BIBLE READING: I Timothy 3
14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Matthew Henry said this:
* Those who are employed in the house of God must see to it that they behave themselves well, lest they bring reproach upon the house of God, and that worthy name by which they are called. Ministers ought to behave themselves well, and to look not only to their praying and preaching, but to their behaviour: their office binds them to their good behaviour, for any behaviour will not do in this case.
Paul is saying here that he wants to visit these believers as soon as possible, but in case it takes longer than he hopes, he’s writing this letter to make sure they are educated and reminded about things that they need to know. One of those things is they need to know how to behave themselves when it comes to corporate worship. Now I am not right about everything, and the older I get I find that I am wrong about more than I realized. Here in this passage, the “house of God” is the building, and the “church of the living God” is the people. We need to learn to behave ourselves in both. We need to learn how to conduct ourselves publicly, and how to get along with each other personally. Why is this so important? Because the “church of the living God” is the “pillar and ground of the truth”.
It is our responsibility as the church to maintain, hold up, and publish, the truths of Christ in the church. What does this phrase, pillar and ground of truth, mean? It means that truth is the foundation that the church is built on, and truth is what keeps the church standing. It’s not just the ground, or the foundation, it is also the pillar, or the support above the ground.
If we do not learn how to behave ourselves publicly, and conduct ourselves personally, we will not correctly represent the truth. You and I are the only church that some people will ever be exposed to. You and I might be the only Bible that some people will ever read. So, let’s behave ourselves!
BIBLE READING: I Timothy 2
1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
We are told that we need to pray for our leaders. I have listed some prayers that we should pray:
1. LORD WE ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU ARE SOVEREIGN AND IN CONTROL. (Psalm 22:27-28)
2. LORD FORGIVE US BECAUSE WE HAVE FAILED YOU, AND PLEASE HEAL OUR NATION DESPITE OUR FAILURE. (2 Chronicles 7:14-15)
3. LORD WOULD YOU RESTORE OUR NATION AND REMOVE THOSE LEADERS WHO GOVERN IN A MANNER THAT IS AGAINST YOUR WILL. (Job 12:17-25) (Daniel 2:19-21)
4. LORD PLEASE GIVE US LEADERS THAT WILL ALLOW YOUR WORD TO BE FURTHERED; AND PLEASE PROTECT US FROM UNREASONABLE, WICKED RULERS. (II Thessalonians 3:1-2)
5. LORD HELP OUR LEADERS TO RESPECT YOU, AND HELP US TO BE RESPECTFUL TO OUR LEADERS. (I Peter 2:13-17)
6. LORD HELP ME TO BE ABLE TO DISAGREE WITHOUT DOING DAMAGE. (Titus 3:1-2)
7. LORD PLEASE GIVE US GODLY LEADERS, AND HELP US TO BE A PRESENCE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT. (Proverbs 14:34)
8. LORD THANK YOU FOR OUR LEADERS. HELP THEM, BLESS THEM, AND USE THEM. INFLUENCE THEM TO MAKE DECISIONS THAT ALLOW US TO LIVE A PEACEFUL, GODLY LIFE. (I Timothy 2:1-3)
9. LORD PLEASE HELP OUR LEADERS TO BE EXPOSED TO BIBLICAL COUNSEL, AND HELP THEM TO FOLLOW IT. (Proverbs 11:14)
10. LORD, WOULD YOU PLEASE TURN THE HEART OF OUR LEADERS TOWARD YOU. (Ezra 6:21-22)
BIBLE READING: I Timothy 1
5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
My oldest son just received his drivers permit. We now go through the period of him driving with us in the car until he qualifies to get his permanent license. It is scary to think of your child driving on their own with all the dangerous things that can happen on the road. One of the many things I have told him was that if he ever is driving and a squirrel or a small animal runs out in front of him, never “swerve” to try to miss it. The reason is he could lose control of his car, or he could run into someone else’s car and cause great damage, or even fatally hurt himself or another person. It would be better to kill a squirrel than to risk killing yourself.
You may or may not have known that the word “swerve” was in the Bible. Paul describes individuals that instead of continuing down the road they were supposed to follow, which was a road of a pure heart, good conscience, and strong faith, they “swerved” and ran off the road. They instead turned to “vain jangling”. That means a lot of talk with no substance. It means individuals that have a lot to say, but what they say doesn’t mean a lot. In fact, in verse seven, he says that these people desire to teach others their great knowledge, but people do not understand what they say, nor do they understand the point they are trying to make. It is all a waste of time and vain.
Any of us, if we’re not careful, can easily “swerve”. Satan throws a lot of things across the road that we travel, and he is trying to get us off track. I know many people that were doing great until a trial jumped out in front of them, a circumstance ran across, or even a sickness suddenly jumped out. And unfortunately, they “swerved”.
If I may today, I would love to encourage each of you today, “keep it between the lines”.
BIBLE READING: II CORINTHIANS 13
10 Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.
As we come to the end of this book, I want us to notice just one phrase that Paul uses in verse 10. Paul said that God had given him a specific power. God had given Paul the power to edify, or to build up others. Paul also mentions that God did not give him the power to destroy others.
One of the best ways for you to be able to tell that you are operating under the power of God is to see whether you are building others up. At any time when you and I are tearing people down and destroying them, that is not a power that God has given. God gives power for us to have a positive impact and influence on others. When you and I look for opportunities to edify or build up others, God will give a special unique power to enable us to do that. If that is your desire, God will empower you to do so.
Unfortunately, many Christians tend to be destructive. Often, they will do that in the name of the Lord. They will act spiritual or give certain spiritual code words to seemingly give them the excuse to tear down someone. Dear friend, God is not in that. God wants us to build others up, but God never wants us to tear others down. Yes, God hates sin, and the way God wants us to combat sin is to build the person up spiritually instead of breaking them down emotionally.
Do you want the power of God today? Well let me tell you how you can enjoy and feel that. Do your best to build others up, and you’ll be surprised how much of God’s power you enjoy.
BIBLE READING: II CORINTHIANS 12
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
We all know this passage. In fact,we know it well. We have heard it all before.
We believe that God’s grace is sufficient. Not just that, we believe His grace is sufficient for anything that we go through or face because Paul never gave a particular example, he just said across the board that God’s grace was sufficient.
We believe God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. I’ve never experienced God’s strength more than the times when I was the weakest. The longer you love, the more strength you realize God has, and the more weak you realize that you are.
But then Paul says that he would gladly glory in his infirmities. Then Paul says he actually took pleasure in his infirmities. I don’t know about all that. I can understand the rest of what he has said, but I find this one difficult to relate to. When a Paul says he got to the point spiritually that he took “pleasure” in his infirmities, what did he mean? The word “pleasure” here is a Greek word that means:
* to think well of, i.e. approve (an act); specially, to think good, (be well) please(-d), be the good (have, take) pleasure, be willing.
You see Paul was not saying that he just enjoyed his infirmities, Paul was saying that he would end up looking back when everything was said and done and would find good things in it. Paul would end up thinking well of those experiences. Paul would find good things that God did through those experiences. What was not enjoyable, would end up being profitable for him later on. You may not of enjoyed it at the time, but he trusted God enough to know that after it was over he would see how God had used it. I will put it this way. There might be some things that I face tomorrow that I will not enjoy, but I trust God enough to know that whatever happens to me tomorrow will end up being used by God to help me. That my friend is living by faith. Just because we do not enjoy some things that happen to us does not mean that those things are not helping us in our walk with the Lord. God’s grace is sufficient. God‘s strength is perfect. God’s will can be trusted.
BIBLE READING : II CORINTHIANS 11
3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
We all know that Satan is after us. Paul spends a good portion of this book warning us and teaching about Satan’s tactics. This passage is no exception and it tells us a few things we need to keep in mind every day.
“BY ANY MEANS”
Satan never has and never will play fair. Satan will use any means he can to ruin your life and my life. He will use anything in your past, anything in your personality, anything in your family, and anything in your mind to come at you. He is in an all-out war. Satan is taking this seriously, and many times we are not. Paul is literally saying here when it comes to all that Satan would do, “nothing would surprise me”. Just remember today that that is what Satan is up to in your life. He will use anything he can.
“THROUGH HIS SUBTILTY”
Satan knows how to give just enough truth, and just enough lie to fool us. He knows how to make the good look bad, and the bad look good. Satan knows how to play on our emotions, on our weaknesses, and our personality. He is subtle.
“SO YOUR MINDS SHOULD BE CORRUPTED”
This is what Satan does. He corrupts the mind. That is where he does his damage. That is where he does battle, in your mind. Therefore, we must stay in the Word of God. We must renew our mind. We must fill our mind with truth. Satan will work hard every day to fill our mind with lies. He seeks to corrupt our thinking. He tries to corrupt our motives. He tries to take simple truth that God has given and confuse us. This verse says that he tries to rob us of the “simplicity that is in Christ”. The Bible can give a simple truth, but by the time Satan has worked in our minds, we can be so confused that we do not even believe by faith a truth that is simply stated. Satan has blinded the hearts and minds of this world. Do not let him do that to you today.