Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Pillar and Ground of the Truth

1 Timothy 3:14-16

I. Paul Wrote with Hope

A. Christians act on hope; it is a visible expression of faith. “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:” (1 Timothy 3:14)

B. Confidence in God makes people act on what they cannot yet see and do so when the entire world functions in its own imaginary reality. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Hebrews 11:1-3)

C. Eventually, hope in God pays dividends the world cannot grasp in its faithlessness; when Christ returns it will be too late to change sides. “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” (1 Peter 1:7)

D. Time is not always ours to command and it is unwise to count on imponderables. “Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.” (1 Thessalonians 2:18)

E. God plants His people where hope will nourish them. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)

F. The heart not firmly fixed on hope in God will be miserable and will cause misery. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

II. The Church Is the Foundation of Truth

A. God’s own church does not need to be shown the truth by the world or to vote on it in Assemblies; as the church lives before God, its existence supports the truth everywhere. “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15)

B. The Christian community finds its meaning, purpose, and direction in the service of Jesus Christ; other purposes are flaws. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

C. The church is the great end time temple designed to do all which Solomon’s Temple did but on a far grander scale; nothing human corresponds to the church. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)

III. The Truth Is a Marvelous Mystery

A. The core of the story is the truth entrusted to Christians. “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)

B. God was manifest in the flesh. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

C. Justified in the Spirit “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” (Acts 2:33)

D. Seen of angels “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” (Hebrews 1:6) “Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” (Matthew 4:11)

E. Preached unto the Gentiles / Believed on in the world “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.” (Romans 10:11-20)

F. Received up into glory “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9)

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