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Summary: We honor God by obeying Him fully and consistently. Part of honoring God means submitting to his judgment above our own, including what we do in church meetings and ministry. Keep in mind the sum total of all our regular meetings and ministries, not just

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Becoming A God Honoring Church

(I Timothy 3:14-16)

1. Infrastructure is important. Take our nations roads.

#1 American Society of Civil Engineers …an overall grade of D.

#2 …not enough roads in the United States today. Each year, traffic jams cost the commuters of America 4.2 billion hours and about 2.8 million gallons of gasoline.

#3 Americans will … average … 160 hours stuck in traffic annually by the year 2035.

#4 Approximately 11/3 of all roads in U.S. are in substandard condition.

#5 Close to 1/3 of all highway fatalities are due “to substandard road conditions, obsolete road designs, or roadside hazards.”

#6 1/4 bridges carries more traffic than originally intended or is in need of repair.

#7 Repairing all …bridges … [in] need repair would take approximately $140 billion

#8 According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, our decaying transportation system costs the U.S. economy about 78 billion dollars annually in lost time and fuel.

#9 All over America, asphalt roads are being ground up and are being replaced with gravel roads because they are cheaper to maintain.

2. Now a good infrastructure does not guarantee a good economy…opportunity for it

3. Same thing with a church; a good structure (elders/deacons/deaconesses) only provides the opportunity.

4. The church as gathered believers (internal) and the church as an outreach or a drawing point for Christians who can be discipled (external). One can feed the other, but we need both, and we need both to fall in line with God’s Word.

5. Today’s text — and almost all of I Timothy — is dealing with the internal aspects of church life — what we do as the church gathered, what we stand for, how we relate to one another.

Main Idea: We honor God by obeying Him fully and consistently. Part of honoring God means submitting to his judgment above our own, including what we do in church meetings and ministry. Keep in mind the sum total of all our regular meetings and ministries, not just the morning service.

I. How A Congregation Is To BEHAVE: Boundaries and Practices (14-15a)

Probably nothing in this epistle was new to Timothy, but, the people would understand this is Paul’s instruction, not Timothy’s opinions.

A. The PURPOSE of this letter and the blessings of Paul’s DELAY

B. RESTRICTIONS

1. Leadership, gender, only solid teaching is allowed

2. Leaders need to be corrected when erring

C. Spiritual FOCUS

1. Prayer, public reading of Scripture (note my article in Body Builder)

2. Preaching/teaching

3. The Law is to be used properly, not misused

4. In our day and age, music is a major focal point; why not mentioned in I Timothy directly? (yes, a hymn perhaps is quoted); ans: not an issue

5. Music important, but church not built around it — as some do today

D. An emphasis on DOCTRINE and INDOCTRINATION

E. A fellowship where practical LOVE is the norm

Caring for the needs of destitute but faithful church widows

Love is the hallmark of personal maturity, but also a church’s (goal)

Like Paul says, without love we amount to nothing spiritually

F. FREEDOM and creativity is assumed between parameters

Like the Garden of Eden, we may eat of any tree except the forbidden one

II. What A Solid Congregation Is to BE (15b)

A. HOUSEHOLD of God, not house of God: highly RELATIONAL

Some treat their relationships like a consumer-driven business; I’ll stay married to you until I find someone better; I’ll be your friend until I find a better friend. And they do the same with church — like going from one grocery store to another.

B. The ASSEMBLY of the Living God: God is ACTIVE (Body Life)

A church can give the image of being the assemble of the dead god. God is to be active in our lives through His Spirit; we are not to be the frozen chosen.

25 years ago, a man made a statement that really helped refine my understanding, almost as though God led him to say it. He said, “I don’t want people to come to Highland Park Church because they like the music or the building; I want them to be drawn here because they see God is working in lives of people.”

C. INTENT on advocating Biblical TRUTH

1. The church is not the source of truth, but is intended to be its advocate

2. We have to believe absolute truth exists; for some people, truth is what I like

3. We have to be convinced that we possess the truth

III. What Members of A Congregation Should BELIEVE (16)

The idea of “mystery” here refers to the revealed truths of the New Testament, often unlocked from the Old. Understood in retrospect.

All true Christians are to “say this same thing” (homologoumenos)

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