Tag Archives: Christian Leadership Principles

Thoroughly Furnished

2 Timothy 3:15-17 King James Version

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

I debated on splitting this up into more than one post because there is so much depth here.  But it all fits together so well that I did not want to sacrifice the integrity of the scriptures together, so I will just try to be a little briefer.

It is once again mentioned that the teaching Lois and Eunice shared with young Timothy.  Paul is well aware that they brough him up knowing the scriptures.  This is probably once of the reasons Paul found him so useful to the ministry.  He had a solid foundation of truth.  I know that we endeavored to do all we could to raise our children in the ways of the Lord, but I never was able to instill the love of scripture in their hearts.  They knew the word fairly well, having attended church from the time they were born until well into their teens, attended Sunday School and youth group regularly and went to summer camp.  But I was not a very good priest in my home.  I did not show them how much I loved the word and in some areas I was hypocritical to what I was saying and teaching them.  I studied early in the morning so they did not see me in the word very often.  Prayer was not around our table.  I did not help at all to teach them to love the Lord.  I am so glad they do in their later years, and they would tell you I set a good example, but I feel in many ways I failed.  I know they have all professed their faith in Jesus Christ and I can only pray they will live it out in their lives.

The reason it is so important to raise our children knowing the scripture is so they can understand what it is to be saved.  They can know that salvation comes by faith in Jesus Christ. Salvation does not come through works, or good deeds, or riches.  You can’t buy it or earn it.  It comes by faith.  Not only our salvation, but our deliverance, our healing, our provision and protection.  They all come by faith.  This is the wisdom we gain when we know the Holy Scriptures. Our faith in Jesus Christ makes us heir to the promises of God and brings our adoption into the family of God.  There is no greater thing that can happen in our life but the saving of our souls.  We are no longer the same, but we become new creatures in Christ and our old man starts to pass away as we take in more of this wisdom that comes through the Scriptures.  It is then that we begin to realizer the scripture is given for four things.  It is there to doctrine, for reproof, for correction and for instruction in righteousness,  Let’s look at these four things and see how they apply to each of us.

Doctrine is defined as “a belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a Church, political party, or other group.”  Doctrine is what guides churches on their journey to reach souls for Christ.  Doctrine is what unites one church to another.  Churches with like doctrine will be more likely to draw like-minded people.  The Bible spells out doctrine in many ways, most of which are in Paul’s letters.  Paul was a great teacher of doctrine.  Peter, James, John and Luke also added their insight to what the proper doctrine should be.  The trouble is that there are many different doctrines out here from the same scripture, and there is a boastful way individuals go about saying their doctrine is right and another is wrong.  Can we truly know which is right and which is wrong when there are so many?  Now, if a doctrine is clearly outside of scriptures reach, or if it is based on one scripture alone and is not backed up by others, we can be pretty sure it is a false doctrine.  There are many verses in scripture that speak of avoiding false doctrine and we must take heed to these.  How do we know?  Well, first of all, do they claim Jesus Christ as Lord and King, or do they pronounce some other office to Him?  Do they say they have fresh revelation that supersedes the scripture? Do they claim some of the scripture is only for the past and does not apply today?  All of these things are signals you could be hearing false doctrine.  It is rampant in our world today and we must be wise, just as Timothy had to be wise, to make sure we are following the scripture that makes us wise unto salvation through Jesus Christ alone.

Reproof is defined as “Blame expressed to the face; censure for a fault; reprehension.”  If we have a fault against our brother or sister, it is our duty as Christians to go to them with that problem.  Not their sister, or co-worker, or our spouse or boss.  To them and only to them.  As expressed here, blame should be to the face, not through text or voice mail or e-mail.  Face to face.  This is the only way reproof should be brought out.  One of the big problems we have in our churches is that we do not handle offenses properly, and we do not bring reproof when we should.  Instead, we take our problems to everyone else except the person we have the problem with.  Then the people we talk to have to take one side or the other and it pits us against each other.  The Bible is very clear about how to handle reproof, or offenses.

First, if we have offense with our brother, we should go to them and explain what the offense is.  If they refuse to acknowledge said offense, we should bring someone else with us and go over it again.  This would preferably be a pastor or deacon.  If they still refuse to acknowledge the transgression, it should be brought before the whole church.  The problem is that we often do this just the opposite.  We tell everyone else before we go to the one that hurt us.  It’s no wonder that the church is seen as a house of hypocrites by those on the outside.  We gossip and murmur and complain with the best of them!  This should not be so!  Secondly, if we have offended someone else, or even if we think we have, we should go to them and ask their forgiveness.   This is even more important than bringing your tithe and offering to the church!  We should never hold onto an offense, whether to us or by us.  It is our duty as followers of Christ to make sure that offense is cleared up because, if it is not, bitterness can set in, and that will separate people faster than anything.

Paul says that the word of God is given for reproof.  This means that if we are going to someone as prescribed above, we should make sure that the offense we have is scripturally sound and that we have scripture to back up our forgiveness, or reason to forgive.  Make sure that the word can be applied to the situation and that we are not flying off the handle for some earthly reason.   If it is your flesh that is offended, remember that we are supposed to die to the flesh so that we may live in the Spirit.  Offenses should flow off your back like water off a duck’s back.  As Christians, we must be above offense.  You never see Jesus getting offended because of fleshly reasons.  He always had sound, scriptural reproof for anyone who came at Him with accusations, and we should be able to do the same.

The  third use of scripture is for correction.  This is fairly self-explanatory so I won’t spend too much time on it.  You have all found times that people misuse or misquote scripture.  They use the word to gratify their own desires rather than knowing the real meaning behind the text.  For example, there are many who say to be a Christian we must love everyone and accept them exactly as they are without making judgment or asking them to change.  They cite the truth that God is love, so we must echo that love.  While this is true, the ;logic used is a bit off.  We must love everyone – this is a command.  But we cannot leave that person in there sin.  They must leave that sin  behind to gain access to heaven and eternal life with Christ.  Jesus always told the sinner to go and sin now more, Paul tells us to lay aside every weight that so easily besets us.  Jesus told us to be perfect just as our heavenly Father is perfect.  Repentance, which means turning away, is key to our salvation.  I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.  We must use scripture to correct these misunderstandings of truth.

In the same way, we must use scripture to instruct people in righteousness.  There are millions of self help books, spiritual books and other motivational books that can help us in life, but to learn righteousness, we must get into the word.  There is no substitute.  I can read every self-help book out there, but if it is not scripturally based, and does not use scripture to back up it’s points, it is useless in teaching me righteousness.  Am I using the word to learn righteousness, or am I trying to learn it on my own from other sources?  Make sure good book is your source for this type of instruction.

Once we have applied the scripture to our life in this manner, we will become more mature.  The example used here is of a thoroughly furnished house.  Picture a house with all the fixings.  Every need met, every piece of furniture in the right place and no excess. All the curtains hung and the pictures straight.  Things put in their proper place, all cleaned and ready to be lived in.  Like those beautiful houses you see in living magazines.  This is how you will look to God if you utilize the scripture the way He intended.  And for what purpose?  To do good works, of course.  Scripture will bring that about if we utilize it properly. Let us all aim for this kind pf perfection!

From Such Turn Away

2 Timothy 3:1-5 King James Version

3 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

This is quite a list of people to turn away from.  The admonishment is not that we should not witness to these people groups mentioned here.  We MUST witness to them, but in the loving, gentle, patient way that we talked about in our last lesson.  The people on this list are certainly opposing themselves, and must learn to restore themselves to the place where God can guide their path.  They have lost their way and will have a hard time coming back if we are not apt to help them along.  The types of people mentioned here are indeed the hardest of all to witness to as well.  Most are so full of themselves there is no room for anyone else, especially God.  But if we can help to get just a little bit of themselves put to the side, there is where our opportunity is to chare the gospel with them.  We must watch for these moments carefully and take advantage when we see them arise.

The condition of these men is the reason perilous times have come.  When more and more people start to act on the manners described here our society starts to break down.  People will not care as much about others.  The neighborly manner in which we treat each other will slowly vanish.  Responsibility for one’s actions will disappear and accountability will vanish.  As a result, people will think they can do whatever they want with impunity.  If they are called out for their immoral behavior, the one who is on the right side will be called wring and will face persecution.  Right will become wrong and wrong will become right.  The biblical morality we once lived by will be replaced by an ever-changing worldly morality that will cater to the whim of those who have given into the lusts of the world. 

Can anyone truly deny that we are currently seeing this happen today more than just 10 years ago?  I can give a hundred examples of this but I will stick with a few.  We see school shootings and mass shootings going up all the time. Instead of centering on the critical problem that is driving these shootings, we say it’s the fault of the gun that person is handling.  Instead of doing a better job tracking and tacking care of those with mentality issues. We let them loose on a society that has little protection from them.  Instead of defending our schools in practical ways we simply lock the doors, making it even worse if a shooter does get in somehow.  The shooter is rarely held accountable as they should be.  They get a prison cell where they are catered to and the taxpayer pays for their life to the tune of $50,000 a year.  There they can finally get the help they need, but they rarely do.  Here we see these attributes form the list above: disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, fierce, despisers of those that are good.

The second example I will site is the prevalence of the gender identity discussion.  We are adding genders all the time instead of just looking at a person and knowing what sex they are biologically.  I hear on Facebook you can now choose from 56 different genders when choosing a sexual identity.  We wonder why our children are confused?  In our schools, it is taught that it does not matter if you identify as any of these genders.  All should be accepted for who they are and what they are.  In many states it is against the law to council those that are claiming such status as is against their biological identity.  You have to let them do whatever they want to do.  I cannot imagine what our society will look like when the next generation takes over.  It will be sexual nirvana for those who are raised in it, but total sexual chaos for everyone else.  In the list above, we see lovers of their own selves, covetousness, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, without natural affection and blasphemers in this group.

This is only the beginning of what we are seeing today.  Our society is falling farther short of the glory of God every day and people are caring less and less about it.  In fact, our minds are being numbed to what God wants as our ability to express disgust with these things is challenged more and more by what is becoming the mainstream.  Godly ways are called wrong, worldly passions are indulged in and no one seems to care.  It is harder and harder to find someone that will stand up for what is right and decent.  Harder and harder to speak the truth.  Harder and harder to witness to those whose hearts are gone so far away.

We must turn away from hanging around with such people all the time because we might get pulled into their own ditches and mistruths.  We might find ourselves sympathizing with them.  We must turn away from all these practices, which I am not going to try and explain one by one.  We must turn away from close friendships that might entangle us.  But we cannot turn away from doing everything we can to get them to trust us sop that we might bring the truth to them.  And we must present that truth in the method that Paul explains at the end of the previous chapter: with gentleness, patience and meekness.  We must slowly instruct them in the ways of a God who loves them just as much as He loves us.  God’s desire is to have them turn from their ungodly ways, to stop opposing themselves and to come back to Him.  Can we be such witnesses for the Lord?  They may all look on the outside like they are godly but they do not know God’s power to save.  Many would love to be saved from their ways, but they deny there is a power that can do that.  We must show them the power of God unto salvation that is Jesus Christ.  They need that power to touch their lives, and we can be the instrument of God to make that happen.  Let us not leave them to the devil’s whims.  Let us shine our light so brightly that they will be drawn to us!

Pay Attention

1 Timothy 4:13

Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

Paul has given all the instruction we have studied so far to help Timothy care for the church at Ephesus until he would be able to return. Paul had no idea how soon he would return, so he decided to write this letter rather than wait until he could return. He knew of the background of the churches at Ephesus and that there could be trouble with doctrine and choosing leaders so he entrusted Timothy to make sure all went smoothly. Timothy carried out his charge well.

Paul wanted to make sure that the major areas were covered so he told Timothy to “give attendance” to three things. This is the same as saying to pay attention to these three things. When I look at this list, I wonder why Paul did not include prayer in the list. It would be my guess that Paul did not worry about Timothy’s prayer life. He knew he had told Timothy how important it was to stay on his knees before the Lord in prayer. He knew Timothy would be praying much.

I must admit that my prayer life is not quite so trustworthy. It seems I get going on a good routine only to have it interrupted by the affairs of this life. I wish for a better prayer life all the time. I make plenty of prayers throughout the day as God brings things to my attention. But I am not good at having a set time of prayer. Paul would not have had so much confidence in me. This is an area I need to work on.

The first thing Paul wanted Timothy to pay attention to was the reading of scripture. At this time the only scripture they had was the Old Testament Torah and that on a limited basis. It is unknown how many copies and of which scripture would have been available. Plus there were Paul’s letters which were not considered scripture yet, but were filled with great wisdom. It is also stated that Timothy was well versed on the scriptures from his youth, so he had been taught well how the scripture of the Old Testament pointed to the life of Jesus Christ. In 2 Timothy 3:15 Paul says that Timothy had known this from infancy.

I am also sure that Paul imparted a great deal of wisdom to Timothy while they travelled together. Paul would preach and Timothy would probably sit and take notes on the way the Old testament pointed to Christ. This was also a part of his reading. I have a lot of notes on old sermons that I heard through my Christian walk. Occasionally I go back and read through them, many times spurring new insights into the relevance of scripture in my life. We need to pay regular attention to the Word of God and good biblical preachers in order to keep abiding in the vine!

The second area Paul tells Timothy to Pay attention is in exhortation. An exhortation is an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something. Paul never wanted Timothy to lose his zeal for the things of the Lord. He did not just say to communicate or to preach, but used the word exhort to express his desire that Timothy would be urgent in his preaching and in his message. Timothy was responsible for making sure the churches were following correct doctrine, assigning Bishops and Deacons and making sure they ran smoothly. His message had to have an urgency about It that they maintain the standards that pointed to righteousness and holiness. Nothing short of this was acceptable to Paul.

Is our preaching done with this type of urging? I have to ask myself this question all the time. Am I conveying the truths of God in a way that makes people be compelled to follow? I was at a conference last weekend where a good friend of mine was ministering to a group of pastors and evangelist. I watched him before the service and noticed how he looked like a caged tiger just waiting to be unleashed. There was no doubt he was well prepared to deliver what God had given him and he delivered it with a strong sense of urgency. I have known this young man since he was a teen and was amazed at how he had grown in the Lord, and at how his preaching had improved so much. God is with him because he preaches with a sense of urgency. I need to do the same!

The third area God tells Timothy to pay attention is to doctrine. Much like today, Timothy faced many challenges in this area. The Judaisers were one of the main groups trying to impose doctrine on the churches back ion that day. They believed that to be saved one had to be circumcised. They were widespread in this preaching and scared people into believing their lie. Timothy had to fight this doctrine all the time and make sure that no other doctrine came in except that which was given by Jesus, Peter or Paul. Timothy’s task was to keep the church pure and undefiled, a bride waiting for her groom!

Today there is false doctrine everywhere we look. Jesus said in the last days even the very elect will be deceived (Matthew 24:24). It is not just the church, but all false doctrine we have to be wary of. Islam is a false doctrine, as is Hinduism and Buddhism. Eastern mysticism is finding it’s way into the church today, with many so-called Christian leaders selling trinkets, charms and other things that they call sacred. Yoga, martial arts, transcendental meditation, and other such things do not belong in the church.

The grace movement is a scary thing and has birthed the New Apostolic Reformation. While it is true that we are saved by grace and we are under grace, we should not sin so that grace may abound. The grace movement says it’s OK, just confess and do what you want to do. This is not what Jesus said. The NAR assigns bishops, prophets and apostles who can add to the scripture or subtract from it because they are “ordained” to do so. This is nonsense but they are very deceptive.

There is also Mormonism, Jehovah’s witnesses and other so called Christian sects that follow a man’s doctrine and don’t even know the scriptures and what they say. I had a couple of them come to my door this winter. When I started to share scripture with them, they marveled I knew scripture so well, but tried to change the subject back to their way of thinking. Of course, I did not go there.

We must stay in sound doctrine, and we must teach sound doctrine. I could give many more examples, but the main thing to look at is scripture. Is there anything in scripture that says we should pray to the dead? Is there anything in scripture that says we should worship any other than Jesus Christ and God the Father? Is there any place in scripture that says an earthly priest can be our intercessor to absolve sins? False doctrine is all around us. It is so entrenched that people overlook it easily. The famous phrase “we have always done it this way” allows this doctrine to continue. The thought that we must have something new and exciting allows false doctrine to become main stream.

Let us stay with Biblical principles, not man’s doctrines. :Let us preach with urgency the truth of the Gospel. Let us keep reading the scriptures and absorbing ourselves in the truth. If we maintain solid doctrine and stay in the word, we will not be deceived.

1 John 1:7
7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin

Next Study – Timothy and Titus

I have been praying what direction to go next in our Bible adventures and feel the urge to head into the pastoral letters of Paul to Timothy and Titus.  These three letters contain many great timeless principles for the church and for church leaders.  These letters are generally accepted as written by Paul, although through the years there has been some discussion about possible other authors.  The writing style is very similar to Paul,s and Paul identifies himself as the author in all three.  I’m not sure why the controversy ever came up!  We will agree with the general opinion that Paul wrote these for this studies sake.

These letters are different than Paul’s other writings in that these are addressed to the church leadership, while all his other letters are for the entire body of believers at each church.  Contained in these short letters are guidelines which are still used today to ascertain the qualifications of deacons and elders.  We will ,learn a lot about our own walk as we go through these beautiful letters.

Timothy is first mentioned in scripture in Acts 16:1.  Timothy was mentored by Paul (Acts 16:3) and from all we can understand received salvation under Paul’s ministry.  Timothy was a Greek and most believe Paul met him at Ephesus and this letter was written shortly after that. Timothy’s mother and grandmother are both mentioned in scripture but there is no mention of Timothy’s father.  Paul considered him a son and was very close to him.  Timothy became an evangelist and traveled with Paul to many cities and on his own to some.  He also came to Paul’s aid when he was imprisoned in Philippi.

Titus was also a Greek thought to be from Antioch.  He too was converted under Paul’s ministry and traveled quite a bit with Paul.  Titus was used by Paul to settle things down in the Corinthian church after Paul’s first letter had them reeling.  Titus was also an evangelist  and a missionary, going on many journeys of his own.

As e go through these letters, we will be getting a glimpse into the early church and the discipline Paul saw necessary to make them witnesses in the early life of the church.  Separating out leaders was critical to the development of the church.  Timothy and Titus were two leaders who went on to teach other leaders.  I pray you will see that these leadership skills are needed today just as much as they were back in the first century church.