In June 2009, Joel Virgo begins a new preaching series studying the book of Titus.
Titus was a Greek who accompanied the apostle Paul on some of his travelling. He would have had to cross cultural boundaries for the sake of mission and stand bravely in a tough and sometimes hostile environment.
The letter from Paul to Titus (which has become the new testament book Titus) handles some gritty issues of church building and mission in the real world. In Titus’ case it was Crete, a culture filled with serious challenges and difficulties – like ours. Paul calls him to remember who he is, what his message is and what his noble calling is.
This series of talks by CCK elder Joel Virgo is scheduled as follows:
We’ve managed to hastily arrange a gathering of CCK men due to a fluky visit from Scott Thomas on Sunday June 7th. After the Sunday morning meeting we’ll host a short session with Scott from 12.30 through to 1.30pm at the Clarendon Centre. If you can make it we suggest you bring your own lunch to church and we’ll eat together.
Scott Thomas is the Director of the Acts 29 Network, this a church planting network (in many ways similar to Newfrontiers) that works out of Mars Hill Church in Seattle (Mark Driscoll’s church). Scott is also an Elder at Mars Hill Church and before that was a construction worker and then led his own Church before joining Mark in Seattle.
I realise this is very late notice (we’ve only recently discovered he was in the UK for another event and have just managed to get this all arranged) but I urge you to try and pull out all the stops to get along. I appreciate the timing may not be perfect for many of you, especially those with families, but it’s worthwhile trying to make a few sacrifices to get along to this
This was a talk given by Terry Virgo at John & Sue Hosier’s farewell service. To read John’s reflections on 40 years in christian leadership, visit our CCK Life blog and to watch his last preach as an elder at CCK visit our Media section.
7I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
Eph 3 vs 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms (NIV).
• Paul’s passion is that Christ should be made known.
In Eph 3 vs 8 Paul speaks of preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ. There are infinite riches in Christ and unlimited wealth in his salvation. The Incarnation and the Cross have always absorbed the thinking of men and women and still do. For time and eternity we will be explorers of the infinite riches of Christ. Heaven will not be boring!
Eph 3 vs 9 speaks of making plain the administration of this mystery. Again this is about making Christ known. God has a plan – previously it was hidden (a mystery), but now God’s great rescue plan in the work of Christ for men and the world has been revealed. We must make it known.
Eph 3 vs 10 tells us that the manifold wisdom of God should be made known. ‘Manifold’ means multi-coloured or richly diverse. Supremely Christ is the wisdom of God. See 1 Cor 1 vs 22-24, 30. Christ is God’s wisdom as through Christ we have the answers to life, death and eternity. We should make him known.
Eph 3 vs 11 tells us that finally everything is summed up in Christ. Salvation is not just personal; it is cosmic as Eph 1 vs 9, 10 make clear. This comprehensive saving work of Christ must be made known.
• Who is meant to know?
Verse 10 tells us that Christ is to be made known to rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. Certainly he is to be made known to the peoples of the world and we are engaged in that mission through evangelism and church planting. But he is also to be made known to angels and demons; to cosmic powers. But why? Again it reveals the cosmic dimensions of the saving work of Christ. Finally, all that God has created, visible and invisible will submit to Christ. Believers are saved, creation will be renewed and every cosmic power will submit. See Eph 1 vs 20, 21.
• How is Christ to be made known?
The thrilling answer is given in verse 10 – ‘through the church’. God’s purpose right now is that through the church Christ should be made known to cosmic powers. How we do this implies some wonderful truths about the church.
By the church’s very existence. The wisdom of God in Christ brings down the barriers between people whether it be race, colour, language or social standing and forms them into one great community. The church is a miracle, a phenomenon, and speaks of God’s wisdom By declaration. The proclamation of Christ changes people. Sinners become worshippers. Atheists become believers. Persecutors become church planters. Cynics become witnesses. God’s incredible wisdom! By faith and prayer. Confident approach to God and believing him for great things and therefore doing great exploits reveals a people changed by the wisdom of God. Angels love it and demons tremble when the Church prays and believes. By her weakness. See verse 13 – there is a link between weakness and glory. The world thinks of the church as weak and failing. Angels and demons see it differently; they see an ever increasing number of people becoming worshippers of Christ from among all the peoples. Glory!
What dignity the church has – there is nothing else like it – what a privilege to belong – Joy…because of the church.
For three days at the end of May will be taking some time as a church to pray for the launch of three services in the Autumn and the preaching series kicking off at the same time on 1 Corinthians entitled ‘Alternative City’.
In my last 3 messages as an Elder at CCK we are going to ‘go out with Joy’ as we consider first of all ‘Joy…because of Salvation’.
Hebrews 10:14 ‘Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect for ever those who are being made holy.’
Firstly, One sacrifice. The priests of Israel offered up daily sacrifices for sin in the Temple. But despite the daily and continual sacrifices permanent cleansing from sin was never accomplished. The Priest of the new order, Jesus Christ offered up himself in sacrifice for our sins once and for all. This good news is so good that throughout Christian history so many have been unable to accept how good it is and have tried to add their own offering to the offering of Christ. But Christ sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:12) to demonstrate his work was finished and his sacrifice was accepted. Nothing else is necessary to achieve the forgiveness of our sins other than this one sacrifice.
Secondly, Perfect for ever. The logical outcome of one sacrifice for our sins is that we become perfect for ever. Challenging as this concept may appear it is:
Our legal status. 2 Corinthians 5:19
How God sees us. Ephesians 1:4
The very meaning of eternal salvation.
The way we ought to live, actually reckoning ourselves dead to sin. Romans 6:11
An assurance of our salvation. Cf. Hebrews 10:14 and Hebrews 7:25
Thirdly, Being made holy. ‘Perfect for ever’ is justification which must be accompanied by sanctification – ‘being made holy’. This is the most succinct statement of these two great doctrines in one verse. Being made holy is not a matter of going back to the Law for our sanctification. We are joined to Christ who is our righteousness and holiness
(1 Corinthians 1:30). As we draw our life from Christ we will grow in holiness.
If you’ve lost the wonder of your salvation think and pray this verse and go out with joy!