Part I: The Significance of the Church
Pastor Marc Sosmena
I Timothy 3:1 - 16 (ESV)
I TIMOTHY 3:1-16 (ESV)
1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an
overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable,
able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage
his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to
manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may
become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought
of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. 8 Deacons likewise must be dignified,
not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of
the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove
themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all
things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well.
13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith
that is in Christ Jesus. 14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you
may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and
buttress of the truth. 16Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.
My task today is to explicate for you the significance of the church of the Lord Jesus; what biblical leadership
is (the elders and the deacons) and why it is critically important that we get it right. This will be a three-part
series within our current series in Paul’s first letter to his son in the faith, Timothy.
Let’s begin by looking at the significance of the church. As we look at our passage, we’ll begin from verses 14-
15. The next two Sundays, we will look at part 2 and 3 on Biblical Leadership, the Elders and Deacons
successively. But we need to first establish the truth about the church in order to appreciate the full context
of our passage. In this first installment we will first talk about the theology of the church. Understanding the
truth about the church is foundational. We need to get our foundation right.
In verses 14-15 Paul says:
14I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15if I delay, you may know how one
ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
First of all, the church belongs to God. It’s his church. Christ is the Lord of the church contrary to the false
teachers who are lording it over and wielding their brand of heresy in the church in Ephesus that Timothy
need to deal with.
1. The Church is God’s _______________ (v. 15).
a. The household of God made up of believers (saints) is the “church” of the living God. – v. 15
15if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the
living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
b. Christ himself said, “I will build my church.” - Matthew 16:18
18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not
prevail against it.
c. The church was obtained (bought) by the blood of Christ. – Acts 20:28
“28Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers,
to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.
d. Christ is preeminent over all things and he is the Head and Lord of the church. – Ephesians 1:22-
23; Colossians 1:15-23
22And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23which is his
body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For by him all things were created, in
heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all
things were created through him and for him. 17And he is before all things, and in him all things hold
together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
that in everything he might be preeminent. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and
through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood
of his cross. 21And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22he has now
reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach
before him, 23if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the
gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul,
became a minister.
e. God gifted the church with spiritual leaders to equip the saints and build the body of Christ –
11And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12to equip the saints
for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until we all attain to the unity of the faith
and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness
2. The Church Must be Characterized by Biblical ______________________ – v. 15
a. Biblical integrity calls for proper behavior in the church.
15if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God,
b. Biblical integrity demonstrates a lifestyle of a certain kind. – Colossians 1:9-12
• Walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him
• Bearing fruit in every good work
• Increasing in the knowledge of God
c. Biblical integrity is central to God’s mission, it’s through the church that disciples are made.
– Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 2:42-47
Most professing Christians are surprised to hear that the Bible gives us a much higher view of the church.
Christ founded the church (Matthew 16:18-19), He died for the church (Ephesians 5:25), and He identifies
intimately with it (Acts 9:4-5). He even calls the church His own bride (John 3:29) or His body (Ephesians
5:30). 1 Timothy 3:14-16 also speaks loud to the high value God places on the church. God has given His people
the privilege and responsibility of living in accord with and upholding the truth of the gospel. Hence, “24And
let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the
habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews
The church is significant for we are the expression of God’s family. The church is the dwelling place of God’s
presence. We are the guardian of his word. We are the agents of his mission. We are the preserver of his
gospel—we hold it firm, we hold it high! Christ, the Lord of the church, must reign supreme among us!