Category Archives: 1 Timothy

1 Timothy 6.20-21

Title: Final Comments

Text: 1 Timothy 6:20-21

CIT: Timothy, Do your job, Beware, Be Strong.

CIS: Same thing.

Introduction: On June 7, 1942, the Japanese attacked a United States territory for the 2nd time. The first is emblazoned upon our memories. It occurred 6 months earlier on December 7th, 1941. But this 2nd attack – it isn’t remembered. The reason is that not much really happened.

The island of Attu in the Aleutian Island Chain is the furthest point West belonging to the United States. It extends as far west as New Zealand, only on this side of the equator. The Japanese brought 1,100 troops and could have easily conquered the island with a bullhorn. That number would climb to 3,000 before American troops get there. On the morning of that attack, there were less than 40 civilians there and they were all in worship because it was a Sunday morning.

The Japanese charge along the mountainside toward the lone little village on Attu. They slipped and fell in the spongy earth and soft, wet snow. Guns were mistakenly discharged as men fell. In fear and in a state of panic, other soldiers began shooting toward the village and out into the open area because they thought they were being shot at by the Islanders. In the process, some Japanese were wounded and one was even killed by friendly fire.

The islanders heard noises and simply looked out the window to see the Japanese moving toward them. Nick Golodolf, who was six years old at the time and happened to be standing outside, actually began to laugh at what he thought was slap-stick comedy going on before him – that is until he figured out the mud jumping up around him was being caused by bullets being fired at him. That’s when he ran for cover.

The Japanese had attacked the US for a 2nd time.

The Unites States responded…eventually. It would be some 10 months later, April 24, 1943, when the Americans would send forces. The powers that be had outlined a strategy for regaining control of Attu. 15,000 troops were sent to attack the Japanese and it was figured that the battle would last less than three days. However, the troops were woefully unprepared. They lacked enough food, the proper gear and had no idea what the island of Attu was like. They weren’t ready for the cold. Their boots slipped in the mud. Have you ever tried to dig a foxhole in the tundra of Alaska? I remember in Wyoming when the city worked on pipes, they had to dig down 8 ft, because the ground freezes above that line. 8 feet! In the early years, before modern technology, funerals took place in the late Spring and Summer only, because the ground was frozen at other times of the year.

What was expected to last 3 days, lasted 6 weeks and cost hundreds of lives.

Why? Leadership. The General in charge of the 7th Infantry and his Naval Commander counterpart couldn’t stand each other. Both were arrogant and ignorant of just what it would take to conquer their enemy. Rear Admiral Robert Theobald insisted the uniforms of his men be neat and to code. The Japanese opted for heavily insulated attire designed for the Alaskan climate. The results for the Americans were disastrous and costly.

And so it is when leadership is concerned about themselves and not their people. If I recall correctly, the only other battle that cost more lives than the Battle of Attu was the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Leadership must be concerned about the people they serve. That’s what leadership is… and that’s Paul plea to Timothy.

He closes here with a final word – a final word that sums up well the contents of this letter:

20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.

Grace be with you.

Herein lies a call to strong leadership on the part of Timothy. And Paul does this with three verbs. The passage is broken down grammatically into three main parts:

One imperative verb: Guard. There is a participle which describes how he is to ‘guard’ … ‘avoiding’;

One past tense verb: those who have swerved from the faith; and a 2nd participle which describes what has happened to those who haven’t avoided irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’.

State of Being vb: And Paul then closes with a common phrase used to say goodbye.

So here is my breakdown of this passage and expressing it in three separate thoughts: Timothy, Guard, Guide, and Goodbye.

Transition: So look with me in v 20 again.

I.    Guard

exp.: rd v 20a: his command – Guard, the thought, ‘keep in custody’. Think of a prison guard keeping watch over the inmates under his charge. He knows where they are at all times. So, Guard. Guard what? “The deposit” – not normally a theological or religious term for us, but the deposit isn’t really foreign to us. We use regularly in banking terms, so we know what it means. This word is used 3 times in the NT. All 3 by Paul and all 3 in his letters to Timothy (1 Tim 6.20; 2 Tim 1.12, 14) and (2ndly) each reference deals with the gospel; LXX; Leviticus 6:1-7; the context of that passage really helps us understand what Paul is saying: The deposit is the property or the possession that has been entrusted to someone. And in our passage this morning, what has been entrusted to Timothy, the deposit is the gospel.

And the question that Paul answers here is ‘how’ Timothy is to guard the gospel. And this is our first participle: avoiding. Rd 20b;

exp.: two characteristics Paul brings out about the actions of these false teachers which are to be avoided:

  • Irreverent Babble; ‘Irreverent’ is the Gk word, which when transliterated is ‘Babylon’; empty-talk or empty-sounds; κενόω (kenoō): Phil 2:7; ‘he emptied’ himself; The nuance of the word is to pour out the contents of a pitcher until it is empty. These babblings are empty and contain no substance – avoid them. 2nd,
  • Contradictions: this Gk word transliterated into English is antithesis and it is in Gk, just as it is in English: the opposite; Contradictions, specifically, of what is falsely called knowledge. Some scholars use this particular passage, and others to say that this letter should be dated in the 2nd century since that is when Gnosticism saw it’s rise OR they say that this is evidence that Gnosticism was around in the 1st I don’t think either one is true.
  • Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,”; I think of John 17 where Jesus pays to the Father: Sanctify them in the Truth; Your Word is Truth. What is false about these teachers is that they’re not teaching God’s Word. They’re expounding on issues and themes that make them look knowledgeable, but it is all false.

app.: You know exactly what Paul’s talking about because 2,000 years later, there are still preachers who are puffed up with their knowledge, but lack the Truth of the Gospel. The Gospel is the Truth. What these others bring is not the truth…

t.s.: now at this point, Paul offers a caution, a reason to Guard the deposit. Whereas we’ve just observed Paul has commanded Timothy to Guard the deposit and how he is to guard the deposit, now he is going to offer a reason why Timothy is to Guard the deposit: rd v 21; 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.

II.   Guide

exp.: because there are those who profess this false knowledge, who chase after debates with no substance, and by so doing, they have swerved from the Truth. People need guidance to get where they’re going. And, the way God has designed this is through discipleship. It is through learning. It comes from learning God’s Truth.

Turn to 1 Tim 1:6 – Certain people have lit.: ‘miss the mark’; the idea is ‘to wander off the path’; they have deviated off course and wandered from these (a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith; cf.: 1.5);

ill.: you guys know I’m teaching this class of young men at BCL; our class is about becoming men; this past week our class was about building a survival kit; I shared with them the story of a lady who was hiking the AP alone. She was at the very end – she was roughly 200 miles to the end of the AP. This photo was taken the day before she disappeared. She left to hike the trail in 2013 but disappeared. Some men who were out surveying the territory for their company found her body. That was in 2016.

Along with her body was her notebook. In it, she recorded her failure, she had left the trail to go to the bathroom, but somehow, when she had completed her task, she got all turned around. She texted her husband for help, but her phone had no signal. She continued wandering around, trying to find the trail and eventually stopped on a ridge, thinking she would see something or be found. Finally, she decided to stay put until searchers could find her. But they never did. She had wandered two miles off the path.

App.: Staying on the path is essential to your survival. Veering off course is certain death. This is what I was teaching the boys this week, but it applies to us, too.

t.s.: Timothy, Watch over and Guard that which you’ve been given charge and responsibility for, Watch out that you don’t chase after things that are fruitless and empty, but instead, Guide others in the Truth. And finally, Timothy, goodbye

III.  Goodbye

exp.: rd v 21b; Grace be with you; Ἡ χάρις μεθʼ ὑμῶν; Grace; this is the typical greeting and goodbye of Paul; Go to each of his letters and you’ll find a very similar ending to those letters (with the one exception being Romans). The word Grace here has the definite article; a definite article adds an idea of something specific, namely, the Grace of Christ and Oftentimes, Paul will say just that, The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all; Now, the traditional ending of a letter can be found in Acts 15:29; Ἔρρωσθε, which means, Be Strong; genuine expression that one may be strong and well; hence, the translation, fare – well; ill.: Be Bold; God Bless; It may very well be that Paul knew that one can only be strong is in the grace of God and so, he changed the way he closed his letters to read the way they do. Grace Be With You. Paul has written to Timothy, but there are times in the epistle when it appears he wants the church to read this letter. This verse affirms what we already knew: The letter is for both Timothy and the church at Ephesus: Grace be with all y’all.

Conclusion: So, we should apply the letter to not just the pastor, but to the church body as a whole. And, how does this apply to us?

  • Well, to me, the application is very personal: I am a pastor. I think for the elders and other teachers, they might feel the same zealousness for the church that meets at 6704 Old Jacksonville Hwy. I take this responsibility very seriously and guard it with my soul. If it appears that I’m scrutinizing what’s being taught or I stand against someone wanting to lead the church astray, then so be it. I do not apologize for it. For I will give account. What about you? Church, what is your feeling for this body – called Calvary?
  • I think you have a responsibility to help keep our church pure, too.
    • Guard the gospel.
    • Live it wisely. Be a guide – like that of a hunter or a fisher. Know your territory – where it is safe. Where the animals are. Where there is freshwater. Where there is shelter. Where this protection.

Ill.: I have a good friend from Wyoming who has been a guide for many people in that area of the state. He knows where the animals are. He guided me on my elk trip when I lived up there.

He once got a call from a friend asking him to guide him and another man on a fishing trip. His friend said, “Now listen, when we show up and get in the boat, don’t get all weird and stuff. This man is famous and he doesn’t like people getting all weirded out!” The famous man, Bob Seger. He’s guided many famous men on hunting and fishing trips. Why? Because this friend of mine can’t get lost in the mountains and he knows how to survive.

We need to be like that when it comes to God’s Word – Guarding it and guiding others through it.

I think there is more here for us:

  • Select your leaders, Don’t quickly put any man into elder or deacon positions. Let them be tested and tried and found faithful.
  • Serve each other in love. Watch out for each other; for each other’s children and grandchildren; let your first thought be love and then act.
  • Treat each other with respect – the respect people deserve as believers in Christ. Mercy and grace have been granted to you – when you came to Christ. Respond to others as Christ has responded to you in your time of need.
  • Communicate Well: Listen, respond in love, listen some more.

We must prevail and persevere. That thought is communicated in the words: some have swerved from the faith. Let us not be among those who fail and fall by the wayside, proving themselves to be lost.

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1 Timothy 6.17-19

Title: A Word for the Rich

Text: 1 Tim 6:17-19

CIT: Paul has some instructions for the rich.

CIS: We’re all rich in the present world. We should use it wisely.

Introduction:

I was reading John Calvin’s commentary on this particular passage of the pastorals and noted his comments about the Catholic Church. 17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them (1) not to be haughty, (2) nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but (3) on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are (4) to do good, (5) to be rich in good works, (6) to be generous and (7) ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

And this is from Calvin’s commentary: The inference Roman Catholics draw from this passage, that through good deeds we merit eternal life, is exceedingly foolish. Catholics? Think about Calvin’s culture – the political climate. At the time of this writing, it has been but 39 years since Martin Luther pinned his 95 theses to the church at Wittenberg. It made me think. As I read this passage, “am I filtering what I was taking in through my 2019 filter?” The principle is the same: there are those who think they shall be saved by their good works through giving monetarily. And there is leadership in the evangelical church today who buy into that philosophy. Not because they give like that, but because they’re profiting from it.

I’m reminded of Luke’s account of the widow and her two mites. Oftentimes preachers use that passage to encourage sacrificial giving. But, the truth of the passage is that Jesus was condemning the practice of religious leaders who were selfishly taking advantage of widows and other disadvantaged people. Don’t forget, this is the very thing Paul has accused the false teachers of doing. Two weeks ago in my message Four Features of False Teachers, we talked about how these false teachers were in the ministry for financial gain. Last week, in my message of Paul’s encouraging words to Timothy, we saw Paul encourage Timothy not to be like them.

Now, Paul turns his attention to the wealthy who were being targeted by the false teachers. But, like Calvin did in the 1500’s we’ve got to ask ourselves,

  • What does the Scripture say?
  • What does that mean?
  • And what does that mean for us today? Or, what should we do in light of this information?

This is what Calvin did: He identified what the Scripture said and meant and was able to condemn the wicked practices of the Roman Catholic Church in his day. Jesus was setting an example for his men and for us by doing just that.

Grammatically, in the following three verses, we find 7 admonitions through a single imperative in these three verses: rd v 17-19

17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them (1) not to be haughty, (2) nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but (3) on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 18 They are (4) to do good, (5) to be rich in good works, (6) to be generous and (7) ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Transition: I’ve outlined these 7 infinitives in the following manner:

  1. What the rich shouldn’t do
  2. What the rich should do
  3. What the rich should expect

Transition: So, let’s look at what Paul outlines for us first…

1.   What the rich shouldn’t do

exp.:

  • imperative: urge, command, charge; 1 Tim 1:3;
  • instruct (NASB) …not really, didactic flavor;
  • command (NIV) 4:11 (command and teach these things); 5:7 (command); here’s where I’m going with this: some scholars really back off on this, I think the translators do, too. Why? because some people get uncomfortable (upset) when you talk about money. Why would this word mean ‘command’ when Paul’s not talking about money and when it gets to money, why is it changed to charge or instruct or urge? I think we must consider that Paul is telling Timothy, it is an imperative of command, command these people, who, those who are rich in this present age. Command them to what? 7 admonitions here, the 1st two which are negative:
  • these admonitions are expressed through infinitives;

       1. To not be haughty; compound word used only here, ὑψηλός (hypsēlos) – high; and φρονέω (phroneō) – mindset or thinking; but is used as two separate words in Rom 11:20 (12:16); proud; pride, that is what Paul is teaching against here; financial success breeds pride;

ill.: The Notebook: Allie was from a rich family who fell in love with a poor, blue-collar worker. They were both young and she was naïve; Allie brings her boyfriend home to meet the family and a bunch of guests. He is treated as an inferior. They were condescending and rude to him. We saw the same thing in the movie Titanic when Rose’s family is so rude to Jack. No doubt you’ve seen it along the way, in your life. Maybe at school? You see the rich kids act arrogant and haughty just because Mom and Dad come from money.

app.: is every rich person haughty? No, most definitely not! Lisa and I know very wealthy people. I’ve got one friend who drives the same old pickup that doesn’t have any bells and whistles. You have to use a handle to roll the window down! He and his wife live in the same house they raised their kids in. The same small house they built when they didn’t have money. We have other wealthy friends who are kind and generous and humble.

But riches can produce a haughty spirit! It must have been that way in Ephesus; at least on some level, because Paul cautions them to not be haughty; 2nd, …

  1. To not hope in riches; which are uncertain; money, success, these things are fleeting;

ill.: Have you ever found yourself thinking “what if I just had this money, I’d be o.k.”; remember this: if money can fix it, it ain’t a problem! It isn’t that being rich is bad, it’s the idea of putting your hope in being rich. For most of us though, I don’t think in our culture, in our day, in our age, in USA 2019, I don’t think the problem is the lack of money or wealth. For us, it is the abundance of debt.

app.: Don’t be proud and haughty, Don’t place your hope in riches

t.s.: but instead…and this is 2nd area of instruction:

2.     What the rich should do:

exp.: instead…

  1. To set your hope on God; why? He’s already given a good reason,
    1. Because riches are uncertain; but now he gives another…
    2. Because God richly provides everything for us to enjoy (pleasure). This casts light on the garden. God provides everything for us to enjoy. And, he gives us guidelines to enjoy them by. Paul is using his linguistic skills to communicate that God provides. Πάντα – all things;

Transition: now these next four actions are a natural flow from the life of one who realizes his riches are a gift of God. rd 18a;

  1. To do good; this word ‘good’ – ἀγαθοεργεῖν; only here and in Acts 14; a compound word – Agatha – perfect (when in relation to God) good or right (when in relation to people) and ergon – work; which is what Paul says in Ephesians, that we were created to do: And he grows on this statement…rd 18b;
  2. To be rich in good works; another play on the word rich; rd 18c; Ephesians 2:10 (ESV) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
  3. To be generous, which is another progressive step in this progression that someone experiences when s/he realizes the riches s/he has are a gift of God…no matter where one is financially speaking.
  4. To be ready to share; this word ‘share’ has the same root as the Gk word koinonia. κοινωνικός (koinōnikos); remember I began with Calvin’s comments on the Catholic church and mentioned how he filtered his reading through his culture? Well, listen to what he writes next: It is true that everything given to the poor is acceptable to God, but since the very best of us hardly manage to accomplish one-hundredth of our duty in this connection, our generosity hardly deserves to be taken into account of by God. In fact, he writes, should God call us to account, everyone would be found wanting, as we are so far from giving all we should.

ill.: Gary Waddington, a pastor in Billings, MT, tells the following story: Several years ago, when I was ministering in a small rural community, we had extra food leftover from our Christmas basket. I happened to think of a poor family who lived at the edge of town. I packed up the food and drove to their house.

I am never sure how one goes about “doing charity” while preserving the dignity of those who receive the charity. When the woman, surrounded by her several children, answered the door, I thought of a subtle way to offer the food to her.

I asked, “Do you know anyone who could use some extra food?”

“You bet,” she said and got her coat, headed toward her car saying, “Follow me.”

She took me to people who were poorer than her, people who desperately needed food. Even though she herself needed food, I remember clearly that there was absolutely no hesitation on her part.

Being rich is relative…so is being poor; I guess it all depends on who you compare what you have with; For some people though, giving is second nature.

t.s.: and when it is…look at what Paul says the rich should expect…

3.    What the rich should expect:

exp.:

  1. The Result of Faithfulness: the rich will lay a good foundation for the future; εἰς τὸ μέλλον; lit.: into the about (to be); Mello is translated ‘about’: it is used to describe an event that is yet to take place, but is ‘about’ to happen; ex.: Zacchaeus, climbed a sycamore tree because Jesus was ‘about’ to pass by; Jesus in describing the end times; the wrath to come; someone is ‘about’ to die; something is about to happen; This is used of the apocalypse; the return of Jesus; when Paul says, the rich will lay a good foundation for the future, he’s referring to heaven, the about to be event; Oh, I wish I could think eschatologically in all my ways, dealings, and efforts.
  2. The Reason for Faithfulness: in order to grasp the true or real (ontos) life, eschatological, eternal life. Paul isn’t saying that by being generous with their riches that they will earn their way into heaven. No, by living a generous, share-your-wealth lifestyle, the rich are grasping that this place is just something we’re passing through to something much more wonderful.

Conclusion: This week Debbi Raney’s mom, Marie Freeman passed away. It was so encouraging to hear her testimony of faith. The passage the pastor shared was from 2 Corinthians 5, where Paul says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. It was an open casket, so we saw Mrs. Freeman. But, not really! She wasn’t there anymore. The tent she used as a body had been shed and she was now in the presence of her savior. To say she had died, was really misleading, for she is more alive now than she’s ever been. She’s in the ‘about to be’ place.

What filters do you view the world through? Do you see the world in your life, Tyler, Texas, 2019? Or do you view it through eternity…knowing that all you have is a gift? I hope you’ll see it through God’s eyes and…use it for His glory!

Take-a-way: In whatever you find your circumstance or situation in life, may you be found faithful.

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1 Timothy 6.11-16

Title: A Word of Encouragement
Text: 1 Timothy 6:11-16
CIT: Encouragement
CIS: Encouragement

Introduction: Which of the two would you rather hang around with: someone who is negative or someone who is positive?

Max Lucado: I discovered the importance of healthy counsel in a half-Ironman triathlon. After the 1.2 mile swim and the 56-mile bike ride, I didn’t have much energy left for the 13.1-mile run. Neither did the fellow jogging next to me. I asked him how he was doing and soon regretted posing the question.

“This stinks. This race is the dumbest decision I’ve ever made.” He had more complaints than a taxpayer at the IRS. My response to him? “Goodbye.” I know if I listened too long, I’d start agreeing with him.

I caught up with a 66-year-old grandmother. Her tone was just the opposite. “You’ll finish this,” she encouraged. “It’s hot, but at least it’s not raining. One step at a time…don’t forget to hydrate…stay in there.” I ran next to her until my heart was lifted and my legs were aching. I finally had to slow down. “No problem.” She waved and kept going.

t.s.: Encouragement. There’s really nothing else like it. And that is what Paul is doing in this passage. And by doing this, he is setting a great example for leaders. He ends his letter on a positive note. He has just delivered the four features of false teachers and now moves to a conclusion with a positive twist…rd v 11a…but as for you, O man of God; this passage of encouragement can be divided into three equal parts: his encouragement for Timothy to persist and (2) to persevere. And he closes with a beautiful doxology of praise to God; this 1st section is an encouragement to persist in the ministry…

1.      Persistence (11-12)

exp.:; Persistence: to continue firmly in a state or action in spite of obstacles or objections; rd v 11, but you, O man of God; Your different than those false teachers who pursue their own passions for personal gain; But has the flavor of Instead; “Man of God” this is a term used in the OT of Moses, and other prophets like Elijah, King David. Paul uses it here and in 2 Tim 3:17, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work; don’t do those things the false teacher does, but instead…Paul introduces 4 imperative verbs for Timothy; the first is…

  • Flee – ‘these things’; this word in the Gk (φεύγω (pheugō) is the word we get fugitive from; 2nd,
  • Followpursue; the lexicon defines this word as; follow in haste; the idea is to chase after these other things: I think you can group these ‘things’ (as Paul says) into two separate attributes you should be pursuing…
    • Christian Conduct: (What you do) righteousness, godliness, faith
    • Christian Virtues: (How you respond) love, patience (steadfastness, endurance, perseverance), gentleness (compound word: gentle and to suffer – might carry a nuance of “gentleness in the midst of suffering”; So Paul is saying: Timothy, Don’t chase after money, popularity, position (like the false teachers) but instead, chase after righteousness,… 3rd,
  • Fight – 12a; to compete; ἀγωνίζου; agonize; used to describe what athletes do; stay in the competition; the one of faith; … #4;
  • Faithfulness – rd v 12b; to your calling, to your confession, exp.: possible baptism, ordination; possible two separate events or maybe the same; remember to do what you said you would do in the presence (in the sight of) of many witnesses;

ill.: my prayer chair; in what a good friend calls the ‘holy of holies’; my office

app.: what a great motivator, what a great reminder, we’re not called to success as the world labels success, we’re called to flee, follow, fight, and be faithful to our calling…

t.s.: He’s encouraged first to persist, and 2nd, here to

2.     Persevere

exp.: you see the charge in v 13…The Charge:

  • The Seriousness of the Charge: in ‘presence of’ (same as 12) God, who is the life-giver; life sustainer, maker, keeper; (in some context, this would not be so encouraging, but that isn’t how this is presented; IVP’s Phillip Towner writes: In another context this truth might be a source of comfort (Lk 12:6; Acts 2:25), but the presence of God is typically invoked to ensure veracity (Lk 1:19) or, as here to strengthen the sense of obligation contained in an apostolic command. Jesus: Don’t fear those who can kill the body, but the one who can kill both the body and the soul; I wonder, as you consider entering into the very presence of God, are you at peace or terrified? Is there a certain trepidation or is there calm? I’ll be honest, I had to ponder that for a moment. I wonder if I’m too quick to say that I’d feel peace and be calm.
  • The Standard of the Charge: rd 13b Jesus, who is the example; he made his confession before Pontius Pilate and was found faithful, even to the point of death; a great standard; too often we compare ourselves to each other; we can usually find someone living below our standard and say that we’re doing pretty good! But here, Paul doesn’t even say that he, himself is the standard. No, Christ who is perfectly faithful…
  • The Substance of the Charge: rd v 14a; Keep the Commandment; τηρέω (tēreō); Hold it close, guard it; continue in it; sometimes ‘obey’; “I charge you, Keep the commandment… How?
  • The Scope of the Charge: rd 14b; to keep it unstained (unblemished) and free from reproach; Do you see the breadth of this command:
    • How it is? (unstained)
    • How it should remain (free from reproach)
    • How long it should be kept: ‘until’ Jesus returns

t.s.: The final section of the passage is the doxology or Praise…

3.     Praise

exp.: a doxology to God; this praise seems to be in protest of the earthly emperor (probably Nero); because he says here; rd v 15: God is the blessed and ‘the only sovereign”; King of Kings and Lord of Lords;

This is a combination of the Old Testament and Hellenistic languages;

  • Sovereign isn’t seen very often here, but many times in the LXX; Hellenistic
  • King of Kings and Lord of Lords is OT language (Hebrew/Jewish);
  • Here is the point: emperors die, But our God is the only immortal King; beautiful conclusion; who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. This reminds me of Daniel 7 and the Ancient of Days and, Revelation 4 which describes God in Colors… clothed in rainbows of living colors, flashes of lighting – rolls of thunder.

App.: Paul says much of the same thing of himself, as he is closing out his 2nd letter to Timothy; 2 Tim 4:7,8: For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing.

So we persist, we persevere and we praise our God until he sends his Son, or he determines that we are finished and he calls us home; That might sound sad, but I don’t think it is!

Conclusion: (From Sermon Illustrations online)

Ten days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, a group of citizens in North Platte, Nebraska, heard a rumor that soldiers from their town, part of the Nebraska National Guard Company D, would be coming through on a troop train on their way to the West Coast. Five hundred people showed up at the train depot with food, cigarettes, letters, and love to give their own sons and young men they knew.

When the train showed up, it was not the Nebraska National Guard Company D boys on board; it was the soldiers from the Kansas National Guard Company D.

After a few awkward moments, a woman handed a young man she’d never seen the gifts intended for her own son. Everyone else followed that lead, and there were hugs and prayers and love shared all around. It was a spontaneous act of genuine devotion that touched both the soldiers and the people who came to the depot that day. That alone would have been a beautiful illustration of the willingness to “sacrifice for one another.” But the story continues.

A few days later, a 26-year-old woman named Rae Wilson wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper recounting the profound experience they’d shared that night. She then suggested the town organize a canteen, so they could do something similar for every troop train that came through. She offered to lead the effort as a volunteer.

For the next four and a half years, the people of North Platte and the surrounding communities met every troop train that came through their town. Every day, they prepared sandwiches, cookies, cold drinks, and hot coffee. They had baskets of magazines and books to give away to the soldiers, and snacks for the train. There were even birthday cakes for anyone having a special day. And they did this, some days, for as many as 8,000 soldiers and sailors.

The statistics are staggering. By the time the last train arrived on April 1, 1946, six million soldiers had been blessed by the North Platte Canteen. Forty-five thousand volunteers had served faithfully until the war was over and most of the troops had been transported home.

Most of the troops had only ten minutes to sprint from the train, grab some food, maybe dance with a pretty girl, hear the appreciation of those present, and sprint back before the train left without them. But in those ten minutes, they got more than a meal. They received a dose of unconditional love that they remembered later—during the heat of battle as well as decades after the war was over.

Bob Greene, whose book Once Upon a Town made the North Platte Canteen story known to the world, wrote that, as he interviewed those few surviving soldiers who had experienced the canteen firsthand, there was a universal reaction from the men (who were by that time in their late seventies and eighties): they cried.

This isn’t a half-ironman, it’s much longer, keep going! This is a huge task we’ve been called to…. And it does touch so many lives – maybe even people we don’t know…

So, in your faith and calling: Persist in your calling, Persevere in your commitment, and Praise God.

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1 Timothy 6.3-10

Title: The Four Features of False Teachers

Text: 1 Tim 6:3-10

CIT: What out for men who lead others astray; you’ll notice them by four distinct features;

CIS: The marks of these men are still evident…

 

Introduction: I’m grateful for the men who’ve walked through 1 Timothy with me. Jason and Joshua, Duffey and Shawn, Andrew and Henry. Thanks, guys, we have a meeting on the calendar for tonight. Andrew was hoping that we could get together and offer him some guidance in his work. Be thinking about that. I reach out by text later to see who can be there.

What a blessing to share in this ministry of the Word with these men, who are very near and dear to my heart. To those men: I hope you’ve been challenged. I hope you’ve been encouraged. I hope you’ve learned something – no matter the level of your experience in handling God’s Truth. I love you men and hope and pray for your continued growth in these areas.

Andrew’s conclusion last Sunday morning in his sermon was: We exist for the glory of God.

I’d like to add to that. We exist for the glory of God. And here is the scary part: you will glorify God in your life – no matter how you live that life. Your sin brings glory to God. Those who reject and press against the Truth of God will ultimately display his tremendous glory through their rebellion. God will be proven to be right and he will be glorified. God is glorified when his grace and mercy are displayed through his forgiveness of our sin. Someone might say, “Well then Fred, should we continue to sin so that God might continue to be glorified?” And I say μὴ γένοιτο! God forbid!

I have often prayed that God would not let me be one of those people. I want to glorify God in and through my life as displayed in obedience and faithfulness to him.

In today’s passage, we find men who are not like the men you’ve seen teach and preach this past summer. The men in the text are false teachers and their passion is their own fleshly appetites. Paul presents to Timothy four features of these false teachers:

  1. Their Characteristics
  2. Their Conduct
  3. Their Compulsion
  4. Their Condemnation

Look with me at v 3-4 to identify the first feature of a false teacher:

I.     The False Teacher’s Characteristics (3-4a)

exp.: rd v 3-4; If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.

  1. He teaches a different doctrine; it’s the same, but it is different. I’ve told you about this word before; heteros; (3a) ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖ; hetero another (of a different kind) v homos; another (of the same kind; ) He does not agree with the Lord’s teaching. (3b) It isn’t healthy (sick) and doesn’t center on the Lord’s teaching.
  2. He is ungodly. (3c) His teaching isn’t teaching that accords with godliness.
  3. He is conceited. (4a) word is difficult to translate. This could be translated foolish.
  4. He understands nothing; If you translate this word (τετύφωται) conceited, then “understands nothing” (ἐπιστάμενος) is concessive (He is conceited, even though he knows nothing.) However, if τετύφωτα means foolish, then ἐπιστάμενος is an intensifier (He is foolish and knows nothing). Both would be true.

app.: The characteristics of a false teacher are apparent: his teaching doesn’t coincide with scripture. It doesn’t line up with what Christ has taught us. Here’s a good way to spot him: His teachings are more about his knowledge of some concept, even though he might not even grasp what he’s teaching. His teaching points to him and not to Christ. It puffs him up and not Jesus. It makes much of him and not Jesus.

t.s.: 1st, we see his Characteristics. 2nd, we see his conduct.

II.    The False Teacher’s Conduct (4b -5)

exp.: What he teaches, transfers over into his behavior; continuing on in v 4…He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.

‘Unhealthy craving’; Lit.: sick, ailing to the point of death. In English, someone might say a morbid curiosity (NASB). This ‘desire’ is in contradiction to the healthy, sound teaching of Christ in v 3; look at this progression of his conduct:

  • 1st, a ‘sick’ craving for controversy, quarrels about words, some translations say, “fights w/ words”; this is a compound word – two words put together: lit.: λόγος – word and μάχη – fight;
  • 2nd, this produces envy and dissension,
  • 3rd, which moves to slander and evil suspicions,
  • and the result is that the church lies in constant friction; this is a natural progression: Bill Mounce writes: Where there are speculations and word battles, one naturally finds envy and strife; envy and strife naturally develop into slander and evil suspicions, and where these are present there is a constant irritation. And these flow out from the characteristics he has already displayed. It moves naturally from the characteristics of his teaching to the conduct of his life, which is naturally divisive; that is what Satan wants; this is why Paul warns Timothy earlier; 3:6, 7: He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

ill.: In October of 2007, a story came out of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands that shook many people. The children of Barneveld found an interesting plaything. They didn’t know what it was, but it was cool looking, so they played with it. One of the kids found it while playing in the dirt. Soon, they began to create games with this new play toy. It stayed on the playground for months, being there each day when the kids went out to play on the playground. They played catch with it. They hit it; threw it; slammed it on the ground; they created all types of games around this plaything. One day some months later, an adult finally took notice. Authorities were called and sure enough, it was confirmed that the children had unearthed a live, unexploded artillery shell from World War II. The authorities took the plaything away and exploded it in a safe place.

app.: I think about those kids and wonder where the adults were. I wonder if any adults saw and didn’t think anything about it. What took so long? Were these adults, who were responsible for these children, lazy? Or, were they simply ignorant? Either way, this is an example of the supervision of such leaders who don’t know about the explosive device they’re pushing on their followers. Such false teachers are either lazy or ignorant or both.

t.s.: They’re more caught up in themselves than they are their listeners. 1st, we see the Characteristics of these false teachers and (2nd) how it transfers over into his behavior through his Conduct and continues to drive him. And beginning in verse 6, what see what drives him, his compulsion…rd v 6;

III.   The False Teacher’s Compulsion (6-10)

exp.: But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

Godliness with contentment is great gain; but not so with these false teachers. They are not content w/ godliness. They want more – physical stuff. They are not content with what they have (the material blessings); So, they use their teaching to chase after monetary gain; they desire gold instead of God;

In Philippians, Paul writes: 17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.

ill.: In 14th Century Belgium the was a King, Raynald III. Raynald had a younger brother, Edward. I’m not sure what happened or how it happened, but Raynald had a major disagreement with his younger brother Edward. Edward was so angry at his older brother, that he led a successful revolt against him. Raynald was defeated by his younger brother, but Edward chose not to kill him.

Instead, (and you’ve probably heard this story before) Edward did something incredibly cruel to his brother. He built a room around Raynald in the Nieuwkerk castle and promised him he could regain his title and property as soon as he was able to leave the room. This would not have been difficult for most people since the room had several windows and a door of normal-sized proportions—none of which were locked or barred. The problem was Raynald’s size. To regain his freedom, he needed to lose weight.

But Edward knew his older brother. Each day, Edward sent a variety of delicious foods into the room. Instead of dieting his way out of prison, Raynald grew even larger. When Duke Edward was accused of cruelty, he had a ready answer: My brother is not a prisoner. He may leave anytime he wants to do so. Raynald stayed in that room for 10 years and wasn’t released until after Edward died in battle. By then his health was so ruined that he died within a year—a prisoner of his own appetite.

app.: False teachers are concerned with their own appetites for adoration, admiration, prestige, position. They feed their selfish desires by using people. They ignorantly lead people astray through selfish ambition and vain conceit. I’m reminded of Ezekiel 34: 1The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord God: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep? You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep. The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.

And of course, God’s judgment against those shepherds was harsh.

t.s.: And so will it be for today’s false teachers: The False Teacher’s compulsion to whet and satiate his own appetite will be his downfall, which is the fourth feature…

IV.    The False Teacher’s Condemnation (9-10)

exp.: But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

  • fall, into (1) temptation, (2) a snare, (3) senseless and harmful desires;
  • plunge into (1) ruin and (2) destruction;
  • wandered from the faith
  • pierced themselves;

app.: Oh, the dangers of using God’s Word to chase after one’s own pursuits and pleasures and passions. Instead, we should be chasing after God, making much of him.

Conclusion: In thinking of this compulsion that leads to condemnation – this appetite where we see their god is their belly, I’m reminded of a funny remark by Philip Yancy. He wrote an article entitled, What 147 Elk taught me about prayer:

I’ve become more convinced than ever that God finds ways to communicate with those who truly seek him, especially when we lower the volume of the surrounding static. I remember reading the account of a spiritual seeker who interrupted a busy life to spend a few days in a monastery.

“I hope your stay is a blessed one,” said the monk who showed the visitor to his cell. “If you need anything, let us know, and we’ll teach you how to live without it.”

Because, all we really need, when it comes right down to it, is Christ!

So, let’s look at our take-a-ways for this morning.

Application:

  • Study God’s Word. Study alone, Study with your spouse, Study with a group, Study at church. I know it is hard to know everything in God’s Word, but the truth is, if you know the genuine article really well, then you’ll recognize the counterfeit when he comes your way. Make sure any author you use takes you back into God’s Word. Don’t just trust a book because you got it from Lifeway!
  • Spiritual maturity is a must; it comes from walking with Christ; it comes from walking with those who’ve walked with Christ, who have been where you are.
    • : Are you in a relationship with a mature believer? Consider it if you’re not.
  • Don’t contribute to the cycle of controversy and quarrels. I think this is probably perpetrated through gossip. So, the simple solution is to just not to participate. Community Group leaders: this is a call for you to keep a close watch on this sort of stuff. (ill.: I have a pastor friend who warned against forming community groups; his experience was that a community group was more of a time to complain; eventually, everyone in that group left the church)
  • Make sure your passionate pursuit is for godliness which leads to contentment, and not gold, which leads to destruction. Ask yourself in whatever you’re doing: why am I doing this…

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1 Timothy 5.17-25

Title: The Biblical Model for Church Leadership: Elders

Text: 1 Tim 5:17-25

CIT: The Church’s Responsibility in Caring for their Elders

CIS: As has been asked of you concerning the deacons, be in prayer as you diligently consider the man or men the elders present to complete their team.

 

Introduction: Keep your place in 1 Timothy and turn to Acts 20. Paul’s journey back to Jerusalem for the last time. On his journey, Paul stops in Miletus after sailing by Ephesus. 16 For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost. 17 Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him.

Paul had a very special relationship with these men. Look with me at this passage as he charges them with responsibility.

Rd Acts 20.17-35; He will return to Jerusalem. There, he will be arrested and spend the next two years in Caesarea, where he will appeal to Caesar. That appeal will be granted and he will then spend another two years in Rome. He will leave Timothy in Ephesus to care for the church there and help the elders with their leadership problems.

Church: leading is hard work. It doesn’t come easily by any stretch of the imagination. I know of my accountability. And I fearfully consider the past and pray over the future. I’ve made mistakes. And it scares me. And, I think about those in my life who made being a pastor so hard. I think about those who tried to destroy the church in moments of trying to ‘be right’ or keep their power.

t.s.: In our passage this morning, Paul will remind Timothy and the church of their responsibility to the elders: Respecting them, Protecting them, Correcting them and Selecting them.

  1. Respecting your Elders (17-18)

exp.: rd 17-18; Give respect and ‘double honor’ to the elders (Acts 20) in your body; vb – “be considered worthy”  is one word in Greek; imperative verb; which elders? The ones who rule well; requirements: ministry of the Word, prayer; Here we see responsibility in ‘ruling”; not lording, but προί̈́στημι (proistēmi); Stand before; a beautiful picture of leadership, out front; head of household;

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13: 12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.

Heb 13:7, 17; Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. And, 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

How do we respect these men? Giving them double honor; to those who: 3 job requirements – rule well and ‘labor in the word’ and ‘in teaching’ (preach and teach); This isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination. This really just seems to me to be the work seen in public – which fits our context. The Truth is, so much of what they do is really ‘alone’ stuff or ‘one on one’ stuff or even ‘small group’ stuff.

John Newton described ministry as ‘a sorrow full of joy’… That’s really accurate.

This is a beautiful description of the men in our church who have been laboring, toiling in the word and then preaching this Word. They work on a couple of texts and prepare that work to be presented to a group of their peers. Then, they have an opportunity to preach one of those texts to the congregation.

Some see these as two separate elder groups: Leaders and preachers/teachers. Note it says those who rule well, but ‘especially’ those who preach and teach. I don’t think ‘especially’ is focused on the teaching and preaching, but on those who κόπος (kopos)- labor; this is a demanding work; vs 18 is the proof text (rd); I like this; Paul uses two separate passages: Deuteronomy 25:4; The 2nd is a quote of Jesus; that’s pretty cool; Lk 10:7; Paul was very familiar with Luke; some scholars insist that Paul would have been familiar with Luke, since Luke may very well have been working on it while traveling with Paul;

app.: The point is this: respect, w/ double honor, your elders

t.s.: Respecting your elders…2nd,

  1. Protecting your Elders (19)

exp.: rd v 19; protect them from accusation: it is a very serious matter to bring a charge against your elders; Don’t allow it, except where the process of church discipline has properly taken place;

ill.: Consider this: because the elders are very public in their service, they open themselves up to harsh criticism. They’re easy targets. That criticism can be harsh, especially when those who pass judgment don’t have all of the information in front of them. We do so much harm when we ‘accuse’ our elders of negligence and self-motivation because we simply disagree with their leadership; oftentimes it is simply a matter of change that upsets an individual; Someone doesn’t like a decision, a plan, a program, a change in the current system or program;

app.: Respecting our elders is seen in the protection of our elders from false or inflammatory remarks about their leadership and the decisions they make.

t.s.: However, with that said, no elder is perfect; Sometimes an elder needs to be corrected;

ill.: Vibe magazine interviewed popular comedian and actor Chris Rock.

When asked, “Were you raised Christian?” Rock answered: “I wasn’t raised anything, to tell you the truth. My grandfather was a…preacher. He was the funniest guy. He used to curse a lot, run around, whatever. A bunch of deacons from his church got arrested for selling coke. Not selling it out of the church, but you know.”

When asked, “Do you ever regret that you don’t have a connection to a long tradition of belief?” Rock replied: “That I’m not Baptist or whatever? And I don’t have this thing to pass down? Not at all. ‘Cause I do have a long tradition of belief. My belief is in working hard and treating people well. All that other stuff is nonsense.”

app.: Ok, there is so much in those statements, but let me just say: Elders Cursing and ‘running around’. That needs to be confronted. Deacons selling cocaine? Elders like that need to be asked to step down. But there is a huge spectrum between an elder participating in illegal behavior and making mistakes. So, just being an elder doesn’t mean he won’t make mistakes. He will. And when he does, he needs to be corrected…

t.s: that is why Paul continues v 20;

Correcting your Elders (20-21)

exp.: when coupled with v 19, this lines up with church discipline as we’ve been taught by Jesus in Matthew 18; We often err, by not going to the member or the elder; and discussing this one-on-one; We hurt the body when we stand in the hallway and criticize our elders (or anyone for that matter); Should one of us have a problem, go and talk directly to him (that’s first); and if he won’t listen… then 2nd, take two or three witnesses and talk this over with him; if he still won’t listen; bring your two or three witnesses and rebuke him in the presence of the body; The process Jesus gives us is for protecting us on all sides:

  • It protects the person in sin, by allowing them the opportunity to repent without humiliation before the whole body.
  • It protects the person doing the confronting, by allowing them to be corrected if they’re wrong. Most problems like these can be cleared up with a little understanding.
  • It protects the body by strengthening these relationships and bringing healing to that one localized area.

Exp.: rd v 21; Paul reminds Timothy not to show partiality to the elders, don’t prejudge them.

t.s.: each one should be Respecting, Protecting, Correcting, and finally Paul reminds them to be careful in …

Selecting your Elders (22-25)

exp.: rd v 22; caution: don’t lay hands on to quickly; 1st, this is for Timothy, not the body; The senior elder has a tremendous responsibility in leading the flock; when he lays his hands on a man who is unqualified, he ‘shares’ in their sins, past and future; κοινωνέω (koinōneō); this is the vb form of Koinonia (n); that is why he says in v 22c; keep (a watchful eye); yourself pure;

ill.: IH Marshall: this can be used of sharing in gifts and experiences or in actions; it may also be used for giving a share in something to somebody. Here the thought is clearly that by showing some kind of positive attitude to a sinner one is approving of the person and thereby sharing in that person’s sins in the sense of sharing in the responsibility and hence the guilt for them.

It makes me think of Chris Rock’s Grandfather and his leaders selling cocaine. And then Paul adds this parenthetical statement: rd v 23; issues of purity and health; So Paul brings his thoughts to a summation in vs 24-25; rd v 24-5; Here is his point: you will recognize an elder before you select them; their good deeds will go before them;

Conclusion:

Church, you have a great responsibility in caring for yourself – and it begins in the Leadership you pick. I’m proud of the men you’ve selected. You’ve done a great job.

  • Jason Hall
  • Joshua Webb
  • Phil Baker
  • Lyle Skeels

 

Who is next or who are next? Will you commit this to prayer?

  1. Prayer for those who lead…
  2. Prayer for those whom God is bringing…
  3. The Elders will bring a recommendation, but the church has the final say. So pray…

 

 

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1 Timothy 5.1-16

Title: The Treatment of Members: Confronting & Caring

Text: 1 Timothy 5:1-16

CIT: Rules for members.

CIS: Rules for members.

Introduction:

Sometimes I think the whole Christian world is made up of just two groups: those who speak their faith and accomplish significant things for God, and those who criticize and malign the first group.

Don Basham, “On the Tip of My Tongue,”

Today I might sound critical of you… that isn’t my intention. I wish to be a part of the first group here – those who are a part of the solution…

You’ll note from the title of today’s message that the issue today is all about relationships. I have to say that I love it when the topic is relationships. I’ll reiterate what I’ve said so many times: nothing is more important in the church than relationships. If you want to know more, see me after the service. I’m serious…

Relationships are hard. Period. Some are harder than others, but it is what it is: hard! That is why they are so important. They’re important in evangelism, in discipleship, in worship, in prayer, in fellowship and the list goes on. Relationships permeate every aspect of the church. So, we need to get this right.

Think about our Purpose as a body: Imaging God. Our purpose isn’t to worship. Our purpose isn’t evangelism. Our purpose isn’t discipleship. Yes, we ‘do’ all of these. But, our purpose is to Glorify God. There is no commandment greater than Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. So, the question is, then, “what do we do when we haven’t been imaging God correctly?” We don’t like this part of relationships, but confronting members who are not imaging God correctly is our task.

But this is what I love about Paul’s letter. He’s saying to Timothy, Do the work of confronting, but do it in love! Let your first thought be love. Again, it comes back to relationships!

 

Opening Illustration: Joshua Harris

The Evangelical World has been rocked in the last few years with defectors from the faith. Most recently you’ve probably heard of Joshua Harris.

Ill.: Joshua Harris; I Kissed Dating Goodbye. 1997. Recently announced his divorce and renunciation of his faith. Before those two announcements, he made some statements in an interview where he simply said he was having trouble reconciling his theology with life.

I think that there’s a push by some people to say being sex-positive means — the kind of the historical sexual ethic related to sex outside of marriage, related to homosexuality, is basically laid aside, and embracing a healthy view of sex means just accepting all that as fine within the Christian tradition. … I do think though that, for me, in that change of interpretation of such a fundamental level when it comes to sexuality, it’s just hard for me to … In a way, it’s almost easier for me to contemplate throwing out all of Christianity than it is to keeping Christianity and adapting it in these different ways.

This is refreshing in the respect that he can’t reconcile what the world teaches and what the Bible teaches. The problem with liberal theology is that it can’t reconcile both either. Their stance is to just throw out those portions of Scripture. But, Harris doesn’t do that. He fully acknowledges that the Bible teaches something contrary to the world. There is more, and it comes out in an Instagram post or a tweet, I confuse the two. He stated that he isn’t a Christian. He said that based on his definition of what a Christian is, he isn’t. Others have encouraged him to move to a more liberal movement in observing the faith, but he has declared that he isn’t there yet.

Here’s the problem with a false gospel being preached from the pulpits – it creates a bunch of false followers who are in the game for all the wrong reasons. When God doesn’t do what the preachers have promised, then there is frustration and anger (and, I suppose, a step-by-step process of all the stages Kübler-Ross outlined) and eventually, a falling away.

To be honest, my heart hurts for these men and others like them who have left devastated followers in their wake. They preach a gospel of success and happiness that comes through legalism. They don’t call it that, but that is what they promise. Don’t date anymore. Instead, court and God will give you the blessings of a wonderful marriage.

Hear what I’m saying: court, date, get married through an arranged marriage. It doesn’t matter. In any of those cases, relationships are still hard! Do any of the following and your marriage might end. Do any of the following and your kids might still get sick – they might still die. Any message from a preacher who declares that if you’ll do this then God will do that – is a false doctrine.

And, this is precisely what Paul has been warning Timothy about in our letter: don’t let false teachers present a false gospel. The damage they bring is destructive. Look at 4.11-16 with me: 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Now, Paul outlined for Timothy to ‘Command and Teach’ these things: Personal godliness, Preaching the Word, Putting into Practice his giftedness, Diligence over his life and doctrine and dogged persistence in keeping a watchful eye over it all.

But how do you command and teach these things? When confronting members, it can be harsh. How do you confront an older man? How do you confront an older woman? Or, brothers and sisters your own age or younger? How do you talk to widows without seeming to be mean or hurtful?

It’s hard! Let’s look at what Paul says to Timothy in 5.1f; rd v 1;

So the first thing Paul mentions here is how to be direct with members.

I.     Confronting Members (1-2)

exp.: ἐπιπλήσσω (epiplēssō); epi – at or before; plēsō – to strike; to strike at; do not sharply rebuke; we use this kind of language when someone says something and we reply: Oh, that hurt! Or That’s hitting below the belt! This word appears nowhere else in the NT or LXX; ἀλλὰ; a marker of emphatic contrast; but, exhort or encourage; 4:13; There must be a way to confront without hurting. Sure, there is some discomfort, but you want to teach what is correct without hurting the person. That’s the goal here.

  • Confronting Older Men (v 1)

exp.: an older man; πρεσβύτερος (presbyteros); Elder; this is not the office, but referring to age; probably above 40; more like above 50; no doubt 60; ὡς; as or like, a father; your biological; Consider how you would talk to

  • Confronting Younger Men (v 1)

exp.: your peers; as brothers;

  • Confronting Older Women (v 2)

exp.: an older woman; same as above; ὡς; as or like, a father;

  • Confronting Younger Women (v 2)

exp.: as sisters, in all purity; probably just with this last phrase; a 2nd reminder of the moral responsibility as a man of God;

app.: The Context is that for a pastor, don’t lash out at people; There is an appropriate way to handle problems we have with members; Timothy isn’t to Lord it over them just because he’s the pastor. But, instead he is to confront these brothers and sisters in Christ with respect and dignity and honor (5th commandment);

I don’t think this is just for a young pastor. We can be this way with each other. We should be, right?

Paul turns his attention to another situation in Ephesus: Widows rd v 3;

II.    Caring for Widows (3-8)

exp.: I don’t know about you, but I’m like: Truly Widows? Isn’t the definition of a widow pretty clear?

  • Truly a Widow (really, indeed)

exp.: rd v 3; Lk 23:47 – this really was an innocent man; Lk 24:34 – The Lord is really risen; Jn 8:36 – If the Son sets you free indeed; Mark 11.32 – John was truly a prophet. What Paul is saying here is that there are women who have lost their husbands, but aren’t in the desperate need that other women who’ve lost their husbands are. I don’t think he’s being mean or harsh. Paul is trying to not overload the work of the church. Think about this for a moment: a woman in that culture didn’t work like men did. We do find women working and we find them in leadership, but for the overwhelming majority of the women, when they lost their husbands, they lost their livelihood. So Paul breaks down the need into categories. He identifies those who are truly needy and those without.

  • Types of Widows

          –  Widow w/ family (4)

exp.: rd v 4a; a widow who has family (children and grandchildren); them is a plural pronoun, which I believe points back to the children and grandchildren; ‘widow’ is singular here. Let the children and grandchildren care for her – and return to them the same care she gave them; Consider what she has done for them through the years. It’s time to reciprocate. How many diapers has she changed? Bottoms has she wiped and cleaned? How many meals has she cooked for them? How many times has she cared for them when they were sick? Cleaned up vomit? Spit up? Held them, cried for them, prayed over them? She didn’t do it thinking someday they’ll return the favor. She did it out of love. It’s time now for her children and grandchildren to show that same love to her; rd 4b; this is pleasing in the sight of God; godliness and obedience; it’s how you honor them.

          –  Widow w/ no family (5)

exp.: rd v 5a; a widow who is truly a widow has no family (μονόω), we get our word ‘mono’ for singular; monologue; monotonous; she’s alone.

  • Alone: has no concern except for the Lord; her family is the church and the church should care for her;
  • She is concerned for the affairs of God; So God’s family should take her in and care for her;

          –  Widow w/ finances (6)

exp.: rd v 6; a widow who is self-sufficient, wealthy, resources; lit.: living in luxury; contrast the widow whose concern is the church and the woman whose concern is her own selfishness; she may have no family, but she has her money and her things;

  • Teach these Warnings (7-8)

exp.: rd v 7, who is the ‘they’; v 8 (4, 16); The family; If she has relatives, they are responsible for her; if they don’t care for her, then that is a poor witness; they’ve done two things: denied the faith, worse than an unbeliever; opposite of v 4; ungodly; disobedient; no honor; isn’t better to be an unbeliever and be seen as an unbeliever, than to be a believer and bring harm to the body as a poor witness?

t.s.: Paul moves quickly to “the list”

III.  Criteria for Widowhood (9-16)

exp.: What is this List? Rd v 9-10; The List: There seems to have been an official place for older widows, they had certain requirements and if the church had been supported by these ladies, then, by all means, the church should care for them. Titus 2:3-5;

ill.: J. MacArthur: Their duties surely included helping with the baptism of women, visiting the sick, visiting prisoners, teaching and discipling younger women, helping younger women rear and nurture their children, and providing hospitality for visitors and strangers. They may have also assisted in placing orphans into proper Christian homes. That was a very important ministry in the Roman world, since orphaned or abandoned children wound up as slaves, and often as prostitutes or gladiators. With their own husbands gone and their children grown, those widows had the time to pursue such essential ministries.

That such a group of widows existed in the early church is known from extra-biblical sources. In the late first and early second centuries, Ignatius and Polycarp wrote of such an order. Tertullian, who lived in the latter part of the second and early part of the third centuries, also mentioned it. The third-century document known as the Didascalia and the fourth-century ‘Apostolic Constitutions’ also refer to an order of widows.

  1. Three Criteria to make the List (9-10)
    1. Age
    2. Marital Fidelity
    3. Service (good works)
      1. Brought up her children; this isn’t necessarily in the order of preference or prominence, but it definitely deserves some attention. Is there a greater task of importance than a mother to her children? Maybe to her husband, but that would be it.
      2. Hospitable
      3. Washed feet
      4. Cared for the afflicted (θλίβω (thlibō) under pressure to squeeze; it means to be between a rock and a hard place)
      5. Devoted herself to these ‘good works’
  2. Caution/Urge Younger Widows to marry (11-15)
    1. Downward spiral
    2. Better to Marry

exp.: evidently, some of the widows have fallen for this false teaching in the church, they’ve chased after the things of this world and are causing trouble in the church.

There is something really interesting here that takes place throughout this chapter:

  1. The order of people who care for widows: (16)
    1. Children and Grandchildren (v 4)
    2. Male Relatives (v 8)
    3. Female Relatives (v 16)

 

I don’t think this means that the church should ignore widows who have relatives who can care for them. But, it does help us in regard to identifying widows in need and our responsibility to care for them.

Conclusion:

So, what is Paul saying here:

  1. Anyone can be led astray: Old, young; male, female.

– Widows, in particular, were targeted with false teaching in Ephesus.

Ill.: Joanne Walker of Corvalis, Montana: Our wedding reception, in my parents’ home, ended late. Mom didn’t try to clean up until the next morning. To her dismay, there were cake crumbs everywhere! “How careless the guests were,” she thought to herself.

Until she went to the kitchen. There, still neatly stacked and clean, were the plates and forks–forgotten by my mother in the busyness of the preparations. In other words, with all of her work, she forgot to set out the very utensils needed to prevent such a mess. In her busyness, she forgot her business.

  1. Busyness vs. Business

It’s easy to forget in the busyness of the church what the true business is. Let’s not get so busy with things that we overlook a very important part of our church: Our widows – those women (and I might add men) who are truly widows indeed.

Difference between the Y and the I; Busyness leads to questions: Why are their crumbs all over the floor, Why were people so careless? Business, true business leads to the I…what can I do, How can I help?

You know, it’s pretty easy to be critical of how things are (the 2nd group I mentioned in the beginning), but let’s not just be busy for the sake of busyness; Ask yourself, in my relationship to all the members, Old men, Old women, Young Men, Young Women, Widows…what am I doing to help? Let’s work together to meet needs.

Someone should make a list of our widows and carefully outline them according to these guidelines from Paul. This falls under the care of the deacons, but I know that there are others interested in helping and the deacons could sure use the help. It really is embarrassing to think of some of the widows who’ve received no care.

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1 Timothy 4.1-5

Title: The false appearance of godliness

Text: 2 Timothy 4.1-5

Introduction: We’ll begin in 2 Timothy 4 and at some point look at 1 Corinthians 7 & Mark 7. So, go ahead and find those other texts. We all filter our experiences through our worldview. You have one, whether you know it or not. Hopefully, it is a Biblical Worldview. That is the main reason I love Starting Points. It is a great class for helping your children develop a Biblical Worldview. In that class, a student creates a filter, a colander of sorts. This filter is based upon God’s Word. Then, as life goes by and these students watch movies or read books or articles, they will filter what they hear through their worldview.

Story of Peter: This is what happens to Peter in Acts 10. God is at work in the lives of two individuals: Peter and Cornelius. Tell the Story.

God is changing Peter’s worldview. He is seeing that Gentiles could get saved. He’s seeing that Gentiles could get saved and not have to become Jews first.

That illustration, that example, that story was experienced and written down for your and my benefit. The Holy Spirit was at work in the lives of those men to teach us. If you keep reading in Acts 11, you’ll see that Peter reports back to the leadership in Jerusalem. By the time we get to Acts 15, so many Gentiles are being saved that the Jews must deal with this issue of OT laws. Their worldview was changing.

But not everyone could get on board with this new way of thinking. Too many Jews, who had become Christians, just couldn’t give up the law. For one reason or another, they held to their Jewish worldview of legalism.

Now, fast-forward a couple of decades to where the Gospel has spread… well, all the way to Rome. And even though it had been concluded that Gentiles did not have to become Jews before they could get saved – the old worldview still corrupted the church through false teaching.

Henry has set us up nicely as he teed up our topic for us last week… Let me share with you his summation and how that fits with where we’re going as we make our way through July.

Henry said: Right actions of a right people flow from a right devotion to a righteous God revealed in His Son. I don’t know if this was his intention or not, but he described godliness. You might even say it is a great definition for godliness. Godliness is doing the right thing for the right reason.

  • Right actions: your behavior, what you do
  • Of a right people: Christians, made right through Christ. Forgiven. The actions of these people…
  • Flow from a right devotion: this is one’s intentions, their aim, and purpose in life. What they do isn’t motivated by selfishness or self-service in any way.
  • To a righteous God: No, it isn’t self-serving, it is all for God and his glory. That is their joy, their satisfaction.
  • (As) revealed in His Son: I added the word “as” for convenience. Jesus has demonstrated with his life what godliness looks like. He is the embodiment of godliness. We do what we do because we believe he would do that, too. We act like him, we talk like him, we serve like him, and we sacrifice like him. We do everything to the best of our abilities to be like him.

And when we do, they call us “Christians”. You’re just like your ‘Savior’, Jesus.

But there is a problem, in our text – this isn’t what the false teachers were preaching and teaching! Their view of godliness was earned. Godliness came through regulation and rules, through abstinence and denial. So Paul gives Timothy three actions of the believer to combat against False Godliness (Asceticism). Look with me at our text in 1 Timothy 4.1-5; So Paul says to Timothy that Ungodliness will infiltrate teaching in the church. Expect it to be taught, here are a couple of examples, and recognized the error in that teaching by knowing the Truth. Repeat. False Godliness

  • Expect it to be taught
  • Identify it when you see it. Here are some Examples of it (What it is…)
  • Understand what it does: it steals your joy! (What it does…)

Transition: So, let’s take these actions one at a time.

Three actions to combat against False Godliness (Asceticism):

  1. Expect it (1-2)

exp.: rd v 1; Really? People will actually do this? Yes, and you know this because the Holy Spirit has told you so. You should expect this false teaching promoting false godliness. It will be preached and taught and there will be those who will listen and follow – and as a result, they will be led away. The Holy Spirit expressly says, declares, and makes it known to us. It is going to happen, so don’t be surprised, expect it. Timothy repeats this in his next letter: cf. 2 Tim 3.1-7;

This is the beauty of our faith: we have the Holy Spirit to guide us. We don’t walk alone and we don’t walk in ignorance. When you become a believer by faith, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your spirit. This is one of the foundational, rudimentary doctrines of our faith. And we experience him in various ways as he guides, directs, teaches…

A thing or two about false teachers and those who follow them:

  1. They don’t lose their salvation – they leave the faith (1a); is there a difference? You bet there is! 1 John 2.19 – 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
  2. Their devotion is toward deceitful spirits and teachings of demons (1b)
  3. They ignore the foundation of truth and they follow the insincerity of liars (2)
  4. Their false doctrine leads to your false godliness: these people devote themselves to the wrong people and wrong actions thinking that those actions or behaviors are what makes them godly.

Transition: as a Christian, you’ve been forewarned of this invasion of the enemy: Expect it. Now that you know it is going to happen, how do you prepare for it? And this is our 2nd Action:

  1. Identify it (3)

exp.: You should be aware of what this false teaching looks like, in order that you might avoid its pitfall. Rd v 3; these folks were told that marriage was forbidden and sinful, as well as, they were required to abstain from certain foods. For sure, this isn’t an exhaustive list, it isn’t every doctrine that is false – it’s just two of them.

  • Lies about marriage: Celibacy/Single; today it would be cohabitation; sex outside of marriage; Gay marriage

exp.: We see this doctrine of marriage being misunderstood from the beginning of Christianity. Consider Paul’s counsel for people to remain single – in order that their devotion might be single-minded. 1 Cor. 7.1-9; rd v 1; just that alone, appears to say that marriage shouldn’t happen. But, when you read more, you realize that just isn’t the case. Rd 2-5; Sex is to be enjoyed within the confines of marriage. Outside of that context and you have misery. Look at 6-9;

Paul says within the confines of marriage, sex is good. But false teachers say, no – sex is bad. This is Satan’s greatest victory over Christians: he takes what God gives us and perverts it in one of two ways. First, he takes the gift of God and expands the boundaries to include everyone and everything. Or, 2nd, he goes the other way and limits the gift of God to the point that you never find joy in God’s gift.

Did you know that throughout most of the history of Christianity that sex has been seen as bad? R Kent Hughes has done some great research on this subject. He identifies many teachings throughout Christian history which identify sexual love as being wicked and evil. Tertullian, Ambrose, and Augustine wrote of the evils of sexual love. He quotes Ambrose: married people ought to blush at the state in which they are living. Augustine said that the sexual relationship in marriage was innocent, but the passion which comes along with the act is always sinful. The early church fathers praised virginity as superior to marriage. The Council of Trent denounced any who would deny such a thing. And the reformers didn’t help matters! Do you know who actually began to turn the tide on this thinking? The Puritans! Hughes quotes Dr. Leland Ryken: The Puritan doctrine of sex was a watershed on the cultural history of the West. The Puritans devalued celibacy, glorified compassionate marriage, affirmed married sex as both necessary and pure, established the ideal of wedded romantic love, and exalted the role of the wife.

I’ve got to be honest – I was so not expecting that! To be declared Puritanical is to declare a rigid, frigid, and presented in a negative way. When one thinks of Puritans, they don’t think of sex education. So, to clarify: I like what the Puritan’s had to teach! Let’s get this straight. Sex is great when understood as within the context of God’s design. That’s right, I said that from the pulpit. Sex is a wonderful gift from God. Enjoy it within the confines of marriage. Here is your warning: If you engage in this activity outside of that context, then you will experience pain, destruction, sorrow, depression, and all such misery. If you’re listening to me right now, please identify this false doctrine.

Paul then gives us a 2nd doctrine to identify.

  • Lies about foods: Don’t eat and Don’t drink

exp.: These two examples seem to be right out of the beginning of Genesis, don’t they? I think of Eve’s words – Don’t eat it, don’t even touch it. There are denominations that exist today that take the Old Testament Laws on forbidden, unclean food and apply it to their people. It is a lie that has been perpetuated throughout time. And Southern Baptists aren’t any different. We still apply traditional prohibitions to people – we say if you’re saved you can’t… eat this or that, or we say you can’t drink this or that.

It reminds me of the old country song from the ’70s that was sung by the Imperials as a dig toward conservatives: if you have long hair, then you can’t be saved. That was the big thing in the ’60s and ’70s: cut your hair and shave your beard! Some of you know what I’m talking about…

ill.: the big joke was of the boy who wanted to get a car. He begged his dad. His dad said that his grades were low, his room was a mess and his hair was too long – it needed to be cut. The son agreed to work on those things. Next report card came out and he had all A’s. His father acknowledged his room had been clean and looking really nice. The Dad said, but son, you didn’t cut your hair. The son said, “Yes, sir, I know, but Jesus had long hair. And without missing a beat the Dad said, “Yeah, but he walked everywhere he went, too.”

app.: I’m so glad we’ve moved beyond the coat and the tie requirement. And I’m glad you don’t have to cut your hair and your beard to be saved. But we still aren’t there if we put requirements of food and drink on people to declare their salvation and godliness.

Transition: Teaching on False Godliness – expect it, identify it and 3rdly…

  1. Understand what it does:

exp.: it steals your joy – You should know the truth about these doctrines. You should know and identify their parameters for your own health and safety; whether marriage or food – both are created by God and to be enjoyed by his people! Rd v 4-5; Everything God made is Good! Everything! 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.

Turn with me to Mark 7.14-23; rd Mk 7.14-23; when you choose to put limits on what God’s gifts, then you miss out on the joy God intended for you to experience. Here’s our problem: we over-indulge in the gifts of God – and that can be a bad thing. Whenever you over-indulge in the gifts, you begin to seek the gift more than the giver of those gifts. Over-indulgence is a bad thing, just as exclusion is a bad thing. There is a happy medium that we need to find.

So, let’s bring the pendulum back to the middle. Let’s stop the extremes of God’s gifts: denial and abstinence or license and debauchery. And instead, enjoy all that this life offers as given by God. Amen?

Truth:

  • Fasting can bring you closer to God. But this is a serious endeavor and should not be embarked upon without preparation. May I be bold enough to say, yes – many of us need to fast.
  • Paul said in 1 Cor 7 that abstinence from your marriage partner for a time can be beneficial to your soul. But don’t use this as an excuse and don’t hurt your spouse with it. Sex isn’t a tool to use for getting what you want. It is a wonderful experience of intimacy in the marriage as created by God.
  • But God gave you these gifts to enjoy in life. Wow… go figure, God wants you to find pleasure in this life and you will find your pleasure in life when you are most satisfied in Him.

Take-a-ways:

  1. If you are not enjoying God’s gifts, get some help. Get help for the sake of your marriage. Get help for the sake of your sanity. Get help for the sake of your family.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met with and offered counsel to over these issues. Many of us bought into the lies of the world and the false doctrines brought into the church and we experienced the depression, the sadness, the anger, the abuse, and the emotional rollercoaster that comes with disobedience. And, we carried that baggage into our marriage. Husbands and wives have fought over these issues because they still feel guilty. Hey get help, get forgiveness, forgive yourself and live life to its fullest. Stop wallowing in your misery. It’s not healthy.

  1. Understand the beauty of moderation – The pendulum extremes are indulgence or abstinence. No, let’s find a happy medium here.

Here’s the thing about moderation – don’t impose your rules upon others. And, don’t confuse your activity or your inactivity with godliness. Just because you’re skinny doesn’t mean you’re godly. Just because you don’t physically cheat on your spouse, doesn’t mean you’re godly. Here’s the big problem with these false teachers – they impose a set of rules as requirements for godliness. Don’t do the same thing.

  1. Never confuse godliness with ritual or routine. Yes, it is important to come to church every Sunday, but that doesn’t demonstrate godliness either. Don’t confuse the two.

I wonder if it saddens the Father to see us missing out on the wonderful life he has designed because we fall for the lies of Satan? I wonder if he thinks that he made it so simple and we complicate it all. I wonder if it breaks his heart to see

  • a young woman destroyed by her decisions;
  • a young man suffering from his decisions;
  • a family, broken apart by another person’s decisions;
  • a person’s understanding that they are godly because they do this or that and avoid this or that.

Can I just conclude with this plea: God has created life to be enjoyed to the fullest possible extent. He created it, he designed it and wrote the manual on how it should be run. Will you trust him with it all?

If you’ve been trying to obtain godliness through all of your action or inaction, can offer you a moment to repent of that? Maybe you’ve never come to Christ and found the forgiveness of your sins. You’ve played the game of life and you’ve lost. Come to Christ. We’ll have a moment of silence and then we’ll be dismissed with a word of prayer. We’ll gather in the back for a time of fellowship – come to talk to someone about how to live this life to its fullest.

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Filed under 1 Timothy, Addiction, Christian Living, Scripture, Sermon

1 Timothy 3.8-13

Title: The Two Offices of the Church: Deacons are like Elders, mostly

Text: 1 Timothy 3.8-13

Deacons: A different group of people.

I want to talk to you today about the greatest need at Calvary Baptist Church, Tyler, TX. I’m talking desperation, here. This is a great day to take notes, and if you’re taking notes write this down: for the ministry and mission of Calvary, right now, our greatest need is for deacons. We have some deacons, but they’ve been working on a very limited basis. There is too much work for too few men. Some have gotten older and can’t handle the load that they used to carry. And so much then falls through the cracks.

Now I wonder, if some of you might be asking at this point: “Really Fred? That’s our greatest need?” Yeah, it probably is. Ministry opportunities are currently uncovered and not happening because we just don’t have the men and women in place to keep up with the need.

And it really shouldn’t be that way. We have enough people. Why is that?

  • My guess is that people just don’t know.
  • Maybe there is a stigma attached to the word deacon – like, someone feels they’re too young.

We as a body need to remedy this. So, today I’m going to talk to you about deacons and ministry in the church; and, just what we as a church need to be doing about it.

Our text is 1 Tim 3.8-13. I’ve divided this message into two parts with one excursus.

  1. Their Character (8-10)
  2. Their Competence (12-13)
  3. Excursus: Women in ministry (11). And we’ll talk about this when we get to verse 11.

So let’s take a moment and look at our biggest need right now. We need men and women to step up and fill in the missing gaps.

Some of you might be asking yourself if you’re deacon material. That’s a great question. Let’s talk about that. 1st, Paul tells us of…

  1. Their Upstanding Character

Exp.: It’s really a very short list; basically, a review of what’s already been said; rd v8a; Deacons likewise must be dignified. In the Gk there are three words; there is no verb here in the Gk, but it is supplied by the reader because the reader has it from above (cf.v2); must be, needs to be, it is necessary; Honorable, dignified. It’s not any different than the elders, with the exception of being able to teach. You might even sum it up by saying: these guys are elder-like. They have an upstanding character. That’s what the ‘likewise’ is for; it means in a similar manner or in like manner. To clarify, deacons aren’t to be…; rd 8b not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain.

  • Not double-tongued could mean one of two things, and I think both apply.
    • 1st, not to say one thing and do another.
    • 2nd, not to say one thing to one person and something else to another.
  • Not addicted to much wine. This coincides with the elders. There isn’t anything wrong with a glass of wine, it’s when there is no self-control and wine takes control.
  • Not greedy for dishonest gain. I love the KJV: not greedy of filthy lucre. Again, there is control over passion and pursuits when it comes to money.

To say one thing and do another isn’t honorable. To say something to someone and something else to someone else is not honorable or dignified. Getting drunk is not dignified. Being selfish and greedy and doing what you do in the pursuit of money isn’t honorable or dignified.

A simple way to see this is to see them living out what they believe. rd v 9-10; They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. – 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. I note two parts to this:

  • An informed faith: deacons are not required to teach like elders are, but they do hold to the mystery of the faith. Mystery simply means that at one time it was hidden, but now it has been revealed. That’s the gospel. Many didn’t see it coming the way it did, but now they see. Now they know. And they not only hold to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience, but they’ve been tested in it.
  • An incessant faith: it remains through all of the tough times. Many problems in life and in the church have come and gone, but they remain. They are a constant – like a lighthouse in the bay – their light continues to shine and guide others in spite of what storms rage around them.

Transition: these guys have been tested and tried and have come out on the other side blameless. Now, rd v 11 with me; – 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things.

  1. Aside: Women who serve

Exp.: I want to be careful, but clear. The Gk reads literally: women likewise dignified. Grammatically, I want you to note:

  1. There is no pronoun their in the Gk. Some scholars argue that it is That means that previously, it was supplied and so you would supply it here, too. The argument is that the woman in chapter two is Eve and she is the wife of Adam and so, here it is the wife.
  2. The verb is to be supplied. So, women likewise must be dignified. This is the same exact wording as v 8, only in the feminine form. What does this mean? Well, it isn’t clear.

4 possible solutions:

  1. Women are deacons, too.
  2. Women who are not deacons, but rather deaconesses and a different group altogether.
  3. Women are married to the deacons and a part of their ministry. Now there is a 4th option and it is very close and similar to #3…
  4. Women are servants and assistants to the deacons in their ministry.

Of these 4 possible solutions: I don’t think it is #1. #2 – I like # 2, but really need to explain why I like it. I think one of the last two of these is a real possibility.

  1. Women are deacons, too. I don’t think that is Paul’s presentation. Strike it.
  2. Women who are not deacons, but rather deaconesses and a different group altogether. Possible, but I don’t think this is Paul’s presentation either. You would have an argument with the usage of ‘likewise’ but, Paul returns to the deacons in the next verse. So that probably isn’t the case. He isn’t leaving this issue of being deacons. I guess the reason I don’t like it is that it just doesn’t stand on its own. So strike it too.
  3. Women are married to the deacons and a part of their ministry. Highly possible; but I doubt this one. Many women who are married to deacons willingly volunteer their time and help their husbands. But not all do. If that is the case, then should a man not be a deacon if his wife doesn’t help him? Then it would need to be a requirement to become a deacon. Now there is a 4th option and it is very close and similar to #3…
  4. Women are servants and assistants to the deacons in their ministry. Highly possible; Women who serve; We find one such lady listed in Romans 16.1-2; Phoebe; “I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well.” I think the term ‘Likewise’ gives them a classification, like their different from the men, but still an important and vital part of the church’s ministry;

So, this is how we understand it at Calvary: The deacon body consists of men appointed to this task by the church. There are women and men who serve under the responsibility of the deacons and administrate certain ministries. This is what our constitution says Deacon: Subject to the will of the congregation, the deacons shall care for the temporal needs of the members, attend to the accommodations for public worship, and encourage and support those able to help others and those with gifts of administration.

Question: Why is it that Baptists are against women deacons? My theory is that a typical Baptist church has its deacons serving in elder-type positions and making elder-type decisions. These deacons give oversight and rule. To be brutally honest, many Baptist churches function on their traditions and ignore the Scriptures. They go back to chapter two and see that a woman shouldn’t have authority over a man, therefore, a woman shouldn’t be a deacon. But, Scripture is very clear that Deacons are simply servants. They were created to serve in Acts 6.1-8. Their job was to ‘wait on tables’.

The job of the deacons is to put on an apron and serve. In John 12.2 – Martha served; Luke 17.7-10 – unworthy servant; Luke 22.26-27; 24 A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. 27 For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.

That’s the job of a deacon: to serve. Mark Dever: “Deacons should not act as a separate power bloc or second house of the legislature through which bills need to be passed. If the elders say, ‘Let’s drive to Pittsburgh,’ it’s not up to the deacons to come back and say, ‘No, let’s drive to Philadelphia instead.’ They can legitimately come back and say, ‘Our engine won’t get us to Pittsburgh. Perhaps we should reconsider.’ That’s very helpful. But in general, their job is to support the destination set by the elders.”

When you consider that deacons have no power, except as servants of the body… can women serve like that, too? The answer is yes. And they should…

Finally, Let’s get back to the passage…

  1. Their Outstanding Competence

Exp.: rd v 12; 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

Their competence is seen in the way they manage their families:

  • Wife: same as the elder; a man of one woman; he is elder like in his faithfulness to his wife.
  • Children: again, just like last week: this doesn’t mean that his children are perfect.

Their family is a priority. As I think about this in my life, I’m reminded of something Mark Dever once said: the church can get another pastor, but my children cannot get another father. My wife cannot simply get another husband. And so it is with the deacon: his family is his priority.

The life of a deacon displays a servant’s heart. Being a servant means managing: managing funds, schedules, supplies, etc. There is a lot to administer and care for when someone serves. – I think this means you recognize these men because they’re serving already. They have a servant’s heart and that just comes out in what they do.

We are in need of people to serve. Let me rephrase that: we have a desperate need for people to serve.

So, here is my challenge to you:

  • Church, will you pray for the men in our congregation and ask God to show you men who should be serving as deacons?
  • Men, will you seriously pray about saying yes to serve if you’re asked? That’s a big thing for the church to say to you: I see Christ in you, I see your leadership capabilities and we’d be so blessed to have you serve. Will you serve?
  • Women, will you step up and help these men accomplish their duties. Will you be willing to say I’m here and will help in whatever capacity the Lord might want to use me?
    • Will you go visit the shut-ins?
    • Will you help care for the Widows?

*not just on your own, but under the care and guidance of the deacon body?

 

Some of you (men and women alike) are like: I can do that on my own? I don’t have to be a deacon to do that? No, you don’t have to be a deacon to serve. But can I offer a couple of pointers here?

  1. 1st, organization. The ministry needs to be organized. I’m reminded of the book of Judges where each person did what was right in his own eyes. And, it led to chaos, and rebellion and sin, etc. We’re grateful for when people cover areas of ministry where there is a need. But, can I encourage you to work with the deacons on this – help them keep things organized.
  2. 2nd, accountability. There is accountability when you surrender your personal passions to the leadership of the collective whole. That takes great humility and is most Christ-like. Submitting to the leadership of the deacons can keep you accountable to accomplish what you feel God has led you to do.
  3. 3rd, testimony. It is a great testimony against the lie of Satan when you submit to the leadership of the church. The lie of Satan says that authority can never be trusted because it is always tyrannical and oppressive. But there are wonderful, godly men who need your help. And that help starts by submitting to that leadership. And, it is also a testimony to the world when we function as a body the way God designed us to function.

God created two offices in this body: elders and deacons. The elders he has given responsibility to spiritual matters. To the deacons, he has given the responsibility for the physical, temporal matters. What a great testimony we would be if we functioned as we were designed to function.

I’m so grateful for the godly men who have served faithfully as deacons. They’ve blessed me. One such man, you would think, might never have made it back to church. You see, as a little boy, he was very poor. I don’t really remember his name – we called him Woody. Woody wanted to go to church. Somebody had invited him and so each Sunday morning as a little kid, he just walked to church. He went where they told him to go and he loved it. Until one day… one day a man pulled him aside. The man told Woody that we don’t go to church in these kinds of clothes. Those holes in his pant legs were unsuitable for church. He needed his momma to clean him up and fix his hair. He told him to head home and come back when he had nicer things to wear.

Woody didn’t return. He wouldn’t for years. He was an adult when he came to know Christ. What a change! Woody vowed that he would be a different kind of a man. He was loving and kind. He was generous. He was passionate about Christ. Woody was a servant. He was a real deacon who gave me great respect for deacons.

I have no idea what God has been doing in your life – how he has been molding you and shaping you to be the person you are today. But, maybe, just maybe, God has made you who you are today so that you’ll be fit for his service – just the way he wants you.

Let’s bow our heads for just a moment.

It is time for us to observe one of the ordinances of the church: the Lord’s Supper. Deacons, will you come and prepare the Lord’s Supper Table for this moment.

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Filed under 1 Timothy, Christian Living, Leadership, Scripture, Sermon

1 Tim 3.1-7

Title: The Two Offices of the Church (Part 1)

Text: 1 Timothy 3.1-7

CIT: There are standards by which elders should live.

CIS: The work of an Elder is noble and should not be entered into lightly. The church should recognize these men and appoint them very carefully.

 

Aside: Kudos to Jason for a job well done this past week! I’d like to continue in 1st Timothy where Jason left off. Turn to chapter 3. We’ll pick up in v1. Page 932, bottom rt corner and the top of p. 933;

Intro: In the context of our passage, Paul is writing to Timothy, but for the benefit of the church. So, this is how I’m seeing this. I want to approach this from the perspective of a letter to the church and your responsibility toward your leadership and your potential leadership. Consider this: the men who are serving as your elders today will not always be the same combination of men. You’ve had two other elders who are no longer serving as your elders. Even if the three of us remain for years to come, the dynamic will change as other men join us and it is important for you to select the right men for the job.

Ill.: I joined my first band as a front man for Fallen Angel in 1979. I never performed with them because we just could never get it together. Over the past 40 years, I have sung with and/or played the bass and/or played acoustic in many bands with many people – and this is what I’ve learned: having the right people in the right place is the key.

I played with many singers and instrumentalists who were very good at their job; however, their personalities caused so many problems in the band that we couldn’t function properly. And it only takes one person to disrupt your group.

App.: the application remains the same for any team or committee or board. One wrong person can create havoc on you and your work. So, you as a body can select a really good man – who fits the requirements in every way and still fracture your body.

Transition: you have a great responsibility – maybe that is why Paul goes into such great detail about who should and who should not serve as an overseer.

Let’s go back to the beginning and identify the steps that got us to where we are in 1 Timothy:

  • A charge to confront false teachers and their false teaching (chap. 1)
  • The role of men and women in the public arena concerning prayer and worship (chap. 2)
  • Leadership in the church… the role of the church to put the right men in the right spot… all within the context of false teaching and false teachers.

From this text we find that there are two offices in the church:

  1. Overseers (interchangeable terms: Pastors [shepherds], Elders, Bishops, Overseers) – v1-7
  2. Deacons v8-15

Ill.: The opening of Paul’s letter to the Philippians is one great example of this: Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

BTW: this is clarified in our Statement of Faith (BF&M 2000) in Article 6: VI. The Church

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.

This morning, I’d like to focus on just the first of these two offices: the elder or overseer. We note first in v.1 that Paul declares this a noble task. Rd v 1; The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. This someone aspires to something good. It is a “good work”. Overseer is ἐπισκοπή (episcope, i.e.: Episcopalian): epi: over and scope: to see. He desires a noble task. Lit.: a good work; We saw this phrase a good work up in the previous chapter, as a characteristic of a godly woman. ἀγαθός and καλός, both are synonymous and are used in Scripture attributes of God.

So, the first step in becoming an elder is: you want to be one.

I.     If someone aspires to be an overseer… he desires a good work. So, because this is a “good work”, a noble task, the church should not enter lightly into selecting men to serve here. That’s why Paul says in the next verse: Therefore… rd v 2-3;

Transition: So, if someone aspires to be an overseer,

II.    If someone aspires to be an overseer, you will see it displayed in his upstanding character.

Exp.: We’re talking Behavior/Actions; rd v 2-3; Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

I agree with DA Carson who said that there really isn’t anything special in these – except for one – being able to teach. I mean really, shouldn’t this be characteristic of any man?

  1. He must be above reproach: in Titus, he uses the synonym It isn’t that he’s perfect and sinless, but rather that he exemplifies Christ in his manner and deportment. Thabiti Anyabwile: Being above reproach means that an elder is to be the kind of man whom no one suspects of wrong-doing or immorality. People would be shocked to hear this kind of man charged with such acts. Above reproach; blameless.
  2. He must be ‘a man of one woman’: that’s the literal translation; most translation read: the husband of one wife. It’s hard to know exactly what is meant here. It could mean that he’s never been divorced. There are a lot of scholars I respect deeply who hold to that opinion. I think there is a principle being taught here, though, that is really important. I’m not absolutely positive that Paul is laying down the letter of the law here, but rather presenting a principle. No matter your view on divorced or even single men serving as elders, I think Paul is communicating that this man has a high view of marriage as between a man and a woman and that marriage is sacred. His marriage is a display of this belief.
  3. He must be sober-minded: the literal translation means temperate in his use of alcohol. He is sober. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t drink any alcohol, but rather that he never drinks alcoholic beverages to a point that he is out of control. Baptists like to use this part of Scripture to declare alcohol is bad. You should never do it. But that’s just legalism, too. This man, though, he never lets what he consumes get out of control.
  4. Self-controlled. The negatives in v 3 below outline a man who is out of control. He can’t control his drinking (must not be a drunkard). He can’t control his anger (he must not be violent). He can’t control himself in conversation (he is quarrelsome; he always has to be right!). And he can’t control his appetite for more and more money. Maybe he gambles, hoping for a big windfall. He works too long and too hard to make more money, not observing the Sabbath, but trying to get the extra cash. No, our man is self-controlled.
  5. He must be respectable: these are noted by his family (his wife and children) and the community. We’ll look more at this when we get to those verses in 4-7.
  6. He must be hospitable: this Gk word is a compound word translated a lover of strangers. He is a lover of strangers and not a lover of money. The man who loves his money holds his purse strings tight. The man who loves strangers opens up his moneybag and pours out his money for them. He uses his money to love people instead of using people to satisfy his love of money.
  7. He must be able to teach: this is our first and only requirement that isn’t really universal of all believers. Basically, all of the traits we’ve listed simply outline who and how we should be as Christians.

Now Paul turns toward the negatives, which we already listed with the out of control man.

  1. He must not be a drunkard
  2. He must not be violent but gentle
  3. He must not be quarrelsome
  4. He must not be a lover of money.

So, the only requirement listed here that wouldn’t be an expectation of any man in your congregation is that he be able to teach. I believe the reason for this is his responsibility to communicate sound, healthy doctrine.

Conclusion: If… Someone – aspires to be an overseer – he must display upstanding character. You will have already seen it in his behavior.

III.   If someone aspires to be an overseer, then he has set an example of leadership with his family.

If… Someone – aspires to be an overseer – his example has already been set in his family.

Exp.: rd v 4-5; He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?

This doesn’t mean that his family is perfect any more than it means that the church is perfect. There are problems; there are struggles. You will find it anywhere you find relationships. The issue isn’t that he has the perfect family. Because he won’t and he can’t! It has to do with his management skills in caring for his family. Here is a good question to ask: Does his wife respect him? Do his children hold him with high regard and have that same respect? You can witness this respect through the submissive nature of their relationship. They hold him in high regard. They know him better than anyone else. Their respect speaks volumes.

Conclusion: If… Someone – aspires to be an overseer – his example has already been set in his family. Not that they are perfect, mind you, but that they see him that same way.

IV.    If someone aspires to be an overseer, then the church must determine his fitness based upon his spiritual maturity and positive public perception.

Exp.: If… Someone – aspires to be an overseer – the church must be careful in its appointment of this someone to the position of overseer. Rd v 6; He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

Spiritual maturity will help a man avoid those pitfalls and snares of the devil. Oh Man, if there is anything the devil can do to bring down your elders, he will. So be careful in your appointments. Don’t appoint a man before his time.

So to review:

  1. If someone aspires to be an overseer… he desires a good work.
  2. If someone aspires to be an overseer, you will see this desire displayed in his upstanding character.
  3. If someone aspires to be an overseer, then he has set an example of leadership with his family.
  4. If someone aspires to be an overseer, then the church must determine his fitness based upon his spiritual maturity and positive public perception.

Application: As we consider sound doctrine…

  • Church, your theology drives your methodology. It impacts everything you do.
    • Bad theology corrupts a church body. Remember, it was Paul’s purpose in placing Timothy in Ephesus – to protect them.

Ill.: I sometimes think of Eve and the serpent. I remember her statement of how she told the serpent that not only was she not allowed to eat of the fruit, but she wasn’t even allowed to touch it. Now, God told this to Adam before she came along. rd 2.17 and then 2.18ff. Why did she say this? She must have gotten it from Adam. Did he add to God’s Word or did she add to what Adam told her? Either way, doctrine is important. It is vital to not add or take away from it.

  • Good theology informs the decisions a church body has to make. Therefore, your leadership should have a solid foundation when it comes to what they believe about God and His Word.
  • These leaders must live that good theology out. They must teach it. They must exhibit it in their lives (personal, familial, work).
  • Church, when you appoint men to serve as elders (and deacons for that matter), you are making a doctrinal statement. Too often, the church wants to pick popular, pretty people. Standards set in the Word of God are cast aside for comfort and popularity.

Ill.: Mark Dever writes: I had made a statement in a doctoral seminar about God. Bill responded politely but firmly that he liked to think of God rather differently. For several minutes, Bill painted a picture for us of a friendly deity. He liked to think of God as being wise, but not meddling; compassionate, but never overpowering; ever so resourceful, but never interrupting. “This,” said Bill in conclusion, “is how I like to think of God.”

My reply was perhaps somewhat sharper than it should have been. “Thank you, Bill,” I said, “for telling us so much about yourself, but we are concerned to know what God is really liked, not simply about our own desires.”

And all of God’s children said, “Ouch”. Dever has a great point: what someone likes to think about God isn’t so as important as what God says about himself. Our theology is important and it must be grounded in God’s Word. The God of Christmas in Luke is also the God of Judgment in Revelation. So, when you appoint men to serve, you’re making a doctrinal statement about what you believe. Finally,

  • Men, if you aspire to the office of elder, I’d like to close with two thoughts:

Conclusion:

First, as a pastor and elder, there are certain texts of Scripture that float around in my head on a regular basis. Scriptures like James 3.1: Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. And Heb 13.17: 17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.

Professor John Brown was sought out by a former divinity student, who had graduated and moved to the country to become the pastor a very small church. This young man wrote his former professor declaring his impatience in serving the 16 souls in the country church. He stated that he could not wait until he was finally asked to pastor a much larger congregation with greater prestige and publicity. The kindly professor responded to this eager young preacher:

I know the vanity of your heart, and that you will feel mortified that your congregation is very small, in comparison with those of your brethren around you; but assure yourself on the word of an old man, that when you come to give an account of them to the Lord Christ, at his judgment-seat, you will think you have had enough.

Oh, what a mighty leadership team we would be if we entered each day with this thought in our minds.

Second, 1 Peter charges the elders to serve the people under their care: So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And then he finishes with this: And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Brother, great is your reward for your faithful service. I can think of no higher calling than to do just what I’m doing.

Let’s pray.

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Filed under 1 Timothy, Leadership, Scripture, Sermon

1 Timothy 2.1-7

Title: E = P x Q

Text: 1 Tim 2.1-10

CIT (Aim): Praying for others and living a quiet, peaceful life with all godliness and holiness are the fertile grounds for fulfilling the Great Commission.

CIS: I want to encourage our congregation to speak up and tell people about Jesus and the hope we have in him.

Context: The Corporate Body – we’re not talking about individual responsibility.

Introduction: E = P x Q; Evangelism = Prayer multiplied by a Quiet, peaceful life with all godliness and dignity.

I like this title, but for sure, it needs some ‘splainin’… More on that in a moment. For now, let that ruminate for a while.

I heard the following story on RadioLab. It’s really good and goes into to so much more detail than I can this morning, so I commend the podcast to you:

I want you to go back in time with me to 1944. Go with me to 1944, up north, to Thermopolis, Wyoming some 30 miles south of where we used to live. Three miners at a place called the High Line Coal Mine, just outside of town, had stepped outside of their mine. I don’t know if they were done for the day and headed home or if they just were taking a break. But, they were standing at the entrance to the mine, just about dusk and they hear this whistling sound over their heads that ends with a loud explosion. Across the Bad Lands, about a mile away, they see this large cloud of dust. Above them, there is this floating circle. Today we’d call it a UFO – an object that is flying, but which is unidentifiable. Someone asks me: do you believe in UFO’s and I say yes. Do I believe in little green men from other planets flying around incognito: No! But, do I believe there are objects that remain unidentified by individuals. Yes. I think there are logical explanations for those things. But, that’s what this is… a floating circle. They best described it as a parachute. But that wasn’t what it was, but something they could identify it with.

They jump in their truck to follow it and do for a little while, but because it is dark, they lose sight of it soon thereafter and abandon the chase.

  • About that same time, a little boy and his daddy are working in their barn in Colorado when they hear an explosion. They run outside and there is a smoldering crater in their front yard.
  • In Wyoming, a 9-year-old boy is playing in his front yard he hears an explosion.
  • Throughout the winter of 1944, there are these strange reports about explosions, and there are sightings of these ‘parachute’ looking things in the skies.

Napa, California; Lane Deer, Montana; Detroit, Michigan, Idaho, Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, and the list just goes on. Everyone who sees these ‘things’ and hears these explosions come up with many different guesses to what they’ve experienced: plane crashes; gas line explosions; and you name it. But, they’re all guesses. No one knows for sure.

Until one day, Sheriff Hyde came across one these ‘parachute looking’ things and he was able to apprehend it. Sheriff Hyde is probably the quintessential sheriff; serving in Utah, just north of Salt Lake City: Stetson Hat; a giant of a man, gun on his hip. He gets a phone call from a local farmer who says there is this balloon, parachute contraption in my field, just floating around. So, the Sheriff jumps in his car and speeds out to the farm. He runs out into the field and grabs a hold of this thing. He later described it as a huge globe, paper white, and coming down from this globe are these thick 40’ ropes. Attached to the bottom is this heavy metal chandelier with bombs hanging off the bottom.

Well, the Sheriff, leaving his hat and holster and gun in his car, runs up to the ‘thing’ and grabs a rope. He hopes to maybe tie it down and keep it safe for the authorities to come and check it out. But, just as he grabs the rope, a gust of wind comes and takes the balloon up and away. But the sheriff doesn’t let go of the rope. This thing climbs higher and higher and crosses a canyon. But he doesn’t let go. He slams to the ground on the other side of the canyon and he tries to tie it off on some sort of juniper plant, but it brakes loose. He grabs hold and it takes him back across the canyon. It bounces about the field – the same one where it was earlier, but the sheriff can’t hold it down or tie it off. He’s sick and nauseated from being spun around and fighting with this thing for some time. His vision is blurry and exhausted from fighting to keep this thing down, but he doesn’t give up.

You see, he knew the government had been getting these reports of ‘parachute balloons’, the explosions, and UFO reports. But the government didn’t have any proof they really existed. Sheriff Hyde knew this was a great opportunity to lasso one. So he continued to hang on. He was eventually able to get it tied off to the root sticking out of the side of the canyon. He was the first one to actually capture one of these contraptions.

The government came and took it away and said nothing. They (the powers that be) decided that it would be best to keep it all quiet. They didn’t want to set off a panic amongst the people. So they just didn’t say anything. And not saying anything was a costly mistake.

Not saying anything. I think sometimes that not saying anything makes people talk, gossip and guess their way through problems and situations. Not saying anything hurts a situation more than just telling people. People’s imaginations are far worse than the truth. Sometimes it really is the right thing to do, but for the most part, it appears to me that just isn’t the case.

Two people in the church get sick. Both have cancer. One asks the church for prayers and tells them ways they can be praying. For sure, they don’t say everything about their illness, but enough that people are sensitive to their sickness and then they pray. The other says nothing. People start talking. What’s wrong? That start talking to each other… it turns into gossip. I don’t think that most people mean it to be hurtful, but it is what it is. People can’t help themselves, even though they should. And the very thing that the quiet, private person did not want has happened. While the first person doesn’t get gossiped about.

Not saying anything can be costly. Like in our text today…

Look at the title here: E = P x Q. Evangelism equals Prayer multiplied by a quiet, peaceful life lived out in all godliness and dignity.

Paul is writing to Timothy in this letter. He charges Timothy to say something: to confront false teachers and false doctrine. Then, in Chapter two, Paul turns to some basic practices in the church to be observed with order and oversight. These practices are important in combating false doctrine.

Now, Paul could have just listed them and been quick about it:

  • First, Pray (you see that in 2.1) and pray for everyone, including your king and other leaders.
  • And those public prayers need to be backed up with godly, honorable lives. People are watching.
  • If you desire to be an overseer, an elder, then here is your standard. Oh, and it is the same for men and women who serve as deacons in the church.

You see, four sentences and I’m through the next couple of chapters. But that isn’t Paul’s style. That isn’t Paul’s nature. He’s a teacher. So he expounds. He digresses from the topic to explain. And I’m so thankful he does.

Let’s look at these and see how I came up with this formula: E=PxQ.

The Evangelist’s life is filled with prayer and a quiet, peaceful life lived out with all godliness and dignity. How is that so? Paul tells us in the following verses. I’ve listed them as follows:

  1. The Pleasure of God in His Church (1-3)
  2. The Plan of God for His Church (4-7)

Let’s look at this first section:

I.     The Pleasure of God in His Church (1-3)

exp.: Look what he says in 2.1: rd v 1; first of all; this means the first, as in order and maybe even in importance. You either start with prayer or nothing is more important than prayer. If you ask me which one it is, I’d say, both!

Can I repeat that: It is the first thing you should do and there is probably nothing more important in your winning people to Christ than your prayers for them. Now the context here is public prayers. As the church gathers, the first thing we should do and there is nothing more important than what we do than to pray publicly for all people.

I wonder if you agree… I’d challenge anyone here this morning to stand to their feet and declare a more important component to Evangelism than prayer. Maybe you could teach me something here, something that I’m not seeing.

First of all! That’s a pretty bold statement. Paul has been going off on these false teachers and their false doctrine and then he comes to structure and order in the church. And what comes first? 1First of all, then, I urge that and Paul gives us 4 words for prayer in the church. They’re really all synonyms for prayer.

  • Supplications
  • Prayers
  • Intercessions
  • Thanksgivings

This is requests, specific request, general requests, and even gratitude. It’s all still just prayer. It’s talking to God. It is interceding on behalf of needs – and the context here is praying for people. And, Paul specifies next that these prayers be made for all people… let’s label this:

  1. A Call to Prayer: it is like the foundational way we battle false doctrine; but, I think there is more here, and that is seen in this little statement: prayers be made for all people. For sure, there is this universal idea or theme to his statement. In Jewish religious practices, the Jew would normally pray for their neighbor. Paul’s idea is pretty radical compared to what they were used to practicing. Basically, there isn’t anyone who fits outside of these parameters. I don’t think this means to be generic in your prayers: God bless everyone. Let there be peace on earth. But rather, pray for all people. Everyone you can think of. There is no one who you shouldn’t pray for.

I think Paul begins to digress here for a moment in v2. He seems to do that quite often; rd v 2; for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

Let’s call this:

  1. A Call to Piety: this is holy living. You might see this as the Public’s Perception of us. This is what they see in us. So, with this in mind, I think Paul is being more specific here in what he’s talking about in prayers: this isn’t the private devotional prayer. This is public prayer. It is Public Prayer as observed by others who are watching us in our Worship Services.

ill.: Did you see that President Trump stopped by David Platt’s church this past week? It was all over the news. First, because it looked like he had a new hairstyle. Then, because some of David Platt’s church members were upset that the pastor prayed for the president! David Platt used this passage and prayed for the President. The president had stopped by that morning because he said he wanted to pray for the victims of the Virginia shooting this past week. And David prayed for the president. He didn’t know he was coming. He heard that he would be there at the worship service just a few minutes he actually showed up.

Can I chase a rabbit for a minute, that’s really right up this alley? Y’all, it doesn’t matter who the president is. He still needs our prayers. And someday, she will need our prayers. You may not agree with someone’s politics, but this hatred in the political realm is getting out of hand. I would hope that no matter what politician showed up here asking for prayers that our congregation would act appropriately. And pray for that leader.

Paul tells us why we are to do this: in order that… we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. For the Jews, this was a practice that was encouraged because often times the emperor was to be worshiped. The act of publicly praying for the emperor was encouraging and it caused those in high offices to back off of pressuring the Jews. So, first, the leadership backed off. 2nd, the leadership would be kind toward those people allowing them to lead… a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

app.: Here is Paul’s charge to them through Timothy: Pray and practice Piety. Because he continues in v 3; rd v 3; it pleases God. This is the pleasure of God in the Church: Prayer and Piety. Three P’s: Prayer, Piety, and Pleasure.

t.s.: Let’s continue… 2nd,

II.    The Plan of God in His Church (4-7)

exp.: this is good and pleases God, but more than that – it is his plan! Rd who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. So, there is this call to prayer and a call to holy living, all within the sight of lost people. And what is the result – that people would get saved. Wouldn’t you just love to please God? Pray for the salvation of all people. Right now, we’re just focusing on Who is your 1? Who is your 1? The challenge is to pray for 1 person, 1x a day, for 1 minute at 1 o’clock. This is our simple way of helping our church fulfill this charge: to pray, to practice piety, and present the gospel. Check this out: his pleasure is that we pray for all people – specifically, that, v4, they get saved by coming to a knowledge of the truth.

And then, Paul tells us how they can get saved: it’s his plan. Rd v 5; One God (holy, perfect) and us sinners; but there is a mediator who brings us together; How did he do that? rd v 6; Christ freely gave himself as a ransom.

This would be my plea to you this morning if you’ve never committed your life to Christ: God is holy and perfect. We are sinners and our sin separates us from God. I like to use a book like this to illustrate the sin that separates us. So, because we were helpless to act on our own, to remove this sin, God has sent his own son to die on the cross for our sins. He was buried in a borrowed tomb and he was raised three days later, where he ascended to be with the Father – and rules and reigns in glory.

And the Bible teaches us that if we’ll surrender our lives to him, that if we confess Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead, we’ll be saved.

Paul says, that was his mission, rd v 7; that’s God’s purpose for him. But, that it is also our mission. We’ve been given the Great Commission.

This is truly a beautiful passage if you just let it wash over you. God’s heart is to see all people come to him. 2 Peter 3.9 tells us that it is God’s will that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

  1. God’s Pleasure – (3-4) in a church that prays for He Desires; Salvation
  2. God’s Plan – (5-6) His Gospel; Son
  3. God’s Purpose – (7) Paul’s Mission; Sent

Transition: Can you imagine if Paul had remained silent? What if he never said a word?

Conclusion: Remember the story of the UFO’s – the unidentified flying objects? The reports came in from all over the west, but the government didn’t say anything. The military kept quiet about these UFOs.

A couple of years earlier, in April of 1942, Lt. Col. Doolittle and his band of raiders flew what was basically described as a suicide mission to Tokyo. They flew their bombers to Japan and bombed Tokyo and other places in the Japanese Islands. What that did was terrify the Japanese, who had felt safe before, but now, after this bombing mission, left them vulnerable and scared.

People in the US knew of this raid. Doolittle and his men were heroes. But, here’s what the country didn’t know. The Japanese government issued a challenge to their people: we must find a way to bomb the US mainland.

One particular day, a Japanese man was standing on the shores of his island contemplating this challenge and saw a balloon go up into the sky. He noticed it drifted eastward, toward the US. He wondered what would happen if he could launch a larger balloon. Would it rise high enough, and last long enough to make it to the US? He launched a larger balloon and noticed when it got to a certain height it would just take off and head eastward. What he didn’t know, but we do now, is there is this thing called the Jet stream. There were many trial and errors, but eventually, The Japanese govt. loved the idea and weather balloons were chosen. They had sandbags, altimeters, and bombs. The altimeters would keep them below 30,000 feet. And if they got too low, sandbags would drop, causing them to rise back up into the Jet Stream.

Now you know, that’s what those explosions were. That’s what those UFO’s were. And the US Govt. knew, but they chose not to tell the people because they didn’t want to start a panic. They had done geological tests on the sand from the sandbags and determined that not only did the sand come from Japan, but it came from a specific island. They even knew the specific beaches where this sand came from. Man, the wonders of technology. But, they didn’t say anything.

9,000 balloons were launched. And virtually none of them did any damage. None did any harm… except for this one balloon.

Bly, Oregon lies on the southern part of Oregon at the base of Gearheart Mountain. A balloon landed there. Cora Conner and her sister were invited up to the mountain for some fun. Cora’s little sister, It was Sunday, May 5, 1945. Pastor Archie Mitchell and his wife, Elsie, pregnant with their 1st child, invited some youth to go up the mountain for a picnic. …. Wanted to go because there was this guy there who liked her and he was going. …. Begged her sister to go, too, but she couldn’t because she was working the switchboard for the town.

The pastor pulled up and the youth all jumped out of the truck and ran around the area just goofing off, while Pastor Mitchell grabbed the fishing poles and picnic basket and what not. One of the young youth noticed something strange. And, he called all of the kids and Ms. Elsie over to look at this… what we know now was a downed weather balloon with its sandbags and odd looking canisters. Some 30’ in diameter, white, pale, canvas type, contraption laying on the ground. Elise called out to her husband and said that he should come over and look at this thing they’d found. He couldn’t see anything because they were all gathered around this thing – up close and tight. Pastor Archie took a couple of steps toward them when one of the youth picked up the bomb and it exploded – killing all 5 youth and Elsie and her unborn baby.

 

No one knows for sure, but what if the govt had issued warnings? What would have happened if the people knew about these weather balloons? What if they had known and immediately upon seeing it would have stayed clear until the proper authorities had gotten there? Kids are kids – and curious kids do curious things. Maybe they still would have died because they would have ignored what they knew. But what if they did stay clear because they knew. Maybe they would have lived a long and wonderful life.

The truth is we’ll never know. But this is what I do know: Evangelism isn’t evangelism if we keep silent. You can pray. You can live a godly and honorable life. But if you and I keep silent, then how will they know? Romans 10.14 asks us: 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

You’ve heard of this challenge: Who is your 1? I was so blown away this past week at the many prayer requests you guys shared with the staff – to pray for your One. I want to take that one step further. I was hoping you might join me in praying for each other’s One. Here’s how I’d like to do this.

Challenge: post the names to the cross and pray. Elders, come first, Deacons, too. And then make yourselves available to pray for and with others.

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Filed under 1 Timothy, Evangelism, Scripture, Sermon, The Gospel