1 Timothy 3:14–16 (ESV): 14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 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. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
In this passage, we will see truths about the church’s identity and her mission.
V-14 - Paul planned on visiting Timothy at Ephesus again. There is great value and importance in meeting and being with people face to face.
Romans 1:8–12 (ESV): 8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
3 John 13–14 (ESV): 13 I had much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink. 14 I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.
V-15 - Paul clearly states that what he is writing in this letter is how churches are to act. How things should function in the church? As he writes this, he makes three vitally important statements.
1. The church is the household of God
2. God is the Living God
3. The church is to be a pillar and buttress of the truth
First, this means that the church is supposed to be understood as a family - the family of God. God is our Father. We are adopted through Jesus into God’s family. This means that Jesus as the Son is like our big brother. This means we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. This has huge implications.
Second, we are part of the family, because we have been adopted into the family. God is our Father and He is living and wants a living and vibrant relationship with us. He is not like idols that are dead and cannot hear or speak.
Psalm 115:1–12 (ESV): 115 Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! 2 Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” 3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. 4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. 5 They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. 6 They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. 7 They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. 8 Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them. 9 O Israel, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. 10 O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. 11 You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. 12 The Lord has remembered us; he will bless us;
God is living and He interacts with us. He never sleeps. He never slumbers. He is always with us and desires relationship with us. He wants you to enjoy Him and has made you to enjoy Him. He is the Potter, you are the clay. You have purpose and that purpose is to glorify the living God. He speaks to you through His Word. He listens to you through prayer. He thinks about you. He is your Helper. He lives inside you.
Third, the church is God’s household and we are to be “a pillar and buttress of the truth.” What is a pillar for? What is a buttress used for? A pillar holds things up and supports things. Likewise, a buttress supports and braces things that are standing. The church is supposed to hold up the truth, support the truth against attack, and display the truth for all to see.
Where is that truth found? In Christ, in the His Gospel, and in the Word of God. Jesus is called the Word of God and both Jesus and the Bible are called the truth. Look at these two verses.
John 17:17–19 (ESV): 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
John 14:6–7 (ESV): 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Thus, Paul gives these two examples to show that the church of the Living God is God’s household and that together we are to hold up Christ and His Word, to support it, defend it, and display it to the whole world.
V-16 - This truth we are to uphold is a great mystery that has been made manifest to us. Since the time of Paul’s writing, the mystery of the Gospel has been revealed to the world. Before Christ’s coming, God’s plan of salvation in Christ was concealed in the Old Testament. There were parts that were revealed, but much of it was hidden.
Colossians 1:24–28 (ESV): 24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
We must ask ourselves: How is godliness found? How is righteousness found? What exactly should we be lifting up?
• He (the Son) was manifested in the flesh. The eternal Son was revealed and shown to the world in the flesh. We see Jesus’s humanity and divinity here, and this seems to be specifically speaking about His death.
• Vindicated by the Spirit is linked to that fact the He died (in the flesh), but was raised from the dead by the Spirit. This vindication shows that Jesus was who He said He was, He was faithful to His Father, and He was innocent.
• He was seen by angels
• He was proclaimed among the nations
• He was believed on in the world
• He was taken up in glory
1. Know and defend the Truth
2. Lift up Christ and the glory of God
3. Remember you are adopted into God’s family
4. Remember there is more than just you in the family
5. You are supposed to bring more into the family
6. Remember God is living and we have a real relationship with Him
7. Understand that Satan, the world, and your flesh will do everything they can to stop you from doing the 6 things listed above.
This sermon and the entire sermon series were influenced and impacted by the following commentaries, Bibles, books, teachings and sermons. I am so very grateful for the insight and ministries of those involved with each. Likewise, I am thankful for the insights and input from those who attend the sermon preparation time at FBCCK.
NIV Compact Bible Commentary - John Sailhammer
The Message of the New Testament - 1 Timothy - Mark Dever
The Letters to Timothy and Titus - The Pillar New Testament Commentary - Robert Yarbrough
The Pastoral Epistles - Tyndale New Testament Commentary - Donald Guthrie
1&2 Timothy and Titus - Preaching the Word Commentary - Bryan Chapell and R. Kent Hughes
1 Timothy - Reformed Expository Commentary - Philip Ryken
Does God Desire All to Be Saved - John Piper - Podcast
The Different Wills of God - R.C. Sproul Articles on Ligioner
ESV Study Bible
HCSB Study Bible
John McArthur Study Bible
Topics for the Prayer Time
*Those who have yet to believe in Jesus
*The unreached peoples of the earth
*Missionaries around the world and for more to go0
*The spiritual growth of other believers and churches
*That you would have more spiritual gifts
*That Christians would remain faithful under persecution
*Those who are sick
*Those who have lost loved ones
*Our nation, leaders, military, and civil servants
*Pray for the health and salvation of the unborn babies in our church
*Pray against the evils of abortion and human trafficking
*Pray for the University of Florida international students
*Pray God would bless our efforts to in evangelism and discipleship
*Pray God would bless our community
*Pray God would bless the churches of those visiting us