The Scriptorium

Necessary Conduct

Some things aren't optional. 1 Timothy 3.14, 15

The Pastoral Epistles: 1 Timothy 3 (4)

Pray 102.12, 13.

But You, O LORD, shall endure forever,
And the remembrance of Your name to all generations.
You will arise and have mercy on Zion;
For the time to favor her,
Yes, the set time, has come.

Read and meditate on 1 Timothy 3.14, 15.

Reflect.

1. Does it matter how a local church conducts its ministry?

2. How does Paul refer to the church here? What does that mean? 

Meditate.
These two verses contain some sobering thoughts. Paul was – at least, he hoped – getting ready to come to Timothy in Ephesus. He was reminding Timothy of things he’d taught and work he’d done before in that city. And he expected that Timothy would take his words seriously.

So should we.

Paul says there is a way for churches to conduct their ministries. The NKJV “you ought to” is not as strong as Paul’s δεῖ, dei – “it is necessary.” It is necessary, for the church to realize its full potential as the Body of Christ, that church leaders ensure sound doctrine, develop men of prayer and women of piety and witness, and put in place qualified officers to watch over the souls and needs of God’s people.  “It is necessary” to “conduct” the life and ministry of the church thisway. It’s not optional. It’s not open to modification or substitution. “It is necessary.”

Jesus is coming soon to judge the world. Will He see that we have followed His plan for building His Church?

The local church “is the pillar and ground of the truth.” It upholds the truth for all areas of life, and it provides the ground – in the souls and lives of its members, and in the conduct of all its ministries – in which the truth is sown, takes root, and grows to fruition in a community. Paul expected the churches to be cities on a hill, beacons of truth and goodness and beauty to the world. Churches are the sign that the Kingdom has come, and the outpost from which it advances. If our churches are not these, then we have to ask, “Why not?” What expectations do we have for our churches? Do we really intend for them to conduct themselves in such a way as to shine the light of truth, spread the Good News of truth, and bring the warm and healing balm of truth to bear on every aspect of life in our communities?

Put another way: Do we think about our church the way Paul and Jesus do?

Reflect.
1. How would you summarize the mission of your church? What do you contribute to that mission?

2. Why is it “necessary” to conduct the church’s ministries as Paul teaches?

3. What should churches do in order to fulfill their callings as signs and outposts of the Kingdom of God?

Every one of us, indeed, who is instructed in the Holy Scripture is the administrator of some one of those gifts which, according to the gospel, have been apportioned to us. In this great household of the church not only are there vessels of every kind—gold, silver, wooden and earthen—but also a great variety of vocational pursuits. The house of God, which is the church of the living God, has hunters, travelers, architects, builders, farmers, shepherds, athletes, soldiers. Basil the Great (3330-379),Homily on the Words: “Give Heed to Thyself”

Make me a pillar and ground for truth, Lord, as I go forth in Your Name today to…

Pray Psalm 102.12-21.

We need the Lord to revive us, and this psalm helps us to cry out to Him to arise and do so.

Sing Psalm 102.12-21.
Psalm 102.12-21 (Leominster: Not What My Hands Have Done)
But You, O Lord, abide forever in Your place.
Arise and stand on Zion’s side and lavish us with grace!
Revive Your Church, O Lord! Let all her dust and stones
Be strengthened by Your mighty Word, and compact be as one.

Then let the nations fear the glory of the Lord!
For He shall in His Church appear to heed our sighing words.
Then let our children learn to praise the Lord above.
He hears their groans and knows they yearn to dwell within His love.

T. M. Moore

Men, God commands you to pray. Watch this brief video about our Men’s Prayer Movement (click here). Then order two copies of our booklet, If Men Will Pray (click here) – one for yourself, and one for a friend. Use these resources to jump start your prayer life to a level more in line with what Paul desires of us in 1 Timothy 2.8.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006).All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.