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The First Epistle to Timothy
The First Epistle to Timothy introduces us to a new set of epistles which were written by Paul. There are three of them that belong together (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus) and they are called “The Pastoral Epistles,” because they have to do with local churches. You will find that these pastoral epistles are in contrast, for instance, to the Epistle to the Ephesians. (Read the book of Ephesians) There Paul speaks of the church as the body of believers who are in Christ and the glorious, wonderful position that the church has. The church which is invisible, made up of all believers who are in the body of Christ, manifests itself down here upon the earth in local assemblies, in the local churches.
Now, just to put a steeple on a building and a bell in the steeple and a pulpit down front and a choir in the loft singing the doxology doesn’t mean it is a local church in the New Testament sense of the word. There must be certain identifying features.
These three epistles were written to two young preachers who worked with Paul: Timothy and Titus. They were a part of his fruit; that is, they were led to Christ through the ministry of Paul. He had these men with him as helpers, and he instructed them about the local church.
In all three epistles Paul is dealing with two things: the creed of the church and the conduct of the church. For the church within, the worship must be right. For the church outside, good works must be manifested. Worship is inside; works are outside. That’s the way the church is to manifest itself.
Paul deals with these two topics in each of the three epistles.
For instance, in 1 Timothy, chapter 1, is faith, the faith of the church—its doctrine. Chapter 2 is the order of the church. Chapter 3 concerns the officers of the church. Chapter 4 describes the apostasy that was coming, Chapters 5 and 6 tell of the duties of the officers.
In 2 Timothy, Paul deals with the afflictions of the church in chapter 1 and the activity of the church in chapter 2. Then the apostasy of the church and the allegiance of the church follow in chapters 3 and 4.
Titus has the same theme. Chapter 1 tells of the order of the church, chapter 2 is about the doctrine of the church, and chapter 3 is the good works of the church.
So there is creed on the inside of the church and conduct on the outside. Within is worship and without are good works.
The church today manifests itself in a local assembly. It first puts up a building. In Paul’s day, they didn’t have a building. That’s one thing they didn’t need because they were not building churches. They generally met in homes and probably in public buildings. We know in Ephesus that Paul used—probably rented—the school of Tyrannus.
In order to be a local assembly, the church must have certain things to characterize it. It must have a creed, and its doctrine must be accurate. There are two verses that summarize Paul’s message in these epistles: “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other [different] doctrine” (1 Tim. 1:3). It is important that a church have correct doctrine. Then again Paul said to this young preacher: “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). The local church is made up of believers who are members of the body of Christ. In order for them to function, they need leadership. Somebody has to be appointed to sweep the place out and clean the restrooms. (Custodian duties)
It’s nice to have a choir and a song leader. In addition to this, Paul is going to say that officers are essential for a church to be orderly. There must be officers, and they must meet certain requirements. The church should function in an orderly manner and manifest itself in the community by its good works.
From these Pastoral Epistles have come three different types of church government which have been used by the great denominations of the church. The churches never disagreed on doctrine in the old days as much as they disagreed on the matter of church government, that is, how the local church is to function. It’ amazing how they could get three different forms of government out of these three Pastoral Epistles, but they did.
1. There is the Episcopal form of government where there is one man, or maybe several men, who are in charge at the top. The Roman Catholic Church calls that man a Pope. In other churches he is called the Archbishop; if there are several leaders, they are called Bishops. The Church of England and other churches follow the Episcopal form of government. They are controlled by men at the top who are outside the local church.
2. Another form of church government is known as the Presbyterian or Representative form of government. The local church elects certain men from its membership, called elders and deacons, to be officers, and the government of the local church is in their hands. Unfortunately, the churches were bound together by an organization above the level of the local church, and that organization could control the local church.
3. The third type of church government is the opposite extreme from the Episcopal form, called the Congregational form of government. You see it, in the Congregational and Baptist churches. The deacons and trustees are the ones who make the decisions and who are actually in control. The entire church votes on taking in members and on everything else that concerns the local church.
Perhaps you are wondering how they could get three forms of church government from the same words in the Pastoral Epistles. Certain words were interpreted differently. The interesting thing is that in the early days all three forms of church government functioned and seemed to work well. But!! In recent years all three forms of government have fallen on evil days; they don’t seem to work as they once did, because there is internal strife and disorder and dissension. What is wrong? This is an interesting question since we have a representative form of civil government in this country. It was patterned after the church government. You see, the early colonists didn’t want a king. That was the only form of government they had known, and they had had enough of a king. They did not want an autocratic form of government, and they were rather reluctant to let the people rule.
The reason the colonists did not want a king to rule over them was because they couldn’t trust human nature, which means they couldn’t trust each other. We think of those men as being wonderful, political, patriotic saints. Well, they were human beings and filled with foibles. They knew they couldn’t trust each other, so they would not put power in the hands of one man. They were also afraid to put power in the people’s hands because they had no confidence in the people either.
Why is it, then, that our forms of church government are not working as they should? Paul is saying in this epistle that the form of government, important as it is, is not as important as the caliber and character of the men who are holding office.
These epistles outline certain requirements for officers, such as being sober, having one wife, etc. These requirements are essential and are the subjects of debate in the local churches. Paul is trying to convey to us that the men who are officers must be spiritual, because no system will function unless the men who are in the place and position of authority are right. If they are wrong, no system—whether it is Congregational, Episcopal or Presbyterian—will work.
It is the problem today in politics, and it is the problem today in the church. When we elect a man, he must be successful in his vocation and he should have leadership ability. I think those are good requirements, but we need to determine if he is a spiritual man.
Paul is going to emphasize two aspects of the spiritual officer: he must be a man of faith, and he must be motivated by love. Unless those two characteristics are operating in his life, the officer can’t function in the church no matter how much ability he has.
What this simply means is that the authority the officers have is actually no authority at all. Paul says that when you’ve been made an elder or a bishop or a deacon in the church, you have an office and you may feel very pompous and authoritative, but Paul says you really have no authority. Well, what does he mean? He means that Christ is the Head of the church, and the Holy Spirit is the One to give the leading and the guiding and the direction. The officer is never to assert his will in anything; he is to find out what the will of God is. That means he will have to be a man of faith.
He also will have to be motivated by love. Now that doesn’t mean that he is to go around soft-soaping everybody and scratching their backs, trying to be a man-pleaser, but he is to carry through the will of Christ in the church. It is his job to make sure that Christ is the Head of the church. A stubborn unspiritual man has no idea that he is to carry through the will of Christ, because he had never sought the will of Christ. All he was attempting to do was to serve his own will because he thought his will was right.
Christ is the Head of the local church today. We see this in the very first verse where Paul calls Him “the Lord Jesus Christ.” He is the Lord, and, remember, that means He is Number One. The Lord Jesus said, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46). A lot of people call Him “Lord” today in the church, and they’re not following Him at all. To be an officer in the church you’re to carry out the will of Christ, His commandments, and His desires. He is the Head of the local church.
To have a perfecting church, you need Holy Ghost filled men perfecting the will of God. If you think your system is the best form, fine! You go along with it. But it will work only if you have the right men. It won’t work—no matter what the form is—if you have the wrong men. The unspiritual officer is the monkey wrench in the machinery of the church today.
In 1 Timothy, we deal with the nitty-gritty of the local church, with the emphasis put on the character and caliber of her leaders that will determine whether the church is really a church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Author: Paul - Date: About A.D. 64 - Theme: Removal of false doctrine, Preservation of public worship and Proper leadership in the church - Key Words: Carefulness, Watchfulness, Strength and Commitment.
A Study and Teaching Outline
|I.||Paul’s Charge Concerning Doctrine||1:1–20|
|A. Paul’s Past Charge to Timothy||1:1–11|
|B. Christ’s Past Charge to Paul||1:12–17|
|C. First Charge: “Wage the Good Warfare”||1:18–20|
|II.||Paul’s Charge Concerning Public Worship||2:1–3:16|
|A. Prayer in Public Worship||2:1–8|
|B. Women in Public Worship||2:9–15|
|C. Qualifications of Bishops||3:1–7|
|D. Qualifications of Deacons||3:8–13|
|E. Second Charge: “Conduct Yourself in the House of God”||3:14–16|
|III.||Paul’s Charge Concerning False Teachers||4:1–16|
|A. Description of False Teachers||4:1–5|
|B. Instruction for the True Teacher||4:6–10|
|C. Third Charge: “Do Not Neglect the Gift”||4:11–16|
|IV.||Paul’s Charge Concerning Church Discipline||5:1–25|
|A. How to Treat All People||5:1–2|
|B. How to Treat Widows||5:3–16|
|C. How to Treat Elders||5:17–20|
|D. Fourth Charge: “Observe These Things without Prejudice”||5:21–25|
|V.||Paul’s Charge Concerning Pastoral Motives||6:1–21|
|A. Exhortation to Servants||6:1–2|
|B. Exhortation to Godliness with Contentment||6:3–16|
|C. Exhortation to the Rich||6:17–19|
|D. Fifth Charge: “Guard What Was Committed”||6:20–21|
Author: Paul - Date: A.D. 66/67 - Theme: The Commitment to Ministry - Key Words: Fight, Charge and Istruct.
A Study and Teaching Outline
|I.||Persevere in Present Testing||1:1–2:26|
|A. Thanksgiving for Timothy’s Faith||1:1–5|
|B. Reminder of Timothy’s Responsibility||1:6–18|
|C. Characteristics of a Faithful Minister||2:1–26|
|1. Disciplining Teacher||2:1–2|
|2. Single-minded Soldier||2:3–5|
|3. Enduring Farmer||2:6–13|
|4. Diligent Workman||2:14–19|
|5. Sanctified Vessel||2:20–23|
|6. Gentle Servant||2:24–26|
|II.||Endure in Future Testing||3:1–4:22|
|A. Approaching Day of Denial||3:1–17|
|1. Coming of Denial||3:1–9|
|2. Confronting Denial||3:10–17|
|B. Charge to Preach the Word||4:1–5|
|C. Approaching Death of Paul||4:6–22|
|1. Paul’s Hope in Death||4:6–8|
|2. Paul’s Situation in Prison||4:9–18|
|3. Paul’s Closing Greetings||4:19–22|
Author: Paul – Date: Probably A.D. 64 – Theme: Setting the Church at Crete in Order – Key Words: Diligence, Commitment, and Responsibility.
A Study and Teaching Outline
|B. Ordain Qualified Elders||1:5–9|
|C. Rebuke False Teachers||1:10–16|
|II.||Set Things in Order||2:1–3:15|
|A. Speak Sound Doctrine||2:1–15|
|B. Maintain Good Works||3:1–11|
Nelson's Teaching Outlines of the Bible . 1997, c1986. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Nelson's Teaching Outlines of the Bible . 1997, c1986. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
The Second Epistle to Timothy
The following is an approximate calendar of events which will orient us to the position that the Second Epistle to Timothy occupied in the ministry of the apostle Paul. Paul wrote this epistle around a.d. 67.
[c. a.d. 58]—Paul was apparently arrested in Jerusalem.
[c. a.d. 61]—This is the approximate time that Paul arrived in Rome. He had spent these three years in prison, going from one trial to another before different Roman rulers.
[c. a.d. 61–63]—Paul underwent his first Roman imprisonment. We do not have this recorded in the Book of Acts, which breaks off at the very beginning of Paul’s first Roman imprisonment.
[c. a.d. 64–67]—Paul was released from prison, and during this period he covered a great deal of territory. It was during this time that he wrote 1 Timothy and Titus from Macedonia.
[c. a.d. 67]—Paul was arrested again.
[c. a.d. 68]—Paul was beheaded in Rome.
Before his death he wrote 2 Timothy. The two verses that state the theme and sound the tone of this second epistle are these: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:2).
You can, I think, emphasize one word in this epistle above other words. That word is loyalty: (1) loyalty in suffering (ch.1); (2) loyalty in service (ch.2); (3) loyalty in apostasy (ch.3–4:5); and (4) Lord loyal to His servants in desertion (ch.4:6–22).
The deathbed statement of any individual has an importance which is not attached to other remarks. This is what lends significance to 2 Timothy. It is the final communication of Paul. It has a note of sadness which is not detected in his other epistles. Nevertheless, there is the overtone of triumph: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith,” written by Paul as his own epitaph (2 Tim. 4:7). Also, because this was his last letter, Paul was very personal. In these short four chapters, there are approximately twenty-five references to individuals.
In this little book of 2 Timothy an ominous dark cloud is seen on the horizon. It is the coming apostasy. Today apostasy has broken like a storm, like a Texas tornado, on the world and in the church. What do we mean by apostasy? Webster defines apostasy as “total desertion of the principles of faith.” So apostasy is not due to ignorance; it is a heresy. Apostasy is deliberate error. It is intentional departure from the faith. An apostate is one who knows the truth of the gospel and the doctrines of the faith, but he has repudiated them.
Paul here in 2 Timothy speaks of the ultimate outcome of gospel preaching. The final fruition will not be the total conversion of mankind, nor will it usher in the Millennium. On the contrary, there will come about an apostasy which will well-nigh blot out the faith from the earth. In fact, there are two departures that will occur at the end of the age: One is the departure of the church, which we call the Rapture, translated from the Greek harpazō, meaning “caught up.” “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up [or raptured] together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air …” (1 Thess. 4:16–17). When the believers are gone, the organization, the old shell of the church that’s left down here, will totally depart from the faith. That is the second departure, the departure from the faith. The Lord Jesus Himself gave this startling statement concerning it: “… when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). As couched in the Greek language, it demands a negative answer. So the answer must be, “No, He will not find the faith on the earth when He returns.”
This view is not in keeping with the social gospel today, which expects to transform the world by tinkering with the social system. Such vain optimists have no patience with the doleful words of 2 Timothy, and they classify me as an intellectual obscurantist! But, in spite of that, the cold and hard facts of history and the events of the present hour demonstrate the accuracy of Paul. We are now in the midst of an apostasy which is cut to the pattern of Paul’s words in remarkable detail.
The visible church has entered the orbit of an awful apostasy. The invisible church—that is, the real body of believers—is not affected. The invisible church today is still here; and, although I wish it were a little more visible than it is, it’s on its way to the epiphany of glory. It is moving toward the Rapture. That is a very comforting thought in these days in which we live.
Because of the threat of apostasy, Paul emphasizes the Word of God here more than he does in any other epistle. In fact, both Paul and Peter agree. Each of them in his “swan song” (2 Tim. and 2 Pet.) emphasizes the Word of God and the gospel.
My friend, the gospel rests upon a tremendous fact, and that fact is the total depravity of man. In other words, man is a lost sinner. A contemporary educator has put it something like this:
Where education assumes that the moral nature of man is capable of improvement, traditional Christianity assumes that the moral nature of man is corrupt and absolutely bad. Where it is assumed in education that an outside human agent may be instrumental in the moral improvement of men, in traditional Christianity it is assumed that the agent is God, and even so, the moral nature of man is not improved but exchanged for a new one.
Man is in such a state that he cannot be saved by perfect obedience—because he cannot render it. Neither can he be saved by imperfect obedience—because God will not accept it.
Therefore, the only solution is the gospel of the grace of God which reaches down and saves the sinner on the basis of the death and resurrection of Christ. Faith in Christ transforms human life. We have a showcase today all over this globe of men and women who have been transformed by the gospel of the grace of God.
Liberal preaching, instead of presenting the grace of God to sinful man, goes out in three different directions. From some liberal pulpits we hear what is really popular psychology. It majors in topics such as this: “How to Overcome” or “How to Think Creatively” or “How to Think Affirmatively or Positively.” It says that we’re on the way upward and onward forever! That is popular psychology, and it doesn’t seem to be getting us anywhere.
A second type of liberal preaching involves ethics. It preaches a nice little sweet gospel—a sermonette preached by a preacherette to Christianettes. The message goes something like this: “Good is better than evil because it’s nicer and gets you into less trouble.” The picture of the average liberal church is that of a mild-mannered man standing before a group of mild-mannered people, urging them to be more mild-mannered! There’s nothing quite as insipid as that. No wonder the Lord Jesus said to the church of Laodicea: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:15–16). That would make anybody sick to his tummy. That’s another reason I call these people Alka-Seltzer Christians. They’re not only fizz, foam, and froth, but they cause you to need an Alka-Seltzer.
Then there’s a third type of liberal preaching which is called the social gospel. They preach better race relations, pacifism, social justice, and the Christian social order. It is Christian socialism pure and simple.
In contrast, when the true gospel is preached and men come to Christ, they all become brothers. We don’t need all this talk about better race relations. You cannot create better relationships by forcing people together. Only the gospel of the grace of God will make a man into a brother of mine. When that happens the color of a man’s skin makes no difference at all.
The solution to man’s problems can come only through preaching the grace of God. We need to recognize (as Martin Luther put it) that God creates out of nothing. Until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him. The grace of God through Jesus Christ is the way to transform and save mankind. That is what this epistle teaches, and that is why it is important for us to study 2 Timothy.
I. Afflictions of the Gospel, Chapter 1
A. Introduction, Chapter 1:1–7
B. Not Ashamed, but a Partaker of Affliction, Chapter 1:8–11
C. Not Ashamed, but Assured, Chapter 1:12–18
II. Active in Service, Chapter 2
A. A Son, Chapter 2:1–2
B. A Good Soldier, Chapter 2:3–4
C. An Athlete, Chapter 2:5
D. A Farmer, Chapter 2:6–14
E. A Workman, Chapter 2:15–19
F. A Vessel, Chapter 2:20–23
G. A Servant, Chapter 2:24–26
III. Apostasy Coming; Authority of the Scriptures, Chapters 3:1–4:5
A. Conditions in the Last Days, Chapter 3:1–9
B. Authority of Scriptures in the Last Days, Chapter 3:10–17
C. Instructions for the Last Days, Chapter 4:1–5
IV. Allegiance to the Lord and of the Lord, Chapter 4:6–22
A. Deathbed Testimony of Paul, Chapter 4:6–8
B. Last Words, Chapter 4:9–22
“The Lord stood with me”.
 The Epistle to
Apparently Paul and Titus had been together in a ministry on the island of Crete (see Titus 1:5). I do not know how long they had been there. As we go through the epistle we will learn something about the people who lived on this island—Paul didn’t think too much of them, by the way. Paul evidently left to go to another place and then wrote this epistle to Titus, giving him instructions about what he was to do as a young preacher while remaining in Crete. The date he wrote it was around a.d. 64–67.
The fact that Paul’s and Titus’ ministry on Crete is not mentioned in Acts reveals that the Book of Acts does not contain all the record of the early church. Actually, it is a very small record, and only the ministries of two of the apostles are emphasized: Peter in the first part of the book and Paul in the second part. We do not have a complete record of even these two men’s ministries.
In the two epistles to the Thessalonians Paul’s great emphasis is on the coming of Christ—it is a bright and beautiful hope for him. Critics of Paul will point out that this was his position early in his ministry but that later on he did not emphasize it. However, Titus was written about the same time as 1 Timothy, right at the end of the ministry of the apostle Paul. In Titus 2:13 Paul writes: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” My friend, Paul had not lost the blessed hope of the church. I think it was shining bright and will shine even brighter “… until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts” (2 Pet. 1:19).
Timothy and Titus were two young preachers whom Paul had the privilege of leading to the Lord. Paul calls both of them his sons, his genuine sons; that is, he led both of them to a saving knowledge of Christ.
Paul wrote letters to both of these brethren; we have two epistles to Timothy and one epistle to Titus. These letters are called Pastoral Epistles because in them Paul gives instruction to these young preachers concerning the local church. These letters also prove very profitable to us today. We have so much other instruction relative to the local church—I suppose we could fill a whole library with the books that have been written on how to run the local church. In Scripture we have only these three epistles, and they are very brief; yet they do give us the essential modus operandi for the church. What they do impress upon us is that if there is a lack or a need in a church, it isn’t a problem with the organization or with the system that is being used. Rather, if there is a need in a church, it is a spiritual need.
Frankly, we know very little about either of these young preachers, Timothy and Titus. Titus, however, seems to have been a stronger man, both physically and spiritually. Paul expressed less concern for Titus’ welfare than he did for Timothy’s. Titus was probably more mature, and he possessed a virile personality.
Timothy was a Jew who was circumcised by Paul, but Titus was a Gentile, and Paul refused to circumcise him. We read in Galatians that Paul took Titus with him to Jerusalem, and since he was a Gentile, Paul would not permit him to be circumcised (see Gal. 2:1–3). But when he took Timothy with him, Paul had him circumcised (see Acts 16:1–3). Paul circumcised one young preacher and refused to circumcise the other. If you must draw a rule from that, it can only be this: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature” (Gal. 6:15).
Paul said that he wanted to be all things to all men that he might win some to Christ—to the Jew he wanted to be a Jew, and to the Gentile he wanted to be as a Gentile. He had Timothy circumcised because they were going to go into the synagogues. But in that great council of the church in Jerusalem, the gospel was at stake, and Paul would not permit one bit of legalism to slip in (see Acts 15); therefore he refused to let Titus be circumcised.
It is a dangerous thing to put down a series of little rules that are nothing in the world but a ritual whereby you attempt to live the Christian life. My friend, unless you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ all else comes absolutely to nought.
In this epistle to Titus we have a fine picture of the New Testament church in its full-orbed realization in the community as an organization. I hear many folk today who say they are members of “a New Testament church.” I would like to ask them if they have had anybody drop dead in their church recently. I am sure that they would exclaim that they had not had that experience! Well, in the early church, the New Testament church, we read of Ananias and Sapphira who dropped dead in the church because they had lied to the Holy Spirit (see Acts 5). I think that if this principle were operating in our churches today, the average church would need to be turned into a hospital or even a mortuary!
The ideal church, according to this epistle, (1) has an orderly organization, (2) is sound in doctrine, and (3) is pure in life, ready to every good work. This is the picture of the New Testament church that this epistle to Titus presents to us. In Timothy the emphasis was upon the need for sound teaching in the church. In Titus the emphasis is put upon the importance of God’s order for the conduct of the churches. In fact, Titus 1:5 is the key to the entire epistle: “For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.” Titus was to set things in order in the churches in Crete.
In chapter 1 Paul says that the church is to be an orderly organization (see Titus 1:5). In chapter 2 he emphasizes that the church is to teach and preach the Word of God: “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). He says that the church must be doctrinally sound in the faith. And then in chapter 3 we see that the church is to perform good works: “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work” (Titus 3:1). In other words, the church is saved by grace, is to live by grace, and is to demonstrate her faith to the world by her good works.
I would say that it would be very difficult today to find a church that is using all three of these prongs, that is stressing all three of these tremendous emphases. Some will emphasize one, while others emphasize another. Let’s look at each one a little more closely:
First of all, the church is to be an orderly church. Everything, Paul wrote to the Corinthians, should be done decently and in order (see 1 Cor. 14:40). Sometimes you don’t find much order in a church, and often the reason is that there are a few officers who are trying to run the whole thing. Such a church is in real trouble and is a heartbreak to its pastor. The church is to be an orderly church, not run by a couple of deacons.
Secondly, in many churches you will find that there is no emphasis at all upon sound doctrine. Because of this, I always stress to young pastors that they should not focus on building a church or building an empire of any kind. I tell them just to teach and give out the Word of God. Rather than build an organization—that is, a lot of buildings—they should build into the lives of men and women. Whatever organization they have built in a church may be wrecked by others later on after they have left. That will be a real heartbreak to a pastor unless he has before him the goal of building into the lives of men and women. That should be the emphasis in any church.
Finally, a church should be ready for every good work. Sometimes we fundamentalists put such a great emphasis on doctrine (although I don’t think we overemphasize it) that we do underemphasize good works. A church should be engaged in good works. Many Christian organizations are so concerned with getting in the finances to carry on their program that they become more interested in getting people to give than in helping those people. A lot of folk need help—not just spiritual help but also physical help. We need to do things for people, to help them with their physical needs.
I am happy that I can say there are many churches which are carrying on a work of helping people. I know of one church which has people who go out and visit shut-ins; they read to them, sew for them, and do many other helpful chores. That’s a lovely thing to do. Our government is able to provide some care for the poor and needy, and that is wonderful, but we can go and sit down and talk with lonely people like this, which is a much-needed ministry today.
This is only a brief resumé of this epistle to Titus. Liberalism has attempted to emphasize the third chapter which deals with good works, forgetting the two chapters on order and doctrine which precede it. Until a church has all three of these aspects that Paul has outlined, it has no claim to be called “a New Testament church.”
s Teaching Outlines of the Bible . 1997, c1986. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.