Summary: Deals with the first chapter of 1 Timothy.
The Message of the Pastoral Epistles:
#2 – Why the church is important.
*Truth without love is dogmatism. Love without truth is sentimentality. Speaking the truth in love is Christianity.
*As we dive into this series, this first chapter is short…only 20 verses long. I’d like for us to stand up and read this together.
I. Believe the truth. (The World doesn’t.)
*Bob Russell shared that several months before they moved into their new church building in 1998, their ministry staff met at the new site for a special staff meeting. Most of the building still wasn’t carpeted, and some of the rooms still had no drywall. They handed out hard hats, magic markers, and a few Bibles. They instructed the staff members to go to the classrooms and offices in the building where they would be working and write Scripture verses on the concrete floors. Bob told them, “Someday soon the Scriptures will be covered with carpet. But I hope you will always remember what you have written today. And what we do today will be a visible reminder that we are always to stand on God’s Word.”
*He said the staff really got into it. Some of them used cans of spray paint they had brought so the words would show up better. It bothered him a little because some of them acted as if they had experience at doing that. He said those in the children’s ministry wrote things like, “Let the little children come to me…for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” In the education wing, the adult education ministers wrote things like, “Study to show yourself approved unto God,” and “Your Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
*In the music practice rooms, the music ministers wrote, “Sing and make music unto the Lord,” and “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” In the offices of the preaching team, they wrote passages like, “Preach the Word in season and out of season,” and “Watch your life and doctrine closely…if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
*He said the Scriptures on the floor idea caught on, and soon hundreds of church members followed suit. In a matter of weeks, there were Scriptures all over the concrete floors – down hallways, on stairways, on the steps leading up to the pulpit. He saw moms and dads bring their children to the building just to write their favorite Scriptures on the concrete floors. They actually considered asking people to stop because they started writing in places they hadn’t planned to cover with carpet! But they decided it wasn’t a good idea to make people quit writing Scriptures.
*He told of one of the small groups that had volunteered to help clean the building one afternoon. As they were preparing to leave, Marty Rice, prayer leader of the group, said, “Why don’t we write down a Scripture reference in one of the rooms before we leave?” So they found a small room that didn’t have any Scriptures yet. Rick Nally, one of the group members, said, “How about the passage where Jesus said, ‘Where two or three of you are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of you’?” Marty asked what the reference was. “I think it’s Matthew 18:28,” Rick said. Marty stooped and wrote, “Matthew 18:28” and the group’s name on the floor in permanent marker. Later that evening at a restaurant, Rick brought in his Bible from the car to double-check the reference. He said, “Oh no. It’s Matthew 18:20, not 18:28.” Someone asked the obvious question: “What’s verse 28 say?” Rick read, “When that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.”
*Russell said, “I suppose if you are ever in our building and, while standing in certain classroom, suddenly have the urge to choke someone, you’ll know why!”
*But aside from that the building became a dramatic reminder to all of them that the church has been called to stand upon the Word of God. This is the essence of Paul’s exhortation to Timothy in chapter one. We have to ask ourselves the obvious question: Are we standing upon the Word of God? Does the Word which is preached from this pulpit permeate our lives in a very real sense or are we non-distinguishable from the culture around us?
*I’ve heard author Frank Peretti compare our culture’s hunger for biblical absolutes to the need for authority on a neighborhood playground in the summertime. Posted on the fence of the playground are some rules: “No hitting. No profanity. Only age ten and under on the monkey bars. Only age eight and older on the basketball court. Ten minute limit on the tetherball court.” The rules work well because mingling through the crowd of children is Mrs. Kravitz. She has a keen eye, and if you misbehave, she will give you a pink slip. Two pink slips and you’re out of the playground for the summer.