The commitments of the man of God
We are looking at the first four verses of Titus, which are a somewhat a normal salutation, but a little longer than most and a little more detailed. This particular portion is more than just a salutation because in this opening, the apostle Paul is presenting elements of his apostleship. He is dealing with features of his own life and ministry, giving us principles that control his ministry, which made him so effective. Paul functioned from principle. We see from this text, the overall obligation of Paul as God’s servant, with specific commitments. And the driving principles at the core of his life are very clear from this short text.
First of all, Paul was committed to God's mastery as God’s bond servant and Christ’s apostle. Secondly, he was committed to God's mission, teaching in hope of eternal life. Thirdly, we can see that he was committed to the message of God “who cannot lie”. Fourthly, Paul was committed to preaching as God's means, entrusted to him. And finally, Paul was committed to fellow servants of God. Actually as a major player, Paul had a way of multiplying himself by pouring himself into the lives of others. And at this time, as Paul looks to the end of his life, he writes to two men: Timothy and Titus. So he was committed to God’s men.
It was because of those principles that this man operated the way he did. He presented the Gospel confidently, functioned purposefully, handled issues wisely, and acted powerfully. No surprises why Paul was so effective, and there shouldn't be any surprises in our lives as to our own effectiveness if we commit ourselves to submissive lives, to become true “servants of God” and faithful “the messengers of Christ”.
Many preachers today, and I suppose through history, are good at the art of persuasion. They know how to move people to respond without the Scripture being the issue. They can manipulate congregations emotionally and hypnotize them into frenzy, then call such ecstasy “deep” and “mystery”. But frankly, that kind of stuff really prostitutes the preacher's stewardship because it makes him no different than a secular persuader.
Preachers with a devoted faithfulness such as Paul may seem rare among today's ministers. Many would desire to think like Paul and to preach like Paul and persuade like Paul and to be as powerful as Paul and as influential as Paul and as respected as Paul and as loved as Paul and as successful as Paul, without being as committed as Paul. But it does not happen. We ought to admit that it is because we neither understand what it means to be God’s bond slave, nor embrace it to the level that Paul did.
But in his salutation, Paul offers us a marvelous pattern for ministry. It should remain in our prayer and effort, that what we see in Paul can be true in our own lives for the sake of effectiveness and the sake of fulfillment. Thus, may God establish in us the kind of commitments along these principles which can make us fully useful to Him.