Thursday, December 08, 2022

2022.12.08 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Timothy 3:14–15

Read 1 Timothy 3:14–15

Questions from the Scripture text: What is the apostle doing (1 Timothy 3:14)? Despite what hope? What does this show about the urgency of what he has written? What possibility does he consider in 1 Timothy 3:15? What about three things about the church fuel this urgency…. Whose house is it? What is true about the church’s God? What is the church’s role/relationship to the truth? 

Why is organizing the church God’s way so urgent? 1 Timothy 3:14–15 looks forward to the second reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these two verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that organizing the church God’s way was urgent enough to write about because of its relationship to God, the character of God, and its purpose from God.

Timothy had been Paul’s apprentice for a long time. And Paul was hoping to be reunited with his apprentice soon. Now, in these two verses, Paul emphasizes the needfulness of this letter and therefore the urgency of its content: that Timothy (“you,” singular) might know how to conduct himself. That he might know how to conduct himself as he puts a stop to creative theology in the church (cf. 1 Timothy 1:3) and lead the church back into proper public ministry and organization (chapters 2–3). Why couldn’t this wait? Why was it so urgent that it needed to be written right away?

The letter was urgent because the church is the household of God. God loves His creatures. God loves especially those creatures whom He made in His own image. How much more those whom He has created new in His Son (cf. Ephesians 2:10) and adopted as His family in His Son (cf. Galatians 4:4–6)! 

The apostle is about to argue that a man must prioritize his own household (cf. 1 Timothy 5:8). But the church is to be treated as God’s household! God’s own family! In an ordinary family when everything has gone off the rails, it is necessary that the one appointed to lead the house immediately bring the family together and put everything back into order. Letting harm continue to them is to deny the faith and be worse than an unbeliever.

The letter was urgent because the church is the church of the living God. It is not the church of a figment of the imagination or the church of a distant and uninterested God. It is the church of Yahweh, the God Who is. Being is inherent to Himself, so there is nowhere that He is not. Everything continually depends upon Him for existence, so He is continuously active. 

God especially makes Himself known in the midst of His people as Yahweh, the covenant God. The church is His house not only as a household but as a temple or, more specifically, a tabernacle. Jesus is the embodiment of this as “He Who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands” (cf. Revelation 2:2). His immediate, active presence presses an urgency upon the church for reformation and repentance. So, the letter is urgent not only because of what it is to God (His household), but because of what God is to His church (the living God). 

The letter was urgent because the church gets its purpose from God. It is “the pillar and ground [buttress] of the truth.” The Lord has entrusted the church with the truth as a deposit and responsibility. He Who upholds His own truth through all generations has determined that His church would be the instrument through which He does so now. 

If the world is going to hear the truth, it is going to hear it from the church. As believers are sanctified through God’s truth (cf. John 17:17), the church is God’s primary instrument for that (cf. Ephesians 4:11–29). The maintenance of the truth in the church is uninspiring to some and in our day, and positively offensive to others. But this Scripture tells us that maintenance of the truth in the church is necessary and urgent, and that proper organization in the church is necessary to it.

What about the church’s identity makes it so urgent to do things the right way in it? How are you doing this in your church? What about God’s identity makes it so urgent do things the right way in His church? What about the church’s purpose/role especially necessitates doing things rightly in it?

Sample prayer:  Lord, You have made the church both Your family and Your temple. But we have often been negligent about doing things Your way in it. We act as if You are not the living God Who are active in the midst of Your church. The maintenance of the truth has suffered, in the world and for believers, because we have not guarded the truth in the church, and we have not followed Your prescribed order for how the church would do so. Forgive us, Lord, and grant unto us repentance, we ask in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

ARP87 “The Lord’s Foundation” or TPH404 “The Church’s One Foundation”

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