1 Timothy 1:3-4 "As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, 4 nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith."
Church Membership makes for a stronger Christian Witness.
When it comes to church membership, over time the Christian ought to become effective in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and knowing how to effectively distinguish between Law and Gospel. As the Apostle Paul was writing to Pastor Timothy, one of the errors that had to be addressed was those who were mishandling the scriptures in regard to mixing up the Law and Gospel. In 1 Timothy 1:8 we read - "But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully." As Paul then describes how some erroneous teachers were misapplying God's Law (i.e Ten Commandments), and one of the main ways in which the Law of God is to be applied, he then states in 1 Timothy 1:11 "according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted."
The need for understanding the glory of the Gospel has never been more needed than today! With that said, unless we understand the justice of God and darkness of sin clearly revealed by the Law of God, we will never appreciate nor communicate clearly the brightness of God's grace and forgiveness of sins in Jesus and the cross revealed by the Gospel. Perhaps a story that I heard one time, which I will simply entitle: "Adam, Dr. Law and the Great Physician", will aid in driving home the point of why Paul wrote what he did in 1 Timothy 1:8-11.
Adam, Dr. Law and the Great Physician
Once there was a letter sent out from Divine Grace Hospital to a man by the name of Adam. Adam had been very ill for quite sometime. His thoughts were that perhaps he had a bad flu or perhaps some type of virus. In the letter Adam was told to come immediately to the Hospital where he would meet with a doctor to discuss his condition.
When Adam arrived, he came upon an office with the words written above: "Dr. Law". As Adam stepped into the main waiting area, he was immediately taken back. A high desk was in the room, along with ten charts, depicting the results of Adam's test. Dr. Law told Adam to sit down, as he had some news to share with Adam. The news was far worse than Adam thought. He had through carelessness contracted a fatal disease called "S-I-N". It was in its final stages, and its rate of mortality was 100%. Furthermore the disease was genetic and was guaranteed to infect all of Adam's loved ones.
At first Adam tried to ignore Dr. Law's diagnosis, but a still small voice urged Adam to listen, since Dr. Law's tests would show the true picture. As hour upon hour past, Dr. Law was relentless in his presenting of the test results. Alas Adam blurted out: "Doctor, what can I do? Is there anything you can do for me? Is there a remedy?" With hands folded and elbows resting on his desk, the Doctor told Adam that there was nothing he could do. All he could do was report the results. Doctor Law told Adam: "Our office doesn't prescribe medicine, we just report test results and make referrals." The message was clear: Adam was going to die!
Adam buried his head in his hands. No comfort was available. Realizing the nature of his disease, he got up to leave. Dr. Law told Adam: "By the way, there is a Great Physican down the hallway. I refer all my patients to him. The choice is yours".
As Adam left the office, he headed down grace hallway and stood in front of a doorway marked: "The Great Physician". As he looked back, he noticed other patients, like he, coming out of Dr. Law's office. Some were stumbling behind him, while others headed in the other direction. Adam could not ignore the diagnosis. Dr. Law's chilling diagnosis made him desperate for answers. He regretted his careless decisions. "Dr. Law was right", he thought, I'm going to die!"
As He opened the Great Physican's door, a gracious hospital worker came to Him and asked if Adam needed anything. With barely a whisper, Adam said: "I'm dying, I need help". Without hestitancy he was wisked into The Great Physician's office. In came The Great Physician. For a long time they sat in silence. Unlike Dr. Law, The Great Physican's walls were bare. Adam suddenly got on his knees and begged the Great Physician for help. He said: "Doc, I've been diagnosed by Dr. Law as having the S-I-N virus. I have no hope. I'm going to die. No medicine that I take can cure me. He referred me to you. Great Physican, you're my only hope!
With that admission, the Great Physician stretched out His hand, with a scar of a nail print, and with a voice that shook the entire building He said: You are healed! You are Forgiven! Live!
As we read in 1 Peter 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."