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Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 3:14-16
The Mission of the Church
1. The church fulfills the eternal purpose accomplished in Christ, to show God’s wisdom to the world, Eph. 3:10-11.
2. How we conduct ourselves in the church (members of it) is revealed in the inspired word of God, 1 Tim. 3:14-15 (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
3. The result of proper conduct: God is glorified, Eph. 3:21.
I. THE CHURCH IS THE PILLAR AND GROUND OF THE TRUTH, 1 Tim. 3:15.
A. The Church Supports God’s Revealed Truth.
1. Pillar: As a column supports the weight of a building, so the (local) church bears the responsibility “to maintain the doctrines of the faith by teaching and practice” (Vine, III:184).
a. Preach gospel (Eph. 4:11); Contend for the faith (Jude 3-4); Oppose error (Gal. 2:5).
b. By godly, righteous living in harmony with the truth, Jno. 8:31-32; Phil. 3:14-16; 2 Pet. 1:5-7.
2. Ground: “A support, bulwark, stay” (Vine). Idea of stability, protection and defense; Strengthen, stabilize.
a. By continuing in the faith, cf. Col. 1:23, “settled” (KJV).
b. The (local) church is a protector of truth; Overseers (Acts 20:28-31; Rom. 16:17-18; Gal. 6:1-2).
3. Truth: NOT convenience, self-esteem, social reform, community improvement, youth activities, social contacts, etc. The church supports God’s word of truth.
II. WHY THE CHURCH MUST SUPPORT AND DEFEND TRUTH.
-Because of what Truth is and what it Accomplishes.
1. The nature of truth:
a. From God, 1 Thess. 2:13 (Jno. 17:17).
b. Inspired and profitable, 2 Tim. 3:16-17.
c. Truth is powerful:
1) Penetrates the heart, Acts 2:37 (Heb. 4:12).
2) Creates faith, Rom. 10:17.
3) Saves, Rom. 1:16 (Jno. 8:32).
d. Establishes the course of our daily lives, Col. 2:6-7.
e. Enlivens our hope of eternal glory in heaven, Col. 1:3-5.
f. Protects us against sin, Psa. 119:11; Eph. 6:14-17.
2. When a church fails to support and defend the truth it will, without fail, move into unauthorized areas of work and lose its identity as the NT church, 1 Tim. 4:1-3; Rev. 2:14-16; 2:4-5.
III. LOCAL CHURCHES OF CHRIST DO THE WORK GOD GIVES THEM (REVEALED IN THE WORD OF TRUTH, 1 Tim. 3:15).
-”The church occupies herself confidently in the work God designed for his people.” (Jerry Fite, GT:12, May 1994).
A. Preach the Gospel, Phil. 1:5; 1 Thess. 1:8.
B. Edify the Saints, Acts 2:42.
1. Assembles, 1 Cor. 14:26.
2. Worship, Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 11:18, 20, 34; 14:23.
3. Teach the gospel as the only doctrine and the sole measurement of spiritual action and spiritual growth, Gal. 1:8-9; Eph. 4:15-16, 20-21; 2 Tim. 3:17.
C. Relieve Needy Saints, Acts 4:34-35; 11:27-30.
D. Any Work that is Added or Taken Away is Accursed, Gal. 1:6-12. (Social gospel, medical missions, general benevolence)
1. Once we change the mission of the church to secular pursuits, we forfeit the claim of being the “house of God” (1 Tim. 3:15).
2. Our behavior either reflects reverent honor for the church, or selfish disdain.
By: Joe R. Price
Posted: April 6, 2017