7/27/17 Guard Against Satan’s Subtle Traps

“Though we, as Christians, hold this truth as a treasure in our hearts, still we are told by the Holy Spirit that from now until the time that Jesus returns to take His own to be with Him in Heaven, there will always be those who abandon their faith, who listen to the lies of Satan’s demons and believe them.  He does not come to tempt us away from our faith like an invading army, with trumpets and drums and fanfare.  He is subtly devious, whispering doubts into our ears, setting up traps that most people would never recognize as such until it is too late, and they have become ensnared.  He will sow seeds of worry in our minds, making us question our faith and slide back into believing that we must keep the Law in order to be saved.  Many have already fallen into these traps, and are now being used by Satan to undermine the church, asserting that certain foods are off limits or that certain people are not suitable to marry, among many other things.  But we know that God created everything, and all that He created is good.  We are to receive what God creates for us as gifts, with thankful hearts.  If we approach everything that comes to us in this way, with prayer and thanksgiving to God through Jesus, in faith, there is nothing that is forbidden to those of us who know and believe God’s truth.”

 

1 Timothy 4:1-5

7/26/17 The Glorious Mystery Of Our Faith

“I write these instructions to you so that you will have some direction in establishing leaders in the Ephesian church.  It is my hope that I will be able to come to you soon, and if so, I will help you in this area, among others.  But with all that has been happening lately, the growing persecution of Christians, it may not be possible for me to come.  In that case, I want you to know how you, as the leader of the Ephesian church, and those who you appoint to lead with you, should conduct yourselves as leaders and representatives of God’s church.  Remember that we, and our brothers and sisters in the church, are the house of God, because He lives within our hearts in the form of the Holy Spirit.  Because of this, we must be the foundation of His truth and his light for the rest of the world.  Oh, without a doubt, the mystery of God is great, and this mystery has been revealed to us, His children, through His Son, Jesus!  God came to us as a human being in Jesus.  Everything Jesus said during His time on earth, His claim to be God’s Son, was proven to be true by His own Spirit, through His death and resurrection.  The angels are witnesses to the truth of His divinity, having seen all that He did here on earth and His rise to Heaven to be reunited with His Father.  His message is being preached all over the world, both to Jews and to Gentiles, just as He said.  When He arrived in Heaven, His Father received Him triumphantly and joyfully.  And now, all over the world, people are hearing His message and believing in His power to save us all from the penalty for our sins.”

 

1 Timothy 3:14-16

7/25/17 Qualifications For A Deaconess

“Likewise, women who desire to be deaconesses must possess similar qualities.  They, too, must have respect for their church and their position.  They must dress and behave modestly and humbly.  The light of their faith should shine through them in all that they say and do, and their joyful hearts in the Lord should be evident to all who know them, so that they might be an example to all.  They must be careful to watch their tongues, staying away from gossip and slander.  She must be passionate about her faith, but have good control over her passion and her temper.  She should stay away from alcoholic beverages, and from anything that might be seen as inappropriate for a woman.  She must be responsible and faithful in all that she says and does, in her work for the church and in her own private life, holding a good reputation in her community.  She, too, is responsible for handling the money given to the church to care for those in need, and must be a woman of honesty and integrity.  A deacon or deaconess must be, as a bishop must be, monogamous in his or her marriage, and able to run his or her household well.  Remember, he or she who faithfully does the work of the Lord now will be greatly rewarded by Him, with the courage and confidence to continue on in their work here on earth, and with unimaginable glory in Heaven.”

 

1 Timothy 3:11-13

7/24/17 Qualifications For A Deacon

“Deacons in the church must meet similar qualifications.  They must treat the church and the office of deacon with deep respect, as is fitting for one who is employed in the carrying out of God’s will for His people.  But at the same time, he must have a joyful heart, secure in his faith.  He must be careful with what he says, especially since deacons have the important work of visiting the brothers and sisters in their homes.  He must take care not to gossip, and not to contradict himself, telling one person one thing and the next person the complete opposite, simply to appease them.  He must be honest in all that he says and does, speaking the truth in love, and choose his words wisely.  He must be careful in his personal life to maintain sobriety and a reputation for good self-control over temptations.  He must be careful not to hold money in high esteem, especially since a deacon is responsible for the money given to the church to distribute to those in need.  He must have wisdom and knowledge of God and of His Son and of the Holy Spirit, and a deep understanding of the mysteries of our faith revealed in Jesus, so that he is qualified to teach the brothers and sisters and to counsel them in their walk of faith.  And he must live out his faith for all to see, in good conscience, and be a doer of the Word, not just a hearer and believer.  Let any man who seems to possess these qualities and desires the position of deacon be tested in the position for a time, to show whether or not he is a good fit for the position, and after a time of probation, if he shows himself worthy of it, let him serve as deacon.”

 

1 Timothy 3:8-10

7/23/17 More Qualifications For Bishops

“One who desires the position of a bishop in the church should be patient, fair, and gentle when dealing with his brothers and sisters.  He must have good control over his household, which is shown through the obedience and respect of his children.  This is important because he must show proficiency in taking charge of his own household, or he will not be able to take charge of God’s church.  He must be well established in the church, not a new believer.  New believers are filled with zeal, on fire for God, but are easily swayed, since their faith is not very deeply rooted and they have just begun to learn about God and His church.  So they are apt to fall into the trap of being prideful, leading to the same condition as Satan.  A potential bishop must not only be above reproach and have a reputation of integrity among his own brothers and sisters in the church, but also among outsiders, those who do not share his faith.  Otherwise, those who knew him before he became a believer, upon hearing of his new appointment as bishop, may attack his character and the character of all in the church.  If this were to happen, Satan would certainly be waiting to attack the church as a wolf lies in wait, hoping to catch a shepherd off guard so that he may attack the sheep.”

1 Timothy 3:3b-7

7/22/17 So You Want To Be A Bishop

“I’m sure that you have heard this saying, ‘If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.’  This is a saying that is faithful and true.  You know as well as I do that the position of a bishop in the church is not one to take lightly.  It is hard work, and dangerous, especially since persecution of our brothers and sisters is growing everywhere.  So let me define the qualifications for the office of bishop, so that you may be certain to give the position to the right person.  A bishop must live in such a way that he is above reproach, and be well known in his community for his integrity.  Polygamy, sexual relations outside of marriage, and divorce have become prevalent everywhere, to the shame of our society.  But if a brother would be a bishop, he must be above all of this.  He must be a husband of one wife, and must treat his wife with the love of Jesus for His church.  He must have good self-control in all areas of his life, be discreet in matters that call for discretion, and conduct himself well in public.  He must be hospitable, generously opening his home and belongings to those in need.  He must be a good teacher, willing to instruct those in his charge when needed.  He should not be a man who enjoys raucous parties, obscene language, or fighting, either physically or with words.  Money should not be an idol for him, but merely a means to procure what is needed for his family and his church.”

1 Timothy 3:1-3a

7/21/17 Modesty & Humility

“In this same spirit, I caution women to dress modestly, not in a way to show off their bodies with revealing clothing or to boast of their wealth with excessive jewelry or expensive clothing, but humbly, so that their devotion to God and the good works that He is calling them to do would show in every way.  Society deems that women must be in submission to men, so although in Jesus there is no longer any such distinction, we should not stand in the way of salvation for those who strongly support this tradition.  Therefore, women in worship should learn quietly, not teaching or having positions of authority over the men in the church.  When God created Adam and Eve, Adam came first, and Eve was created out of Adam.  And later, Satan tricked Eve into eating the forbidden fruit, and then Eve persuaded Adam to follow her.  Women are, therefore, subject to the authority of men in society.  However, Genesis also tells us that it is the child of the woman, not of the man, who will bruise the serpent’s head – the serpent being Satan, who disguised himself as a snake in the Garden of Eden, and the child being Jesus, the Messiah, who saves us all from that serpent.  Through that connection of carrying and giving birth to a child, of motherhood in general, women who will submit to the authority placed over them faithfully, in love, with self-control, may have a special bond with their Messiah.”

 

1 Timothy 2:9-15

7/20/17 Always Keep An Open Line Of Communication With God

“Because Jesus has called me to be His apostle to the Gentiles, I have the authority to direct the brothers and sisters in the churches in the way they should act.  It is in this authority that I tell you that men must pray – and I say men, not women, because the eyes of the world are upon us, and it is our desire to win more people to salvation in Jesus, instead of driving them away in disgust because our practices go against the traditional societal roles of men and women – always and everywhere.  There is no place God cannot see us, no place where we cannot reach out to Him and ask Him to govern our lives.  We are to pray wherever we are, constantly, so that the lines of communication between us and God are always open, and we are actively seeking His will in all that we do.  Pray as the Jews do, lifting hands unstained by sin to Heaven, with hearts free of anger and minds free from disputes.”

 

1 Timothy 2:8

7/19/17 Prayer For All People

“The first, and most important instruction I have for you in order to fulfill this charge is prayer.  You, and all the brothers and sisters under your leadership, must pray continually for everyone.  Prayers of thanksgiving for all that God has given, prayers of intercession on behalf of others, prayers to ask God to meet your own needs.  But you must pray for all people everywhere, whether friends or enemies, and especially for those in authority over you, so that we all may live as God would have us do, peacefully and quietly, in obedience to God.  God does not discriminate; He loves every one of us and wants everyone to come to Jesus to be saved and to know the truth.  We know that there is only one God, and that His one and only Son, Jesus, our Messiah, is the only one who can pay the penalty for our sins and reconcile us to God.  He sacrificed Himself as the ransom for all people, so that all who call upon Him to save them from their sins will be saved, and will be witnesses of His power to save us all.  I testify before God and Jesus the Messiah, that it was for this purpose that He called me to be His apostle to the Gentiles, a teacher for them in faith and truth.”

 

1 Timothy 2:1-7

7/18/17 Timothy’s Charge

“I charge you, Timothy, my son, to continue this work that you have been doing alongside me – leading people to Jesus, helping them learn to put their faith and trust in Him, because He came into the world as one of us in order to save all of us from our sins, and He is the only one who is able to grant us entry into eternal life with Him in Heaven.  Remember the prophecies made about you and the work you are called to do.  Hold tightly to your faith, and to the knowledge that you have been called to an important mission for God.  Fight the good fight of faith, keeping your conscience clean.  Do not fall into the same trap that some others have, shipwrecking themselves by tossing their faith and conscience into the sea.  Hymenaeus and Alexander, I’m sorry to say, are two examples of this.  Both of these men have abandoned their faith and good conscience through their false teaching.  I have expelled them from the church and afflicted them with illness in the hope that they will learn from their mistakes and come back to true faith in Jesus once more.”

 

1 Timothy 1:18-20