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November 29 - Evening

"I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth."
- First Timothy 3:14-15

The Church: the Pillar and Foundation of the Truth


Paul’s reference to God’s household is a reference to the family of believers, the royal priesthood or the holy nation of 1 Peter 2:9. Paul was writing this letter (First Timothy) to inform Timothy what should be expected from the people whom God had chosen to represent him here in the earth at this time in history. These people, the believers in Jesus Christ, together are the family, or the household of God called “the church.” They are “the pillar and foundation of the truth” in their society, their culture, their city, their world, their time and in their generation.
The buildings of the first century in Ephesus where supported by pillars and the pillars stood on foundation stones for strength and permanence. The roof and the building would be supported by an elaborate system of decorated pillars whose stability came from the foundation stones. In Paul’s image the truth is the building with its roof, but the church (which is the household of God’s people, not the local church building) was the pillars that held that building of truth up, and the people of God who together were the church of the living God, were also, the support for those pillars. If the household of God did not provide a stable base the pillars would sink, lean or wobble. If the pillars moved from the foundation stones the building would move, crack, pieces would fall and the building would collapse.
Paul is not saying the church is the truth. Paul clearly separates truth as an identity that exists outside the people of God. The point of Paul’s analogy is to say that the church, or the people of God’s family, is the foundation stones that stabilize the pillars, and the pillars, which are also the church, or the royal family of God, hold up the building which is the Truth. If the people of the local church collapse or are not stable, then the presentation of truth to that local community will falter and even fail.
 The church is made up of the people that God has chosen to demonstrate his word, his character, his will and his salvation through. If the church, or the people of God, fail to live as men “who know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household,” then even though truth will always exist, it will not be seen, known or understood by the people in that local society. The structure of truth will be unstable and will crumble in a society with unstable, wobbling believers.
Suneidesis (Gr) - Conscience (Eng) - suneidesis is compound Greek word from sun meaning "together," and eido meaning "to know." Sun-eido ("together-to know"), or suneidesis, referred to going back together with your knowledge of your past and deciding if what was in your past was good or bad. The word suneidesis eventually developed into the concept of "conscience." It is used 30x in the GNT. Three examples are in Romans 2:15; 1 Timothy 4:2; and Hebrews 9:14.
Do I serve my community by being anchored and stable in the truth?
I will live in such a way that my deeds and my words support truth in my community and culture.



Bible Reading Descriptions Here

Narrative

(morning only)

Complete Text

General Text




Personal

Finances

Church

God's will be done
Environment
Uganda



Seven steps of the Canaanite altar at Megiddo.
Details of Peter's ministry in 39-41 AD.




Someone to Quote

"The bow cannot be always bent without fear of breaking. Repose is as needful to the mind as sleep to the body… Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength...It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less." -C.H. Spurgeon

Something to Ponder

The book of Isaiah is the most quoted book in the New Testament. Isaiah is quoted 419 times in the New Testament and the book of Psalms is quoted or referred to 414 times.

Here’s a Fact

Gedaliah was appointed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 to serve as governor of what was left of Judah after the Babylonian destruction. Baalis, the king of Ammon, used a descendent from the line of David named Ishmael, to assassinated Gedeliah.
Both the names of Gedaliah and Baalis have been found on bulla, or clay impressions. And, Baalis' name has been found on a seal.
The Gedaliah bulla was found at Lachish (27 miles SW of Jerusalem) and reads, "Belonging to Gedaliah overseer of the royal house."
The Baalis seal shows a winged sphinx (image) and is inscribed with the words "Belonging to Baalis" with the word "King" on both sides and "Sons of Ammon" (or, Ammonites) at the bottom. (details) Baalis name has also been found on a bulla saying, "Belong to Milkomor servant of Baalis." (details)

Proverb

"An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins."
Proverbs 29:22

Coach’s Corner

Instead of finding fault, find resolution. Finding fault is only going to widen the gulf, but searching for resolution begins to build the bridge.

1 Peter 2:9
New International Version (NIV)
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Romans 2:15
New International Version (NIV)
15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)
1 Timothy 4:2
New International Version (NIV)
Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
Hebrews 9:14
New International Version (NIV)
14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
Philemon 1
New International Version (NIV)
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,
To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker—
also to Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier—and to the church that meets in your home:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about your love for all his holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.
Paul’s Plea for Onesimus
Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I prefer to appeal to you on the basis of love. It is as none other than Paul—an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus— 10 that I appeal to you for my son Onesimus, who became my son while I was in chains. 11 Formerly he was useless to you, but now he has become useful both to you and to me.
12 I am sending him—who is my very heart—back to you. 13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. 14 But I did not want to do anything without your consent, so that any favor you do would not seem forced but would be voluntary. 15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.
17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back—not to mention that you owe me your very self. 20 I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 21 Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I ask.
22 And one thing more: Prepare a guest room for me, because I hope to be restored to you in answer to your prayers.
23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends you greetings. 24 And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke, my fellow workers.
25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
1 Corinthians 3-4
New International Version (NIV)
The Church and Its Leaders
Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.
18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” 21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
The Nature of True Apostleship
This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?
Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.
Paul’s Appeal and Warning
14 I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. 15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me. 17 For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.
18 Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. 20 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. 21 What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?


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