When I was a kid in a Christian school, as part of the curriculum I had to memorize different Bible verses. And one of those verse was Ephesians 4:25 – which says (in the Old King James Version) “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor:” And so this morning I want to start off by doing just that. I want everyone to turn to your neighbor who’s sitting beside you and I want you to “speak every man truth to your neighbor.” Tell them at least one thing about yourself that is 100% absolutely true.

Well, this morning we are going to be looking at a passage in 1 Timothy that talks about truth and how we are to live in light of that truth. We are in the bottom part of chapter 3 of first Timothy as we look at our responsibilities as Christians in this Call of Duty sermon series. So why don’t we pray together and then get started at verse 14.

14 I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, 15 so that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth.
16 Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith:
Christ was revealed in a human body? and vindicated by the Spirit.?   He was seen by angels?  and announced to the nations.?   He was believed in throughout the world? and taken to heaven in glory.
1 Timothy 3:14-16

There are two things in that passage that we usually just take for granted, but really they should blow our minds every time we think about it.

Look at verse 15 for the first one… “This is the church of the living God”. We are not sitting here this morning as members of some club. Or as supporters of a religious movement. We are the church of the living God. This is the God who created stars of mind-boggling proportions out of nothing. This is the God who is the Author of Life and who sustains the life of every living thing in the universe! And we are His church. We are the people that He has specifically chosen to spend eternity with. We are the people that God has chosen to share all of His goodness with, all of his greatness with, all of his mind-boggling amazingness with.

This is the church of the Living God.

Now shouldn’t that just blow your mind? Absolutely! But how often do we think about it that way? More often than not, we think about going to church as kinda routine… just part of life… Sometimes, it’s a little boring… But when you stop to think that we are the church of the Living God!! That’s incredible. What a privilege it is to be called the church. It’s a privilege and a responsibility that we shouldn’t take as lightly as we do.

And if that’s not enough to get you stirred up, let me point out the second thing that we often take for granted, but should blow our minds as well.

Take a look at verse 16… “Christ was revealed in a human body”. Remember that God we were just talking about? The one who created monster stars and life itself. The one who doesn’t need anything from anyone. He is all sufficient in Himself. He is all-powerful – He can do anything He wants. Anything.

But because of His great love for you and me, He came to earth in the form of a human baby. The all-powerful God allowed Himself to become helpless. To be dependent on others. To experience hunger. Dirty diapers. Pain. And eventually to suffer and die at the hands of the very people He created.

Now that’s gotta blow your mind. That the Almighty Living God would give up all that, and go through all this – because He loved us. Unbelievable. Incredible. And yet we take it so for granted.

Kinda puts this passage in a slightly different light, doesn’t it? When Paul says…

14 I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, 15 so that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth.
16 Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith:
Christ was revealed in a human body? and vindicated by the Spirit.?   He was seen by angels? and announced to the nations.?   He was believed in throughout the world? and taken to heaven in glory.
1 Timothy 3:14-16

Now if we were a bit more Pentecostal, we’d be saying “Amen! Hallelujah!” right about now.

These are some phenomenal truths. And we need to hold on to them – we need to “cling to our faith” as we talked about a few weeks ago. Because, as Paul warns Timothy in these next verses, these truths are going to be challenged.

1 Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. 2 These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.
3 They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten with thanks by faithful people who know the truth. 4 Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. 5 For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer.
1 Timothy 4:1-5

I don’t think I have to convince you that we live in a world right now that in large, does not know the truth. It’s exactly as verse 1 says – They are following deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. We see that all around us.

So what do we do about it? How do we make sure that first of all, we don’t get deceived and go off track? How do we make sure that our children and the people around us aren’t deceived? And how do we bring people back to the truth? Well, the rest of chapter four gives us some really good, practical advice of just how to do that. There are a lot of instructions in here, so let’s break it down into some bite-sized chunks. Start at verse 6.

6 If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters, Timothy, you will be a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching you have followed. 7 Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. 8 “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” 9 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. 10 This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.

Ok, let’s stop there for a second. How many of you have been through some kind of training? Some of you may have had some military training? Maybe you’ve had to take some technical training for your job? Perhaps you’ve gone through some kind of sports or fitness training? Or if none of those apply to you, at least you can claim that you’ve been through potty-training!

Training is part of life. It’s not always easy or fun, but it is a part of life. It allows us to do things that we couldn’t do before. It allows us to be more effective at what we do.

Paul says “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” If we are going to hold on to the truth and be able to bring others to know the truth, we need to train for godliness. We need to know the truth. We need to live the truth. That’s really what godliness is – it’s living the truth. Living in the character of Jesus Christ who is “The Way, The Truth, and The Life”. So here’s a question: Are you training for godliness?

Are you spending time reading the Bible? Memorizing it? Thinking about it throughout your day?

Are you accountable to other Christians? Do you have people in your life that will point you in the right direction if you start to go off course? People who will encourage you and pray for you? People who will challenge you to break sinful habits and develop godly ones?

Do you spend time in prayer? Do you take the time to talk with God and listen to Him as well? Because all these things are part of training for godliness. It’s certainly not an all-inclusive list, but you get the idea. We need to engage in these different spiritual disciplines so that we can know the truth and we can live the truth.

Remember, we are the church of the Living God. Life isn’t all about our years here on earth. Life is about living to enjoy God forever. So while we are on this earth, it makes sense that we train ourselves to be godly – to have more and more of the character of God – to prepare ourselves for eternity and to help others prepare as well.

But it’s so easy for us to lose sight of that and to be distracted by the things of this earth. We’ll train for marathons or train for a new job or things like that – but do we train ourselves to be godly? Do we train for eternity?

Verse 10 says it’s hard work and it’s a struggle – and that’s absolutely true. Don’t let anyone tell you that being a Christian is easy. It’s not. It’s tough. But it’s absolutely worth it, because our hope is in the Living God. So let us train ourselves to be godly – to know the truth and to live it as well.

Well, Paul continues in verse 11.

11 Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. 12 Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.

Typically, this is a verse that is reserved for youth groups or Bible school students, but the fact is, this applies to all of us. Each one of us, young or old, should be an example to others in what we say, how we live, in our love, in our faith, and in our purity. We really don’t realize how closely others are watching us.

You young people, your friends are watching you. They know that you’re a Christian, so they’re watching to see if Jesus makes any difference in you life. And if you don’t live out what you say you believe – they’re not going to want anything to do with your Jesus.

You parents, your kids are watching you. When they become adults and decide for themselves whether or not they are going to follow Jesus, their decision will not be based on the things you said, but by the way you lived. And if your life doesn’t match up with your talk – they won’t buy it. And I truly believe that’s why our north american churches are so lacking in young people – because the generation of their parents, who claimed to be Christians – didn’t live like it. So our young people have gone on to look for something else authentic.

We have to be an example in what we say, AND in the way we live, in our love, in our faith, and in our purity. Then finally in verse 13 to 16, Paul says…

13 Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.
14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. 15 Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.
1 Timothy 4:6-16

I could mention a few things from these verses: #1. How we must not neglect the spiritual gifts that God has given each one of us. He’s given them to us for a reason – let’s not waste them. Or #2. How we should throw ourselves into our tasks – let’s give ourselves fully to things that will actually matter in eternity. But instead I think I’ll close with verse 16, because I think it really sums up this whole passage very well.

Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.
1 Timothy 4:16

And that’s really the key here. Hold on to the truth. Learn it. Live it. Not only for your sake, but for the sake all the people that you influence.

We really have no idea how many people are impacted by our life. Sure there’s probably several hundred people that we will directly impact, but how many more will we  impact indirectly? It’s a massive ripple effect. I impact you – you impact your kids – your kids impact their friends – their friend impact their friends…. And on and on it goes. We have no idea how many people will be impacted by our lives. So…

Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.