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Titus 3, part 2

11.25.18 Nathaniel Wall

  1. Titus 3, part 2
    11.25.18 39m 26s
  2. Titus 3
    11.18.18 42m 25s
  3. Titus 2
    11.11.18 38m 06s
  4. Titus 1, part 2
    11.04.18 45m 29s
  5. Titus 1
    10.28.18 44m 44s

Titus 3, part 2

11.25.18 Nathaniel Wall Planted Series

As a church family, Titus Chapter 3, we’re ending this chapter today and I’m gonna talk a little bit with a few verses at the end of this book that we haven’t hit on yet, and talk specifically about our church. I want us to just really … This is the clean-up batter’s position here this morning on things that we just haven’t touched on as it relates to healthy church. You know, I want to start off with this thought today, and that’s just to recognize that this morning, this room, this is God’s team. What makes a church important isn’t the facility you go to worship in, it’s the people around you, and it’s the health of the heart of the individual that sits beside of you, or even your own personal heart as it relates to your relationship with God. God’s people are called to live out his mission in this world.

When God created the church, he created the church for a purpose, and what you do matters. It reflects on this world the goodness of who He is, and when we gather together on a morning like this, I don’t want to take for granted just how sacred and special these moments are, and how sacred and special that you are to the world because of what Jesus has called you to do. When you think about the beauty of scripture and the way God has worked throughout scripture, in 1 Kings, God has his people build a temple. It became the place where his presence dwelt, the kind of glory of God. If you wanted to meet God, it was known that the presence of the temple is where that took place.

The interesting thing about the temple was that only one person could actually go into the building one time a year, right? It’s like building a church building. All of us worship in the parking lot, only one person can walk in, but when the first temple was built, there was a tabernacle that followed Israel around. They finally built the first temple, 1 Kings 8 records what happens. It says, “When the priest came out from the Holy place after they commissioned it before the Lord, the cloud filled the house of the Lord so that the priest could not stand to minister because of the cloud for the glory of Lord filled the house of the Lord.” And, so they saw the beauty of God’s presence made known in this temple.

But, something happens between the Old Testament and the New Testament. In the Old Testament, God dwelt in this temple. That’s where his presence was. God wanted his temple to be a place for the nations. Jesus comes and says he’s gonna destroy the temple and in three days rebuild it. He hangs on the cross. He says to tell us all paid in full, meaning the payment for your sins paid in full, and he tears the temple in two, and it’s to signify that the presence of God no longer dwells in the temple. In fact, in the Book of Acts, which is the only historical book that we have in the New Testament … By category, it’s the only historical book. You can learn history from the New Testament. It falls under that category and you see the disciples talking over and over about this idea of the temple. Look what it’s saying in chapter seven and chapter 17, the most high does not dwell in houses made by human hands. Or, chapter 17, the Lord of heaven and earth does not dwell in temples made with hands.

What they’re recognizing for us is the sacredness of really who you are because what happens in the New Testament is rather than this facility where people gather that you have become the temple. 1st Corinthians 3:16, 6:19 both say that, but in 2nd Corinthians 6:16, another verse, it says, “For we are the temple of the living God just as God said I will dwell in them.” God’s desire was to make his presence known in your life, to reside in you as you give your life to the Lord because of the payment Christ has made for you on the cross. God dwells in you, and is with you wherever you. In fact, he gave that promise to his people as they live for him in this world. He says this in Hebrews 13:5, “For He Himself has said I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” When you think in the Old Testament you want to experience the presence of God, you go to the temple.

All of a sudden, God’s presence is no longer in the temple and you say to yourself, “Okay, how in the world are we ever going to experience the presence of God? What hope do we have?” Then, God gives this promise to you that He will dwell in you and with you. Though he left the physical temple, He will never forsake you. God’s presence is with you always. In fact, that’s the promise He gave you in Matthew 28:20. I will be with you wherever you. In Ephesians chapter 1, verse 13 and 2nd Corinthians 1:22, you are sealed by God. That word for sealing is actually an important phrase in the early church in this time period when a ruler, a dignitary, would seal something, his stamp of approval could not be broken. The only one that could break his seal was his authority or someone more powerful. There were times where his seal couldn’t even be broken based on the edict, or the decree, that he made.

When Jesus is saying He’s sealed you, there is no one more powerful than God that can break that seal, so you belong to him. His presence is with you wherever you go. How sacred and special you are to this world. How we treat one another, what is said here, is so important because you are important. Christ in you. What a gift that is to us. What a gift that makes you to the world, and the understanding of what God has called you to now in light of what He has done for you. I think about Alpine Bible Church, and where God has us, there are a people around you, a generation beyond you that can be blessed by your pursuit of God and desire to know Him and make Him known in your life. One of the things that we’ve said together in this series is that you will make a disciple of something.

God calls us to be disciples of Him. We said the church exists, we don’t define its purpose. God declares its purpose. It’s in the two greats, the great commission, the great commandment. The great commission is go in the world and make disciples of all nations, but he tells of what. In the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit because you will make a disciple of something, and the reason you will make a disciple of something is because your heart cherishes and values something. You will worship something with your life. You will attribute worth, value and meaning to something, and what your heart longs for, what your heart aspires to will attract other people to want to belong to that. You will make a disciple of something. Question is of what? What do you love? What do you care about? What’s important to you?

Understanding your influence is significant to understanding what God has called us to in this world. To examine our hearts and look at our desires, and recognize what are we producing and is it worth producing? God calls us to live on mission. God challenges us to grow in our relationship with Him. At the end of the Book of Titus, He really positions two ways to think about our lives. In verse 9-11, He says it like this, “When you think about living intentionally in life, living on purpose and pursuit of God, and knowing Him and making Him known in this world,” he says this, “But, avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife, and disputes about the law for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject the factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned.”

The warning in this passage is that it’s easy in our lives to get distracted. Recognize within these verses that what’s happening in the life of this individual is that they’re having external debates over secondary issues that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of life. They’re not really focusing on heart struggles. The secondary things, ultimately who cares. It’s like you get in a circle to make a difference, and you end up just talking about weather, where you went hunting and who won the football game. I mean, it was pretty cool to watch the University of Utah last night, I have to admit, but does it matter? Is that what we remain fixated on? I know within the passages of scripture, getting into particulars about this, I know Paul doesn’t have football in mind. Football is not even invented here. In verse nine, he refers to this as foolish controversies. Avoid foolish controversies. You think, I want to go back and figure out what exactly these guys were arguing about.

I could see Titus writing, “Here’s the church, here’s the questions they have. Paul, how could you respond to this in a Godly way?” Paul says very simply, “Who cares?” Nobody cares about that. What’s the point? Some problems are just so petty, they’re not intended to be addressed so get over it. That’s really what he’s saying here. “Titus, this is stupid.” The foolish controversies. Really? Is this what we’re going to fixate on as God’s committee? We’ve got bigger fish to fry here in what God has called us to. Let’s not fixate on these small issues because they sideline us. He begins to share the thought that maybe one of those is the area of genealogy. Everyone going around trying to tout who they are because of who their parents were. God doesn’t care who your daddy is. God’s not interested in name dropping. God’s interested in your heart. Everyone that comes to Jesus comes to Jesus the same way. It’s through the cross.

There is no special privileges based on whoever you might be associated with or wherever you came from. It’s Jesus or no Jesus. Avoid these controversies and genealogies, arguing over the law, and Jesus paid for it all. When we were condemned in the law of Christ bought us in Him, so Jesus fulfilled all of the law. It’s Jesus or not. Where’s your heart in this? Then, he just describes it like this. He says, “It’s unprofitable and worthless.” He identifies this person in the very last verse as perverted and sinning and being self-condemned. This idea of being perverted is really saying he’s tearing things up, he’s making things worse. When you think about what they’re contributing to the body of Christ, there’s no gain here. There’s no benefit to it, leaving us with the questions are you holding onto anything that keeps you from seeing God working in your life or the lives of those around you?

What would happen if you just let it go and make priority the things that should be the priority? Does it really matter the things that often get us worked up that we fight for, or fight over? You may not be able to control the things that happen to you in life, but you can control how long you choose to stay there. Often times in life, and I am definitely this way as a person, that you can have a thousand things go right, but one thing go wrong and that’s where your mind is for the rest of the day, right? The perfectionist mentality. You want the hundred things that are all good and wonderful over here, but then there’s the one squeaky wheel that in a minute you got some quiet time, you can just hear it rotating over and over in your head. What Paul’s saying is at some point you just got to let squeaky wheels squeak. The question is well, when do you stop and just let the squeaky wheel squeak?

Well, he tells you after the second warning in verse 10. Go to it, do something about it, second time maybe stop by, but man, get over it because what God’s called you to in this world is so much bigger than just to fixate on the one problem when a thousand things Jesus desires to do and work through in your life. Find where God’s moving and move with Him. Let God work through those avenues, so why He looks at how people are pulling away from the idea of what God desires for the church to do because what God’s called them to do is so important, so special. He then works, in verse 12 he starts to talk about the way that their minds should focus towards where God has called them. He says this, “But, when I send Artemis and Tychicus to you.” Paul’s like I’m moving on from this. Answer the problems, after a second warning, here we go. We’re moving on. We’re sending these people out in the world and we’re doing things for Jesus.

When I send Artemis or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me an accomplice for I have desired to spend the winter there, diligently help Zenus the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking from them. Great kids names, right? Throwing those out for you today. Merry Christmas. Or, our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs so they will not be unfruitful. All who are with me greet you. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. I love this. He’s sending them on a mission. I know in Christianity, sometimes you got people that get so worried, they get so focused on the holiness of God … Good thing to be focused on, but they feel like they need to take the position of God to make sure that holiness is lived out because you can’t control everything, right? God calls us to be holy. We don’t need to be sinful, and you just fixate on that.

All that you can do is your life becomes about telling people they’re doing things wrong. You’ve become the Holy Spirit. No one wants to be around you anymore. Paul’s like, “Look, man. You can’t do that in people’s hearts, but here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to send people, and we’re going to look for people that want to see Jesus made known in their lives, and we’re going to share that with them. We’re going to partner with that, and we need to at some point just let those things go so we can move forward in what God has called us to do together.” Verse 14, he really gets to the crux of what he’s about. He’s sending all these people around, but here’s what he’s after. Our people must learn to engage in good deeds, to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful. I love this. We need to learn. We need to learn what this looks like. We need to always be engaging with your mind to see where God is working.

The place that God has put you in this world is so important. I don’t mean to say this to stress us out, because look guys, I think I’ve said this to us a few times. You can’t make a difference everywhere. Sometimes we can get so overwhelmed by all the needs in the world that we just get paralyzed and not able to move forward because we can’t simplify. You’re not going to make a difference everywhere, but you can choose to make a difference somewhere. God builds relationships in your life, in different seasons of your life, to make that difference, but in our minds, it becomes our responsibility to remember how precious it is in where we live, and to never let our thought go from how we can glorify God where we are. Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs.

This idea of pressing need is a thought of what’s actually important. You see in verse 9-11, here they are fixating on secondary issues that really aren’t going to matter five seconds from now, but our people really need to hone in on the heart, to minister where people are, to meet those pressing needs. I love the way he says it here at the end, “so they will not be unfruitful.” When we get stuck in things, we can’t let things go, we can’t move forward because we’re there, that’s the danger. You become unfruitful, but God’s desire for us in this verse is to do good deeds, to meet pressing needs so that we are not unfruitful. I like thinking about this word fruit for a minute. It’s painted in the scripture for us. When you think about fruit, probably the most famous passage is Galatians, chapter five, walk in the spirit and you’re going to bear fruit. That’s what it tells us to in that passage.

Here’s the neat thing about fruit, and where I want to position this verse for us because it talks about doing good deeds, and it talks about bearing fruit, but I want us to recognize that good deeds aren’t necessarily bearing fruit. These are two different things. That’s why they’re distinguished in this verse, okay? You certainly do good deeds, and from that you see fruit bore, but when the bible talks about fruit, it’s not actually talking about physical deeds. When you’re reading Galatians, chapter five, often times it references the word fruit. It tells us the fruit of the spirit and then it goes on to describe it. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness. Those aren’t really deeds. Those are fruits of the heart that come out because of the spirit. They’re relational words. The reason I think this is important for us to recognize is because when we talk about deeds, the deeds that we do as a church are never intended just to be a deed done unto itself.

That the intention behind anything that we do as God’s people ministering for his kingdom is always about the heart that we desire to reach for God’s glory and encourage in Him. Now, we don’t love people just to simply manipulate them to get them to come to Jesus. We love people because Jesus loves people, and in loving people the way Jesus calls us to love people, the attraction is that they see the beauty of that love is birthed out of what Christ has done for us. The result maybe that they come to know Jesus, or if they do know Jesus, they’re encouraged further by Jesus, but we’re not here to just manipulate the heart. We love hearts because God calls us to love hearts, but the point of all this is to say look, what God is after is fruit, and what fruit is isn’t simply accomplishing a deed, but to leverage works in order to minister to hearts because what Jesus ultimately cares about is people.

When we talk about bearing fruit as God’s people, here’s how it starts for us. Galatians 5, walk in the spirit and you will bear the fruit. In the life of the believer, it begins by surrendering your heart because it’s not my fruit, and it’s not fruit I can fabricate. It’s the fruit of the spirit, and the spirit only moves in my life when I’m surrendered to the calling that God has placed on me. Jesus, I give over my life to you. I don’t want to remain stuck in secondary issues that keep me trapped from living a life that’s unfruitful, but your kingdom and glory. God, your will be done. When I walk that path of surrendering to him, yes, I may physical do things but the pursuit of physically doing things is to bless the heart of others, because the fruit of the spirit is all about relationship. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness.

I want to serve God’s people. I want to serve this world. I don’t want to be unfruitful, but I want to be a part of a community that makes a difference. I want to be the church that makes the difference. You think some people like to be the best church in the community, and I want to be a cool church. I want to be the best church that we can be, right? Some churches get focused on competing with other churches in order to be the best church in the community. I don’t want to worry about that. I would rather be the best church for the community. Do you understand the difference? There’s the best church in the community, it’s a popularity contest, and then there’s the best church for the community. The best church for the community isn’t really about the popularity contest, but just living to bless the lives of other people around them.

In the end of that, people, they may praise you, they may not praise you but the glory goes to God through that, right? I like the way the early church said it in Acts 15. Church exists not for me. I know I get benefit from the body of Christ. I know there’s love and encouragement in the body of Christ, but God called his church on a mission to bless the lives of people around them, to be a light in this world. I don’t walk in on Sunday about what I can get, but if I walk in rather like this, what can I give? When I live a life that desires to bless people and it creates that common culture, here’s what happens in the people around me. They live their life for that reason, too, and the church community becomes contagious. It becomes a beautiful place. We don’t get fixated on all sort of traditions that become un-relatable to the society around you, but rather we step into the church and we ask the question, “How can we establish a church in a way that blesses the society around us?”

You see that a lot in churches, that they start to die, because they get so fixated on their own tradition they can no longer connect with the people around them, and they would rather hold to their tradition and die than to figure out how to leverage what God’s giving them to bless lives around them. In fact, in Acts, chapter 15, you see the heart of that in the church. In Acts 15, they’re having a debate among the apostles as it relates to the gospel, and then when they reach the conclusion this is what they say. It just gives us a little peering into where their heart is as they see their church in their community. It says this, “We should not make it difficult for the gentiles who are turning to God.” That’s how they see their community. God, you’ve called us in this world. You’ve made your light known in us, where your spirit has sealed and dwells. Your presence is in us wherever we go.

God, you came and sought me out to bless me and my life that I may know you, enjoy you, all of the days of my life into eternity in your presence forever, and God, you desire to work that same miracle … You’re that same miracle working God that worked in my heart, that desires to work in the heart beside of me. God, how can we use us as your people to reach more, to bear fruit for your kingdom? Acts 15. We should not make it difficult for the gentiles who are turning to God. We don’t want to put extra obstacles in front of people. We just want them to know Jesus desires to make Himself known in their lives. The truth is difficult enough to wrestle with in our lives because the truth calls us to die to self, and we sure do like making self king. But, in calling us to die to self, it calls us to live for something far greater than ourselves. There’s a wrestling that happens internally in all of us when that happens.

We should make the truth the only obstacle people have to wrestle with in order to know Him. You see this attitude in the church. They have this servant heart for the benefit of others because Jesus served them, but let’s not make it difficult for the gentiles who are turning to God, that they may know and enjoy God. We think about our church, how does that look in our culture? How can we do this in the context of where ABC presently rests because there are people around us and a generation beyond us that, as we pursue Jesus, can be a blessing to this world? God, what can you do in my heart right now that who I am leaves a legacy that outlasts beyond me, and it may not be that they remember me, but the remnants of what we are about, because of this church and this community.

Let us not to get caught up on the secondary issues, but to pursue people for the cause of Christ, loving them as Jesus loves. We said we don’t invent the purpose of the church. Jesus called the purpose of the church, and we recognize that wherever God calls His church to in this world, which is throughout the whole word, that the gospel need looks different in different places. We say within the context of Utah, one of the most powerful things that people fight against here is loneliness. That’s a result of sin. As soon as Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, Adam and Eve were separated from their relationship with God. They knew that they were naked. They ran and they hid, and they clothed themselves. They see a division in their relationship between one another and their relationship with God, and people don’t know what to do with that.

The default in human nature is to think that religion is the answer, and religion will never get you there. Religion is never the answer. Religion only teaches you how to cover yourself up more in order to try and pretty yourself before God, but religion will never do that. In fact, in the Garden of Eden, as soon as God came to Adam and Eve, and He saw their religion of fig leaves on the outside, he stripped them of their fig leaves and He promised them the coming of the Messiah who would die for their sins. The answer isn’t religion. The answer is Jesus and the relationship with Him for which you were called. Jesus paid it all. There’s a need in our society, in this loneliness, that God calls us on missions. We say it very simply in our church. We want people to experience that transformation in Jesus, because we understand it transforms our relationships for Jesus.

Your life was made that simplistically. You’re created to know God and to enjoy Him for all of eternity. You don’t define your purpose. God did when He made you, so coming to Him, we find the basis for which we exist. When you think about our culture, we’ve asked the question as a church over the years, how can the ABC do this well? How can we create a culture that values this, that upholds our mission as a church? I’m just going to go through these very quickly, but these are seven thoughts that we’ve said okay, if we just walk with these thoughts as it relates to our church, we can see a culture within our lives that lives to make a difference in the community that we are in. This first one is more of a belief than it is a value, but I like to keep this at the forefront of the our lives because this was at the forefront of Paul’s way of thinking.

In Philippians, chapter three, Paul solidified his whole life. Philippians, chapter three, is the chapter where Paul gave up on his religion and stepped into a relationship with God. He listed everything that made him a religious man, and he said I counted [inaudible 00:27:06] and I pursue this one thing, that I may know Him. This becomes important to the vitality, the health of any church that you can’t do anything effective for Jesus without first walking with Jesus. You can not impart what you do not possess. We say as a community that when we walk out of this church building, what you do beyond these walls are important, but it makes this moment so valuable because this is where your heart connects with God, and it should continue to connect with God as you leave, but in that connection to God, that’s where the overflow of your relationship with God impacts this world.

Our heart’s desire is to know God in all that we are. This thought of worship, connecting to Him, and delighting in Him both now and for all of eternity. The way that we connect with Him is through His truth. Truth is the catalyst for change. Truth transforms. Truth frees us. Truth is a means by which we worship God. Jesus told the woman at the well, “He who worships must worship me in spirit and in truth.” It’s not who you say God is. It’s who God says He is. To know the truth of this God, because that is the only God that can set you free. To have faith in something. It’s faith and truth that saves, not just simply faith, and that truth is in Christ, right? You can have all the faith in the world, but if what you believe in isn’t true, it doesn’t matter, but a little bit of faith in what is true can make all the difference in the world.

It’s not the size of your faith, but the size of your God. We don’t just say it’s about truth. It’s truth and love, and there’s a big difference there because some people like to preach the truth just to show others how right they are, how right they are and how wrong others are, and that’s not the purpose of it. God gives us truth to serve us that we could experience the truth for which we were called to be set free in Him. We don’t use truth to beat people up, but to serve people in Jesus. It’s not about proving we’re right and other people are wrong, but to understand the grace which set us free as God gives His grace to set others free as well. We know God, and we share the truth and love, our attitude and the way we present. To be right in the wrong way is to still be wrong. We want to share this truth and love.

The next is connect in community. You can’t love as Jesus calls you to love without having people to love around you. It is impossible to follow Jesus without a community. If you don’t belong to a church … It doesn’t have to be Alpine Bible Church … it is impossible to do what Jesus calls you to do without belonging to a community. Jesus calls you to bear fruit by loving on those around you. God has placed you on a team to make a difference in this world. To not be a part of that team is to not be a part of what Jesus calls you to do. This is Jesus’s bride. Don’t beat up on his bride. I don’t think Jesus will take that lightly, but we care about what Jesus’s bride does, and therefore we care about the people that make up Jesus’s bride. God desires for us to connect in community and, I said in the beginning, if Utah’s such a lonely place for some people, if we struggle with that, this should make community highly important to us.

To understand who we are in light of who God is. When God gives us spiritual gifts, the spiritual giftedness that God gives us, is intended to be related in community. You can never exercise what God’s given you to exercise without having a community to exercise it with. Love is love. When we talk about God being love, and if you belong to God, who is love, you can’t love as God calls you to love without people to deeply love. Love loves when it’s difficult love. I know sometimes church can get messy, but that’s exactly where Jesus wants to work, in the middle of that mess. Connecting in community, God created you to belong. God didn’t create the church just to come sit in rows and hear a message and call that spirituality. God called us to be transformed in Him, and that transformation, it’s impacting the way that we interact with each other. We become all things to all people.

I love this thought. Well, I don’t have clicking power anymore. There we go. Become all things to all people. All people assume really that there’s no limit to our love. God is looking at the world, and the Apostle Paul is saying God’s called us to reach a world. In order to reach a world, I’ve got to meet them where they are, whether it’s Jew, or gentile, Greek, or barbarian. I don’t expect them to jump hurdles to meet me where I’m at. Jesus called me to go meet them where they are. This is why I say sometimes in church, it becomes stale because we make it about tradition and that tradition gets so disconnected from the outside world that when someone steps in, they’re like, “I don’t fit here.” This is a weird story, but when we first started ABC, I grew up in an educational basis to become a pastor where I had to wear a suit everywhere I went, and I hated it.

I bought one suit, and I wore it every day. I think by the end of the time of my graduation, I didn’t have to hang it anymore. It just stood up in the closet. I finally threw it away a few months ago. I’m too fat to fit in it now. I remember when we started ABC, talking to my wife I said I just want to dress like people dress on Monday. I don’t want to create hurdles. You might wear a suit on Monday, and that’s fine. Wear what you wear. I told her, I thought this was profound, I’m like, “I’m going to wear jeans.” I tell that to her, she’s like, “So?” You don’t understand, Stacy, I’m wearing jeans. So? All right, all right. It’s only a big deal in my head, right? There’s certain things in our lives that if we care about people around us, we should care enough to want to reach them where they’re at, and that should be the heartbeat of this church, to make a difference in jeans.

That’s weird. I won’t use that next service, but you guys get privy information, I guess. We don’t compromise. What I’m saying is we just want to contextualize the gospel. People need a safe place to know God and grow in Him. God doesn’t care what we wear. Dressed up or not dressed up, it doesn’t matter. Next for us in becoming all things to all people is … Go through these a little quicker … is equip disciples. If what we produce isn’t reproducing then we need to question what we produce because what Jesus desires for us to do is to reproduce as His people, to make disciples, equip disciples. Not even just make them, but equip them, which means we empower people to do the work of the ministry. Guys, can I tell you this? For whatever reason in church history, at least in recent, we’ve become so program-oriented that we just create these programs and we busy ourselves to death.

Sometimes you’ll step in churches, they’ve got so many dag-gone programs going on, and you look at the people and they look like they’re running ragged because they’re serving the program. There’s nowhere in the bible that says create a program. There can be a place for it, but really the goal is God calls us to make disciples and just answer the question how can we do that? Get this. The proven method is know God’s word and share that. It’s like God gave us a bible for a reason. Believe it or not. It’s not bible program and insert Jesus. It’s just know the bible and share that with others. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Do you know the most effective people to reach people for Jesus are God’s people with a heart that desires to make a difference for Jesus? You don’t have to wait for the church to create a program to do that. You just go where you are because God called you as His church where you are to make a difference for Jesus.

I’m not stressing that. You’re not even the Holy Spirit in that. You’re not the super hero to save the day in that. That’s Jesus’s job. You just be the hands and feet. You don’t have to know every answer. Just talk about what you love about Jesus, and if you don’t know the answer, say, “I don’t know but this is one area Jesus can grow me. I’m going to go learn that. Thank you for helping me.” That’s what happens when you serve Jesus is you grow in your relationship with Jesus. God calls all of us to grow in that, and to see disciples made, and then to think of the scope of the magnitude is not finished until we’ve reached the nations, that God calls us to do it here but to think about everywhere as we do this for His kingdom. God is about the ethos, the people group, all peoples, all nations. That’s why things like Christmas, we point to different places throughout the world where we can make an impact because God’s desire is for the world.

The last is this. To celebrate. The reason we put this last is because sometimes we can get so busy at doing things that we forget just to appreciate what’s been done. I like this. To know, to share, to connect, to become, to equip, to reach and to celebrate. This is really where we make this a culture, a cultural attitude in us because what you celebrate, you replicate. What we’re saying is a group of people, when we cheer about seeing lives impacted for Christ and people making a difference for Jesus, when we celebrate that, what we’re saying is this is it, this is exactly what God called us to do, this is exactly who God has called us to be in the lives of people around us. Keep doing that. You see somebody doing something around you that impacts your heart or makes a difference to somebody else, stop and just say thank you. It’s not about accomplishing the task, but it’s about loving that heart where it’s at. If we leverage anything in our church to ever do this, make your spiritual job here to be the celebratory person of ABC.

If we all took that hat on, how beautiful that becomes in a church community that’s like “I can’t wait to go there. I did one thing this week, and seven people are going to congratulate me about that.” If we just celebrate that in our culture, how beautiful that becomes for us as God’s people. How can we make a difference? That’s what Paul says in Titus, to not get fixated on these secondary things. Rather, verse 14, to always be thinking or learning to engage in the good deeds to meet pressing needs so that we will not be unfruitful because what God cares about is the heart of those around you. Thomas Carlisle said it like this, “A man without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder. A nothing, a no man. More men fell out of lack of purpose than lack of talent.” God’s gifted you, and that’s exactly how Paul’s ending this verse. He talked about healthy church, but you can’t write all that in three chapters.

What he’s getting our mind to engage the understanding is we always need to keep the eyes open to where God’s moving. Learning to engage in good deeds, meeting the pressing needs for the culture which God has called us to make a difference so we don’t walk away as an unfruitful church because not only are we a great church in the community, but we’re a great church for the community.