Titus 1:1-9 – To be an Elder


TITUS 1V1-9.




Who is Titus and why did Paul write to him?

Our information about Titus is very limited. It seem that he was brought to Jesus Christ by Paul himself – v4 “Titus my true son in our common faith”. He is from a pagan background. Gal.2v1-5 show that Titus travel with Paul to Jerusalem where an attempt, though unsuccessful , was made to circumcise Titus.

Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem,

This time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. [Gal 2v1]


Titus also features in 2 Corinthians. When the Corinthians Church seemed to be in crisis, it was Titus who was despatched as the bearer of Paul’s 1st letter to Corinth. He seems to have managed the difficlut situation very skillfully. Then he reported back to Paul during which time Paul wrote 2 Cothinthians and sent Titus back with the second letter.


It would appear from v5 that Paul and Titus had been in the island of Crete together.

The reason I left you in Crete

was that you might straighten out

what was left unfinished and

appoint elders in every town,

as I directed you. [v5]

Paul had left Crete and gone to Greece leaving Titus to finish the task they had begun togther. Titus is now an apostolic delegate in temporary charge of the church in Crete. There was prbably more than one congregation on the island and Titus was to appoint leaders, among other things.


Why the Letter? Didn’t Titus know what Paul had taught? Probably a twofold reason. To remind Titus, but also to have down in black and white the apostle’s instructions so that there could be no argument. Also, of course, so that these instructions could be inscrpiturated so that the Church throughout history could benefit. Including us.




These first 4 verses are packed with wonderful truths.


* Paul’s sphere of ministry and what he hopes to achieve by it.

Paul always presents himself as a servant/slave of God. As we saw last week in Haggai, to be God’s servant is to be accorded the highest honour.

Paul deepest desire is “for the faith of God’s elect” Paul’s life is given to the preaching of the gospel and the building up of the faith of God’s elect.

In the OT Israel were God’s choosen people but now in the NT era that role has been inherited by the Chruch.


* The faith of God’s elect must be based on the truth.

Faith based on falsehood is, like a building build of unsound foundations, will eventually collapse. True faith, saving faith requires a true grasp of the Apostolic message.

Paul is also at this point laying a foundation for what is still to come in the letter when he warns Titus and the Cretan Christians of those who are spreading false teaching and unholy practices.


With his emphasis on the truth – and rightly so – Paul adds a qualifier “which goes with godliness”

ILLUST: We can if we are not careful get so hung up on truth – we spend much time defending the truth – that we forget to put it into practice.

We have probaly all met people like this. They are so correct and have all the right answers but they are a pain in the neck. WHY? because they have neglected the balance.

But grow in GRACE and the KNOWLEDGE

of our Lord  and Saviour Jesus Christ [2 Pet.3v18]

He [Jesus] was full of GRACE and TRUTH

[John 1 v14]


May God save us from becoming unbalanced Christians. We need the truth BUT we also need the practical outworking of that truth in godly behaviour.


* Hope of eternal life is another characteristic of the Apostolic message. While this hope is what sustains Paul. It is not to be limited to him. The hope of eternal life is something all Christians can look forward to. There are to aspects to eternal life:-

1) We have eternal life – NOW. When you become a Christian you are reborn [Born spiritually]. zwhs aiwnion – Life of the age to come. Not simply life that will go on forever but also a new quality of life. Life abundant. Life to the full.


2)  What we have now is not all that there is. We will receive a much fuller experience of eternal life when this life on earth has ended.  This is what we have as our hope and what Jesus prayed we would have.

Father, I want those you have given me

to be with me where I am, and to see my glory,

the glory you have given me because you

loved me before the foundation of the world.

[John 17v24]

We have eternal life now but when Jesus returns [or we die and go to be with him] we will have it in a much fuller way.


The grounding of Faith.

This hope is not an airy-fairy hope-so hope but a sure and certain hope. Sure because the God who promises is sure and certain. “God who does not lie promised it from all eternity”

God’s promises are certain because of who he is:

When God made his promise to Abraham,

since there was no one greater for him to swear by,

he swore by himself ….

Men swear by someone greater than themselves

and the oath confirms what is said and

puts an end to all argument

Because God wanted to make the unchanging

nature of his purpse very clear

to the heirs of what was promised,

he confirmed it with an oath.

God did this so that by two

unchangeable things, in which it is

impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to

take hold of the hope offered to us

may be greatly blessed.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul,

firm and secure. [Heb.6v13&16-19]


*Promised from eternity – manifested in time.  God’s promises are not abstract. He has fulfilled them in time. He promised before the beginning of time and has fulfilled his promises in history.

When the time had fully come

God sent his son …. [Gal.4v4]


God had a plan from eternity and when the time was right he put his plan into action. God has a plan from creation, He has a plan for the consummation of the world. When the time is right he will put his plan into action. NOT that God is waiting for time RATHER he is moving history to a climax.


* Preaching Faith  God’s word cannot be manifest in a void. It must have concrete expression in preaching. Paul here is emphasing not so much the act of preaching but the content of what is preached.

God was pleased through the foolishness

of what was preached to save those who believe. [1 Co.1v21]


In the past, OT era, their had been limited understanding of God’s purposes but now he has “Brought his word to light” through the gospel – the good news of God’s redemptive work in Christ.

Paul is thrilled that one as unworthy as he is had been entrusted with the gospel.

And so have we. We are not only the recipient of the good news we are also the bearer of the good news. What a privlege!!  [I am doubly blessed – I even get paid to do it]


* Common Faith – At last Paul mentions the person to whom he is actually writing.

Titus, my true son in our common faith [v4]


Paul is reminding Titus that all that he has written so far is not just for himself, Paul. It is true for Titus as well [and for us] This is the Faith that all who believe have in common. It does not matter what demoninational label we wear. Their is a body of truth that has been given to the Church and that is the only TRUE LABEL.

Jude writes:

I am very eager to write to you about

the salvation we share, I felt I had to write

 and urge you to contend for the faith

that was once for all entrusted to the saints [Jude 3]


The isseu is not; “Do I follow this Church or that Church?” Rather do I adhere to the Apostle’s teaching.




We can’t deal with all these characteristics individually.

Three groups: v6 – Family

v7 – negative characteristics [qualities an elder must not have]

v8-9 – positive characteristics [his deeds and his doctrine]


Before you switch off and think that this only applies to the elders, think again. All Christians are urged to live Godly lives.

“Be holy, for I am holy [1 Peter 1v16]

Be perfect even as your heavnley Father is perfect [ Matt.]


Jesus Christ wants us all to be godly people BUT those who aspire to be leaders in the church of God must be good examples of the believer. NOT perfect  but wholeheartedly following Christ.


This is an uncomfortable passage for me to preach as it probably is for all in leadership positions in the church. As I read the list I know that I fall far short. Like Paul I have to say “>>Not that I have already obtained all this but I press on”


(1) A good family man.

Don’t want to get into the place of women in ministry. And I believe that women have a vital role in the life of the church and I don’t just mean in the kitchen.

ELDERS however I believe must be men! Not because men are superior or more intellectual or more competent. There are many women who are more intelligent, more competent and better speakers than I will ever be. So that is not the reason.

Elders are men because of the creation mandate of male headship and because nowhere in scripture do I find a case of women to be elders.

[You are free to disagree with me but this is my view]

A faithful husband and a good father.

The family is the foundation of the church. Elders must model the gosepl in their own homes.

Loving your wife as Christ loved the Church. Managing their children with a balance of Love and Discipline.

Husband of one wife – meaning? One wife at a  time??? No living a godly life with one woman in a life commitment. Being Faithful until death do us part

Their is a vital role for the wives in this ministry. A man with an unchristina wife or a wife who is malicious or gossipy can himself be an elders. {Would you have called nme to be your pastor if Janet was not a Christian}

In the same way their wives

are to be women worthy of respect

not malicious talkers but temperate

and trustworthy in every way [1 Tim.3v11]


In order for us to model the gospel we must have open homes [all of us] as we spend time together we must talk about the gospel. {NOT PREACH} talk about life through the grid of the gospel. Hospitality is mentioned in v8.

Hospitality is more than entertain some to a meal. It is making them feel welcome and at home in your home.


(2) Negative Characteristics.

summary: not dishonest and not out of control. Must not be someone who can’t control his habits [drinking, gluttony or anything else that is to excess] control his actions; not physically or verbally violent.

Not overbearing: We all naturally want our own way. We have to learn to “consider others better than ourselves”

Church work is team work [or it should be]. It is very difficult working with someone who is pushy and arrogant and always wanting their own way.

I am deeply grantful to God for have men like John and Alan to work with!!!


(3) Positive Characteristics.

Good deeds and good doctrine.

In attitude and behaviour we must be wanting to benefit others for thier good.

Open heart and open home – therefore the wife must be with him in this as it is her home too.

These charateristics are not just for Church life but for all life.Church, Home , Work and every other area of life. ABOVE REPROACH [blameless] so no one can point a finger and say “HYPOCRITE” we all fall and make mistakes but the over all tenor of life must be above reproach.


GOOD DOCTRINE – we must know what we believe [v9]

For two reason – to teach others and to refute falsehoods.


Some say “All this talk about doctrine! we just want to worship God in simple faith”


The gospel is simple [children understand] but it is not simplistic and we need to know what we believe. Without sound teaching our worship of God is hindered.

Calvin – “The end of theology is not knowledge but worship”

            Elders are given the pastoral oversight of the church but they need a knowledge of God’s word to do it because it is only the gospel that can bring salvation and help people to live godly lives.


We have received a great salvation and now we need to live up to it with God’s help. READ 3v11-14

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