Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Titus 3: Effective Church Evangelism

Effective Evangelism Requires:

1.       A Grace-filled Testimony – v. 1-3

In context, Paul is instructing Titus in what to say to those who despise Titus when he speaks, exhorts, and rebukes with all authority. The content of what Paul instructs Titus is exactly what is needed in effective evangelism. These despisers ought to have been subject to rulers and authorities, to obey. They ought to have been ready for every good work. They ought to speak evil to no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. In essence, Paul says that they ought to be displaying the fruit of the Spirit not the works of the flesh.

Paul doesn’t stop there. He reminds Titus that we, ourselves, were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. Paul reminds Titus that he and Titus both used to be exactly what these despisers are. Paul subtly reminds Titus that it is only by grace that he is what he is.

A believer with a grace-filled testimony will be able to demonstrate from his life the radical change that takes place when he trusted Christ. He will be able to show that God’s grace has completely transformed his thoughts, words, and actions. He will be able to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit rather than the works of the flesh.

Grace-filled testimonies are needed in the church today. I believe that a works-based salvation has crept into the church unawares. You know when we see it the most? We see it when something bad happens to someone in the church. Let’s say that it was you. Let’s say that you lost someone you love. Your response to God will show what you really believe about Him. A works-based salvation responds like this: “I was good (I went to church, sang songs, tithed, helped at VBS)…and this is how You repay me?!” A grace-based salvation will display itself through realizing that God is still in control. Yes, both will still wrestle with emotions, but a grace-based salvation will still acknowledge God as being in control.

The world needs to hear grace-filled testimonies. They need to hear the radical change that God has brought to your life. They need to hear that you didn’t deserve God’s salvation. They need to see that they don’t deserve it either.

2.       A Grace-filled Gospel – v. 4-8

Grace-filled testimonies are not enough. The lost need to hear a grace-filled Gospel. Look at the text: Kindness, the love of God our Savior, not by works of righteousness, His mercy, He saved us, through the washing of regeneration, through renewing of the Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit was poured out on us through Jesus Christ our Savior, justified by His grace, we become heirs, hope, eternal life, this is a faithful saying, affirm constantly, those who believed…maintain good works, good, profitable. What an amazing string of verses! You could preach for years on those four verses! There is enough doctrine in those short sentences to fill volumes!

A grace-filled gospel reaches the lost. “For by grace are you saved through faith.” This is the heart of effective evangelism. If there was one aspect that could stand alone, this would be it. Think about it, you can’t merely have a good testimony and a nice church to reach people. That pretty much sums up all the Christians in American churches. Nice church and a good testimony. How much effective evangelism is really taking place as a result of those two things?

3.       A Grace-filled Church – v. 9-15

A grace-filled church is effective in evangelism. They have a good testimony with the outside because they avoid foolish contentions and divisive people. They realize that such things are unprofitable. In fact, a grace-filled church rejects the men that are divisive. A grace-filled church rejects sin. A grace-filled church maintains good works and meets urgent needs. A grace-filled church is filled with love for those in the faith.

In order for church evangelism to be effective, a church must have grace. Grace between believers and grace towards unbelievers. This is the bare minimum requirement of effective church evangelism. We can at least show that we can treat one another with God’s love. We can at least set aside our difference between each other for the sake of God’s grace. We can at least work together for the sake of the gospel.

Effective church evangelism needs grace-filled testimonies, a grace-filled gospel, and grace-filled churches. 

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