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Summary: Examines the qualities of those who would be leaders in the church.

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Ringing True

The Productive Life, part 1

Wildwind Community Church

David K. Flowers

March 12, 2006

We’re beginning a series on the New Testament book of Titus today. My choice to preach from the book of Titus comes from a sense I have had lately that I need to preach to you about behavior. We talk so much about states of heart and attitudes here because we don’t want to come off as saying, “do this, do that,” and not address the way people’s hearts determine who they are. Yet at the end of Titus, we see:

Titus 3:14 (NIV)

14 Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.

So I have titled this sermon series, “The Productive Life.” Paul writes here in Titus 3:14 that key to living a productive life (from a spiritual point of view) is devotion to doing what is good. Paul writes to Titus about doing good things and teaching his people to do good things, so I want to spend a few weeks talking to you about doing what is good.

The Apostle Paul wrote the book of Titus to a pastor friend of his whom he was teaching how to lead in the church. Titus, along with 1st and 2nd Timothy, are called the Pastoral Epistles, epistle meaning “letter” – because both Timothy and Titus were pastors and Paul wrote letters to them to give them direction in how to build strong churches and have effective ministries.

Are you interested in making sure Wildwind is a strong church? Are you interested in seeing us have an effective ministry? Then we must begin, as Paul understood, with high standards for our leaders. Our leaders are the pace-setters, the ones who set the standards for the rest of us to follow. If you have an organization with cruddy leadership, you will sooner or later have a cruddy organization. If you have leaders who set the bar low, the organization will accomplish mediocre things. If you have leaders who are passionate and dedicated and strive to accomplish great things, you will have an organization that accomplishes great things. John Maxwell likes to say that “everything rises and falls on leadership.” Obviously that’s a very general statement but by and large I believe it is true.

Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)

18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Proverbs 29:18 (MSG)

18 If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed.

Where there is no vision, the people perish. People must be able to see what God is doing – they must learn to identify God’s activity in their lives and in their world. There must be a vision, or chaos will reign. Vision requires a visionary – a person who can make sense of the chaos for people, who can guide them along straight paths. This shows the necessity of leadership. Without vision the people perish – they stumble all over themselves, wanting to be inspired, wanting someone to follow, wanting someone they can trust to lead the way, but finding no one to answer the call.

So in this series we’ll be looking at what to do to live a productive spiritual life, beginning with what leaders are to do, and thus to model, to those around them. Let’s look at verses 1-9 in the first chapter of Titus. I’ll have you remain seated as I read, then I’ll ask you to stand with me as I pray that God will send every one of us out of here having come to understand new things today.

Titus 1:1-9 (NIV)

1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness--

2 a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,

3 and at his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,

4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

5 The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.

6 An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.

7 Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless--not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.

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Phil Hester

commented on Sep 18, 2006

I do not agree with your biblical understanding of "Husband of but one wife." Where is there a hint in scripture of "Wife of but one husband." God has ordained an order of leadership in the home and in HIS CHURCH. It is not to be a women in that position. You have lower God's standards to fit your culture -- that's wrong. I have a great number of ladies in leadership and they do a great job, but in this area God has not Ok'ed that. Not in the pulpit or in the eldership.

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