Titus chapter 2 is where we’re at today. The book of Titus is a great book of the Bible for us to study. Titus is a book that teaches how to plant a healthy church, and that is very relevant for us because we are a church plant, right? And so, an important book, and when you read through the book of Titus, you see Paul’s desire to see a healthy church planted in the area of Crete, and thriving for Jesus. That’s that same heart that Paul has for Titus and for the people at Crete that I share with him for us, and I know you share for ABC as well.
You know, we think about our church, we don’t meet to just meet. What God is doing in us isn’t intended to stop with us, but to share through us. We’re not here just because you gather on church on Sunday and that’s just something you should do; rather, we want to delight in God, and grow in Him, and share Him with others around us. We have said to us very clearly, the purpose of the church is founded in the Greats: the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. The Great Commission is to make disciples, followers of Jesus; the Great Commandment, which is related to making disciples, is to love God and love others. When you love God, you love what God loves, and what God loves is people, because God gave His life for us.
And so, we demonstrate our love for God by the way we are His arms and legs. The Bible tells us that God is the head and we are the body, and by extension of God’s love, we demonstrate that love in this world. When God works in this world, when God moves in a miraculous way, 99 out of 100 times, He desires to work through His people that are the mouthpiece to proclaim His glory in this world, and so what we do matters.
Paul understands that, and so he’s articulating to the church, what does it look like to see a healthy church thriving for Jesus where they are? And not only does the book of Titus teach us how to plant healthy churches thriving in Christ, it teaches us how to do it in difficult places. When Paul describes the area of Crete, it’s not an easy field to reach the people for Jesus. Their hearts are very hard and stubborn. It’s like if you had to think about planting a church today and God said, “You can go anywhere you want in the world.” Like, I don’t know about you, but I would be like, “Okay, either I’m going to pick the easiest people on the planet, or probably Hawaii.” Right? Like, “I feel the Lord really leading me to Hawaii.” One of the non-volcano islands, wherever that is, right? Give me the easy place, right?
But what Paul says in the book of Titus, in chapter 1 verse 12, talking about the people in Crete, he acknowledges what the people on Crete say about the people in Crete. It says, “One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars.'” [inaudible 00:02:42] no room for this, they’re always this. “They’re always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” Now, evil beasts, I mean, what kind of, like, you don’t want these people for friends, right? And Paul is going here and he’s planting a church. What is he thinking?
But it really shows us the power of the gospel, how God can even reach the most difficult of places. No matter how dark your day may feel, the light of Christ can resonate, and his glory be made known, and lives transformed for him. What a beautiful picture, right? Paul doesn’t make this statement and then follow that with thoughts of hopelessness, but rather hopefulness because of Jesus.
So what we have learned about a healthy living church together in our thriving church together as they say in Titus chapter 1, the first five verses, Paul begins to share with us how that church is built and he identifies what his position is before Jesus and acknowledges it’s really all of our positions in verse 1. He calls himself a bondservant. Healthy church is built on servants. The church isn’t created for itself but God creates the church to give itself away, that his light could be made known in darkness and it transformed the lives of people around us.
The church is called to serve just as Jesus in his example served us by giving his life on the cross. A thriving church is about servant leadership resting, in verse 2, on an unchanging God, verse 3, by the power of his word, to serve and bless the world around us as we care for those that join us in the cause of Christ, verse 4. Then he says in the latter half of chapter 1, starting in verse 5, that a healthy church is built on godly leaders, and that all of us are called to be leaders for Christ. All of us have some capacity in which we lead.
We read in Ephesians chapter 4, verses 11 and 12, that the point of leadership isn’t to stand above everyone and do all the work, but leadership is about getting beneath people. In fact, it says in Ephesians chapter 4, verse 11 and 12, that God gave leaders in verse 11, for in verse 12, for the equipping of the saints in the work of the ministry. God doesn’t judge leaders on how well they do the work of the ministry. God judges leaders on how well they equip others to do the work of the ministry, saying that we’re all called to lead for Christ.
Today we continue examining how to build healthy, thriving church, by considering one thought. If you want to see light over darkness, Paul wants us to recognize that we all have a part in creating a healthy church. Paul wants to be intentional about what we do, and for us to begin to see this picture that we all have a part in creating a healthy church. Paul’s verse at the end of chapter 1 and the beginning of chapter 2, starts to contrast two ideas here. As if to present to us, pathways in your life, that you could pursue, two pathways of what you’re going to be about.
He says in Titus chapter 1, I think this really begins in verse 12, but in verse 16, the conclusion of chapter 1, talking about false teachers, “They profess to know God, but their deeds, they deny him being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.” See Paul shared with us, starting in verse 5, what godly leadership looks like. Then he contrasts that godly leadership with ungodly leadership. He says about them, within the context of those verses, that there’s two ways their life shows ungodly leadership. By what they teach and how they live.
Their teaching denies the truth of who God is, and their living, their actions, deny the idea of living for God. Rather they’re living for self. So when we think about the way we live in life, when we typically talk in terms of ethics. When you think about ethics, ethics operates in a few frameworks. They say this, that we can do, we can do the right things for the wrong reasons. We can do the wrong things for the right reasons. We can do the wrong things for the wrong reasons, which is how Paul describes them in Titus chapter 1, or you can do the right things for the right reasons. That’s what we want to be about.
He describes these false teachers and he reminded us last week that you know oftentimes false teachers don’t come to you, or never really do false teachers come to you and start off the conversation with, “I’m about to share something with you but don’t believe it because I’m a false teacher,” right? That’s not how they present themselves. Typically they appeal to something sensual in us that entices us to believe. Like there’s a partial truth in it that attracts us, but there’s also this sensual attraction within ourselves that it may deny with truth is. Our flesh likes it, so we’re attracted to it.
So Paul’s saying look, there’s these type of false teachers in this world, but rather God’s desire for you is to be a godly leader for him. So in chapter 2, verse 1 he says, “But as for you, speak to things which are fitting of sound doctrine.” We all have a part to play in creating a healthy church and Paul starts chapter 2, verse 1 in reference to Titus. He says, but as for you, Titus, here’s a way you could live your life, in the pleasures of self, teaching ungodly things and promoting those things with your life, but as for you, God called you to be a part of a group that makes a difference, a church that thrives in darkness.
But as for you, it’s for us to understand that not only is Paul inviting Titus to this, but really he’s inviting all of us into this because you see in this chapter that not only does Paul start talking about Titus here, but in verse 2 he begins to address older men. Then in verse 3, he starts to talk about older women. Now, I’m not going to label any of you as old today. I’m just going to tell you, wherever you feel like you fall categorically in this, just let yourself be there. He starts referring to older men, then older women, then younger women, then younger men. Then he starts talking about where you work.
What he’s thinking about is the church and its ability to make an influence and difference. He’s looking at this church. He’s looking at Crete and he’s saying, okay how can we leverage where we are to make a difference? How do I know we all have a part in creating a healthy, thriving church? What Paul is acknowledging in these verses, is that we all have a part to play because we all have influence. All of us have the ability to influence the lives of people around us, the ability and opportunity to make a difference.
In contrast, in verse 16, to bad, false teachers, Paul then calls the church to make a difference where they are in the midst of this darkness, knowing that even in the darkest of places, God’s light can be made known. The reason he wants them to use their influence, he shares with us because as he talks about older men, older women, he then says why, as he talks about young women. He says why, young men he says why. Where you work, he says why, and this is it. In verse 4 he says, “So that,” talking about younger women. Older women teach the younger women. “So that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children. So that the word of God will not be dishonored. So that the opponent will be put to shame having nothing bad to say about us. So that they may adorn the doctrine of God our savior in every respect.
Your influence matters. Your influence is important. Paul wants us to consider in our lives where we are influencing and how we are influencing. No Christian is outside of the responsibility of using our influence for the cause of Christ. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 6:20, it says, “You have been bought with a price. Therefore, use your body to glorify God.” In 2 Corinthians 5:20, “You are an ambassador for him,” and if we think about the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, the Great Commandment in Mark chapter 12, verse 30 and 31, love God, love others. The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20, “Make disciples.”
This calling rests on all of us. But here’s the sobering reality. You can make a disciple of anything because you have influence. So your actions in life demonstrate what you value. What you value becomes the billboard to promote that love. Then therefore influences others to join you. You will make a disciple in life, but the question is of what?
If you were to go home today and just ask the people around you, the people that you have the most opportunity to influence in your life, as far as you know me, you could say to them, what do you think is important to me? At the end of your life, what will people say about you? What did you love, value, cherish? What did you promote? What did you make a disciple of?
There is no neutrality. Our hearts lean into something, and what we love, we naturally are enthusiastic about. We promote. What we value, we share. What you value in life is seen in how you apply your resources, your time, your energy, your money. I like to say it like this. This is one of our core values as a church, but we say it this way. What you celebrate, you replicate.
The things that you’re passionate about, you share with the people around you, because that passion becomes evident. Your heart sings the song of that praise, of whatever it might be. You will make a disciple of something, and when you promote that passion through your life, you invite others to join you on that journey, to share that passion with you. What are you passionate about?
Because of our influence, all of us, all of us have a place in creating a healthy, thriving church in Christ. The question is, is what you celebrate worth replicating? Sometimes we don’t even recognize in our lives just how powerful our influence can be. I heard a story of a mother who took her young son shopping. All day long, she dragged him around, in the drudgery of shopping, in this shopping cart. Finally they get to the last store, and the mother comes up to the clerk and she lays all the merchandise on the counter to purchase it, and the little boy’s just not paying attention, and as he’s not paying attention, the clerk kind of reaches over and hands him a sucker. The little boy’s just looking at the sucker and the mother says, “What do you say?” The little boy looks over at the counter and just says, “Charge it.” And along he goes.
You have influence. Your influence matters. I heard another story of an author in China. It was commissioned by the Chinese government to write a biography on the life of Hudson Taylor. Hudson Taylor spent his life as a missionary to China. I love his enthusiasm for the people there. That enthusiasm is really what I looked for in moving to Utah, when Taylor said, “If I had 10,000 lives, then 10,000 lives I desire to give to China.” I wanted to find a place where I could sell my life, give my life for the cause of Christ, right?
Taylor did that and this author in China was commissioned to write a biography about him, but their desire was rather than write a true story about Taylor, they wanted to distort the facts and present him in a bad light. That way, they’d discredit his name. As the author began to study the life of Hudson Taylor, he found himself in an extremely difficult place to carry out his task because he couldn’t fulfill what he was commissioned to do with a clear conscience.
Eventually at the risk of his own life, he laid aside his pen, renounced his atheism and received Jesus as his savior. Your influence matters. Can I remind you guys, what Paul’s about to do in this passage of scripture, is he’s considering the church and their ability to influence, and he’s trying to help them think through where that influence carries the most weight. That way, when they swing their hammer, or they sharpen their ax, it’s done with such an intentional purpose, that it makes a difference in the darkness that is Crete.
He begins to think in his mind, as he looks at this area of the world and he looks at the people, how can they make a difference, right? He’s going to start talking about our behavior and the way that we model what we love in our lives. I want you to know that when we talk about this behavior, what we’re after is just not simply this behavior modification, but rather your behavior should emulate what you love. It’s only out of the deep love for Jesus that the actions in which Paul describes become important because if you simply modify your behavior to modify your behavior for the sake of being good, it’s not going to last. But if you’re enriched by the deep love for which Jesus has brought to you, and you rest in that love, that transforming power that Christ resonates in your life, when that becomes your hope, when that becomes your passion, the outworking of that becomes a natural outflow of what Christ has done in you.
This isn’t about guilting us in Jesus but to recognize in the power of the influence which God has given us, as we rest in Christ, it becomes the natural pouring out of our lives, the significance of who Jesus is because your actions promote what you value, inviting others to join you. So Paul continues on in Titus, in chapter 2, verse 2, he says, “Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith and love and perseverance.” Older men, you’re the model of what it means to pursue and love and live for Jesus. Notice much of what Paul is going to say in this section of scripture deal with our actions and not with our words.
It is important to teach truth, but it’s important that that truth resonate in the way you live your life, not in hypocrisy. I love the way he’s saying this, that the way that we live our life in action is filled in love, in faith and in love. The demonstration of our lives. One of the worst ways to influence someone to what you love is to simply nag them. But if you love it and love them, it is attractional. We live a life that is honorable, and on the back end of that, be able to have a place to share why our lives radiate with such beauty, if it radiates at all. Jesus.
I remember sometime recently, I was talking with an older man, not a part of our church. I don’t even know how old he is, but he was older than me. That’s what I mean by older, okay? He was older and he felt like at this point in his life, that he really didn’t have anything to offer with younger generations, because he was detached from that age group. Guys, I know in Paul’s culture, older generations were probably valued more than we value that in our culture, but I think it’s important for the church to recognize that we don’t have to live like our culture.
With age comes wisdom. That wisdom is important. I had the opportunity to encourage this older generation, because in my life, I can remember growing up in a broken home. I lacked often fatherly figures that could encourage me towards godliness. I can remember one man in my life that I highly respected to such an incredible degree. This man was probably 40 years older than me, but I was a rough child that wandered on the streets and got into everything that you didn’t want your kids to get into.
I remember this older man, he would always find me and he would always confront me. He loved Jesus. It made a difference. Older generations, can I just remind you within our culture today that young people lack the wisdom of fatherly figures. Don’t undervalue that position, what means for the church and in the culture, to speak truth and to speak it in love because of the influence that God’s given you. Don’t let that wisdom go to waste.
Care enough about the bratty kid to confront them, not in anger but out of a compassionate heart. That’s what Jesus did for us. That’s why our hearts have been transformed in him. He doesn’t just stop with the older men, but you know guys, when you think about discipleship, sometimes it can be intimidating. The responsibility of influence can feel intimidating. It really works like this. As you spend time with God, you’ll leverage what God teaches you to share it with others, to love on them as Christ has loved on you.
Don’t be burdened by the thought of needing to mature a heart overnight. We’re all a process, a work in process before God. But rather, spend time with those around you for which you can influence for the purpose of molding, or find someone with a willingness in their heart to just want to pursue after God and spend time with them. In fact, when you look at how Paul starts thinking about the early church and talks about different people groups which includes the whole church, it kind of begs the question at the end, if you’re not taking the time to spend with someone for the purpose of influencing them in Christ, are you really following Jesus? Because that’s what God calls us to do.
The church isn’t a building. The church is you. To be a difference maker in our society, that means taking serious the opportunity that we have that what God does in my life, to not let rest with me. But then he goes on and says, “Older women, likewise,” just like the guys. “Older women are to be reverent in their behavior.” I like that word, the word reverent. Women are reverends, right? You’re Reverend such and such. It’s not Jesse Jackson. It’s you too, right? I am a reverend because I revere God. That’s an important role and the reverence that you hold for Christ, revere in their behavior, not malicious gossips, not enslaved to much wine, teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children.
You know our society does not know what love is. We only love because of what we get. We only love when people are lovable. That’s not biblical love. Biblical love is about laying yourself down for the benefit of someone else, and it’s not always easy. Because it’s not always easy you need older women to come around these younger women that are in this battle, to remind them, keep going. You can do it. Let me show you from the wisdom that I have learned, how God has worked through me in this. An encourage in Christ is incredibly powerful and important. Don’t underestimate the influence that you carry.
Then he goes on in verse 4 and 5, and he says, “So that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be sensible, pure workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” Now this is a fun verse to talk about in our culture today. All kinds of questions can come out of this, but let me alleviate some thoughts here.
I want us to remember that in this passage, Paul is thinking in his cultural context. He’s looking at the church and he’s trying to shape for them some ideas for which they can leverage to be a light in this darkness. He just begins to address people groups and where they have the ability to leverage their influence for the cause of Christ. So within the context of this culture, he’s thinking about men. He’s thinking about women, where those are in that cultural context, and sharing it with them. How to influence this broken world.
But because this verse talks about influencing at home, it brings up the idea of women’s roles today. I really respect what Christ did in his ministry because when Jesus was crucified on the cross, the story tells us that the first ones to encounter the resurrection of Jesus were women. The first ones to testify, to give a testimony of the resurrection of Jesus were women. In the time of Jesus women were viewed more as property than people, and their testimony was not respected. It wouldn’t hold up in the court, but Jesus didn’t care because women are equal.
In the book of Galatians it says, I think it’s in chapter 2, that “There is neither slave nor free. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, there is neither male nor female, that we are all one in Christ.” Jesus saw us equal. In fact in Jesus’ day, if someone were to be a disciple of a rabbi or a teacher, it was only the men, but Jesus invites women. We see the equality of male and female in scripture but it still rests within the cultural context. Paul’s trying in his culture to figure out how women can influence in their position. Where is the place that God has given them to do that?
But this doesn’t necessitate that the only place women can influence is in the home. Today, there’s more freedom for women to lead in many ways. At the same time, guys, I don’t want us to underestimate the gift of family, the place that you possess to be influential. I don’t think you need to apologize for making your family a priority. I know as people, we don’t like to be told that there’s something that we can’t do, but I think it’s important to recognize you can’t do everything. If God’s given you a place to influence for him, use it.
The home should be a picture of the mini-church, right? It’s the mini-church in action. God, in our lives, we have certain relationships, and seasons of life often change our relationships but scholars have said, in studying relationships that in our lives, we typically have no more than 8 to 15 close relationships at any given time. Through the seasons of life, those can change, but 8 to 15 close relationships are all about a person will experience at any given time in their life. But what it’s saying in this passage of scripture, is those 8 to 15 relationships that you have are powerful places of influence to show what you value in life. What do you demonstrate that you value by the way that you live? What you celebrate, you replicate.
It’s only by a heart of love that the genuineness of Jesus is made know. He goes on from there and he starts talking to young men, and likewise, urges young men to be sensible. “In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds with purity in doctrine, dignified, sound of speech which is beyond reproach so that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about you.” Let’s make it hard for people to hate you. When they think about you, they see the beauty of who Jesus is. I mean that’s what he’s describing here.
I could go through all these descriptive words, and tell you exactly what they mean, but I don’t want to get bogged down in the minuscule for the thought of the big idea in this section of scripture. These are not conclusive lists. Godliness is bigger than this, but godliness resonates when our hearts are surrendered to God and out of a love for him, the action pursues. This isn’t a list to guilt you. This is a list to encourage you to leverage where God has you because of your love for him.
If your love for him doesn’t run deep, then come before him and grow in that relationship before the Lord, that God would move through you. This isn’t about guilt, but to recognize that in the transformation that Jesus brings in your life, to allow God to use that because that’s how the church makes a difference where it is. God wants you to be a part of building a healthy, thriving church by using your influence. If we aren’t living to bless, then there is no point for the existence of the church because that’s the reason for which God has created us, to glorify him and bless those around us.
So on that thought then, the last few verses, Paul talks about where we work and then gives this anthem idea. He says, “Urge bond slaves to be subject to their own masters, in everything to be well pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adore the doctrine of God our savior in every respect.” I don’t want to get into the idea of slavery again because we talked about this a few weeks ago, but in our context it would more relate to where you work. What does your employer think about you? Do they see the beauty of Jesus and do they honor the God that you honor because of how you walk with integrity in your life? Do you live in that position as a gift from God to bless people around you?
It’s a circle of influence. You think about jobs. Oftentimes I, in the church world, when we do volunteer stuff together, I love doing stuff in a team, but it’s difficult to always feel like a team because in the church world you only have so many hours a week to devote and volunteer, right? But at your job, you spend as much time in a week at a job as you might be doing volunteering over a few months in the church. So you build relationships at a much deeper level at work in a week than you can in a church in a week, right?
He’s saying in those relationships, use those places of influence that God’s given you to leverage for his glory, and here’s why. Verse 11, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.” God wants you to reach people, and if we do our part, we have tremendous impact. The grace of God has appeared. The same grace that has transformed me has opportunities to transform those around us, and then it says, verse 12, “Instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly and righteously and godly in the present age.”
Look the answer isn’t you’re not living, you’re living ungodly, so do good. The answer is there’s ungodliness and then there’s a life that loves Jesus. Love Jesus. It’s not about bad and good. Christianity’s not bad and God. Christianity’s we’re dead and God brings us to life. Live in that life. Christianity’s about relationship, enjoying that relationship, and out of that love from that relationship, living, and verse 13, “Looking for the blessed hope in the appearing of the glory of our great God and savior, Christ Jesus who gave himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed and to purify from self a people for his own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”
Don’t take this for granted, right? I really love this phrase that Paul uses in verse 14, talking about this redeeming God. It’s a phrase Jesus often used in the gospel, to describe us. Jesus redeemed us from more than just a selfish life about our own sensual pleasures. When you look at the history of the word redeemed, the idea of redemption goes all the way back to Exodus, chapter 6, when God brings the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt through Moses. It’s a theme word that Israel fixated on throughout their history into the days of Jesus, where now into the Apostle Paul because the idea of redemption creates a beautiful word picture in our minds.
In our day, we have several terms that we use for financial transactions, different types of financial transactions and words that deal with finances, right? There’s debt, there’s income, there’s gross. There’s, you don’t got no money, get lost. Kind of like there’s checks, there’s receipts. There’s different ways to think about money and the same thing was true in Jesus’ day, including this word redeemed. It comes from the same word cluster as the word ransomed.
This word for redeemed was a term that was used in the slave market. When someone would buy a slave out of the slave market, the word that they would use for that transaction was redemption or ransomed. So when Jesus thinks about us, he uses this phrase for us because we were slaves. And what were we slaves to? The lusts of this world, to sin. Jesus bought us from that slavery, but the word redemption means more than what you’ve been bought form. Because when you’re purchased from, you’re also purchased for. That’s exactly what this phrase says, that when Jesus gave himself to redeem us from every lawless deed and to purify himself a people for his own possession.
It’s not about just where you came form. It was also about now where you belong. This word redemption is our story of the work that God has done in our heart and the place that God has called us to belong in him. When you look at the way that he phrased it in this passage, “And he gave himself for this redemption,” to redeem us, or to ransom us. When you would carry out this financial transaction, a person’s a slave in the time of Jesus, there were a few ways this could happen. You could barter the price. You could pay monetarily for a slave and then there was one other option. You could trade your life.
Your life for theirs. That’s what it says about Jesus. “He became sin who knew no sin, so that we could become the righteousness of God in him,” so that when God looks at us, he sees the beauty of Jesus. Freedom. Galatians says, “Christ has set you free, therefore glorify God.” That should be the song of our heart. Our actions should share what we are passionate about, because what we’re passionate about promotes and encourages other people to belong there as well. That’s what discipleship is.
What do you love? In 30 years, I wonder how many people are going to care about the job your worked, achievements that you’ve made, the promotions that you fight for, the possessions that you think are important. How many people are going to care about that? I wonder in 50 years, how many people are going to care that I was a pastor at Alpine Bible Church? I don’t think very many people care now. I’m not so certain that everyone in this room might care, right? I’ve yet to walk in a room and be like, “I’m the pastor at Alpine Bible Church.” And it’s like, hold up. Everyone stop. Someone go get the red carpet. Look, the pastor of Alpine Bible Church is here, right? People, nobody cares.
Maybe some of you, hopefully all of you, right? They don’t care. People may not care about the things you’ve done but for generations, they can carry the influence you leave behind. I can be an influencer that creates an influence that outlives the memory of me. People may not know the members of Alpine Bible Church in 20 years, but they can certainly live in the blessing of a church that was created because of a people that honored Christ.
People may not know you by name, but because of what you’ve done today, there exists church in this city. Your influence will outlive you. The beauty of the gospel is that it thrives when people lay their lives down for Jesus. The beauty of the gospel is that it thrives in sacrifice and in death. You think about Jesus. Jesus is the gospel and Jesus came and he gave his life and in his death, life is made known.
In a model to Jesus, which is who we emulate, us as his followers and pursuing of Christ, when we lay down our lives, when we die to self for the sake of the gospel, in our death, God brings life, and in that life it influences that world. If you use the circle of influences which God has given you. What you celebrate, you replicate, and it influences the lives around you, especially when that influence is in the celebration of Christ.
Warren Webster is a media guru guy. He had a conference once and said this, “If I had to live my life over again, I would live it to change the lives of people, because you have not changed anything until you’ve changed the lives of people.” You know what Paul wants for the church in Crete? To be intentional. To not take for granted the opportunity that they have around them. You can’t influence everybody, but you can be influential. Who is in that circle of influence in your life? Where is that circle of influence in your life? What do you promote in that circle? What you value you promote, and what you promote is how you invite others to follow along in your love.
Following Jesus isn’t about what you avoid. It’s about what you are becoming in him. So when we encourage other people, it’s not to nag them but to love them deeply as we have been deeply loved in Jesus. The thoughts of these words aren’t to guilt us but to call us in an understanding of awakening in our love for Christ so that love for Christ can radiate in this world. We build healthy church, healthy thriving church when we take serious the opportunity of influence in the relationships around us and we utilize them to make a difference that outlives our own fleshly desires as people.