Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Church Etiquette – Part One


As best scholars can conclude, it was in about the year AD 51 or AD 52, that the Apostle Paul became acquainted with a young man named Timothy. The relationship birthed between Paul and Timothy has become a prime example of God’s plan for personal discipleship. Many believe that every Paul should have a Timothy in their life in whom they are investing and as well that every young minister should have a ‘father in the Lord’ to whom they are submitted.

At any rate we can clearly see the importance of this life long relationship, a covenant of an ‘until death do we part’ commitment. Late in life when Paul is about to be martyred in Rome he takes time to write to his young son in the faith and commend him as well as instruct him to continue in the faith. The book of 2 Timothy is a moving last will and testament of a spiritual father to a son.

Tonight we begin a series on Church Etiquette, the customs and courtesies or the church, based in part on the admonition Paul wrote to Timothy in our:

Key Scriptures: 1 Timothy 3 NKJV

14 ¶ These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly;

15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

It is my hope that through this series we will find opportunity to address how we ought to conduct ourselves in the house of God.

God is a God or order Who has provided us with a written copy of His will. Contained therein are both spiritual and practical elements of conduct expected from God’s children. The bible is full of ‘should(s) and should not(s)’ which serve to give guidance to both individuals and groups. This series will explore these guidelines and provide opportunity for us to examine ourselves and our practices.

So, without further comment, let’s turn to the book of 1 Timothy.

1 Timothy 1 NKJV

1 ¶ Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,

2 To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

* No division in doctrine or teaching – one vision, not two …

1 Corinthians 1:10 ¶ Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

* Fluidity of doctrine can cause both individuals and churches alike to drift in the winds of current trends.

Ephesians 4:14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men …

* It is duty of the Five Fold Ministry, Ephesians 4:11ff, to protect the doctrine by equipping the saints to perform the work of the ministry which God has assigned to that body. Each member of the body has its duty, calling, equipping and part to play. Like Judah was given to praise while Issachar were prophets … who is to say what part we are to play except God and He sets them in the church as it pleases Him.

* One goal of the devil is to create dissatisfaction, disunity and discontentment of doctrine, covenant and relationship. In marriage and in ministry.

4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

* Overly zealous of a doctrine or truth which would be new wine in an old wineskin or otherwise cause dissatisfaction or division.

Romans 16:17 ¶ Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.

* How then do we address change? We come through the door to the sheepfold and not through a window or crack or over a wall.

John 10:1 ¶ "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

5 ¶ Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,

* The motivation of structure and protected doctrine is not self serving but rather body preserving … from a pure heart of conviction.

6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk,

* Teaching from the wrong motivation or competitive doctrine will cause many to stray.

7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.

* Many who are novice or perhaps not responsible for the sheepfold may not understand the dynamics of these deep truths or the rippling effects of divisive doctrine.

* If you believe it is ok to eat meat or not eat meat, don’t use that to destroy the body of Christ … Romans 14:22