(SERMON BY LIZ HONEYFORD)
Not always a good idea to wallpaper together when you’re newly married. You think the first couple of strips are going on smoothly but once you get to the third or fourth strip and step back, you realize everything is crooked . . . until you catch on to using a plumb line and you realize that it all depends on how the first strip goes on the wall.
It matters what you measure your life with. What do you line your life up to?
When you line your life up with the culture, that’s wallpapering without a plumb line. Last week, Andrew reminded us of some plumb line words from 1 Timothy 3. 16:
Jesus is God Himself. He appeared in a body and came down to earth.
Jesus was vindicated by the Spirit and seen by the angels. There were angels at His birth, angels at the announcement of His conception and at His resurrection. There is supernatural power involved.
Jesus was preached among the nations and was believed on in the world. Jesus makes sense to real people. There is real love, real hope, real truth and real forgiveness.
Jesus was taken up in glory. Jesus did not die again. He ascended into heaven – still alive and human. Early believers knew that He had left in glory and He was coming back in greater glory. Our greatest hope is that He is coming back again.
This week, we’re reminded that every chance Paul got, he preached Jesus as the plumb line. Anything that adds or takes away from Jesus is wrong. (vs 1-3) Jesus plus = religion. Christian religion is as benign and dangerous as any religion. The whole story of the whole world is about Jesus, not religion.
Anything that Jesus gives you is good. Enjoy all things with thanksgiving. (vs.4,5)
If it doesn’t align with Jesus and what He believes, dismiss it as something other than Christianity. (vs. 6,7)
Training in truth and godliness is serious work. (vs.8,9)
Don’t labour and strive so that you get something from Jesus – that’s religion. You already have everything you need – what Jesus did for you on the cross and each day is enough. There’s a big difference between pleasing God and trusting God. Instead, labour and strive to stay in that place of rest because you have put your hope in a living God. (vs.10)
Teach by your life. Examine the lives of people that you listen to. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young (vs. 12) but let Jesus live through you at every level – publicly in speech and live as well as privately in love, faith and purity. Make sure your insides and outsides match.
Timothy had a call on his life specific to the message of Jesus. Because Jesus is in you, you are a preacher and teacher to the people around you. You are witnesses. Jesus invades your life and gives you spiritual gifts to be used.
Watch your life and doctrine closely. (vs.16) Tend to your life. Don’t neglect your inner life and don’t neglect the gift that Jesus has given you. Don’t get swayed. Watch your life. Make sure your life aligns with Jesus – submitted and surrendered to Him.
Prayer – “Jesus, set my heart right before You.”