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Titus 1:1 'Called into His Service' is page 2/5 of the Living Commentary on Titus 1:1-4 'Called into His Service'. This article highlights the special place Paul and each of us have in God's awesome plan for our lives.
“Paul, a bond-servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness” (Titus 1:1).
Some might wonder why the apostle had his personal name, “Paulos” as the first word of this letter. This was the typical way to start a letter. I remember studying Chinese and how to write a traditional letter. The opening and closure were very important. Moreover, there were strict rules that dictated how to do it.
We might be shy about who we are, but God certainly isn’t. He wanted each of us to be unique. Even twins are special in their own way. Saul, of course, was his name when converted. He was a highly educated and zealous Jewish man that protected his traditional Jewish religion from this fast growing group called, “The Way.” He even secured permission to visit other cities and arrest participants in “The Way.” God amazingly converted him just before he arrived in the city of Damascus.
Further reflection on Paul's calling in Ephesians 1:1.
Further reflection on Paul's calling in Ephesians 1:1.
We do not have time to discuss much of his background here (read the Book of Acts), but we must remember this man is not your typical traditionalist. God changed his life and made him a person through whom the Lord changed many people. This is what a Christian is. Although he could have boasted of his high educational titles and the influential positions he had held in the past, he first and largely saw himself for who he was. It is the same place we need to find ourselves if we are going to get clear minded in a very confusing society. We are saved from some form of bondage to this world.
In this world where people are convinced that they are a blob of chemicals sloshing about, we all the more need to hear of God’s special design for our lives. The false message of our irrelevance plagues this generation. But when you allow the truth of God to shape your life, you realize you are no accident, even if your parents hadn’t thought about you coming into the world. God purposed it. God furthermore designed you so that you could serve Him by loving others. Paul, the missionary, used his few remaining months to help protect and develop the churches there on the island of Crete and elsewhere.
Remember. Love starts with you.
A person that wills to care for another. If there is no you, then what love could have been is not there. Satan surely seeks to destroy us by stripping us from our true identity and power to commit ourselves to others, whether it be a family member as mother, a child or a casual Christian who doesn’t want to commit himself to a local assembly.
Who are you? What is your name? Paul’s name means little. He considered himself the littlest in the kingdom of God because of his persecution against Christians. God will use everyone a bit different. Our life search will be to better understand how God has equipped us to serve others and commit ourselves to doing those very things.
After using his name, Paul called himself a bond-servant which equally can be translated servant or slave of God. The original language used (Greek) does not make a difference between the terms even though the English language does. Back then, a person who was not his own master was another’s a slave– a ‘doulos.’ One might think it odd that he starts this way, but it is the right way, not just for him but for all of us.
There really is no such thing as a free person. Everyone is a slave. The key is to find to whom you belong. Paul defined his master to be God–a slave of God. God was his owner. The popular expression, “I am my own master’ has confused an endless number of people and made ourselves out to be gods.
The problem with this mentality is that while seeking the thrill ride of their lives, they unknowingly become more and more fixed in the grip of the evil one. They see life as a wild roller coaster. They think they chose to get on the ride. They even paid the ticket. But what they don’t realize is that the whole amusement park, that they they grew up in, belongs to the evil one.
The roller coaster is just another means the evil one swallows up its deluded riders. Closer and closer to destruction they descend.
“If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)
The greatest confusion among people today is to confuse their lusts with their true selves. Although people are told that their feelings are their true selves, it is a lie. Your feelings are not yourselves. A person’s sin nature might lead him to steal something (a feeling that it would be good to do), but a person has a conscience that helps him pinpoint himself to who he really is. The conscience might say that stealing is wrong. This is the real person. Jesus spoke real clearly about our identity.
“Jesus therefore was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s offspring, and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You shall become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. “And the slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. “If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:31-36.
Paul uses the terms flesh and spirit to describe the two spheres under which we will live our lives. It cannot be both. The flesh speaks about all the self-focused desires. While the Spirit speaks of the way God’s empowers a Christian to act normal and love others.
The purpose of the evil one is to destroy and kill. He gets people so excited about the present, they don’t take a look ahead. One homosexual cried in front of me about seeing his young friend die of AIDS. They step in the way of death without looking ahead. They are trapped, but Paul and the people of God have been set free. More people need to be set free.
Real freedom comes not from being one’s own free man but by having a good and gracious master. The Christian can grow in his or her spiritual life only when he clarifies who he is serving. I like how Paul emphasizes this at the beginning of his letter. If the letter stopped here, we would already know much about Paul.
But many Christians are tormented by their own indecision as to who they will serve. As long as we keep the flames of our own desires and ambition alive, we will be tormented by sin and worry. We will be driven along like a boat in a storm.
Look more into the Master-Slave relationship!
We only find peace like Paul when we realize our ship is about to fall apart in a very big ocean, and we ask the Lord to take charge of our ship. Becoming a Christian is essentially the change of masters. We go from darkness to light, from serving the evil one to serving God the Creator, from seeking our own fulfillment to seeking to fulfill the needs of others. If you haven’t turned your life over to the Master, then know for sure your life is being swallowed up by the evil one. Your end is coming soon. Cry out to God for salvation now!
To whom do you belong? If you say Christ, then let it be Christ. No longer say that Christ is my Savior but do other things. That would betray your true master. You cannot have two masters. Be brave. Make a decision. Like Joshua say, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” Paul saw his life like that, and it became a solid foundation from which he could properly understand his whole life and existence.
“Paul, a bond-servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ" (Titus 1:1)
Paul also says that he is an apostle of Jesus Christ. An apostle is a sent one. God sent him into the world. He was thrust forth. Yes, he wanted to go to some places that he couldn’t. Other places that he went to, didn’t want him. Nevertheless, God wanted him to go as God ordained him, he went.
Many people ask about finding the purpose of their own lives. They might not be an apostle, but still God has specially made, formed and created a plan for them. Ephesians 2:10 says that He has mapped out for each of us the good works we are to carry out. Remember, that you will never be content with your special calling if you are not sure of your general calling to be a slave to Christ.
Any special purpose in life must be carried out in light of the general calling. Saul was appointed God’s first king over Israel. But problems for him and then, problems for others through him occurred, because he refused to live in light of the general calling to do what God wanted.
“So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the LORD, because of the word of the LORD which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, and did not inquire of the LORD. Therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom to David the son of Jesse.” (1 Chronicles 10:13-14).
People often think that being a father or mother will automatically make them a good father or mother. This is by no means the case. I hope you are, but it is not by any means automatic. Being a good father is a life of deliberate purpose seeking out God’s ways in your home as the appointed leader. Only dying to yourself can free you to be what God wants for you as a father, mother or single. The same is true even if you be a student, doctor or professor. You want to be that student for the Lord, a doctor for the Lord, a professor for the Lord.
You can only be such if you thoroughly recognize that you are not living for yourself but for the Lord. You are not permitted like others to seek a good and content life on earth. You have been set on a higher mission. It is a holy calling to serve the Lord. It is disastrous to profane your holy calling by dare living for yourself. One might not be a Christian in this case.
God called Paul to be an apostle. This would largely shape how he would carry out his good works. One might think of it as a template, that is, a prescribed approach to life. Each of us is different. Our gifting, burdens and resources influences how we are to carry these things out. It is imperative that we place our career and life within the Lord’s own purposes.