Section 1: The Biblical Tasks Pertaining to the Life and Activity of the Church
Introduction: The crucial importance of this subject
A. The pivotal passage which demonstrates the crucial importance of the corporate life and activity of the church.
1 Tim. 3:14-15
1. The circumstances in which Paul wrote
a. Sanctified desire
b. Realistic qualification
2. The principal issue of concern
Richard C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians, to the Thessalonians, to Timothy, to Titus and to Philemon, (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1966), p. 605.
3. The undergirding convictions which gave birth to this concern
a. The specific identity of the church in its local and concrete manifestations.
1) It is the house of God.
1 Cor. 3:16
2 Cor. 6:16
T. David Gordon, Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns, (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2010), pp. 28-29.
1 Kings 8:10-13
2) It is the church of the living God.
1 Thess. 1:9
Patrick Fairbairn, The Pastoral Epistles, (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1874), pp. 154-156.
a) Do you see why Paul is so concerned about the corporate life of the Church?
b) Do you see why he writes with such a sense of urgency and with a tone of moral necessity lays these directives before Timothy?
c) Do you see why it is evil to be indifferent to these issues or to be pragmatic relative to these issues or to be in bondage to ecclesiastical traditions, etc.?
b. The unique function of the church in its local and concrete manifestation
Introduction: The two-fold function has reference to a common denominator
– the truth
2) Basement or foundation
Patrick Fairbairn, The Pastoral Epistles, (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1874), pp. 156-157.
John Calvin, Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries The Second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, and the Epistles to Timothy, Titus and Philemon, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976), pp. 231-232.
4. An extended application of the text.
Benjamin B. Warfield, Faith and Life, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1990), pp. 375-378.
a. Paul’s example
All of the Pastoral Epistles
b. Particular areas of temptation for the man of God in the pastoral office.
1) The temptation to laziness in examining these issues from the Scriptures.
2 Tim. 2:15
2) The temptation to succumb to the fear of man.
2 Tim. 1:7
3) The temptation to conform to the traditions of men
1 Cor. 7:23
4) The temptation to misguided and carnal zeal
Mk. 11:11, 15
5) The temptation to back away through weariness and loneliness
1 Cor. 15:58
1 Kings 19:3ff
c. The peculiar relevance of this text (1 Tim. 3:14-15) as an antidote to these temptations.
1) When you are tempted to cave into any of the above mentioned notations, come back again and again to the realities established by this pivotal text.
2) Say to your self again and again, this congregation in which I serve as an overseer, is the very house of God, the Church of the living God, a God constituted pillar and ground of the saving truth of Christ.
3) Say to your self that you are determined to preach the truth in the context of truth. As you are determined to embody the truth of the gospel in your personal life, so you must seek to preach the truth of Christ in an assembly that embodies that truth in its corporate life and order.
4) The church in its visible, local, organized and corporately functioning identity, is to be the new humanity that validates, illustrates, and embodies the truth that is expounded, believed, and confessed.
B. The supportive passages and perspectives
1. The context and thrust of Rev. 2 and 3
2. The focus of concern in the Book of Acts
3. The major concern of the majority of the New Testament Epistles
C. Summary and Conclusion