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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE HOUSE OF GOD

1 Tim 3:14-16 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: but if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

We know that Timothy was at Ephesus when Paul wrote this inspiring letter to him (1 Tim. 1:3). At the same time, it is believed that Paul was preaching and teaching the gospel of Christ in the city of Laodicea, the chief city of Phrygia. It was Paul's desire to return to Ephesus, where he had spent a number of years planting and nurturing the church of Christ in this city. Why Paul was hindered in returning to this congregation of God's people is not known. However, because he was delayed, Paul wrote this letter of instruction to Timothy that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God.

From this inspired instruction we know that there is a certain behavioral conduct that all Christian evangelists, such as Timothy, are expected to possess while serving the house of God. What Christian would be exempt from the same spiritual exhortation? The answer is none. Not only are elders, deacons, and evangelists critically observed by the world around them, but likewise, every member of the church of Christ. Satan, and those that serve him, constantly try to find fault within the membership of the body of Christ, in order to condemn its good works, and the gospel message of salvation it brings to those lost in sin. It is the behavior of Christians, by which people of the world judge the church of Christ. So it was with the house of God in Ephesus, and so it is with every body of Christ wherever, and whenever, they exist.

And what is the house of God? It is His church - the church of the living God. At the time of this writing, the city of Ephesus was receiving worldwide fame for its magnificent structure, known as temple of the pagan goddess Diana. What a great contrast existed between this cold, inanimate stone image of a goddess, that could do nothing in return for human worship, when it was compared to a church in which the true living God dwelt among those that worshipped Him. In His church, within its righteous membership, God provides comfort and consolation, healing of the body and mind, unity, peace and harmony, and the happiness and bliss, resulting from having a hope of eternal salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.

The letter to the Hebrew Christians tells us that Moses was faithful in all his house, ...but Christ was made the head of God's house, whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing on the hope firm unto the end (See Heb. 3:2-6). To the church of Christ at Ephesus, Paul wrote that, after His resurrection, God gave Jesus Christ, His Son, power, and might and dominion over all things, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all (Eph. 1:20-23). Then it is also true, that the house of God,is also known as the church of Christ.

The house of God is, not only the church of Christ, the church of the living God, but it is also the pillar and ground of the truth. The church of Christ, asthe pillar, is the supporting superstructure on which God's truths are firmly planted, and on which His doctrine of eternal salvation for all mankind can be secured. In no other place can it be found. The true gospel message of salvation was then, and continues to be today, proclaimed only by the efforts God's children found in His church. The manifold wisdom of God, was then, and is now, made known by the church, ...according to the eternal purpose, which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him (Eph. 3:10-12).

The mystery of godliness was, by inspiration of God, made known to the church of Christ in the first century A.D., and remains known through His church today. In describing Jesus Christ as the Head of God's church, the church of Christ, Paul tells us, in the lesson text, that He is God, (and He) was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. The mystery is now made known: Salvation can only be found in the church of Christ, which is the house of God, ...the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.