:) Finally had some time! Next week should be fun... we're heading into some messianic prophecies... :)

Happy studying!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

I Timothy Chapter 3 (part 2)

I Timothy Chapter 3 (part 2)

vs. 8-13

- Paul is continuing instructions for church members. We are moving on to instructions for deacons.

- footnote- “Deacon means “one who serves.” This position was possibly begun by the apostles in the Jerusalem church (Acts 6:1-6) to care for the physical needs of the congregation—at that time, the needs of the Greek-speaking widows. Deacons were leaders in the church, and their qualifications resemble those of the elders. In some churches today, the office of deacon has lost its importance. New Christians are often asked to serve in this position, but that is not the New Testament pattern. Paul says that potential deacons should have high qualifications and be very carefully chosen.”

- Just as elders must be respected for their right behavior, so also should deacons.

- “Deacons must be well respected and have integrity. ” To be well respected means that they are looked up to as living life in a right manner. They are looked to for advice.

- Webster's defines integrity as the “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”

- They too have the instruction to not be heavy drinkers. If something else is controlling you... it's not a good thing... If anything else is taking control over your body or over your mind... it is in essence taking the place of the Spirit.

- “Deacons... must not be... dishonest with money.” Deacons are sometimes put in charge of treasury, or in charge of collections etc. They need to be trustworthy men/women with the handling of the church's money.

- Too many times the church is used by people to obtain money for selfish purposes. Trustworthy people need to be set in place so to make sure that church money goes for church usage or ministries and not for personal use.

- “Deacons... must be committed to the mystery of the faith now revealed.” The people put in the position of deacon, must be committed to Christ. They must be willing to go the distance.

- Church leaders have to show the living example of a life lived out for Christ. It's like my students last week... if Kindergarten had to teach fifth grade how to do a bathroom break, or how to go through the lunch lines, or how to play a playground game, or how to walk in the hallways... it would be quite the chaotic experience. On the other hand, if fifth grade has already had to follow all the rules for 5 years and they know all the procedures for everything, then they could very well walk in and teach kindergarten the basics of elementary school... However... kids learn more from watching than they do from spending any length of time in talking. The fifth grade class can talk about following the rules and talk about how to walk down the hallway... but if they don't DO what they SAY... then soon the kindergarten kids will follow their example rather than their words.

- Deacons and elders should be the same. They need to be living examples of their words so that the younger generations in the church can follow their examples and be stronger in their faith because of it.

- When trials come, what is your reaction? What do people see in your reactions to situations? If you were a kindergarten kid... would you follow your own example as a fifth grader?

- “Deacons... must live with a clear conscience.” A clear conscience is a thing greatly desired. On one hand, it means keeping yourself above reproach. Following God's laws and trying your hardest to avoid sin. We should to the best of our ability (with God's help) avoid sinning so that our consciences CAN be clear.

- On the other hand, how many times does Satan use our consciences to throw a million evils from the past at us to try and make us think that we are not worthy of God's love?

- To have a clear conscience means that we are not only in tune with God and His will for us, but we also are living in Grace. We are living in the knowledge that we are saved by Grace and that “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

- We are free from sin and death through Christ. Our consciences should reflect that knowledge. I know we all get in places that seem really low... and Satan starts attacking us with our past... trying to convince us that we don't deserve God's love...

- But that's the beauty of it... we DON'T deserve it... but He gives Himself to us freely anyway.

- If you remember the story of Hosea and Gomer... He married her because God told him to. God said that their relationship would be a living image of God's relationship with Israel... Time after time Gomer left to go back to prostitution. She went back to the attractions that the world brought... and time after time God said, go back and take her back as your wife.

- God loves us... He doesn't condemn us, He doesn't hold our sin over our heads... if we repent, He forgives and forgets... So don't let Satan play tricks with your mind. Because NOTHING can separate us from the love of God.

- Romans 8

- “Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons.”

- A few months ago, I ended up on the elder nominating committee at church. I felt so strange... here I am, feeling like a little kid sitting at the table with the pastor and women from my church who I look up to... trying to come up with the best candidates for elders in the church... I felt so out of place... we had to sit and discuss personal characteristics, leadership abilities, qualifications, and our perception of what kind of impact these men would have on our church as leaders.

- But having done that... I very much see the need for this kind of process. Maybe your church does things a little differently... and that's fine... But there is a need for a selection process that focuses on leadership ability and quality. In order for a church to be strong and grow stronger... there have to be Godly men and women in place at the foundation. They have to be solid in their faith and ready to take charge if they need to.

- Our church is really neat... A year ago, my pastor died very suddenly... and we all had to take on more responsibility... some new, some old... but in general... just MORE. Our elders banded together and somehow God held our church together... much through the leadership of these men. Had we had young, inexperienced men in those leadership positions, or men with a faith that was weak or founded on false teachings... our church would have fallen apart...

- As it was... our new pastor arrived about three months ago and we are continuing to move forward as a church body. Even without a pastor in place, we continued to grow until we could find a man to step in to take on that permanent role... because our leaders were ready and willing to take the responsibility to lead the church.

- “Deacons... wives must be respected and must not slander others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do.”

- Our pastor was talking this morning about how our relationships reflect our relationship with Christ. Our actions at church might seem to be holy and righteous... but when we step outside the church and go out into the world... do we still represent Christ? Or do we become someone else?

- Our families and our relationships with them reflects our relationship with Christ.

- footnote- “Wives” can refer to women helpers or deaconesses. It could also mean wives of deacons or female leaders of the church (such as Phoebe, the deaconess mentioned in Romans 16:1). In either case, Paul expected the behavior of prominent women in the church to be just as responsible and blameless as that of prominent men.”

- If a husband is a pastor, elder, or deacon, his wife is generally expected to be a partner and extension of himself. His character should be reflected in her and vice versa.

- When my former pastor was first called to the mission field, he prayed that his wife would also get the call... he said God, I can't go without her and we are partners in this... she has to get the call as well... and a few months later, she also got the call in a very specific way. God doesn't call one spouse and not the other... He calls them both as a team.

- I have a friend who was dating this guy... but he was preparing for the mission field... and as they talked and as they prayed... she didn't feel the call... so ultimately, she ended the relationship because for him to be called to missions, and her to be called to a work at home... a deeper relationship would have been impossible in the long run...

- “A deacon must be faithful to his wife, and he must manage his children and household well.”

- Leaders in a church should demonstrate the characteristics of God Himself... God does not cheat on us, nor does He use us, or take us for granted, or abuse us constantly. So neither should deacons cheat on their wives, or use them, or take them for granted, or constantly abuse them.

- Instead, God treats us as special, as loved, as valued possessions. So should deacons treat their wives.

God does not allow His children (us) to run wild and do whatever we want. There are consequences for our actions and our sins. He disciplines us when we need it because He loves us dearly and doesn't wish to see us waste our lives away or to see us die in our sins with no hope for future life with Him.

- In the same ways, earthly fathers should discipline their children in love. “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” If children are taught respect, honor, trustworthiness, honesty, faithfulness, etc. at an early age... when they grow old and move out to live life on their own with their own families, those qualities will still be there. It may be hard at times...

- Proverbs 22:6

- I know that there were times that my parents probably had a hard time disciplining me... I know there were times that I didn't make it easy... but they still did it... and I love them the more for it.

- On the other hand, I see students even at the kindergarten level who I think could literally commit murder and their parents would still fight to prove their innocence in all things to avoid letting their child experience any kind of “bad” thing. These children are learning to be selfish, hard, unfeeling towards others, and completely ignorant of the effect that their actions or words could have on anybody besides themselves... and someday, not only will they feel the effects of their upbringing... but so will their parents... *sigh*

- Ephesians 6:1-9

- “Those who do well as deacons will be rewarded with respect from others and will have increased confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.”

- If a deacon or an elder has all of the qualities listed above, they will be well rewarded for completing the duties of their positions. They will be respected by others. Why? Because they will have proved themselves to be trustworthy, faithful, honest, and a man/woman of faith.

- They will also have increased confidence in their faith in Jesus Christ. If you are a leader, it meas that you are expected to do more... and in a leadership position, you can be sure that Satan will try and attack you in any way, shape, or form that he can conceive. Your faith will be tried in the fire of conflict before you know it... if you can survive the trials that come against you, your faith will be strengthened and your confidence in Christ Himself will grow in leaps and bounds because you will have to depend on Him for more and more.

- A leadership position is not to be taken lightly. It is not something that you do for fun. It is not something that you can do just to have something else that will look good on a resume. To willingly take on a leadership position means that you are willing to fight for what you believe in and are willing to fight for those who are too weak to fight for themselves. It means standing when no one else wants to stand next to you. If you withstand all that comes against you... then you will be rewarded... your faith will grow in Christ...

(For scripture references, see last week's lesson on the first half of I Timothy. The cross-references for elders also apply to the deacons.)

vs. 14-15

- Paul is writing so that just in case he can't be with them... the church will still know how they are to conduct themselves.

- Paul was like a father writing a last letter to his kids just in case he didn't get to talk to them anymore. Paul was put in prison supposedly soon after this letter was written... He knew that he would eventually be tried again by the Romans... it was just a matter of time... so he was writing just in case he didn't get another chance.

- Should our lives not be like that? What if today was the last day? Would it not be better to tell our friends and family all that they needed to hear from us about God and His love for them? If they needed correction or admonishment in something, would it not be better to give it now than to wait until it is too late to give it?

- “This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth.” Should we not be a reflection of that God? Of that truth?

- Ephesians 2, 4, 5

vs. 16

- The greatest mystery of our faith...

- That God Himself came in flesh... to save US.

- Since we're in Christmas, we were talking about the Christmas story in Sunday school this morning... one of my little girls asked “well if Jesus fulfilled all the prophesies, why did the Jews not believe Him? Why did they crucify the One Person Who was actually sent to SAVE them?”

- For 400 years at least, the Jewish people had been reading these prophesies about the Messiah. The One who would come to save them. But for the most part, they were all expecting this great conquering king. A man who would rise up and take over the world from the worldly rulers they were under at that point in time.

- But nobody ever expected God... to come as a baby. A baby is vulnerable... dependent... not mighty and conquering...

- But this is how God chose to come... and He didn't come as a King either! He was born to poor parents... in a stable... in hay... next to the animals... in a little teeny town... with only shepherds to visit... who were smelly and dirty and not used to a whole lot of human contact outside their own niche.

- Doesn't seem like the way God would come to earth does it? Most of the time we think of God and we automatically think of a Zeus like figure. Ready with lightning bolts and quick to get really angry... always riding on a massive horse... looking like a... well... a god... lol

- Our brains do not think of the God of the universe as a baby cooing and spitting up on everything... or having to have his diaper changed... not what we think of as a Godly figure...

- But this is how God chose to come... why? Just so He could be spit on, cursed, and murdered... for us.

- He was seen by angels... announced to the nations... and still was rejected...

- And yet... He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in Glory. After all that... He sits enthroned in heaven with God the Father... and we have salvation through His sacrifice.

- And THIS is the great mystery of our faith... that GOD... would love the world so much... would love YOU so much that He would humble Himself to be poor and simple and plain, would come as a baby rather than as a conquering king on a thundering steed... would give Himself up as a lamb to the slaughter to die in YOUR place... just so that He could give you the gift of Grace... just so your life could be saved from everlasting death.

- Isn't God great? : )

- Ephesians 3
- Isaiah 7:13-16
- John 1:1-18
- Romans 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I Timothy Chapter 3 (part 1)

I Timothy Chapter 3

vs. 1-7

- Paul is giving Timothy instruction and qualifications to appoint elders.

- As we look through these qualifications, whether you are an elder or not, be thinking about how to apply these to your own life. These are all great characteristics of what it is to be a strong and founded believer in Christ.

- So who is an elder?

- footnote- “To be a church leader (“elder”) is a heavy responsibility because the church belongs to the living God. The word elder can refer to a pastor, church leader, or presiding overseer. It is good to want to be a spiritual leader, but the standards are high. Paul enumerates some of the qualifications here. Church leaders should not be elected because they are popular, nor should they be allowed to push their way to the top. Instead, they should be chosen by the church because of their respect for the truth, both in what they believe and in how they live. Do you hold a position of spiritual leadership, or would you like to be a leader someday? Check yourself against Paul's standard of excellence. Those with great responsibility must meet high expectations.”

- Elders in this sense could have been pastors, or just leaders in the church. So keeping that in mind, let's look at the qualifications.

- “An elder must be a man whose life is above reproach.” This means that there's nothing in their life that gives anyone any reason to look down on them or their faith. There's no gray areas that people can read into, to find fault in their faith or in their walk. Perfection? No... just open, honest, and clear in what they believe in. When they mess up, they admit it and move on. When situations arise, they pray and react according to the word.

- This in my mind speaks of someone who is seasoned in the faith. Those of us who are young in the faith can still sometimes be hot-heads. We rush into situations without thinking or praying. We let our anger burst when we feel like it. We hide our mistakes and hope no one sees that we messed up and that they will still see us as at least close to perfect...

- A life above reproach is one that has lived long with the Lord, and Jesus is taking more and more control over their life... The life is more fully reflecting Christ because that life has been more immersed in Him.

- Acts 20:25-35
- Titus 1:5-16
- I Peter 5:1-11

“He must be faithful to his wife.” Faithfulness is a big thing with God. I know I've probably said this somewhere before, but the things in our lives are reflections of our relationship with God. Our relationships with our parents and our spouses and our siblings are those relationships that Christ used as examples to show us what our relationship with our Father was to be.

- Our faithfulness in our spousal relationships is important not only because marriage is sacred to God, but also because that faithfulness proves a steadiness and loyalty in our characters that is a representation of God's character working in our lives.

- Ephesians 5:15-33
- Colossians 3:18-19

- “He must exercise self-control.” I know in previous writings of Paul or Peter we've hit on self-control. Self-control doesn't just mean in anger... we are apt to think that's all it entails, but self-control is in just about any part of your life. Anger, lust, sex, food, spending money, drinking, etc.

- Practicing self-control in one area, generally leads to practice in others. Self-control can also sometimes go hand in hand with patience. Coincidentally, both of those are fruit of the Spirit. This is also something that generally gets easier with age and maturity. Piece of cake? no... but easier to recognize when you should do/say something and when you should keep your mouth shut? Yeah.

- “He must... live wisely.” Living wisely could mean a lot of things. Could just mean not speaking out of turn. Could mean living within your means. Could mean living a life that is free of conflict. Or free of debt. Or free of regret. Or a life that is always a happy one. A life that serves others. A life that is frugal.

- I think mostly, to live wisely means not to take any moment for granted. Live wisely in that you don't waste your time. We are only given so much time... so live wisely and use every moment. Live, Laugh, Love. With all your heart. Do the work before you with all your might and be content in your condition. (Now that's my interpretation... again... it could mean a lot of things...)

- “He must... have a good reputation.” A reputation is important. Have you ever heard the saying “his reputation proceeded him”? This means that people knew this man before he ever made an appearance on the scene.

- I was reading a Jane Austen book the other day (I know totally random...) but anyway, Austen has this way of presenting characters so that you can see different sides and perceptions of them. For instance, in “Sense and Sensibility”, Edward Ferrars is presented as this very shy and backward man. To those who know him, he is simply shy and needs time to become comfortable with you, but his heart is warm and he is very kind and generous. To those who don't know him, he can sometimes be seen as very uppity and proud. (Similar to the character of Mr. Darcy in “Pride and Prejudice”.)

- If someone doesn't know you that well, your actions and your presentation of yourself are all they have. They carry that back to other people, and that becomes your reputation. So to your friends, you may have one reputation and to strangers, you may have quite another.

- So what do people see in you? Are you open about your faith? Are you known as a friend to be had? Are you known as someone who is a helper? As someone who is understanding? Would you be ashamed to hear a reputation ill spoken about only to learn that it was your own?

- To have and maintain a good reputation means that not only do your friends see your heart and know that it is good, but so do complete and total strangers. So that the stories carried to others outside your circle all line up with one another and they are not conflicting reports.

- “He must enjoy having guests in his home.” Hospitality. Communication. Serving. If you love people, you will love to be around them, you will enjoy talking with them, you will be glad to serve them. Guests in your home could be anything from having people over for dinner, to hosting church events in your home, to taking in a stranger to feed them.

- My dad used to have this horrible habit of picking up hitch-hikers. Half the time he'd pick these random people up and bring them home for mom to feed... This one kid had run away from home. He was like 16 and dad decided he was going to feed him... So he picked him up and kept driving further and further into the middle of nowhere... I mean literally... the middle of nowhere... GPS can't find us... And this poor kid sat by the door and ate his food looking like he was ready to run out the door at any given second. (Not really sure where he would've gone HAD he run... but that's a whole other story... lol)

- My mom loves to cook... she loves to feed people... and either because of food, or just because we love having a full house, we have had people in our little backwoods house from almost 20 countries. Middle of nowhere and somehow God brings us the most random people...

- And we have a blast! You know... a lot of fellowship is founded around food times. There's something special and intimately friendly in sitting down to eat together. Even if it's spread out all over the living room or outside in the field... : ) It builds a more free relationship with people because you're more relaxed with them. To go to a restaurant is fine... but to be at home? You can laugh as loud as you like, cry as much as you want, and nobody thinks harshly of you.

- “He must be able to teach.” Teaching is important to those in leadership of a church. They need to be able to teach those younger in the faith. They need to be ready with Godly advice and wisdom. Teaching also means studying. Studying means getting into the word and digging into God. Holding on tight and never letting go. If you have studied, then you are more founded in your own faith to be able to teach and lead someone else in theirs.

- “He must not be a heavy drinker.” Any kind of controlled substance is bad in over-usage. Alcohol is one of those things that there have been hundreds of discussions on and no real solid answer. Paul said that a little wine was good for the belly... and so it is... I forget the amount... it's like a half a glass a day helps to regulate digestion.

- But to overdo it means that you're going to end up with health problems. And to be a heavy drinker or an alcoholic means that you are letting something control you that shouldn't be controlling you. God should be in control of your life and if you let anything else take control... it's not going to go well. Scripture says that wine is a mocker. It makes you a person you wouldn't recognize. I heard someone ask recently, “ So would you like a little red or white mocker with your meal.”

- I know people who like to have a glass of wine with dinner, or a beer with dinner or something... I don't necessarily see anything wrong with that. Moderation is a good thing. Most people don't live in moderation.

- However, both of my parents grew up with fathers who drank. The thing right after this one says that an elder shouldn't be violent. To drink until you are intoxicated can cause a lot of things... violence sometimes being one of them. It endangers yourself, those you love, and sometimes... if you decide to try and drive while intoxicated... it may endanger total strangers...

- I had one grandfather who was a mean drunk. He was in the Korean war and he was POW for 22 months... he got drank to forget... and he could be something crazy to live with...

- My other grandfather was a crier when he got drunk. Most of the time, he cried for a while... then eventually he'd puke or go to sleep... meanwhile he was pretty cranky... and highly emotional...

- And hangover's aren't fun to wake up with... We were in a percussion pedagogy class once and like half the class had been out partying all night... well the instructor caught on to this and he decided to get everybody to lean down to listen to the tuning of a timpani... and then once everybody's ears were close... he gave that thing a really hard whack. Man were there some upset people in that class... : ) It didn't lead to violence that day... but it could have had it escalated any at all...

- As an elder, again, avoiding anything that could bring reproach, and secondly, to avoid things that would take control and make you do something you'd regret later. To avoid things that would mar your witness and your reputation.

- “He must not be... violent.” Violence and anger are not attributes of Christ. When we look at who we are to be in Christ, we look at the fruit of the Spirit. We look at the life of Christ. Christ was not a violent or angry man.

- There is a time for righteous anger... a time to be angry because of the injustice of the world... But there is never a time to resort to violence just because you find yourself angry. Ecclesiastes talks about there being “a season for everything”. You might find yourself in a season of anger... but it doesn't mean that it's time to retaliate or time to strike back... “Vengeance is Mine, saith the Lord”....

- Ecclesiaste 3:1-8
- Proverbs 14:29

- “He must be gentle.” Yet another fruit of the Spirit. To be gentle means sometimes that we are patient in our words and actions. When I think of gentle, I think of a mother carefully taking care of a baby. Or a small child. Sometimes there are those things like gentle reprimands. Something that tells you what you did wrong and how you maybe should have done it differently... but in such a way that there is no anger or malice present in the reprimand. It's just like a soft reminder of a different strategy.

- Children need gentleness. In teaching a child, if you just start yelling or start speaking harshly... they can't focus as well, nor can they comprehend completely what it is you want/need them to do. But if you explain and don't get frustrated when they mess it up the 20th time... eventually, they'll get the hang of it and start to grow in that place.

- “He must not be... quarrelsome.” My uncle and my grandfather love to argue... they start arguing about politics or about sports... it turns into a yelling contest with no real winner... And I have seen my uncle take a side that he was just against... just so he could argue a point. That's what I think of when I think of quarrelsome. Just trying to pick a fight... just trying to get under your skin so he can argue about something. When I think of quarreling, I think of petty things.

- This is not a characteristic you look for when putting someone in a leadership position over a church... Quarreling causes divisions. It could be over the carpet color, or the Christmas decorations, or the music, or a number of other things. Nit-picking and arguing over nothing, doesn't help anything at all.

- II Timothy 2:15-26
- James 4:1-12

- “He must... not love money.” The love of money, means greed. Greed means selfishness. Selfishness means that you are not worried about the welfare of anyone but yourself. Proverbs says that money is the root of all evil. The love of money can lead great men to do not so great things.

- A church is not supposed to be built on money. A church is built on people with a common faith and a common goal of witnessing to the masses. If you have a leader in a church who is worried about money all the time, or is constantly asking for money for petty things... the church ends up being built on greed and selfishness, rather than on the word of God. And if a church leadership isn't built on God... the church doesn't have the greatest of chances of surviving or growing in Christ. In the world? Maybe... in God? Not as much...

- “He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God's church?”

- This is another one of those reflections or parallels that Paul is drawing between the family unit and the church's relationship with Christ. If a man has no control over his kids and they are completely off the wall, spoiled rotten children who can't think of anything outside of what they want, or who are disrespectful of authority in general, and who do not carry themselves as children should, then who's to say that this man will have any more control in the church?

- In teaching and in general, I am seeing more and more kids who are disrespectful of any and all authority. And I hate to sound like a bitter old teacher, but a large majority of the problem lies with the parenting of today. We have a whole generation of kids who grew up with parents who were more lenient than their parents had been... and these kids see their parents as hard... so they as parents are trying to be easier on THEIR kids...

- Well that's all well and good... except that we are almost to the point that enough generations have gone by that the present parents are almost completely ignoring the discipline factor. If their kid gets in trouble at school, the parents are right there wanting to know who's fault it is and why their kid is in trouble... hello! If your kid punches a classmate... it's your kid's fault! Sorry!

- But they come in and try and get their kid off the hook... by fifth grade... good grief... I feel like my students could commit murder and their parents would fight to say that it wasn't their fault...

- Discipline is important in parenting. If you don't discipline your kids early on, they don't form the necessary concepts of right and wrong. Their brain's create too many gray areas for them. Some of my kids in fourth and fifth grade see nothing wrong with stealing if it benefits them. They have ceased to see the world as right and wrong and have started to see it as “how does this benefit my life right now?”

- God put rules in place for us to follow in this faith. Just as we as parents should put rules in place for our kids to follow. Proverbs says that if we train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not depart from it.

- Sometimes in the church it is necessary to discipline or correct a fellow member... If you can't discipline your own children... when you have to live with the consequences of their behavior... how are you going to discipline a brother/sister in Christ who is not of your household? How are you even going to see the NEED for discipline or correction, if you so often overlook your own children's need for discipline?

- Ephesians 6:1-4
- Colossians 3:20-21
- Hebrews 12:1-13

- “An elder must not be a new member.” OK this is just basic common sense. If you have a leader in the church, you want him to be capable of leading with wisdom and discernment. If he's a baby Christian, he's not going to know what to do when asked for advice, or how to teach, and he may not exude a lot of the above characteristics that tend to come with age...

- OK so scenario. I teach music for K-5. For different programs and things we do at the school, I sometimes need helpers. If I need helpers for arranging things, or running sound equipment, or setting up things, or helping with crowd control... common sense says, find a good fifth grader who has a good head on their shoulders and who has participated in things like this before... Common sense would NOT say to stick a Kindergarten kid in charge who has no idea what's going on and who is a nervous wreck because they've never done this before... Kindergarten kids gradually learn the processes of these kinds of things as they go through school. By the time those same kids get to fourth or fifth grade, they can take on more responsibilities. Until then though... it would be crazy to expect them to handle such responsibility.

- If you give someone in the church more responsibility than they can handle, or that they are ready for, sometimes pride can get in the way. Satan can use just about anything in our lives to cause us to stumble and fall... and if he can get in your head and tell you all the great things that YOU are doing and how much God is using YOU... since you just must be SO special... after a while... you're gonna start thinking that you're God's gift to the church... and you're gonna start asserting yourself in ways that are quarrelsome (cause you're always right) and some of those other characteristics that were maybe there... just not fully developed... will start to disappear...

- “People outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil's trap.” This goes back not only to a reputation above reproach, but also to those attributes that define a Godly character.

- Galatians 5:19-26
- II Timothy 2:15-26

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Timothy Chapter 2

I Timothy Chapter 2

vs. 1-4

- Pray for others. Ask God to help them. Intercede on their behalf. Give thanks for them.

- Prayer is important. It builds relationship with God. It is our communication with Him.

- Philippians 4:6-9

- Prayer for others builds community. When we are concerned with the welfare of others, and less concerned with our own worries and wants, our relationship with them is made stronger.

- When we pray, our prayers should not be a grocery list to God. God doesn't want us to sit down to pray and end up complaining the whole time. He wants to hear about the things we're concerned with and the things that are on our mind...

- Matthew 6:5-15
- James 5:13-20

- Praying is kind of like giving gifts. If you buy stuff for yourself all the time, you start to become very selfish with your money. And I don't mean like food and that sort of thing. I mean like buying new jewelry or a new computer, or a new massively huge TV, or refurnishing your house... for no other reason than you had the money, could do it, and it makes a good impression with the neighbors.

- I know there comes a time when new things are needed. That's not the issue. The issue is that we are thinking firstly of ourselves.

- There will come a time when we can't pray for ourselves. We all get to those places when we feel far away from God, or times when we physically can't pray for ourselves—accidents that leave people in comas or in a vegetable like state...

- In those times, we definitely need someone else to pray in our place on our behalf.

- Paul talks about intercession. Interceding for someone means that you are put in the place of like a lawyer. You are there to plead their case before God. You are the middle man. Sometimes it might be fighting their battle for them because they're too weak to fight off the enemy's attacks on their own.

- Intercession is an important aspect of a community of believers. In an army, there is always someone on guard duty. Those soldiers in the infirmary or who are sleeping, they need someone watching out for them while they are healing, or resting. Intercession is that watchman's duty.

- There have been a few times that God has brought somebody to mind while I was praying and in the middle of praying for them for what little I knew was going on... God brought specific things to mind to pray for that I didn't have a clue about. And there have been times that I have prayed without knowing for what. Someone is brought to mind and I know I need to pray for them... but I don't know for what... so I just start praying for everything I can think of... and eventually, it's like something clicks. Something matches the need and pleadings just start pouring out of me.

- Intercession does not always mean that we are praying for a present need. God knows our futures. He sees what lies down the road. Sometimes, He asks us to pray for an impending need. A battle that is coming that He knows will require much from our brother/sister. He knows that they'll need strength and wisdom beyond what they will have in and of themselves. It's like knowing that there's going to be a drought and storing up food ahead of time so that you'll have nourishment during that time of drought.

- In the Old Testament, Joseph was sent ahead of time to Egypt so he could store food so that the family of Israel would survive the 7 year drought.

- Genesis 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45

- Moses interceded for the people of Israel on more than one occasion so that God would not completely destroy them in their rebellion.

- Abraham bargained with God about Sodom and Gomorrah. He kept asking God to save the cities if there were this number of believers. And God kept agreeing to lower the number of believers.

- God listens to our prayers. It may not completely change the outcome, but He may at least change the time line. Hezekiah prayed when God told him he was going to die, and God extended his life another 15 years.

- Mark 11:22-26
- II Chronicals 32:24-33

- Paul goes on to talk about praying for those in authority. Kings, presidents, mayors, governors, bosses, pastors...

- Those in authority need much wisdom to do their jobs. If they are not saved, then the main thing is to pray for their salvation. Then, to pray for them for wisdom and leading in their leadership.

- footnote- “We should pray for those in authority around the world so that their societies will be conducive to the spreading of the Good News. Paul's command to pray for kings is remarkable considering that Nero, a notoriously cruel ruler, was emperor at this time (AD 54-68). When Paul wrote this letter, persecution was a growing threat to believers. Later, when Nero needed a scapegoat for the great fire that destroyed much of Rome in AD 64, he blamed the Roman Christians to take the focus off himself. Then persecution erupted throughout the Roman Empire. Not only were Christians denied certain privileges in society, some were even publicly butchered, burned or fed to animals.”

- Romans 13:1-7

- If we do nothing but sit and complain about how horrible the world is without trying to do anything about it, it does no good for us or anybody else. Prayer is a powerful weapon, and with it, we can do much. A prayer for the change of a heart has to come near the ear of God.

- Paul says to pray for ALL people. Because it pleases God who wants everyone to be saved and come to an understanding of the truth. Even our leaders.

- A Godly leadership changes so much about the dynamic of the place in which we live. A leadership that would promote Godly things and would have the personality and demeanor of a Godly person.

- I know working in the school system, who the principal is changes EVERYTHING about the school. A principal who is a disciplinarian who truly cares about the kids is a gem. It lowers the discipline numbers, the kids are so much more respectful, and the general environment is more conducive to learning and teaching.

- A principal who doesn't want to cause any problems with the parents and therefore hedges or slacks on discipline... wow... such a difference. The kids are disrespectful, there is very little control, and the whole working dynamic changes. Everybody's so stressed out that they take it out on each other rather than trying to work together.

- If we as a Christian body start praying for our world leadership, even in other countries, how different would the world's perception of Christianity be? How different would their acceptance of Christ be?

- Psalm 34, 17, 86, 20
- John 17:1-26
- Colossians 4:2-6
- Proverbs 15:8

vs. 5-7

- There is only one God and only one Mediator Who can reconcile us to God.

- Romans 3:9-31, 4:1-25, 5:1-11
- Hebrews 7:1-28, 8:1-13

- I know we're coming up on Christmas, and this morning our Pastor was talking about refocusing how we look at this season.

- You know... had Christ not humbled Himself to the extreme... there would have been no reconciliation. We would still be eternally separated from God with no hope for our souls.

- okay, so think about this with me for a minute or two...

- Mary was a virgin. Her family was disgraced by a pregnancy out of wedlock. Joseph was looked down on because he was assumed to have been the father. So here are two people who were apparently very upright and lawful people since God chose them for this... now being looked at as having committed one of the sins that at this time was looked at as one of the biggest (a sin punishable by death).

- They left to go to Bethlehem... There was no room in the inn. Okay, so the parents God has chosen to raise His son are not rich in any way. They are simple people. There's no rich palace. No ease of lifestyle.

- So in addition to being poor, they are now in the barn with the animals. Have you ever been in a barn? No matter how clean you keep them, they still reek of animal dung and sweat and all the smells that come with soured milk from cows and goats... It's not the nicest of places.

- Straw or hay is itchy. Seeds get everywhere... and it's scratchy. Yeah, if you cover it with something, it can be kinda comfy, but it still sticks everywhere to everything... I grew up on a farm, working in the hay field... and I gotta tell you... by the end of a day of working in the hayfield and throwing hay around in the barn, it looked like we'd rolled through a brier patch and we were dying for a shower to get all the itchy stuff off of us... it was horrible... lol

- This was the way Christ entered the world. In the lowest of manners, in the lowest of places....

- Poor, without comforts, smelly space, with smelly first visitors.

- Luke 1, 2

- And yet this is how He chose to come... And then to endure further suffering and persecution throughout His life from family and friends and the religious right... to finally culminate in crucifixion... the most horrible, tortuous, humiliating death...

- But He did it all, just so He could stand and intercede on our behalf before the Father. Just so we could have a way out of our sins.

- “He gave His life to purchase freedom for everyone.”

- Wow. He didn't just give His life... He gave it GREATLY. The cost was high... And He paid it all.

- This was all done in His time. There is no rushing God. There's nothing we can say or do that will make Him do something before all the pieces are in place.

- Paul said he was chosen to teach this message just at this time. You know in Esther, Mordecai tells Esther that maybe she was placed in this position for such a time as this.

- I think we are all placed here for such a time as this. I think we have all been equipped for where we live, who we are, who our families are, and if we allow Him, I think God can use our life experiences... just when He needs them to be used.

- If God could move nations to get Joseph and Mary right where He needed them to be by the time Jesus was due to be born... surely He can move people into our lives for us to witness to.

vs. 8-10

- Paul starts talking about worship and teaching in the church. This is kind of a touchy topic with some, and I have my opinions... but I haven't really studied it a whole lot by itself, so I'm going to use a lot of my footnotes out the “Life Application” just because I think it's a more... scholarly source.

- Men are to pray with holy hands lifted to God, free from anger and controversy. Okay, Jesus talked about prayer in Matthew... if you got down to pray and remembered that your brother had anything against you, you were to go and make things right.

- So Paul is talking about being able to come before the throne of God, with no anger or controversy in your life. Lifting holy hands in total surrender and ultimate praise.

- Our walk is a relationship not only with God, but also with our fellow believers. We need to be sure to maintain a solid relationship with God AND with our fellow man.

- Paul then goes on to talk about Christian behavior in church services as well as in public.

- Women are to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves.

- I Peter 3:3-6

- footnote- “It is not unscriptural for a woman to want to be attractive. Today, however, to what degree should women take this advice about fixing their hair or wearing gold, pearls, or expensive clothes? Paul was not prohibiting these things; he was simply saying that women should not be drawing attention to themselves through these things. Modesty and decency are the key words. All women would do well to remember that beauty begins on the inside. A gentle, modest, loving character gives a light to the face that cannot be duplicated by even the best cosmetics. A carefully groomed and well-decorated exterior is artificial and cold unless inner beauty is present. The general rule for both women and men emphasizes that both behavior and dress must express submission to and respect for Jesus Christ.”

- Here's my thought on all this. We are to represent Christ. Imitate Him. If we are imitating, we are not going to be seductive in any way. I see a lot of teenage fashion coming out in the last few years that is leaning in that direction... if not completely blatantly there... (some clothes look like something you might have seen on a prostitute on a street corner).

- Modesty. COVER UP! Lol Decency. Watch what you wear and how you wear it. If it's sending a worldly message... then you probably shouldn't wear it and try to go witness...

- Another thing that my pastor used to say was that if you were wearing something that could cause your brother to stumble, or that could cause your brother to be tempted... then you shouldn't wear it.

- We have not only a responsibility to ourselves and our own witness, but we also have the responsibility to our fellow believers to build them up and encourage them... and tempting them, even without knowing it... isn't beneficial.

- I grew up in an apostolic church, and if you know nothing about that denomination, they are generally very strict on dress code. Women wear long dresses, men wear long sleeves for church... Sometimes the women wear the hair net things. (Our church did not strictly follow these rules because our Pastor said he could only find that women should dress modestly and not try to dress up like a man).

- And growing up in this, if nothing else, did teach me to be modest; however, there are extremes in that realm as well. The religious right of Jesus' time had a problem with putting their righteousness before their relationship with God. They were depending on their righteousness to make them right before God... and it doesn't work that way... at all...

- There is something to be said for hygiene and cleanliness... There is also something to be said about not looking like a slob...

- However, it doesn't mean we have to look like we stepped out of a magazine...

- Modesty is one thing. Begging for attention is quite another.

- If we are Christians, the focus is not to be on us. It is to be on Christ. Our lives are to be all about Him. If we are constantly trying to draw attention to ourselves... then we are not reflecting Christ. We are reflecting our selfish human nature.

- Our devotion to God should be our attraction for other people. It should be the thing that draws them to us... like moths to flame... Irresistible attraction to pure and unquestioning love.

vs. 11-15

- Paul is giving instructions on the actions of women in church...

- footnote- “To understand these verses, we must understand the situation in which Paul and Timothy worked. In first-century Jewish culture, women were not allowed to study. When Paul said that women should “learn quietly and submissively,” he was offering them an amazing new opportunity to learn God's Word. That they were to listen and learn quietly and submissively referred to an attitude of quietness and composure (not total silence). In addition, Paul himself acknowledges that women publicly prayed and prophesied (I Corinthians 11:5). Apparently however, the women in the Ephesian church were abusing their newly acquired Christian freedom. Because these women were new converts, they did not yet have the necessary experience, knowledge, or Christian maturity to teach those who already had extensive scriptural education.”

- I know there are denominations who think that women shouldn't be preachers or lay speakers etc etc. And to some extent, for me personally, I like the idea a little simply because it reinforces in young girls that they are to be submissive to the male head figure of a husband... and boys to learn that they are to take responsibility... in that respect, I think a strong male leadership in a church is a good thing.

- However, I also have heard women preachers who blew my mind... I think God can call whoever He wants. If God can use a donkey to talk to Balaam, he can sure use a woman to speak to me.

- footnote- “Some interpret this passage to mean that women should never teach in the assembled church; however, commentators point out that Paul did not forbid women from ever teaching. Paul's commended co-worker, Priscilla, taught Apollos, the great preacher (Acts 18:24-26). Paul frequently mentioned other women who held positions of responsibility in the church. Phoebe worked in the church (Romans 16:1). Mary, Tryphena, Tryphosa, and Persis were the Lord's workers (Romans 16:6, 12), as were Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2). Paul was very likely prohibiting the Ephesian women, not all women, from teaching.

Paul did not want the Ephesian women to teach because they didn't yet have enough knowledge or experience. The Ephesian church had a particular problem with false teachers. Evidently the women were especially susceptible to the false teachings (II Timothy 3:1-9) because they did not yet have enough biblical knowledge to discern the truth. Remember in this culture, men studied scriptures extensively so they had a biblical background. In addition, some of the women were apparently flaunting their newfound Christian freedom by wearing inappropriate clothing (2:9). Paul was telling Timothy not to put anyone (in this case, women) into a position of leadership who was not yet mature in the faith (see 3:6; 5:22). The same principle applies to churches today.”

- I Corinthians 14:26-40

- Paul starts talking about Adam and Eve. God created Adam first, then Eve. Eve was first deceived in the garden by Satan... then she herself deceived Adam.

- footnote- “In previous letters Paul had discussed male/female roles in marriage (Ephesians 5:21-33, Colossians 3:18-19). Here he talks about male/female roles within the church. Some scholars see these verses about Adam and Eve as an illustration of what was happening in the Ephesian church. Just as Eve had been deceived in the Garden of Eden, so the women in the church were being deceived by false teachers. And just as Adam was the first human created by God, so the men in the church in Ephesus should be the first to speak and teach, because they had more training. This view, then, stresses that Paul's teaching here is not universal but applies to churches with similar problems. Other scholars, however, contend that the roles Paul points out are God's design for His created order—God established these roles to maintain harmony in both the family and the church.”

- footnote- “Paul is not excusing Adam for his part in the fall (Genesis 3:6, 7, 17-19). On the contrary, in his letter to the Romans Paul places the primary blame for humanity's sinful nature on Adam (Romans 5:12-21).”

- The last verse says that “women will be saved through childbearing, assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty.”

- Okay... if my salvation depends on how many kids I have before I die... I'm a goner... LOL I think this next footnote is a pretty good explanation of this... although it does sound a little funny out of context.. : )

- footnote- “The phrase “saved through childbearing” can be understood several ways:
1. man sinned, so men were condemned to painful labor. Woman sinned, so women were condemned to pain in childbearing. Both men and women, however, can be saved through trusting Christ and obeying Him.
2. Women who fulfill their God-given roles are demonstrating true commitment and obedience to Christ. One of the most important roles for a wife and mother is to care for her family.
3. The childbearing mentioned here refers to the birth of Jesus Christ. Women (and men) are saved spiritually because of the most important birth, that of Christ Himself.
4. From the lessons learned through the trials of childbearing, women can develop qualities that teach them about love, trust, submission, and service.”

- I think that pretty much covers everything possible... lol

- I think the main thing to remember in all of that section is Who we are imitating. Who we are striving to become like. His character attributes and personality should be reflected in our own lives... if our lives don't line up with the character of God... then we need to pray for Him to fix things in us to make us more like Him.

- All attention from those around us, should be directed to God... not us...

- And our attitudes should be ones that are submissive to God and those in charge over us.

- Ephesians 5