People of the Bible
There is always a need for younger believers to fill the ranks. Older ones pass on, often leaving a heritage in the hearts of those whom they have served. But who will continue the work? The apostle Paul had served the churches zealously, but in due course he would pass on, so younger men would be needed to carry forward the gospel. Paul encouraged younger ones to take responsibility and to train other faithful believers to carry on the work (2 Timothy 2:2).
During Paul’s first missionary journey, a young man named Titus heard Paul preaching the gospel. Titus was Greek, so he had not been brought up with Jewish customs, neither was he a worshipper. But as he listened to Paul, Titus responded to the message and believed in the Lord Jesus, and became one of Paul’s most trusted and dependable co-workers. Paul brought him to Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1-3), and he stood before the leaders of the church in Jerusalem as a living example of what God was doing amongst the Gentiles.
Titus continued to travel with Paul on missionary journeys, sharing in the work of spreading the gospel. Then Paul sent him to Corinth to help the church with its troubles there, and it would seem that the visit bore fruit, for Paul tells of being encouraged – “And we the rather rejoiced in our encouragement more abundantly by reason of the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all” (2 Corinthians 7:13). Later Paul sent him again, although he makes it clear that, “being full of zeal, [Titus] went of his own accord” (2 Corinthians 8:17). Paul thought of Titus not only as a very faithful friend but also as his spiritual son because he had led him to trust Christ.
But Titus’ main commission seems to be in the island of Crete, to which he and Paul travelled, and where Paul eventually left him “to set right what remained unordered, and establish elders in each city” (Titus 1:5). He was there when Paul wrote the Epistle to Titus that we have in our Bibles, clearly setting out the principles that should govern the church, listing the pastoral qualifications of those who take a lead, and warning him of false teachers. Paul gave Titus detailed instruction for good Christian behaviour, urging him to be a good example to others himself, and to teach with courage and conviction the word of God.
• Listen carefully to the counsel of older ones. You may need to take their place one day.
• Resolve to support those who love the truth and seek to be faithful to the Lord.
• Let God’s word have its place in your heart, then you’ll be zealous in spreading God’s word.
• Christianity is practical. Be prepared for responsibility. Be a good example to all.
A Message for you:
Titus worked alongside Paul, and was a great encouragement to him in furthering God’s work. Not only did he learn from Paul’s teaching, but he loved it and was zealous to spread the word. His commitment resulted in him earning Paul’s confidence, such that he could commit to him responsibilities both in Corinth and in Crete. A trustworthy and reliable servant, he was “serviceable to the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21). Will you take on responsibility, and serve the Lord and those who love Him, as Titus did?
extracted from the November 2017 issue of Youthful Days
“For for me to live is Christ, and to die gain” (Philippians
1:21). These words sum up the life of the Apostle Paul, a man
used outstandingly by God in the spread of the Gospel to the
Gentiles, and for the establishment of the early church in Asia and
Europe. Paul’s Christian pathway commenced with his conversion
when the light and voice from heaven stopped him in his tracks on
the Damascus road – read about it in Acts 9:1-21.
Prior to his conversion, Paul was very religious. Educated by an eminent Pharisee called Gamaliel in the exactness of Jewish law, he genuinely believed that the Christian faith was a threat to Judaism, and his persecution of believers was relentless. He consented to the stoning of the Lord’s servant, Stephen. Then he obtained letters of authority from the high priest to travel to the synagogues of Damascus and to bind any believers that he found and bring them back to Jerusalem.
But Paul’s conversion changed his life completely. From this time on, Paul was totally committed to God’s service, and from being a persecutor of Christians he became a preacher of Christ, and became himself the object of persecution for his faith. He undertook three missionary journeys:
1. From Antioch in Syria to Turkey via Cyprus in 46-48 AD (Acts 13-14).
2. From Antioch, revisiting the churches established in Asia during his first journey, then on to Philippi (where he was imprisoned) and Corinth in Greece in 49-52 AD (Acts 15:36-18:22).
3. From Antioch, following much of the route of the second journey, but including a stay of three years in Ephesus. This journey ended in Jerusalem in 57 AD (Acts 18:23-21:15).
Paul’s last journey was as a prisoner by ship to Rome – “the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good courage; for as thou hast testified the things concerning me at Jerusalem, so thou must bear witness at Rome also” (Acts 23:11). En route to Rome, Paul was shipwrecked on Malta, but eventually reached Rome, where he was imprisoned and from where he wrote a number of his Bible epistles. The circumstances of his death in Rome are not recorded for us in the Bible.
- Paul went to extraordinary lengths to spread the Christian message.
- God will not exempt you from adversity. Paul suffered shipwreck!
- How much do you study and value what Paul has left for us in his writings?
- God’s word has come to you at great cost. Don’t treat it lightly.
A Message for you:
Paul’s entire post-conversion life was Christ, and was entirely
devoted to the Lord’s service. His three missionary journeys
alone total nearly 8,000 miles, plus more than 2,000 to Rome.
He was frequently imprisoned for his faith, shipwrecked, mobbed and
persecuted. Some of his epistles were written from prison in
terrible conditions, sometimes he was chained.
We have Paul’s letters in our Bibles. What do we do with them? Have we read and studied them? Once he wrote, “… lest indeed I have laboured in vain as to you” (Galatians 4:11). Have we applied their teachings to our lives? They are written for us, and let us not forget they have been brought to us through much self-sacrifice and at very great cost.
extracted from the March 2017 issue of Youthful