love, righteousness and self-control.

But Titus is much more than a model for the office of elder in the modern church. Paul’s letter is a call to discipleship that not only extends from Paul to Titus, from Titus to the elders, and from the elders to the entire church community, but to every follower of Jesus.

Paul writes this in Titus 1:7-9 (CSB):

As an overseer of God’s household, he must be blameless, not arrogant, not hot-tempered, not an excessive drinker, not a bully, not greedy for money, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, righteous, holy, self-controlled, holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it.

At Freshwater, we see Titus as guidance to the qualifications of an elder. But these characteristics should also mark anyone who has committed his or her life to Christ as we continue to stand firm while following Jesus in the midst of our own Cretan society.

Reflection Questions
  1. How does your knowledge of the truth lead to godliness in your life, as described in Titus 1:1? Consider how your understanding of Scripture influences your behavior and decisions.
  2. How do you respond to cultural norms that conflict with biblical truths? Reflect on the challenges faced by Titus in Crete and consider how you navigate cultural pressures while maintaining faithfulness to God’s word.
  3. How do you exhibit the qualities of leadership outlined in Titus 1:6-9, such as being blameless, hospitable and self-controlled? Reflect on specific areas where you might improve to better align with these standards.
  4. How do you maintain purity in a world that often promotes defilement, as mentioned in Titus 1:15-16? Consider practical steps you can take to guard your mind and heart against impure influences and actions.
  5. Who are the key people in your life that you are discipling or being discipled by? Reflect on the mentor-mentee relationship between Paul and Titus, and consider how you can both receive and offer guidance and support within the context of community.
Watch the Message
Worship Songs from June 9
  • “The Lion and The Lamb”
  • “That’s the Power”
  • “Authority”