The Pillar and Ground of the Truth

"But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15

  1. Introduction:
    1. We understand the important role the church has in bringing believers together for mutual edification, because the Bible plainly states it as a primary purpose (Eph 4:11-16; Heb 3:12-13; 10:23-25).
    2. But there is another aspect we must emphasize – the church is the defender and promoter of the truth.
    3. We are a strange church in Greenville County – we hold many things dear that are forsaken by others.
      1. We are still holding to the old fashioned King James Version of the Bible, while the rest of this religiously "conservative" county falls before the English Standard Version as a gift from heaven!
      2. Last Sunday, I preached two detailed sermons answering salvation problem texts, for our doctrine of salvation is very different from the current and popular Arminian, decisional regeneration, easy-believism, seeker sensitive heresies.
      3. Last week I spent a couple days in Charleston, where the first Baptist church in this part of the country was formed in 1696, after 28 Baptists from Maine came here for religious freedom from the Puritan daughters of Rome. They held a doctrine of salvation very similar to ours.
      4. Last Sunday, we had an inconvenient baptism to earnestly contend for administrator and mode.
      5. Yesterday we had a capella singing practice to earnestly contend for the N.T. command to sing.
      6. Today is Easter Sunday – the most important date in the liturgical calendar – but we reject it!
      7. We abominate their sunrise services, Easter egg hunts, Peter Cottontail, and 1-day-2-night burial!
    4. Today we have three more joining our fellowship, and they and we should wisely consider the event.
      1. A husband and wife are joint heirs of the truth, and this couple has four children to teach as well.
      2. A twelve-year-old boy has his life before him, and he will be a grandfather soon, if Jesus tarries.
  1. The TEXT
    1. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth – it upholds and maintains the truth.
      1. A pillar is a large column used to support a building – the church supports the truth.
      2. The ground is the foundation on which a building rests – the truth rests on the church.
      3. Paul had instructed Timothy to carefulness in ordaining the church's officers (3:1-13).
      4. And some of its grandest mysteries are then listed, which the church is to protect (3:16).
      5. A church must preserve, protect, and promote the truth from the world and heresies.
    2. The church has the word of God, the ministers of the word, and the communion around it.
    3. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a mystery – unknown to both the educated and ignorant of the world – which is maintained, believed, promoted, and spread by churches and ministers.
  1. The SOURCE
    1. God gives the truth to whomsoever He will, and they should be thankful for it (Gen 32:10).
    2. Truth comes only from God by His gracious mercy (John 3:27; I Cor 4:7; II Thess 2:13).
    3. God distinguished Israel from other nations by written laws (Deut 4:5-10,32-40; Ps 147:20).
    4. God conceals the truth from some and reveals it to others (Matthew 11:25-27; 13:10-17).
    5. Truth is not a right: it is a privilege; we chose lies in Eden, and He is just in sending us lies.
  1. The IMPORTANCE
    1. Truth is absolutely essential and necessary to worship God acceptably (John 4:19-26).
    2. God demands worship according to His revelation (Deut 5:32-33; 12:29-32; Matt 28:19).
    3. Anything else is to be cursed and will bring a curse (Gal 1:6-12; I Chron 15:13; Rev 18:4).
    4. A true relationship with God depends on not even touching false religion (II Cor 6:14-18).
  1. The THREAT
    1. There have been departures from the truth in the past (Is 59:14-15; Jer 15:1; Amos 8:11-12).
    2. But the N.T. provides grave warnings of more (II Thes 2:3; I Tim 4:1-3; II Tim 3:1-7; 4:3-4).
    3. Paul warned Corinth that there would most certainly be heresies among them (I Cor 11:19).
  1. The ENEMIES
    1. Tradition, or doing things the way they have always been done, is unacceptable to the God of heaven (Matt 15:1-9; Mark 7:1-13; Jer 10:1-5).
    2. Popularity, or doing things to please men, is unacceptable (Exodus 23:2; Matthew 7:13-14).
    3. Cost, or the things that believers must give up for the gospel, oppose the truth (Matt 10:33-39; Luke 14:25-33; Acts 19:18-20; Neh 8:13-18; Matt 13:20-21; John 12:42-43; Prov 29:25).
    4. Trends, or innovations to make God's worship more progressive and modern, are unacceptable (Leviticus 10:1-2; Is 59:14-15; Jer 5:30-31; II Tim 3:1-7; 4:3-4).
    5. Teachers, an effeminate and compromising type of false teachers that Paul warned about, are adversaries to truth (II Tim 3:6-7,13; Matt 15:12-14; Luke 11:52; I Tim 4:16; II Pet 2:1-3).
    6. Friends that create peer pressure for compromise are dangerous (I Cor 15:33; Deut 13:6-11).
    7. The devil is bent on seducing believers with lies about another Jesus (II Cor 11:1-4,13-15).
    8. Ignorance, caused by spiritual slothfulness, is an obstacle for the truth (Hebrews 5:12-14).
    9. Carelessness, which does not value or retain truth, is an enemy (Heb 2:1-3; Matt 13:22).
    10. Judgment, sent from God for disobedience, is one of the hindrances for the spread of the truth (John 7:17; Ezek 14:6-11; II Thess 2:9-12; I Kings 22).
  1. The ROLES
    1. The church protects and promotes the truth (I Tim 3:15; Heb 3:12-13; 10:23-25; Jas 5:19-20; I Thess 5:14; II Thess 2:15; 3:6; Acts 2:42; Rev 2:2).
    2. The church has officers defending and teaching the word (I Tim 4:16; Titus 1:9; II Tim 2:2).
    3. The church withdraws from every brother espousing false doctrine (Rom 16:17-18; II Thess 3:6; Titus 3:10-11).
    4. The church teaches the men, who in turn teach wives and children (I Cor 14:34-35; Eph 6:4; Deut 6:4-7; Ps 78:1-8; Is 38:19; Joel 1:1-3).
    5. Mothers reinforce teaching, or do it outright without a man (II Tim 3:15; 1:5; Prov 1:8; 6:20).
  1. The METHODS
    1. We must prove all things by scripture; reject the false; and hold the good tenaciously (I Thess 5:21; Acts 17:11; Is 8:20; I Tim 6:3-5; I John 4:1-6; Rev 2:2).
    2. Members must know a reason for their hope, not just a belief, habit, or tradition (I Pet 3:15).
    3. They must be able to give the certain words of truth to those seeking (Prov 22:17-21).
    4. They should be striving to be teachers, not students needing further review (Heb 5:12-14).
    5. Total confidence and devotion to Scripture is essential to know and keep truth (Ps 119:128).
    6. They must separate from heretics (Rom 16:17-18; II Thess 3:6; I Tim 6:3-5; Titus 3:10-11).
    7. They must hold fast to given doctrine (Galatians 1:6-9; II Thess 2:15; 3:6; I John 4:1-6).
    8. Seek the old paths ordained by God and hate changes by seeker sensitive gurus (Jer 6:16).
    9. Teach children (Deut 6:4-9; Ps 78:1-8; Is 38:19; Joel 1:1-3; Eph 6:4; II Tim 1:5; 3:15).
    10. Apply Bible doctrine to every issue, if possible (Ps 119:128; II Tim 3:16-17; II Pet 1:19-21).
  1. Conclusion:
    1. Let us thank God for revealing the truth to us by His own sovereign grace and mercy (Matt 11:25-27).
    2. Let us thank God for counting us worthy to defend His truth in these perilous times (II Tim 3:1-7).
    3. Let us thank God this day for the three new members that will help us defend and promote the truth.
  1. For further study:
    1. The sermon outline, What Is Truth? examines and promotes truth from many different angles for believers.
    2. The sermon outline, Truth Is Fallen in the Streets, provokes to zeal for truth due to current carelessness.
    3. The proverb commentary, Proverbs 22:21, identifies and exalts truth as absolute and available for learning.