1 Timothy 3:14-16 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
What to do after the presents are unwrapped
In a few short days we will be celebrating Christmas with our family. As many of you who are reading this blog probably will be experiencing, the anticipation leading up to Christmas and the quickness of its passing leaves one with a sense of "now what?" When we celebrate holidays like Christmas, it is very easy to focus on the significance of Jesus' incarnation and virgin birth only once a year. What about the remaining eleven or so months? Should the truth of Christ's virgin birth and entry from eternity into time be restricted to once a year? Today's blog aims to give the Christian reader a direction to go in the wake of unwrapped presents and what will be the drawing to a close of another Christmas season.
The passage that urges us to celebrate Christmas truth everyday
1 Timothy 3:14-16 stands as one of the most incredible texts in the New Testament. What draws me to this text is the fact that it includes a profound statement about the Incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only is the passage rich in doctrine, but also the passage is unique in that it represents one of the first early Christian hymns. Those details alone made me start thinking about Jesus Christ as the Central truth of Christmas. As Paul was closing out this positive set of instructions to Timothy his young protege and pastor of the Ephesian church, he urges him and us reading this letter to truly celebrate Christmas truth everyday.
In thinking on this idea of Jesus Christ as the truth of Christmas, I ask this question: Why must the truth of Christmas, Jesus Christ be celebrated everyday by Christians? In considering 1 Timothy 3:14-16, let me offer three answers to that question:
1. Practical Christianity Feeds from Him who is the truth of Christmas, Jesus Christ. 1 Timothy 3:14-16a
2. Precious Doctrine is Framed by Him who is the truth of Christmas, Jesus Christ. 1 Timothy 3:16b
3. Powerful Worship Flows from Him who is the truth of Christmas, Jesus Christ. 1 Timothy 3:16b
So why celebrate Christmas truth everyday? Notice first of all that...
Practical Christianity Feeds from Him who is the truth of Christmas, Jesus Christ. 1 Timothy 3:14-16a
Practical Christianity expressed towards others = Conduct
Practical Christianity is one of Paul's main concerns here in these set of verses. Note what he says about our practical everyday Christian life. In 1 Timothy 3:15 we read: "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself
in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and
ground of the truth." The idea of behavior is also translated by the NASB as "conduct". Conducting oneself in the Biblical sense means being careful about how you respond and carry yourself as a Christian.
Christian conduct is spoken of elsewhere in the New Testament:
1. Philippians 1:27 reminds us to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel
2. In Acts 4:32, all the early Christians had a conduct that united them together in one heart and mind
3. Paul urges the Corinthian church in 1 Coritnhains 1:10 to watch their conduct with one another so that there may be no divisions
Other passages could be cited, but the point is well taken, conduct or how we excercise caution in our dealings with one another is a mark of a healthy, practical Christianity.
Practical Christian expressed in my own life = godliness
Paul then says these words in 1 Timothy 3:16a - "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness...." What is godliness? Proverbs 13:6 in the NLT reads - "Godliness guards the path of the blameless, but the evil are misled by sin." Perhaps one of the clearest descriptions of the term "godliness' anywhere in the Bible is 1 Timothy 4:8 "for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for
all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to
come." To be Godly means that I aim to do good and be good for the sake of God's pleasure.
What drives practical conduct and Godliness? Christmas truth
As Paul has wrote instructions in 1 Timothy 1-3 on how his readers are to "conduct themselves" and "be godly", the question is: what engine will drive Christian conduct and Godliness? Only one person can do that: Jesus Christ. Christmas truth is Jesus, and daily focus upon Himself will ensure effective conduct and godliness. The fact that Paul hitches 1 Timothy 3:15-16 to the rich statement concerning the arrival of Jesus Christ into this world, tells us that daily Christian living feeds upon the life and power of Jesus Christ.
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Monday, December 24, 2012
Practical Christianity needs to Celebrate Christmas Truth Everyday
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