Do you pass?
1 Timothy 3
What if I am not what I should be?
Those who love these kind of lists and think themselves perfect are rubbing their hands with glee.
For those of us who are doing our best are so relieved for the last verse.
Paul quotes a hymn, and for those of us who fail at times, we are so glad He did:
He appeared in a body … Incarnated into human form. He understands our journey, our weakness, our failings because he took that same path. He appeared in a body and He has come to live in us.
Was vindicated by the Spirit … Through a sinless life, through a victorious resurrection. The Spirit was with Him. You may be judged by man, but the Spirit will clear your name. The Spirit is working for you, with you, leading you.
Was seen by angels … He was made lower than the Angels and yet the Angels could not comprehend the glory. The whole of heaven watched. And we are seen. Seen by God’s messenger Angels, avenging Angels, guardian Angels. The Spirit has an army working for you.
Preached among the nations … The life of Jesus was mission to the whole world. Your life was created for the same reason. You may have failed the list at times but have you shared Christ to your world?
Believed on in the world …. Jesus is still influencing the world. Today, 60,000 people will come to Him and make Him their Lord and Saviour. Your influence is bigger than you can possibly could know.
Was taken up in glory … He ascended, though laid down by man, the Spirit lifted Him. You too will be exalted even though you may be humbled right now. He will lift your head, He will raise you high, He will be glorified in you.
This is why I am not overly concerned if I don’t tick all the right boxes. If I try and fail it’s not over because of this hymn. Because of Him!
Women should be silent, unappealing to the eye and not be a leader!
1 Timothy 2
I don’t actually believe that title, I used it to grab your attention.
But some people do.
They like their women to be a certain type of woman. By ‘they’, I mean the men, the opposite sex who are experts in the field of what is acceptable or not have here verses in the Bible that support their graciousness.
For centuries the great minds of New Testament Greek and Theology have hotly debated what Paul really meant.
So let me join in the fun with a few of my own simple thoughts:
1. This is Paul’s letter to Timothy, 1:1-2, it is not a universal letter.
2. The Ephesus church were believing a lot of false strange teaching, 1:3.
3. Paul wanted men to pray, we assume rightly this also applied to women, 2:8
4. The reason why he mentions the men is because it looks like the only hands they were lifting were their own fists.
5. Paul’s dress code in v9 is just that, Paul’s and even then it is not about the outward appearance as much as the outward actions of a good lifestyle. What good is it for a woman to look beautiful but conduct herself in an ugly way?
6. Quietness is not silence, v11
7. The best learning environment is not loud and noisy with a disrespectful disarray, that’s the point of v11 and we assume rightly this also applies to men as Paul indicated earlier their use of ‘clenched fists’.
8. Who is the woman Paul has in mind? This is not women in general but a singular woman. She presumably was teaching false doctrines and she was assuming authority over men. The word to focus on is not authority as is the word assuming. The word carries meanings of arrogance, presumptuous and forcefully taking over as opposed to being invited to do so. Paul would not let the woman in question do that.
Not everyone believes the above, the objectors tend to be men.
What to do with your personal prophecies.
1 Timothy 1:18-19
You may have a Bible where you underlined that important verse which spoke to you all those years ago. You may have a plaque on the wall or a fridge magnet where the quotation is a voice in your house. You may have a journal with that prophetic word given to you in a church service was written down in excited enthusiasm.
So what should you do with them?
From these two verses we can see we should:
1. Remember them.
2. Tell someone else about them and ask them to remember too.
3. Follow them, aligning your life with them.
4. Be inspired by them and helped in life by them.
5. Let them cause you to hold on despite your struggles.
We like the prophesies but we need the “instruction in keeping with the prophesy”.
For those who cannot stop working, you have a Bible verse!
2 Thessalonians 3:8
“We worked night and day …”
And this was Paul’s model!
How many hours do you work in a week?
During a time when most people worked up to 16 hours a day, it was Henry Ford, (founder of the Ford cars) in the 1920s who reduced the hours for his work force to that of 8 hours, 5 days a week.
The reason for the reduction was so that his employees had time to shop and especially to go and buy the cars they were producing! It was consumer driven!
There is always a reason. So why did Paul say what he said?
The phrase that Paul used was obviously indicating that he and his team worked hard whilst they were with them. It was a model to be copied. So what was the model:
1. Work hard.
2. Be a contributor not a taker.
3. Don’t deny help given.
4. Pay your way.
5. Doing nothing is a break; doing nothing continually is lazy.
6. Adopting this ethic may be tiring but don’t give up.
7. Don’t mix with those who don’t follow this model.
So whatever you do today, however you work, then do it unto the Lord.
The Holy Spirit is holding him back, but not for long.
2 Thessalonians 2
Paul’s thoughts of the return of Christ are especially relevant today.
Once again we wake to the news of people held by ISIS, attacks by Boko Haram on innocent people and the evil stories continue. How much more will this go on for?
We read in this chapter of the return of Christ coming after the lawless one is revealed. The power of the lawless one is already at work, even in Paul’s day, but is being held back. Many comment on who is holding back the power of the lawless one. For me, it can only be the power of God, the Holy Spirit, who is the restraining arm holding him back, until the Spirit steps aside and lets him loose on the earth and then Jesus will be here!
There has never been a time like the one we live in. There has never been more Christians persecuted than in these days. Evil is intensifying alarmingly. The restraining arm is slowly letting go.
Jesus will come soon!
Can you name 2 people?
2 Thessalonians 1
Paul, Silas and Timothy.
Companions on the journey.
Sharers of the suffering.
It’s a team.
Your answer is always team.
Can you name 2 people?
If you can you’re rich.
Pastors have feelings
1 Thessalonians 5
You have probably realised as you have journeyed through the Bible with me that I struggle with any show of arrogance and I know there are Pastors who think of themselves in a way greater than is needed. But by and large Pastors are decent human beings with feelings like anyone else and they work hard at loving and serving others.
Recently I was at a church service and just before it commenced I witnessed 2 individuals be nothing short of rude to their Pastor. The condescending tone within their reply to his question caused me to struggle with thoughts of wanting to give them a loving slap in the name of the Lord. Within 5 minutes they both had their hands in the air worshipping God as if nothing had happened. I wondered how the Pastor felt who was definitely on the receiving end of something that had happened. Was he finding it as easy to hold his hands in the air in worship?
I am not saying we should make our Pastors into untouchables. No not at all. In travelling I cringe sometimes at the culture of honour of spiritual leaders that in my experience is way too much.
I am just advocating for niceness. It’s not too much to ask is it?
Just some respect.
Just some regard, a higher regard than the person showing it.
Just some love.
These are Paul’s instructions, v12-13.
So go on, this week, be nice to your Pastor. He has feelings too.
Make it easy on yourself
1 Thessalonians 4
I’m not being unkind but some people just make it more difficult than it need be.
If only they conducted their life with a bit more wisdom.
If only they controlled their life with a bit more effort.
If only they cared for others with a bit more commitment.
Paul gives 3 directives that apply more than ever today:
Don’t be noisy about you.
Don’t be nosy about others.
Don’t be neglectful about your responsibilities.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be as difficult as it may feel.
Make it easy on yourself.
“We train our people to stay.”
That was the incredible answer to my question on what happens when persecution becomes too much for the church planter. Just over a week ago since I returned from the church planting movement in the sub-continent and that answer remains in my thoughts.
1 Thessalonians 3
Paul had told them persecution was coming and it came.
Now he was concerned about their reaction to it.
What did they do? They remained steadfast.
This is the joy of the third chapter.
Is it tough today?
We are so conditioned now for the next chapter. Prophesies are about the next season. Destinies are in our mind.
For those persecuted: we train our people to stay.
Life isn’t always about moving on.
Sometimes it is about digging in and staying.
It’s not all failure!
1 Thessalonians 2:1
I’ve never seen this before and I love it!
v1 “our visit to you was not without results”
Paul then continues to examine their time in Philippi.
Too many have walked away from things thinking they have failed and that it was a waste of time. The only failure is the failure to examine correctly their time.
Today will hold results.
A kind word.
A new thought.
A decision that was waiting to be made.
These may not be results that get the headlines but they are important results nonetheless.
Give God your today and you will see the results.