Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The Lordship of Christ


1 Timothy 3:15b-16

Introduction: It is believed that the original Christian confession consisted of three words: "Jesus Christ--Lord." So must our pure confession be! He is either LORD of all or not Lord at all. His person, claims and work are central to Biblical literature and theology.

Let us look at the last of verse 15 as the introduction to our message. Paul is once again making much of the church. This place should be what Paul is describing here. It ought to be a place that is the pillar and ground of the truth. I am not going to say this is the only place where truth is preached. To say would be a lie. It would also egotistical. In the contents of this passage, Paul is speaking of the entire body of Christ. As an application, it can be applied to the local church.

This word "pillar" brings to mind an architectural image. It would mean something to Timothy. Once again, I remind you to remember the place that Timothy is. He is in Ephesus. It was the site of the Temple of Diana. This was one of the wonders of the world at that time. That temple had 127 pillars.

The word "ground" suggest a bulwark or a stay. The local church is built upon Jesus Christ as its only truth.

John 14:6

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

1 Corinthians 3:9-15

“For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

The "pillar" aspect of the church’s ministry relates to the displaying of the truth of the Word. It should be like a statue is place on a pedestal so all can see. Paul tells us in Phil. 2:16 that we are "hold forth the word of life." This is what you are doing when you offer a tract to someone. You are handing them the word of truth. This world must and I repeat must see the truth of the Word of God. Each member of this local assembly puts Jesus Christ on display in one fashion or another. We display Him as the One who is the master of every portion of our lives or He is second hand stuff. If you go to the grocery store, look how the meat manager displays his products. The best is seen by all who pass. The old stuff is placed in a faraway section. We must display Him as Lord of our lives.

As the bulwark, it is our job to protect the truth and make sure it does not fall. What happens when the local church turns from the truth? Paul answers this in next chapter. Turning from the truth allows folks to depart and give heed to seducing spirits. It greatly compromises our ministry. It allows the enemy to make progress. When we make a militant stand for truth and right and against sin and apostasy, it does not make us popular. It does please God.

The main truth that we proclaim is the person and work of Jesus Christ. Paul tells us in the first three words the importance of Jesus Christ. "And" is the word that connects verse 16 with verse 15. Since the church is the pillar and ground of truth, what is the truth? Jesus Christ is the only answer. "Without controversy" tells that this is not for debate. Jesus is exactly who the Bible says He is or He is the biggest liar this world has ever known.

Then Paul reminds us a truth with his next words: "Great is the mystery of godliness." Albert Barnes tells us this in reference to the portion. "The word means that which had been hidden or concealed. The meaning here is not that the proposition which he affirms was mysterious, in the sense that it was unintelligible, or impossible to be understood; but that the doctrine respecting the incarnation and the work of the Messiah, which had been so long kept hidden from the world, was a subject of the deepest importance. This passage, therefore, should not be used to prove that there is anything unintelligible, or anything that surpasses human comprehension, in that doctrine, whatever may be the truth on that point; but that the doctrine which he now proceeds to state, and which had been so long concealed from mankind, was of the utmost consequence."

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