Summary: God’s heart is for harmony in the church.
Roger Staubach, who led the Dallas Cowboys to an NFL championship after the 1971 season and was voted Super Bowl MVP, admitted that his position as a quarterback who didn’t call his own signals was a source of frustration for him. Coach Tom Landry sent in every play from the sidelines. The coach told Roger when to pass and when to run. Even though Staubach considered coach Landry to have a “genius mind” when it came to football strategy, his pride said that he should be able to run his own team. When asked how he resolved this tension, Roger Staubach said, “I faced up to the issue of obedience. Once I learned to obey there was harmony, fulfillment, and victory.”
As you and I learn to obey, we will experience harmony as well. It’s amazing that in this little playbook of Titus, in just three short chapters, God has laid out so many practical truths for us. As we come to the next-to-the last message from this series, God’s heart is for harmony in the church. Please turn in your Bible to Titus 3:8-11. In order to keep harmony in the church, we must follow God’s coaching and run at least four plays.
1. We must stress the salvation story (8a). Look at the first part of verse 8: “This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things…” As we learned last week, we must never get tired of reciting God’s redemptive plan for people. This verse refers to the “trustworthy saying,” which in context is that we are sinners in need of the Savior. The word “stress” means to “affirm constantly.” We will never stop speaking of salvation and celebrating the transformation that only Christ can bring to a life. Last Sunday five individuals last week indicated that they prayed to receive Christ and as we continue to emphasize salvation by grace through faith, I’m confident that we’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg.
While it’s imperative that the gospel be presented on Sunday mornings, and we’ll never stop doing so, I am so thankful for a church filled with people who take the Great Commission seriously on a personal basis. How are you doing in this regard? Are you looking for opportunities to express your faith? Let’s be thinking now about what children to invite to the Birthday Party for Jesus on December 4th. Women, plan now to invite someone to the Christmas Outreach on December 9th.
When you share your salvation story, your own appreciation for God’s work of grace and mercy will skyrocket. We see this in Jude 6: “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” If your walk with Christ seems dull and dry, it may be because you are not active in sharing your faith. Every time you tell someone about God’s grace, you will be reminded of God’s work in your own life. If you keep it to yourself, and never talk about it, the luster of your salvation can begin to tarnish.
Likewise, if we as a church become inward-focused, we will eventually lose the joy of our salvation and begin to pick each other apart. Did you know that the church is the only institution that exists for the benefit of its non-members? First, we exist to extol the excellence of the Almighty and second, we exist to evangelize the lost. When we lose our external focus, internal friction will wear us down. Every ministry of this church must stress the absolute importance of salvation by grace through faith and each event must maintain an evangelistic focus.
This past Monday I was out at Pontiac Christian School when a young girl came skipping up to me. She breathlessly exclaimed, “Pastor Brian, I wasn’t able to come to church on Sunday because someone in my family was sick but if I had been there I was going to ask Jesus into my heart!” I knelt down so I could look into her ecstatic eyes and asked if she wanted to commit her life to Christ right then. She gave me a huge smile, and said, “I already did that” and continued skipping across the gym floor. Many students have come to faith through the ministry of PCS. In fact, I heard that another child was saved this past week and another student is asking questions about baptism. This past Wednesday at AWANA, one of the leaders was out in the hallway leading a young girl in a prayer of salvation. Let’s stress the salvation story and not let up, team!
2. We must go after good things (8b). Look at the last part of verse 8: “…so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” Recipients of grace are to be givers of good. Worship should lead to works. Salvation expresses itself in acts of service. One commentator suggests that the necessity of going after good things is the “basic message” of Titus. The expression “good works” occurs fourteen times in the letters to Timothy and Titus. Here are four instances from Titus: