A Study of 1 Tim.3:14-16

Is it necessary for believers, whether in Paul’s time or in the present age, to consider our conduct in the local Church of which we are members? God expects this and Paul thought it was necessary for he opens this section of his letter by stating; “I am writing you these instructions so that……you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” <1 Tim.3:14-15 (NIV)>. woman-1566154__340Whether it be our own family household, and just as important, in the local assembly (Church) of believers, there must be some standard of conduct that is acceptable and required of each and all of the members. Paul has already addressed some aspects of conduct in his instructions to Timothy in regards to his choice and appointment of Bishops and Deacons, and to the conduct of women in the church <1 Tim.2:9-10 NIV >, which is also applicable to the men as well; but let us look at some other aspects of conduct that affect the function of the local Church.

Most important is the fact that all members including leaders understand the importance of the leadership of The Holy Spirit; this is important because The Holy Spirit represents Christ, and is sent by God to guide us; “”If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you…. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” <Jn.14:15-17; 26 (NIV)>…. “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” <Jn.16:13-14 (NIV)>; and His guidance in necessary for leaders and members alike especially in these days where the truth of Scripture is being challenged. Believers must therefore take this leadership very seriously and depend entirely upon, and continually pursue the leadership and guidance of The Holy Spirit. When this conduct is evident, most, if not all other difficulties can be overcome: “In everything that he undertook in the service of God’s temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered.” <2 Chron.31:21 (NIV)>.

Spiritual unity is another factor that can influence our conduct so that divisions can be avoided in the Church; and here we need to remember Christ’s teaching and instructions to His disciples <Jn.17:22-23; Eph.4:3-6>. Spiritual love and care for each other should be that mark of Christian conduct <1 Jn.3:17-19>: spiritual purity is a necessary Christian conduct <1 Cor.5:1>.

Maintaining and nurturing the body (Church) is another necessary conduct <2 Cor.6:16-17; 7:1>; and so is Church discipline <1 Cor.5:1-2>. Another misconduct that we face today in many churches is that of quarrels, fights, and personality conflicts causing divisions <Rom.16:17-18; 1 Cor.1:10-12>; and further to these is the dissatisfaction with leadership by some which can easily spread among the membership <Num.16:1-3, 19-21; Heb.13:17>. Therefore, our conduct in the House of God is an absolute requirement and we should always be aware of our demeanour.

The reason for this comment by Paul is observed at the end of his statement: “the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.”; and this truth is the “mystery of godliness” that should influence our conduct; our Lord Jesus Christ is here described as that mystery; a mystery that has been finally revealed to all believers <see Rom.11:25; Col.1:26-27>, and the fact that Jesus Christ has been vindicated in His death and resurrection proving Him to be The Son of God, should be the motivation that controls our conduct, not only in the Church but in our everyday life! “…the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.” <3:16 (NIV)>.

In essence, what Paul is implying to Timothy, and to the members of the Church at Ephesus is, that what is required of Bishops, Elders, and Deacons is also applicable to all the members of the Church, and all must exhibit the same characteristics: “be above reproach, …. temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to… [be taught] not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. ….  worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. …. keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.” <1 Tim.3:2-5, 8-10 (NIV)>. The behaviour of believers in Christ is of primary importance, for the Church (believers) must uphold the truth as a testimony to unbelievers, Christ Himself is truth and the foundation of the Church <see 1 Cor.3:11>, and we must understand that there is a certain demeanor that should characterize all believers. One of the most deplorable evils of our present generation is that of irreverence or the lack of respect for God, and believers must be very conscious of our speech and conversation, our manner of life, the company we keep, the associations we establish; for Satan uses all these to shape our minds and can lead to disarray, bring criticism and dishonour to Christ, and cause the message of the gospel to be mocked by unbelievers <see 1 Cor.10:12>.

Our Lord Jesus Christ not only died to bring us forgiveness, but also to bring about a new life of godliness in us and in His Church; “…. Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word…” <Eph.5:25-26 (NIV)>.

“People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord.

We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; we drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; we drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated.” [NATURAL DRIFT FROM HOLINESS; Citation: D. A. Carson, quoted in “Reflections,” Christianity Today (7-31-00); from Perfect Illustrations].

REPENTANCE [12/02/2021]


“’Tis not enough to say, ‘I’m sorry and repent’ , And then go on from day to day, just as I always went.

Repentance is to leave the sins we loved before, and show that we earnest grieve by doing them no more.”  (Source: Repentance; Knight’s Master Book of New Illustrations)

Our Lord Jesus Christ in teaching His disciples, once taught a parable (allegory) that is referred to as “The Prodigal (Lost) Son”, where a man had two sons, the younger requested that his father give him his portion of the inheritance. The father then gives the younger son his portion of the inheritance, whereupon the younger son leaves home and journeys to a distant country where he wasted his money in living outrageously. Coming to the situation of having nothing to eat and no where to live; “…he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.” <Lk.15:17-18 (NIV)>. On returning home, he is sad-man-sitting-couch-home-side-view-hand-head-living-room-83798202fully forgiven by his father and completely restored to what he had before. One main point of this illustration is the action of the son: “he came to his senses…I will go back to my father”; this is true repentance! 

In accordance to Old Testament Law, the people confessed their sin, offered a sacrifice, then often continued in their sinful ways by repeating the same sin. Under New Testament teaching, repentance means turning from sin and turning to unto God <Acts 20:21>; it is called “repentance unto life” since it is not merely departing from evil but to obtain new life found in Christ <Acts 11:18>, it is also referred to as “repentance unto salvation” <2 Cor.7:10>; simply meaning that we do not return to committing the same sin again, inferring that there is a changed attitude toward sin, and not returning to our sinful way of life.

We see then that Repentance is not merely sorrow for sin. There are many today that commit sinful acts, and when caught they make “tearful” apologies but continue to live the same as before; how often have we seen this exhibited from our elected officials all the way down to those that are being put on trial in court proceedings. Then there are those that do “penance”, which is also not Repentance, for penance only gives the sinner merit so as to earn salvation; salvation cannot be earned, and penance only hinders real salvation <Eph.2:8-9>. Repentance, therefore, is a change of intellect that leads to a change of conduct. Every individual needs to Repent because all are guilty in God’s view, and this was taught by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and by all His disciples after His resurrection and return to heaven <see Matt.4:17; Lk.13:3; Mk.1:15; Acts 3:19>; and we should be aware that this is expected by God, “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.” <Acts 17:30-31 (NIV)>. Repentance is also a very important topic of the Scriptures, being alluded to in some way in every book of the Bible, and is also the desire of God for every individual for “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” <2 Pet.3:9 (NIV)>.

RepentRepentance affects our intellect, since, when we hear God’s offer of salvation, we consider it, then make a decision to change our mind and attitude towards sin; this is seen in the action of the Prodigal son mentioned earlier – he changed his mind and returned to his father, it teaches us to hate sin and learn to love God’s holiness <see Acts 2:36-39>. Repentance also affects our emotions <see 2 Cor.7:9-10>; and is a very hard struggle, for Satan does not want us to follow Christ; and we must understand that to follow Christ is what God expects and desires of us. Repentance is not a single act but is twofold: turning from sin, and turning to God <see 1 Thess.1:9-10>. Repentance is a gift from God, and as already been stated it cannot be earned by good works; it is given to those who believe the Word of God <see Acts 11:18; 2 Tim.2:25-26>, and God sometimes has to reprimand us to bring us to repentance <see Rom.2:4; Rev.3:19>.

Repentance results in rejoicing, not only in heaven <Lk.15:7, 10>, but also to those that repent; “Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” <Isa.55:7 (NIV)>; “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord” <Acts 3:19 (NIV)>, but we should understand that although Repentance is a gift from God, we are still unworthy sinners and we should never cease to be remorseful.

 “In the late 1920s my grandparents married and moved into Grandpa’s old family home. It was a clapboard house with a hall down the middle. In the ’30s they decided to tear down the old house and build another to be their home for the rest of their lives.

Much to my grandmother’s dismay, many of the materials of the old house were reused in their new house. They used old facings and doors, and many other pieces of the finishing lumber. Everywhere my grandmother looked, she saw that old house–old doors that wouldn’t shut properly, crown molding split and riddled with nail holes, unfinished window trimming. It was a source of grief to her. All her life she longed for a new house.

When God brings us into the kingdom, the old way of living must be dismantled and discarded.” (Source: Perfect Illustrations; “Don’t Recycle Old Life”; Citation: Len Sullivan; Tupelo, Mississippi)

True Repentance is a restitution to what mankind lost due to sin <Gen.3:22-23>, for it is only through Repentance, and God’s redemption in Christ, that we can again have access to the tree of life <Rev.2:7; 22:14>Repentance