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Pillar of God's Truth

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
January 31, 2021 7:00 am

Pillar of God's Truth

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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January 31, 2021 7:00 am

Isaiah speaks of the coming Messiah as the cornerstone, and Jesus speaks of Himself as the foundation on a rock. Paul goes a step further in his letter to Timothy and declares Christ’s church to be a pillar of truth. We understand the importance of a strong foundation, but what’s the significance of a pillar?

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Paul declared that there is no other cornerstone in the Lord Jesus Christ. In first Timothy, the apostle added to that declaration calling the church of the living God, the pillar and the foundation of truth. We know the importance of a foundation, but what did Paul mean in comparing the church to pillar and welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically the world pursues truth and not finding it concludes there is no truth, the church of Jesus Christ stands as a pillar, a monument declaring the truth to a lost and dying world. Join Dr. Boyce as he describes the imagery of the word as it declares the truth that the world disdains each of the books in the Bible is been written for a special purpose, but you don't always find that purpose explicitly stated or if you do, you don't always find the same place sometimes comes at the beginning.

Sometimes at the end. Sometimes we are told that the book was written for non-Christians to lead them to faith in Christ. Other times for Christians that they might know their Christians sometimes to instruct them sometimes to deal with problems.

First Timothy is written for a special problem and we don't find out about it until the verses.

First Timothy three, beginning with verse 14 is interesting, however, that, as Paul explains his purpose area introduces something which on the surface of it is a great problem, but as we study it turns out to be like so many biblical problems actually a great blessing. Let me read these verses and explain what I mean, although I hope to come to you soon. I'm writing these instructions so that if I am delayed you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household others is purpose. He says if he doesn't get to CME at least once to put down in writing how the church is to be conducted. And that's why we're studying this book for now. He continues to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth beyond all question the mystery of godliness is great. He appeared in the body was vindicated by the spirit seen by angels, was preached among the nations was believed on in the world was taken up in glory.

What's the problem. The problem is found in that phrase the pillar and foundation of the truth. Now it's not that the idea of a pillar and foundation is anything unusual we find that all throughout Scripture is matter-of-fact. If we go to the concordances. I hope you do from time to time and look up words like this.

We are in this particular case drawn into some of the most encouraging and blessed teaching. That's to be found in the Bible. Take for example the reference to the foundation that we have in Isaiah 28 verse 16 adverse as a promise. It's a prophecy, God is speaking, he says, behold, I lay in Zion, a sure foundation of cornerstone and one who believes in him will never be shaken. While we read that we recognize what a promise that is where is the promise of the coming Messiah foundation cornerstone upon whom the church will be built upon whom the whole structure of revealed religion will be raised and we say well that's a blessed thought because we certainly need a foundation like that in the midst of a world which is uncertain, and which tries to build on what our Lord. Another parable called shifting sand we go to the New Testament we find the same thing because in Luke six, verses 48 and 49 businesses talking and uses the same image and he is speaking about a man who was about to build a house and he says here's what it did it right.

He dug deep and he laid the foundation on a rock and we read that we say that's a blessing to and we understand that because what is the rock with the rock of ages. Jesus Christ and he saying the one who builds on me, who establishes his life upon me in my teaching is a wise man in the then we gonna first Corinthians 3 have gone to the Old Testament.

One of the Gospels. Now the epistles first Corinthians 3 verses 10 and 11 we find Paul writing the very one who is writing the book we're studying now. First Timothy what Paul says in first Corinthians is this there is no other foundation that anyone can lay save that which is laid mainly Jesus Christ and we say will it puts it all together. We understand what that is.

Jesus Christ rock the cornerstone foundation and he's the one in which we want to build. Now we come to this verse. What we find here.

Paul's writing the very same Paul who said, look, you can build on any other foundation, Jesus Christ, and what is he say the household of God, the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth, and we say, isn't he getting all backwards because is it true that the church is built upon Christ. We are not the foundation, and yet here he is saying that the church of Jesus Christ is the pillar and foundation of all truth. Are we supposed understand that obviously that's a problem yet. As I said as I began whenever we understand wrestle with such problems. We usually find that they have a great deal to say to us in a very practical way welcoming of the context in which we have to understand that obviously this verse is not repudiating what Paula said. Another passage is when we read that the church is the pillar and foundation of the truth that is not saying Jesus Christ is built upon the church.

Our people would like to say that all the X essential theologians, the bold money and say that they say that the church came first as a warrant, any rate, we don't know very much about Jesus Christ and they went through a great deal of religious experience undoubtedly influenced by the spirit of Christ. But then out of that experience.

They invented little stories to tell and memorable form what they went through and they put Christ into those stories and so the kind of stories that we have in the New Testament are really the invention of the church to explain the church's spiritual experience, so that sensuously according to the X essential theologians. The church is the foundation for Jesus Christ because the only things we know about Christ are the things that the churches taught us, which it really has been made up on the basis of eyewitness accounts, or any such thing. Obviously Paul is not saying that he's the one who stressed perhaps more than any others that what he was communicating to them was only that which he had received from those who were before him, and it concerned the Lord Jesus Christ was born and died, was buried, and rose again. All of this testified to his hearers by the eyewitnesses would gone before doesn't mean that something else doesn't mean it doesn't mean that the church is the foundation of the Bible Bible is the truth. Of course, and there are those certain aspects of Roman Catholicism speak this way as if the church invented the Bible. After all, it was Christian people in the church.

You wrote it, and the church.

According to this particular theory decided what of all the writings that were existed in the time, belonged in the Bible, so they held a council they voted. They said it will be this book.

Not that book. This book not that but we got all together they established the Bible and so in a certain sense you could say in the basis of that kind of Roman Catholic theology, the church is the foundation of the Bible. While it is true because wasn't mere man who wrote the Bible.

But it was God speaking through the man and the reason the books of the Bible came to be included in the Canon was not because the church decided that these books would belong in other books would not belong, but rather because the Holy Spirit speaking through the books themselves commended the books to the churches while the church is an organization really did was recognize that fact and say yes these are the books which God is given to us, but the books were first so it doesn't mean that will then what does it mean when the church is called the pillar and foundation of the truth that it does not mean that the church is the foundation of Christ or the foundation of the Bible and what possible sense gonna be said that the church is the pillar and foundation of the truth and what we have to understand this point is that Paul is simply speaking in terms of the church in the world and what he is saying is that so far as the world is concerned the church is the only place where men and women are going to come to know the truth because God in his infinite wisdom has chosen to reveal the most precious truths about salvation. There let me break that down because I think it's in breaking it down that we really have areas where this comes to bear upon our life and witness.

First of all, the church really has the truths according to this teaching I when we say that of course were not saying that the church is itself the truth.

Jesus Christ is the truth. God is the God of truth, the Scriptures are truth, the church is not the truth but to say that is not to deny that the church has the truth doesn't mean I have to be careful here because we don't want to misstate or misinterpret.

It doesn't even mean that in its current understanding of things the church has all the truth.

We certainly don't.

We don't have scientific proof. For example, we don't have all historical truth. For example, when we say that the church has the truth we really mean that the church has the revelation of God, which is been given to the church, both in Scripture and my experience based upon that scripture and that this is what Francis Schaeffer and this reinvents these phrases, you know that some people think are funny but really carry a lot of weight that the church really has what he calls through truth is the real outside of the church apart from the revelation of God in the Scripture, and concerning our needed God's provision for that need in Christ. The world advanced has little hankering after truth, but it never gets to the real thing in the sense that he can say this is really true and this is something that I can build upon. The world knows that of course is give testimony to it in our day and a certain interesting way because we have a tendency in our day in the world to deny that there really is such a thing as truth say. I suppose that's understandable.

Psychologically let me use an illustration of your believing in the holy Grail and you want to go out and find the holy Grail and you go out and hunt one year and you can't find it. You got the second year and you can find it. Then you go on a crusade of five years duration. You can find it and then another five years and you can find somebody says it's here you go it's not there and it's here to go and it's not there at the end of a lifetime of searching for the holy Grail.

You might well conclude that there is no holy Grail. That's what the world is done in a certain sense with truth.

All of the philosophical systems of this world been brought forward one time or another to tell us what is the truth and then the philosophical systems and follow them and said look the system the wind before neglecting something is a flaw in the kind of thinking.

It hasn't let us to the truth, try my system and so that system comes forward and it doesn't have the truth, either because those accurately look, there's a flaw in that system is a flaw in the system the fall as it and after a period of time in the history of the race the world begins disabled may be the reason any such thing as truth. After all, that's really what's happened. The world is fallen into a position in our day where it really doubts that such a thing as truth exists in the lives for the moment it was for the thrills and got a life here comes the church of Jesus Christ, not with anything of its own, with the revelation of God's precious deposit which is ours in Scripture and it says, look, here is the truth you would build a life that is solid and will span the buffeting's of the temptations and the troubles of this world, and build upon this foundation because this is the place that you're going to find you're not going to find it anywhere else. So when we going to talk about the church being the foundation of the truth. Certainly this is what we have in mind. Secondly, the church is the pillar and foundation of the truth in the sense that it is by the church that the truth is made known to the world were dying about here is the missionary mandate given to the church to take that which Jesus Christ taught to its community's neighborhood, its distant neighborhood whether nations and eventually the far corners of the world.

This the church is given to do.

I don't know whether this is the case, but let me just suggest that when Paul says that the church is the pillar and foundation of the church is perhaps thinking of this when he uses the word pillar as I read it in this context I think what he probably means is that the pillar holds up the roof and the foundation holds up the pillar that may be, is quite possibly using it in another sense, because again that a concordance and you look through the Bible and all uses of the word pillar will find that by far the vast majority of the uses of the word pillar not in the sense of the pillar that holds up the roof, but rather a pillar that is erected as an aerial to some great thing that God is done, sometimes it's not a marble column. It's a little pile of stones Memorial but it's gonna pillar a monument to testimony what God is done and perhaps I don't know but I just suggest this. Perhaps Paul is using the word pillar in that sentence.

The saying, look, it's not merely that the church has the truth which is the foundation upon which the world can build it will build on that foundation, but it also has the task of holding that up with a visible way of foundations are down on the ground.

You will see the foundation the bigger the structure the deeper the foundations have to be pillars, and down in the ground pillars our people can see it. Perhaps Paul is saying that you're calling you're called the Holland bistros not merely the habits important merely to have it with the hold up. So many women can see and because of they don't see you through your testimony. They're not going to see it or find it in any other way. You know when we talk about the church. I hope you realize were not talking about the ministers I want to try to do that. Of course that's part of the responsibility but the ministers aren't the church the people of the church. Christians of the church, the one who confesses the name of Christ saw the truth is to be held up. It must be the people of all of them from the youngest of the oldest from the least of the greatest takes this word shares teaches other men and women. The good news of God's grace in Jesus. This is what made the church effective in the early days of its ministry. You know, in those early days after life, death and resurrection of Christ. The church just spread rapidly throughout the world may come to 1/3 point for the third point I want to turn you to another text in the third chapter of Ephesians, Paul is writing verses which I think are probably more illuminating as to what we are to be and what we are to do than anything else in his writings say I'm trying to explain in what sense the church is the foundation of the truth that I've said it is in the sense that it has the truth is God's given to it in Scripture. It is the propagator of the truth which is been given to it in Scripture.

I think these verses say is that in addition to those things as important as they are.

The church is also the verifying data of the truth. In other words, we are the ones who prove that it's really true.

Let me read what Paul says and then explain what I think he means I want to begin in verse seven.

Read verse 11. I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power, although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was given to me to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God who created all things, here it is his intent was that now, through the church the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord say was having there. It is through the church the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms outlets see what he's talking about when he talks about the rulers, principalities and powers in heavenly realms is not talking about the rulers of this world is talking about spirit beings, the Angels, and perhaps he is also in mind the demon and already saying is a God in his infinite wisdom has ordained that his close wisdom of the gospel might be made known to the heavenly beings through the church. I say what sense is that the Angels know about these things better than we know the answer is yes they do on what is the main rally does not mean that the angels are looking down upon the church to have the Scriptures explained to them intellectually. I have better minds than we do, and they can certainly read as well as we cannot matter what language it is. And I suppose they could even read the Hebrew and they know perfectly well what it says in Scripture it's not in that sense that they're looking to the church on what sense can it be that they're looking to the church. I believe it's in the sense of our proving the truthfulness of these things by showing that it really works and people just like you and me and you know this is to be taken at face value, as I believe it is what it is saying this is really stupendous but it is saying is that the church is the center of the universe so far as the attention of the heavenly beings is concerned, to see if a man is traveling all over in his business for the sake of the illustration. Let's suppose it is in the oil business, only works in Texas drilling oil and that is up working in Alaska on the Alaskan pipeline in the knees down off the North Shore of South America and offshore rigs there that is over in the Far East in different places and he's working all over and you say to them, well, what's the center of your universe. You're not going to describe it geographically.

Suppose for the sake of this illustration that he has an ill child and the old child is in a special home with the child is being cared for in his whole purpose of traveling around the country working all of these oil drilling platforms is to earn money to support his child needs the medical care. The center of that man's universe is that Homer's child is in that sense, the church is the center of the universe. The Angels of God, and they are looking down to see that which God declares in the Scripture is really going to be verified in the lives of those who profess the name of Jesus to say what is it me what you talking about I still don't get it while it simply lists the gospel is not just the gospel of ideas is that certainly is not just the gospel of promises, though it is not, certainly. But the gospel is a gospel of redemption. A gospel that says the God by his grace reaches down and takes sinful human beings contaminated with all the lust of the flash of the misconceptions of their understanding and the desires of rebel against God puts his spirit within them and leads them to faith in Christ and in Christ they find that one was there all died for them and out of love for Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. Their lives are transformed in their now made in that blessed image and they would rather do anything other than deny their Lord. The Angels are looking down to say is that really what happens.

People like this sinful people doing things we can even conceive of doing people in rebellion against our master people that hates our God. God is able to say people like that with the gospel like that and transform them like that. Instead of having them become messengers of death to their world actually makes the messengers of mercy so that God works through them to bring us and other men and women for design really happened.

You and I have the inestimable privilege of proving that cannot only happen but that it does happen. God by his grace does do that and you and me not be said as the Angels looked down of the world for that matter looks in they look upon us in our lives and see so little difference. They conclude that the death of Christ wasn't worth it.

Let it be seen. Instead, Jesus by his death did a mighty work. The greatest of all works in redeeming a people to himself by his grace become like himself on a blessing other than equipment let us pray father, bless these truths to us grant that they might be an encouragement for us to live as you would have us live by our obedience and the evidence of your grace in our lives and holiness point men and women Jesus Christ was himself the truth and the foundation of our profession. We pray in his name. Amen.

Error listening to the Bible study hours featuring the teaching of Dr. James Boyce Dr. Donald Ray Barnhouse once said, as I have come to know more believers. My mind has been expanded in my life transformed. The church really is the worldwide body of believers, and if you'd like to hear more about that. We like to offer you a free CD by Dr. Barnhouse entitled what is the church is free CD offers our way of saying thank you for joining us call us at 1-800-488-1888 and will gladly send you a copy of what is the church that number again B is 1-800-488-1888 the Bible study our depends on listeners like you to keep the truth of God's word on the air and on the Internet you can make a monthly pledge or a one time donation by calling us at 1-800-488-1888 or you can visit us online at the Bible study. Our daughter work prefer to mail a check. Our address is 600 Eden Rd., Lancaster, PA 17601. Thank you. We appreciate your support. The message you just heard as well as other content from Dr. Boyson, many reform teachers, authors and speakers is that's our online store reformed hi Mark Daniels you know godliness is not a popular topic in the current culture. In fact, we practically dropped from our common vernacular. If the concepts mentioned 14 times in the New Testament and eight times in Paul's first letter to Timothy. Just what is godliness and what characterizes a godly life. Find out next time. On the Bible study our preparing you to think and act biblically man

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