1 Timothy 3 presents us with qualifications for the leaders of the Church. We have several names for leaders in the Bible as well as different types of leaders. For the local church there are two primary leaders, the “elders” and the “deacons”. These positions of leadership are foundational for the church serving two primary functions: the elders provide spiritual teaching and guidance where the deacons provide the leadership for the physical needs of the Church. It is also implied that elders are normally full time workers, especially those that are preacher/teachers (1 Timothy 5:17) whereas deacons were volunteers.
Not all questions are created equal. Good answers demand good questions and some questions are better than others; the value we receive in the answer we receive depends on the question itself. There is no harm in asking Father the questions we have, we just can’t let our initial questions be our final ones. Asking questions is one of the ways in which we seek God and find out who He is. These verses in 2Timothy challenge us and they challenge our thinking about who we are, they fly in the face of our culture and its expectations of both men and women. We can be very tempted to ask God ‘Why?’ but that may not be the best question we can ask. It certainly can’t be the last question we ask.
‘Fight the good fight…’ The task that Paul has given Timothy of leading the church at Ephesus has inherent conflict; there are men within the church who do not see eye to eye with Timothy, Paul or the Gospel. They have their own agenda and are intent on fighting to see their own way through. Paul encourages Timothy to not shy away from that conflict, but rather ‘fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience’ (v.18). The history of the church is littered with ugly conflicts, everything from spats that alienate believer from believer, to church splits large and small, to outright wars whose aim it is to shove one man’s opinion of what ‘truth’ should look like down the throat of another. The question is how do we deal with the conflict that is inherent in our corporate following of Christ?
The theme that Paul establishes in these opening verses of this letter and the idea that he will continue to pursue throughout is essentially that of Truth; what does it look like and how do the Ephesians, as believers and the Body of Christ, get there? The root of the specific issue within the church at Ephesus is certain men who are focusing on ‘mere speculation’ and the Law rather than on the ‘administration of God, which is by faith’ (v.4 NASB). The question Paul is asking is whether the Ephesians going to found their definition of Truth strictly on their own thinking and speculation or are they going to chase after what it is that Father might reveal to them?
Multiply – Week 2
July 13, 2014
Speaker: Rob Yanike
Watch on video.
The ideas in Christianity which we believe, the fundamental doctrines and teachings of the Church are sometimes called the cornerstones of truth. Cornerstones are very important in construction especially for buildings using brick or stone. They set the trueness of the walls and often establish the strength of the building. Everything else built hangs off of them. But those cornerstones must sit on a foundation. The foundation of a building establishes the soundness of the building. As Jesus pointed out, buildings set on sand will fall quickly under stress whereas buildings set on a solid foundation stand up no matter what assails them (Matthew 7:24-27).
We have a mystery. In 2Timothy 3:8, Paul mentions two men who opposed Moses, Jannes and Jambres (or Mambres), but these two men are never mentioned by name in the Old Testament. Moses faced opposition several times, for example, from Korah, Dathan, and Abiram who were struck down along with 250 other community leaders (Numbers 16). Their folly was made clear to everyone and they would have made a good example for Paul. We have to wonder why Paul chose two men, unmentioned in the Old Testament as his example.
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). That is a fundamental truth of Christianity. Our salvation goes through Jesus. He is truth and by knowing Jesus, we know the truth and receive life.