Video of this sermon is also available on YouTube: How Paul Made Decisions – Titus 3:12-15
Paul had to decide whether to replace Titus with Tychicus or Artemas (3:12). Since he is our pattern for living in the dispensation of grace, he is our pattern for making decisions.
Christians shouldn’t decide things like the king of Babylon did. He sacrificed an animal to please his god, thinking that his god would be so pleased he’d tell him what to decide to do by the shape or color of the liver (Ezek. 21:20,21). You wouldn’t do that, but it is just as superstitious to make decisions based on horoscopes and fortune tellers, etc.
Abraham’s servant struck a deal with God to get Him to show him which wife to choose for Isaac (Gen. 24:14), and God honored this method of deciding things (v.15). But that’s because He had a specific wife in mind for Isaac. But a woman living in the dispensation of grace is “at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord” (I Cor. 7:39).
Other Christians put out a fleece to make decisions (Judges 6:36-38). But Gideon wasn’t trying to decide what to do. He knew God wanted him to save Israel, He told him so. He wanted a sign to confirm it. But God’s not giving such signs today, for “the Jews require a sign” (I Cor. 1:22), and God isn’t dealing with the nation of Israel any more.
Some other Christians listen for “a still small voice” (I Ki. 19:12). But that verse comes right after Elijah called fire down from heaven in a stupendous display in the previous chapter. After he was discouraged that the display didn’t make Ahab turn to God, God showed him an earthquake and a fire, and told him that God isn’t in powerful things like that, but in his still small voice. God’s power is always in His Word, no matter how small the voice that speaks it. So listening for voices is no way to help you make a decision!
Still other Christians pray about their decisions and look for a feeling of peace to confirm that they made the right call (Col. 3:15). But Jonah made a bad decision, yet had such peace about it he could sleep in a raging storm (Jonah 1:4,5). No, Paul was telling the Colossians to forgive others as God forgave them (Col. 3:13-15), by making peace with them that He never takes away. That’s the peace he wants to rule your heart when you have a dispute with someone. Forgive them and make peace with them, a peace you’ll never take away.
God sees us as adult sons (Gal. 4:4-6), and expects us to make adult decisions on our own. Paul “determined” to winter in Nicopolis (3:12) after weighing all of the determining factors That’s what adult sons do! Barnabas “determined” to take Mark along on a trip, but Paul “thought not good” to take him (Acts 15:36-38). Both made their decisions based on their previous experience with Mark (Barnabas as his uncle [Col. 4:10]), another thing adult sons do! Paul made the decision to replace Mark with Timothy because he came recommended by men he trusted (Acts 16:1-3), and we should make adult decisions based on recommendations as well.
Good counsel from our brethren in the Lord also helps make decisions (Acts 19:30), and even from savvy unbelievers (v. 31) for “the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light” (Lu. 16:8). If after all that you still don’t know what to decide, take a “wait and see” attitude as Paul did (Phil. 2:19-23 cf. I Cor. 16:6).
“Zenas” (Tit. 3:13) wasn’t a lawyer of the law of Moses, but a lawyer of civil law in Rome. Paul was in and out of prison so much he needed one! It’s okay to hire a lawyer in this dispensation, but not in the Tribulation (Mt. 10:19). Paul picked Apollos to be with Titus in Crete for he was “mighty” in the Old Testament (Acts 18:24), and there were legalizers pressing the Law in Crete (Tit. 1:10).
“Let nothing be wanting unto them” (3:13) means to take care of their financial and material needs. God’s people usually did that for ministers, a good work, but Paul says “let our’s also” (our ministers) learn to provide for their own good works that they “be not unfruitful” in good works for the necessary uses of providing for their own necessities.
Some Christians you can only love “in the faith” (3:15), but with God’s “grace” it can be done. He loves and accepts us by His grace, and expects us to do the same for others.