Save the Church... Save the World
Proposition - The culture is in bad condition. If the church could gain strength and stability, then the church could be the salt and light that Christ intended it to be.
Introduction: The Topic of Change is Popular.
The top candidates for president are talking about change. Both Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain are trying to be identified as the candidate for change. Both are trying to define their opponent as a candidate that can not provide change. A great deal of money is being spent in order to convince the American people that a change could be provided.
One might ask the question, "Why is change such a popular topic?", and change is indeed a popular topic. News reports and surveys reflect this fact that people want change, but is change good in and of it self.
To know if change is a good thing depends on how good current conditions are. If the current conditions are good, then change would be less than desirable. When things are in a bad condition then change is not only desired but it is also required in order for conditions to get well. Since change is so popular, then the current conditions must not be desirable.
The conditions were not good in the first century A.D. on the island called Crete. The first chapter of Titus describes a culture in need of improvement. Some people are described as insubordinate, lazy, evil, abominable, and disobedient. The culture in which we presently live has some parallels to the culture of that day.
Titus is told what must be done to counter the effects of the culture in which he was pastor, and it involves strengthening the church in order to change the culture. These changes are not achieved by changing the political party of the president but by changing the hearts and minds of men and women. These changes are more powerful than political changes, because these changes are spiritual.
I. Teach Sound Doctrine
Instructions for how Titus is to lead are contrasted with how those in the secular culture conduct themselves. The word "but" at the beginning of verse 1 denotes this contrast. Rather than mirror the culture Titus is told to teach sound doctrine.
A. What is Sound Doctrine?
What exactly is sound doctrine? The word sound means simply means strong or healthy. The word doctrine means simply means "what is taught". Therefore sound doctrine is simply healthy teaching.
B. Why Sound Doctrine Should be Taught?
Much of the teaching of the present culture is destructive. All one would have to do is to turn on the TV, and it would not take long to see the unhealthy message of the day. Sex, violence, blasphemy, lies, and dishonesty are just a few of the messages that jump from the screen. This culture tries it's best to offer lies in place of the truth.
Teaching sound doctrine will cancel out the lies in the culture. The Church could spend it's time answering every lie that this culture uses to lead the community down the road to destruction, but it is better to proclaim the truth so that any lie will stand out as such. We can analyze the darkness and understand it better, but the only way to dispel the darkness is to turn on the light. In the presence of light darkness must flee.
Good behavior follows good beliefs. Hypocrisy can only be held up or hid for a limited amount of time. Eventually one's actions will show the true nature of their belief system. When sound doctrine can be rooted and grounded in the minds of this culture, then unrighteous acts will begin to decline. When wrong is seen as wrong, then the conscience makes it hard to keep doing wrong.
C. How Sound Doctrine Should be Taught?
Sermons are the easiest way to explain doctrine. Preaching allows for the message to be explained without interruption and distraction from the point. Preachers need to preach the truth and nothing but the truth. Public opinion should not be the driving force behind the message of the preacher. No one should be rood or harsh unnecessarily, but the Gospel should never be watered down.
Classes are the most effective way to teach doctrine. The question answer exchange in a class environment allows for doctrine to be absorbed by the student in a manner that promotes retention.
II. Model a Christian Life
An effective way to teach how to apply sound doctrine to everyday living is to model the Christian Life.
A. Who Should Model the Christian Life?
Mature Christians are the ones best qualified to model the Christian life. They have had the opportunities to succeed and fail and trust and endure. When knowledge is added to experience then you have wisdom.
New Christians may learn the facts of the Christian life, but without experience of living this life then it is unlikely that the new Christian would be a good model of the Christian life.
B. How Should the Christian Life be Modeled
It is assumed that the mature Christian is actually living a good Christian life.
C. Why Should the Christian Life be Modeled
Words are not always grasped by some people, but actions are easily remembered. There are many classes that are easily forgotten, but special events are memories that last a lifetime. Sermons and classes can have sound lesson on Christian love, but when love is showed in action the lessons are driven home.
My children still remind me of an exchange with a hate filled protester out side of a Billy Graham rally. They watched me handle the man with love and respect. When the subject of 'Love Thy Enemy' is being taught without fail one of my kids will say, "It's like that time when you talked to that man at the Billy Graham thing."
III. Disciple the Next Generation
A. What Should be Passed on?
The timeless truths of the Christian life
- Repentance and Faith
B. How Should it be Passed on?
- One on one talks
- Training and Sermons
- Church and community events
C. Why the Christian Life Should be passed on?
The survival of any organization is dependant on the next generation carrying on the principles. If we don't actively teach the young Christian, we jeopardize the future of Christianity in our next generation. If we don't teach and train our new Christians, someone will. We risk allowing our babes in Christ getting snatched by those same abominable people who wish to lead astray the future of the church.