Saturday, May 28, 2016
What The Church Should Be About!!!
There was a woman in hospital. The doctor said "she is improving". But she died the next day. Her family asked "What did she die of? Improvements?" What is the church to do? 1 Timothy 3:14 tells us what God considers to be the important stuff to keep in mind!! "I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 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."
God sets the agenda for His church! How will His church grow? When we do what He says is important!!
It is not about what we do, it's about who we are. What you are speaks so loudly I can't hear a word you say! You and I should be individually and corporately: Praying, Preaching, Sincere and Singing Saints!!!
1. Be Supplicating Saints
Do we believe in revival? Do we believe in God? Only God can save people!
Only God can save a politician!! Prov 21:1, The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. Dan 2:21 Daniel answered and said: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding;
Dan 4:34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; 35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, "What have you done?" 36 At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.
We must pray!! Do you want to see people saved? Pray! Do you want peace and safety and quietness? Pray!!!
2. Be Speaking Saints
It's about seeing people saved! God is the Saviour. Jesus is the Saviour!
It's about truth : there is One God, and there is one mediator, there is one man Christ Jesus, there is one ransom! "However expressed, whether as the Messiah of Old Testament expectation, as Lord over the demonic powers or whatever other category of interpretation was employed, the early preachers of the good news had one subject and one only, Jesus." Michael Green John 14:6, "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." Acts 4:12, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." "Life is short, death is sure, sin is the cost and only Jesus is the cure."
Robert Coleman his classic The Master Plan of Evangelism writes, "The need of the hour is a return to the kind of evangelism which majors in people winning other people to Christ and building those they have won into disciples who can win and build others." I believe this was Paul's strategy as well. Note in the text he identifies a 3-fold appointment from Jesus: 1) preacher (herald; kerux), apostle (apostolos); a sent one and a teacher (didaskalos) of the nations (ethnon).
Matthew Simpson caught a glimpse of the majesty and gravity of the ministry of the Word when he said of the preacher: "His throne is the pulpit; he stands in Christ's stead; his message is the Word of God; around him are immortal souls; the Savior, unseen, is beside him, the Holy Spirit broods over the congregation; angels gaze upon the scene, and heaven and hell await the issue. What association, and what vast responsibility!"
Martin Luther puts it in the correct context when he reminds us, "Let us then consider it certain and conclusively established that the soul can do without all things except the Word of God, and that where this is not there is no help for the soul in anything else whatever. But if it has the Word it is rich and lacks nothing, since this Word is the Word of life, of truth, of light, of peace, of righteousness, of salvation, of joy, of liberty, of wisdom, of power, of grace, of glory, and of every blessing beyond our power to estimate."
Note: Paul remnds us of the real essentials. He also remionds us of the importance of restricting the roles in the church setting. Verses 7-13
Don't be cantakerous men!
Don't be wishy washy men!
Don't overstep the mark ladies.
3. Be Sincere Saints
"The office of the Christian ministry, rightly understood, is the honorable and most important, that any man in the whole world can ever sustain; and it will be one of the wonders and employments of eternity to consider the reasons why the wisdom and goodness of God assigned this office to imperfect and guilty man!" (quoted in Stott, Between Two Worlds, 31).
a. Have Integrity pure. 3:1 "A faithful saying" or "trustworthy word" is unique to Paul and the Pastoral's (5X; 1:15; 4:9; 2 Tim. 2:1; Tit. 3:8). It always refers to an important, basic, and well-known truth. "desires (better "aspires") means reaches for; this is an outward aspiration for a "good work," not the ambitious pursuit of a prestigious office. The second "desires" means a passionate, consuming want: again its object is the "good work." Bishop (episkopos) – overseer (cf. Acts 20:28-35; Tit. 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 5:1-4; also 1 Thes. 5:12-15; Heb. 13:7, 17; Jam. 3:1). Pastor, elder, overseer used interchangeably of those who lead the church of God. John MacArthur, "The man truly called to the ministry is marked by both an inward consuming passion and a disciplined outwardly pursuit. For him the ministry is not the best option, it is the only option. There is nothing else he could do with his life that would fulfill him (1 Timothy, 96.)
Blameless (NIV "above reproach") – not open to warranted attack or justified criticism in terms of the Christian life he lives. In general and in particular he is blameless, not sinless; no accusation against his character will stick. This is his constant and consistent pattern of life.
John Chrysostom (347-407): "The minister's shortcomings simply cannot be concealed. Even the most trivial soon get known. … However trifling their offenses, these little things seem great to others, since everyone measures sin, not by the size of the offense, but by the standing of the sinner." Gregory the Great (540-604): "He who is required by the necessity of his position to speak the highest things is compelled by the same necessity to exemplify the highest things."
Temperate – clear headed, self-controlled, thinks wisely and with balance.
Sober-minded – prudent, thoughtful, well disciplined in mind. He sees life as God sees it and orders his priorities accordingly.
Of good behavior – (kosmios) well disciplined in life, respectable, well ordered (not chaotic); consistently has his act together. Hospitable – lit. "lover of strangers," he has an open heart and an open home; friendly and approachable.
Who we are on the inside will eventually make itself known on the outside. Integrity in character will show itself in integrity in conduct.
b. Have Authenticity: 3:2, 4-5
No area of life receives greater attention and experiences a more sustained assault than his marriage and family. The simple truth is we do live in a glass house. We do experience a fishbowl type of scrutiny. Be committed to your spouse.
Be in control of your children. 3:4-5 Paul employs an argument from the lesser to the greater, establishing the point that the family is the proving ground for leadership in the church. Rules – "to direct, lead, preside" (cf. 5:17) Well – "with excellence" Submission (hupotage) – military term meaning "under control" Reverence – "dignity," proper respect Warren Wiersbe, "If a man's own children cannot obey and respect him, then his church is not likely to respect and obey his leadership" (Be Faithful, 41).
c. Have Dependability Words and works match up! John Calvin would add, "If a preacher is not first preaching to himself, better that he falls on the steps of the pulpit and breaks his neck than preaches that sermon." Teach by example. 3:3 Not given (addicted) to wine – not one who sits long at his wine / not a slave to drink. In our day, abstinence would be my counsel. Not violent – not a giver of blows, a fighter physically; one easily angered; but is cool and calm even in tough situations. He is not the guy who will fight at the drop of a hat and is willing himself to drop the hat. Wiersbe says, "short tempers do not make for long ministries." (Be Faithful, 41). Gentle – considerate, kind, gracious, one who easily forgives. Not quarrelsome – peaceful, uncontentious, one who is willing and ready to listen. One who avoids, if possible, disunity and disharmony. Not covetous – lit. "not loving money," not greedy (cf. 6:9-10). Few get into ministry for money but too many later become overly concerned with money. Never let money be your priority, your passion. A. W. Tozer understood the importance of the life we live, the example we set, and the message we must proclaim. "We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports, or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise, but an ultimatum."
d. Have Reliability 3:6-7 The ministry has suffered in public opinion because the public life of too many Christians has been scandalous and shameful. Adultery, involvement in pornography, financial scandal, divorce and simple rudeness has marred the reputation of those who herald the gospel. This ought not to be.
Avoid the places of temptation. 3:6 Grow up! – lit. "newly planted," e.g. a new convert. Why? The danger of "pride," the root sin which captured the heart of the devil and brought him down. Christian maturity requires time and experience. The process cannot be rushed. Have a good testimony. 3:7 Jonathan Edwards said it well; "I go out to preach with two propositions in mind. First, every person ought to give his life to Christ. Second, whether or not anyone else gives him his life, I will give him mine."
4. Be Singing Saints
Is your heart taken up with the big things on God's agenda? Sining is the heart of a person expressed!!
a. Sing About The Incarnation of Our Lord.
b. Sing About The Resurrection Of Our Lord.
David MacLeod writes, Christ's earthly manifestation ("in flesh") culminated in a criminal's death, accompanied by horrible violence. But the Cross was not a defeat; it was a triumph over death and hell. By His death He defeated death, and His resurrection was His vindication. He was shown to be the Christ, the Son of the living God. He experienced the curse of sin as the great Sin-Bearer. And His resurrection vindicated His claim that He is the sinless Son of God.
c. Sing About The Ascension of Our Lord. "One can well imagine the tremendous interest with which these angelic potentates followed the steps of Christ's humiliation from the throne of awesome majesty to the cross of agonizing shame. And as the infernal plot against Jesus thickened, they must have witnessed in amazement the nonintervention of God the Father on His behalf. Far more than twelve legions of angels (Matt. 26:53) must have waited breathlessly for a signal to flash across the sky for them to snatch the Son of God. They must have stood in stunned silence as God the Father allowed His Son to be nailed to a tree. Surely, therefore, the angelic host shouted for joy at the sight of one of their number rolling away the stone, and later escorting Him to glory!
e. Sing About The Salvation of Our Lord. Revelation 7:9-10 contains a promise that should inspire us to go and compel us to preach: "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" In heaven they sing about the salvation of our Lord. On earth, we must do no less. Indeed with the angels above we join our voice and sing Revelation 5:12, "Worthy is the lamb who was slain, To receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing"
f. Sing About The Exaltation of Our Lord. Phil. 2:10-11. Paul writes, "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
You and I should be individually and corporately: Praying (supplicating) , Preaching (Speaking), Sincere and Singing Saints!!! What is in your heart? Has the goood news of the gospel, of Jesus, our Saviour changed your heart? is He what it is all about for you? If He isn't then He must be!!