Loving the World through Foreign Missions

Steve Viars August 7, 2016 Titus 1:; Acts 13

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Matthew 28:19-20 - Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Acts 1:8 - …but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.

John 15:16 - You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

The mission of Faith Church is to glorify God by winning people to Jesus Christ and equipping them to be more faithful disciples.

“Productivity isn’t just about getting more things done.  It’s about getting the right things done—the things that count, make a difference, and move the world forward.  In our current era of massive overload, this is harder than ever before.  So how do you get more of the right things done without confusing mere activity for actual productivity?” Matt Perman, What’s Best Next

“Titus-like churches impacting their communities with an Antioch-like vision for others.” Matt Perman, What’s Best Next

“Leadership churches where the great commission is being fully realized and implemented.” Matt Perman, What’s Best Next

4 phases in this discussion

Phase 1 – Titus 1:1-2, 3:4-6

Phase 2 – Titus 1:9, 2:1

Phase 3 – Titus 2:11-12

Phase 4 – Titus 3:8, 14

I. Phase One - The coming of the gospel

Titus 1:3 - …the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior…

II. Phase Two - Teaching sound theology

Titus 1:9 - …holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

Titus 2:1 - But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.

III. Phase Three - Applying truth to practical areas of everyday life

Titus 1:1 - …the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness…

  • 1:5-9 - godly character qualifications of pastors
  • 1:10-14 - ungodly character of false teachers

Titus 1:15-16 - To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.  They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

  • 2:2 - godly character qualities of older men
  • 2:3-5 - godly character qualities of older women
  • 2:6 - godly character qualities of young men
  • 2:7-8 - godly character qualities of Timothy himself
  • 2:9-10 - godly character qualities of workers
  • 2:12 - godly character qualities of everyone
  • 3:1-2 - godly character qualities of citizens

IV. Phase Four - Effective community outreach

Titus 2:7 - In all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds

Titus 3:8 - This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds.

Titus 3:14 - Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs, so that they will not be unfruitful.

Titus 1:16 - They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

Manuscript

You know, one of the ways you can evaluate a church, or I think even evaluate yourself, personally, is your involvement in, and your commitment to foreign missions. Do you agree with that? So we think a lot, I hope, about verses like the Great Commission, Matthew 28:19-20, "Go therefore and make disciples." Who would that be written to? Well, that would be written to you and to me. "Go therefore and make disciples," of whom? "Of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them." Please underline this in your mind it's going to come up later. "Not just teaching them all I've commanded you. Teaching them to observe, to do, to act on all I've commanded you, and lo; Jesus promised I will be with you always even to the end of the age."

Or a parallel text that's very important Acts 18, "But you'll receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you." Did the Holy Spirit come upon you? Yes, the day you placed your faith and trust in Christ, if you have, but for a reason. "You shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and Judea, and all of Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth," or this great passage from the lips of our Lord. "You did not choose me, but I chose you." It is about as clear as it could be. "You did choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you," what? "That you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the father in my name he may give it to you."

Verses like that that's what led us to adopt as our church's mission statement words that direct a lot of our thinking, a lot of our activity around here. The Mission of Faith Church is to glorify God. Understand that everything we're reporting on today, everything we're talking about is for the praise and glory of Christ that not any organization, not any human being, but the Mission of Faith Church is to glorify God by winning people to Jesus Christ, and equipping them to be more faithful disciples. I think all of us would say that we want to me a missions minded church, right? We want to be a mission driven church.

Well, that's all well and good, it's all very important, but then there's the matter of process, and I cannot emphasize the importance of that word, that concept enough. In other words, what are the exact steps we take to accomplish the mission? Here in our community, around the world it's one thing to talk about the mission. It's something entirely different to know, specifically, what we're trying to do in order to accomplish it, so lock onto those words logically. Mission, then process, then there's the matter of efficiency. I'm going to highly encourage every person in our church if you've not yet done so to read this book this Fall. I realize you might say, "This is my first Sunday here."

Great, I want to encourage you to read this book this Fall for everybody who's coming to our church. It's called "What's Best Next" By Matt Perman. It's a book about Gospel driven productivity. Don't you like those three words put together? Could you tell me by the look on your face? I love that. In fact, I want to see that from Faith West right now. I love the thought of Gospel driven productivity. Here's one of the things that Perman says. "Productivity isn't just about getting more done. It's about getting the right things done."

You could be all wound up about the election right now, and spend the rest of your Fall all in that hot mess, and totally miss what's most important through that. Productivity isn't just about getting more done. It's about getting the right things done. The things that count that make a difference that move the world forward in our current era of massive overload. Is that true? How many emails did you get this week? A massive overload. This is harder than ever before, so how do you get more of the right things done without confusing mere activity for actual productivity? That sounds like a pretty good book, huh?

I would encourage you to buy that book. Don't confuse having bought a book with having read a book. I want to encourage you. Are you glad I'm back? Are you glad, but that's a good quote for every aspect of life, but it's especially true for a church's mission program. Why is that? Because there's practically an endless number of places that we could go, or people that we could send, or things that we could do, and since all of this humanly speaking is funded by the generous giving of our hardworking and sacrificial church members we want to be sure that we're doing what's best next when it comes to our approach to serving the world.

So you've got mission. Follow this logically. You got mission, and then you have the issue of process. Then you have the matter of efficiency, and lastly there's the question of where every person in our church family fits into this discussion. Is there a connection between this topic? Mission and what you do in front of your computer screen each and every day at work, or your interactions at the ball field in the evenings, or your relationships at home and around town, so what does it mean to be a missions oriented minded church, and how do you specifically fit into that discussion?

When we were planning the preaching schedule last December, and we decided that our theme all year long was going to be "Loving our world." We were looking for one particular Sunday where we could, especially, emphasize loving our world through foreign missions. We wanted it to be right after one of the many mission trips that people from our church take, so in this case it was right after Dr. Dan Wickert, one of our members and I had just returned from a week of training in Brazil, but we also asked Jeremy Vegter who is our director of electronic communications, and just does a fabulous ... "Who makes all those videos?" "Jeremy does." Whoever sees our web communication, et cetera he does, and does a fabulous job, incredible amount of work.

Jeremy came with us to Brazil to shoot several short video reports from people who can actually report firsthand what the Lord is doing in that country. Now when the dust settles this morning you say, "What's the target, what are we shooting at here?" Well, when the dust settles we're hoping you're going to have a greater understanding of an appreciation for what our resurrected savior is doing around the world. It's all about him, and him keeping his promise to build his church, and then secondly to know how our church is trying to productively participate in that, so you can more passionately pray for these endeavors, and then thirdly, and I think most importantly that you would have a deeper understanding of how the way you live everyday right here in this town fits into everything that we're trying to do around the world.

Now with that in mind I want to invite you to open your Bible to two places in the word. Are you ready for that? You got two hands, so two places in the word. One of them is Titus Chapter one, and the other one is Acts 13. So Titus Chapter one, and Acts Chapter 13, and if you're using the Bible under the chair in front of you go to the back section to the New Testament, and turn to page 167. First of all, that will bring you to Titus Chapter one, and then 103 that will bring you to Acts Chapter 13. While you're turning there let me just give you a little bit of background for this trip that we just took to Brazil. How did that all come about?

A little over nine years ago I had the privilege of speaking at a conference in Brazil on Biblical Counseling and Soul Care, and my interpreter, my translator for that week was a young man named Sacha Mendes. I had never met Sacha. A lot of times when I go somewhere they just assign me to a translator, but you hang out all week, and you get to know one another. That was the Spring of the year, and if you're thinking, historically, what was going on around here nine years ago in the Spring? The answer is we were planning to open our first Community Center at Faith East, but we were also in the process, simultaneously, of launching our church-based seminary, and apparently I mentioned that a few times throughout the week.

Sacha would translate whatever it was that I was saying, but then at the end of the conference he said, "Hey, do you think I could come to the seminary? Could I move to the U.S. and be part of that first three-year cohort at the seminary?" That meant getting all of the logistics figured out in a very short period of time, but there was also the little matter of Sacha was engaged, so he was preparing to get married which meant if he was going to come into our seminary that August that meant he was going to have to get married, and then his dear wife Ana who spoke very little English at the time, and as far as I remember had never seen snow was going to move to beautiful Lafayette, Indiana for three years for their Master's education, and that's exactly what they did.

There's a picture of their family today, by the way. Don't you love that picture? Now stay straight with the history because it gets a little confusing here. Now Sacha is a seminary student, so that starts in August, and now we go to the next February when we're having our Biblical counseling, training conference here that many of you participate in, and there was a pastor from Brazil who came from Brazil to that conference here. His name was Flavio, not to be confused with Flavio, but anyway I digress. Anyway, this is a picture of, I don't know what's wrong with me, but anyway, there's a picture of Pastor Flavio, dear man who came, and a number of you, actually, served in that conference, and Flavio he got a taste not just of the training, but also of the lifestyles, and the ministries of people here in Lafayette, and what was going on.

He asked if he could meet with us, and so sometime during that week we had a meeting, and he had a little request. He said, "The people in Brazil need this conference, and so many of them can't travel here. Would you mind just bringing it to our country?" he said. "Oh sure, we'll get right on that," so that's what he asked, and after we prayerfully considered it that's what we did, so we went first to the city of Águas de Lindoia. The attendance was incredible, especially, from the perspective of how many pastors were there representing hundreds of churches, so we made a deal with them. We would continue to do that for a period of time as long as the goal was to develop Brazilian leadership, so our goal Second Timothy 2:2, it was "To train faithful men who will be able to train others also," and our goal was to transition that to Brazilian leadership as quickly as possible.

A couple of years later another conference was started in the city of Fortaleza, and we saw the exact same kind of thing happen there. In fact, now that particular conference in that city, another region in Brazil has outgrown that particular site. Then you may recall that earlier this year I had the privilege of being in a third location in the city of Manaus which is up on the Amazon, so what I'm saying is by God's grace. It's all to his glory, but what's happening in Brazil has essentially become a best practice model for us. It's important for our church family to understand what kind of a product are we trying to produce with all of this traveling? What's the end game, and how is this tethered to the great commission? Is the goal just to have conferences, or is it something other than that, and then, of course, where does every person in this church family fit into that conceptualization?

Here's the answer. Get ready for a mouthful if you would. The introductory answer to that question is we're seeking to produce Titus-like churches impacting their communities with an Antioch-like vision for others. You say, "Huh?" Well, that's kind of like a piece of hard candy. You need to suck on it for a good 30 seconds before you start enjoying the sweetness, so while you're kind of doing that here's another way of saying that leadership churches. We're not just going to have conferences. We're hoping that God will work in the hearts and lives of certain men and women from those churches who will say I want to be a leadership church. That's what God is calling us to do, an anchor church where the Great Commission is being fully realized and implemented and then we want to share that with other churches in our country. Here's what we're going to do.

I want to take us on a brief survey of the Book of Titus. I would encourage you to read the Book of Titus in its entirety sometime this week. It will probably take you 15 to 20 minutes tops. You say, "Why?" Here's why it's especially relevant. It's because the culture in which Paul was writing to Titus which Titus was serving is very similar to the U.S. today, and very similar to Brazil. You say, "Why would that be?" Well, if you're familiar with this book at all you may remember that Paul reminded Titus that even one of the prophets of Crete. That's where Titus was ministering the Island of Crete.

He said, "One of your own prophets says Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons." And then do you remember what Paul said next? "That testimony is true." That's what that culture was like. There's a fair amount of that in this culture. I'm not here to cuss our world necessarily, but think about what's going on in our presidential election right now. If that's not a hot mess I don't know what is. Last time I was in Brazil, before when I was there in Manaus earlier this year that's the week they impeached their president, and they were in an economic free-fall in that particular country. I'm just simply saying that the same question that Titus had regarding Crete is a similar question to we're asking for the U.S. or people in Brazil are asking there, how do you serve Christ in that kind of a culture?

Our theme, "Loving our World," well, how do you love that kind of world? What kind of church did Paul want Titus to produce? What I want to ask you to do now as we do this quick survey is follow the logic because what we're about to find is four stages of World Evangelization. Remember, I said before process. Process, process, process, so four phases in this particular discussion. I want to read these verses for us, but just be thinking through the logic, so we'll start right in Chapter one Verse one for the beginning of phase one.

"Paul, a bond-servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God, and the knowledge of the truth which is according to Godliness, and the hope of eternal life which God who cannot lie promised long ago." Now look at Chapter three Verse four for a similar statement. "When the kindness of God our savior, and his love for mankind appeared he saved us not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to his mercy by the washing of regeneration, and renewing by the Holy Spirit whom he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our savior." That's where it all starts. That's phase one. We'll delineate that more in a moment, but now look at phase two. Go back to Chapter one for a minute, Verse nine.

Paul is talking about pastors now, and he says, "Holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching." See after they had come to Christ now what? "Accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able to exhort in sound doctrine." there it is, "and to refute those who contradict." Look at Chapter two, Verse one, "But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine." So we had coming to Christ, and now teaching sound doctrine. Now something entirely different building on this logically, phase three, just illustratively we can see it embedded all over this book, but look at Chapter two, Verse 11. "For the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all men." Why? "Instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires, and to live sensibly."

See, at some point it has to affect the way that you live "Righteously and Godly in this present age," and again you find that emphasis all over this book, well why? Why the desire for Godly lifestyle, progressive sanctification, change in everyday living? Here's why. Look at Chapter three, Verse eighth. Here's what you do with this. "This is a trustworthy statement, and concerning these things, I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God." Here it is, listen. "Will be careful to engage in good deeds to have a platform of a changed and changing life minister to others these things are good, and profitable for men." It could not be any more clear than Verse 14 the way the book ends.

"Our people must also learn," to what? "To engage in good deeds," to do what? "To meet pressing needs." That needed to be true in Crete. That needs to be true in the U.S. of growing followers of Christ, and that needs to be true in Brazil, so that they will not be unfaithful. Now a lot more verses that we could add to that outline, for sure, from this book, but what we just saw, and I'm going to delineate it in a minute are four phases of World Evangelization, so what does it mean to be a Titus-like church impacting your culture whether we're talking about us, and we need to, or whether we're talking about those that want us to talk with them.

What's the second phase of that? What does it mean to have an Antioch-like vision? Go back to Acts 13 for a minute. It will be pretty clear what this great church at Antioch was like, and what I'm trying to point out is they didn't just care about their thing. They were seeking to do what God wanted them to be so that they could possibly impact somebody else. Look at Acts 13, Verse one. "Now there were at Antioch, and the church that was their prophets and teachers." You have a whole list of them there. Verse two, "While they were ministering to the Lord, and fasting the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work for which I have called them. Then when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them," they did what? "They sent them away." It wasn't like good, we're going to keep this thing to ourselves, so this is the beginning of the first missionary journey.

Being sent out by the Holy Spirit they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they reached Salamis they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogue somewhere else, and they also had John as their helper. Look at Chapter 15 because you're going to see something else by this church of Antioch, same thing, a care for others. A concern for not just getting done what God wants us to do, but now sharing it. Acts 15, Verse 35, "Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch." That's what we're talking about, "teaching and preaching with many others also the word of the Lord after some days." This tells you something about their heart.

Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us return, and visit the brethren in every city." It's not just do we have a good thing going on in Antioch, "Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaim the word of the Lord," and do what? "And see how they are." The point is we often find this church at Antioch having a profound concern to share whatever the Lord had taught them with others. Do you like that? They were known for having concern for the health and development of other churches, so not just getting the job done here, but caring enough to come alongside others, and help them do the same.

Now push the pause button on everything that we've said thus far because I know this is like a fire hose. We haven't even started yet, but just what kind of a product do we believe God wants us to produce? Well, we certainly intend to continue when it's appropriate to send American individuals and couples to foreign fields. That's the traditional model, and when it's appropriate to do that we will, but more and more we're seeking to identify nationals who are already in that country. They already know the language. They already know the culture, and our goal is to partner with them. People like Sacha. People like Flavio, and then seeking to resource them, so we're not going like the proud Americans telling everybody what they ought to be doing. We're finding individuals who are already in that country who are asking us to help, and we're working under their leadership.

We're serving them and resourcing them in whatever way they ask us to, but that then, and don't miss this. That allows us then to challenge them when the time is right to do what? To become what? Titus-like churches, the impact in their communities, but with an Antioch-like vision where they'll share that with other churches in their nation, or leadership churches. That's what you need. Not more conferences. You need the establishment of anchor churches where the Great Commission is being fully realized, and then they are sharing that with other in their sphere of influence. Now I know I've said a lot. Let's break it down a little bit further. These four phases of World Evangelism. What did we just see in the Book of Titus, and how does that affect the way you lived this week? That's really what we're asking.

I. Phase One - The coming of the gospel

Phase one was the coming of the Gospel, right? That's where it always is going to start. The good news of salvation available in and through Jesus Christ, so Paul talked to Titus about the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior. Now tell me? Was Paul the only person who was entrusted with the Gospel? What's the answer to that? No, in fact I just heard that all the way from Faith West. Absolutely not. Who's entrusted with the Gospel? Well, that would be you, wouldn't it? Could I get a me. You're thinking, he's going to get me into something here.

See, someone initially, had to take the good news of Jesus Christ to men and women who have never heard, right? Whether it's across the world, or across the street. Praise the Lord for the pioneer missionaries who blazed the trail around the globe with the good news of Jesus Christ. For example, I mentioned I was in Manaus earlier this year. That's the third location for these conferences that we have been doing. I had the privilege of meeting Pastor Wagner, the pastor of the church who organized that conference where in his first year attracted over 200 persons many of them pastors from other churches.

Now the way that worked he had previously been at our conference in Águas de Lindoia, which is a long way from Manaus, and he, just like Flavio said to me, he said to that group, "Will you bring this conference up to the city of Manaus?" And did it so effectively that that many people came in it's first year. What I didn't know was Pastor Wagner, the church that he pastors was actually started by the grandfather of one of our missionaries, Randy Richner. Listen to a little bit of that part of the story.

Randy Richner:My name is Randy Richner. I'm a missionary church planner in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Faith has supported our ministry for the past 20 years. My grandparents Willard and Grace Stull were missionaries in the Amazon jungle. They arrived in the city of Manaus in 1939 when there was only one car. Now there are over a million people in Manaus, and they faced the difficulties of the jungle, large snakes, and spiders. They had a great burden to start a church there along the Amazon River. They shared their faith. They preached the Gospel. They taught Bible stories, and God developed a church through their efforts the seed was planted. I was talking recently to some from that church, and they expressed how impacted they were by the efforts of my grandparents.

One of the stories they told me was that my grandparents would gather the church together, and they would go, and minister at a leper colony. At that time leprosy was very contagious, and no one wanted to witness to them. My grandparents they assembled a group from the church, and once a month they would go to the leper colony, and they would have a church service, and they would get close enough, so that they could share their faith in Jesus Christ, and many came to know Christ as their savior. They planted churches there, and one of the churches that they started [inaudible 00:26:04] has been responsible for the planting of nearly 75 churches over its history.

Steve Viars:Please think about that. A church that was responsible for now planting 75 other churches, and having the kind of impact in their culture where when they have a conference on Biblical Counseling, Biblical Soul Care over 200 people come in its inaugural year. Aren't you glad for pioneer missionaries? Randy's grandmother, I was learning, because when they first went there, and by the way, listen, the political situation in the world culture I can't be worried about winning people to Christ because there's too much bad stuff going on. Did you hear what he said about the year they went to Manaus? 1939. Anything happening in the world in 1939, and yet they went to Manaus.

You know, Randy's grandmother said, "How do they even get to know people and win them to Christ?" Flannelgraph. Anybody here old enough to even remember Flannelgraph, right? She took her Flannelgraph board down to the market, the daily market, she just set the thing up. Of course people, "What's this crazy American doing?" Then she would pull out pictures, right? Flannelgraph of Paul, a Flannelgraph of whoever, and ultimately a Flannelgraph of Jesus and the cross and the empty tomb. Aren't you glad for a woman who would do that?

Now do you agree with me that the process of World Evangelization, phase one starts with the coming of the Gospel. Everybody agree with that? Well, then what do you think I'm about to ask you? Let's see, where do you fit into all of that? The answer is by being a missionary wherever God has placed you. We can't challenge people to do something around the world that we're not willing to do ourselves. Would you agree? I just want to ask you. Do you look for opportunities to tell those in your sphere of influence about the delight of having a personal relationship with Christ?

In fact, I just asked you directly when is the last time you very specifically explained the Gospel to someone, and you encouraged them to repent in belief? Now, I would encourage you that in your bulletin there's this flyer about these FCI classes that we have coming up. Here's what I think. I think you probably have someone in your sphere of influence, a neighbor, a co-worker who would love to come to a class like this if they knew they were available, that would be willing to come if someone would invite them, and be willing to sit with them.

You might say, "Well, I'm too busy on Wednesday nights to do that," then you're too busy, and I'll tell you something else. You bring your schedule to me. We'll sit down over a cup of coffee, and we'll cut some things out, so you have time for Evangelization. By the way, you might as well say goodbye to your television. Are you glad the old man is back? Don't say that we don't have time for the proclamation of the Gospel. The question is do we have the heart for the proclamation of the Gospel? By the way, I realize some who are going to hear this today might say you know what? I'm not sure I've placed my faith and trust in Christ yet, but I'm really glad you're here, and we would love to sit down with you.

You name the time, you name the place, and we'll talk with you about what the word of God says about how you can know that you know that you know that you're on your way to heaven, or consider taking this intro to faith class which is basically an open mic opportunity for you to ask whatever questions you would have about any aspect of Christianity, any aspect of the Bible. We also have next Sunday where we're going to do Let's Celebrate Teachers. That's all about making a statement about the importance of education in a community, and we have a lot of teachers in this town. They sacrifice, I'm talking about in public school, private school, homeschoolers, with very little respect, and appreciation. It's amazing how many people in this culture are experts at education who don't actually have their hand on the plow.

We want to make a statement about that next week. Many of you know teachers, and I want to encourage you to invite them to come. You say, "That's a risk." It was a risk for Randy's grandma to take Flannelgraph down to the market, and she was willing to do what was necessary in order to see others come to know Christ, and I know that there's a number of people who will hear this message, and you live that way, and then when we travel to other places around the world we're able to talk praising God about the way you live with an Evangelistic heart in a way that challenges others.

II. Phase Two - Teaching sound theology

What's the second phase? What else did we see? The coming of the Gospel, but what happens next the answer is teaching sound theology, so it's a process. It has to happen subsequently, and we saw that in this text where Titus says, "Hold fast the faithful word, which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he," in this case the pastor, "will be able to exhort in sound doctrine, and refute those who contradict," or Chapter two, Verse one, "But as for you speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine." Now think with me about process. Once decisions are made for Christ, and young believers are baptized and brought into a local church often a second wave has to occur.

Either by those pioneer missionaries, or often another group of God's servants, and there are groups of people who are doing this kind of work around the world where they're grounding God's people in strong doctrine, teaching. Here's an example, and it's from a woman speaking in Portuguese with a layover in English. Listen carefully. This woman, actually, her husband owns the hotel in Águas de Lindoia where we've been doing these conferences. She came to Christ. Listen to her story.

Speaker 3:My name is [inaudible 00:32:05] I'm from [inaudible 00:32:08] São Paulo state, Brazil. The Lord drew me to himself three years ago. I used to attend a church that held some beliefs that were inconsistent with the [inaudible 00:32:17] doctrine. That led to various spiritual conflicts in my life, and in my relationship with others. My husband, owner of the Hotel Majestic where the Biblical Counseling Conference are held yearly knew [inaudible 00:32:31] from São José dos Campos, and she recommended that we talk to Edison Naves, pastor of the Maranatha Baptist Church.

Then through Biblical principles using Biblical counseling, Pastor Edison confronted us with the word of God, and this is changing our lives, and blessing us greatly. What a great blessing it has brought over our lives. Our relationships with our family has improved a lot. Through Maranatha Baptist Church I got to know ABCB, the Brazilian Association of Biblical Counselors, and now I'm attending this conference to learn with even more depth.

Steve Viars:She was talking about Maranatha Baptist Church. That's the church were Sacha pastors, along with Pastor Edison, and in case you didn't get the point of her testimony what she was saying was I came to Christ, but then I got in all sorts of trouble, and I needed to be grounded. I needed sound doctrine teaching, and I found that through Sacha and Pastor Edison, another man whose been here many times. See, sound doctrine. You may remember that last year I had the privilege of being in in the country of Albania. Our youth group just returned from a trip out to Albania. We'll talk about that in another time, but this is the pastor of the church in Albania. You understand Albania very uniquely wrote atheism into their country's constitution, literally.

That document was signed. Everybody in Albania knows this. That document was signed in the dictator's house in the capital city in Tirana. Well, communism did not fall in Albania until 1990. As a result, by the way, of a college food fight. That's where the fall happened, it's a fascinating story, but anyway, Artha, the pastor's wife pictured here she told me she does not remember hearing the name of God until she was 13 years old. That's what communism was like, but Jesus is at work in that place. After communism fell, and there was the opportunity to bring the Gospel in you had a number of young believers, and then groups like Master's Seminary came in, and started teaching sound doctrine.

Do you know where Master's Seminary started holding doctrinal classes? It was in the dictator's house, literally, and anybody in Tirana knows where that place is, literally, and that same place where they signed atheism into their country's constitution, sound doctrine was being taught there, and now they've had to move simply because of a need for larger space, so follow the process. Coming of the Gospel teaching sound doctrine.

Earlier this year we had the privilege of being in Cuba, and had the incredible privilege of meeting these two men. Pastor Norberto, and his son Leslie who are both pastors at the church in Old Havana. They were here for our Biblical Counseling Training Conference in February.

Well, Norberto, the older gentleman's father he actually started a seminary in Cuba. That property was confiscated multiple times by the communists. His father was put in concentration camps multiple times because of his faith, and one of the times while he was in concentration camp the people who lived around there started using that property as the town dump, so when he got out of concentration camp he and those who were working with him had to clean the place up in order to use it again in order to teach sound doctrine.

Lord willing, I'll have the opportunity to represent us in the Dominican Republic in two weeks. The purpose of that trip in part is to meet with the group of leaders to continue to finalize our strategy to teaching doctrine in Cuba, and so that's the process, the coming of the Gospel, and then teaching sound doctrine. Where do you fit into that? How are you doing at the matter of learning sound doctrine? Some of these classes on Wednesday night they're specifically directed to individuals who need to learn their Bible better. You might be in a situation where you would say it's time for me to take that next step, and I want to open up my schedule, or to be part of adult Bible fellowship where we're talking about the word of God systematically, but we can't expect people to be Titus-like churches somewhere else, unless what?

III. Phase Three - Applying truth to practical areas of everyday life

Unless we're being a Titus-like church here, and that's one of the reasons I'm thankful for many here who are seeking to grow in doctrinal depth. Now, I've said all that to say this. Here's where the rub generally works in many places it's phase three. It's applying truth to practical areas of everyday life. Coming to the Gospel. Teaching sound theology, and then doing something with that everyday that's the teaching them to observe part of the Great Commission. If this is true of the character of God, sound theological truth, then how does that impact the way I function as a husband? Or if this is true about the nature of salvation how does that change the way I communicate, or solve problems in the home, or in the workplace?

It's a difference between being a follower of Christ on Sunday, and being a follower of Christ seven days a week, and you don't have to be around the church very long to recognize there's a dramatic difference between those who know some Bible facts, and those who have actually gravitated those facts over into the way they're choosing to live everyday, and you see that strongly emphasized throughout this book the knowledge of truth, which is according to Godliness, you're doing something with that. Then it speaks about the character qualifications of pastors. It talks about it negatively regarding false teachers.

Paul spoke in Verses 15 and 16 about people who profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny him. Then in Chapter two it talks about Godly character. Phase three of older men. Then in the next passage of older women, then of young men. You just walk all the way through this book, and see progressive sanctification, specific change and growth throughout this argument of this passage. It even affects the way that you work. It affects every person in the church. It affects the way you function as a citizen, and I'm simply saying if the Book of Titus is one of our models then the doctrine of progressive sanctification is imprinted all over this book, and you might be wondering, especially, if you're newer, why is it that God gives us so many opportunities to serve him around the world?

Here's one of the answers I'm convinced of. It's because so many people here are serious about phase three. You're glad you've come to Christ. You're so thankful for that. You're serious about learning your Bible, but you're also serious about seeing it make a change in the way that you live each and every day. That then provides a kind of fruit that is unique. A kind of fruit that is delicious. A kind of fruit that honors God, and a kind of fruit that others around the world literally want to taste. Here's an example of the transition from the second phase to the third. Larissa, I just saw this video for the first time last night. She uses my name several times. Can we forget that part, and just insert "This is what Jesus is doing in this country." Think about the process.

Larissa:My name is Larissa, and I'm from Brazil. I came from a non-believer family. When I was around 20 years I had depression, and anxiety attacks, also. I started getting involved with psychology. I start to also working with psychology. I used to work as a life coach, and also an executive coach. I also took medications for depression by that time. In 2010 I was saved, and I became a Christian. By that time I was also trying to get pregnant, and after one year I start feeling depression again. I was not able to get pregnant, and also was having, again, anxiety attacks, and I went to a psychiatrist because I thought he was the only one who could help me because I had taken medicine before for that.

When I went there I had some blood tests with me, and he asked me to see my blood tests before he gave me some medicine. When I showed him he said, "Are you trying to get pregnant?" And I said, "Yes, I am," and he said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I cannot do anything for you because I cannot give you any medication." When I left his office I was so sad because my hope was there. I didn't know I could have hoping any other thing. I went to a friend of mine, an American missionary. I told her about that, and she said that we would have a Biblical Counseling Conference in our city Fortaleza.

I've never heard about Biblical Counseling by that time. I didn't not have any other thing to have hope, so when she told me about that I said, "Well, I believe I can try," and when I went there I went to the conference, and I met Pastor Viars. I understood that the Bible understand me, and I could see that I could have hope that Jesus Christ could give me hope. I was so amazed with the word of God, and everything that God could do for me. I talked to Pastor Viars. I met Pastor Viars, and he told me that in Lafayette they had the Master Program for Biblical Counseling, and he said that I could take there. I didn't need to move to Lafayette. I could take the course from Brazil. I got so excited about that because I could see that the Bible helped me, and I could help other people, also.

Then I went to Lafayette around three years ago, and I started in the MABC Program. I'm so thankful that one day Pastor Viars came to Brazil, and said those things to me because God has been using me. He will use you a lot. I've been talking to hundreds of women. I've been training them. I've been disciplining them, and I can see that God has changed my life through Biblical counseling through the conference, and now I am able to use by God to change other women's life, also, and that's a huge blessing for me. I'm so thankful for that. I want to thank you everyone in Faith Church. Thank you for sending Pastor Viars to Brazil, and thank you for the ministry you have all around the world. You have been helping us a lot. Thank you for shining Christ's light in our lives. Thank you.

Steve Viars:Aren't you glad for a testimony like that? We're talking about not just the coming of the Gospel, not just sound theology, but how does that apply practically in everyday life. That's not some sort of a statement right there about psychotropic meds. I mean that's a much larger conversation then we have time for right now, but we don't want our hope to be in medication. We want our hope to be, did you hear it? In the person and work of Christ, and in the truth of the word of God. Now what's the fourth phase? Where does this end?

IV. Phase Four - Effective community outreach

If we do have a change than changing life then Paul made it clear to Titus that now effective community outreach. Now you have a basis on which to love your neighbors. I know I've been saying a lot. I know this is like taking a drink out of a fire hose, but don't miss where the argument ends. In all things because you have trusted Christ, you know truth, and now you're applying it to your own heart and life. In all these things show yourself to be an example of good deeds.

Then Chapter three, Verse eight, "Concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds," and I would just like to scream this verse from the mountain tops because it completes the circle. Our people must also learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs. There it is. If your life has been changed by Christ then you're looking for opportunities to serve others to meet pressing needs, unlike, the false teachers who are detestable and disobedient, worthless for any good deed.

Here's what I want to ask you this morning. Where are you in this process? Have you come to trust Christ, and are you proclaiming the Gospel to those the Lord has placed around you? Are you learning sound doctrine? Here's what I hear in so many places around the world. Here's kind of the point of this message. So many people tell us we're stuck. Our church, we as individuals are stuck between phase two and phase three. We've trusted Christ. We know some truth about the word of God, but knowing how to apply it to everyday life, and certainly how to then on the basis of a changed life impact our communities that's where we're stuck, and if that analysis is true that puts us right in the sweet spot of being able to be of service to others around the world.

If we're seeking to be a Titus-like church, and I thank many of you who are, and then we have an Antioch-like vision where we want to share our resources with others that can help us accomplish what God is seeking to accomplish around his world, and I have to skip my friend Randy. I feel very bad about that, but let me just kind of conclude with these two examples from the last 48 hours. Last night I get an email from one of our brand new interns. This is the first week of school for them for their next three-year cohort.

By the way, my interpretor just two weeks ago in Brazil, you know what he told me at the end of the week? "Can I come to the seminaries?" One of our brand new interns said last night at one of our community centers he had an opportunity to lead someone to Christ. See that's completing that circle, and then on Thursday and Friday we had these two dear people, dear friends, Nicolas and Venessa Ellen from Houston. They brought a whole group of people from Southwest Baptist Seminary in order just to come here, and try to find out how are you guys doing community based outreach?

Where does Biblical Counseling, Biblical Soul Care fit into all this because they wanted to learn. Arvid, and Josh Greiner, and Heather did a great job of hosting them. They wanted to learn to drink from this fire hose in order to take it back to Houston. I realized for many of you, you'd say, "I've had a part in that. I served in the Biblical Counseling Training Conference, or I'm serving in one of those ministry opportunities," and together seeking to be a Titus-like church allows us then to implement an Antioch-like vision.

Let's stand together for prayer shall we? Father in heaven, thank you for using people to accomplish your mission, and I thank you for the men and women who could point to choices they've made this week that places them around this four phase conceptualization that we've been studying from your word. Thank you that many men and women here are helping us to try. We have a long way to go, but to try to be a Titus-like church where it's not just truth or doctrine, but it's life application, and then it's ministering in the community, so others can come to know you. Lord, thank you also that this church has tried to have an Antioch-like vision sharing our resources with others because we genuinely care about more than ourselves. Would you help us as we seek to continue to implement it, and grow in it. We pray this in Christs' name, Amen.

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video