Sermon Text for February 14th – 1 Timothy 3:14-16

Looking forward to having Tom Boyer preach this coming Sunday. Here’s his text:

14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. 16 Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.

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Of Law, Grace, and Locomotives

Commandments are the railroad tracks on which the life empowered by the love of God poured into the heart by the Holy Spirit runs. Love empowers the engine; law guides the direction. They are mutually interdependent. The notion that love can operate apart from law is a figment of the imagination. It is not only bad theology; it is poor psychology. It has to borrow from law to give eyes to love.

– Sinclair Ferguson, The Whole Christ, pp. 168-169.

Sermon Text for February 7th – 1 Timothy 3:1-7

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.

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God’s Law Meant to Drive Us to and Not away from Him

When God by his precepts teaches us concerning his will, he apprizes us of our misery and how wholeheartedly we disagree with his will. At the same time he prompts us to call upon his Spirit to direct us into the right path. But because our sluggishness is not sufficiently aroused by precepts, promises are added in order, by a certain sweetness, to entice us to love the precepts. The greater our desire for righteousness, the more fervent become to seek God’s grace.

– John Calvin, Institutes, II. v. 10.

God’s Law and Grace in Perspective

If we come to think of God as one whose total focus is on exposing our sin, we will become too shortsighted to see his grace. We will be plagued by a spirit of doubting and mistrusting the Father of lights, who gives his good gifts to us (James 1:17). We will find that we have become incapable of responding to him (and his law) within the father-child bond of love. […] the way the law exposes sin serves a larger purpose, namely, bringing us to see our need of, and then to discover the joy in, fatherly grace and forgiveness. Such a balance is crucial to a right view of God, of grace, and of the law.

– Sinclair Ferguson, The Whole Christ, pp. 119-120.