Monday in the Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Timothy 3:14-15

Guarding the Deposit

Ask any evangelical what the purpose of the Church is and he will tell you to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Or he might say that the purpose of the local church is to equip the saints to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Well, I wouldn’t disagree with any of this; however, in the passage before us, Paul lays out an equally important task of the Church.  Indeed, if the Church fails at this task, she has no gospel to preach.

The Apostle tells Timothy that he plans to visit him at Ephesus but that if for some reason he delays, “you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.”  Did you hear that?  The Church is a pillar of the truth, and a buttress.  In other words, a task of the local church—indeed an essential task of the local church—is to support, hold up, and guard the truth, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The church must guard the integrity of this deposit with her very life.  And how does she do this?  By preaching and teaching the pure, unadulterated word of God.  To the extent that she compromises that holy word and gospel, to that extent she preaches a false gospel—a crime which she has committed too many times in her history.  Oh, God’s word goes forth, to be sure, and if need be, when vast numbers of “churches” are apostate.  There will always be a true church somewhere on the planet, as the Lord said to Elijah, “Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18), and to his disciples, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against [my Church]” (Matthew 16:18).  God has always had a people, and He always will.  But the fact that God shall always see that His word goes out into all the world does not lessen a church’s responsibility to fulfill her divine appointment to guard the integrity of that word and proclaim that word in all of its fullness and truth to a lost world.

A local church is NOT just a gathering of like-minded believers.  Such a definition would fit any secular organization of “believers” in whatever they believe in.  A local church is even more than just a instrument for spreading the gospel.  The Church is an institution ordained of God of which the local church is a part, whose purpose is to stand by, protect, cherish, support, and by all means, fearlessly uphold the gospel of Jesus Christ before the world and without contamination from the world.  “Movements” don’t do this, and “fellowships” can’t do this.  This can only be done by a unique organism instituted by God for this very purpose—and God called it “His Church.”

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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