1 Timothy 3
…so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. – Vs 15
If you spend any time reading and studying the writings of Paul, you quickly discover that he was extremely passionate about the conduct or behavior of believers. It is a popular topic in all his letters. Partly because the church was young and the converts to this new faith called The Way were bringing a mixed bag of religious beliefs and pagan influences along with them. There was no written code of conduct. They didn't know how followers of Christ were supposed to act. You had Jewish converts attempting to bring the requirements of the Law and mix them with their new-found freedom in Christ. You had Gentile converts trying to blend their pagan practices with the teachings of Christ and the apostles. So it was a confusing and potentially dangerous time for this fledgling band of brothers and sisters known as Christians or Christ followers.
The household God
Paul went out of his way to emphasize to his readers that they were members of a new household. This was God's family. They had entered into a new relationship with God that was communal and not just individual. They were part of a family of faith that was going to rely on interaction and interpersonal relationships. It wasn't just "you and God" anymore, but it was going to be about you as a member of the family of God. Like any family, how all the members get along is what will determine the health of the family. If everyone simply looks out for their own self-interests, you will ultimately have conflict. So interpersonal relationships and behavior are critical in the family of God.
The church of the living God
This new family is the church of the living God. It is HIS church, not ours. We represent Him on this earth. He started the church and He placed it on the earth so that it might reflect who He is. In the earliest days of the church, recorded in the book of Acts, we see that there was a sense of oneness, openness, community, and care that made the church attractive and vibrant. The love they had for one another was contagious. The community they shared with one another was infectious. They were the church of the living God and as a result, they drew people to God in mass, and so the church grew rapidly.
The pillar and support of the truth
But along with being a place of community and a representation of God on this planet, the church is to be the "pillar and support of the truth." We are to hold fast to the truth of God as found in His Word. We are to teach it, preach it, believe it, and live it daily. When the church fails to do so, the foundations begin to quickly crumble. We can see this happening in our own nation as churches and denominations abandon their responsibility to uphold and support the truth of God. They bend the truth or simply manufacture their own version of the truth. The result is chaos and confusion. The community loses its moral compass. The nation begins to do what is right in its own eyes instead of what is right in the sight of God. The church is to stand as a beacon of light in a dark world. The church is to lift up God's Word and model the power of its truth through godly behavior and loving relationships. We are to prove that His truth is true and that His ways work.
Live like you believe it
The world needs to see the church living out what it says it believes. We need men and women of godly character modeling the Christ-life for all to see. We are not perfect, but we do have a power present within us that allows us to live lives that are truly transformed. As elders who lead with integrity. As deacons who serve with dignity. As men and women who exhibit purity. As families that model Christ-like unity. As parents who know how to lead patiently and lovingly. As members of the church of God who support the truth faithfully.
Father, may I see myself increasingly more clearly as a member of this magnificent organism called the church of God. Help me to die to my self-centeredness and selfishness and see myself as part of a living, breathing community of faith. Together may we be all that You have called us to be. May we support and hold up the truth of your word as we live it out daily in every area of our lives. Amen