Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #255 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 1 Timothy 3 today and our focus is on Who is the Church? What is the Church? We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Today we are going to talk briefly about the church. I say briefly, because the last two episodes have really strained the credibility of the tagline of this podcast, which begins with “ten minutes.” But today’s topic is important: WHO is the church? As we have discussed before, the church is not a building and it is not a church service – it is a people. But Paul is going to go beyond that in today’s passage, giving us more insight into who we are and who we are to be. Consider this verse from our passage:
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 Timothy 3:15
We learn two really important things about the church in this passage:
#1 God’s household is the church. It is the place where God dwells – He lives in His people, and we are together the household of God. This reminds me of one of my other favorite descriptions of the church, in 1 Peter 2:5, “5 you yourselves, as living stones, a spiritual house, are being built to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. ” We are living stones that come together, making the household of God. And that’s not all, because we get another definition of the church in our passage today:
#2 We are to be the pillar and foundation of truth. What does this mean? I believe John Piper captures the essence and the controversy of it well:
The apostle Paul writes these stunning words in 1 Timothy 3:15, “I write to you so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.” The church of God is the pillar and bulwark of the truth. The support and the protector of True Truth in the world is the church. Why is this? Because the church is the household of GOD! And God is the Truth. What he is and what he says and what he does defines the truth. So those who submit to him and listen to him and speak his Word and live his way are the “pillar and bulwark of the truth.”
This is one reason why God and his church are so unpopular. They represent absolute claims on people’s minds and wills and emotions. If God exists, we are not god. If God is true, then we cannot decide what is true. It’s out of our hands, we have no say in it. No vote. The universe is not a democracy. It is terribly old fashioned. It is an absolute monarchy.
And since the universe is not up to date, it is simply not accepted. Paul describes ordinary people in Romans 1:25 like this: “They exchanged the truth of God [notice the phrase!] for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.” He says in verse 18 that men “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”.,..This is one of the weightiest truths that Christianity must hold up in the modern world. There are constant pressures throughout history on persons and institutions and cultures to build life around wrong ideas. God has appointed the church of his Son Jesus to be a mighty advocate for truth in the world.
John Piper, Sermons from John Piper (1990–1999) (Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God, 2007).
and Pastor David Platt gives us more insight:
Paul says we’re the guardians of God’s Word. He says we’re the “pillar and buttress of the truth.” Now, what does that mean? Well, put yourself in Ephesus for a second and see this temple of Diana, one of the seven ancient wonders of the world. This shiny, large marble rooftop held high by a hundred ionic columns all the way around. You’ve got that image in your mind. Paul says to the church there, “You, as the church, you’re the pillar and buttress of God’s truth.”
What does that mean? Well, what do these columns do? What do pillars do? What does it mean to be a pillar and buttress of the truth? Well, follow this. The church, you have the privilege and responsibility, on one hand, of preserving God’s Word; we hold it firm. This is what pillars … this is what a buttress does … holds on to something firm. This is what we do as the church from age to age, from generation to generation. We have the responsibility, as the church, of holding firm and fast to the Word of God. To defend it against false teaching in the first century; to defend it against false teaching in the 21st century and all the centuries between there. One of our responsibilities as the church, is to make sure to hold fast to this Word in our culture, that we pass it on faithfully to the next generation which is what the whole next book of 2 Timothy is all about.
So, we hold it firm, and then we proclaim God’s Word; we hold it high. That’s what columns do, they hold something firm, and they hold it high
David Platt, “The Family of God,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2011), 3154–3155.
Bible Memory verses for the month of September: 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2nd Timothy 3:16-17
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