Final Instructions and Greetings12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. 14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.
15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith.
Grace be with you all.
Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: The Last Word on Relationships
Accompanying Robert Rayburn sermon: Once More: The "Good" Life
In our passage today, we find out more about the historical details of this letter.
Rayburn: As we mentioned in our introduction to this letter several months ago, Paul wrote Titus, perhaps in largest part, to tell him to join him in Nicopolis, on the Adriatic coast of Greece. But Titus can’t leave to join Paul until his replacement arrives. Paul understands that the work in Crete is not complete and is unwilling to require these young churches to fend for themselves. We know nothing else of this Artemas, but Tychicus is mentioned on several occasions in the New Testament and in 2 Tim. 4:12 we learn that he was sent to Ephesus to relieve Timothy, indicating, perhaps, that Artemas was the one sent to replace Titus in Crete.
[Zenas and Apollos] no doubt carried Paul’s letter to Titus. We don’t know anything else about Zenas, but Apollos was the gifted Alexandrian, whom we find in Acts 18 receiving instruction from Priscilla and Aquila, and whose later teaching at Corinth was so enthusiastically received that it created a division between his followers and those of Paul. So far as we can tell, Paul and Apollos themselves were always on good terms and this statement is further indication of that.
This is the tenth and last reference in this short letter to the Christian life as a doing of what is good. Obviously the hospitality and help asked for on behalf of Zenas and Apollos serves as an example of what Paul is after. The NIV’s “daily necessities” is not a literal translation. What Paul wrote is literally “necessary needs,” that is, pressing or urgent needs. It seems he is still talking about such things as providing help to strangers coming through. In other words, Paul is eager that the Christians on Crete learn to be ready at all times to do good, to invest their lives in the service of others and, all the more, in the service of the gospel. Then, when the opportunity arises, as it often will, they will be ready. That is Paul’s prescription for a fruitful life or what Paul calls a productive life.
As Christians, we are to live lives of purity in obedience to God, from a thankful heart and for His glory. That involves service. But what, exactly, are we to do? Sometimes, we get so distracted in trying to figure out our grand purpose, that we miss the forest for the trees. We need to do what is set in front of us to do. And then the next, and then the next. As God gives us opportunity, as He places people and needs in our lives, we need to meet those needs and serve those people, which will bring us to the next opportunity and the next after that.
MacArthurs adds some encouraging thoughts here as well. As Christians, we are to work together as a team.
You're a part of a team, we're all inter-dependent, we need to be supportive and trusting and delegating. We all share. We move to assist each other, what's ever best for the cause. That's a very important thing in spiritual leadership.
This is an evangelistic epistle.... But the key to evangelism is right relationships. That involves shunning false teachers, rejecting factious people. It involves helping fellow servants and loving faithful friends. You see, the whole thing in evangelism, the whole credibility issue is built on the character of our lives. And the only way to pull this off is his final conclusion, "Grace be with you all." Apart from God's grace it can't happen. By His grace it can.
I've really enjoyed digging deeper in this book as it's the first (and so far, only) book of the Bible I've memorized. It will provide much deeper meditation as I continue to review it!
Tomorrow - Daniel!
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Daniel 1:1-8