Church Life in Real Life

churchinreallifeThis Sunday we’ll be starting a new series called “Church Life in Real Life”, and we’ll be exploring the books of 1 & 2 Timothy.  There’s a pretty good commentary which covers at least 1 Tim online at Bible Gateway…you can find it and read it HERE (if you’re so inclined). 

Both the letters to Timothy as well as Titus have become known as the “pastoral epistles”, because they deal so much with church structure.  Some people assert that their only real purpose is to set up church policy and government, but I beg to differ.  It seems to me, that while the regulation of leaders and doctrine brackets the whole work, the real import of the message is how the gospel is supposed to effect our lives with REAL change.  Change that gets evidenced in the lives we live.  Church life should merely be a reflection of our everyday life, not a different aspect of life we reserve for Sundays and Wednesdays.  Church life should be in real life and visa versa.  Anyway…we’ll unpack that a bit more as we go along.

This week as we introduce the book, we’ll be reading chapter 1:1-11  (Also in the Message), and considering Paul’s “War on Error”.

After his greetings, Paul jumps right into correcting teachers in Ephesus (Where Tim is living and working, helping get the church there established), warning them that they’re veering off the path Paul originally pointed to.  What are some of the things he warns against in v4? 

So…what’s the big deal Paul?  Why is doctrine such a sticky issue with you?  What does it matter what some people believe?  Those kinds of questions seem appropriate…so what does v4 say about the results of what is being taught in Ephesus?  What does that tell us about the importance of maintaining a healthy doctrinal understanding?

The issue seems to be a slide into mysticism, and another attempt to introduce the Old Testament law into New Testament living.  Who does Paul say the the law is for?  How do we understand this, in light of Paul’s message of salvation and life in Jesus Christ?

Should be an interesting foray into a very timely epistle!  See yaz Sundee.

4 comments

  1. Isn’t it funny how the Bible is still applicable to our church today. It kind of makes me sad that we haven’t learned much even though we’ve been studying it for centuries. It’s funny, it actually seems like doctrines and legalism have gotten even more complicated and convoluted. All those convolutions and complications make it easy to get sucked into focusing on the doctrines rather than those around us. This culture priorities knowledge and education, but knowing your neighbor is often very low on the list.

    I think arguing over doctrine rarely brings forth any fruit. While I don’t think we necessarily have to worry about our church splitting over doctrine I do think it’s important in our individual relationships to remember that. Love must always be our priority.

    I don’t really understand that whole bit about the law. I thought we were free from the law? He says the law is for the unlawful. Are the unlawful Christians that have gone astray or are they people who don’t even have a relationship with Jesus?

    I’m looking forward to this new study. 2 Timothy was the first book of the Bible I ever ready on my own. (Random, I know.)

  2. Jessica — I am sure Rob will chime in on your “law” question as well, but I think Paul seems to be stating that it is the law that convicts people of their sins. When those that have no moral compass see and understand what the law says, they understand that their sin separates them from God. That is why Paul says the law is not for those that are following The Way, they are already following Jesus. But if the knowledge of the law was enough then why did Jesus have to die?? Because while the law convicts, it is his mercy that leads us to repentance.

    You are correct as well about doctrinal fights. Never have seen one of them go well. Besides, they are never about finding truth. Instead it’s about protecting (or expanding) your turf. I like what Paul says about correcting error, “It’s true that moral guidance and counsel need to be given, but the way you say it and to whom you say it are as important as what you say.”

    Peace

  3. Good answer John, concerning the law. The law is only meant to highlight sin…only Jesus can cure it. So that’s the only “lawful” way of using the law….seeing it as the thing that reveals the problem…but not as a solution.

    Good insights from both of you!

  4. I can see why you mentioned the study for this Sunday when I texted you earlier, Rob.

    I’ll write more later this evening when I have a bit more time. I’m stoked for getting into Timothy, though.

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