Sermon: The Church, The Pillar And Ground Of The Truth

I am pulpit suppling at a Church today and thought I would post my sermon notes for those of you who may enjoy reading sermons. I hope you find joy end encouragement from my labors. Scott

 

SERMON: THE CHURCH: THE PILLAR AND GROUND OF THE TRUTH 

 

TEXT: “These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” 1 Timothy 3:14-15

 

GREETING: Good morning! I would just like to take a moment and give praise to the Lord with you for finding a Pastor who I trust will shepherd you in spirit and truth. This is the third time that I have had the blessing of opening up the Word of God with you. It is a joy and a great privilege to have been asked once again.

 

PRAY AND READ THE TEXT:

 

OUTLINE:

  1. The Church is to be the display of true conduct.
  2. The Church is the house of the true and living God.
  3. The Church is the pillar and ground of the truth.

 

SERMON:

 

  1. The Church is to be the display of true conduct.

 

It is always a good idea to start out by defining terms so that there is no arbitrariness. Let’s look at the word church to see how Paul is using it. For there are two ways we commonly speak about the church, the universal church, and the local church.

 

    1. The universal church is the term we use to speak of the total number of individuals, from the first believer to the last, who are members of the heavenly church. It is the number of believers who have been regenerated by the spirit of God from all parts of the world, and throughout all of time.
      1. God alone knows this number
    2. The local church is a group of persons who profess faith in Jesus Christ, who meet together to worship him, and seek to enlist others to become his followers. Clover Church is a local church.
      1. Not everyone who is in the local church is included in the universal church. I know this because Jesus told us that on the last day many would say “lord, lord, did I not do this, did I not do that, but he will declare…‘depart from me you worker of iniquity, I never knew you.’”
      2. We are unable to absolutely 100 percent accuracy determine which persons in the local church are part of the universal church.
        1. We have been given tests in 1 John and other places which we use to discern the state a person’s soul; but only God knows for sure.

 

So which church is Paul speaking about in 1 Timothy? The local church. We know this because Paul mentions “the church” two other times in the book of 1 Timothy and both times he is referring to the local church.

    1. 1 Timothy 5:16 Which gives the church instruction regarding widows.
    2. 1 Timothy 3:5 Which speaks of the qualifications of an elder-pastor in the local church.
      1. Application to the elder-pastor: This is worth noting as it is very relevant to your current situation of getting a new Pastor. 1 Timothy 3:4-5 says that an elder must rule his household well. This could not be more clear simply by reading the verses.
        1. A man will order a church the same way that he orders his family. Paul’s point is that if the man is not able to order his home which may consist of between 2-14 people depending on how many kids he has; how will he be able to order a congregation of 80-800?
        2. Point: How will he be able to take care of the church of God if he is not able to take care of one family of God?

 

So, back to our text, we are saying that the local church is to be a display of true conduct.

 

We all probably have a good idea what it means to display something. We all have probably walked down the street of a small town where the store owners place things on display in the windows to attract attention and business. This is the type of display we are talking about. The Church as both a whole body, and individually is to be on display before the world. But what are we the church to display? True conduct.

 

    1. Conduct is how we “ought” to live our lives. The Church is to display how humans ought to live. We are to be the podium to the entire world regarding conduct, which is morals. But is this the case? Who does the Church listen to?
      1. We tend to listen to musicians, authors, actors, friends, neighbors, schools, teachers, government leaders or the mass of society as a whole. Are any of these sources the standard of right conduct? No, and all of them try to be. Even in the so-called separation of church and state, we have the state telling the church what they can and can not do. If the state tells the church that they will not be required under law to marry same-sex couples in Minnesota; this is still the state having authority over the church telling us what we can and can not do.
      2. Where does the church get it’s authority to declare moral conduct? From God’s Word–from our text we are looking at.
        1. Psalm 119:160 The entirety of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous judgements endure forever. 
        2. John 14:6 Jesus said to them, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me
        3. 1 John 5:6 This is he who came by water and blood — Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth

Summarizing point, the church gets it’s truth for morality from the Bible. The Church is not to be given it’s morals from the world, but through the Word of God. For the church is to be the display of true conduct. 

 

 

  1. The Church is the house of the true and living God. 

 

First of all, God is true. He is objectively true; not just true for me and not for you. God is the God of truth (Isaiah 65:16)

 

Not only is God true, but he is living. God is self-existent and needs nothing else in all of creation to sustain his life. We on the other hand are dependent upon him for everything. We need him to provide us with air, warmth, food, drink, shelter, and a heart-beat; just to name a few. God is self-existent and we are dependent.

 

Jesus Christ is living as well. We do not worship a dead messiah who remained in the grave. For if Jesus did not raise from the dead, then you and I are still in our sins, says the Apostle Paul somewhere.

 

God is not only living, but is the source of all life, “for in him we live and move and have our being.”

 

      1. The Church is the house of the true and living God. The Church is the dwelling and resting place of God.

 

((Illustration of my house))

 

    1. Just like my house in Harris Minnesota is the dwelling and resting place of the living Scott David; the Church is the dwelling and resting place of the living God.
      1. My house is the place where I am loved the most, respected the most, honored the most, listened to the most, prayed for the most, talked to the most, obeyed the most, sought council from the most. 
      2. My house is the greatest place of fellowship, communion, learning, singing, training, laughing, and crying.
      3. My family knows me better, and loves me more than any other people in all of creation.
      4. It is the place where there is sometimes chaos, rebellion, selfishness, foolishness. It is the place where I love to be the most, yet also need to administer council and discipline the most.

 

The church is to be the place where God is to feel exactly what I feel when I am at home; only with perfect joy. The church is the home of God.

 

 

 

 

((Application to the elder))

 

I want to bring two things together for just a moment. I read the verse earlier that the Elder-Pastor of the church is to have his house in good christian order, and if he did not, then he was disqualified from being about to take care of the house of God. Now I just read that the Church is the house of the true and living God.

 

If you are an elder or leader of this church; or frankly any church member whatsoever; the Word of God is to instruct you how you ought to not only conduct yourself in the church of God, but in your home. There should be absolutely no contradiction between your life at church and your life at home. These two lives should be in perfect harmony. Frankly if there is a contradiction then you are a hypocrite and if you don’t repent, then you should be disqualified from leading the church of God which is to display true conduct and is the pillar and ground of the truth!

 

 

((Application to the Church body as a whole))

 

Let me bring another application to the church as a whole. The church is the dwelling place of the true and living God. Therefore if the living God is indeed dwelling in a local church, it follows that the church itself will be living as well; in other words, it will be showing signs of life and not of death.

 

I don’t know you as a body very well at all, for I am merely a guest speaker; but let me ask you, “is there evidence inside this congregation that the living God dwells here?”  Are you actively pursuing truth; actively being the hands and feet to your community; actively caring for people the way that Jesus did? His life was a living and perfect display of the true and living God lived out in the world. If Jesus merely said that he was the son of God, yet did not do the works of God; where would be the proof? Likewise the evidence that you and I are part of the church of the true and living God will be that we do the works of living God.

 

The Church is the house of the true and living God.

 

 

  1. The Church is the pillar and ground of the truth

 

This is the third and final point of this sermon, the church is the pillar and ground of the truth. We will look at these two terms in reverse order.

 

 

    1. The church is the ground of the truth.
      1. This is quite obvious I know, but what is the ground of anything? It is the support, the place that is solid. It is the foundation or the basis on which an argument stands or falls. It is the reason or the cause. And the ground supports and holds up the pillars. 
    2. The church is the pillar of the truth.
      1. Likewise the pillar is the support or the solid basis of a structure. The pillar is strait and solid. It is true and trustworthy.
    3. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth.
      1. The church is both the ground and the pillar which holds up the structure of truth. A single body of truth.
        1. Notice back in our text that the church is “the pillar and ground of the truth. It does not say the ground of a truth, but the truth!
        2. Truth is a single body of ideas. And the church is to be the ground and support of this thing called truth.

 

Lets do a brief flyover through the Bible to see how it defines this thing called truth…

 

  • Jesus is full of the truth (john 1:14)
  • The truth will set us free (john 8:31)
  • Worshippers must worship God in truth (john 4:23)
  • Jesus is the truth (john 14:6)
  • There is no truth in the devil (john 8:44)
  • He has nothing to do with the truth (same)
  • The holy spirit is the spirit of truth (john 14:17)
  • Sanctification comes through truth (john 17:17)
  • The bible is the truth (same)
  • Jesus came to bear witness to the truth (john 18:37)
  • God’s wrath is against those who suppress the truth (romans 1:18)
  • These people exchange the truth for a lie (romans 1:25)
  • They don’t obey the truth (romans 2:8)
  • Love rejoices in the truth (1 Cor 13:6)
  • The apostles spoke open statements of the truth (2 Cor 4:2)
  • False teachers will hinder you from obeying the truth (Gal 5:7)
  • The gospel is the word of truth (Eph 1:13)
  • We grow up by speaking the truth (Eph 4:15)
  • The christian armor consists of the belt of truth (Eph 6:15)
  • Non-believers fail to love the truth (2 Thess 2:10)
  • Those who do not believe the truth will be condemned (2 Thess 2:12)
  • Truth is something we come to the knowledge of (1 Tim 2:4)
  • False teachers are deprived of the truth (1 Tim 6:15)
  • A pastor is commanded to rightly handle the truth (2 Tim 2:15)
  • Repentance requires a knowledge of the truth (2 Tim 2:25)
  • You can learn but never come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Tim 3:7)
  • If a person stops listening to the truth, they will fall into myths (2 Tim 4:4)
  • We are born again by the word of truth (James 1:18)
  • Our souls are purified by obedience to the truth (1 Peter 1:22)
  • We are to be established in the truth (2 Peter 1:12)
  • We are to love in deed and truth (1 Jn 3:18)
  • If you have the spirit of truth you will listen to the apostles teaching/the bible (1 Jn 4:6)
  • The Spirit is the truth (1 Jn 5:6)
  • We are to rejoice in the truth (2 Jn 1:3)
  • We are to be workers for the truth (3 Jn 1:8)
  • We are to speak the truth in our hearts (Ps 15:2)
  • We are to be led by the truth (Ps 25:5)
  • We are to delight in the truth (Ps 51:6)
  • We are to walk in the truth (Ps 86:11)
  • The sum total of God’s Word is truth (Ps 119:160)
  • We are to buy the truth and not sell it (Pr 23:3)
  • God is the truth (Is 65:16)
  • We are to speak the truth (Amos 5:10)
  • We are to love the truth (Zech 8:19)

 

These are just a small assortment of texts I came across while I was searching the word truth in the Bible. I just read to you what the Bible says about truth, and you the church are to be the ground and pillar of it. You are to be the structure which supports and holds up the truth; which begs the question…do you know the truth?

 

Truth is one unified body of ideas which resides in God himself. What God thinks about any one idea is what is true about it. What God says about any one thing is what’s right about it. What God’s word has revealed about any one thing is what is true about that thing…God is the truth, Jesus is the embodiment of the truth, the Word of God in it’s entirety is the truth, and the Holy Spirit is the teacher of truth. 

 

Does doctrine matter? You bet it does! The church is called to lift up the truth of God. And the church can not do this unless it knows the truth itself. This is why doctrine matters. God has one view regarding everything. We can not know everything that God knows, and likewise there are things that are hard to understand in the Scriptures; but the church is to give itself to rightly dividing the Word of God so that it can do what God has called her to do…To be the ground and pillar of the truth! Your job and mine is to seek the truth, discern the truth, divide the truth, systematize the truth, live the truth, love the truth, and then proclaim the truth without apology! This is the truth.

 

((How are you doing with this Clover church?))

 

You as a church are in a wonderful place to be. I do not know your past and can only seek to discern things based upon short conversations I have had with some of you. But what I do know is that you have been without a permanent Shepard for quite sometime. I can imagine that it would easy to let the truth slip into multiple categories so that it becomes just a truth and not the truth. But God has led whatever body of believers you had for your search committee to land on one man. You get a fresh start and a new breath of air to purpose once again to plummet into the depths of the ocean of God’s truth to be what God has called you to be; the ground and the pillar of the truth. The body of doctrine that is once for all given to the saints.

 

Non-believers fail to love the truth (2 Thess 2:10). They suppress the truth and do not obey the truth (Romans 1:18, 2:8) Believers are to walk in the truth, love the truth, and obey the truth. Which are you? Do you suppress the truth or live and love the truth?

We are born again through the gospel which is the word of truth (Ephesians 1:13), by faith in Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).

The gospel

Sin entered into this world through belief in a lie. Adam and Eve were told a truth from God who is the source of truth. The Devil questioned the truthfulness of God and brought forth a lie to be believed instead; “you will not surely die.” (Genesis 3:4) The entire race of humanity fell into a state of depravity over a battle for the truth.

God set a plan in place to redeem mankind from the rule of sin. He promised through the woman that a Seed would come who would crush the head of the liar, and forgive mankind for it’s hatred of the truth. Many years passed, and through each epoch of time, God continued to call mankind to believe his promise. He spoke through the prophets, the priests and to the scribes. He spoke in visions, on tablets of stone, and through burning bushes. Always promising mankind redemption through a coming Messiah.

When the fullness of time came, God sent forth his son to be born of a virgin. This child grew up to the man who was the embodiment of truth. He lived the truth, spoke the truth, loved the truth, preached the truth, pointed people to the source and Person of truth, and died at the cross of calvary out of love of the truth.

Three days later, God raised his son from the dead to prove that he had accomplished redemption for mankind’s hatred of the truth. Jesus Christ is now seated at the right hand of the Father and bids you Clover Church to come to him. He says that his yolk is easy and his burden is light. He says that if you confess with your mouth “Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Do you believe this is true?

If you have never come to Jesus Christ in repentance and faith, come today. If you have been living a life of lies and have been suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, come. If you have been living a life of hypocrisy, pretending to be one thing in Church and yet living a contrary way at home, come. If you know your home is a mess and completely out of order, come. If you as a church have been passive about the truth, seeking to only have a sloppy and fruit-salad style doctrine, come.

Jesus said, “all that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will be no means cast out.” (John 6:37)

 

“These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

 

May the Lord bless you in these coming days to be a people of the truth.

Pray

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