Summary: A sermon examining certain issues you may encounter inside the local church.
A Look Inside The Local Church
There were a couple of church events that I would have loved to attended this week. The Men of Memphis conference took place at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee. Also, Woodstock Baptist hosted their annual Johnny Hunt Men's Conference over in Georgia. Though I was unable to be there in person, I did have the opportunity to go online and watch portions of these events. I realize it was nothing like being there in person but it was still great to see God move in these churches.
We have a similar opportunity when reading portions of God's Word. You and I can get a glimpse inside churches from nearly 2,000 years ago. Last week we began the conclusion of our study of Paul's Epistle to Titus. Through Paul's closing words we are able to take a look inside a church that existed thousands of years ago on the Isle of Crete. I would like to pick up where we left off last week and continue to take "A Look Inside The Local Church".
Some of the things that were present in that church so many years ago are also present in the church today. Last week we saw that:
i. YOU CAN FIND FOOLISHNESS IN THE CHURCH
There was no shortage of foolishness in the church at Crete. Paul wrote about the trouble brought on by the Judaizers. In verses 9-11 he told Titus how to deal with the "Heretics" in the church. This word "Heretic" literally means "schism". It speaks of those that would cause division in the church. When there is trouble or "foolishness" in the church, the focus is taken off of Jesus. This brings a whole host of problems.
In Part I of this sermon we considered the fact that "Sometimes There Are Foolish Problems In The Church" and "Sometimes There Are Foolish People In The Church". Let it be noted that the foolish people in the church are the cause of the foolish problems in the church. When there is foolishness or troubles of any kind in the church, it must be addressed immediately and biblically. We spent a great deal of time focusing on the negative last week, so today I would like to examine some positive things that you can find in the church. Verses 12-15 show us that:
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
Even with the troubles that were present in the church at Crete, there were still some good things going on inside that assembly. And I am glad to say that you can find each of these attributes here in Stockdale Baptist Church.
- Let's begin by considering that:
II. YOU CAN FIND FELLOW LABORERS IN THE LOCAL CHURCH - v12 When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter. 13 Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.
It seems that this letter was written during the autumn months. As Paul plans his next move he desired for Titus to join him at Nicopolis for the winter. He would send someone to take Titus' place in Crete. In these verses Paul begins to name some of his trusted ministry associates. Let's look as some of the names he mentions:
A. Titus - Obviously Titus was dear to Paul and vital to the ministry at Crete.
B. Artemas - He is not mentioned anywhere else in the New Testament but history tells us that he eventually became the bishop of Lystra.
C. Tychicus - This is a man who had proven his worth to Paul in the past. Twice Paul had sent him from Rome to Asia during his first imprisonment. In Ephesians 6:21 Paul refers to Tychicus as a "beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord". What a great testimony!
D. Zenas - He was a lawyer, (a Jewish scribe) who had been converted and was a faithful follower of Christ.
E. Apollos - Acts 18:24 tells us that Apollos was an "eloquent speaker who knew the scriptures well. He too was a Jewish convert. You probably remember Paul referencing his name in 1 Corinthians 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. It is likely that Zenas & Apollos were the couriers of this epistle, bringing it to Titus personally.
What I find so encouraging about this group of men is the willingness to go where they were needed. Also, it seems that they were willing do whatever needed to be done. This is the kind of cooperation that you will find among people who are focused on serving Christ more than glorifying self. Titus had been sent to Crete for a season and now he was needed elsewhere, and he was willing to go where he was needed.