evangelism

Equipped Wednesdays Launch a Great Success

Pastors must be equippers.  Yes, we must preach, but we preach to equip.  Yes, we must teach, but we must teach to equip for the work and contribution to the kingdom of God.  Yes, we must visit and evangelize—in order to equip others for the gospel and in the gospel.

Last Wednesday, we reconfigured our Wednesday night times to be times of equipped—calling them the unoriginal but pointed title of Equipped Wednesdays.  The inaugural class?  Two Ways to Live

I only ordered 20 books—but God is moving in such a way at our church that 32 showed up. God is placing a desire in all of us to start knowing and sharing our faith. 

So if you’re in the area, come on out to Arapahoe Road Baptist Church here in Centennial on Wednesdays at 6 pm.  Below is a sample of what the presentation is about and how to present it (Australian accent optional):

Come on out!  It’s not too late!

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Do You Have a Great Commission Conscience?

Do you have a Great Commission Conscience?  Gary McIntosh and Charles Arn posed this question in a book What Every Pastor Should Know: 101 Indispensible Rules of Thumb for Leading Your Church.  He noted after years of ministry and research that church leaders should answer positively to 7 out of 10 of these statements; and that if a minimum of 20 percent of the congregation responds positively to this, then a church has a Great Commission conscience. 

  1. I see the primary purpose of our church as responding to the Great Commission.
  2. I have participated in an outreach training event in the last year.
  3. I have invited an unchurched friend or relative to a church event in the last six months.
  4. I would support a motion to designate at least 10 percent of our church budget to outreach events and training activities.
  5. I would prefer that the pastor call on nonmembers more often than on members.
  6. I would be willing to take a new member or visitor home for dinner once every six months.
  7. I have intentionally introduced myself to a new member or visitor in the past month.
  8. I have talked with an unchurched person about my faith in the past three months.
  9. I have prayed for a specific unchurched person in the past month.
  10. I would be willing to be a pioneer in a new group or new church fellowship to help reach new people.

How did you fare? 

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Western Welcome Week, a 316 Car, and the Importance of a Gospel Presence

2012-08-18

This past Saturday was my favorite day since I’ve come to Colorado—and God has provided some wonderful days since I’ve become pastor at Arapahoe Road Baptist Church .  This past Saturday was the parade for Western Welcome Week here in Littleton.  Here’s the description from the website:

Western Welcome Week, Inc. is ded­i­cated to hon­oring the tra­di­tion of cel­e­brating greater Littleton. The goal is to nur­ture com­mu­nity spirit, bring together res­i­dents and busi­nesses, sup­port ser­vice clubs and non­profits by cre­ating an oppor­tu­nity for fundraising, and pro­vide fes­tiv­i­ties and enter­tain­ment for fam­i­lies, friends and neigh­bors. In plan­ning Western Welcome Week the board pledges to remain open to new ideas, respect past tra­di­tions and be aware of present day needs with a vision for tomorrow.

It also provides a venue for fundraisers for non-profit organizations and other businesses.  So there were booths everywhere!  Not to mention anywhere from 50,000-75,000 people!

We manned the 316 booth. As you can see from the picture to the right, you can see the edge of the 2012-08-18 11.11.15316 car, the my316car.com booth, and the sign on the left saying, “Love Littleton: Caring Churches for Community.”  This was our booth.  With the help of area churches along with the Mile High Baptist Association and its Director of Missions Bob Ryan, we had hourly drawings for backpacks, lunchboxes, and the grand prize drawing, an iPod® shuffle.  We had dozens of people enter, and made some great contacts.

I’m not sure what anyone else did (if I wasn’t entering them in a drawing, I was doing something else with someone else), but I pointed them to the 316 car and asked them, “Do the numbers 316 ring a bell?”  If Tim Tebow was still the quarterback of the Broncos, that could have helped, but Broncos fans have long forgotten about him, football-wise.

Three answers were given in varying ratios:

  • One out of every 15 or so saying, “Oh, sure.  John 3:16”—then they would quote the verse. 
  • A number of others paused and thought about it.  So when I said, “Well, it’s a verse in the Bible…” they would say, “Oh, right!  I remember now.”  Takeaway: spiritual matters were most likely not first and foremost in their hearts and minds.
  • Many others had no clue, so it gave me the opportunity to share that verse with them:  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Seed planted—and we pray that God gives the growth.

We gave them a 316 sticker, a tract, a NT if they wished, and a handout of all the churches that participated in the booth. 

Now, about the 316 car.  There’s an old saying, “Confession is good for the soul.”  Well, I’m about to do my soul some good.  Given that this was my first year here in Colorado, I supported and gave my opinion and thoughts when asked, in order to see what Colorado culture and church life is like.  When I heard about this 316 car, I confessed to you that I thought the whole idea was corny and gimmicky.  I questioned its effectiveness.  I’ve always been leery of anything that looks like a dog-and-pony show when it comes to Kingdom work. 

But I stood back and supported.  And encouraged.  And participated.  And kept an open mind.

I’m glad I did.

Having the pleasure of driving the car in the parade, I saw how much the kids loved it, how much the Christians enjoyed seeing the witness present (although the church people did wonder where the colon was between the 3 and the 16, but I digress), and how much it caused others to scratch their heads.  If you noticed the side of the car more closely, all of the Colorado Baptist ministries’ logos were present around the numbers, so they saw who was participating and knew (at least on the surface) who we were. 

The 316 car generated a lot of conversation and provided an incredible open door to the gospel.  It reminded me of what the apostle Paul wrote to the Colossian church:

2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. 3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak (Colossians 4:2-4, ESV).

Much prayer went into our presence at Western Welcome Week.  Many participated—not just Bob Ryan, but Jay Moyers (a member at ARBC) dig yeoman’s work in heading up the organization aspect, others participated as parade marshalls and booth workers.  I loved seeing that, too.

But it was the open door that God provided through the instrument of that 316 car.  Anytime you can use something as a way to share what Christ has accomplished on the cross and through the empty tomb is a blessed thing indeed. 

Because in Denver, which is 96% unchurched, where there is a strong non-religious, Muslim, and Mormon presence, we need for churches to get filled up inside the four walls with the Word, then be unleashed outside the four walls to dispense the Word and to pray for the culture around us in darkness and lostness. 

The 316 car helped provide that opportunity!  Isn’t God good in how he provides for us and what he teaches us?

I posted this as a Facebook status today.  I’ll close with it:

My desire is that ARBC be known as a kingdom outpost, serving as a missions hub from Centennial to the corners of the earth. My desire is that we have a culture here interested in sending capacity more than seating capacity. My desire is the gospel get out glocally (globally and locally) as we pray, give, go and send forth in Kingdom work. While I am happy we are growing, I pray that we are going, Great Commission-wise!

 

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They Matter to God, They Must Matter to Us

“Don’t tell me you lost them!”

“No, I didn’t lost them! I distinctly remember putting them right here in my bookbag. Just give me a second!”

“Well, please hurry. We’re almost to the ticket counter and our plane leaves in 45 minutes.”

Guess what? They were not there. No matter how hard I looked, they were not there. You see, these were not just any plane tickets. These were tickets to Jamaica. We were not going there for a little vacation— oh no! This was our honeymoon. I had one responsibility — to keep those tickets with me at all times. But they were not there.

Now, I’m not the sharpest pencil in the box, but I know a problem when I see one. So Cindy stayed at the counter while Wes, the Delta representative, sympathetically tried to help us out. I went to the phone and called the hotel, asking them to check our honeymoon suite to see if there were any tickets. Five minutes later, she told me there were on the nightstand. I told her, “I will pay you handsomely if you can get to Louisville International quickly.” I barely got the words out and she was off.

With 5 minutes to spare, she pulls up. I pay her, she gives me the tickets and I was OUTTA THERE. I made it there with seconds to spare. As Cindy and I sat in our seats, I looked at her and said, “Well, I guess things can only get better, right?” Then we had a good laugh.

Have you ever lost anything? All of us have. John Kramp, in his book Out of Their Faces and Into Their Shoes, says,

“A search always reveals your values. If we lose something and choose not to search for it, we essentially say we place little value on that item. Actions, not words, reveal our values.”

When we read Luke 15:1-7, we see who Jesus values.

Jesus said in Luke 19:10 that He came to “seek and to save those who were lost.” That must be our mission as well. Why?

1. The lost matter to God, they must matter to us!

Does this surprise you? Does it surprise you that you are of value to Him? If it surprises you, then maybe it is because we often place our own thoughts and ideas and prejudices upon God that think that He thinks and feels as we do! As we talked about last Sunday night, too often we believe that God accepts our worship when we go through the motions of worship and attend all the services and hear all the preaching and go to all the Sunday School times — yet if our hearts are not desiring to obey Him in reaching the lost, our worship comes up short of what God intends.

See in verse 1 that “all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him.” This description described how the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day, viewed those who were outside the Kingdom of God. They were considered unclean and unworthy to be loved and ministered to. And while even the religious folks turned away from these ‘lost sheep,’ Jesus presence and personality and compassion seemed to attract them to Him.

Edwin Markham wrote a poem which says:

​Some draw a circle that shuts men out;
​Race and position are what they flout;
​But Christ in love seeks them to win,
​He draws a circle that takes them in!

Vance Havner once said,

“Evangelism is to Christianity what veins are to our bodies. You can cut Christianity anywhere at it’ll bleed evangelism. Evangelism is vascular — it’s our business. Talk about majoring in evangelism, you might as well talk about a doctor majoring in healing. That’s our business.”

Few would disagree with Bro. Havner’s assessment. Evangelism is what Christianity is about. Evangelism, coming from the Greek word euaggelion which means “gospel, glad tidings or good news”, is the process of we as a Great Commission people performing the basic task that Christ purposed for us — to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Yet, the problem for many of us in the church is that we have been Christians for so long, that we have forgotten what it is like to be without Christ. I have noticed that those who are rather young in the faith are very zealous.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, whom do we represent? Are we like those Pharisees, who look down upon sinners and the unseemlies of the world

2. If you are lost, God searches for you.

Jesus tells His listeners, “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?” (Luke 15:4, NKJV).

To many of us, this seems rather strange. Why would someone risk their lives over one weak, feeble, lost sheep when they had ninety-nine strong ones that were able to keep up with the pack? In our day of “survival of the fittest,” we would just leave that weak sheep out with the elements and carry on.

I’m so glad that God does not operate the way we often do. The religious leaders of that day taught that God would receive sinners who sought His forgiveness earnestly enough. But this parable shows God being the One seeking the sinner. In the Middle East, the shepherd was responsible for every last sheep — none must be lost killed or injured.

Or if you subscribe to Darwin’s theory of “survival of the fittest.” The strongest survive because they have the tools to survive. The strength of a species depends on those who are strong to help carry it on. The weak hold our species back, won’t survive — so maybe they should be left behind.

Yet, look with me at 1 Corinthians 1:26-29:

[26] For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. [27] But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; [28] God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, [29] so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.

Our world says, “You must be rich, be productive, be beautiful, be muscular, run fast, be popular.” Yet, in God is not calling those who are wise and powerful by the world’s standards — He actively sought out the foolish, the weak, the despised in order to advance His Kingdom. The people that Jesus hung around are the ones who will bring glory to God because they have nothing in this world to glory in.

And we who are Christians must be careful when we say, “I’m so glad I found God.” Yet, this story shows that we are too weak, too feeble to look for God. When we are lost, we are just that — lost, with no way to know how to get to God. Yet, this parable shows that the Good Shepherd searches us out. He takes the initiative. We have found him only because He first found us.

I’m thankful that God is not a Darwinist. If so, all those who are weak, no-account, lost, feeble, and worthless would be of no value to God. Yet, God’s Word says something far different. He puts out an A.P.B. to all of those who are lost, weak, and wounded in heart.

Do we have God’s heart? Thom Rainer did research on unchurched and recently unchurched individuals and found that 83% of those who were recently unchurched but are churched now came to church because someone invited them. Think of that! The harvest is ripe — will we go and be instruments of God’s use and search them out?

3. When you are found, God rejoices over you — and so must we!

And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!” I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance (Luke 15:5-7).

The Pharisees mumbled and grumbled when Jesus welcomed the unwantables in that society. Yet, God rejoices when those who are unwanted and lost come to heaven. It says that there is “more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”

How often do you hear folks say, “I am so glad I found God”? Yet this passage speaks volumes in showing that it is not the sheep who find the shepherd, but it is the shepherd who finds the sheep! The sheep that was left behind was weak, unable to keep up, had lost his way.

If you are without Jesus Christ, do you feel as if God doesn’t nor couldn’t ever love you? Not only do you matter to Him; not only does He conduct an all-out search for you; but God throws a party for you. Think about it: the party is not for those religious leaders. That party is not for the Billy Grahams or the Charles Stanleys of the world who preach to millions of folks. That party is for a sinner who was an enemy of God in open rebellion before Him who has been found by the Great Shepherd and brought into the fold.

Now, right now, you may be sitting there in your seat feeling something going on in your heart and in your gut— as if someone is drawing you to God. That is the Holy Spirit. God is ready to throw a party for you and to embrace you as the father did the prodigal son later in Luke 15. All the heavenly host will rejoice over you if you will turn from your sin and self and trust in Jesus Christ, the Great Shepherd who has searched for you and will bring you into the sheepfold of His Kingdom.

Conclusion

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy
​Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you
​Full of pity, love and pow’r.

Come, ye weary, heavy-laden
​Lost and ruined by the fall
If you tarry ‘til you’re better
​You will never come at all.

Will you arise and go to Jesus;
​He will embrace you in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior
​O there are ten thousand charms.

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How to Share the Gospel with Muslims

J.T. Smith at The Gospel Coalition gives a great article on How to Share the Gospel with Muslims.  His points are as follows as “words of counsel to all who seek to make Christ supreme among Muslims”:

  1. Ground yourself in the fact that God is sovereign in salvation. “We believe that a Muslim coming to faith is not intrinsically connected to our form of contextualization, but rests solely on God’s divine intervention (Dan. 4:35; Ps. 115:3; John 6:64-65) and our humble obedience to proclaim the gospel (Acts 1:8; Matt. 9:38, 28:19-20). God is not concerned with glorifying a method; he is concerned with glorifying his Son.”
  2. Be diligent in working to understand the local culture and determine the best way to present the gospel.
    1. Know Islam. We need to ask ourselves, What are Muslims longing for? What keeps Muslims from attaining this? Don’t be afraid to read the Qur’an or other religious sources. These things will give you great insight into Muslims hearts and minds.
    2. Use their language. When I say “language” I’m referring to two things. First, speak their actual language. If you want to see a church planted among Arabic-speaking Muslims, learn Arabic. If you’re working among Pakistanis, learn Urdu. If among Bengalis, learn Bengali. Second, speak the language (figuratively) that communicates to them. My wife and I lived and worked among Arabic speakers. We learned early on that we could not get people to listen by presenting a beautiful apologetic syllogism proving Jesus is God. We had to use stories, parables, and passages from their religious books.
  3. Center your gospel presentation on Jesus and the Bible.  “I am not against the proper use of the Qur’an in evangelism. I am concerned with how much we use it. We should not give it center place in our gospel presentation. Jesus is the only way to the Father. Muslims must believe Jesus is their savior, and this belief can only come from the Scriptures. The story of redemption cannot be told from the Qur’an.”
  4. Don’t force your ideas on them. “The gospel will take on a form of the culture that it is speaking to; if it doesn’t, it will not be understood. But the gospel will also speak with a prophetic voice within the culture that calls for transformation. It goes in and calls out. Our goal is to preach the gospel of Christ from the Scriptures and let the Spirit transform lives and communities.”

You can read the rest of this in full here

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“I Didn’t Want Her to Think I was Some Kind of Religious Nut, So I Held It In”

ESPN.com has a set of articles by Mike Downey, former Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribute sports columnist, about his 50 favorite moments on the 50th anniversary of Dodger Stadium. 

The Los Angeles Angels (soon after, the California Angels, soon after the Anaheim Angels, soon after the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) called this stadium home from 1962-1965.  Downey puts as #3 an event that happened on June 1, 1962, subtitling it “A true Hollywood star.” 

On her 36th (and last) birthday, Marilyn Monroe goes to Beverly Hills to pick up "Something’s Gotta Give" co-star Dean Martin’s 10-year-old son, Dean Paul, to take him to a baseball game, as promised. At the park, Angels outfielder Albie Pearson is chosen to escort Monroe to home plate for a charity presentation. A week later, Monroe is fired from her film. A few weeks after that, she is found dead at her L.A. home.

Pearson (played for Angels 1961-66): "When she took her life, or whatever happened, it really devastated me. I looked into her eyes and she looked so lonely. I remembered every Bible verse I ever learned while I was staring at her. She asked me, ‘What? What is it you want to tell me?’ I didn’t want her to think I was some kind of a religious nut, so I held it in. It put my life on a different path from that day on. I saw past that woman’s beauty. I saw a lonesome, searching person. Her sadness had a profound effect on me."

All of us have been in situations like this.  We risk not wanting someone thinking we are a nut, especially of the religious persuasion.  But when death and hell are so close to so many, we cannot afford to be worried about what men may think.  We are here as ambassadors for Christ.  Let us proclaim His Good News to all who will hear: “Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). 

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The Chief Business of the Christian Minister—the Main Pursuit of Every True Believer

Soul-winning is the chief business of the Christian minister; indeed, it should be the main pursuit of every true believer. . . .  We do not regard it to be soul-winning to steal members out of churches already established, and train them to utter our peculiar Shibboleth: we rather aim at bring souls to Christ than at making converts to our synagogue. . . .  Our grand object is not the revision of opinions, but the regeneration of natures.  We would bring men to Christ, and not to our own peculiar views of Christianity.  Our first care must be that the sheep should be gathered to the Great Shepherd; there will be time enough afterwards to secure them for our various folds.  To make proselytes, is a suitable labour for Pharisees: to beget men unto God, is the honourable aim of ministers of Christ.

(Charles Spurgeon, 1834-1892, The Soul-Winner, pp. 15-16.)

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Connection Between Evangelism and Apologetics

“The very reason why Christians are put in the position of giving a reasoned account of the hope that is in them is that not all men have faith. Because there is a world to be evangelized (men who are unconverted), there is the need for the believer to defend his faith: Evangelism naturally brings one into apologetics. This indicates that apologetics is no mere matter of "intellectual jousting"; it is a serious matter of life and death – eternal life and death. The apologist who fails to take account of the evangelistic nature of his argumentation is both cruel and proud. Cruel because he overlooks the deepest need of his opponent and proud because he is more concerned to demonstrate that he is no academic fool that to show how all glory belongs to the gracious God of all truth. Evangelism reminds us of who we are (sinners saved by grace) and what our opponents need (conversion of heart, not simply modified propositions). I believe, therefore, that the evangelistic nature of apologetics shows us the need to follow a presuppositional defense of the faith. In contrast to this approach stand the many systems of neutral autonomous argumentation.”

(Greg Bahnsen, Evangelism and Apologetics. Accessed 21 July 2010, available at http://www.cmfnow.com/articles/PA013.htm [on-line]; Internet.)

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Pure Churches are Investing Churches

(Feel free to listen to this sermon here.  It was preached on Sunday, February 21, 2010 at Boone’s Creek Baptist Church, Lexington, KY.)

When it comes to investing my family’s money, I find myself a bit anxious as well as ignorant. I have a number of friends who are very skilled at playing the stock market or investing in bonds, CDs, IRAs, mutual funds. I know a number of older adults who have planned well for their retirement.

What is my problem, you ask? My problems stems from turning loose of precious, hard-earned (and hard-to-come-by) money with a wife and four children counting on me to provide clothes and groceries and a home.

Not only that, my problem stems from a lack of trust in the institutions and corporations in which I’m considering investing. For every Wal-Mart, who entered the stock market 1970 at $14 which split and split and split into hundreds of thousands of dollars, there are other corporations that do well for a time, then fizzle out. If I’m going to invest in something, I want to make sure that investment is sound and give a good return.

You have seen the title of this chapter in 22-point Trajan Pro font that “Pure Churches are Investing Churches.” What type of investments are we as the Body of Christ to make? In my Southern Baptist background, we preach without apology that we are to tithe (2 Corinthians 9:6-7) and also give to those who preach the gospel—both minister and missionary (1 Timothy 5:17; Philippians 4:11-19). These are monetary investments that, through prayer and the Spirit’s leadership, will bring eternal dividends that we may never know of this side of heaven.

Yet, God has called us to invest—in people! What people? We are to invest in the people that are around you in this place of worship, as well as the people that God has placed in your circle of influence. If you are like me in regards to the financial investments, you may have some similar concerns.

  • “What am I to invest? I have no treasure to invest!”
  • “Why should I invest?
  • “What is the return I will receive on my investment?”

The issue is, it’s easier to maintain and invest structures and institutional systems than it is to invest in the spiritual growth of individuals. We invest in sound doctrine not simply to learn but to live. We invest in sound doctrine not only to know but to show and help grow a people. So let’s dig deeper into what God has in mind.

What am I to Invest?

What are we to invest? “The trustworthy word.” Look at Titus 2:1: “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.” Bookending our focal passage is Titus 2:10b: “. . . in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.” Whenever we begin to wonder what we can invest and contribute to another person, the first place we often look is to ourselves—and then compare ourselves to others. “I can’t teach like James can.” “They have such a servant’s heart—I don’t think God has given me that, especially seeing how Kellyn is.” “I want to share my faith—I wish I had Tom’s boldness and passion.”

We are looking horizontally rather than vertically! Paul reminded Titus that God “manifested … his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior” (1:3). Then, in verse 9, Paul instructed Titus to find leaders in the church who have been taught “the trustworthy word… so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.”

Before we look to our supposed empty treasure chest and seeing no talent, no gifts, no courage, no anything to contribute, we must look to God and the trustworthy Word He gives in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have that! We know that not only is that sound, its effect is limitless. We can be reminded from Isaiah that “The grass withers, and the flowers fade, but the Word of God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8).

Yet, what is the point of this Word? Some believe and use the Bible as a book of answers—an encyclopedia if you will. Whatever your need, you just need to turn to the correct page and find the answers you need, they say. Paul Tripp makes a great observation in that this does not bring about the change that is really needed.

In this kind of ministry, self is still at the center, personal need is the focus, and personal happiness remains the goal. But a truly effective ministry of the Word must confront our self-focus and self-absorption at its roots, opening us up to the vastness of a God-defined, God-centered world.”[i]

You see, when we invest in sound doctrine both personally and as we invest in others, it produces sound living—living for which we were created. And God has progressively revealed Himself in His Word to show us Himself and His work in His world. No passage of Scripture stands on its own, but is interwoven throughout Old Testament and New Testament. We need to see where we fit in the drama of God’s history and find our identity in Him, not simply in what we think we need.

What is the Return?

If investing in sound doctrine is investing in sound living, what is the return? Do we simply feel better knowing we know more? Is it about learning? Is it about knowing? Again, investing is not just about learning, it’s about living. It’s not just about knowing, it’s about showing and growing!

As we read through verses 1-10, you notice that Paul instructed Titus to instruct in sound doctrine, and then he proceeds to tell them how to live. He addresses older men and women, younger men and women, as well as slaves. He identifies them by age and gender—and to a degree, cultural status. Why did Paul do this?

Remember from chapter 5 that Paul taught Titus to “rebuke them sharply.” Who was the ‘them’ to which Paul referred? In verse 12, he spoke of the Cretans; in verse 14, he spoke to those who were propagating Jewish myths, deceiving many. These were those who were outside the body of Christ trying to harm those inside the body. Part of loving his neighbor was growing in the grace of Christ (2 Pet 3:18) as well as understanding the vantage point from which his neighbor came (1 Pet 3:15-16).

Now Paul instructed Titus on how to deal with those inside the body of Christ. Paul counseled Titus to take the unchangeable and trustworthy word and apply it to their particular situations. Notice how he told Titus to minister to them based on age and gender—since each has a distinct vantage point as well.

Yet, here’s what Paul is getting at: we are to teach others how to apply sound doctrine for sound living. Everyone is in a position to learn, and everyone is in a position to teach. Older men should come together with younger men and show them how to be gospel-centered men for Christ. Older women should come together and show the younger women how to be mature wives, mothers, and Christians in this world.

You see, there is great confusion about the roles of men and women, the older and the younger. But through the gospel, order can be brought into that confusion! Recently on the Oprah Winfrey Show, a student was returning back to his high school for a class reunion. This student was the quarterback of the football team, very athletic and handsome. Yet, he was struggling with his sexual identity. So, this young man had a sex change operation because he felt he had to be true to himself. When Oprah asked the mother, a Christian, how she reconciled this with her faith, her response was, “I believe in my child. I just want to support her in what makes her happy.”[ii]

This is not the kind of Christian help people need. We do not affirm someone else’s pride and sinfulness, we point them to the God of the Scriptures, not the god of their own making.

4. How do we invest?

This morning, you heard about the importance of investing. Remember: Investing in sound doctrine is investing in sound living. What steps should we take when it comes to investing the gospel of Christ in people? So many of us do not know where to start—and if we figure that out, we do not know where to go! Here are some steps:

Ingest. We need to know and nourish ourselves on the things of God. If we are to invest, we will only invest what we ingest. We can’t lead people to the things of God if we do not know where we’re going. Just ask one of my members, Chris Marshall, about our trip back from Eric and Sarah Masters’ wedding rehearsal in December of 2009. Just because two people are helping each other navigate back from Point A (which, in this case, was Danville) to Point B (Lexington), does not mean that the road will be easy. One wrong turn, lots of back roads, no lights, and you’re in for an adventure. You will ingest sound doctrine so you know where you are going and can take others along!

Initiating: Help them Know About Christ

We need to be ones who know about Christ to help others know about Christ. And it starts with simply planting a seed—initiating the conversation. If you are talking to a FRAN (friend, relative, associate, neighbor), then hopefully you already have some sort of relationship with them. Ask them about their spiritual belief? Ask them what they think of Jesus Christ?

· If you are in a place a business you frequent (restaurant, bank, gas station), ask them if there’s any way you can pray for them. If you’re at a restaurant and leave a tip, leave a tract with a generous tip.

Inviting: Help Show Them Christ

Two types of evangelism: go and tell evangelism, and the come and see evangelism. Invite them to listen to your hope in Christ. Use a tract or the Romans Road to walk them through the gospel (and to help keep you on track). Invite them to church so they can meet other Christians and see what a body of Christ is all about. This will help all of us “get ready for company” in making God’s house inviting and welcoming. (A word here: invite them not only a special service, but also to regular services so they see how we are from week-to-week.)

Increase: Help Them Grow in Christ

· We must not be concerned about growing numbers in the pews, but by growing the people in the pews—notice the difference.

· Disciple them by meeting with them over coffee, chat over the Internet, call them on the phone. But how?

· Go back to Titus 2:1-10. Older Christian men, you’ve got to grow, but also help the younger men grow. Older Christian women, you’ve got to come and train the younger women. God has provided two venues for that to happen: the home front and the church front.

· Have a system: Bible reading plan, go through a Bible study, read a Christian book together about a specific topic.

· Go over what I preached on this past Sunday—take notes. Find out what I’m preaching in the weeks ahead and begin looking over that, so you’ll be ready for the sermon and the ensuing discussion with your friend.


[i]Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2002), 24-25.

[ii]The Oprah Winfrey Show, http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Transgender-Womans-High-School-Reunion-Video.

 

(Copyright © 2010 by Matthew Perry. All rights reserved.)

Categories: Church Life, doctrine, evangelism, sermons | 1 Comment

How Pervasive is the Social Networking Revolution? Just a Fad? (Video)

Watch this video and see how this type of communication and networking is changing everything! Think this won’t be crucial to how churches operate under the mandate of the Great Commission? Think again. (HT: @NationsBeGlad)

Categories: evangelism, missions, social networking | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment