Read 2 Timothy 2:15 and Titus 1:9. According to Paul’s counsels to Timothy and Titus, what crucial tasks are the responsibility of a faithful church leader and elder?
Notice how much emphasis Paul puts on keeping the doctrines and teachings pure. This is crucial for unity, especially because one could argue that, more than anything else, our teachings are what unify our church. Again, as Adventists, as people from so many different walks of life, cultures, and backgrounds, our unity in Christ is found in our understanding of the truth that Christ has given. If we get confused on these teachings, then only chaos and division will come, especially as we near the end.
“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:1-4, NKJV).
With these words, Paul focuses his inspired thoughts on the second coming of Jesus and on the day of judgment. The apostle uses all his God-given authority (see 1 Tim. 1:1) to give Timothy this important counsel. In the context of the last days, with false teachings abounding and immorality rising, Timothy is to preach the Word of God. That is the ministry he has been called for.
As part of his teaching ministry, Timothy is to convince, rebuke, and exhort. These verbs are reminiscent of the guidance given by the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16). Clearly, Timothy’s work is to follow, teach, and implement what he finds in the Scriptures and to do so with longsuffering and patience. Harsh and severe rebukes rarely bring a sinner to Christ. By following what Paul wrote, and following it under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and with a servant-leader attitude, Timothy would be a powerfully unifying force in the church.
|What are practical ways that we can help our church leaders maintain unity in the church? How can we make sure we are always a force for unity as opposed to disunity, even amid disputes?|