This message was preached by Steve Oliver who leads Regions Beyond , an apostolic sphere that is a part of Newfrontiers Intl. This was preached at the Gather 2016 leaders Conference held in Igatpuri India For the audio link please click here
For Part 1 please click here
I hope the lesson from the Island of Crete has been helping you. One of things I did as a younger leader and still continue to do, I take some time on the conclusion of a conference like this. I go through my journal and go through all we have done list all the things that God has spoken to me and wants me to change. So please as the Bible says you are only blessed as you do what you have been taught. Being at this conference does not make you a great leader or wife or great husband. But as you put into practice by the spirit, that you will grow up as a leader. So be encouraged to do that.
Paul in v9 Rebuke those who contradict it. Protect the Word. The warning is that in the latter days people will water down scripture to tickle the ears. This is already happening.
V12 All Cretans are liars!!! This is not Paul having a bad day. I think (there is not much detail of how Titus got to Crete) after Paul’s visit there he must have become aware of an undermining negative culture of lying. So he is really taking on this culture for the gospel to take root.
When we went to Clarence all the people were Basotho people engage in ancestor worship. So we had to be very strong and undermine and uproot ancestral worship. The missionaries who had gone before had allowed dualism. Follow Jesus and follow ancestor worship. The word syncretism or dualism. Allowing the two to coexist. So when we started I was very strong in opposing this. I was grateful that a group of Basotho people understood and cut it off and they began to uproot it from the culture. Be aware of cultural strongholds and uproot. The gospel must go deep and under all the cultural strongholds.
Ch2 Paul talks about this to Titus. So how do we grow in sound doctrine. Not everyone can go to Bible college but that’s no excuse to have poor doctrine. So I have put a list to provoke you and seek after that.
How do you get there?
- time with God through the Spirit
- listen to teachers
- ask lots of questions
- settle that you won’t know everything
- be willing to admit you don’t know
- build friendships you can call on
The one I want to touch on is Ch2:2.
What does he mean by older men and women? In those day life expectancy was very low. Forty years old was a good age. Only about 2.5% of the Roman world we known as middle class or wealthy. 97.5% were people who lived in abject poverty. So older were people in the prime of their life.eg) Pankaj and Tressa. SO he is not addressing men with gray beard because there were not much around.
He talks to the next group. v6 – In your teaching show integrity, dignity and sound speech that no one can condemn.
Then he talks to the next group the Slaves – to be submissive and be respectful and not steal but bring glory to God
I’m not bringing a teaching for each group. But I want to talk about growing your church through empowering every section of your church. The community of God is the most incredible creation. I hope you see the church as a creation. Because that’s is what Ep is talking about because it was not there and suddenly it was brought to light. Once we were not a people but now we are a people. Born of the spirit. M L Jones says the church is God’s new humanity.
God’s plan for us to multiply and fill the whole earth. God’s plan is for the church to prosper. And how we grow the church is by empowering and releasing every part to function. One reason it does not grow and prosper is because of the mindset of superiority and self-importance. It’s the way in the world everybody is put in a diff category
So in 1Cor 12 we have all the gifts but he goes on to say how they work. They work in a complete community. Verse12 – all the members of the body are one body. If we understand this, it will change your church.
V13 we are all baptized into one body. He then goes on to talk about the things that don’t allow the body to prosper. The foot saying to the hand I don’t need you or don’t belong to the body. This is a picture of society where you have someone coming to the church from another generation/understanding of culture. They may come from a people that were looked down and see themselves as a foot and say I don’t belong in this, our work is that every single part of the body participates.
The world through oppression and sin has got divided but through the Spirit God wants a community that is one new man.eg) In Dubai we are lacking the grandfathers and fathers amongst us because you can’t stay there after retirement. Whereas in the Uk it’s the opposite. A lot of elderly!!!
If you want to prosper your church empower and release every group to participate. Paul is speaking into a culture setting which I am not really addressing. So when he is speaking to older women. It looks like that the men were pathetic and they were left to their own devices. Don’t use this scripture to beat up certain section in your church. If you want to see your church prosper release the older people to be mothers, fathers, grandfathers etc. to all in the church. Don’t make them feel that their time is done.
Paul is saying there are not many fathers. This is lacking in society. We want to see the older men life restored by Christ,so that all the youngest men look to him and say I want to be like that one day. I want to be a father like him, a husband like him. Our life become the message.
When we planted in Clarence, there norm was that when a couple had a baby, the responsibility was totally with the mother. The father hardly carried the child, never changed nappies etc. We had three little boys. And I would carry our youngest and sometimes when I was preaching he would tug on me. And slowly the message of the gospel through our lifestyle began to change the culture., When we saw younger couples getting married and now the man would carried the baby and release his wife to lead worship. So we become a model. WE need to become effective, as each groups is effective and released, it becomes a model to follow. Otherwise all the young people in India see are the Bollywood stars.
This is so important in India.
If you mobilize the different people groups, your church will truly prosper. If you think you can grow your church through worship or the worship, then you are part of only a hand full who can do that. So how do we grow the church. We have the old, young the slaves, the older ladies and we equip them how their lives can be a model. We say to the youngest ones, you don’t have to be old and gray you can start now. You don’t have to be full time; you can start now. We say to the older men, don’t retire, look cool and help lead this community. We say to the slaves, you are as important and you belong and you can be an elder in this church. The world out there might exclude you but were you one to us.
So think of ways of influencing all these groups. One of the ways those of you who preach can do it is to choose messages that empower and release. Also celebrate the different groups i.e. honor and give importance to.
How do you mobilise the different age groups for the church to prosper;
- · Teach a good understanding of the body
- · Make sure every group feels equally important – even the slaves
- · Let your leadership team model what you want to see in the wholechurch
- · Find key ‘initiators’ in each group to inspire & gather
- · Let each group express itself on it’s own and within the body
- · Give each group ‘airtime’ – celebrate achievements
- · Make them missional
- · Empower everyone to be a disciple/mentor
- · Give them responsibilities
When I was preparing I understood what Paul was doing because he was undermining what was so wrong. The culture was terrible where the men would throw off all restraint. That’s why he says be sober minded, self-controlled. How do we do that? By the Spirit. I am a new creation. Grace teaches me to say no to ungodliness. To be self-controlled is to be full of the Spirit. When the flesh wants to be stupid, the Spirit draws us back within the line.
Pg 3Make them missional
Ch2:2 Empower every group to be preachers of the gospel. When we came to Dubai there was a small group of ladies that met mid-week. But that group had a lot of strive and mistrust. Heather slowly began to talk about being there for one another success and got them to pray, pray, pray. Slowly this group grew to 25 ladies because the atmosphere in the group had changed. This group then went on to become the most effect in attracting families to the church. We realized that there were many men in church who had top executive positions in their companies and their wives did not work. They had nothing to do. Through this group they found acceptance and a home and they brought their husbands into gateway and their wallets. I was an effective pickpocket for the gospel!!! I could mobilize their wealth for the gospel. This group empowered released, celebrated to be effective.
This is a discovery I made. Ch3:1 Remind them to be submissive to the ruler and authorities. Be ready for every good work. How do you feel about your government? In my nation we have become experts at pulling down our leaders also because they have failed horribly. But that is no excuse.
The Bible tells us that God appoints rulers of nations.
Paul saw this happening as well. Roman politic was all about greed, power and influence. IT had nothing to do with the people. They did not care about the people. It was about themselves. Paul says be submissive to those who only think about themselves and only want power. Incredible!!!! I think I found the answer.
Be submissive to your rulers and authorities, PM. Be obedient to them. Be ready for many good works because they are likely not to succeed. That is why Christ has prepared church to be in readiness to be the answer through good works. They can’t do it. But the church can do it because we can do it. Be ready for every good work.
In 365 AD there was a Roman Caesar. It is recorded that the stood up in the senate and said “ I am sick to death of these pious Galileans because they are turning the ton upside down because they not only care for their own poor but for ours as well” The church was so effective. Incredible!! When the Romans came back from campaigns all wounded the only are there was for them was the church. Eventually the Roman empire became Christian. Because Titus and the leaders taught the people to be submissive and serve. There is so much need.
There is much work in England where now no one wants to be PM. Suddenly the structure of UK society is being showing up for what is it post WWII. Its time of revival. The church spends billions of pounds to serving the poor. A portion of the tithes are used for this. In Parliament its being recognized that they cannot do without the church.
You may not like your PM but be submissive and obedient and be ready with every good work because there will be many.
How do we get ready with good works ?
- You will be needed to fill the gaps
- the church will be provided the gifts for their context.. “I will build my church”
- when faced with a need, only respond when the ‘grace gift’ has been provided
- if it’s not there, pray for it
( to be continued ... Part 3)