The Mission Never Changes
Seems like Mid-March was a very long time ago.
The week of March 16 was challenging.
None of us had ever lived through a quarantine before.
➟ ➟ ➟ New terms like social distancing and flattening the curve were just coming into our vocabulary.
Learning to adjust and adapt was on the front of our mind.
➟ ➟ ➟ And, I think most of us were going under the assumption that within 3-4 weeks things would be back to normal and life would go on.
➟ ➟ ➟ Now, we’re two months in. And things are opening up, sort of.
But as things come back online, much of it is very different.
We’re not sure how we like it.
This is definitely the case with going forward as a church.
We’re still weeks away from reassembling in our building … and most likely a couple of months away from being able to be fully together under the same roof.
In our leadership meeting Thursday night I told our shepherds that I’m having the same types of feelings as we enter this phase as I did two months ago.
There is so much to take into consideration, so many moving parts.
It all feels .... uncomfortable.
We encourage you to be patient with us as our shepherds, deacons, and ministers explore all the options on making this process as smooth, safe, and easy as possible.
We want to thank all of you for your encouragement and support over the last two months.
None of us saw this coming at the beginning of this year.
And as I read through our vision plan for this year again this past Friday, I was struck by the feeling that things are so different now than what we planned, but yet in so many ways they remain the same.
Over the last six weeks we’ve been talking about the challenges before us.
And while we’ve not covered some of the subjects in this series that we originally planned, we’ve flexed into addressing the current, pressing matter before us.
We’ve continually reminded ourselves that God is in control. He never forsakes His people.
We’ve talked about the need to be flexible and learned that flexibility is rooted in contentment. Philippians 4.10-13 is a key passage on how contentment is developed … and the famous verse 13 is rooted in the context of contentment. We love to quote this verse, but do our words and actions match up with Paul’s point?
We’ve talked about the need to depend on God in order to get out on the other side of this wilderness.
And we’ve talked about the need to stay unified and together by allowing this time of adversity to draw us closer. We do that by having hearts of humility and love for one another.
This is how we handle times of change and difficulty.
But we also need to remember that even as things look different ahead, the mission to which we’ve been called never changes.
Yes, how we go about sharing the gospel will change, but sharing the gospel will not.
For example, The idea of the worship assembly being the primary field of evangelism … where interested parties walk through the door at our invitation or they just walk in the door because they saw our sign will probably not be the best model … at least for a long while.
Right now, we’re going to be doing good just to get all who want to assemble in the building inside safely so it can happen without spreading the virus.
So we must be open for flexibility.
In the post lockdown environment … the gospel must still be shared … and we must develop the willingness to explore every possible pathway to get the message out.
This is why our online activities are so important right now. (They already were, but they are even more so in the post-covid environment).
Over the next month or so, we’re launching a new online platform that we think will go far in supplying us with available server capacity and bandwidth to match our growing number of followers.
It will be sleek, modern, and relevant. Cain & I have been working on it for several weeks now.
We are working on ideas to teach bible classes and other specialized lessons via video, audio, and printed media.
Think about it. How wise would it be for our over 65 crowd to come out for the 1pm service right now? The Thursday morning class?
We want to have the capability to provide these classes live via web conference … or recorded video on demand.
Instead of sitting down across the table from someone you don’t know that well … and aren’t sure about being infected … how effective would it be to have some on-demand Bible studies produced in advance that help lead people to the gospel?
These are the types of things we’re talking about right now.
We are committed to producing high quality products that will be very easy to get to on whatever device you choose, no matter the platform.
We will also releasing an app for your Android or iPhone, as well as channels on Roku & Apple TV. Those will all be coming over the next few months.
We feel our online presence needs to play a very prominent role going forward. This is for the providing of tools to help you spread the gospel, as well as build an audience around the world who will be impacted by Scripture studies we provide.
Of course this will never replace or diminish what we do collectively in the building … and we want to get back to that as soon as possible. And we will.
It will also never replace the personal one-on-one interaction each of you have with the lost. That’s the key in any evangelistic endeavor. Making personal connections with people, where they can feel your genuineness, and trust you.
As you interact, now more than ever, you will have a resource tool with you where-ever you go … right on your smart phone or connected tablet.
➟ ➟ ➟ The mission never changes … but methods do.
Even though the world is constantly changing, its greatest need has not changed.
People need the Lord. As Christ’s ambassadors, it is our job to share the message of salvation with them.
As we study together today, we’ll remind ourselves of the mission Titus had. Ours is just like it.
His world is not really that different from our own.
His world and the personal circumstances in which he lived were always changing … but the mission was always the same.
Jesus and His saving power. That’s the message. That’s our work.
So, we’ll first look at Titus’ mission and how it fit inside three primary concerns.
Then we’ll look at three things we must remember as we engage in the mission.
➟ ➟ ➟ 1.5 - two fold:
Put what remains in order.
Appoint elders in every congregation.
➟ ➟ ➟ 1.10-13a - it’s a tough job.
1.13a - Paul’s personal experience … this would be a challenging environment.
1.12 - Imagine going into this type of place to preach for or plant a church.
It was this way all around the world. And as so, it immediately placed Christians in absolute contrast to everything inside their culture.
In the Gentile world:
There was no Bible. No Biblical morality. No Christian morality.
Few Christians in high places with enough influence to sway a world empire
No Christian politicians. No governors/rulers with a Christian background.
As far as a large footprint, it appears Christianity had very little influence on the mass society that was Rome.
Paganism and all its allures were definitely the mainstream.
So how did the early church respond?
Reaching one unsaved person at a time with the power of the gospel. There was no other agenda. The book of Titus captures three primary concerns:
➟ ➟ ➟ 2.5b - that the word of God not be reviled.
➟ ➟ ➟ 2.8 - that worldly people would have nothing evil to say about them.
➟ ➟ ➟ 2.10 - adorn the doctrine of God in everything.
Their mission was to get the gospel into the public so people could hear it.
They were concerned about demonstrating redemption through redeemed lives.
A German philosopher once said: “Show me your redeemed life and I might be inclined to believe in your redeemer.”
The entire thrust of Paul’s letter to Titus is the need to convert the lost. The whole book is about salvation.
➟ ➟ ➟ 1.3-4 - God and Jesus are our Savior.
➟ ➟ ➟ 2.10, ➟ ➟ ➟ 13 - God our Savior; Jesus is our God and Savior.
➟ ➟ ➟ 3.4, ➟ ➟ ➟ 6 - God saved us; Jesus Christ is our Savior.
So how do we win people? Bring them to the truth?
How do we live so that the word of God is not dishonored? How do we live so that no evil be said of us?
How will we adorn the doctrine of Christ by demonstrating what a saved life looks like?’
Three Things to Remember about Our Mission
Three Things to Remember about Our Mission
➟ ➟ ➟ 3.1-2 - Remember your responsibility to society.
In our age of self-expression, independence, and selfishness … we may not concentrate on these things as much as we should.
Check out the 7 virtues in 3.1-2:
Be submissive to rulers / authorities. May not always agree, but we pray for them. We follow their lead.
Be obedient. (parallel passage 2 Timothy 2.21 - a vessel of honor, ready for every good work)
Ready for every good work.
Speak evil of no one.
Show perfect courtesy toward all people.
These are basic principles of citizenship. Good behavior in everyday life.
Christians should not be known for being contentious, fighting, or protesting.
We trust in God to make things right when wrong is suffered.
The world is watching. Now more than ever. How are we responding during times of crisis? What are people seeing in our social media feeds?
➟ ➟ ➟ 3.3 - remember your former condition.
Before we attack the world with its problems, view ourself as a culture warrior, we need to remember who we once were.
The contrast here is between our former status (dead) vs. our present regenerated condition.
rebellious to God’s law
resistant to His truth
open to mindless passion
fed on bad treatment of others
These are the types of passive and active things that characterize the rest of humanity.
➟ ➟ ➟ Jeremiah 17.9: the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick. Who can understand it?
The things that Paul is speaking about once described us. That should humble us all.
3.4-7 - remember your salvation.
There is only one thing that makes us different from the rest of the world.
➟ ➟ ➟ 3.4-5a - God has saved you. Jesus is the basis of your salvation.
➟ ➟ ➟ 3.5b - your salvation wasn’t by your work.
➟ ➟ ➟ 3.5c - it was by the mercy of God.
When you were saved, what were you busy doing? See 3.3.
➟ ➟ ➟ See Romans 5.8-10
➟ ➟ ➟ 3.5d - God saved us when we surrendered our will to Him in baptism. Before that we were wretched and hopelessly lost.
➟ ➟ ➟ 3.5e - God renewed us by the Holy Spirit.
➟ ➟ ➟ 3.6 - poured it out on us richly through Jesus our Savior.
Think of how this hits the heart of human pride. There is no reason to ever exalt ourselves.
The emphasis is on God. His grace, His power, His mercy, His activity in saving us are all in full focus.
This will change how we look at the world.
Evangelism will become a natural expression of a humble, saved heart, that trusts God.
We’ve all been inside the pit. Thank God he pulled us out. Now, let’s go tell everyone that He can do the same for them.
➟ ➟ ➟ 3.8 - what we’ve studied this morning is trustworthy. We can speak with confidence. The gospel is just as powerful in the post-covid world as it was before.
Remember the three basic principles from which we operate:
live in a way that the word of God won’t be reviled
Speak in such a way that an evil person can’t say something bad about us
adorn the doctrine of Christ in every way by:
remembering our responsibility to society
remembering our former life
remembering our salvation
➟ ➟ ➟ Now, more than ever, our mission at Kettering should be on the forefront of our minds.
God is blessing us tremendously.
We need to go about our work. God will fill up the new place.
How can we touch the real people who have real concerns. Real issues to cope with and need God’s help.
Let’s develop a heart for others and get our message out to the community at large.
Do you need Jesus? Today is the day!