Summary: What is to be taught in the Household of God is iterated by the Apostle.

“I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.” [1]

The letter to Timothy takes a decidedly personal turn at this point. Paul reveals his intent to visit Timothy soon. We have no indication where the Apostle was when he wrote this particular letter; he includes no clue as to where he is nor even who may have been with him. However, this particular revelation leads me to believe that matters in Ephesus had become serious—so serious that the Apostle felt it necessary to make plans to travel to the area to address some of the problems. It also demonstrates Paul’s deep affection for this young servant of God.

However, it is not the relationship between the aged Apostle and the young theologue that now requires our attention, it is the instruction that Paul has provided. In making this statement, Paul reaches back to include all that he has written both in chapters two and three. These instructions have been given so that Timothy (and, consequently, all who will follow in the Faith) will know what conduct is pleasing in the sight of the True and Living God.

If we were able to visit the New Beginnings Baptist Church of Ephesus, we would likely conclude that everything was shipshape. The congregation had a young pastor that appeared to relate well to the people; he had a dynamic message that stirred the passions of those listening. The congregation had influence throughout the region—the areas surrounding the community knew of their presence and their stance on matters of the Faith. It was the church to belong to. However, in less than three decades, this would be the divine assessment delivered by the Risen Master of the congregation. “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate” [REVELATION 2:2-6].

Even then, termites were nibbling at the foundations of the congregation; the supporting structure of the church was being weakened. Churches don’t just one day die; they ignore the introduction of tiny seeds that will grow into noxious weeds that will one day poison the assembly, or they fail to prepare the ground to receive the good seed when it is planted. Famished because of a lack of sweet pasture, the hungry flock begins to look for nourishment elsewhere. They drink from polluted wells, contracting serious maladies for which the only cure is radical surgery. Rushing about to maintain what is, they become too exhausted to reproduce. Foundations are critical if a church is to survive beyond the present generation.

As a younger man, I played football. After I had entered graduate school, I still enjoyed watching football and following the various teams. I suppose my favourite team was the Green Bay Packers. It was amazing how that team from small town America could win at football.

One major reason Green Bay was a winning football team during the years of my youth was the Hall of Fame coach, Vince Lombardi. He ensured that the team emphasised fundamentals. His team won championships because they could block, tackle and execute plays better than any other team.

The story is related of a practise following a disappointing loss by the team. At practise the day following the loss, Lombardi stood before the team, held up a football and said, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” He was forcing the team to focus again on fundamentals.

This Letter to Timothy is Paul’s effort to remind Timothy, and through him to remind the Church at Ephesus of fundamentals of church life. These fundamentals appear to have been forgotten in this day. While some scholars argue that the entire letter is included in his statement referring to the response of believers in the household of God, it is entirely reasonable to accept that the concerns addressed in chapters two and three are in view. Accepting these fundamental aspects of congregational life, a church lays a solid foundation for the matters that will be addressed in the final three chapters of the letter.

THREE DESCRIPTIVE TERMS — “I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.” The Apostle tells us the reason for his letter. He is not merely informing Timothy that he intends to come to Ephesus; he want to ensure that Timothy has in hand information that is vital for congregational health.

Paul uses three terms, all referring to the church. In order to appreciate truly the conduct and confession required of the congregation, we need to understand the apostolic view of the church. Bear in mind that he is not writing about some amorphous entity that is ill-defined and difficult to comprehend—he is writing to Timothy about the congregation in Ephesus, the church Timothy pastored. The first term Paul uses is “the Household of God.” This phraseology is more common for Paul than you might imagine. For instance, writing the saints in the Galatian churches, Paul insists, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” [GALATIANS 6:10]. In the Ephesian encyclical, the Apostle has written, “You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” [EPHESIANS 2:19].

It should be obvious that in the mind of the Apostle, “the household of God” encompasses all the saints gathered in assembly as a congregation. In this particular instance, the Church in Ephesus is identified as “the household of God.” Just so, this congregation should be seen as “the household of God.” The congregation is a family—God is the Father and believers are His children. Therefore, believers are brothers and sisters. The elders and deacons are given as leaders to assist the family to fulfil the Father’s will and purpose.

We are family; and because we are family, the implications are profound! We now have a relationship to one another. This is not a temporal relationship; it is an eternal relationship. We have one Father, God. We have one Saviour, Jesus Christ the Righteous. We have each received the same Spirit, God’s Holy Spirit. We are born from above, as stated in John’s Gospel. “To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” [JOHN 1:12, 13]. Through faith in the Risen Son of God, we have become sons of the Living God. Therefore, we are brothers and sisters. I know that on occasion we have conflict with fellow believers, and we don’t always seem to be so brotherly or sisterly; however, in Heaven, it will be the redeemed, perfected “household of God” in entirety then.

J. Vernon McGee used to quote a couplet that speaks to this challenge:

To live above with the saints we love

Oh, that will be glory.

To live below with the saints we know,

Well, that’s another story!

Living with saints we know can be challenging, but God’s design is that it should be glorious. However, the glory resulting from the unity of believers will be witnessed only as we draw close to the Father. Our relationship to one another is dependent upon our individual relationship to the Father and to the Son. This is John’s testimony in his First Letter. “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” [1 JOHN 1:3]. The closer our relationship to the Father, the closer our relationship to one another.

One of the authors that has challenged me and blessed me richly throughout the years of my pilgrimage is A. W. Tozer. In one of his books, Tozer wrote, “Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which one must individually bow. So one hundred worshipers meeting together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become ‘unity’ conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship. Social religion is perfected when private religion is purified. The body becomes stronger as its members become healthier. The whole church of God gains when the members that compose it begin to seek a better and a higher life.” [2]

The next term the Apostle uses is “the church of the Living God.” Twenty-seven times in the Scriptures is God identified as “the Living God.” Fifteen of those times occur in the Old Testament, and twelve times the term is applied to the Lord God in the New Testament. Whenever we see the Lord God identified as “the Living God,” our minds turn to the knowledge that He is eternal and He is immortal. The title testifies that He is the source of life. We live because He has given us life—we are alive in Christ Jesus our Lord. This being true, the child of God must not associate with that which is identified as dead or dying; we must not embrace that which is dying. The attitudes of this world are the attitudes of dead people. John testifies that “the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” [1 JOHN 2:17].

Because we are “the Church of the Living God, we are responsible to avoid embracing that which contaminates and that which speaks of death. Paul has written, “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,

‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,

and I will be their God,

and they shall be my people’” [2 CORINTHIANS 6:16].

In Christ, this congregation is “being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” [EPHESIANS 2:22]. “Like living stones [we] are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” [1 PETER 2:5].

When we gather for worship, we are not just another organisation registered with the government—we are the congregation of the Lord. Because He calls us His own, we are identified as belonging to the True and Living God. We are His because He has redeemed us and put His Spirit in us. We do not go to church—we are the church. This is the basis of the admonition that is too often neglected in this day, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” [HEBREWS 10:24, 25].

The church of the Living God is not an organisation; it is a living entity, indwelt by His Spirit. When we meet together, we do not just sing songs, recite prayers and listen to a sermon—we are energised by His Spirit to offer sacrifices of praise. We unite as a people indwelt by the Spirit of God, and we thus make up a dynamic assembly that enables us to strengthen one another, encourage one another and to comfort one another.

Listening to the Word of God alone is a good thing. Singing hymns, psalms and spiritual songs is a good thing. But receiving the Word as we unite in worship and singing together is far better. Hearing the Word and singing the songs of Zion is intensified when we join brothers and sisters in whom the Living God dwells. Martin Luther is quoted as saying, “At home in my own house there is no warmth or vigour in me, but in the church when the multitude is gathered together, a fire is kindled in my heart and breaks its way through.” [3]

I appreciate the ministry God permits us to conduct as we present the Word on television and on radio; however, media church won’t do! Cyber-church is inadequate. People who are born from above require the real thing in order to continue in power. These twice-born people must assemble with fellow believers, each one the Temple of the Living God. The gatherings on Sunday and throughout the week are nothing less than assemblies of the Living God.

Paul also speaks of “a Pillar and Buttress of the Truth.” How shall we translate this title? Various translations render the phrase, “the pillar and ground of the truth,” [4] “the pillar and support of the truth, “ [5] “the pillar and foundation of the truth” [6] and “the support and bulwark of the truth.” [7] Whenever a congregation is true to the Word of God, that congregation becomes the foundation and the support of God’s truths in the world.

As a significant aside, a community is only as strong as the churches of the community. If the community is religious, though unchanged by the preaching of the Word, it has no depth or stability to permit it to stand. The same holds for a nation or a culture. The Psalmist is correct when he writes:

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD,

the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!”

[PSALM 33:12]

Whenever a people no longer worship the True and Living God, that people have placed their trust in a gossamer thread that must soon fail; they are stepping onto a slide from which they may never return as they plunge into insignificance and ultimately into abject ruin.

The Psalmist continued with these sobering words that our world will do well to heed.

“The LORD looks down from heaven;

he sees all the children of man;

from where he sits enthroned he looks out

on all the inhabitants of the earth,

he who fashions the hearts of them all

and observes all their deeds.

The king is not saved by his great army;

a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.

The war horse is a false hope for salvation,

and by its great might it cannot rescue.”

“Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him,

on those who hope in his steadfast love,

that he may deliver their soul from death

and keep them alive in famine.”

[PSALM 33:13-19]

As a foundation ensures that a building stands strong, and as a pillar supports the roof, so the assembly of believers is appointed to uphold and support the truth that God has revealed through the Word. What an awesome responsibility has been entrusted to us! The Word of God, God’s truth given in written form, is to serve as the foundation for our life as a congregation and it is to be the message that we deliver to the world about us. This Word is to saturate our lives, and it is to be central to every activity in which we engage as a congregation.

THE CONDUCT EXPECTED — What is expected has been presented in the previous chapters. Review of what has been presented will no doubt be valuable. Note that Paul is addressing Timothy and not the congregation. The reason for this is that the elders are responsible to teach these things faithfully. While the congregation must know these things, it is the responsibility of the elders to teach them. If your eldership does not hold to what is written, you need to ask why that would be. If your eldership excuses error and fails to hold the line on biblical truth, you should be questioning their adherence to all other truth.

It should be self-evident that the church of the Living God is a spiritual entity. The assembly of the righteous is not an organisation in which one holds membership as she would any service organisation. Neither is the Household of God a status symbol. Because God lives among His people, it is to be expected that those who unite here are twice-born. Let me clarify this matter by reminding you that membership in a physical organisation will never suffice to give an individual new life. Being born in a bagel factory will not make you Jewish, and being born to Christian parents will not make you a Christian. A Christian is born from above through faith in the Risen Son of God.

This is the testimony repeated throughout the Word. This is the testimony of Jesus to Nicodemus, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” [JOHN 3:3]. Again, Jesus taught, “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” [JOHN 3:13-15].

Confronting a religious mob intent on killing Him, Jesus taught them, “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” [JOHN 5:24].

When the jailer in Philippi asked what was necessary to be saved, the Apostles answered, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” [ACTS 16:31].

Week-after-week, I quote the words penned by the Apostle to the Roman assembly, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” [ROMANS 10:9-13].

Only saved people are suited to unite as a church. If the Spirit of God does not live in an individual, they cannot be part of the household of God, which is the church of the Living God. Neither can an unsaved person participate in that which is the pillar and buttress of the truth. They may be part of a religious society, but they cannot be members of a church.

Here is an important truth that is easily overlooked, many of the groups that identify as churches are mere religious societies, for if they do not submit to the Word that God has given, they cannot lay claim to being His household. If they distort what He has commanded, they cannot be the Church of the Living God. In the eyes of this dying world, they may be a religious society and thus qualify for a tax exemption, but they cannot be a Community of the Faith, for they have rejected the call to be the pillar and buttress of the truth.

What were the criteria given to qualify as the Church of the Living God? Let’s turn back to the previous chapter and begin to review what has already been stated. First, the Church of the Living God is a place of prayer, seeking God’s mercy for all people, and especially for those in high places. The membership of the congregation is marked by holy living. The Household of God does this because they seek peace, allowing them to spread the message of life. Because the assembly of the righteous is charged to tell of the life that is offered in Christ the Lord, they seek peace and the absence of turmoil so that they can be effective in evangelism.

Here is what the Apostle wrote. “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time” [1 TIMOTHY 2:1-6].

Therefore, it is not merely reciting prayers that is in view; rather, presenting prayers that seek opportunity to advance the Kingdom of God through bringing many souls to righteousness in Christ the Lord and lives that adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour is the focus of the apostolic instruction. The congregation that will endeavour to qualify as the Household of God will remain focused on glorifying the Son of God through winning others to faith; and that congregation will pray for God to bless civic authorities so that the church is free to evangelise.

The assembly that yearns to be the Pillar and Buttress of the Truth will ensure that uncontentious prayer is encouraged. Moreover, that congregation will labour to ensure that men assume a position of leading in such prayer. Paul wrote, “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling” [1 TIMOTHY 2:8].

I suppose that every pastor has been in a prayer meeting in which horizontal prayers were offered. Horizontal prayers are those that are spoken for the benefit of those listening, though they are not presented to God. Horizontal prayers are a means of assisting the obstreperous (obstreperous, as least to the one presenting the prayer) to see things the way the one praying sees them. Horizontal prayers are those prayers that go around the world, endeavouring to impress those listening with how biblically astute the one offering the prayer is.

The Church of the Living God shows respect toward God with simplicity and modesty in appearance. Paul expresses his desire “that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works” [1 TIMOTHY 2:9, 10].

How we dress says far more than we might imagine. I am not suggesting that we must be ostentatious in our dress, or even that men must each dress in tux and tails and women must wear evening gowns; but we must bear in mind that we are coming into the presence of the Lord God. Modesty and neatness count, for our dress reflects on our view of God Himself. If we are prone to dress up for a dinner date, shouldn’t we dress well and neatly to worship the Son of God? If we would wear our best to greet the Queen, should we not dress well to meet the King of kings? Neat and clean is still a good rule for the people of God as we come into the presence of God.

Though the instructions Peter wrote at one point in his first missive were directed to wives, the principle should apply to each Christian. “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” [1 PETER 3:3, 4].

The Household of God must also be a place of good order where women will not function as elders; rather, worship will be conducted as God has directed and under the oversight of scriptural elders. Though this instruction appears controversial and perhaps even contentious in this day, what was written has not been rescinded—it stands as written. “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” [1 TIMOTHY 2:11-14].

It is a serious challenge to us living at what appears to be the twilight of the Age of Grace to question whether we hold culture accountable to the Word of God, or whether culture now holds the Word of God accountable to whatever whimsical fad happens to have captured the popular imagination at this moment. The Word is to judge cultural attitudes and standards rather than being judged by the culture of the moment. Tragically, in far too many of the religious societies presenting themselves as the Pillar and Buttress of the Truth, the question of the day is, “What will people think?” Religious leaders often give the appearance of having only emerged from subterranean playgrounds before lifting a wetted finger to determine which way the breeze is blowing. Seeing which way the wind blows, these paragons of pusillanimity mew to those they hope will be in their train, “Follow me as I chase the wind.” Recreant religious leaders have never made the people of God stronger; rather they have enervated God’s holy people.

In this same vein, too many religious societies that bear the Name of the Son of God have rejected the instructions that are given in this holy Word. These societies have submitted themselves to unrighteous boards that elect whomever they will to function as elders and as deacons. Qualifications, if they are considered at all, are given a cursory glance before rushing onward to do whatever the members imagine to be best. However, the organisations must realise that one day they must give an answer to the One they claim to serve.

If those who are presented as elders will honour Him who appoints to His service, they will always bear in mind that this is not their church—it is the Church of the Living God! He has the right to appoint whom He wills; and He has stated rather clearly whom He will not appoint to holy service. Let those who present themselves as elders determine that they are appointed and not hired, knowing that they shepherd the Household of God. Let each individual strive to mature toward godly righteousness as outlined in the Apostle’s words.

“If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil” [1 TIMOTHY 3:1-7].

Again, those who will serve the Household of God as Ministers of Mercy among His people must strive to achieve the maturity described in this letter. “Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus” [1 TIMOTHY 3:8-13].

Conduct in the congregation of the Master is sufficiently important to the Apostle that the entirety of chapters two and three are given over to presenting a call to exemplary conduct. Paul admonishes Timothy, and thus all who stand behind the sacred desk, that the task assigned is to provide instruction in godly conduct in the Household of God—holy behaviour, prayer led by godly men, modest dress, biblical order in the services of the assembly and elders and deacons marked by righteous lives that reveal His work in them and through them.

THE URGENCY REQUIRED — Paul spoke of his desire to come shortly. The statement is indicative of his deep concern that problems were even then simmering. Understand that from earliest days the Faith has been under assault. Much of the assault that has been directed again the faithful has come from outside the churches. Governments and those opposed to the Faith have assailed the citadels of Christ throughout the history of the Faith. However, the most dangerous assaults have always arisen from within the churches.

At Miletus, Paul warned these elders, “I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”

Note carefully the next two verses: “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.”

Because this insinuation was a certainty, the Apostle would leave these elders with this admonition, “Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” [ACTS 20:20-32].

Soon after Paul had spoken this warning, a brother of our Lord Jesus penned a warning to the churches. Jude opened his brief missive with these words, “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” [JUDE 3, 4].

The danger was not potential, it was indisputable; the danger to the churches was acute. Jude’s language is pointed; it reveals urgency. “Certain individuals have wormed their way in… They are enemies of religion” [JUDE 4, REB]. What Paul foresaw, Jude recognises as having already happened. What Jude warned of has grown to an ongoing assault against the Faith. Tragically, the churches of this day appear complacent, as though accepting what must be described as a paradigm shift of church practise somehow honours God. It is as though church leaders rejoice in the destruction resulting as the churches jettison the Word in favour of the best and brightest ideas arising from this fallen, broken world. Surely, the condemnation of the Prophets must be pronounced against us in this day:

“Has a nation changed its gods,

even though they are no gods?

But my people have changed their glory

for that which does not profit.

Be appalled, O heavens, at this;

be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD,

for my people have committed two evils:

they have forsaken me,

the fountain of living waters,

and hewed out cisterns for themselves,

broken cisterns that can hold no water.”

[JEREMIAH 2:11-13]

Paul speaks to the people of God, instructing them in their individual responsibilities when living in such times when he writes in the Ephesian encyclical, “Walk as children of light … and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

‘Awake, O sleeper,

and arise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.’

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” [EPHESIANS 5:11-17].

To the assemblies, the churches that will honour Christ, the Head of His churches, the message is equally pertinent and equally poignant—do again the things that you did at the first. As Jesus would speak in but a few short years to the church Timothy pastored, so He speaks to all the assemblies that have begun to drift in this day, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent” [REVELATION 2:5].

May God reveal His mercy to us, drawing us back into the ways in which the fathers walked and to the paths that bring glory to His Name. Amen.

[1] Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers, 2001. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[2] A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (WingSpread, Camp Hill, PA 2006) 90

[3] Quoted in R. Kent Hughes and Bryan Chapell, 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus: To Guard the Deposit, Preaching the Word (Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL 2000) 90

[4] The New King James Bible

[5] The New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update

[6] The Holman Christian Standard Bible

[7] The NET Bible