Bible Reading: 1 Timothy 3:14-16, 4:6-16
“If I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15)
What is the church? And what is our part in it as the future generation?
1 Timothy is a letter from Paul to his fellow servant, Timothy, who was Paul’s junior. In this letter, Paul teaches Timothy about his life and ministry principles. Paul passes on the baton of ministry, training up the future of the church.
In 1 Timothy 3:14-16, Paul lays down a very important principle for Timothy and, for us, the future of the church. Fundamentally, we have to ask, what is the church? Paul gives a succinct yet deep answer. From verse 15, we see:
The church is the household of God. Although God is omnipresent, He particularly dwells in His church. Out of the whole universe, God’s eyes are set on the world. Out of the whole world, God’s eyes are set on His church. Do not look down on the church. It has a vitally high calling and demands our attention and respect.
Yet, the church is not the building as some would imagine. Instead, the church is the gathering of true believers. God dwells on earth amongst His children. God’s household comprises redeemed saints, both Jew and Gentile. Christ himself is the cornerstone, and the whole church grows into a temple of God where God dwells by His Spirit (See Ephesians 2:19-22).
The church is of the living God. Christ’s bride is not to be toyed with. The church is the people whom God loves. They are His blood-bought bride whom He jealously loves. They will not be monopolised or made use of. Those who play with God’s church will have to face God’s vengeance. Those who reject God and refuse to worship Him must know that God is a consuming fire (see Hebrews 12:29).
The church is the pillar and buttress of the truth. Such architectural imagery shows how God uses the church as a means to uphold and proclaim the truth in this dark world today. We are called to be light in the darkness. It is the church’s responsibility to proclaim the whole truth of the Scripture to the world, for it is only through the Word that there may be salvation for the nations. This is the church’s duty, “so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10).
As the future of the church, we are called to show forth God’s glory and witness His unfathomable wisdom to the world and to all beings in the heavenly realms. This glory and truth is the mystery of godliness, God’s mysterious wisdom unto salvation for His people. The mystery of salvation is made known to this world through Christ. This is a truth that the world knows not. It is not a product of human speculation. It cannot be observed from nature. This is a special revelation of God’s will through His Word, given to the church alone, to proclaim to the world.
It will be our duty to uphold the truth in this world. Are we ready for it? Are we preparing for the task we have been called to?
The most rudimentary question is this: Do we know this truth for ourselves? Is God’s mystery of salvation the glory that we savour each day? Do we know our God?
How are we meant to proclaim God’s truth to others when we ourselves do not know it and are not transformed by it?
The only way to know this truth is to pursue godliness. That is why the author of Hebrews encourages us, “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
Does it matter that we are young? No! Paul encourages Timothy, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).
To be holy is to be set apart to treasure Christ above all else. It is to be transformed by the truth of the scriptures. Will we make this our prayer and our daily struggle?
Lord, please prepare us, the future of Your church. Have mercy on us, and teach us Your truth. Give us spiritual growth and a deeper knowledge of You. We surrender ourselves in Your hands. In Jesus’ name, amen.