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Summary: 4th in a series from 1 Timothy. Because God wants purity in the lives of Christians to draw others to the truth of His love, we must take spiritual infections seriously!

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Lessons for a Healthy Church:

Guarding the Church’s Reputation

1 Timothy 3:14-4:16

Introduction: A long running ad campaign for a particular brand of soap declares that it is “99 44/100% Pure.” Pure what? How did it get that way? Did it just happen by chance? Does nature produce bars of soap that are 99 44/100% pure? Or did an entire corporation have to work to make that soap pure?

Proposition: We’ve got our work cut out for us! To draw others to Christ, God needs a pure church.

1. In lifestyle (3:14-16)

THERE ARE APPROPRIATE STANDARDS OF CONDUCT FOR "THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD"

A. Urgency of Communicating the Appropriate Standards for Conduct

1. "These things" must be communicated

2. Personal Visit is Preferred but may be Delayed

3. Written Letter is Necessary in light of the Urgency (email would be even better!)

B. Significance of the Appropriate Standards for Conduct

"you may know how one ought to conduct himself"

C. Importance of the Church

1. "Household of God"--this is a family affair; relationships are important

2. "Church of the Living God"--related to the living God; represents the living Christ in the world -- can’t be a dead church

D. Priority of the Truth -- "pillar and support of the truth"

E. We have A COMMON CONFESSION

Churches tend to emphasize their distinctiveness: what makes them different. Here we look at the fundamentals; what we have in common as the true Church of Jesus Christ.

Verse 16 was likely sung or recited as an early hymn

We are dealing with a "Mystery"

We all love a good mystery. Our concept of a mystery = a whodonit? Where we have to use all of our reasoning powers to piece together the different clues and figure out the answer.

Here we are talking about a Great Mystery --

Great = "Mega" like megabucks; like megachurch / like huge.

When God says something is Mega, it’s really huge.

Called a Mega Mystery -- but not the type of mystery that we could ever figure out on our own.

The New Testament views a mystery in a completely different light: It is a truth previously hidden and then revealed by God. It is only understood by the believer through the Holy Spirit.

What a privilege: God is going to clue us in on one of His Mega Mysteries!

An entire series of lessons can be taught about the truths revealed in verse 16. But today let’s just let these words sink in.

2. In doctrine (4:1-11)

This morning on Headline News it was reported that a group of college students tested people’s attitude about obeying traffic laws. They drove four abreast on all 4 lanes of a busy freeway. You could imagine what happened. Some passed on the shoulders, and one person in a van was willing to lose a rear view mirror to get by.

Reminds me of the story of a stressed out woman on a busy street tailgating the local postmaster as he made his way home from work. Suddenly the light turned yellow and the man did the right thing and stopped. At this the tailgating woman hit the roof and then her horn screaming in frustration. As her tirade went on she heard a tap on her window and there stood a police officer. The officer ordered her out of the car, arrested her took her downtown to booking, fingerprinted her and placed her in a holding cell. After a couple of hours the officer returned and apologized for the ordeal. Explaining “I’m very sorry for this but when I came up behind you while you where laying on the horn and cussing a blue streak at the guy in front of you I noticed your WWJD licenses plate frame, your follow me to Sunday school bumper sticker, and your Chrome plated Christian fish emblem. Seeing these and your actions I simply assumed that you had stolen the car.” What would make a person who you would least expect to act like that behave in such a way? Influence from outside sources took up residence. These things can be called spiritual infections.


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