St Paul's UMC
Sunday, July 24, 2022
  • Forever
  • Word Of God Speak
  • Doxology
      • 1 Peter 4:8–11NIV2011

      • Acts 16:11–15NIV2011

  • There were two brothers – each one much loved by their father. When the father died, each received an equal portion of his estate. The amount they inherited was enough for each brother to go and buy a parcel of land and to build a home; which was a blessing since both brothers had recently married and were beginning to build their own families.
    The older brother remembered the lessons his father taught him. Lessons that you yourself may have heard from your own parents. Waste not, want not. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. All that glitters is not gold. A fool and his money are soon departed.
    And then there was the odd saying that always made him smile: “Life is not all beer and skittles” – where did his dad find that one?
    And so, when it came time to build his house, he looked for a lot close enough to his work but away from the hustle and bustle, a piece of land in the country that had a space for a decent garden, and was close to neighbors with children because he hoped he would soon have some of his own. He found a promising piece of land, walked the ground, found the spot on the property that made the most sense to build – away from the low lying areas and no surrounding dead trees. He built his modest home, continued working hard, saving for the future, and giving generously whenever he saw a need.
    His younger brother remembered his father’s lessons as well, but viewed them as old-fashioned and outdated.
    He listened to a different set of proverbs:
    All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
    Clothes make a man.
    Fake it til you make it.
    God helps those who help themselves.
    Money makes the world go round.
    But there was one saying of his father’s he did like “Life is not all beer and skittles” – where did dad get that one?
    And so, when it came time to build his house, he headed to the beach. He found a lot out on a sandbar that had an amazing view of the ocean. It would take some work to get water and sewer lines out to it, and it was expensive – very expensive – if he were to build the house of his dreams, he would need to leverage everything and it would be tight to manage, but he reasoned it would not take long, especially in this market, for it to be worth way more than he would need to borrow. He put everything he had into building his home - even though it meant working longer hours to cover the mortgage.
    Whenever the two brothers and their families would gather for special occasions, it wouldn’t be long before the brother from the beach would begin boasting to the other. “Guess how much my home is worth now?” He would talk about his high risk/high return business deals, his crazy work schedule, and (lowering his voice to a whisper) about his unappreciative wife. His brother would patiently listen, occasionally offering a word of caution that would fall of deaf ears, and at the end of the evening, hug his brother good bye while lifting up a silent prayer.
    For many, the beach is a place of rest. The escape to the shore means leaving worries behind. Yet as we aware - during hurricane season, the beach is also fully exposed to nature’s storms. And there was a mighty storm forming in our story today – both inside and out. Fights about money and debt and his absence and work bounced off the walls of the house with a view. Somewhere along the way, paradise had become a living hell. With the slamming of doors and the squealing of tires, he watched her taillights as the wind and the sea began to assault the weak foundation. A tempest had risen and the beautiful house with a view began to crumble.
    Later that night, the older brother heard a knock on the door.
    “Little Bro’, is that you?”
    “Yes. I guess dad was right, Life is not all beer and skittles.”
    Jesus tells us the story this way in the 7th chapter of Matthew.
    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
    “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
    Listen to verse 24 again:
    Jesus says, “Therefore” (in other words, pay attention!) everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
    It is not enough to hear the words of Jesus - a true disciple puts them into practice. According to Jesus, one can hear the words, know the story, even go out proclaiming his name, telling others “you need Jesus!” – and yet be so far off the mark that Jesus himself one day will say “I never knew you.”
    Let’s turn our attention this morning to our model disciple: Timothy. Overseeing a church community in Ephesus, a church the Apostle Paul had spent 3 years establishing, Timothy was responsible for structuring the church in a way that would protect and preserve the teachings of Jesus Christ so those who heard the message and accepted it would find freedom. Among his many responsibilities, Timothy was a protector of the truth. He needed to make sure he selected the right teachers who would in turn teach the faith correctly – in fact, much of the first half of 1 Timothy is comprised of the Apostle Paul giving instructions on worship and listing out the qualification of overseers and deacons.
    1 Timothy 3:2–4 CEB
    So the church’s supervisor must be without fault. They should be faithful to their spouse, sober, modest, and honest. They should show hospitality and be skilled at teaching. They shouldn’t be addicted to alcohol or be a bully. Instead, they should be gentle, peaceable, and not greedy. They should manage their own household well—they should see that their children are obedient with complete respect,
    It is not enough to hear the words of Jesus - a true disciple puts them into practice. Timothy needed to find those whose walk matched their talk.
    Ephesus was a challenging community. In the first few decades after Jesus walked the earth, threats to the church mostly came from the outside. Whether it was from Jewish leaders who viewed Jewish Christians as blasphemers, or Romans who found Christians to be a threat to the cult of Emperor worship, or tradesmen, those who made their living crafting and selling idols – the church was constantly under threat. In Ephesus however, that threat came from inside the church. Satan employed a different strategy – one that we still see today.
    There were those within the Ephesian community who began to teach a false doctrine. We do not know all the specifics – Paul does not go into great detail into what was being taught. We do hear Paul refer to this group in 1 Timothy 1:7
    1 Timothy 1:7 ESV
    desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
    We also know that the Apostle Paul first recognized the problem back when he established the church. In his farewell address to the Ephesian church leaders before moving on toward Jerusalem, Paul prophesied in Acts 20:30 that there would be problems from within the church of Ephesus,
    Acts 20:30 ESV
    and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
    This has been the case throughout Church history. In fact, if you ask non-Christians how they view church leaders today – do we not get the same old list of complaints?
    · Hypocrites
    · Prosperity preachers fleecing people of their money
    · Or they are Holier than thou/self-righteous
    Those views can usually be traced back to personal experiences with false teachers and those who follow them.
    Again, Paul warns Timothy in 1 Tim 4:1-2
    1 Timothy 4:1–2 ESV
    Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,
    When Paul says later times… he was including the time in which he lived. The age of the Church is later times – earlier times were before Jesus, later times after Jesus revealed himself. Protecting the truth is an ongoing struggle for every generation, it is not unique to our day and age.
    So how do we protect the truth? What can we learn from Timothy in regards to our own discipleship that will refute the false teachings of our day?
    The answer is quite simple. Jesus says “hear these words of mine and put them into practice.”
    As I mentioned, Paul does not go into great detail in regards to the heretical teachings that were being spread by these false teachers. Paul does not write out a list of false teachings and tell Timothy – here is how you are to respond to each one. What he does remind Timothy is that his walk better match his talk.
    1 Timothy 4:11–12 ESV
    Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
    1 Timothy 4:15–16 ESV
    Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.
    It is not enough to hear the words of Jesus - a true disciple puts them into practice.
    In my opening story about the two brothers, both heard the lessons of their father, only one put them into practice. Your discipleship is not measured by how much scripture you know, it is measured by how well you practice what you have received.
    Does your life – your daily walk - testify that you know the Lord and that the Lord knows you? Are His words evident in your behavior? Do you embody Jesus Christ?
    I love how Paul tells Timothy “give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.” Discipleship is a progressive journey – our life, our behavior, our thoughts should constantly be under construction as we are molded into the fullness of Jesus.
    That is the measure of true discipleship.
    Life is not all beer and skittles, whatever that means, but we have the choice to faithfully walk with Jesus and let his teachings shape our lives. When we do so, we not only save ourselves, but also those who will hear what we say, see what we do, and believe.Amen.
      • 1 Timothy 3:2–4NIV2011

      • 1 Timothy 1:7NIV2011

      • Acts 20:30NIV2011

      • 1 Timothy 4:1–2NIV2011

      • 1 Timothy 4:11–12NIV2011

      • 1 Timothy 4:15–16NIV2011

  • Goodness Of God
      • 2 Thessalonians 2:16–17NIV2011

      • 1 Timothy 1:17NIV2011

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