1 Timothy 3:14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
This instruction was so weighty upon the Apostle Paul’s heart, that he purposed to travel to Timothy as soon as he could, in order to deliver it in person! But just in case he was not able to accomplish this intention, he sent this letter on ahead! Therefore, this is of such importance that it could not just be instruction as how to conduct one’s self when he went to church on Sunday! No! This is far greater than that!
For if you simply say that Paul was telling Timothy to behave himself during church meeting times, how in the world does that lead into the glorious subject found in the next verse? For how can the church be instructed to conduct itself just in church meetings, regarding the great mystery of godliness? We must understand that the Greek word translated, “behave” is the exact same Greek word translated “to live” in Hebrews 13:18. Therefore we begin to understand that the subject here, is not so much polite and orderly conduct among religionists, but spiritual conduct before God and the holy angels, in the presence of the true saints of the Lord! It is to live in the realm of the Spirit!
The last word in our verse 15 is “truth.” And that word is capitalized in the Amplified Bible. – And not without good reason! For it is the same Greek word used concerning our Lord, as he gave one of his, “I AM’s!” For it is the very word in John 14:6 when he stated, “I am … the truth…!” Therefore, we are not just speaking of behaving thyself regarding the body of Christian doctrine as truth, but we understand that we are to do so because of our relationship to the Person of Truth, the Holy Word himself!
The destruction of morality, (much less righteousness) in America has come from our legal, half-hearted association with religion. Exceptionally few will tolerate a Sovereign Christ! Everyone wants Jesus to be a Savior of their soul, “but don’t mess with my life!” THAT is what destroyed Israel and THAT is what is now destroying America!
Matthew 23:1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: 3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. Those in authority to speak for God are horribly destructive when they say, and do not! That will not only hurt their listeners, but it will damage their own souls! James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. This horrible judgment of encroaching reprobation from the insincere relation to true, spiritual religion is already upon our land! While these spiritually dead, but active proponents of their legal concepts of the scriptures busy themselves with their brand of ‘evangelism,’ they are killing out every facet of spirituality in souls! It is most dangerous to handle the Scriptures apart from the Spirit! 2 Cor. 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
And there is no hope for a reprobate individual, or nation! Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift,… 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
In fact, the power to effectually convey the gospel is seen in our Lord’s command never to go and teach any creature, but only as those preaching are presently obeying the commands he gave them! Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. One has no authority in his preaching, “Ye must be born again,” who, himself has never experienced the new birth!
THIS is what the Apostle is addressing in his behave thyself instruction! He is telling Timothy to be careful how he conducts himself in the spiritual organism of the church! For he is now not his own! He is bought with a price and must therefore glorify God in both his spirit and body, which are God’s! 1 Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
For the mystery of godliness is God manifest in THE flesh! This not only includes the Incarnation, but also regeneration! The Head, which is Christ, becomes one with the body, which is the church, by the Spirit of God indwelling humanity! For becoming a “new creature” in Christ involves far more than just morality! It also brings one into God’s righteousness! 2 Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Timothy needed to act out the part of morality in order to reveal his righteousness! One does not become righteous by works, but all indwelling righteousness expresses itself by ordained works! Ephians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. God himself is in this thing! It’s not just a “Do Good” Society among men! We are to work out that which God is working in us! Phil. 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
And the reason for the Lord God to have sought us out is for our worship of him, not just in truth, but also in spirit! John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
And where does spiritual truth reside? We have already establish in John 14:6 that Christ, himself is the embodiment of truth! But that spiritual truth also resides in the individual believers! 2 Corinthians 11:10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.
Pastor Gene Breed