Summary: In this introductory sermon to a series on 1 Timothy, we explore the relationship between Paul and Timothy and the reason that Paul wrote him this letter. Paul wanted to remind him of the way people should conduct themselves in God's household.
A. How many of you like to watch home improvement shows on television, like Fixer Upper, Property Brothers, or Home Town?
1. We like to watch those shows in our household.
2. It’s amazing to see the home renovation those folks are able do with $100,000! Right?
3. But you know, here’s the trouble with home improvement trends: 15 years from now, people on home improvement shows will be saying: “Wow, these white kitchen cupboards are awful and we need to add some walls between the living room, the dining room and the kitchen.”
4. If you don’t know why that’s funny, it’s because you don’t realize that the trend today is to rip out all the traditional wood cabinets and replace them with white cabinets, and to tear out all the walls to make an open concept between kitchen, living and dining rooms.
5. Trends change, right? And trends are cyclical – if you wait long enough, those maple cabinets will be back in style – just like bellbottom pants.
B. But in the end, no one can decorate or arrange your house like you can.
1. You are the sole architect of its ambiance and you are in charge of creating a desired feel and look for your house.
2. You might like country or rustic, contemporary or traditional, mid-century modern or industrial.
3. You are free to choose what you like and to lay it out anyway you wish – it’s your house.
C. But imagine if someone barged into your house and rearranged everything or replaced everything.
1. On the one hand you might be thrilled and thank them, but on the other hand you might say, “How dare you!” and “What gives you the right to change my house – it’s my house!?”
D. Here’s the important application: The church is God’s house - His household - His dwelling.
1. God’s house is supposed to be built, furnished and arranged according to His designs.
2. But how often has humankind decided to rearrange or renovate God’s house? Far too often!
3. And what gives humans the right to change God’s plans and designs? We don’t have a right to mess with God’s house.
E. Today’s sermon begins a new series on the book of 1 Timothy that I am calling “Church Matters.”
1. I chose that title because it is a play on words – church matters.
2. The church does matter and that’s why we need to protect God’s church and be sure that we follow God’s designs and plans for the church.
3. The other play on words has to do with matters pertaining to the church.
4. This letter from the apostle Paul to the young minister named Timothy is full of church matters – all kinds of nuts and bolts about how to do church together – how to conduct matters in God’s household – house rules for God’s family.
a. Paul’s two letters to Timothy and his letter to Titus are called “Pastoral Letters” because they are written to young ministers and are full of practical church matters.
b. Some of Paul’s other letters contain a lot more theology, but the Pastoral Letters read more like a minister’s handbook – a “how to” manuel.
5. In chapter 3, Paul told Timothy the reason for the letter: 14 I write these things to you, hoping to come to you soon. 15 But if I should be delayed, I have written so that you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. (1 Tim. 3:14-15)
a. Paul wanted to remind Timothy about proper conduct of God’s children in God’s household.
b. I love the descriptions of the church that Paul used here – they speak to how precious and important the church really is – the church matters!
c. The church is the church of the living God – God is alive and the church belongs to Him!
d. The church is also the pillar and foundation of the truth – the church is built on the truth and is the sustainer of the truth – the church matters!
I. The Background of 1 Timothy
A. Let’s turn our attention to the way that Paul began his first letter to Timothy: Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope: 2 To Timothy, my true son in the faith. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (1 Tim. 1:1-2)
1. As was the custom of letter writing in Paul’s day, the writer would identify who was writing, then identify to whom they were writing, and then would give a formulaic greeting, thanksgiving or blessing.