I want us to look at a few verses in Paul’s first letter to Timothy.
“I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 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. 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” (1 Tim. 3:14-16 ESV).
Timothy is a young elder whom Paul loves. In this pastoral epistle, we find several instructions for the Church.
It’s more than a Sunday gathering. It’s more than a Facebook livestream. It’s more than sermons, songs, meetings, and ministries. The centrality of the Church is Christ Jesus Himself.
In verse 15, Paul describes the Church as a “… pillar and buttress of the truth.” But what does that mean?
The Word of God is the source of truth. And the Church is called to proclaim that truth. In this dark world, we preach the light of Christ. In this hopeless world, we share the hope of Christ. Why? Because, as Paul continues, “… He [God] 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” (v. 16).
In this beautiful passage, we see the incarnation of Christ, the deity of Christ, the mission of Christ, and the ascension of Christ.
And this mystery must shape the Church.
Too often, we become complacent with our understanding of the Church. We chalk it up to a weekly gathering (or livestream). We listen to a message, sing (or listen) to some songs, and give a few bucks.
But the centrality of the Church is Christ. And that must fuel our every motivation.
Like finding unchurched people and talking to them about the gospel. Like forming relationships with the people we serve. Like caring for one another throughout the week.
How can you be more committed to Christ and His Church this year? Sure, it might involve becoming a member, serving on a team, or teaching a class. Those things are important. But a good place to begin is in prayer.
If we know Christ as Lord and Savior, we are on a mission. To worship our Father. To love our brothers and sisters in Christ. To share the gospel.
If the Church is to be an effective “… pillar and buttress of the truth” (v. 15), our lives must display the work of Christ. In our worship. In our families. In our workplaces, schools, and events.
God is working through His people, the Church. I hope and pray you consider the beauty of Christ, the hope of the gospel, and how the Church displays that mystery each and every day.
Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at www.isaiahpauley.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.