“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. Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.” 1 Timothy 3:14-16
These verses serve as a bridge between the guidelines Paul has given regarding staying strong in faith and in the priority of worship (1 Timothy 2:1-3:13) and the warnings about false teachers that follow.
In 1:18-20, Paul concluded his explanation of the difficult task facing Timothy with personal words of encouragement. He now pens another personal word to his younger son in the faith.
1. The desire to see Timothy
It is incredibly encouraging to know that you are affirmed, loved and appreciated by other people, especially mentors and guides.
2. The focus of Christ-oriented relationships
- Behave/conduct yourself in a God-honoring fashion because God is a God of truth and the church is the pillar and foundation of the truth.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16
- We serve the “living God”
OPTION A: Denial
“That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labours of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the débris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.” Bertrand Russell, Free Man's Worship
“Nearly all that I loved I believed to be imaginary; nearly all that I believed to be real I thought grim and meaningless.” CS Lewis
“Life is nothing; it’s up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing else but the meaning that you choose.” Jean-Paul Sarte
OPTION B: Deism
Deism believes that there is a supreme, Creator God who made everything, but does not intervene in history (and never has).
OPTION C: The Living God
(1 Thessalonians 1:9-10, Acts 14:15, Matthew 16:16, Jeremiah 10:10, Psalm 42:1-2)
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.” Hebrews 4:14
“Christianity is God expressing himself through what we call 'real things'...namely the actual incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection.” CS Lewis
“I walked into the town. I was surprised: So much drunkenness, cursing and swearing. … Surely this place is ripe for Him who ‘came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.’” John Wesley, in his journal, 1742
The response of the disciple of Christ: glorious trust, risk-taking faith.
“2. Instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary change to which we can neither add nor subtract, I shall suppose the universe guided by an Intelligence which, as Aristotle said of Greek drama, requires a beginning, a middle and an end. I think this will save me from the cynicism expressed by Bertrand Russell before his death, when he said: 'There is darkness without, and when I die there will be darkness within. There is no splendour, no vastness anywhere, only triviality for a moment, and then nothing.'”
“3. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence but just as likely ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.”
“9. I shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as Charles Williams suggested, 'fulfill the moment as the moment.' I shall try to live well just now because the only time that exists is now.” Clyde Kilby, Resolutions for Mental Health and For Staying Alive to God, Resolution 2, 3 and 9
1. Read Philippians 1:6-8 and think about how we can show others the love of Christ.
2. Consider the Resolutions by Clyde Kilby from the sermon outline. How do they relate to the life of Christ and how can they be applied on a daily basis?
3. What do you think of sayings like, “Be Kind…Be Responsible…Don’t Be Selfish…” without grounding them in biblical truth?
4. As you think about being a glad-hearted, risk-taking disciple of Christ, ask these questions: Do I pray more than I complain? Do I compliment/build-up more than I criticize? Do I take on risks, or merely play it safe? When was the last time I did something to be considered bold or daring in the name of Jesus?