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How Should We Behave in Worship? – 1 Timothy 3:14-16

23/04/2015

Behaving and Believing

Where Paul shows that the way we behave in church reflects what we think about Jesus!

Text: 1 Timothy 3:14-16

How to behave in church is a difficult issue, so what does Paul tell Timothy about how the CHRISTIANS are to behave when they are gathered together for worship?

1.  How We Behave in Church! 14 ,

Paul lays down a very basic principle. You must know how to BEHAVE in the church. There are a number of issues that can be inferred from that simple principle. There is a form of:-

  1. Christian Conduct. αναστρεφεσθαι. Our conduct in church springs from our LIFESTYLE and CONVERSATION. At its heart, a local church should be a group of Christian friends, who love the Lord and love each other, and want to express their love in humble service for each other.
  2. Our conduct in God’s church is not just a matter of personal preference. 1 Corinthians 14:40 Paul had a right, as an apostle to chastise the Ephesians, and to expect their pastor to intervene to bring some semblance of Godliness to their worship and church practice.
  3. We need to be taught about our approach to God in worship! Coming to worship the King of Kings is greatly different from any other activity in life that we might pursue and we need to learn that difference. We call this ‘The Regulative Principle of Worship’ – for worship must be regulated by God’s Word alone, for anything else, other than obedience to Him in this respect is idolatry. DEU 12:32

So, here is this very basic principle. There is a way to behave, when the people of God gather together, ‘anything goes’ just won’t do. Worship is regulated by God’s Word.

2. Why We Behave in Church! which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

Paul’s arguments are reinforced by his description of what the church is, and the relationships that exist within it. He describes the church as:

  1. A house. Paul is referring to the ‘household’ rather than the house. εν οικω θεου the HOUSE of God is the PEOPLE of God. This not uncommon. Revelation 22:2 The building doesn’t matter at all, it’s the people who make up the church, so when we gather as God’s people, that is where the regulative principle must be applied.
  2. An assembly. the Church is the εκκλησία. – it means a ‘called out people’. The church is not constituted by its numbers. The quorum is low, even if only two people are meeting in His Name, Christ is in the midst of them, and they are an assembly, a church, an ecclesia, and their worship is determined by God’s word.
  3. A pillar. The church is the pillar of truth! It’s job is to lift up God’s Word – to uphold Christian truth, so that the whole world can see!
  4. A stanchion. The ‘ground’ of the truth. It’s not the foundation, for that is Christ Himself, but the church is that stanchion, that buttress, which supports and upholds the Truth when it is rocked by the immoral and godless storms of this world! Without the church, being salt and light in the world, the world would grow darker and more rotten every day.

When we come together in the Lord’s name, to worship him, that act is not about me, or you – it is about Him. WE must come in a very appropriate manner, – because of the One whom we have come to meet, – JESUS!

3. What We Believe in Church! 16

The secret, the mystery to living a Godly life within the church, the household of faith IS JESUS! Many commentators consider this to be a set of three credal couplets, so the structure looks like this:-

  1. Christ’s Earthly Ministry. God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit,
    1. The Incarnation. The baby in the manger was God, manifest in the flesh. John 1:1ff
    2. His Resurrection. Now, the text here speaks of his ‘’ A better word would be ‘vindication.’ When, on the third day, Jesus rose again from the dead, God showed that his work on the cross was acceptable, salvation was accomplished and the resurrection was proof of that.

And both his Virgin Birth and His resurrection from the dead were achieved with the whole of the Triune Godhead acting in concert! At His birth, the Holy Spirit was active, Matthew 1:20  Romans 1:3 

  1. Christ’s Gospel Mission. Seen of angels, Preached unto the Gentiles
    1. His appearance before the Angels. Paul here is referring to the heavenly host, who stood and watched over him as he died, as he lay in the tomb, at his resurrection angels were present. They witnessed our salvation being purchased.
    2. The Gospel proclaimed. Preached among the nations. (Έθνος) – spread right throughout the world as Jesus commanded. Look back to chapter 2:4-6.
  2. Christ’s Effective Work. Believed on in the world, Received up into glory
    1. The Gospel believed. And look at the response among men! Thousands were saved and swept into God’s kingdom, and two thousand years later – His blood has never lost its cleansing power.
    2. His ascension and glorification. These couplets are not arranged in chronological order – so the hymn concludes with a statement of his glorification. He was taken up into heaven, and he is glorified! Philippians 2:8

Christ centred praise, – our understanding of the person of Christ, the One whom we come together to meet and to worship, will have an impact on how we approach him. It’s the lesson the Ephesian church needed to learn, and Paul wants Timothy to teach them that lesson.

© Bob McEvoy

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