The Measure of a Church (1 Timothy 3:15)

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.”

I Tim. 3:15

“O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust…” I Tim. 6:20

Paul is winding down his letter, some closing thoughts if you would–key points and reminders to be certain his young disciple receives. This closing counsel is good for us to tilt our ears toward. Timothy is reminded (not for the first time) that he and the church are in a war… and this very real war is for souls and truth. This week I read an exhortation from one very seasoned pastor to younger pastors who may not have but a fraction of his experience–

“The most important yardstick by which a church can be measured is not how large it is, how good its fellowship is, or how interesting the pastor is. It is not how good the music is, how well the grounds are kept, or its respect in the community. The most important measure of any church is how it handles the Word of God. Whether or not they teach and live out divine truth is the key issue, because the church’s responsibility before God is to guard and proclaim the truths of Scripture. Consequently, the most severe crime against God is to mishandle His revelation, thus portraying a false, idolatrous image of Him to the world.”

The Word must be treated with reverence and care because it is the self-revelation of God. Psalm 138:2—‘You have magnified Your word above all Your name’; Psalm 119:161—‘My heart stands in awe of Your word’; Isaiah 66:2—‘On this one will I look: On him who is poor and contrite in spirit and who trembles at My word.’

To fail to take God’s Word seriously, whether by careless interpretation or by careless living, is to fail to take God Himself seriously. And if the church fails to take God seriously, why should the world?”

A.W. Tozer, one who pulled-no-punches with his view on the Bible: “The Holy Scriptures tell us what we could never learn any other way: they tell us what we are, who we are, how we got here, and what we are required to do while we remain here.”

From Chuck Colson—“The Bible—banned, burned, beloved. More widely read, more frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of intellectuals have attempted to discredit it; dictators of every age have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry it into battle believing it more powerful than their weapons. Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed ruthless killers into gentle saints.”

Finally from Oswald Chambers—“Our danger is to water down God’s Word to suit ourselves. God never fits His Word to suit me, He fits me to suit His Word.”

God’s Word will absolutely be a blessing to us… in every single situation. We may not realize it at a given moment of tragedy, confusion, or anxiety. Yet, as we heed the counsel and comfort of it we too will conclude as the Psalmist does in 119:65—“You have dealt well with Your servant, O Lord, according to Your Word.”