Lesson 1: A Killer Who Found Hope – Titus 1:1-2

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

You're listening to Lesson 1 from the sermon series "Titus" by Pastor Ricky Kurth. When you're done, explore more sermons from this series.



The Book of Titus was written by a killer named Saul of Tarsus. Saul was named after the first king of Israel, but after he got saved he preferred to be called by his Gentile name (Acts 13:9 cf. Tit. 1:1) to reflect the fact that the Lord sent him to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21).

Paul always has a reason for introducing himself as a “servant” (1:1). Rome was the capital of the Roman empire, so the Romans were used to owning slaves, not being one. So in calling himself a servant to the Romans, the apostle who was a free citizen of Rome (Acts 22:25-28) reminded them that a free believer “is Christ’s servant” (Rom. 1:1 cf. I Cor. 7:22). The Philippians were feuding (Phil. 4:2) so Paul introduced himself as a servant (Phil. 1:1) and reminded them that being like him and Christ (2:2-7) would solve their feud.

But Paul introduced himself as a servant to Titus because he was an intimidating man (II Cor. 7:12-15), and he needed to be reminded that he was not fit to lead because he was a tough man, but because he was willing to be like Paul and be a servant and lead God’s people by example (I Pet. 5:2,3).

In calling himself a “servant of God,” Paul was saying he served God on a level with Moses (I Chron. 6:49; II Chron. 24:9; Neh. 10:29; Dan. 9:11). Those who dispute Paul is the servant of God for this dispensation should be thankful we live under grace (cf. Num. 12:2-10).

But wasn’t James also a “servant of God” (Ja. 1:1)? Yes, but just like Moses, he was the servant of God to the Jews (Ja. 1:1). Paul was sent to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21). When Paul introduced himself as “an apostle” (1:1), the Lord already had 12 apostles, but they too were to the Jews, while he was “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:13; Gal. 2:8).

Even the Lord’s enemies knew that God’s “elect” (1:1) was Christ (Lu. 23:35). When you believed and were made one with Christ (I Cor. 1:30) you became part of God’s chosen. That’s how it worked for Israel too (Isa. 42:1 cf. 65:9,17). “The faith of God’s elect” was the body of truth given to Paul (Acts 14:22; 16:5).

When Paul says he was made an apostle “according to the faith of God’s elect” (1:1), he was saying the body of truth given to him existed in the mind of God before he was saved and he was made an apostle according to it.

The Law used to be the truth that was “after godliness” (1:1), but Paul was made an apostle to get men to “acknowledge” that there’d been a dispensational change, and now the body of truth given to him was after godliness, the grace message.

Paul was also made an apostle “in hope of eternal life” (1:2). We Gentiles had no hope of eternal life (Eph. 2:11,12), but Paul was made a apostle to give us that hope. Hope is always conditioned on something (Phil. 2:23), but our hope of eternal life is conditioned on the promise of the God who “cannot lie” (1:2). Why would Paul have to say that?

It was because Titus was pastor in Crete (1:5), an island off the coast of Greece. And the Greeks worshipped gods who were always lying and living in debauchery. Zeus was born on Crete (allegedly! LOL) and a book called Promethus Bound (written in 460 BC) claimed he never lied. But the rest of mythology said he was always lying to his wife Hera to cover up the affairs he had with gods and nymphs and women. No wonder the Cretians needed assurance that the God of the Bible wasn’t like that!

There were also unsaved Jews on Crete (Tit. 1:10) who had been at Pentecost (Acts 2:11) and heard Peter say they were in the last days before the kingdom (Acts 2:16,17). That was 30 years earlier, so they too would need assurance that the God of this new “sect of the Nazarenes” wasn’t lying in promising them eternal life.

God promised the Gentiles eternal life “before the world began” because after Satan and his host fell before the world began, God planned to replace them in the “high places” of government in heaven (Eph. 6:12) with us. But God planned Israel’s salvation after the world began (Mt. 25:34) because God planned to replace Adam as the ruler who had dominion over the world with Israel, and Adam didn’t fall until after the world began. See the difference?

Related Files: