1 Timothy 3:14
Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these things
Sermons
The Importance of a Due Regulation of Church OrderT. Croskery 1 Timothy 3:14, 15
Upholder of the Truth, and Grandeur of Truth UpheldR. Finlayson 1 Timothy 3:14-16
The apostle expected to visit Ephesus shortly, but in case of his visit being delayed by necessary causes, he deemed it right to give Timothy these instructions in writing respecting the appointment of bishops and deacons, and other details of Church order. "These things I write to thee, hoping to come shortly; but if I should tarry, [I write them] that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to conduct thyself in God's house."

I. THE NECESSITY OF A DUE ORDER IN THE CHURCH.

1. Darbyites suppose that it is wrong for man to make arrangements in God's Church - that it is the Holy Ghost who should regulate the order of worship and service, and that his presidency should be recognized in everything. In that case why should the apostle have been at such pains to regulate even the ministrations of prophets and speakers with tongues at Corinth? God is a God of peace, not of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).

2. It was not enough for Timothy to stir up his own persona! gifts and do the work of an evangelist, but he must execute the special commission he had received from the apostle, to regulate the appointment of the office-bearers of the Church, and the details of Church worship. The Church was to be guided in choice of ministers by the considerations suggested by the apostle.

3. There was special reason for these instructions in the rise of heresies at Ephesus and elsewhere. (1 Timothy 4:1-3.)

II. THE DIGNITY AND OFFICE OF THE CHURCH. It is "God's house, which indeed is the Church of the living God, the pillar and basement of the truth."

1. It is the Church of the living God.

(1) It is so, regarded either as the Christian congregation with a local reference, or as the whole Church of the redeemed, in communion with Christ and with each of its members.

(2) Its internal glory consists in the fact that it is no material temple of dead deities, like the proud temple of Diana which reared itself aloft over the roofs of Ephesus; but a spiritual community, realizing the living and personal presence of God in the midst of it.

2. It is the house of God.

(1) This term denoted primarily the temple at Jerusalem, and secondarily the covenant people (Numbers 12:7; Hosea 8:1), who had God for a Sanctuary or Dwelling-place (Psalm 90:1; Ezekiel 11:16). There was a mutual indwelling - they in him, and he in them.

(2) It now denotes the Church of God, represented variously as

(a) a spiritual building resting on Christ as chief Corner-stone (Ephesians 2:20);

(b) as the true temple in which God dwells (1 Corinthians 6:16);

(c) as the household or "house of God," over which is Christ as Son (Hebrews 3:6) - "whose house are we." Moses was servant in this house, Jesus a Son over it; it was, therefore, the same house in the two dispensations. A proof, in opposition to Darbyism, that the Church existed in Old Testament times, and did not first come into existence at Pentecost.

3. It is the pillar and basement of the truth.

(1) Negatively, Christ, and not the Church, is the only ground of truth. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus" (1 Corinthians 3:11). This passage implies that the Church rests upon the truth rather than that the truth rests on the Church. But a misapprehension arises from confounding the truth as it is in itself with the truth as apprehended by believers and acknowledged before the world. Further, the truth does not derive its authority from the Church, but from Christ.

(2) Positively, the passage sets forth

(a) the presentative manifestation of the truth; for "the Church is the pillar of the truth." The Church is to hold up the saving truths of the gospel before the eyes of men. It is a pillar inscribed all over with the truth. Without the Church "there would be no witness, no guardian of archives, no basis, nothing whereon acknowledged truth would rest." It is the Church which holds the deposit of truth, and perpetuates it from generation to generation.

(b) The passage sets forth the stability of the truth. "The Church is the basis of truth." The truth finds its true basis in the hearts of believing men, who hold forth the glories of redemption amidst all the fluctuations of the world. There is nothing in this exposition to sanction the assumptions of the Church of Rome, because she must first substantiate her claims to be a teacher of the truth before she can be regarded as "a pillar and ground of the truth." - T.C.







Husband of one wife.
I was once the guest, says Mr. Moody, of a Christian man, whose children were turning out badly. One night a conversation took place about them; and with tears trickling down his cheek he said, "My four eldest sons turned out badly, and I am afraid that the others are following their example." I said: "Let us look into this thing. Tell me about your family. How many nights do you go to church?" "On Sunday night. I am an officer in the church, and I am there on Sunday night." "What about Monday?" "Oh, I am a deacon, and I am at the church on Monday night." "What about Tuesday night?" "I am connected with the city government, and I have to attend committee-meetings of the council." "Wednesday night is prayer-meeting, and you go to church?" "Yes." "That is how you are occupied four nights. What do you do the other three?" "I belong to the Masons. I hold a high office in the lodge, and have to be there." "That accounts for five nights. Of course, as you hold a high social position, you are often out at dinner-parties and committees. You go out perhaps one night each week to dinners and committees." "It will average all that." "Then," I said, "there is one more night, that is, Saturday night; what do you do then?" "Oh, I am superintendent of the Sabbath school, and I lock myself in my room and prepare the lesson for my Bible-class on the following day." "You don't let your children into your room then, do you?" "No; certainly not." "Then your children have to get off early in the morning, and they are away from family prayer?" "Yes; some get off early, and others rise late, and they are not present at morning worship." "And you have to get away as early, as possible to your business" as soon as I get through worship I am off. What time do you take dinner. At six o'clock." "You see your children at six. But you are not always prompt. I suppose half-past six, is it not?" "Yes, that is about the average." "And your meetings begin about half past seven; so that you have but little time with your children. What have you done for them?" And at that very time he was trying to be made mayor of the city. He dropped his head, and said that he had never thought of it in that light before. There are many just like that. They are giving their time to public affairs, to the utter neglect of their children and their homes.

Titus, brother of Africaner, was the only individual on the station who had two wives, and fearing the influence of example, I have occasionally made a delicate reference to the subject and by degrees could make more direct remarks on the point which was one of the barriers to his happiness; but he remained firm, admitting, at the same time, that a man with two wives was not to be envied, and added, "He is often in an uproar, and when they quarrel he does not know whose part to take." He said, he often resolved when there was a great disturbance, he would pay one off. One morning I thought the anticipated day had come. He approached my door leading an ex upon which one of his wives was seated. "What is the matter?" I inquired. Giving me a shake of his hand, and laughing, he replied, "Just the old thing over again. Mynheer must not laugh too much at me, for I am now in for it." The two wives had quarrelled at the outpost, and the one in a rage had thrown a dry rotten stick at the other, which had entered the palm of her hand, and had left a piece about an inch long, and the thickness of a finger. The hand had swollen to nearly four times its usual size. "Why" I asked, "did you not bring her sooner?" "She was afraid to see you, and would not come till I assured her that you were a maak mensche(a tame man). Having made an incision and extracted the piece of wood, she was melted into tears with gratitude, while I earnestly exhorted her to a better way of life.

(Dr. Moffatt.)

Purchase to themselves a good degree
- The words refer, in the first place, to a faithful discharge of the duties attached to the office of the deacon. They that have "used the office of a deacon well" are they who have laboured in the diaconate with honour to themselves and glory to their MDr. Morrison wrote to his friends in England and asked them to send him out another missionary. A young man from the country came and offered himself. He came to the office of the Missionary Society and was introduced to the gentlemen of the board and had a long talk with them. They then asked him to call again in an hour or two, and they would give him an answer. In talking the matter over after he was gone, they came to the conclusion that this young man would not do to go as the colleague of Dr. Morrison. Finally, they said to Dr. Phillips, one of their members: "Doctor, you see the young man and tell him that we do not think him fit to be a missionary; but that if he would like to go out as servant to the missionary we will send him." The doctor did not like much to do this; but he did it. He told the young man just what the board said. Now, many a young man would have been angry on hearing this, and would have said: "No, I shall do no such thing. If I can't go out as a missionary, I won't go at all." But this young man did not feel or act so. After hearing what the doctor said, his answer was: "Well, sir, if the gentlemen don't think me fit to be a missionary I will go as a servant. I am willing to be a hewer of wood, or a drawer of water, or do anything to help on the cause of my heavenly Master." He was sent out as a servant, but he soon got to be a missionary, and turned out to be the Rev. Dr. Milne, one of the best and greatest missionaries that ever went to any country.

(R. Newton, D. D.)

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