Strong and Visible

Re: Verse reading–1 Timothy 3:1-13 (day five)

Paul goes into great detail in describing the qualifications and character traits for the servant/leaders of the church.  He doesn’t mince words in his prescription or perspective.  The result of this kind of outlined leadership leads to a church that is strong and visible.  See verse 15- “which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth”.  The church as a foundation will keep the true doctrines of the faith strong against heresy and withstand the tension that will always come from the surrounding culture.  The church as a pillar will lift high the Name of Christ and the Truth of the Gospel.  Great Privilege!  Amazing Opportunity! Incredible Responsibility!  May FBCSA be both strong and visible!

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High Standards

Re: Verse reading–1 Timothy 3:1-13 (day four) There is a model for growth inherent in the church. Just like a baby is born, unable to do much at all, and they grow and mature to walk, talk, think, and reason…so the believer develops and grows in godliness. Paul writes to Timothy that there are standards to be met for one who aspires to be a pastor. There are also standards for a deacon to be chosen to serve. What if a believer does not want to be a pastor or a deacon? Are there standards for him? Yes! We all have expectations of how we live our life for Christ. God’s Word gives us instructions for how we should grow and mature in our walk with Christ. Our standards are not necessarily lower than a deacon or a pastor, they are still a part of our growth potential. We may not have matured yet to that level or standard or we may not have been called to serve in those capacities. We are to be like Christ, though…there is no higher standard.

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Primary

Re: Verse reading–1 Timothy 3:1-13 (day three)
“For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?”
If we teach forgiveness and thanksgiving and honesty and love in our church meetings, but we do not seek to use those words to shape the most basic fellowship we know—the home—we have turned our backs on the primary domain of human spiritual formation.  Perhaps we could replace the question, “What will the people at church think?” with “What will the people at home think?”

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Qualified

Re: Verse reading–1 Timothy 3:1-13 (day two)
Above reproach, good reputation, worthy of respect, sincere, tested, trustworthy…Paul states from the beginning that a desire to lead the church is a noble task. It is one that not all of us will be called to do. Don’t you wish we used similar criteria for how we choose our civic leaders? No where in this passage does Paul say anything about their ideology, except to say they must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith. That doesn’t read “believes exactly like I do” or “subscribes to the party to which I always support”. Paul has faith that if we appoint men of sound faith, they will be guided by the spirit and use the mind that God has given them to discern the best path forward. Is this the litmus test you use in selecting your leaders? Should it be?

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Looking for leaders

Re: Verse reading–1 Timothy 3:1-13 (day one)
“An overseer (Pastor) must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach. . .Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain.” v2, 8.

His life is almost over.  After 3 decades of missionary/pastoral ministry, the Apostle Paul sits (again) in a Roman jail cell.  He will be executed soon.  He is not, however, afraid.  His concern is for the churches, for his Christian friends.  With clear confidence in the future and the Lord who will guide His church into it, He writes to Timothy.  Appoint leaders!  Set the bar high!  In character, in ability.  Look for men who are filled with the Spirit, self-controlled, respectable, good examples that others will want to follow!   “I cannot trust a man to control others who cannot control himself.”–General Robert E. Lee.  Then, and now, the church is looking for leaders.

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The good fight

Re: Verse reading – 1 Timothy 1:1-19 (day seven)
“This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son. . .that. . .you fight the good fight.”–v 18.

No one knew better than Paul the cost of ministry to the God-called man.  Both command to be obeyed and treasure to be guarded, ministry is always a privilege, and always a fight.  ”Until you know that life is war, you cannot know what prayer is for” says John Piper.  (Thanks, Doug Sewell.)  And lay servants of Christ are not exempted from the battle stress.  Earlier in his life, and to the residents of this same city, Paul wrote these words, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.”Ephesians 6:10-11.  None of us should be surprised when life is difficult, disappointing and draining.  We knew all along.  It’s gonna be a fight!

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“Stay people”

Re: Verse reading – 1 Timothy 1:1-19 (day six)
“As I urged you when I went to Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines”–v 3.

I wonder how Timothy felt when Paul told him?  “I need to go, but I want you to stay.”  Ephesus had never been an easy church to pastor.  The task must have sounded IMPOSSIBLE to young Timothy without Paul.  But God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.  Over the next years Timothy would learn much about pastoring, and about the perseverance that is required.  He would deepen and develop as a leader. Some people come and then go from our lives.  We are thankful for them, even for the brief moments of their influence and encouragement.  Others leave when things get difficult,  when it isn’t fun anymore.  Not much help there.  Other people come and STAY!  We are MOST thankful for them.  “Stay people” God sends.

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NextGen

Re: Verse reading – 1 Timothy 1:1-19 (day five)

To Timothy, my true child in the faith:,                                                                                        15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance,

A new strategy we began last year was to partner teenagers in a “leadership track” with mentors, and have them meet regularly over the course of a year.  The marked difference in their faith, perspective, and emotional stability was noticeable.  As we read 1 & 2 Timothy, we catch glimpses of a phenomenal mentoring relationship.  One of the primary desires in the NextGen Ministry is to “Partner with Parents” in the faith development of their kids. I’m wondering if mentoring (both to kids/teenagers and parents) might be a good picture of how a church can invest and grow the “Next Generation” of believers and leaders in God’s Kingdom.  Let’s look for ways to teach and encourage “trustworthy statements” of our faith, and the life lessons learned through our own mentoring or personal experience.

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Come to Save Sinners

Re: Verse reading – 1 Timothy 1:1-19 (day four)
It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,”  Who was Jesus?  Why did He come?  What do I have to do with Him?  These are the questions that each one of us must ask…and answer.  It is so easy to just ignore the questions.  If we never ask the questions, then we don’t have to face the answer.  Timothy was in Ephesus to help the church answer these questions.  Already, the church was straying from the Gospel taught by Paul.  They were justifying things that were contrary to righteousness.  When you reject God’s law, you can come up with excuses to justify behavior that has long been contrary to the standards of righteousness.  The more a culture turns away from the Word of God, the more darkness encroaches on the mores of society so that what has always been considered evil is now considered good.  Remember…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners!

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Calibrate

Re: Verse reading – 1 Timothy 1:1-19 (day three)
“The goal of this command is love.”
Paul calibrated these instructions to the baseline of love–not power, not social influence, not even more “acceptable” standards such as doctrinal purity.  Paul echoes here what he revealed to the Corinthians: The most noble aspirations and accomplishments, unless they spring from love, will evaporate without a trace.  If the church will ever speak with power and influence, if it will ever gain a hearing for correct doctrine, it will do so only by leading its people to become the kinds of persons who love–who “will the good for the other,” which is the definition of love.  For Paul, love wasn’t a good way to get the job of church growth done; love was the job.  Are you becoming the kind of person who wills the good for the other above all else?

 

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