The Proof Is In the Pew.
We’ve been working our way through the first half of 1 Timothy 1 this week. So far, we’ve talked about Authority and Accountability. Today we’ll be discussing the Assessment. (Click HERE to open verses 8-11 of 1 Timothy 1 in your browser.)
Within these verses, we find an ugly list:
“…lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practising homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers – and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine…” (1 Tim. 1:8b-10a)
These are the types of things that Christ saves us from. However, what history has proven is that these are the types of things that can slip back into our lives and even into a church that disregards sound doctrine.
The Slippery Slope Strikes Again
All of these sins can slip into a church whose pastors, elders and church leaders have no authority or accountability. Consider any and every self-proclaimed prophet or cult leader; this list is like a prediction of things to come for those cults and so-called churches.
By looking inside a church, we can make a very good assessment on its leadership.
I’m not saying that everyone inside a church must be perfect. However, we absolutely should be moving forward, closer to Christ and in turn, our lives becoming a living reflection of Scripture.
Contrary To Sound Doctrine
Paul states that these things are, “…contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God…” Sound doctrine is really the crux of the assessment.
But maybe you’re wondering, “What does sound doctrine mean?”
The term “sound” means, “…competent, sensible, or valid…having no defect as to truth, justice, wisdom…following in a systematic pattern without any apparent defect in logic.” (Dictionary.com)
As a church, our doctrinal statement and what is taught from the pulpit, should be a reflection of what is found in Scripture. By asking yourself, “Does my Pastor’s words line-up with the Bible?” you are in fact asking, “Does my Pastor have sound doctrine?”
Paul’s Authority Re-Stated
Before signing off, I think it’s important to note that Paul comes full circle from his introduction in verses 1. Note that in verse 11, we read, “…which he entrusted to me.”
It’s a small and seemingly insignificant tagline, but I find it fascinating. Paul started this chapter by stating his authority to mentor Timothy and hold him accountable. Now at the end of his paragraph concerning false teachers, he re-states his authority.
Paul reminds Timothy (and in turn us) that this isn’t the Apostle Paul’s plan; this is God’s plan. All this work of dealing with false teachers and maintaining sound doctrine, isn’t Paul’s plan for self-gain.
God may have led Paul to write this letter to a young pastoral leader, but every word in this week’s passage is incredibly applicable to every Christian. This passage can prevent each and every one of us from slipping down the slope of false doctrine.
CAN I GET YOUR FEEDBACK?
The slippery slope of false doctrine will lead back to a life of sin. How is this playing out in our culture? What assessments can you make on present church-life?