The apostle Paul penned the Pastoral epistles – first and second Timohty and Titus – to ensure the local church, wherever it was located, had clear instructions on how to operate.
It does us good from time to time to apply these fundamental truths to our own church to check if we are being true to the instructions from God.
The apostle Paul had specific direction from Jesus Himself, and cried out “Lord what wilt thou have me to do?”
This should be our commitment as we consider Paul’s instructions to the church. Paul’s ministries included missionary journeys, establishing churches and, of course, preaching the gospel. His instructions to the churches could not be clearer.
“Let all things be done decently and in order.” – 1 Corinthians 14:40 (KJV).
His epistle, first Timothy, included church organisation, qualifications, conduct and discipline.
It is interesting that Paul obviously knew that the world would try to subvert this formality, this church order, as on two occasions – in first Timothy 1:18 and 6:12 – he mentors his young colleague to “fight the good fight.”
That’s a challenge to us all.
The world will constantly try to undermine the work of the Church, but we are to trust in the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the means of salvation and be constantly engaged in prayer and submission to the word of God.
Our leaders must be qualified. They must preach and teach sound doctrine, demonstrate godliness and perseverance in the faith.
The wider church role must ensure attention is paid to widows, elders and all age groups and community needs.
The Church should have a Biblical perspective on all relationships.
Have a look at the comments in 1 Timothy on masters and slaves, rich and poor and eternal verses temporal.
All issues must be approached on the basis of Sola Scriptura. This is the only tradition, and our infallible reference guide.
At the time of writing, the apostle was concerned specifically about corrupt teachers, confused believers, false doctrines and believers.
All of these are poor testimonies to the world.
Let’s face it – nothing much has changed in 2000 years!
The role of the Church has remained the same.
We are required to preach repentance and that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. The glad tidings are that the remission of sins is available to all who will accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour.
The Church must preach and teach without ceasing a faith alone doctrine. And, as a testimony to the world, may our church be an example of things being done decently and in order.
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About the author
Barrie Hanson lives in Bluff, Southland. He has been a Christian for over 40 years and in that time he has been a preacher, Pastor and a church helper in both Auckland and Hamilton.
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