The argument goes something like this: The Bible says that where two or three are gathered there is Jesus in the midst of them (Matt 18:20). That indicates that a gathering of two or three includes the very important presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. People wear their best clothes when they meet someone Important (like if one had a meeting with the President). This indicates that the esteem put on the person justifies the better clothing. Christ is more Important than anyone and to be greater esteemed. Therefore, when going to any meeting of the church a person should wear their best clothes.
Justin over at Politics and Religion has begun a series on Christianity’s Downfall by starting off and highlighting fundamentalism. In hopes of education rather than attacking he points out that fundamentalism (in general and in Christianity particularly) is (1) dangerous (2) intolerant (3) rigid (4) illogical and (5) surface-reading which he equates with literalism. Of course, he doesn’t delineate his points as such and is careful to point out what the fundamentalist is rigidly adhering to (and thus obviously dangerous) are the specific doctrines that make Christians who they are: but he does point out that â€œin many cases, the fundamentalist Christian believes what heâ€¦does because it was told to himâ€ and he adheres to a strict literalism. I’ll deal with both these points below.
The soldier who is on active duty must lead an untangled life because if war suddenly breaks out, the soldier would be held down, unable to accomplish his task and effectively useless. The key verse is 2 Tim 2:1-4 with a focus on verses 3 and 4. â€œEntanglesâ€ is in the present tense with a passive voiceâ€”in other words, the affairs of life are acting on the soldier and he’s not actively entangling himself.
Continuing in the overview of the qualifications for elders, we turn our focus to 1 Tim 3:4-5. In particular this section focuses on the home because the relationship between the home and the church of God is closely tied. There are, of course, other verses that underpin this subject header: 1 Cor 11:3, 8011; Eph 5:21-25; 1 Pet 3:1, 6-7. The qualifications of the speaker for this subject perhaps can be helpful for understanding that the speaker is not teaching out of a void. The speaker can empathize with those who struggle with a rowdy home with three boys, now by the grace of God one is an excellent expositor, one is a missionary and the other is very active in an assembly. All of the speaker’s grandchildren are saved and he and his wife of forty seven years are grateful.
The lesson in this section is clear: we can not separate what we are at home from what we are in the church for the way we conduct ourselves in the home will affect our church in some degree or another. The apostle places his house-life next to the very house of Godâ€”therefore there must be complete consistency. The home is the training ground for any type of work we may partake in for in it: 1) character is developed 2) we learn to love, 3) learn to pity, 4) learn to exercise tenderness, 5) exercise headship, 6) and administer discipline. A person doesn’t begin to function as an overseer upon receiving a label; he is already doing the work. As you know sheep can not read labels and see the shepherd’s overalls and read the words on his lapel to know he is a shepherd: they recognize the worker when they see him working. There is no formal ordination where people don’t expect the person to be their overseer and if the day ever comes where someone is raised as an overseer and it’s a big surprise to everyone then he is not an overseer.
Jude 3 is excellent for shepherds to study. â€œEarnestly Contendâ€ has a root that is used elsewhere in Scripture. In Col 1:28 and Col 2:1 it is in regard to doctrine and reflects the striving agony, energy and intense effort akin to that of an athlete. In 1 Tim 6:12 and 2 Tim 4:7 it is used as a military termâ€”a constant duty. Paul examines his life and we ask how does one say a ministry was successful? Isaiah was told that the people would not listen to him even if he diedâ€”yet his success was not in them listening it was in him finishing what the Lord had him do.