1 Timothy 3.8-13 - What is a Deacon?

1 Timothy 3.8-13  - What is a Deacon?

“Deacon” means "servant." Yet, the bar of expectation is set high – leaders with moral purity, spiritual maturity, a good example in family and community, doctrinally strong, and handles money responsibly. Men and women can be Deacons (1 Timothy 3.11 can mean both ‘wives’ and ‘women’, Romans 16.1). Their origin is the appointment of the seven ‘servants’ (Acts 6). Their exact duties are not narrowly defined in Scripture. In BICF ZGC, Deacons are the church's ministers of mercy, the go-to team to help those in need. They are our primary eyes and ears to the hurts of our congregation and beyond – mobilizing us all to action.  Deacons assist the Elders (entrusted to shepherd by ministering the Apostle’s Word) and lead us in mission. So, Deacons and Elders work closely together as Mission and Mercy maintain the right balance of “Kingdom-outreach” – sharing Jesus in both word and deed.

1 Timothy 3.15 - The Main Thing about Church

1 Timothy 3.15 – The Main Thing about Church

Churches do many good things for people.  Church people often make good friends. A church can be a great place to meet your future spouse. There are many needs met by churches. There are programs for youth and families.  Churches are often good places for music lovers. Churches provide seminars on finances, coping with loss, overcoming addictions, how to learn a foreign language, and other helpful topics. These are great ways to serve the community. All these good activities, and many others, are ways a church can show God’s love for the world. But non-church people can do all these things also, and sometimes they do a better job of them.
The unique thing a church has, which the world does not have, is the Word of our God.  Indeed, the church exists for God – it lives because He does. It is His embassy in this world. Here lost people can come and find Him. All of our meetings, programs, and events should introduce people to Him. Unfortunately, sometimes our church events only entertain believers. The one thing a church does that non-church people cannot do is share the Word of God. The Apostle Paul makes this point in three verses of Scripture. He calls the church, “God’s household, the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth” (1 Timothy 3.15). “His [God’s] intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known” (Ephesians 3.10). And to the Philippian believers he wrote, “You shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life” (Philippians 2.15,16). Martin Luther said, “The Church is God’s mouth-house.” So the Church of Jesus is founded on the Word, grows by the Word, and must make the Word known.

1 Timothy 6.12 - Pick Your Fights

1 Timothy 6.12 - Pick Your Fights

Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6.12) - not a punch below the belt or kick in the shins fight! Paul used words, “he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead” (Acts 17.2,3). He carefully “spoke the truth in love” (Ephesians 4.15) – but he was not a wimp. There are two ‘faith fights’ – family and foes. God’s ‘foe’- not ours - does not honor Him as Lord, nor submit to His Word as their highest authority. We ‘fight’ for their conversion, praying they’ll become His child and enter His family by repentance and faith. Within the ‘family’ there are ‘fights’ for clarity - to rightly interpret God’s Word. We need to believe AND properly understand the Bible. We must help our family members more carefully read the Scriptures and more faithfully follow the Savior.

1 Timothy 6.17 - "Hey Rich Guy!!"

1 Timothy 6.17 - “Hey Rich Guy!!”

If I heard that shouted my way I’d not likely turn my head. But in truth all of us that jetted here landed in the upper echelons of our nation’s financial ladder. So, Paul’s charge to the rich in 1 Timothy 6 applies to us. These are just a few of the many Bible verses about money. Nowhere is it called sinful. It can be used sinfully, but it is a neutral tool of commerce – for good or ill. Neither does it make us special. The world worships the rich. God says they’re blessed, given unique opportunities to steward their resources for His Kingdom, and must worship God alone. Never does God teach that money brings satisfaction. Again, this is hugely counter-cultural! The world shouts, “Joy is just beyond your next purchase.” But the global landscape is cluttered with many heartbroken hoarders. Joy is free of charge in Jesus.

1 Timothy 6.18 - Legalism

1 Timothy 6.18 - Legalism

Christians must “adorn the gospel” (Titus 2.10) by being “rich in good works” (1 Timothy 6.18). So, why does Jesus bust on these legends of obedience? “Pharisee” is a modern insult, but they were Super-stars of First-Century Judaism.  Legalists do the right stuff, for wrong reasons. They’re hard to spot. They look as authentic, often more so, than Christians. But they can be sniffed out by their harshness, pride, or critical spirit. It is exhausting trying to earn favor with a Holy God. And, they’re angry with those who don’t try as hard - or don’t appreciate all they do. Their standard is not Scripture, their motive is not love, their goal is not the glory of God. Their spotlight shifted from the Worthy Savior to their Wonderful Selves! Fight legalism by practicing an honest, humble, examination of your sinfulness, and a joyful, confident, loving embrace of your Savior - daily.

2 Timothy 2.15 - www.bibleproject.com

2 Timothy 2.15 - www.thebibleproject.com

“The Bible Project creates videos, podcasts, and study guides that explore the Bible’s unified story by focusing on its overarching themes and each book’s literary design. We are committed to understanding the Bible in its historical context and communicating its wisdom for the modern world. We want to change how people read and use the Bible. For some, the Bible is used as a devotional grab bag. For others it is an instructional manual that fell out of the sky. And for many, it is an oppressive book of out-dated rules used to control people. We believe that the Bible is a divine-human book that speaks God’s word to his people. We think it points people to Jesus, who has power to change individuals and whole communities. When we let the biblical story speak for itself, we believe it has immense wisdom to offer the modern world.” Amen! Enjoy!

2 Timothy 3.13 - Liar! Liar!

2 Timothy 3.13 - Liar! Liar!

Two American sportsmen have recently been spotlighted for truth deficiency. A biker lied and a footballer was lied to. The children’s diddy about “sticks and stones” is wrong. Words CAN hurt. Paul saw this, “evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3.13).  “Deceiving” – telling lies – leads to “being deceived” – believing your own lies! People can spin their own reality. Their bubble of lies can grow ever larger. But one day Truth will pop our false façade.  Liars will get caught by their own lies, eventually. Among the grim list of those thrown into endless hell are “…all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur” (Revelation 21.8). Thankfully, “he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him” (John 7.18).