Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Evening Sermon Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/ev/ev20130127.htm
THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Titus: God's Directives For Church Leaders In Deteriorating Cultures
Part IX: The Leader's Calling Unto Ardent Service
Lesson: God calls every believer, including local church leaders, to speedy, diligent efforts in serving the Lord, not wasting time to the contrary, that he be spiritually productive and approved in service.
- Local church leaders are not only directed to serve the Lord as spiritual caretakers of the local body, but like any other believer, they to do so fervently, with great motivation, 1 Corinthians 15:58.
- Paul's closing remarks to Titus in Titus 3:12-15 open a brief window on this fact as follows:
- The Leader's Calling Unto Ardent Service, Titus 3:12-15.
- Paul began to close his epistle to Titus, claiming he would send either Artemis or Tychicus to Titus likely to replace Titus' leadership of the Cretan churches so that Titus could travel to meet Paul, Titus 3:12a.
- Once his replacement arrived, Titus was to go to Nicopolis, likely located on the southwest promontory of Epirus in Greece, where Paul had chosen to winter, Titus 3:12b,c; Wm. Hendriksen, Exp. of The Past. Epis . (NTC), 1974, p. 397. Paul was likely writing from Macedonia because he referred to Nicopolis as being somewhere else ("there"), so both men were to go to Nicopolis and meet each other there, Ibid.
- Winter in Mediterranean lands made travel by sea prohibitive, so Paul wanted to position himself and Titus for the winter in a city that was conducive to continuing his missionary outreach:
- Nicopolis was centrally located for both Paul and Titus: Paul, likely writing from Macedonia, needed to travel almost as far southwest as Titus had to travel northwest to meet at this rendezvous, Ibid.
- The city of Nicopolis was a good winter-resort in ancient times, Ibid.
- Nicopolis was also "an excellent base of operations' for mission-activity in Dalmatia," Ibid.
- The location was also "a fine steppingstone to places farther west," and Paul may have intended to use it as a port from which to launch a ministry into Spain, Ibid.; cf. Romans 15:24.
- Thus, in view of the importance of getting Titus to Nicopolis before the winter blocked Titus' capacity get to Greece from Crete by ship, so as not to delay missionary outreach over the winter, Paul urged Titus to "make haste, give diligence" ( spoudazo, Abbott-Smith, A Manual Greek Lex. of the N. T., 1968, p. 414-415) to get to Nicopolis as soon as his leadership replacement had arrived on Crete, Titus 3:12b.
- In conjunction with this directive, Paul urged Titus to have Zenas the expert in the Law and Apollos sent forward to ministry destination in a speedy, diligent manner (spoudaios, the adverb form of spoudazo, Ibid., p. 415) that nothing be lacking of their livelihood needs so they might relocate for uninterrupted Christian service before winter lest the weather hinder their ability to stay active in future works, Tit. 3:13.
- The provisions needed for Zenas and Apollos had to come from local church believers on Crete, so Paul applied the same urgency he had directed that Titus use in his personal efforts to the other believers on Crete that they might also remain diligent in their own service efforts unto the Lord, Titus 3:14:
- Paul asserted that local church believers on Crete had to learn to "maintain" (proistemi, Ibid., p. 381) good works relative to meeting "necessary" (anagaos, Ibid., p. 28) "needs, matters" ( chreia, Ibid., p. 483) in ministries like sending Zenas and Apollos on their ways to future missionary work, Tit. 3:14a.
- This remark in light of Paul's Titus 1:12 reference to Cretans being known as being lazy indicates the need for all believers, leaders and subordinates alike, to learn to stay active in serving the Lord!
- Paul explained that failure thus diligently to serve Christ for any believer, be he at the lay level or at the leadership levels of Artemis and Tychicus or of Titus or of even the level of the Apostle Paul himself, would make him unfruitful ( akarpos, Ibid., p. 16), what we today call "unproductive," Tit. 3:14b NIV.
- In view of every believer's future accountability for the works done in the body at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10), and since knowing this truth should cause the believer a degree of fear or awe of the Lord's coming evaluation of his efforts (2 Cor. 5:11), every believer should not only make sure he is Biblically correct in his workmanship, but that he is diligently, speedily performing it (spoudaios).
- Paul then closed his epistle to Titus, expressing his usual warm greetings in Christ, Titus 3:15.
Application: May all of us believers maintain speedy, diligent service in being productive in God's view.