Summary: A Sermon examining certain issues you will often encounter inside the local church.
A Look Inside The Local Church- (pt 1)
I don't know about you, but I can honestly say "I love church!" I love to assemble together with my brothers and sisters in Christ. The 3 times that we join together each week are a great privilege and blessing. I also enjoy visiting other churches. One reason is that it gives me an opportunity to see how our brethren in different locations may do things differently than we do. I guess you could say that I "study" churches. I am fascinated by what you can find inside a local church. Some things that you see inside the church are amazing. But some things that you find in certain churches is downright shameful.
As we come to the conclusion of our Study of Titus, I would like to examine some of the things that you find in the church. Paul mentions at least 4 things in these verses that will be found in most every New Testament Church.
i. You Can Find Foolishness In The Local Church
ii. You Can Find Fellowship In The Local Church
iii. You Can Find Fellow-Laborers In The Local Church
iv. You Can Find Fruitfulness In The Local Church
For the sake of time we will only be able to cover the first point today, we will cover the other 3 next week. As we walk through these final verses let's take "A Look Inside The Local Church".
Over the past few months we have gone verse by verse through Titus. We have learned much about the church already. This is a "Pastoral Epistle", which is a letter that gives instructions to church leaders. The author is Paul and the recipient of the letter is Titus. The intent of this epistle is to guide Titus in the task of "setting things in order" in the churches of Crete. One of Titus' primary responsibilities was to ordain elders in every city. (1:5) Chapter one gives specific qualifications and requirements concerning the leaders in the church.
Paul also spends some time instructing Titus concerning how to deal with false teachers. In Chapters 2 & 3 Paul gives some practical instructions concerning Christian living. There are instructions for the older and younger Christian men, as well as the older and younger Christian women as to how to live a godly life. Paul also covers the Christian doctrine of submitting to authority. Chapter 2 also makes it clear that we should live with great anticipation concerning the return of Jesus Christ. Chapter 3 begins with a great illustration of the transformation that Christ brings into our lives.
As we arrive at the end of Paul's letter to Titus we see some final instructions. In these instructions you will see certain things that are prevalent in most churches today. Some of these are good things, some are not.
- The first thing that we will consider is not a good thing. Verse 9 shows us that....
I. YOU CAN FIND FOOLISHNESS IN THE LOCAL CHURCH
There is no shortage of foolishness in the church today. It seems that almost every church has to deal with petty arguments and unnecessary quarrels. Paul was warning Titus not to get involved arguments about genealogies. Neither should he spend his time debating Jewish laws and traditions. He states that these things are useless and a waste of time.
- There were problems back then ...and unfortunately there are problems in the church today. Verse 9 shows us that:
A. SOMETIMES THERE ARE FOOLISH PROBLEMS - v9 but avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
The foolish problems in the church at Crete were the issues focused on by the Judaizers. These troublemakers attempted to add to the words and the work of Christ. They rejected the idea of salvation through faith in Christ alone. These men were always contradicting the truth and looking for a debate.
The Judaizers taught falsehoods and caused division. Remember what Paul said about them back in 1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
There are still people today who bring foolish problems into the church. The things that most churches (in America) are fighting over are trivial compared to the heresy that Titus dealt with in Crete. But these trivial things can cause great problems in the Lord's church. If and when trouble rears its ugly head in the church, it must be addressed biblically and immediately!
Thom Rainer has compiled a list of 25 silly things that church members fight over. (These are actual points of contention in churches across America)