2015 Sermon Series
- November 1, 2015
The Amazing Integrity of God's Household.
Good coaches emphasize the fundamentals because they are essential for success. At the end of chapter 3, Paul gives a parenthetical reminder to Timothy. If the churches that Timothy oversees at Ephesus are to have spiritual success, they must stay focused on their mission.
Paul writes three fundamental ways that a church can stay "on mission."
Method (1 Timothy 3:14-15a)
The first thing Paul encourages Timothy to do is rehearse "these things" that he's written in the previous chapters.
- How to deal with falsehood and defend the faith.
- Evangelistic prayer and roles within the church.
- The character required of leaders.
Timothy is to receive and embrace the Scripture personally first. Paul is assuming he is prepared to do so, with clean hands, a pure heart, and spiritual expectancy. As the shepherd, He will pass these truths on to the whole church. The people must be prepared to do the same as their leader. The word "know" that Paul uses does not refer to intellectualism but the ability to live what you know consistently.
It is good for God's people to rehearse the teaching of sound doctrine. It is necessary and healthy as well to continually rehearse wisdom on how to live it. We should never tire of hearing or reading God's Word, even passages that are familiar to us.
Motive (1 Timothy 3:15b)
Our motive comes from being part of the household of God. This household is filled with miracles of God's omnipotent grace. The members of this family are priceless, selected by God to do His work His way. We conduct ourselves in the church with care, not because she is fragile but because she is holy.
Every believer is included in the household of faith, and everything done in the church matters. Each member is an "under-shepherd" who serves others by enticing to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24). We learn about God from each other, so we must be ready to instruct our brothers and sisters and mindful that we are an example to others.
Our motive lies not just in the value of the saints, but the value of our shepherd. We are united by service to a real, living God who is the head of this household. Church is not about what we do; it's Whose presence we do it in. He is the one who has divinely and capably saved us and grows us by the same grace. His life operates in us. This is the only miracle still happening today!
Message (1 Timothy 3:16)
The people of Ephesus were quite familiar with the Temple of Diana. It had 127 marble pillars overlaid with gold and jewels. This is the picture evoked when Paul calls the church "the pillar" of truth. They are the support and foundation. It is the people, not the building, organizational infrastructure, or programs, who hold up and hold out God's Word.
Worship-filled lives will proclaim Christ. Paul quotes a first-century hymn that contains the whole of the Gospel, from Jesus' incarnation to His ascension. Jesus revealed God because He has all the same attributes of God. His entire ministry was undergirded by the Spirit and witnessed by angels. His Gospel was preached everywhere, as we read in the book of Acts, and many believed on Him. When He ascended to Heaven, the task of evangelism was given to the church. There are still souls to be won.
- Before we can edify the body, we must embrace God's Word individually. Do you read your Bible and listen to instruction for yourself first? Or do you think of what others need to learn?
- Do you prepare to hear God's Word through prayer? Before you read or come to church, ask God to prepare your heart. Come with clean hands and a spiritual expectancy. Practical matters like eating and sleeping well are also essential to being able to give attention to God's Word.
- What is your attitude toward fellow believers? Do you treat them appropriately as the holy ones of God, living miracles?
- Believer, YOU are the pillar and support of the truth. What message is preached by your life and your words? Knowing the Bible is essential to your evangelism and testimony. Do you know the Word of God exhaustively? Do you live it?
Tools for Further Study
Cross References to Explore
- 2 Peter 1:12-15 – The importance of remembering.
- Jeremiah 10:1-16, Joshua 3:10, 1 Samuel 17:26, Psalm 42:2, 1 Timothy 1:17 – The uniqueness of the living God.
- John 17:15-17, James 1:25, Psalm 119:9-11, Psalm 19:7-19 – Knowing the Word is crucial.
- Colossians 3:16, Ephesians 5:19 – First-century churches sang hymns to confront each other with truth.
- Hebrews 1:3, Colossians 2:9 – Christ's incarnation.
A Hymn to Encourage: "How Firm a Foundation"
How firm a foundation, ye Saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
"Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand."
"When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine."
"The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!"