From Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary’s DBSJ 21 (2016); posted with permission.
Paul’s instructions in his first epistle to Timothy are an invaluable resource to believers. They serve as a superb foundation for knowing how the church is to be organized and to function. Paul’s guidelines for overseers and deacons in chapter three are familiar to nearly all Christians as they consider who is qualified to serve in that capacity. The exhortations for Timothy’s life and ministry in chapter four have often been used to challenge both new and experienced church leaders to fulfill the responsibility they have received from God. Paul’s discussion concerning prayer in chapter two is a popular passage, both for church life and in discussions of God’s will in regard to salvation. One’s understanding of the role of women in the church depends heavily on the interpretation of Paul’s teaching in 2:11–15. These concerns make certain passages in 1 Timothy well-known among contemporary believers.
The saints need instruction, and for this purpose the Lord has not only sent the Holy Spirit and His Word, but has given as gifts to the churches evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Eph. 4:11–15). (It appears that the apostles and prophets ceased with the apostolic era. They are no longer needed since the Word of God has been given.)
The saints need the ministry of teaching and should attend faithfully the preaching of the Word (Heb. 10:24, 25). We should cry out to the Lord to raise up such ministers of the Word out of our churches, and every care should be taken to sustain them as well as to train them in His ministry.
Republished from Baptist Bulletin March/April 2017 with permission. © Regular Baptist Press, all rights reserved.
By Paul R. Jackson
Soon after entering the ministry, I heard a man who had graduated from a modernistic seminary say, “The primary business of the church is to equalize the wealth of the world in the hands of the people.” He may have had good motives, but he had poor theology! He did not find this objective for the church’s ministry in the Book. Even the Lord Jesus said, “For the poor always ye have with you” (John 12:8). Certainly Christians should do all that is possible to comfort and relieve poverty and suffering, but the primary ministry of the church is not social and economic. Wonderful social and economic reactions result from a Biblical ministry, but they are the by-products of lives transformed by divine grace as the church preaches the message of personal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
Probably nothing about the church is more confused in the minds of men than its objective. What is the purpose of the church? Why did the Lord build the church?