A “Community Devotional” based on Titus 1-2

Titus 1:4Paul shows the same closeness to Titus as he did with Timothy (1 Tim 1:2). They are family and partners together in ministry. Titus provided strategic help to Paul on several occasions (Gal 2:1-5; 2 Cor 7:5-7, 8:6; Titus 3:12-13).
Titus 1:5The apostle imparted great authority to Titus, like he did with Timothy, trusting him not only to lead newly-founded churches, but to appoint leaders to lead them (2 Tim 2:2; 1:5, 2:15). This should be an encouragement to us when we feel apprehension about turning over leadership responsibilities within the small group to others. Identifying a co-leader and appointing value champions is important not only for the group’s survival, but for its continued healthy growth. Ministry isn’t so much of what we ‘do’ to others as it is how we partner together in sharing the transforming love of Jesus Christ.
Titus 1:6-8The leadership characteristics Paul lists apply to small group leaders who are a type of elder/overseer within the Church (see also 1 Tim 3:1-7). Although this list parallels 1 Timothy 3:1-7, it reflects the different situation in which Titus was ministering. The state of Crete where Titus was situated was apparently reprehensible (vv. 12-13a); hence the emphasis on being self-controlled and self-disciplined. The Gospel penetrates the hard ground of unbelieving hearts when His leaders stand out as examples against the prevailing ungodliness within the culture. According to this list, a leader (elder/overseer) ought to be somebody who is a steadfast believer living his or her life out of their relationship with Christ; there is evidence of faith and order/stability in their household; they are cooperative, mild-tempered, and meek; they show self-control privately and publicly; they’re honest, demonstrate a welcoming spirit, love what is good, godly, pursue the Lord in all they do, self-disciplined, faithful to hold true to the Gospel they seek to encourage others with biblically sound instruction and are willing to take a stand against people who are set out to discredit the truth (vv. 13-14). As you read this list, ask the Lord to help you in those things where you don’t feel strong. Don’t let the enemy make you feel discouraged. This list is a model for leadership that God has destined for you to grow into. Be encouraged by the fact that your life and the example you can be to your small group participants (and all those within your sphere of influence) will increasingly look like what you’ve just read as you let yourself be transformed by God’s Holy Spirit dwelling within you (Rom 12:1-2).
Titus 2:1Remember Paul’s encouragements to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2 (also 3:14-17). Implicit in this command is to know what you believe as a small group leader. Understand the essential beliefs of our Christian faith and teach others. The Holy Spirit will use your knowledge of the truth in the bible study and discussion times of your small group. He will help you to recall our fundamental beliefs and articulate them as you facilitate bible study discussion. “Sound doctrine” gives rails for your small group discussions to run on. It is well-worth taking a devotional time this next week to look over our church’s essential beliefs communicated in the first class of the Partnership Series. Don’t hesitate to contact your coach if you need a copy.
Titus 2:2-3We need to be discerning in HOW we teach others taking into consideration their age, specific struggles, and circumstances.
Titus 2:4-5Paul knew that if Titus was successful in coaching the older generation in faith and godliness that they could become effective partners in reaching the younger generation. Paul’s pastoral guidance to Titus is contextualized to the Cretan situation. He was being sensitive to the culture and missionally-strategic. As small group leaders, we should always be on the lookout for those whose partnership can enable us to be more effective at discipleship and evangelism. Prioritizing and targeting our teaching toward people of influence can result in a stronger rooting & spreading of the Gospel. Who are the influencers in your community? How can you partner with them?
Titus 2:7-8Your life is to be an example as a small group leader (elder/overseer) of a group of believers. In everything we do, we’re called to do what is good by living according to God’s Word. This requires that we’re consistent in our words and actions. Our teaching will be more effective if we’re focused and diligent to accurately communicate biblical truth. The Holy Spirit will use your personal bible study to make you more effective in your small group leadership and evangelistic impact.
Titus 2:9-10Paul was no advocate of slavery (1 Tim 1:10). He is teaching this segment of the Christian community to recognize & respect the human authority they’re now under and to show integrity & honesty in order that the message of the Gospel would be furthered (see also Titus 3:1-2). For Paul, EVERYTHING is subjugated to reaching as many as possible with the Good News. Not even slavery placed limitations on sharing the Gospel – He only saw possibilities. If you were to apply this same attitude to your small group, what would change? How can your small group make the teaching of God our Savior attractive to the people within your sphere of influence?
Titus 2:11-14Salvation comes by God’s grace which has been revealed to all humankind. God’s grace actually teaches and empowers us to live according to God’s Word. His grace is sufficient to guide us in how we live and even in how we desire to live. We’re empowered to be self-controlled, upright, and live godly lives. No matter what challenges the present age brings the grace of God brings power to overcome them. His grace brings us instruction & empowerment to live with conquering righteousness until the glorious appearance of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who will complete what He has begun in those with faith. These verses offer a reminder that we’re not responsible for making people (biblical community) grow. Only God can do that by the power of His Word and grace. Rather, we are facilitating for what God wants to do by the power of His Holy Spirit in the hearts and lives of the people in our group. As small group leaders, we are creating the environment where biblical community can grow. An effective way we can do that is to continually point our small group participants to God’s all-sufficient Word and amazing grace.
Titus 2:15The apostle summarizes his instruction to Titus in this verse and concludes by telling him to encourage and correct with all authority. (This echoes his crowning exhortations in 1 Tim 4:11-16.) Our authority is sourced from God and rests upon His Word. The more we live and teach according to His Word, the more authority God gives to our leadership. He will establish us and make us stand firm if we seek to honor and uphold His Word through our leadership (Psalm 1:1-3; John 15:5). Practically speaking, bring the Word of God to your small group! Present its truth and pray for its power to be unleashed on your small group participants. Love for bible study and its application to life are contagious. What you do in this area has direct effect on your godly influence as a small group leader and your evangelistic potential as a small group.

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