The power of example, coupled with the faithful teaching of God's Word, is key to spiritual growth because character is more caught than taught. What does it look like to love others in our choices about gray matters? The Apostle Paul answers that question by sharing a personal example of giving up his rights in order to win others to Christ.
The Apostle Paul was not just a preacher. He loved the people the Lord put into his care. Unlike the false teachers who always seek to put others under their thumb while criticizing the true servants of the Lord, Paul served as an example of a man who poured himself out for the sake of shepherding the flock of God. Our culture and the issues we face may be different, but the dangers remain the same. So does Paul remain an example for spiritual leaders to follow, and for the people of God to take note.
Many Christians think discipleship is defined by two or more people doing a study together. This certainly is an aspect of discipleship, but certainly not all the task entails. What are the indispensable elements of spiritual leadership without which discipleship is impossible?
Our natural tendency is to think too highly of ourselves and too lowly of others. We somehow deceive ourselves into thinking that our own wisdom, talents, and accomplishments are to our own credit, and set ourselves up as judges of others. But the word of the cross calls us to recognize that we have nothing we did not receive, and when we die to ourselves and embrace the reality of being in Christ, we find that all things belong to us by virtue of belonging to Him. This changes everything, beginning with how we think about ourselves and others.
The local church is sacred to the Lord, for His Spirit dwells within His people. There is coming a Day when He will test the work we did to build His church on the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets. Did we build according to His Word or according to human wisdom?
Many Christians believe spiritual leaders are the movers and shakers of the church who make things happen through their charisma and insight. But God says they are merely servants on assignment from Him and can accomplish nothing of eternal value without Him.
Christians enjoy a blessed position of holiness before God by no merit of our own. Through our union with Christ we have been sanctified once for all, yet we are called to live that position out practically. Practical change begins in the heart, and holiness comes through humility.
Are the qualifications for deacons less than those for elders? Are deacons required to teach? Can women serve as deacons? We find the answers to these questions here as the Apostle Paul wrote this letter under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit so that we might know how we "ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15).