How to Live Influentially in a Culture Opposed to God

Learning How To Respect Government From A Biblical Perspective

Ross Sawyers
Mar 10, 2024    47m
Do you find yourself at odds with government leaders and policies that seem to go against biblical values? Feeling torn between respecting authority and standing for your faith? In this message, you'll discover how to respect government from a biblical perspective, even when you disagree with those in power. Learn practical wisdom from Scripture on relating to rulers and authorities with grace and truth. Video recorded at Grapevine, Texas.

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Ross Sawyers: [00:00:00] What a savior that we have today. And we don't say that lightly, we're excited about who Jesus is and what he's done, and the privilege it is to be on the same mission that he has, for us. And I look forward to the word this morning, and what God has for us as we continue in our worship, and what he has, in Titus chapter 3.

Ross Sawyers: [00:00:25] I have a question; I don't usually do the hand-raising thing with you. I've got two questions for you, and based on my previous two services, I'm going to ask you to not respond with any kind of comment or motion or anything. Just stay looking at me like you are right now. Who, on Thursday night at 8:00, a few days ago, watched the State of the Union Address. I'm just curious about who I'm speaking to. Who watched it? We upped the ante a little bit in this service maybe, you don't have to be sheepish about it, it's okay if you watched it. Okay, and then if you did not watch the State of the Union on Thursday night, did you listen to a variety of perspectives on Friday as to how it went? Perfect, more did that.

Ross Sawyers: [00:01:25] Alrighty. so here, Lisa and I watched it, we were positioned in a way that we could watch it on Thursday night. I'm grateful that I watched it because I'm getting to where, if I can, I don't want someone else to be telling me what they saw, because depending on the perspective, or the lens, it's a bit skewed. So we both watched it and then I watched different reactions to it on Friday. And if I had just watched on Friday and listened to how people interpreted it, I would have been confused as to what actually occurred, depending on which source I was watching at any given time. So President Joe Biden gave the State of the Union, and Katie Britt, a US senator from Alabama, gave the Republican response. And then, depending on if you watched it or saw reviews on it, depending on your worldview and the lens you were looking through would dictate what you heard and saw. And a question we would want to ask as Christians is, did we watch or are we interpreting since then, what we saw or are hearing through a Republican lens, a Democratic lens, a libertarian lens, or an I can't find a home in a political party any more lens, or did we look at it through a biblical, god-centered lens? And if we're watching, did we look at President Biden and Katie Britt and the different news media, and we're asking ourselves what is true here, what is not true? How do I discern what's true and untrue in light of what I saw and heard?

Ross Sawyers: [00:03:19] You may say, well, why do we have to talk about the State of the Union today, that's not really what I came to church for. It is because Paul talks about it in Titus chapter 3, and it's where we are in our study of Titus chapter 3. If you have your Bible, would you go to chapter 3 verses 1 through 8 of Titus? In just a moment we'll have the scripture both on the smart TV and on the screen. I'd encourage you to have the Word of God with you and to walk through it as we're looking at it. I think there's a power, to reading it, but we certainly have other ways that you can see it, as well.

Ross Sawyers: [00:03:53] For those who are newer here or you aren't quite caught up, I like to review, I think there's a way we learn is by review and repetition. And so just to give you background and it matters, because we need to know why someone's writing what they're writing. And when we look at what's happening here, Paul is writing to Titus, they were co-laborers in taking the Gospel to different cities. They had been on the island of Crete, which is south of Greece. On that island, they were able to lead a number of people to Christ, and they started several young churches. Paul has to leave, he leaves Titus, and there were some things that started to happen in the churches they needed to strengthen. Crete was known as a people of immorality and as liars. If someone did not have the courage to say it you directly that you're a liar, they might say you're like a cretin, and what you would know is they were calling you a liar, that is what the island was known for. It's these people that were coming to Christ, and as it was in my story, perhaps your story, once we come to Christ, it is a lifelong journey and it takes a while for some of those things that are immoral and those things that are not true to get pressed out so that we more and more look like the purity of Christ, both in our character and the things that we say and do. That's what's happening in these young churches, and there's false teaching that's starting to rise up. And Paul's counter to Titus to take to the churches, the way you counter false teaching is you raise up more and more leaders in the church and in our homes that are truth speakers and loaded with grace, and that's done in such a way, then, that the false is countered.

Ross Sawyers: [00:05:57] Now a week ago, we had our Live weekend. We had about 240 students or so that participated, it was a powerful weekend of discipleship and worship, and we were able to see what Paul is saying here because what he's encouraging is that older men would pour into younger men and that older women would pour into younger women, and that there would be leaders raised up in the church to lead the church. And what we saw was this outpouring of leadership last weekend as we celebrated what God did this week. Here are a few examples.

Ross Sawyers: [00:06:34] The worship was led by a young man named Austin, who's the current leader of worship at Breakaway in College Station at Texas A&M. I was told that that Friday and Saturday were two of the most powerful times of worship that our students have experienced, and that was evident by the way they came in here at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning. Well. Austin was identified and discipled by Jack Thweatt, who was the previous leader of worship of Breakaway in College Station. And Jack Thweatt has led worship here three times in the last few months. But Jack Thweatt was identified and developed by Jeff and Jordan Johnson, who were leaders of Breakaway before Jack was, and Jeff and Jordan Johnson led worship here a few weeks ago. We saw generational development of worship leaders with Jeff and Jordan through Jack through Austin, and that's what is being talked about here. These are young men and women who are, in their worship, leading in truth and in grace.

Ross Sawyers: [00:07:44] But that's not all we saw, and I've mentioned this before, but it's such a cool picture. Jermaine is our youth pastor, and Courtney Chandler came under him, and he developed and raised her up. She's now leading our kids. Lauren Irby was under Courtney, now Lauren is leading our middle and high school girls in Courtney's place. That's three generations of leadership development. But not only that, we had college students in town last week from all over that came in, and they helped lead our different groups. Those are college students, many of them, who came through the ministries here that were developed by students and by adult volunteer life group leaders, and now those college students were investing themselves in our high school and middle school students. But that's not all, because our high school and middle school students, many of them, right now, are serving, and leading our children and our preschoolers.

Ross Sawyers: [00:08:47] Do you see what's happening, what Paul is telling Titus to do in the church, it's happening right here. It's beautiful to watch as more and more people are raised up in truth to be leaders, and God is inviting every person in the room into some kind of leadership capacity of truth, of grace, and love, there are no exemptions. In chapter 1 and 2 are about the church and the home, there are people leading in truth, and that will counter, that is our best counter to that which is false in our culture. He grounds this all in the grace of God at the end of chapter 2, the undeserved generosity and goodness of God towards his people, and that brings us to chapter 3.

Ross Sawyers: [00:09:42] Now, I want us to talk for a few minutes about how we can live influentially. For those who are not in the church, not in our homes, that are outside the faith, unbelievers, scripture refers to people who are not believers in Jesus Christ as being lost. And I know people don't always love hearing that terminology, Jesus said he came to seek and to save that which was lost, and that's what he came to do. And he's calling us as followers of Jesus today, if you know Jesus, to do the same. And how can we be the most influential so that we can actually do that, and have the influence on people so that they would at least consider what it would be to know Christ?

Ross Sawyers: [00:10:28] So in chapter 3, there's a shift toward that which is outside the home and the church, and there's a specific aim at the government in the first couple of verses. And then there's another descriptor of our lostness and the grace of God. I want to spend the bulk of our time in verses 1 and 2, and then I want to anchor it in the grace of God again, as to why we would do verses 1 and 2. If you're not a believer today, you're trying to figure all this out, and you're skeptical, this will just give you an idea from the scripture of how Christians are to be relating to a world that's opposed to it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:11:09] The first thing that I would say, and where I want us to spend our time, is to be respectful to the government and to all people. Be respectful to the government and to all people. I'm going to tether myself to verses 1 and 2, "Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, 2to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men." Let's go back to verse 1, different people study the Bible in different ways; a way to do it is to think about the grammar.

Ross Sawyers: [00:11:47] And what I'm going to do on the first couple of verses, I'll be more in a hurry on the last one, so I'll probably skip doing it there, but I want to see the first two. So, remind, we just circle verbs so we can see what the action is that we're after here, "Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed." And I just want to hone in on that imperative, that is an imperative, it's not I'm inviting you to consider this, and you can decide whether you're going to say yes or no and accept the invite, that's not what he's saying. This is not a suggestion, he's saying if you're following Jesus, then this is what it looks like to be a follower of Jesus in relation to the government. So remind them. As I was reading, I read someone that said that oftentimes in the Bible there's like this reminding ministry. So oftentimes it's not a matter of we need to know something new as much as we need to be reminded of what we already know and actually walk in obedience to that which we have been given. And so he's saying, remind them. And we tend to drift, it's easy to drift away from God and his instructions and the way to live, and it's easy to forgive. And we go back to our Old Testament, and when God delivered Israel to be his people, he rescues and brings them out of slavery, miraculously, and then just within no time, they're complaining. And just in case we get kind of irritated with the Israelites and for what they did, how often have we forgotten the goodness of God towards us and we become complainers? We need to be reminded of the grace and goodness of God and the way he's calling us to live, which is different than someone who doesn't know Christ, remind them of these things.

Ross Sawyers: [00:13:55] Well, what is he reminding them of? Well, "To be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed." So let's underline the nouns, we're supposed to be subject to who? To the rulers and to the authorities. and then we're to be obedient, there's little action there, and then to be ready. And then to be ready for what? For every good deed. All right, so this is really clear instruction about how we're to respond to the government. The word subject here is the word that means to yield to. And we know in God's good design all through Scripture, there's an order for which he's designed for us to live life. There is, subjection, that is to be gladly yielded and volunteered under his order, in multiple kinds of relationships. Here, he's referring to the government so be subject to rulers and to authorities and to be obedient to them. Rulers and authorities, that would be our existing government. What he doesn't say is remind them to be subject to rulers and to authorities when everything is according to the viewpoint that you and I would like it to be. He doesn't say that. He doesn't say remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities only in a democratic society. He doesn't say to them, remind them to be subject to rulers and to authorities, and that you're not to do that, if it's a dictatorship. Now, it is a general teaching about whatever nation in which you live, whatever national government you're under, whatever state government you're under, and whatever your local governments are. Now, they already knew this, but he's reminding them of what they already knew, that they are to be subject to rulers and authorities. Now in that day, Crete had been under Roman rule for quite a while, it was oppressive to them, and they didn't like the government that they were under. And so it's in this context that Paul is writing.

Ross Sawyers: [00:16:24] Now I want to give a brief scriptural run at what the Scripture says about how we're to relate together. So what does it mean to be subject to rulers and authorities? Well, I would root it in a confidence that we can have from Daniel in Daniel chapter 2, verses 21 and 22, "It is he who changes the times and the epochs." And Daniel is talking about God, "It is God who changes the times and the epochs; he removes kings and establishes kings." So God is ultimately sovereign over everything, he's the one who establishes who will lead in different nations, and he's the one that removes people from different nations when it's time to remove them. So we can rest as Christians, that our confidence is in God, who is both placing and removing leaders for whatever his purposes are in that season of time. So God is the one in charge, we don't have to fret today wondering if everything's all out of control. God is in control, and he has purposes for what he's doing, and for who any given leader is at any given time. We also know that God is a God of providence. Meaning, in Proverbs it says, "That God is the one who channels the hearts of kings." God is the one in control. That gives us a confidence as Christians.

Ross Sawyers: [00:17:55] What else are we to do if we're to yield to and follow the governing authorities? First Timothy chapter 2, verses 1 through 4, "First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity." So he tells us that we're to pray for those who are in authority, so that there's a purpose for that so that we can live dignified and quiet lives. "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." Ultimately, everything we do is for the hope that people who don't know Jesus will come to know Jesus and will be worshipers of God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:18:48] Now, here's the question for you and for me. When was the last time that you prayed a meaningful prayer for President Joe Biden? When was the last time, that before God in humility, you prayed for Vice President Kamala Harris? When was the last time that you prayed for the Supreme Court justices who were scolded in the chamber, by the way, the other night? When was the last time that you breathed a prayer for the military leaders that were present in the chamber the other night that lead our US military? When was the last time that you prayed for the lady dressed in red in the chamber with her Make America Great Again hat? When's the last time that you prayed for the ladies dressed in white, representing the Democratic Party in the chamber? When was the last time you prayed for the Republican and Democratic senators and representatives? When was the last time you prayed for Mike Johnson, the majority whip for the House? When was the last time you prayed for Governor Abbott, and for all those who are leading the Texas Senate and the House? When was the last time you prayed for the school board, the superintendent, and the council in your city? And not just for the ones you like because he tells us that we're to pray, in order to be grateful, for all people, for kings, and all who are in authority. So one thing we know we do for sure as Christians is pray for those who are in leadership.

Ross Sawyers: [00:21:03] Romans 13, verses 1 through 7, Paul is very specific about the role of the government, "Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves." What he's saying, in essence, is God establishes authority, and if you rebel against that authority and resist it, you're resisting God, he's the one that's established it. "For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor." What does it mean to be subject to the rulers and authorities? It means that we understand that the responsibility of our government is to restrain evil, to bring about good, and that can help us know how to pray when either of those is not happening. We pay taxes, we are in that season. This is God's setup; we work in that setup. Now, what does this not mean? It does not mean that our president, or a dictator of another country, or a king is our God and our provider. They are not, they are not capable of delivering everything they tell us they're going to deliver, that's not the government's job. God is our provider, it's him that we trust for our provision, we don't worship a person or groups of persons.

Ross Sawyers: [00:23:28] And we're not to live as if this is our final home. Paul would write, in Philippians 3, that our citizenship is in heaven. For all of us who know Jesus today, this is not our final home, our final home is in heaven, the new heavens, and the new earth; that's where our true citizenship lies today, is in heaven. And the beauty is we have a King to whom we're sons and daughters, and so we are sons and daughters of the King, and every one of us, online and in person, has been given a responsibility in this kingdom. We are all to be ambassadors for Christ, that is ultimately what we're about. So anything that we do in following the obedience of Christ is so that we can be an ambassador for Christ.

Ross Sawyers: [00:24:22] Now, when we think about ambassadors, the United States has ambassadors in multiple countries all over the world, and it's the responsibility of those ambassadors to represent the United States well. It's our responsibility as ambassadors of Christ in this temporary world in which we live to represent Christ well in this temporary city and nation as we await a permanent city and a permanent nation. So every one of us has both the privilege and the responsibility of being an ambassador for him, to speak of Christ in his name. And what happens if we have a government that is opposed to things of God? We find that answer in Acts chapter 4, and we know that because God is the ultimate authority, we never do anything that is opposed to God. It's only at the point where I asked to do something opposed to God that we do something different in obedience to him, and we need to be willing to take the risk and pay the price when we stand up for that which is evil and that which is not good, but we do it in a way that God has called us to do it.

Ross Sawyers: [00:25:49] In Jeremiah chapter 29, verse 11, we're given what is for many of you, it is your life verse. That's not my life verse, so I don't really have that one down, it's kind of like, there's a hope for you and a plan for the future kind of thing, and we love that. But do you know the context of it? The people of Israel are in exile, they're not in their own land. And what God is telling them is you're going to be here for a while, so go ahead and build your houses, get married, have kids, and seek the welfare of the city, and then you can know that I have a plan for you in the future, but this is what you do in the meantime. So our responsibility as citizens of this temporary city and nation in which we live, as we await being under God's one nation that he's building, our responsibility is to seek the good and the welfare of the city, the state, and the nation where we live.

Ross Sawyers: [00:27:00] So however, God, in our existing form of government, there's an opportunity to be participants in it. And one of the ways that God is inviting you to participate in the forms of government that we have today, is with the ultimate goal of how can you bring to bear the name of Jesus wherever you are and whatever you're about. Will you and I conduct ourselves in a manner of whatever it is that we're speaking of, that I could actually sit down with that same person, and I could talk to them about a relationship with Jesus and it would be believable to them because of the way my life squares up with the things of God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:27:49] We trust God, we yield to him, we pay our taxes, we pray, we get involved in the ways that God would have us to, and then we're ready for every good deed, that we stand ready to do good. Someone said it this way, what happens to us with our political systems, when Christians become political, sinners become the enemy instead of the mission field. Does your heart and my heart break over the lostness of those that we see differently? And once they become too political, then they become our enemy rather than someone to love and to lead towards Christ. And the other thing this person said is that if we're hostile to the government, then we become hostile to the unsaved. If we are hostile to the government, then we are being hostile to the unsaved. So let's be a people who pray and follow the way God would have us to follow.

Ross Sawyers: [00:29:06] And there's a way he tells us how to do it in verse 2. We're talking about being respectful both to the government and to all people, and this is how he says to do it, "To malign no one." That word malign means to insult, the way we're to walk with all people is not to insult them, that would be publicly, through social media, and through dialog. This is God's word, how are we going to be an influence for Christ in a world that's hostile to him? By not insulting anyone, and then were to be peaceable, that means not quarrelsome, not argumentative, not fighting, and we are to be gentle. And you say, ah, that's soft. Part of the fruit of the Spirit, the word gentle means strength under control. It's the idea of a wild stallion that's been tamed. It's capable of going wild at any moment, but it's under control. We can have dialogs with people with whom we disagree vehemently, and if we know what we're talking about, we can have a strength that's under control that actually be heard, so be gentle.

Ross Sawyers: [00:30:48] "Showing every consideration for all men." What if every morning we awakened, and we are just wondering, it's one of the themes you taught us, how can we bring about good deeds and good things to people? How can we show a consideration for every person that I come in contact with, and I will spend my day trying to do that? So here's a practical idea for a government. I don't know if you're a Republican. I don't know if you're a Democrat. I don't know if you're a Libertarian. I don't know if you've surrendered the whole thing. But what if somewhere in this new political season, we're always in a political season? What if in this new one, you sought out someone in an opposite party or viewpoint of you, and just reached out to them, it could be somebody in office, and said, I'd love to just come by and talk to you for 10 or 15 minutes? And what if you went with no agenda and you just went and said, what are some ways that I could be a help to you? What are some ways I can pray for you? What if you just expressed some kind of kindness towards that person? I'm not saying you have to agree with the thing they stand for, but as the church, we want to see people come to know Jesus. And when you see hearts change, then you start to see everything change. We can do behavior modifying all we want to, but that's ultimately not going to stick, what will stick is a heart that's changed. So how can we be the kinds of people that people would be interested in knowing Jesus?

Ross Sawyers: [00:32:39] So one of the big deals the other night in the chambers was having an end cap seat where the president walks. And however they land that seat, I don't know how that happens, but everybody's fired up to see them. So my question would be, what if we had a surprise visit from President Biden, and he walked down this aisle and every one of us had an endcap seat? What would we say to him? Would we slap him on the back, shake his hand, thank you, Mr. President, when all the while we've really just been insulting him? Or would we be able to consistently look him in the eye and say, Mr. President, I don't agree with everything that you're doing, but I'm praying for you, with any kind of kindness you can do. This is what God is calling us to as Christians.

Ross Sawyers: [00:33:54] Two or three things in addition, if we're going to live influentially, in this world. And one of the things we'll have to do is think in our lives before Christ. He goes into verse 3, and he says, "For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another." So Paul just says, and he's really good about this, he just includes himself in saying, wow, before I start looking at how awful everybody else is, and candidly, when you see somebody in public all the time, it's much easier to find ways to criticize them. and to pick at everything that they say. And so he says, hey, we also once were foolish, this is how we were, we were misguided, ignorant, disobedient, we were deceived, Satan was a deceiver, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures. And we have to be guarded about this today, right, because what's he talking about? The lust for more money, the lust for materialism, the moral freedom of being able to have sex, however, and whenever we want to do it, the self-expression, it is all about self. That's what he's saying here, we are a slave to that, we were spending our lives in malice and envy, just insulting, and then not wanting someone to have something and wishing we had it, hateful, and hating one another. It's an ugly verse 3, but Paul says we need to take a time out and look at our own selves and how we were before God reached in and saved us, and that can help us have a little bit of grace and mercy on those who are not, following after him.

Ross Sawyers: [00:35:56] G. K. Chesterton was a theologian years ago, and somebody asked him this question. They said, what's wrong with the world? He said, I am. It is the same answer today. What's wrong with the world today? I am, because of the ugliness and deception of my own human heart. Everybody else is not the problem, the problem starts inside my own heart. Richard Wurmbrand was persecuted severely, decades ago in Romania when it was under a communist government. He spent 16 years, I believe, in prison, heavily tortured while he was there. But this is what he said, this is a man who is in a communist government, he spoke out against the evils of the day, and he paid a price for it. And he said, "We'll continue our work of preaching Christ and exposing the evil deeds of the communists. You should also fight against the evils you encounter but without hatred. As Saint Maximus the Confessor wrote, if we detect any trace of hatred in our hearts against any man whatsoever for committing any fault, we are utterly estranged from love for God. Since love for God absolutely precludes us from hating any man." So he's given us good instruction on how, it's not that we don't oppose the evils of our day, but it's a check in our hearts of whether there is any hatred for those with whom we have differing ideas. So we check our hearts. That is how we once were, if that's how we end up currently being, then it's an opportunity for repentance.

Ross Sawyers: [00:37:58] But really, we spent way more time in verses 4 through 7, and we spent a lot of time in 11 through 14 of chapter 2 last week, it's the same idea. So I just want to move through here quickly, "But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared." So now we think even more on our lives since knowing Christ, that's the greater thing. And as we think about our lives and what Christ has done in us, it's that grace of God in us that actually motivates us to love people who are far away from God. So that word, but, in verse 4, we see that multiple times in Scripture, this is how we were, but this is what God did. I've seen people now with tattoos, they'll say, but God; or you have t-shirts that say, but God. I was on the beach one time and saw a guy with a t-shirt that just said, but God, I did ask him what it meant, he didn't know, he just had the but God shirt on. And so I'd encourage you, if you're going to do the t-shirt thing, to know what your t-shirt is about. And so it's we were this way, but God.

Ross Sawyers: [00:39:00] And Paul is just overwhelmed by the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind, and it appeared, "But when the kindness of God our Savior came." So it's God's kindness that leads us to repentance and helps to overcome a stubborn heart. He saved us, it's God who saves us, something outside of us saves us. We're incapable within our own selves to be saved, that would be the thrust of this part right here, is that He saved us. He rescued us, not on the basis of deeds we've done in righteousness, so it's not anything that you've done or anything I've done, but according to his mercy.

Ross Sawyers: [00:39:42] My wife and I went to see her mom this last couple of days in Arkansas in a nursing home. One of the things that I noted as I walked through the hallways, and looked into the different rooms, there are many people there who are absolutely helpless and completely dependent on the people working there and family. And that's how we are spiritually, we're absolutely helpless, and we need somebody to have mercy on us, and come in our room, and reach down and rescue us. And that's what God did, he took us out of verse 3 by his mercy. But so many people resist the salvation of God because we can't admit that we're helpless apart from him, it's the only way we can come is helpless.

Ross Sawyers: [00:41:00] And then what he does, he washes us spiritually, cleanses us, he regenerates us, there's a radical new birth that happens, there's a renewing, there's a radical new life that follows the radical new birth, and all of this is by the Holy Spirit of God. And for every person that's genuinely encountered by Christ, it's the kindness of God, it's his mercy. And this is what happens, I'm ushered into a new life, verse 6, that he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. He poured it out on us, he didn't withhold anything, he poured it out, and he did it richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, on the cross for us. And then he did this so that being justified by his grace, so here's the purpose, justified by his grace, we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. You and I, if we know Jesus Christ, are heirs of God, co-heirs with Christ. It's beautiful what he's brought us into, and all of this is the motivator for why we conduct ourselves in the manner that we learn from the scriptures. Because if God has dealt kindly, gently, and mercifully with us, why would we not do the same with others who are also hostile to him and opposed to him? That will happen as we ongoing dwell on the grace and the lavish riches of what Christ did for us.

Ross Sawyers: [00:42:56] When you came in, you were either offered or received a couple of post-it notes and if you didn't, they'll be there on your way out. And this is what I'd like to cheer us on to do today, because this is about how we reach out to those who don't know Christ, Easter is coming three weeks from now. And I want to ask you if you would, and we're going to talk about this all the way until Easter, would you write the names of anyone you know, your friends, family, people you work with, people you play with, people you sit on the sidelines with, people you sit for hours watching dance with. Will you write down the names of people who are lost, who don't know Jesus, or who are unchurched? And then we're putting these in the hallway where the breakfast bar is, and we're just going to line the hall the next few weeks with all the lost and unchurched people that we know, and pray, and then all I'm asking you to do is invite them to come, and let's see what God does. Most surveys tell us that people will respond to an invitation out of a relationship with someone, it's just will we ask. Let's pray and invite. If you have those, you've got them where you can walk out, if not, will you grab them on your way and then place them, and we'll talk about this in the next few weeks.

Ross Sawyers: [00:44:37] As a church, our mission is to influence people to know Jesus. And we want to know, are we behaving in such a way that if I sit down and talk to somebody about Jesus, they'd say, you know what, I don't know if I agree with it or not, I don't know if I'm in or not, but I'll consider it because your life matches who Jesus is. I started with the state of our union, but the bigger question today is what's the state of our own heart?

Ross Sawyers: [00:45:17] Lord, thank you for the strength of your word, the power of it. And God, I pray today that we continue to grow in being a people that are influential in our culture. And as Christians, we would be people who are respectful of government, and we would act like Paul described to Titus here. And that we get engaged in ways you want us to be engaged but conduct ourselves in a manner that recognizes where we once were, foolish, disobedient, slaves, and to where we now are, under the kindness of God and the riches of your grace and mercy, and our lives are ongoing being changed, and that we would have the same desire for the government and for all people experience the same thing. We ask God to just challenge us, would you challenge our hearts today where we need to repent, that we'll repent? If we don't know Christ that we might consider that today. And if we know Christ and we're behaving in a way that doesn't match what we just read, God, I do pray for your forgiveness today, and I thank you that you give us the power to do the things you're asking us to do in Jesus Christ. And it's in the name of Christ that I pray.

Recorded in Grapevine, Texas.
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121 Community Church
2701 Ira E Woods Ave.
Grapevine, Texas 76051