How the “grace of God” teaches us

Paul writes is Titus chapter 2,

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…

People often approach this passage with a particular sin in mind… they have that behaviour they try and hate, they try to stop, but they really love and they keep on doing… and they come to this passage and feel even worse because it seems to imply that the reason they keep doing it is because they don’t understand “the grace of God”. They think to themselves, “Why hasn’t the grace of God taught ME to say ‘no’ to this sin?! Why hasn’t it taught me to be ‘self-controlled’?!? Maybe I’m not even part of God’s grace!?”

That’s Satan talking, twisting God’s word – again.

God grace “is teaching”. Continually and presently. It hasn’t finished teaching. Just think, if it had, you would NEVER sin, in ANY way.

So how IS the grace of God teaching us? Well, what does the grace of God actually do – or allow us to do?

Grace allows us to boldly approach the throne of grace (Heb 4:16). Where sin increased, grace increased all the more (Rom 5:20). See, every time we sin and repent to God, (i.e. asking him for grace again), we are again trusting him at his word that he will graciously forgive again. We are being schooled by His grace every time we pray the Lord’s prayer, “forgive us our sins”. Responding to God’s grace reminds us and teaches us what is unrighteous (our sin) and what is righteousness (God’s grace through Jesus’ life, sacrifice and death for others).

Grace will only be our teacher if we continually go to his lessons.

Moving up the ministry hour-glass

When you’re a young christian, it’s almost as if everything is for you. Church feels aimed at you. There’s a special group for people new like you. You get invited to camps and getaways that teach you things you’ve never realised were in the bible. Every other person in church is more mature and wants to help you.

But as you grow in maturity (as you should) you also grow up in the community. You start welcoming new people, you start making the new christian feel at home, you help run the camps, you start leading the groups.

In fact, it’s normal Christian life that there seem to be fewer and fewer people around who are there for you. And more an more people for whom you are there for them.

You can see Paul’s disappointment in the Corinthians… “Brothers, I was not able to speak to you as spiritual people but as people of the flesh, as babies in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food, because you were not yet ready for it. In fact, you are still not ready, because you are still fleshly.” (1Cor 3-1:3)

Or the writer of Hebrews… “it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again.” (Heb 5:11-12)

Jesus wants us to mature, and maturity means “more like Jesus”; more serving others and less being served. Mature Christians give more than they get.



Growth = Change… in both senses of the word

If you want to help people grow as Christians, what you really want is for them to change… change they idols, their ideals, their dreams and desires. If you want to see more people saved – that is – to grow your flock numerically, what you really will see is change… new people means new relationships, new needs, new opportunities. Growth (in both senses of the word) means change. A change in character or culture or both!

Have you ever wondered if the reverse is true? Not every time, but most of the time? Does change open the door to growth?

It certainly seems true when Christians face unexpected “change”… suffering, persecution or trials… by God’s grace it leads to growth. Maybe its time to change something and open an opportunity for growth?

Recruit recruiters… or run out of time

Some people just do the ministry their given.
Some people can do the ministry and they recruit people to expand their ministry.
Some people recruit recruiters. They find other people who will ask other people to join them in that ministry. When you recruit recruiters, they give them a big field to run in, they expect them to have their own team of people who help them.
This is one of those gifts Paul would suggest we should desire for ourselves.

Growing produces more problems than you expect

It’s hard enough to grow in the first place. But if you do grow, that’s not the only hurdle. That new growth produces its own problems to overcome.

  • More people raises the “acceptable minimum” level of production. Your meetings and events need to improve to suit the number of people in the room.
  • More people means you can’t rely on simple welcoming techniques. At some point there’s too many people to notice who’s new in a crowd. There’s too many people new people to just expect them to find there own way into the group. You need to think hard about how your going to help new people
  • More people means the average audience is harder the “know”. Where you as a preacher used to know the actual individuals you were preaching to, now you just can’t. You need to rely on other people’s advice.
  • More people means you need more staff. Where one guy can oversee a church of 100 (maybe), as you grow that number drops to close to 50.
  • More people means you need a better data management tool
  • More people means you get more complaints
  • More people means its harder to get people into position of service because it looks like
  • there’s so many people “they don’t need me”

  • More people means you have more needs to fill

So don’t let this list make you stop praying for more in Jesus’ kingdom, rather pray for more and pray for the ability to handle more.