Chuck warns that controlling and comparing other Christians in our churches or in groups of friends does not make you spiritual, and it will not draw people closer to Christ.
In Israel's northern city of Caesarea Philippi, among the ruins of a worship centre dedicated to the Greek god Pan, a cave exists that was long believed by those who worshipped there to be the doorway into the netherworld. It was in the vicinity of this grotto, the alleged gateway to hell, that Jesus promised: "Upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it" (Matthew 16:18).
From Pentecost in the first century to the present day, Satan has attempted to destroy Christ's Church—yet it endures. From a small group of Jewish outsiders in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, Christ built His Church to reach even the remotest parts of the world. Despite controversies, wars, and denominational splits, the Church continues to be the means through which God announces to a dark and dying world that light and life have come in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.
For these reasons, and many more, we learn about and appreciate the body of Christ, the Church.
How do you find a healthy church? This article will give you some ideas. But first—and most importantly—pray. Ask the Lord to lead you in your search.
Because churches are populated and pastored by imperfect people, we should stop every once in a while to administer an examination against the standard of God’s Word. As we close our study of 1 Timothy, let’s do that—let’s evaluate your ministry.
It can be difficult to follow God’s clear commands. However, obedience doesn’t have to involve a grin-and-bear-it kind of attitude, not if we keep in mind that obedience is always for our good and God’s glory.
If a pot of gold is found at the end of a rainbow, contentment is only found there if you bring it with you. And that’s the trick—to possess it, regardless of your possessions. To find contentment, let’s take into account some of Paul’s warnings on how we might miss contentment.
Submitting to authority was just as difficult in the first century as in the 21st century, which makes 1 Timothy such a practical letter. So, let’s hear and heed Paul’s teaching on how to respond correctly to authority.
We could consider 1 Timothy the handbook on biblical ministry within the church. The first half focuses on the work of ministry—the service. The second half focuses on the workman who performs ministry—the servant. The interlude between these two halves (1 Timothy 3:14-16) focuses on the why of ministry—the soul. The ministry may be theologically and biblically correct, but it’s all head and no heart.
God doesn’t always spell things out in such stark “thou shalt” terms. When we get to the epistle of 1 Timothy, however, we discover virtually a whole chapter devoted to a black-and-white list requiring little interpretation but a lot of application. In 1 Timothy 3:1-7 Paul puts his finger on the essential qualities God is looking for in pastors and elders. Qualities applicable for church leaders in the 21st century as they were in the first century.
The role of women in the church is a hot issue, best handled with sensitivity and compassion—and maybe a pair of asbestos gloves! This is not because Scripture is controversial but because the role of women in the culture is different from what Scripture teaches about the role of women in the church. So, questions rise like steam from a boiling kettle.
We all wrestle with doing things in order of importance. One of the reasons for this struggle is that we often don’t know what deserves our immediate attention. For ministry our first priority is clear: prayer.