Paul finishes the second letter of Corinthians with the goal of protecting the purity of the church, allowing the church to understand what divine authority is, and what divine authority is supposed to do.
Too many pastors have been measured by worldly standards of success in this past year in the midst of all the distractions life and culture have brought our way. The real measure of successful ministry is what the all-powerful grace of God is doing in people's lives. Only Jesus Christ can transform a life so completely.
Faithful witnesses exemplify and protect the purity of the Church.
The classic passage on the "blessed hope" of Christians is Titus 2:11-15. Paul is instructing Titus as his apostolic delegate in Crete and Corinth. He trusts and depends on Titus to teach sound doctrine and the importance of adorning it with one's pattern of life.
Paul refers to two phases of future history in verse 13. The "blessed hope" is the rapture of believers to meet Christ in the air. The "glorious appearing" is when Christ comes again to establish His millennial kingdom.
Believers will have one of two reactions when Christ returns: we will either be confident or ashamed. Paul gives directives to Timothy so that he will be found faithful at Christ's second coming. In 1 Timothy 6:15-16, Paul rehearses several character traits of God which will motivate Timothy's obedience.
1 Timothy 1 is all about ministry balance. Paul emphasizes three things necessary for Timothy's ministry and every local church:
Every member must take responsibility for all three. A congregation that only teaches sound doctrine or only evangelizes will know success for a while, but a flock where each saint embraces the challenge of learning to defend the body of faith entrusted to them will know the eternal blessing of God.
We don't want one family member left behind at special events. The family picture should not be missing anyone! Similarly, we don't want anyone left behind in a church. We seek to protect each member so all can enjoy spiritual unity and progress.
Corporate purity in a church comes from the personal purity of its people. In God's divine order, people will become like their leaders. Paul wrote Timothy to watch his own life and doctrine so he could lead the church of Ephesus well. When it comes to doctrine, there is no "wiggle room." Even though Paul spent the most time establishing the Ephesian church, some people there were okay with deviating slightly from biblical doctrine. A thread of falsehood can creep into the most well-taught church. We are all prone to this error in our fallen natures, but the Word of God acts like a hammer to correct both our doctrine and our practice of it.
Though Genesis 24 is about the marriage of Isaac and Rebekah on the surface, that is not the primary focus of the chapter. There are many spiritual principles for us to learn from these 67 verses.
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