In I Timothy 1:3-7 Paul compares the fruit of false teaching to the fruit of the true gospel. False teachers who teach strange doctrines generate “mere speculation” that “fails to further the administration of God.” They’ve turned aside to fruitless discussion and they make bold assertions concerning things they don’t know anything about. Contrast that with the goal of the instruction that Paul has entrusted to Timothy: “Love, from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (vs. 5)
Now I count myself among those who champion solid biblical teaching. And I hope and pray that Cornerstone Church will be characterized as a bible teaching church. But as I studied this passage last week I became aware that at times I may have misunderstood the goal of good biblical preaching. Is it possible that I have valued good, biblical preaching as an end in itself?
Last Sunday we saw that in I Timothy 3:15 Paul tells Timothy that the church is the pillar of the truth. A quick study of pillars in Paul’s day indicates that pillars did more than just hold up the roof. Pillars made the building beautiful. Paul says that the church does more than simply uphold the truth of God’s Word. The church makes the truth beautiful.
The church doesn’t make the truth beautiful by simply possessing the truth. We make the truth beautiful when we live the truth. The goal of biblical instruction is love. When the church hears the Word and responds in love to God and love to each other then we are behaving as pillars of the truth.
Why do we love biblical preaching? What is the goal? Do we love to hear the truth so that we can out-argue an atheist or win a debate about doctrine? Do we leave our bible preaching church each week just feeling smarter? Or are we being stirred to love from a clean heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith?