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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

MAINTAIN GOOD WORKS

Titus 3:12-15 When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter. Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them. And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful. All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

It is evident that the apostle Paul was journeying toward the city of Nicopolis at the time this letter was written to Titus. Although other cities bore the same name, the port city in Greece, immediately south of the city of Philippi, is probably the city of Nicopolis that is mentioned here. History tells us that Augustus Caesar won a great battle at or near this site, therefore he named the city founded here, Nicopolis, which means "City of Light." It was here that Paul intended to spend the winter months of this missionary trip.

Because the service of Titus was deemed necessary in the city of Nicopolis, Paul was sending Artemas or Tychicus to Crete, that the work Paul and Titus had done in establishing, strengthening, and growing the church of Christ there, would not be hindered in any way. Since he is not mentioned anywhere else in the New Testament, background information about the follower of Christ named Artemas is not known. However, Tychicus, if it is the same person, is identified in two separate letters by Paul as a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord (Eph. 6:21:22; Col. 4:7-8). He is also mentioned as a fellow servant in Christ ministering in Asia (Acts 20:4), and having been sent by Paul to labor at the body of Christ in Ephesus (2 Tim. 4:12).

Paul also requested that Titus bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos with him when he came to meet Paul in Nicopolis. Zenas more than likely was a Jewish convert that had studied, and was well versed in the Law of Moses. Nothing more is known of him. Apollos was mentioned further. He was a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord, but knew only the baptism of John. It was he whom, when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. After which he publicly preached that Jesus was Christ (See Acts 18:24-28).

Not only was it Paul's desire that these men mentioned were to learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, but by inference all Christians were also to do so. In a world filled with covetousness and greed, doing good deeds for others does not come naturally; rather it must be learned by daily practice. The world must not recognize Christians as people that are spiritual and pious in word only. God's children are not to merely appear pure and holy, neither are they to demonstrate religious hypocrisy. Christians are to be known for the good works they do for their families, for their brothers and sisters in Christ, and for all others that have needs that they have opportunity to fill. Acts of charity and benevolence toward all in need must be the badge worn by members of the church of Christ by which they are seen, and known, throughout the world. Obedient children of God must labor honestly and diligently, working with his hands the thing, which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth (Eph. 4:28b).

Christians are not to be unfruitful. Jesus, Himself, tells us that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples (John 15:8b). As His faithful followers, we are to be filled with the fruits of righteousness, which demonstrate compassionate love for their fellow man, and bring glory and praise of God (Phil. 1:11). We must be fruitful in every good work, in order to be worthy and pleasing to the Lord (Col. 1:10). The apostle, Peter, tells us that in order to be fruitful, every child of God must, with all diligence, possess these Christian characteristics: faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, (and) charity (See 2 Pet. 1:5-8).

Indeed, a Christian cannot secure righteousness (Rom. 9:31-33), be justified in the sight of God (Rom. 4:2-6), or have the hope of eternal salvation (Titus 3:5), by good works alone. Faith in God, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the plan of salvation He died to establish, must accompany our good works. Our faith is demonstrated to the world around us when we maintain good works.