Tuesday, April 05, 2022

2022.04.05 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Timothy 3:14–16

Read 1 Timothy 3:14–16

Questions from the Scripture text: How is the apostle communicating these things to Timothy (1 Timothy 3:14)? But what does he hope to do? What might happen (1 Timothy 3:15)? What does he want Timothy to know? In what is Timothy an elder—by what three names does the apostle call it? What is indisputably great (1 Timothy 3:16)? In what has God been manifested? In Whom was He vindicated? By whom was He seen? Where did they preach Him? Where has He been believed on? Up to where has He been received?

Next week’s Call to Worship, Prayer for Help, and first song all come from 1 Timothy 3:14–16 so that we will see that we are singing God’s thoughts after Him with The Apostles’ Creed

The apostle had begun writing to his elder understudy about the importance of maintaining sound doctrine (1 Timothy 1:1–11) as the primary ministry of the elder (1 Timothy 1:12–20). 

To maintain this, there were things that must be done (1 Timothy 2:1–10) and things that mustn’t be done (1 Timothy 2:11–15). 

For this maintenance the Spirit had provided overseers (of particular qualifications, 1 Timothy 3:1-7) over the teaching and prayer, as well as deacons (of particular qualifications, 1 Timothy 3:8-13) over the ministry of good works. 

Now, in our passage, the apostle concludes this first half of the letter by emphasizing again that operating God’s church in God’s way is necessary unto the preservation of sound doctrine. The church is not only “the house of God” and “the church of the living God” but also “the pillar and ground of the truth.” 

And the great truth, the great Spirit-explained mystery, of which the church is “pillar and ground” is the truth about God Himself. 

And what is this truth? How has God revealed Himself to us? The Lord Jesus Christ. God has made His divine attributes known to us (cf. Romans 1:19) and visible in the creation (cf. Romans 1:20), but it is in Jesus that He has fully revealed Himself (cf. John 1:18, John 14:7–9). Specifically, God has revealed Himself in Jesus’s incarnation, redemption accomplished, proclamation, redemption applied, and reign.

We were under the guilt and power of sin, and any true godliness could only have come by God eliminating our sin’s guilt and neutralizing our sin’s power. Jesus as God Himself is “the mystery of godliness” (cf. 1 Timothy 1:5a, 1 Timothy 1:10–11).

Incarnation. “God was manifested in the flesh.” If your English translation is based upon divergent minority texts, this verse will be less explicit, but still clear. Jesus is God in the flesh. This is how He came to deliver us—both to suffer what our sin deserved by His suffering, and to end its claim upon us by His death. 

We could not suffer infinitely, but He had to become a man in order to suffer at all. We could not overcome death, but He had to become a man in order first to die, so that He might then defeat death. God was manifested in the flesh.

Redemption accomplished. “Justified in the Spirit.” The Spirit sustained the Lord Jesus in His earthly ministry (cf. Luke 3:22–23). He attested to Christ’s fitness for His office and mission. The Spirit sustained the Lord Jesus in His earthly obedience (cf. Luke 4:1), driving Him to that temptation in the wilderness, where the Spirit Who came upon Him would give Him victory in that obedience. And the Spirit declared Jesus to have been holy and undeserving of the cross, to be the Son of God with power, by raising Him from the dead (cf. Romans 1:4). In all of these ways, the Spirit justified, vindicated the Lord Jesus. He declared Jesus to be God, as He said. He declared Jesus to be holy, as He was. And He declared Jesus to have gained over sin and death that glorious victory, as He won.

Proclamation. “Seen by angels.” The word “angels” can mean “messengers” and more specifically “preachers” (cf. especially Revelation 2:1Revelation 2:8Revelation 2:12Revelation 2:18Revelation 3:1Revelation 3:7Revelation 3:14). In this particular case, an important component of the gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3–8) is always that Jesus’s apostles were witnesses of His resurrection, having seen Him after being resurrected. “Preached among the nations.” Another important component of the gospel is that the truth about Jesus gets proclaimed to all the nations (cf. Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8). The apostles are witnesses to Jesus’s resurrection as they preach the gospel (cf. Luke 24:48; John 15:26–27; Acts 1:8).

Redemption applied. “Believed on in the world.” It’s one part of God’s saving work for Christ to be preached, but it’s another and necessary part of God’s saving work for Christ to be believed in. Repentance unto life is granted unto the nations (Acts 11:18). 

Reign. “Received up in glory.” The ultimate end is not only that Jesus would be ascended and sit upon His throne while His enemies are put under His feet (Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:32–35; 1 Corinthians 15:25), but that at the last all enemies will be eliminated, and Jesus will reign forever in a New Heavens and New Earth in which righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:12–13, Revelation 11:15–18). 

Jesus, God Himself, saves sinners from both sin’s guilt and power. That is the mystery of godliness, and it is the great mission of the church and her officers to guard and proclaim this truth!

Why is the truth of the gospel important? What is that truth? How is it being preserved in the churches? What part are you called to have in its preservation?

Sample prayer:  Father, thank You for giving Yourself for us and to us in the person of Your Son. By Your Spirit, help Your church to preserve and proclaim the truth of Your gospel. Forgive us for when we are unwilling to put forth the effort to understand sound doctrine, or when we downplay how necessary it is to have correct theology about the Trinity, about Christ, and about salvation. Help us to love Your truth, and grant unto us to know it more and more, we ask through Christ, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP110B “The LORD Has Spoken to My Lord” or TPH560 “The Apostles’ Creed”

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