The Scriptorium

Godly Structure, Godly Church

God has an order for His churches. We do well to follow it. 1 Timothy 3

The Pastoral Epistles: 1 Timothy 3 (7)

Pray 102.12-15.

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.
For Your servants take pleasure in her stones,
And show favor to her dust.
So the nations shall fear the name of the LORD,
And all the kings of the earth Your glory.

Review 1 Timothy 3.

Reflect.

1. What kind of leadership structure does Paul command for the Lord’s churches? What kind of leaders?

2. What is the mystery of godliness, and why is it so great?

Meditate.
The local church is the place where God is working out the mystery of godliness on earth. As people come to faith in Christ and are united with His Body, leadership works to equip them to grow in Christ and devote themselves to serving Him. Elders and deacons work to keep the Body of believers growing together, so that the work of Christ can bring forth godliness in each member and through them, into the community and the world.

That’s the plan, at least. 

In our day churches seem to have lost sight of godliness. Church is more a place for feeling good about ourselves in the Lord, than for working out our salvation in fear and trembling (Phil. 2.12). Church leaders are more interested in meeting our needs and their budget, than in equipping the saints for godliness and ministry (Eph. 4.11, 12). Paul has been guiding us in the Lord’s plan for growing His churches – sound instruction leading to lives of love, men who pray earnestly, women whose witness is exemplary in godliness and quiet learning, and churches increasing in godliness, led by godly elders and deacons. Are we listening? Or have we decided that we know better than the Lord how to conduct ourselves in the pillar and ground of truth, which is the church?

The church will not realize its calling in the divine economy as the sign and outpost of the Kingdom unless we submit in humble silence to the instruction of God’s Word, and put on godliness in all our ways.

Reflect.
1. How would you explain the idea of godliness, and what it requires, to a new believer?

2. What is the role of elders in promoting godliness? What is the role of deacons in promoting godliness?

3. The mystery of godliness may be more than we can fully understand, but does this excuse us from seeking to increase in godliness? Explain.

Honor the holy church as your mother. Love her, proclaim her the Jerusalem which is above, the holy city of God. She it is who, in this faith which you have heard, bears fruit and grows in the whole world, the church of the living God, the pillar and buttress of the truth. Augustine (354-430), Sermons 214.11

Thank You for my church, Lord. Help me to increase in godliness as I…

Pray Psalm 102.

This is a psalm seeking the Lord for revival. Let the Spirit search you as you pray the first part, then call on the Lord to arise and revive His people, and bring a great awakening to the world.

Sing Psalm 102.
Psalm 102 (Leominster: Not What My Hands Have Done)
Lord, hear my prayer and cry; hide not Your face from me!
In my distress and tears I sigh – Lord, hear my earnest plea!
My days like smoke blow past; my bones are scorched with sin.
My heart, like wilted, withered grass bends low to earth again.

With loudest groans and cries, and leanness in my soul,
No shelt’ring place arrests my eyes, no rest to make me whole.
My enemies grow strong; I weep with bitter tears.
My days are like a shadow, long; God’s face is no more near.

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.

Yet let us tell God’s Name and praise His glorious grace.
Let all as one His love proclaim together in this place. 
Though now our strength is low; though shortened grow our days,
our God will not forsake us so, but keep us in His ways!

Of old You made the earth and heavens by Your hand.
Though they shall perish You endure; forever shall You stand.
They change, yet You remain the same, without an end. 
Our children shall Your favor gain, and theirs shall be Your friend.

T. M. Moore

The lessons in this week’s study of the Pastoral Epistles, and all the studies in this series, are available as a free download by clicking here.

Whatever our calling in life, we are sent to bring the joy of Christ to the people around us. Our book, Joy to Your World!, can show you how to fill your Personal Mission Field with more of the Presence, promise, and power of Christ and His Kingdom. Order your copy, as a supplement to our study of 1 Timothy, by clicking here.

If you value 
Scriptorium as a free resource for your walk with the Lord, please consider supporting our work with your gifts and offerings. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button  at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.

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.