Don’t Christians sometimes make coming to church feel like this? Like we have the right answers, the right responses, and the absolute right way to live—and we should never question it? I’ve been that man—shoot, I often am that man. I cannot fathom how someone struggles with something I don’t struggle with; nor can I fathom someone who doesn’t struggle with something I do.
Today, like every other Sunday, we were confronted with our savior—who he is, what he’s done, and how we need him. Uniquely, we spoke from 1 Timothy 1:1-11 and how gospel ministry does certain things. . .
GOSPEL MINISTRY PROTECTS SOUND DOCTRINE
Yep. The “D” word. Not that “D” word, or that other “D” word, but doctrine. Or, as I called it today—those things that are true and good and right about our God. When people teach falsely about God and people believe falsely about God, bad things happen. Focusing people away form the core of our faith—the “Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again” kind of stuff—moves them toward things that lead to quarreling and not toward Jesus.
SOUND DOCTRINE RESULTS IN VIRTUE
I just changed this point as I wrote it (sorry for all of you who were in the service). This makes more sense to me. What we believe changes how we live. When we believe true things about God it changes our habits, our actions, and our heart toward things of God. To say, “I believe in Jesus” and at the same time say, “But I don’t live for him” doesn’t work (cf. James 3:11). As we believe in the true and good and right things about our God, it changes all of us, not just our mind.
THE FUNCTION OF THE LAW IN LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL
That list—oh, that list—of bad habits and bad things. If we aren’t careful we hone in on the list and lose the point of the passage. The “lawful” use of the law (meaning, the Old Testament law) is to point us to our need for Jesus (1 Tim 1:9). We’ll get caught in the spokes of the list because it uses words like “homosexual” but the point is that the law shows our need for Jesus. If we respond to him in faith then we are now responding the the law of Christ—and we live by the power of the Spirit.
If you’ve been to the Oaks the past few Sundays, you’re starting to see a theme: Jesus is the only true, good and right response to our life. We’ll continue in that every time we gather together. To him be the glory.
PS–If you were wondering where that brief Tim Keller comment came from–here’s your answer.