Posts in Blueprint/Perfect Church
Civil

In God’s blueprint for His Church, we are called to be a light and an example to the world around us. We have a civil obligation to be kind and courteous to those around us. This isn’t always easy when things – and people – get difficult. How do we respond like Jesus in these moments? It’s important to remind ourselves that we too were once lost, and it was Christ who saved us. Everything we do for Him is nothing more than the product of all that He has already done for us. With a heart of gratitude, let’s show the world the grace of God through the way we treat others.

Scripture References

Key Scripture:  Titus 3:1-15
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. 3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. 9 But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
Final Instructions and Greetings
12 When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there. 13 Do your best to speed Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way; see that they lack nothing. 14 And let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful.
15 All who are with me send greetings to you. Greet those who love us in the faith.
Grace be with you all.

Romans 13:1
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Matthew 5:14-16
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Philippians 2:14-15
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.

James 2:15-16
15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?

 

Training Grace

Grace – the undeserved favor of God – is necessary to any healthy church community. God uses us as imperfect living stones to build His Church, and grace is the mortar that holds it all together. We don’t get to pick and choose who should and who shouldn’t receive the favor that God freely offers to everyone. We must forgive and love others as we have been forgiven and loved by Him. Grace not only saves us but trains us to live godly lives. Only grace can truly change a person’s heart and make him more like Jesus. The church isn’t a place for perfect people, but a place for people to be perfected in Christ. We must be a spiritual family where people are given the time and grace necessary to change and grow. Are you giving others that opportunity?

Key Scripture:  Titus 2:11-15
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. 15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

If there is such a thing as human perfection, it seems to emerge precisely from how we handle the imperfection that is everywhere, especially our own. What a clever place for God to hide holiness, so that only the humble and earnest will find it! A ‘perfect’ person ends up being one who can consciously forgive and include imperfection rather than one who thinks he or she is totally above and beyond imperfection. – Richard Rohr

1 Timothy 4:8
8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

Philippians 1:6
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Truth Be Told

Every day, we are bombarded by countless ideas, opinions, and beliefs through media, social media, friendships and more. Studies show that the average American is exposed to 4,000 plus advertisements in a single day. Every one of them attempt to capture our thoughts and emotions in order to influence our decisions. So, what do we do with all of the different influences and opinions? In a chorus of voices, how do we know which voice to trust? We must anchor ourselves in the Truth. The sound doctrine of God’s Word teaches us Truth and provides the blueprint for a healthy church and a healthy life. Do you know the blueprint?

Key Scripture:  Titus 2:1-10
But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 

Matthew 16:24-26
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

Philippians 1:27
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel

Worth Following

The need for leadership is as great as ever. In a world of followers – whether on Instagram, Twitter or in real life – nobody seems to be asking: Where should we actually be going? Charisma and competence is celebrated in our culture much more than integrity of character. The Church is called to make followers of Jesus Christ. To do this, we must learn to lead well. We must cultivate a culture where Christian leaders are listened to only as they listen to Christ; where leaders lead themselves and their families well before they’re ever asked to lead the church. We need leaders who have heard the Voice and seen the Face of God; those who are able to say along with the Apostle Paul, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” Are you a leader worth following?

Those who love their dream of a Christian community more than they love the Christian community itself become destroyers of that Christian community even though their personal intentions may be ever so honest, earnest and sacrificial. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Key Scripture - Titus 1:5-9

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— 6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9 He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

1 Corinthians 1:27
27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.

1 Samuel 16:7
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”

Titus 1:10-16
10 For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. 11 They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. 12 One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Acts 17:11
11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

No man has any right to offer advice who has not first heard God speak. No man has any right to counsel others who is not ready to hear and follow the counsel of the Lord. True moral wisdom must always be an echo of God's voice…God has His chosen men still, and they are without exception good listeners. They can hear when the Lord speaks. We may safely listen to such men, but to no others. Listen to no man who fails to listen to God. – A.W. Tozer

John 5:19
19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father[a]does, that the Son does likewise.

Isaiah 66:2
But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

Own it!

Key Scripture: Titus 1:1-5

There’s no such thing as a perfect church, at least not according to our standards. But what if Church was imperfect by design? In God’s blueprint for the church we don’t just have members, we have owners. Ownership is a different way of thinking. If you’re a gym member and a machine breaks or something needs cleaning, you visit the front desk and let someone know. It’s up to them to fix the problem. However, if you’re an owner of that gym, you roll up your sleeves and take care of the problem. The way many Christians see themselves and their God given role in the church is not the way God designed it to be. As we understand our identity as a servant of Christ, we become less concerned with problems we see and more concerned with the solution God calls us to be.

Other Scripture References:  Romans 12:2, Luke 9:23, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 139:14, Ephesians 2:10