Why I Love the Local Church: The Gospel

14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

He was manifested in the flesh,
    vindicated by the Spirit,
        seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
    believed on in the world,
        taken up in glory.

1 Timothy 3:14-16

Paul puts his cards on the table. He shows his hand. He tells Timothy (and the church in Ephesus . . . and us) why he is writing the letter.

He writes this so that God’s people will know how to behave. God’s people – the church – execute their lives on a different playing field. The church operates out of a different realm. Our beliefs drive our actions. Doctrine dictates deeds.

But Paul takes it farther than that. He goes deep. He doesn’t just say that the church should behave differently. He says why. It’s why I love the local church.

#1. The local church is a family – “household of God.”

#2. The local church is where God dwells – “church of the living God.”

#3. The local church promotes and protects the Gospel – “pillar and buttress of the truth.”

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When Paul says “pillar and buttress” of the truth he is using architecture language. A pillar “shoots” forth from the building’s floor or foundation. A buttress supports and upholds a wall to reinforce it. Pillars are very visible. Buttresses reinforce. The church – the local church – is THE means God has given us and the world to protect and make known the truth of the Gospel.

It’s why he closes chapter 3 the way he does, proclaiming the Gospel in poetic form:

He was manifested in the flesh,
    vindicated by the Spirit,
        seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
    believed on in the world,
        taken up in glory.

The church defends this valiantly.

The church proclaims this passionately.

The church displays this purposefully.

We are who we are because of Jesus.

We do what we do because of Jesus.

We are moving forward the way we move forward because we are going to Jesus.

We are a people infused with, dripping with, overflowing with, and marinating in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus – or we are nothing.

Every real and authentic and genuine – Holy Spirit drenched church – is a church that protects and promotes the Gospel.

THIS MUST BE THE GOAL. 

Every decision driven by the Gospel.

Every dollar spent because of the Gospel.

Every ministry planned due to the Gospel.

Every member geared around and for the Gospel.

I love the local church because God designed it to be a “pillar and buttress” of the truth of Jesus.

Is that why you are a part?

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2 thoughts on “Why I Love the Local Church: The Gospel

  1. Rodney Wimberly says:

    This is written to church people, saved people, not a lost and sinful world, this is how we are to behave, not them; this is how we are supposed to live, not them; He is who we are to worship, not them, until they know Jesus; but until they do know Him, as I said to a man almost 20 years ago, “Sir, don’t you understand that for you to have the freedom to practice your religion the way you want to, you must allow me the freedom to be the sinner I want to be?” Everyone asks his reply, he just shook his head and walked off. We don’t want to share Jesus yet wonder why others do no revere Him as Lord.

  2. Ralph Paisley says:

    I sure wish the PC(USA) delegates had read this befor their recent votes.

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