The Living Church – Conclusion
This is the last post on John Stott’s excellent new book: The Living Church. Stott is a writer, pastor, and teacher who is well worth reading.
Stott titles this chapter: Looking for Timothys in the Twenty-First Century.
Timothy was young, frail, and far from a saint as is the case for most of us. As he we need Christ’s strength and power to move ahead in our faith. Timothy was to take care not to be swept away by the current cultural attitudes and this pertinent warning should speak to our hearts as well.
Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:11-12:
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
From these verses Stott highlights three appeals:
First, Timothy is to follow the path of goodness. There is an ethical appeal. Run from evil and into good. God does not intend to do it all and he gives us a responsibility to work this out.
Second, Timothy is to fight the good fight of the faith. There is a doctrinal appeal because certain things are true. ‘We are to defend it, proclaim it, and teach it with all faithfulness.’ This means that we have to stand for truth in the midst of lies and that we have to face the challenges of our culture in its rejection of God.
Third, Timothy is to embrace the life to which he had been called – everlasting life. There is an experiential appeal. This life is of such a richness and quality because it is being in personal relation with God. Embrace and enjoy.
All these appeals, good, true, and real are crucial for the living church in our own day.
Two lessons from these appeals:
They’re highly relevant for today.
Be balanced, not polarized Christians. Some attempt to fight for truth, but lose goodness. Others aim to be good, but don’t fight for truth. Still others seek an experience, not caring whether it is connected to truth or goodness.
‘Why must we always polarize?’
Dr. Gregory J. Laughery