Monthly Archives: January 2017

For Wednesday February 1 – Churches Should Be Compassionate Without Compromising Truth

How should a church respond to those who are struggling with sin or who are in error regarding the faith? Paul’s letters to Titus and Timothy speak of a need to clearly confront sin and error, but also talk about the importance of being gentle and patient.

 

A common complaint against churches and Christians is that they are angry and too argumentative. What are the negative effects of such an impression?

 

Study the scriptures below considering these two questions:

1/  Do they emphasize the strong, forceful response to sin and error or do they emphasize the compassionate, patient response?

2/  Also, consider if the immediate context might suggest why one attitude is emphasized over the other.

  1. 1 Timothy 3:3 (an elder must be….) not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous.
  2. 1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
  3. 1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare.
  4. 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching.
  5. 2 Timothy 2:24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth.
  6. Titus 1:13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.

Consider Titus 3:1-7.

  1. What attitude does it say we should have?
  2. What is the reason given for why we should show all humility to all men?
  3. In light of these passages how would you respond to the following question?  Is Lakeshore a “gay-friendly” church?  (This is quite common — we need to be ready with a good answer.)

 

What other scriptures come to mind when pondering these questions?

 

 

 

 

 

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For Wednesday January 25 – Churches Should Share The Good News

Friday’s inauguration was called the most prayerful inauguration in US presidential history because it included six prayers.  For his part, Franklin Graham wrapped it up by quoting 1 Timothy 2:1-6 which is part of Paul’s instructions to Timothy about how to lead the church.

1. What does this passage tell churches to do?

2. To have peace is “good and acceptable in the sight of God”.  Why does the text suggest peace is good and acceptable to God?

3. What motivations do you see there for why churches should be concerned for the lost?

4. What is “the truth” in verse 4?

5. What does 1 Timothy 3:15 say about the truth and the purpose of the church?

A FAITHFUL SAYING

6. The expression “a faithful saying” is used 5 times in Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus. What does that expression suggest to you?  What are a few of the “faithful sayings”?

7. Read 1 Timothy 1:12-17.  What is the “faithful saying” in this text?

8. What example do we have in this context of God saving sinners?

9. What does 2 Timothy 2:1 say about WHO should be involved in teaching?

 

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For January 18 – Discussions To Be Avoided

Last week we noted that Paul commanded Timothy to charge some that they teach no other doctrine.  We learned that we are to work to maintain “sound doctrine”.  Paul warned “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine”.  A good church will respect the authority of the Bible and seek to uphold everything it teaches.

We are to be great Bible students but not all Bible discussion is good.  An oft repeated theme in the letters Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus is that there are certain types of questions and studies that are to be avoided.

Consider the following verses from Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus:

1 Timothy 1:4

  1. What types of discussions are to be avoided?
  2. What are the negative effects of such discussions?

2 Timothy 2:14

  1. What types of discussions are to be avoided?
  2. What are the negative effects of such discussions?

2 Timothy 2:23

  1. What types of discussions are to be avoided?
  2. What are the negative effects of such discussions?

Titus 3:9

  1. What types of discussions are to be avoided?
  2. What are the negative effects of such discussions?

 

DISCUSS:

  1. Why are the negative effects of foolish discussions described in these verses so serious?
  2. What would be a modern example of foolish, ignorant disputes?
  3. How does 1 Timothy 1:4-5 describe the positive results desired and the good goals of our studies?
  4. How would you determine if something is a foolish controversy or a necessary matter of faith?

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For Wednesday January 11 – Paul’s First Instruction To Timothy

Years of a heavy emphasis on doctrine made us very technical and legalistic in our thinking about God and what it means to be a church. In recent years some groups have backed off on that and sought better balance.  Finding the proper balance between commandments (laws) and attitudes (love and humility) is a challenge.  These ideas are not mutually exclusive and we will see that both are emphasized in Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus

1/ Having said that, we should observe that the first instruction to Timothy is to “charge some that they teach no other __________” (1 Timothy 1:3).

2/ What does the word “doctrine” mean?

 

3/ “Teach no other doctrine” implies that there is a good doctrine that is to upheld and defended. What would you say is the doctrine that is to be retained?

4/  What word do these letters use to describe that good doctrine? (1 Timothy 1:10, 6:3, 2 Timothy 4:3, Titus 1:9, 2:1).

 

5/  There is a similar emphasis on doctrine in Titus. In Titus 1,  one of the qualifications of an elder is that he  will “hold fast the faithful word as he has been taught” (1:9). What does this verse go on to say they do with that word?

 

6/ Sometimes we think of “doctrine” as the structural features of the gospel such as the nature of the church and plan of salvation.  Note what specific types of things are included in the word doctrine in Timothy and Titus:

1 Timothy 1:9-10

2 Timothy 4:1-7

Titus 2:1-9

 

7/ WHAT IS THE TRUE SOURCE OF DOCTRINAL KNOWLEDGE?  What does 2 Timothy 3:14-17 say about the relationship between scripture and doctrine?

 

8/ What 3 words does Titus 2:7 use to describe Titus obligations toward the doctrine, and what does each mean?  Titus 2:7 in doctrine showing ___________, ______________, _______________,

9/ How does Paul encourage Timothy to preserve sound doctrine in 2 Timothy 2:15?

10/ THE PROBLEM: 2 Timothy 4:1-4.  What does verse 3 tell us about human nature and sound doctrine?

11/ What are some examples of SOUND DOCTRINE that people struggle with today?

12/ CONCLUSION: What do these thoughts teach us about how we can be a better church?

 

 

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Wednesday Recap – Timothy and Titus

This week we learned about who Timothy and Titus were and about how they traveled with Paul and that he eventually left Timothy at Ephesus and Titus at Crete to work on improving the churches. It is in Paul’s instructions to Timothy and Titus that we are seeking guidance as to how we can have better churches today.

In our first lesson we talked about how Timothy was willing to be circumcised.  It is an interesting event and there are many questions about the situation. We know Timothy’s father was a Greek but his mother was Jewish.  We are also pretty sure that when he submitted to circumcision it was not for the purpose of conforming to God’s law. That is what makes Timothy’s act so impressive.

The text tells us why he did it: Acts 16:3 says Paul “took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek”.  They were going to be working among unsaved Jews who would have a big “hang up” with the fact that he was uncircumcised and even though it was not required by God he was willing to go through with it in order more effective in reaching the Jews.  It is the same principle that Paul later wrote about when he said “to the Jews I became a Jew that I might win Jews” (1 Corinthians 9:19).

APPLICATION:

How many of us would voluntarily inconvenience ourselves greatly concerning a matter, if it was not required by God,  but simply because of what some people might think?  Pride and selfishness within us says no I would never do that, there is nothing in God’s law that says I have to! But Timothy had a better attitude.

Jesus had a similar attitude when He was inconvenienced greatly (an understatement) about a situation for which He was not personally responsible in that He was willing to die on the cross.

If we have the same attitude as Timothy and Jesus we will be better Christians and better Churches!

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For Wednesday Jan 4 – Everything Is Not Black Or White

better-churches

Our study concerns the letters written by Paul to Timothy and Titus.

How does Paul describe both Timothy and Titus? (1 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4).

Timothy was left at __________________________ (1 Timothy 1:3), Titus was left at ____________________ (Titus 1:5).

Paul told Timothy to do the work of an _________________________ (2 Timothy 4:5).

What does he tell Titus to do (2:1, 2:15, 3:8).

Paul wrote to Timothy so that he would know how to conduct himself in the ______________ of God, which is the _________________ of the living God (1 Timothy 3:15).

Paul instructed Titus to ______________ in order the things that are __________________  (Titus 1:5).

EVERYTHING IS NOT BLACK OR WHITE

Something interesting about Timothy and Titus concerns how each responded to the debate over circumcision.  The law commanded all Jewish males be circumcised (Lev.12:3). After Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead and the gospel began to be preached to both Jews and Gentiles a great controversy arose over whether or not Gentile converts had to be circumcised to be saved. (See Galatians 5:1-6 and Acts 15:1-5)

Neither Timothy nor Titus had been circumcised when they began working with the apostle Paul.  A deliberate decision was made in each case, but interestingly, the decisions was different.  Read the about the circumstances of each case:

Galatians 2:1-5

Acts 16:1-3 (this was evidently later than the incident with Titus which probably took place in Acts 15).

Why do you think Timothy submitted to circumcision but Titus did not?

Circumcision is not an issue today but what principles or attitudes do you see that we could apply to our work?

 

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