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Personal Missions Strategy

For the Sake of the Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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4 imperatives to an effective personal missions strategy

Titus 3 NASB95
Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned. When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way so that nothing is lacking for them. Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that 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.
Intro: Aren’t you excited to be here today? Man, I hope so- I have been praying this week for you; that God would use His Word to penetrate your heart in such a way that LRBC would be ignited with Gospel Fire!
I am so very excited about what God is doing! I’m serious. You ever see that mentos/ diet coke experiment? That’s how I feel! God is working in me, and I’ve seen that He is working in several of you as well. You might be too distracted by all that is going on in politics and such to notice, but in God’s Kingdom, the economy is great!
I hope you have enjoyed and been challenged throughout our study in the series, For the Sake of the Church. Today, we wrap up our second book, the book of Titus. I’d like to point us briefly to the big picture so far:
In 1 Timothy we learned about the call of the church to godliness and the guarding of the Gospel message. We will call this our Ministry or Missions Statement- our purpose and motivation in pursuing Godly character.
Thus far in Titus, we have looked at some pragmatic elements of the church: We have studied the essential elements of an effective church as well as ways that the Gospel is put in action through our ordinary lives as a body. Today, the letter to Titus guides us through a comprehensive approach to missions- that is, the effective sharing of the gospel with non-Christians.
Wouldn’t you agree that the world needs Jesus? From the fall of man (Gen.3), God has been on mission to restore humanity. Therefore, it is no stretch to say that Christians ought to take the Gospel across cultural, physical, and social boundaries as we join God’s mission. This is, after all, the command of Christ to the church (Matt. 28:19-20).
Do you have a strategy for doing this? How do you share the Gospel with non-believers?
In our time together today, we will see 4 building blocks of an effective Personal Missions Strategy. These all work together, so don’t go to sleep one me!!
I pray that we will take these truths and implement them into our lives so that we will see a fruitful expansion of the Kingdom of God.

Contextualize - Meet people where they are (1-2)

Remind them.... That’s a big part of my job as a pastor- to remind you of the Gospel and its implications.
We often need to be reminded of our surroundings, don’t we? When I was going into the high school to minister to students, there were rules that I had to abide by. Any meeting that was not a formally approved “club” had to be student-led, I could not bring food that competed with the cafeteria, I had to be background checked, wear an ID badge… I could not open-preach in the cafeteria or ‘proselytize’ in the hallways.
The same idea is true when we go on a mission trip. How many of you have gone on a mission trip to a different area?
When we go to Haiti, we get the orientation: Ladies wear dresses, don’t cross your legs. Men, wear pants- everyone make sure to have hand sanitizer, don’t drink water, etc.
Paul is telling Titus to remind the people that their very neighbors are in different places than they are. They have customs or traditions that are important to their life. Perhaps they have different political ideas… They have not grasped the truth of the Gospel, much less see the urgency. So, we must approach them differently.
Do you know what a major hurdle for Christians today is? - we often so associate Christianity with our tradition that we hinder the Gospel from reaching people. We must meet people where they are and walk with them all the way to the cross.
When we think about going on a mission trip to Pennsylvania, Haiti, Africa, etc., we don’t expect that they will do things exactly like we do them here at LRBC. We show grace. We try our best to understand the hurdles they have to accepting Christ. We don’t try to argue with them or prove them to be wrong; we are gentle and set out to show that the Gospel is an invitation.
Another challenge is that we think we need to convince someone that they are wrong and need Jesus in 1 conversation. We think of our witness as our “one shot” to get the gospel to them, so we either approach the conversation as a that pushy guy who needs you to respond positively before he goes away, or we readily throw our hands up and say, “Well, I tried… sowed a seed...”
We need to contextualize the Gospel. Meet them where they are. Help them find answers to their questions. It might mean that we have to go back to them over and over. It might mean that we don’t see that response we are looking for, but friend, we mustn’t just write them off. We must not say, “they are just hard nuts to crack, so we’ll move on.” No, we can show them consideration, model the goodness of God in our interactions. Meet them where they are.
Discuss: In what ways can we contextualize the Gospel message in our community like we do when we go overseas for missions?
The first component of our Personal Missions Strategy is to Contextualize. Another piece of this, Paul points out, is to

Empathize: Put yourself in their shoes (3-6)

Listen: We were once in the same place. (read v. 3)
Friends, the unbelievers in our community are blind. They are deceived… perhaps differently than you or I were, but nevertheless. They have never seen the true God. They have never come to acknowledge His greatness- His power, His wisdom, His holiness. They have not tasted His goodness or experienced His love.
Paul realized that as Christians, we often forget that our lostness was like a disease. We needed to be healed, but until such a time when we were able, we did not even know we were sick!
It was this reality that allowed us to experience God’s compassion. -Listen to v.4-6
We tend to make these ‘lost people’ our enemies instead of showing compassion. We rightly see that we are in a war, but we have identified the wrong group as the enemy.
ILL- Jesus once asked, who needs a doctor? Not the healthy person, but the sick one!
You and I once stood on that ground of deception. We thought we were just fine without Jesus. We thought that we were making the right arguments and we thought that we knew better. Our “wisdom” and “logic” seemed so right... But I thank God that His Holy Spirit is greater than my bull-headedness! I thank God that He brought me to my knees in surrender to the one true God.
It was His MERCY towards us, His act of WASHING, His RENEWING
Oh friends, when we look out upon the lost in our workplaces, our schools, our neighborhoods, let us be determined to see them as lost sheep. Let us see them as blind men and women who need to be led by the hand to the only One who can heal them.
Discuss: Talk about a time when you refused to empathize with someone. How has someone’s empathy towards you impacted your life?
We must contextualize the Gospel, We must Empathize with our neighbors, and next we must

Evangelize - Share the Gospel (7-9)

You were waiting on this one, weren’t you?
Paul says, in v. 8 that we should speak confidently regarding the gospel.
This is a simple truth- Through Jesus Christ, we who have trusted in Him have been justified before God (7a) - that is we have been declared innocent before the only just judge.
This is important because without Christ, we will stand and receive the just penalty for our sins- and we know that ALL have sinned and fall short of God’s standard of holiness. Therefore, it is by God’s grace alone (7b) that we are made to be heirs, that is we are adopted into the family of God where we receive what is due Christ. We will, because of God’s grace, share in the glory and riches of life eternal in the presence of Almighty God.
Sometimes speaking the gospel is intimidating for us. We get all nervous about sharing the Gospel, but Paul says we can speak confidently, and I agree. Why can we speak confidently? Because WE aren’t the bearers of salvation, we are simply messengers. WE aren’t the ones who we ask people to place their trust in, it’s Jesus!
I want to ask, are you nervous about sharing news of a wreck? Are you nervous about sharing information you know to be true? (Some of you aren’t even nervous to share things that you know probably aren’t true…)
Listen, we must use words in sharing the Gospel. Paul wrote to the Romans about this: How will they know without a preacher?
This not something that we do in isolation… we’ll explore this more in a minute, but in order to share the Gospel, we must confidently share the gospel. Do you trust GOd? Don’t apologize for sharing the truth. People NEED to hear this! You will never see someone come to faith in Christ unless you share the Gospel with them.
Practice sharing the Gospel with someone. The more times you walk through it, the more comfortable you will be when the opportunity comes to share with someone.
Our personal missions strategy calls us to contextualize, empathize, evangelize, and finally to

Mobilize - Create a vehicle for missions. (14)

Let’s begin by reading that verse again.
Now, throughout this chapter, Paul has alluded to “good works.” He said to:
Be ready to do good works (1) to be intentional about engaging in good works (8) and now he says that we must LEARN to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs.(14)
So, I just want to point out a few things here:
First, our good deeds are not automatic. We, if left to ourselves, will be very inward-focused. In fact, just about every commercial tries to sell us something by appealing to our desire to be something, feel something… want to feel important, buy this car. Want to be better looking, use this shampoo. Want to be smarter than your everyone, watch this news network…
What Paul is saying is that we need to train ourselves to do good deeds that meet real and urgent needs of others. Real, pressing needs are all around us…
2. But not just for the sake of making someone smile or even alleviating some stress. NO, there is a bigger purpose.
“so they will not be unfruitful” - or in order to reflect the gospel into the life of another.
We feed the hungry, but not just to fill their bellies. We want them eat of the Bread of Life.
We do medical clinics, but not just to aid physical healing, but so they may know the True Healer.
3. The good works act as a vehicle to open up doors for Gospel conversations and to reflect the mercy & compassion of God.
We cannot expect to see fruit, that is people entering into God’s Kingdom, unless we are willing to make the effort of personal missions.
Discuss: What opportunities do you have to ‘mobilize’ this week?
All of these parts, these components that we’ve discussed - Contextualize, Empathize, Evangelize, and Mobilize are meant to be done Cooperatively and Simultaneously.
It’d be really easy to adopt just a piece of this strategy- we might be really good at doing stuff, but if we fail to share the Gospel, how will they know the saving power of Jesus Christ?
If we are diligent in sharing the gospel, but do not meet people where they are, it might be interpreted as us looking down on someone.
If we are full of grace towards the sinner, yet we neglect to mobilize our efforts and show them true Hope, we will not likely see fruit.
Friends, we are called to be the salt and the light. We are called to be bold in our testimony and merciful in our approach. I believe that as we are faithful, we will see fruit.
Will you commit to a personal missions strategy?
Someone is counting on you to bring the hope of the gospel across the cultural and social barriers. The question is, will you do it and how?
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