Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
MOTTO: Magnify Jesus as Lord
OBJECTIVE: To let Christ rule our personal lives, our families, and our church by yielding to him in worship and obedience.
Goals: The goal is to develop the habits in our personal and corporate lives that allow Jesus Christ to be Lord.
Corporately – study the weaknesses and strengths of the 7 churches in Revelation during our January 2020 Winter Bible Study in order to discover how our church can be obedient to Christ.
Corporately – participate in the church wide 40 Day Campaign Time to Dream: Open Doors to Your Future in order to discover the doors God opens to each one of us: the door to a new you; the door to authentic relationships; the doors to greatness and abundant blessing; the doors to your world and your eternal legacy.
Corporately – participate in outreach events that aim to lead people in our community to Christ like Easter Celebrations, prayer walks, Vacation Bible School, the Fall Festival, and Bethlehem Inn.
Corporately – participate in a Fall Revival.
Individually – commit to be more involved in daily private prayer, more involved in small group Bible Study, and more faithful in attending weekend worship services.
Individually – participate in the ministries of our church. Support and encourage Habitat for Humanity, our Food Ministry, and the International Learning Center.
Individually – look for short term mission opportunities to participate in for mission service locally and globally.
INTRODUCTION: The prophet Isaiah is quoted or referred to over 190 times in the New Testament. Isaiah looks forward to the coming Messiah with hope and anticipation. In a day when his nation faced conflict and eventual exile, Isaiah saw a bright future led by the coming Redeemer. The New Testament writers saw Isaiah’s prophecies fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Isaiah foresaw that God would enter this world as a human being born in the royal line of David and would bring hope and salvation to a world of darkness. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). It was the ultimate expression of a God who loves us and wants to have a relationship with us. God sent his son Jesus as the child who would lead us.
THE CHILD’S BIRTH IS UNIQUE.
*The historical context: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14).
*The prophetic importance: Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). (Matthew 1:20-23).
*The theological significance: God has entered his creation as a little baby through a supernatural birth. God is truly present with us. “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us) (Matthew 1:23).
THE CHILD’S FAMILY WILL BE ROYAL.
*God promised King David that “’your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’”(2 Samuel 7:16).
Isaiah saw that the Messiah would come from the family of David. “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit” (Isaiah 11:1).
*Joseph was in the royal line of King David. Jesus was born a King into the family of David: Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. (Matthew 1:16).
But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21).
THE CHILD’S ANOINTING WILL BE DIVINE.
*The Messiah will be empowered by the Spirit. His kingdom will be spiritual and bring peace and hope to the world.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2).
*Jesus Christ declared his mission and purpose in Luke 4: And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.” (Luke 4:17-19).
Jesus Christ was born of a virgin into David’s royal family and empowered by God to bring in an eternal, spiritual kingdom of hope and salvation. He is truly Immanuel, God with us. Has he made a difference in your life?
INTRODUCTION: Isaiah predicted that one day the Messiah would establish a new kingdom. Certain signs would indicate that the kingdom had come. The wilderness would bloom, people would be healed, and a new highway would lead to God. Sometimes we miss the signs on the highway and end up in the wilderness. There are all kinds of signs that we experience. Someone may miss the signs of a discouraged spouse until the spouse asks for a divorce. Some may miss the signs of poor health until the doctor announces a serious illness. The signs are there but we miss them. John the Baptist wondered if he had missed the signs. He began to doubt that Jesus was the Messiah. He based his doubt on the signs of the coming kingdom that Isaiah had given centuries before. Did Jesus fit those signs? Let’s look at Isaiah 35 and see the signs of the kingdom. Jesus affirms that he fulfills the signs of the kingdom.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF THE KINGDOM?
*Nature will be restored just like the Garden of Eden. The barren wilderness will blossom. “The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing… For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes (Isaiah 35:1-7).
*God will make his glory known and will save his people with power and justice. “They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, ‘Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you’” (Isaiah 35:1-4).
*Miraculous healings will take place in the Kingdom of God. “. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy (Isaiah 35:5-6).
*A new way will be established that brings everlasting joy. “And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray…but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away (Isaiah 35:8-10).
WHY DID JOHN DOUBT (Matthew 11: 1-11)?
*John expected all of Isaiah’s prophecy to be fulfilled in the Messiah.
John looked for an authoritarian leader who would restore Israel and punish the wicked. "“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:11).
*Jesus was not doing things the way John anticipated. Doubt occurs when our expectations do not match our circumstances. “When Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their cities. Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Matthew 11:1-3).
JESUS EMBODIED THE SIGNS OF THE KINGDOM.
*Jesus quoted Isaiah and pointed to his miracles as signs that he was the Messiah. “And Jesus answered them, ‘Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me’” (Matthew 11:4-6).
*Jesus literally became the WAY to God and provides eternal
life. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6).
Don’t miss the signs. Jesus is the only way to God. His followers will carry on his work in this world.
INTRODUCTION: We lit the second Advent candle, the Candle of Peace, on the Advent wreath this morning. Christmas celebrates the promised coming of God in the flesh through his son Jesus the Messiah. Christmas also anticipates the time when Jesus will come again and establish his eternal kingdom. Advent is the promise of peace on earth. A new King will arise from the house of David and establish a kingdom of righteousness and peace. We find this image of the kingdom in Isaiah 11:1-10.
THE SPIRIT-FILLED KING WILL BE PERFECT IN CHARACTER.
*The Messiah will revive the kingship of David and create a new kingdom. “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit” (Isaiah 11:1).
*The King will be filled and anointed with the Holy Spirit. “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him” (Is. 11:2).
*The King will demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit as he rules: “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord” (Is. 11:2).
He will know right from wrong and decide the best way to respond.
He will make plans and carry them out decisively.
He will love and revere God and rule with humility.
THE SPIRIT-FILLED KING WILL RULE WITH JUSTICE.
*Motivated by love for the Lord, the King will rule with equity and fairness. “And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked” (Is. 11:3-4).
*The Messiah King will always do what is right and can always be trusted. “Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins” (Is. 11:5).
THE SPIRIT-FILLED KING WILL RESTOREPEACE ON EARTH. *The King will restore nature to its original perfection.
The hunter and the hunted will dwell together. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them (Is. 11:6).
Meat-eating animals will become plant-eaters. “The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox” (Is. 11:7).
*The King will restore humanity to perfect harmony centered in the Lord.
The curse of the fall in the Garden of Eden will be removed. “The nursing child shall play over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den” (Is. 11:8).
Lasting peace will come through the knowledge of the Lord. “They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Is. 11:9).
*The Messiah is the new root of Jesse who creates a new family for himself from every tribe and nation. “In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples—of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious” (Is. 11:10).
The angels told the shepherds:
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2”11-14).
INTRODUCTION: The Christmas season is the time of Advent. Advent means “coming.” The prophets of old predicted that the Messiah would come. God’s people anticipated his coming. We lit the first Advent candle, the Prophet’s Candle or the Candle of Hope, on the Advent wreath this morning. Christmas celebrates the promised coming of God in the flesh through his son Jesus the Messiah. Christmas also anticipates the time when Jesus will come again and establish his eternal kingdom. Advent is the promise of hope for a troubled world. The prophet Isaiah uses the image of a mountain to picture this hope. Just like the mystery of a river flowing up the mountain, the Messiah will bring peace and hope to a violent and divided world. We find this image in Isaiah 2:1-5.
MESSIAH WILL DRAW ALL NATIONS TO THE MOUNTAIN.
*The new Jerusalem will one day rest on the holy mountain and all people will come to worship the Lord. “The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it” (Isaiah 2:1-2).
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God (Revelation 21:10).
*The same mountain that Abraham offered his son to be sacrificed is the same mountain that God offered his son Jesus to be crucified. Jesus’ sacrifice draws all people to himself for salvation. “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die” (John 12:32-33).
*People from every nation will stand before Jesus in heaven. I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9).
MESSIAH’S WORD WILL TRANSFORM THE NATIONS.
*People will flow like a river to Jerusalem to hear the Word of the Lord. “Many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:3).
*Jesus was God’s Word in the flesh and people heard his teaching and believed in him as the Messiah. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth...For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:1-17).
MESSIAH WILL BRING LASTINGPEACE TO THE WORLD.
*Messiah will instruct the nations and settle disputes. He will bring a lasting peace that no longer requires weapons of war. “He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Isaiah 2:4).
*True peace will only come under the rule of the Prince of Peace. “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:7).
*Only Jesus Christ can bring genuine and permanent peace because he is the promised Messiah. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27).
*We receive personal peace when we put our trust in Jesus the Messiah. “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
THEREFORE, WALK IN THE LIGHT OF THE LORD.
*We have a future hope of peace on earth. Since we have the truth of God’s Word and the peace of Christ in our hearts, we are to work to make that future hope a current reality. “O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:5).
INTRODUCTION: Paul has been instructing Timothy on how to lead a local church. He concludes his instructions with challenges and a warning. We are to embrace the struggle that leads to eternal life. We are to live with eternity in mind. We are to let nothing keep us from sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. Our life and our resources are to bring glory to God. How do we do this? How do we fight the good fight of faith?
PURSUE GODLINESS AND PURITY.
*Live a consistent godly life of faith. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness (6:11).
*Embrace eternal life, endure the daily struggle with integrity, and follow the example of Jesus. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time (6:12-15).
*Give God the glory due to his name. God the Father is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
USE YOUR WEALTH FOR KINGDOM PURPOSES.
*Affluent Christians should not boast about their wealth or put their trust in money. They need to rely on God who is the source of all good things. As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy (6:17).
*Instead, Christians with wealth should use it to help others and advance God’s work in the world. That way they invest in heavenly rewards. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselvesas a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life (6:18-19).
GUARD AND SHARE THE GOSPEL.
*Protect the good news from false teachers and tell the truth of the gospel to everyone. O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you (6:20-21).
Run your best in the race of faith, and win eternal life for yourself; for it was to this life that God called you when you firmly professed your faith before many witnesses (1 Timothy 6:12 GNT).
"Relationships in the Church and Responsibilities in Society”
1 Timothy 5:1 - 6:2
INTRODUCTION: Paul instructs Timothy on how to lead a local church. After discussing worship and praise in the church, Paul teaches Timothy how to administer the church. He gives guidelines on how to approach various issues that arise in the local congregation. Paul shifts from worship to the subjects of doctrine and belief. He then turns to relationships in the church and responsibilities in society. Church relationships should reflect love, respect, and integrity. Christians have a responsibility to show society a better way to live and work.
BUILD STRONG RELATIONSHIPS IN THE CHURCH.
*Treat your relationships in the church like familyinteractions. “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity” (5:1-2).
*Set up guidelines for aid and charity to church members.
The church should care for widows in genuine need. “Honor widows who are truly widows…She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day” (5:3-5).
Family should take care of relatives in need. “But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God…But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (5:4-8).
Place restrictions on who can receive help. Let women who are mature in the faith minister to other women in need. “Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work” (5:9-10).
Encourage younger women to take care of their own homes. So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander” (5:14).
*Support and honor your pastors and leaders. “Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,’ and, ‘The laborer deserves his wages’” (5:17-18).
*Follow strict procedures if you discipline pastors and leaders. “Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear” (5:19-20).
*Be careful when choosing pastors and leaders. “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality. Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure” (5:21-22).
PRESENT A CHRIST-LIKE EXAMPLE TO SOCIETY.
*Take care of your physical health. “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments” (5:23).
*Respect your boss as a witness for Christ. “Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled” (6:1).
*Work hard as if working for Christ. “Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved” (6:2).
INTRODUCTION: Paul instructs Timothy on how to lead a local church. After discussing worship and praise in the church, Paul teaches Timothy how to administer the church. He gives guidelines on how to approach various issues that arise in the local congregation. Paul shifts from worship to the subjects of doctrine and belief. How do you know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error? Paul says that error originates with false teachers under the influence of evil spirits. Truth originates with the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. We can recognize truth from error by looking at the character and ideas of the teacher. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets…You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16). False teachers bear bad fruit. Godly teachers bear good fruit. Let’s look at the characteristics (fruit) of the spirit of error and the spirit of truth.
TEACHERS OF THE SPIRIT OF ERROR BEAR THE FRUIT OF…
Unorthodox doctrine – ‘”Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” (4:1) and “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing” (6:3-4).
Hypocrisy and lies – “some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars” (4:1-2).
A seared conscience – “whose consciences are seared” (4:2).
Restrictions on the body - who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer” (4:3-5).
Conceit and arrogance – “If anyone teaches a different doctrine…he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing” (6:3-4).
Controversy and arguments– “He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth” (6:4-5).
Greed for money and riches – “imagining that godliness is a means of gain…But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (6:5-10).
TEACHERS OF THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH BEAR THE FRUIT OF…
Faithfulness to God’s Word and rejection of superstitions – “If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths” (4:6-7).
Spiritual as well as physical training – “Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” (4:7-10).
Bold leadership and an effective ministry of preaching and teaching – “Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching” (4:11-13).
Developing and using their spiritual gifts – “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (4:14-16).
Contentment with God’s provisions - “But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (6:6-8).
INTRODUCTION: Paul passed on to Timothy and to us the mission of sharing the gospel (1 Timothy 1). Paul later writes that the purpose of his letter is that “you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God” (1 Tim. 3:15). He discusses prayer and worship (1 Tim. 2) and the leaders and helpers in the church (1 Tim. 3:1-13). He then defines what he means by church and the mystery of its spirituality (1 Tim. 3:14-16). The foundation and focus of the church is Jesus Christ.
THE CHURCH REPRESENTS CHRIST IN LOVE AND TRUTH.
*The church is the fellowship where love for God and for others is best demonstrated. “I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 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” (14-15).
*Jesus said, “I will build my church”(Matthew 16:18). What is the church?
The church is the home (Oikos = house) of the family of God.
The church is the assembly (ekklesia = called out ones, the congregation) where the living God dwells.
The church is the pillar for the support and display of truth
The church is the foundation and prop of the truth.
The family of Christ gathers in love and stands up for the truth.
THE CHURCH HONORS CHRIST IN WORSHIP AND SONG.
*Jesus Christ is the focus of our adoration and worship. “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness” (3:16). “Godliness” = active piety toward God, devotion.
*We worship Christ in hymns and songs. The early church was a singing church. “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:18-20).
*Hymns teach deep truths in poetic forms and with creative tunes. Verse 16 is a part of an early Christian hymn about Christ. It is a “humiliation to exaltation hymn.” It uses a chiastic structure (ideas are given and then repeated in a reverse order). Here, the hymn moves back and forth from Heaven (A) to Earth (B). In graphic form it makes the Greek letter “chi” (X) which also stands for Christ.
He was manifested in the flesh, (B) vindicated by the Spirit, (A)
seen by angels, (A) proclaimed among the nations, (B)
believed on in the world, (B) taken up in glory. (A)
*Our contemporary chorus “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High” has a similar structure going from Heaven to Earth and back again. You came from Heaven to Earth to show the way (AB) From the Earth to the Cross my debt to pay (BA) From the Cross to the Grave (AB) From the Grave to the Sky, Lord I lift your name on High (BA)
*The theology of the hymn also teaches about Christ.
--He was fully God and fully human: He was manifested in the flesh
--He was verified by the Spirit: vindicated by the Spirit
--The angels witnessed his resurrection: seen by angels
--The good news of Christ is for allpeople: proclaimed among the nations
--People everywhere have trusted him as Savior: believed on in the world
--He has ascended to his heavenly glory: taken up in glory
INTRODUCTION: Parkview Baptist Church does not accept the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. We have been pressured as recently as 2 years ago to do so. But we as a church have decided that the local congregation and not a convention will decide how we want to govern our local church. We continue to accept the Baptist Faith and Message 1963 as our statement of faith which does not address the issue of local church leadership beyond the guidelines set in our text for the day in 1 Timothy chapter 3. The church needs leaders and helpers to guide the local church. So, let’s see what Paul writes to Timothy about the leaders and helpers in the church.
THE LOCAL CHURCH NEEDS SPIRITUAL LEADERS.
*Who can be the overseer of the local church? Paul says that “anyone” can desire and feel the call to that office. “The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task” (3:1).
Women and men are equal in Christ. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
Women preached and had leadership roles in the early church (Acts 21:9; 1 Corinthians 11:5; Romans 16:1-5).
However, the culture and practice of that time and even in our day prefer male leadership (Titus 3:5-6, 1 Timothy 2:12)). In Christ, women are equal but in culture women lag far behind the gospel goal (see Philemon on Paul’s approach to slavery).
*What are the qualifications of overseers or spiritual leaders?
The leader’s conduct and character must be “above reproach.” “Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money” (3:2-3).
The leader must manage his home life and children well. “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping hischildren submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?” (3:4-5).
The leader must not be a new immature believer and should have the respect of those outside the church community. “He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil” (3:6-7).
LEADERS NEED THE ASSISTANCE OF GODLY HELPERS.
*Deacons are servant leaders who have been chosen to help in the work of the ministry of the church. They usually assist in practical matters like feeding the hungry and taking care of the needy. So the Twelve…said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:2-4).
*What are the qualifications of deacons or godly helpers?
Deacons must be models of integrity and good behavior. “Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain” (3:8).
Deacons must be spiritually and doctrinally tested and approved. “They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless” (3:9-10).
Deacons must set a good example in their marriages and families. “Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well” (3:12).
Women deacons must model good character and behavior. “Their wives [women]likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things” (3:11).
Deacons who serve well will receive a reward. “For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus” (3:13).
The church needs spiritual leaders and godly helpers. Is God calling you?