The Church as the Pillar and Support of the Truth

The Church as the Pillar and Support of the TruthText: 1 Timothy 3:15

There are several ways that the church is described in the New Testament. One way is in our text – the church is “the pillar and support of the truth.” What does this mean? Why did the Lord give this role to the church? How is this role carried out?

What Does This Mean?

  • Pillar – refers to a column/support; used to uphold something
  • Support – “ground” (KJV); provides a solid foundation
  • Truth – that which is found in the word of God (John 17:17; Psalm 119:160)
  • So what is a “pillar and support of the truth“? – the church upholds the truth and provides a foundation for others too accept it; truth doesn’t change regardless of what the members of the church do or don’t do, but how the truth is perceived by those in the world is affected by this

Why Was the Church Chosen for This Work?

  • It belongs to “the living God” – purchased with the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28); Jesus is the head of the church (Ephesians 1:22-23), and He came to testify to the truth (John 18:37); the apostles were guided into all truth (John 16:13); their message was left with the church (Acts 2:42; 2 Peter 1:12-15)
  • It is “the household of God” – made up of the children of God (1 John 3:1); these are ones who have obeyed the gospel (Galatians 3:26-27) and are Jesus’ disciples (Matthew 28:19)
  • Specifically, this is about the LOCAL church doing this work – we know this by the context (1 Timothy 3:1-13; 5:3-16, 17-22); EVERY local church is able to do this because it is made up of Christians who have heard, believed, and obeyed the truth (Colossians 1:5; Ephesians 1:13; 1 Peter 1:22); individually we are responsible to teach and defend the truth (Acts 8:4; 1 Peter 3:15)
  • We cannot expect any other group to act as “the pillar and support of the truth” – God specified this one (cf. Hebrews 7:14); any other group is man’s and not God’s

What Conduct Is Required?

  • Be constantly nourished by the word of God (1 Timothy 4:6) – read and study; we cannot teach what we do not know
  • Be an example of the believers (1 Timothy 4:12) – do not hinder the gospel through hypocrisy
  • Be careful to follow the word of God (1 Timothy 4:16) – show how the gospel can be believed and obeyed
  • Be respectful and honorable in dealing with others (1 Timothy 5:1-2) – do not turn others away by our actions
  • Be fighting the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12) – do not allow error to go unopposed with unchecked influence
  • Why is this important? – we do not want to discredit the message in the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:3)

What Is the Church to Do in This Role?

  • Preach the gospel to the world (1 Thessalonians 1:8)
  • Teach the brethren who are members (2 Timothy 2:2)
  • Support those who preach the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:14; 2 Corinthians 11:8)
  • Defend the truth against attacks/errors (Titus 1:9-11)

Conclusion

  • The church’s responsibility is to uphold the truth and show others why they should obey it
  • This is one reason the invitation is offered – to encourage everyone to believe and obey the truth

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