1 Timothy 3:15 “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.”
We guard the gospel in the way we live. This to me is very important. I read that those inside the churches and outside the churches have 65 common values. So what is it that should define the Body of Christ so that it is seen, known and even feared as the Body of Christ? For this is the power of the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ. As it is, there is NO bold difference today between those who are in the churches and those who are outside.
When I think of this there are two things that come to my mind. First, the local fellowship should be autonomously controlled and not centrally control. Baxter said: “It is a significant fact that although the New Testament gives counsels and directions as to the organizing of local Christian assemblies or ‘churches’ (1 Corinthians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus), it nowhere even hints at any central board of administration such as those which have since developed and which exist with such wide powers today.”
This is one of the main problems with denominations today. Often it is more centrally controlled than we might like to admit. If we are honest, one of the reasons for this is finance. It is amazing how finance moves the work of God rather than the Holy Spirit moving the work of God. Yes, finances are important, but I think what Hudson Taylor said is the key: “God’s work God’s way will never lack God’s supply.” This is how God’s work spread in his days when he was penetrating China with the gospel through the “China Inland Mission.”
Secondly, our conduct as Christians is very important. Titus 2:10 says, “So that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.” Paul, was laying out how the Body of Christ should conduct themselves so that our teaching about Christ will be attractive, or influential and convincing. This is the bottom line. Our lives should be a sweet fragrance wherever we go and in whatever we do whether in our work, at school, in play, and most important – in our homes. Jesus tells us:
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16) The first place mentioned is the home, how we live with each other there because this is where we are really ourselves.
Another aspect of reformation will be seen in preaching. Isn’t it interesting that when Jesus started His ministry the first thing that He preached was ‘repentance.’ When He sent out His 12 disciples, and later the 72 – He told them to go and preach ‘repentance.’ When I read the letters that John wrote to the churches in Revelation 2 and 3, to all but two, to the majority of His people – His message to them was to repent. Often the preaching that we have today is how to feel better about ourselves, how to build successful relationships, how to enjoy a marriage, etc. I am not against all this, but all the problems we have is simply rooted in our sinful nature and the need we have is to acknowledge when we sin, and then to repent of our sin; turn away from it with God’s help.
Paul said to Titus: “At his appointed season he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior.” (Titus 1:3) I thought that this was interesting because it was through preaching that the Word of God comes to light. So often the preaching today is to read a Scripture verse and then carry on with our own ideas and philosophies.
We need ‘practical’ preaching that takes us back to the realism and expediency of the Word of God. Reformation will bring our preaching under the scope of God’s Word for all the issues of today.