Sierra Vista Baptist Church
Oct 6, 2019
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        Community Hymn Festival

        November 10, 2019 - 2:00 PM - 2:00 PM
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      • John 15:1–9ESV

  • The Old Rugged Cross
  • In Christ Alone
  • A Fruitful Farewell

    This is our season finale on the book of Titus. We have seen what the Master Architect desires for a congregation the under contractor Paul has sent the blueprint and Titus is working to follow the directions. The goal is a healthy congregation a sturdy home that is a testament to God’s work in the life of His people. A congregation sound in the faith, ready to face the external elements of wind and rain. There are just a few unfinished items. What to do with these rotten beams that have been placed in the frame? Where do they find the replacement materials? We are not left to wonder.
    Lets read Titus 3:8-15, the final remarks.
    (Read):
    8 This saying is trustworthy. I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed God might be careful to devote themselves to good works. These are good and profitable for everyone.
    9 But avoid foolish debates, genealogies, quarrels, and disputes about the law, because they are unprofitable and worthless.
    10 Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning.
    11 For you know that such a person has gone astray and is sinning; he is self-condemned.
    12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, make every effort to come to me in Nicopolis, because I have decided to spend the winter there.
    13 Diligently help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey, so that they will lack nothing.
    14 Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works for pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.
    15 All those who are with me send you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with all of you.
    (Pray)
    Chip and Joanna Gains enter the house, outside the roof is practically falling off, inside the floor is sagging. The people living inside are desperate. Help us they scream internally. After some conversation and some vision casting the scene goes to a commercial. We all wait in anticipation to see what happens to the house. Will it be renovated? Will the owners be happy with the changes. What unforeseen problems will arise? Reading Titus is like watching the first half of a renovation show. We don’t get to see a full picture of the finished product. Will this congregation commit to good works? Will the truth of Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection transform these crumbling congregations into stately mansions?
    Probably everyones favorite part of renovation shows is demolition day. Basically everyone gets hammers and crowbars and get to work stripping the house down to its bones. In order for this house to be structurally sound the bones, the frame and foundations have to be solid. What will be the fruit of their labor?
    Paul is concerned with faithful Christians, and tells Titus these false teachers are causing problems, and its wrecking the rest of the Church. Termites in the foundation. Time wasters have infiltrated the church. Or worse these False teachers are building a pagan temple, a temple to the god of Self. Lest you think this doesn’t apply to you, remember every member of a local Church is a brick in the structure, we all have a spot in this construction. If you are not producing fruit, that is you are not displaying this good works that Paul is talking about you might have dead roots, but

    Because of God’s plan for the church, you must be fruitful.

    VS 9-11 Paul highlights again who these people are and what to do with them. Paul identifies some hinderances to being fruitful and some helps too fruitfulness. The people of God have to remove divisive ideas and divisive persons. Sandwiched in vs 12-15 among the final greetings Paul identifies helps to fruitfulness. Lets start with VS 9-11,

    Hindrances to Fruitfulness

    Two types of bad roots are addressed in 9-11. Divisive ideas and Divisive people. Remember that Chapter 1 Paul warned about false teachers bringing false teaching into homes and upsetting whole families. He circles back to it here because this is a pressing concern in the early church and indeed today. Let’s look at verse 9.
    read: But avoid foolish debates, genealogies, quarrels, and disputes about the law, because they are unprofitable and worthless.
    (Subpoint 1) Four errors are mentioned here in vs 9. Paul tells Titus what the congregation needs to avoid, if you would be fruitful you must avoid these too, we are to avoid 1) foolish controversies, 2) genealogies, 3) dissensions, and 4) quarrels about the law. We will examine each in turn.
    a. Foolish debates, arguments about things that have no real purpose, Some translations say foolish questions. Really arguments over speculation. Something like this can get into a Church and divide it from the inside. mentioned in each of the Pastoral Epistles (1, 2 Tim and here in Titus). It is important that we don’t separate the words foolish debates they go together. Any debates that do not pertain to the truth are essentially foolish and unhelpful. This foolish contending consumes so much time of our lives, which ought to be spent in our honest employments, in serious devotions, and doing the offices of justice, friendship, and charity one towards another.
    b. Genealogies, Paul said something similar in 1 Tim 1:4. Apparently some people were spending their time speculating about the importance of pedigree, thinking that it had some type of religious significance. Paul says it is endless and ultimately a time waster. Essentially divisive. What is in view here is that prideful concern about who their ancestors were and how much higher it would make them then somewhere else.
    c. Quarrels, when this word is used in other letters of Paul it is always mentioned with Jealousy or rivalry. 1 Tim 6:4 describes a person that fights over words, quarrels over words. Not just once but ongoing arguments or fights.
    d. Disputes about the law, many false teachers brought in arguments about the law, the Jewish law that is. Seems like this is a common problem in the early church as Paul brings it up a lot. In fact Titus has experienced this divisive dispute personally. Gal 2:1-5 explains the experience.
    Read: Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. I went up according to a revelation and presented to them the gospel I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those recognized as leaders. I wanted to be sure I was not running, and had not been running, in vain. But not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus in order to enslave us. But we did not give up and submit to these people for even a moment, so that the truth of the gospel would be preserved for you.
    In Galatians like here Paul and Titus are dealing with false brothers who sought to divide people with the law. Back in Titus,
    Paul concludes this verse with an explanation of ultimately how these are fruitless, idle, empty. These errors of ideas must be avoided. Individually we must all examine our hearts and lives and see if we get caught up on any of these 4 types of errors. As a congregation we have a duty to avoid getting involved with these errors. The word avoid carries the meaning of Shunning the bad ideas, Push them away from our fellowship.
    Unfruitful/unhelpful ideas are usually brought by people, and they are often the ones that keep them going. The second root must be cut off is the divisive person.
    - (Subpoint 2) Divisive peoples (10-11)
    Read 10-11: Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning. For you know that such a person has gone astray and is sinning; he is self-condemned.
    This 3 fold process of Church discipline is a procedure that is taught by Jesus in Mt. 18:15–20.
    You can’t only cut out the offending ideas but the roots, in this case it is divisive people. In order for a church to be fruitful it has to protect itself from false teaching and divisive people, a person that is trying to divide the congregation is to be removed from a congregation. The ultimate goal in all church discipline is for reconciliation, we want the person to realize their error or sin and be brought back into the community of believers.
    The first step is admonishment, instruct and warn the person. The second step is also admonishment, at this point if the person refuses to respond positively then the difficult yet necessary step of dismissal or rejection as some translations say. “Measure twice and Cut once.”
    VS 11 makes it clear that dismissal is grounded in knowledge of the divisive person’s views and actions, every fact needs to be gathered. The grammar here supports the person has settled on his position, he is not just asking questions for information, he is either purposely sinning or has be led astray and refuses the gentle correction of the church. This settled persistence in chosen error and a continued refusal repent of sin enables us to know that such a person is self-condemned, clearly guilty. This person is dividing the people of God producing unfruitfulness.
    (Application) This process protects the church and individuals. If the church does not cut out the rotten supports it will fall in on itself. If you let termites stay in your house you will end up with no house. If you let these divisive people, (greek word heretic) to have free reign in your congregation you are opening yourself up to all manner of problems.
    This also protects the individual in a congregation. Having a process allows us to course correct from our own mistakes. If the goal of the Church is to help people become more like Christ then having a group of believers around you to help you when you stray is invaluable.
    As Christians we can sometimes get wrapped up in controversy that has very little life changing hope. We can get wrapped up in controversy to the detriment of everything else. In fact we can use our desire to dispute or discover the truth or work out the details of a complex issue which allows us to hide our own personal sins. Are you seeking after tertiary issues while ignoring the aspects of your life that really matter? Are you being unfruitful because you are too busy arguing over obscure passages or pet theological projects?
    (Illustration): Militaries have 2 types of Army’s or types of Soldiers. You have your units that are used for parades and then you have your units used for actual fighting. If you were to take a unit that practices polishing buttons and throw it into armed conflict their effectiveness will be significantly lower than that of a unit that practices battle drills.
    Are you just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, or putting lipstick on a pig?

    Helps to Fruitfullness (vs 8, 12-15)

    In Paul’s farewell we see his concern for believers to be fruitful. We will see that fruitfulness needs farmers, and that fruitfulness is a result of cultivation.
    -(Subpoint 1) Fruitfulness needs farmers, that is solid teachers gospel helpers (vs 12), Paul mentions that he will send Artemas or Tychicus to relieve Titus so he can go meet with Paul. We do not know anything about Artemas, but we hear about Tychicus in Acts 20:4 which indicates that he was from Asia and in Eph 6:21 and Col 4:7 we see that he is a beloved brother and faithful minister. Paul is sending another good leader to help the churches in Crete to build them up. Paul is planning to winter in Nicopolis likely a town on the west coast of Greece, since winter was a difficult and almost impossible time to travel. Also Paul liked to find strategic locations to winter and use that time to invest in other Christians in order to mentor them. Paul knows that he cannot just leave the people of Crete with out someone to continue to help them. Either Artemas or Tychicus will be that additional help continuing to build on the work that Titus has done.
    (vs 13) Paul asks Titus and the rest of the churches in Crete to help out two men, Zenas the lawyer and Apollos. Apollos is mentioned many times in Scripture. He and Zenas likely are the ones bringing this letter to Titus. Pauls inclusion of them serves as an opportunity for the churches in Crete to show their commitment to good works. Paul asked that Zenas and Apollos get helped along on their journey. We can deduce that this was a Christian ministry related journey since in the New Testament it is always used that way. The Churches in Crete can help these missionaries on their way. They are to help out these gospel farmers. Zenas the lawyer being mentioned is interesting because he highlights someone with an actual profession. It reminds us that our occupation is less important than our service to God. Zenas likely a lawyer for Roman law was on a mission trip of sorts. Some of the greatest men and woman of Christ have common jobs. While not always in the lime light the greatest impact in an unbelieving world is rarely a preacher or evangelist, but the Christian that lives out their faith in all of life. I’m thinking about the mother who raises kids, the teacher who is constantly forming young minds and hearts. I have in mind here the shift worker that can impact hundreds of people that would never darken the doors of a church on their own. Every Christian has an obligation to reach others for Christ. These are gospel helpers in the watering of Christians, those sent to help build Christ’s Church, to increase fruitfulness. Next is the
    -(Subpoint 2)Cultivation: Learn to devote to good works. Paul in VS 14 says “Let our people” he is indicating once again that people who belong to God, people who follow the teachings of the apostles rather than those who follow false teachers are to cultivate fruitfulness. Let’s read verse 14 to get the full strength of it.
    Read vs 14: Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works for pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.
    Paul tells Titus, Because they are people of God they need to make a profession, an occupation, of doing good works for pressing needs. Here we have the summation of the letter. Because we are the people of God we do good works and are fruitful, fruitful in life and the world around us.
    Every Christian must be fruitful, we know that the fruitless branches will be cut off and thrown into the fire (John 15:2). This good fruit of course is nourished from the life and work of Jesus Christ helped by the Holy Spirt. We must God’s love within us. But just like any fruit tree, it must grow up in to greater and greater yields of fruit. The Christian must learn to devote themselves to good works. Paul’s admonishment that “our people must learn to devote them selves to good works” means that we grow into greater and greater fruit.
    Paul sees the danger in unfruitfulness. If we don’t bare fruit it can indicate that we do not belong to God in the first place, it could mean some of those hinderances mentioned above are making us unfruitful, we may have to face some painful clipping in order to become fruitful again.
    (Application): What is the fruit that Paul is referring too? Well it is good works. Now how can we be useful with good works? Essentially we can do as Romans 12 says, Let love be genuine which is listed in many ways. Our Good works should be to love others as Christ loved us. That means helping Zenas and Apollo on their way. Supporting missionaries that hold to the apostles teachings. That means serving God in church in your community. Not repaying evil for evil but repaying it with good. Be constant in prayer. Or you can go back up to Titus 2 and read through the lists there which all stem from the heart, the gospel. Yet there is no quick fix, it is a slow and steady growth that is desired.
    (Illustration): A few years ago I had the bright idea to start a garden in my back yard. I did a few things that you are supposed to. I made the garden beds, filled it with soil and planted some seeds. My cucumbers grew pretty faithfully with little effort, but for some reason my tomatoes were not really growing. What seemed to have happened several of the tomato plants grew up fast and overcrowded the buckets I had them in. The heat then came and dried them up, I could have left the dead plants in with the growing ones, but I would not get anymore tomatos. So I took the time to clip out the bad tomato plants and slowly over time my tomato plants began to produce tomatos. Only through time and some painful clippings were my plants able to grow and become mature plants producing a good crop.
    God desires His people to be fruitful in this world. He provides us with helpers and at times removes the hinderances. Our job is to be workers in His field, we must seek to be fruitful in words and deeds.

    Where do we go from here?

    Read vs 15: All those who are with me send you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with all of you.
    vs 15 He is referring to the grace which issues from the Father and the Son (1:4), which made its historical epiphany in Christ (2:11), and by which we have been justified (3:7).
    What will be the final conclusion for Sierra Vista? For you, what will your life be characterized by? What fruit are you producing? If You are not producing any fruit, than be a faithful gardener and examine your hearts what is hindering you? Are you focused on worthless things that steal your time and joy?
    As we have seen, the book of Titus is full of practical and powerful guidance for us to live as Christians in an unchristian world. It is sad to say farewell to our sermon series on Titus. We are always able to revisit and consult the truths that we have dug up.
    When Chip and Joanna Gains finish working on a house, they have this big canvas picture of what the house used to look like. The owners stand in front of this big picture and wait for Chip and Joanna to pull it apart and reveal what it looks like now. It is my prayer that when we get to the point in our lives where we pierce the veil from this life to the next we will see clearly the fruits of our life. Will we be ashamed that we did not cultivate more fruit? Or will we be able to stand in front of our Lord and hear, “well done good and faithful servant”? Our works do not save us, they only show that we are saved.
      • Download

        Community Hymn Festival

        November 10, 2019 - 2:00 PM - 2:00 PM
        Join other hymn-lovers and lift your voice in praise.

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