The letter to Titus is concerned with order within the church. In 1:5 Paul writes to Titus,
For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.
Paul proceeds to tell Titus how to do it. Notice Paul instructs Titus to appoint “elders [plural] in every city.” It is interesting he did not say appoint elders [plural] in each church.
Is it possible that by now there were several house churches in each city and each house church had a singular elder? Therefore, Titus was to appoint elders, one for each house church? The text here, and in 1 Timothy 3 allows for this. The doctrine of multiple elders in every church is not a slam-dunk.
Therefore, Paul states the qualifications and functions of elders, and their pastoral work. It is by these qualifications that a church should evaluate their pastor.
This letter is not the apostle Paul’s final letter to Timothy; however, it is one of his last–Titus and 2nd Timothy will follow.
In it, Paul is instructing a younger pastor on how to continue to fight the good fight of the faith. The key to winning the war is teaching sound doctrine. There were two men whom Paul knew neglected sound doctrine, and their faith was made shipwreck.
He instructs Timothy on how to organize the churches in Ephesus: Find men who desire a good work and meet the qualifications of an overseer and a deacon. Women are not to take over the authority of a man and are not to lead men in teaching. Neither, Paul says are women to be appointed as overseers. That office God has reserved for a man.
Don’t err concerning the faith are Paul’s final words to Timothy in this letter.
Philippians is one of the four prison epistles written by Paul perhaps around A.D. 64. This church in Philippi was faithful and generous. They supported Paul in prayer, and financially, and he commends them for it (4:14-16). Paul assures them that because of their faithfulness, God will supply their need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Unlike the church in Corinth, this church is healthy, and Paul does not need to correct any error. Philippi is a normal Christian New Testament assembly.
“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Here is what Dr. Charles Ryrie has to say about the book of Ephesians. I do not think it could be stated any better:
I have to say that Ephesians is one of my favorite books in the Bible. Because it says so much about what Christ has done for the believer it seems to lift the reader right into heaven. Everytime I read it I feel as if I am on the top of a mountain surveying the grandeur of my salvation spread out in these pages.
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. Ryrie’s Concise Guide to the Bible. San Bernardino, CA: Here’s Life Publishers, 1983. Print.
Paul refers to two churches, one in Colosse an another in Laodicea. He encourages them to read each other’s letters from him (Although the letter to the Laodiceans was not inspired and is lost). Paul’s comment in 4:16 helps us understand how the churches shared scripture.
Throughout the letter, Paul is warning of false teaching and advocating for holy living among believers, in marriage, family, and work. He challenges this church to be prayerful, watchful, thankful, and fruitful.
Paul’s short letter to Philemon consists mainly of a plea for this godly man to graciously receive his runaway slave Onesimus. He had become a Christian, and Paul is now sending back to his master.
When Paul (and the 275 others aboard a ship bound for Rome) was shipwrecked,
he exhibited another kingdom authority given by Jesus in Mark 16; that is he was bitten by a viper yet, “felt no harm.” Additionally, he healed the father of Publius by the laying on of hands, also prophesied in Mark 16.
The Acts ends abruptly with Paul under house arrest in Rome, still offering the kingdom of God to the Jews, and teaching the cross of Christ to all who came in unto him.
Were two years of Paul’s life wasted as he sat in prison in Caesarea? He wrote no epistles during that time. C.I. Scofield points out that perhaps those years were used by the Holy Spirit to reveal the “crowning revelations” Paul would write about later. These, Scofield says, could not be made apart from “deep meditation, demanding quietness, and earnest seeking.” Paul had an opportunity for each of those in Caesarea.
In chapter 20, Paul exhibits the kingdom authority as prophesied by Jesus in Mark 16, by laying hands on and healing a young man who appeared to be dead. The dispensational transition continues with a prophet warning Paul about going to Jerusalem. Paul reveals he is a Roman citizen just moments before being beaten by a Roman soldier. Paul speaks before the Sanhedrin but receives comfort from a personal visit by Jesus who stood by him.
Stop judging others. That is Paul’s command. Our focus should probably be on ourselves and not others, since every one of us shall give an account of himself to God.
Instead of zeroing in on everyone else’s faults, let’s live by the law of love. Loving and not judging does not mean we compromise. Rather, here is what it means,
“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not please ourselves.”
Paul says we should “strive together with [him] in [our] prayers to God…” That is a good general principle to follow. When we do that, we begin to focus on others in a positive sense–Paul models that for us in chapter 16.
Perhaps the greatest battle Christians face is conformity to the world. Paul says, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. As we make ourselves a living sacrifice, we do it all to the glory of God.
Paul discusses how believers are to act toward those in the local church, but also to those outside the church.
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers…the powers that be are ordained by God.”
We are to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”
We are sanctified. Praise the Lord! Realizing this allows us to live our lives free from legalism. Legalism kills the spirit. Just look what Paul says about our sancification:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…”
Sanctification, like justification is imputed to us the moment we believe. If we are in Christ we are sanctified. That is our position and that is how God sees us. Can the sanctified be carnal? Yes, if we walk after the flesh, and not after the Spirit. Yet, like our justification, when we sin, our sanctification stays intact.
Therefore, live your sanctified life and don’t get stuck in legalism.
In chapters 9 -11 we will discover that the Gospel does not set aside or change God’s covenants with Israel. God always keeps His promises.
It is a deep and relatively long passage today…but you can do it!
Romans chapter four should cause Christians to stand up and pump their fists in the air!
“And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness…But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.”
This means our salvation is a done deal! Our righteousness has been imputed (put on our account) to us! The word imputed is a term of reality. There is no wavering or staggering (4:20), it is simply fact.
Have you believed in Jesus? You are righteous. You don’t feel righteous? Who cares how you feel. God has imputed righteousness to you–this is the incredible, nearly unbelieveable yet glorious promise of “Jusitification by Faith”.
Because of this there is joy that comes from faith (chapter 5).
And not only has justification been imputed, we are sanctified (set apart, made holy), and made free from sin. We serve a great God.