1 Timothy 1:3-11: A Gospel-Saturated Directive

Jaime Owens, in a letter to his congregation at Tremont Temple Baptist Church:

“How can we protect sound doctrine? First and foremost, by filling our church with it. God’s truth is never as vulnerable as when it’s rarely received.

For us, the danger isn’t that the Word will go unpreached; rather, it’s that we’ll fail to put it first. We should ask ourselves a couple of questions: Is hearing God’s Word among the things in my life that must be done? Or do I crowd it out of my schedule for more important things?

When hearing sound doctrine is optional, we’ll hear it less. And the less we hear the truth, the more easily it will be twisted and exposed to distortion in our minds. One of my prayers is that we would be so committed to hearing sound doctrine, that when the Word is preached and taught among us, we would make every effort to show up because our greatest desire is to hear God speak to us so that we might walk in his ways.

But is protecting sound doctrine simply a matter showing up? Should we entrust this most important duty, to protect sound doctrine, to me, your pastor? Yes and no. You’ve called me in faith to serve you with the Word, and one of the reasons you’ve called me is because you believe that I live and preach sound doctrine. But surely, this responsibility is too weighty for one man.

One way for us to protect sound doctrine is to develop a culture of identifying those who rightly handle God’s Word and raising them up as elders so that they might share in the faithful instruction of sound doctrine. A plurality of elders who watch over one another’s lives and doctrine provide a valiant defense against unsound doctrine. By God’s grace, we’ll continue to develop this culture of vigilance.

Every church should care about their pastors’ character and doctrine. However, the ultimate responsibility for sound doctrine and the overall health of our church doesn’t fall on pastors alone, but on the entire membership of our church. It may be that the Apostle Paul knocked his Galatian hearers back in their chairs when he wrote: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8).

Who is a mere church member to call out their pastor? My friend, there’s no such thing as a mere church member. The Lord has called you, along with your fellow members, to have ears so trained, so sensitive to God’s Word, that you can discern between the truth and a lie. In this sacred duty, you’re part sheep, part sheepdog. You’re a member of the flock. But you’re also its guardian. With so much at stake, I want to call you, as God’s Word does, to be a sheepdog for the truth.

Finally, churches may be filled with sound doctrine, but if we don’t apply sound doctrine to our lives and help each other do so, it’s only a matter of time before the truth among us will be a casualty. We’ve seen the relics. Buildings that used to house churches that are now merely museums of past glory, if anything at all. At the end of the day, the only way that we will walk together safely home is if the sound doctrine we hear brings about a sound life. We need sound minds. We need steadfast hearts. More sound doctrine will not be enough. We need God’s Spirit to make us sound. Pray that God would make us a sound church as we prize and protect sound doctrine.”

Read 1 Timothy 1:3-11. What are the warning signs of false doctrine? Why is this so important for Paul to point out? How can we learn from Paul’s example in our commitment to sound teaching?

Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness – John Wesley

Posted on: May 28, 2021 - 12:00PM

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