Based on 2 Timothy 3:15-4:5
The 1st Quality of a growing church that I’m going to discuss is truth. A great church believes the Bible completely, proclaims the Bible passionately, and applies the Bible creatively.
We live in a age of pluralism and open theism. Just about anything could be considered “truth” by society so long as it is personalized to the one proclaiming it. The church has a wonderful opportunity to be the one place people can go for an honest word from God. The world desperately needs for us to be solid on this. If we waver, if we falter, then what hope does the world have? So what should be the attitude of a great church toward the Word of God?
FOUR ATTITUDES OF A GREAT CHURCH TOWARD GOD’S WORD:
1. We need to be convinced of the truthfulness of God’s Word. (3:15-16)
I’m not going to dwell long on the apologetic aspect of this subject because I believe that we’ve got that under our belts already. Hopefully you’ve already decided that you’re a Bible-believing church. I simply want to point out a couple of things Paul said in his second letter to Timothy about God’s Word.
First, Paul calls the scriptures “holy.” Do you know what the word “holy” means? It’s a word that is defined by the moral perfection of God. Just the word “holy” alone testifies that the biblical authors felt that God’s Word was morally perfect and above reproach. For Paul, it went without question that the Bible he possessed in his day was God’s Word.
Paul also testifies that the scriptures are “God-breathed.” They are the very breath and words of God.
2. We need to be conscious of the purpose and power of God’s Word. (3:15-17)
The Bible is able to enlighten a darkened heart.
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” -2 Peter 1:19
The Bible is able to perfect a growing believer.
“The Bible was not given for our information but for our transformation.” –D. L. Moody
The Bible gives us a totally new perspective on life.
- “Doctrine” – The Bible teaches us a new perspective of God.
- “Reproof” – The Bible changes our perspective on ourselves.
- “Correction” – The Bible changes our perspective about sin.
- “Instruction in righteousness” – The Bible equips us for godly living.
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” –Romans 12:2
We need to be clear and creative in our communication of God’s Word. (4:1-2)
Paul then says, “Timothy, I’m challenging you to remember that God will hold you responsible for what I’m about to say… Preach the Word!” He then gives him some practical advice about how to use the Bible. I believe that there are three purposes to preaching as a Pastor and they are all found in 1 Thessalonians 2:11:
“As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,” -1 Thessalonians 2:11
- To “exhort” is to build up or to encourage.
- To “comfort” is to hold up.
- To “charge” is to fire up.
The world is giving a million mixed signals about life. It behooves us to be clear. The integrity and life-changing power of God’s Word demand that we give a clear message.
“If you think the gathering of biblical facts and standing up with a Bible in your hand will automatically equip you to communicate well, you are desperately mistaken. It will not. You must work at being interesting. Boredom is a gross violation, being dull is a grave offense, and irrelevance is a disgrace to the gospel. Too often these three crimes go unpunished and we preachers are the criminals.” –Chuck Swindoll
4. We need to be careful never to compromise God’s Word. (4:3-5)
Paul describes a day like ours in which preaching tends to be watered down. It is often nothing more than a political rant or pop-psychology rehashed. In our desire to minister to the “felt needs” of people (and I believe we should), we must be careful that we never forget that the central message of the Bible is one of redemption. It is not simply a message about how to feel better or even how to do better. It is a message of God’s holiness and our sinfulness. It is a message of His willingness to save and our need to repent and trust Jesus Christ.
We must connect the Word of God to life if we’re to honor the intention of God for His Word. We must be relevant, but we must also realize that the Bible given to us by God already is relevant to every subject that God has wished to speak of.
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” –Matthew 7:24-27