As this Father’s Day is approaching, I find myself reflecting on some advice my dad gave me through the years. Number one on the list was “do what your momma tells you to do.” This was actually more than strong advice, it was really a command.
My daddy expected me to obey my momma. Case closed. No discussions, no speculations, no arguments, no comparisons. Just do what momma says. By obeying my momma, I obeyed my daddy’s commandment.
Most of the time I obeyed, but some of the times my heart
was not in it, my conscience bothered me, or I wasn’t sincere in doing what I was supposed to do. When my dad would ask, “did you obey your momma?” he could tell right away if I was sincere or not. Besides, he probably had already talked to my mom.
The apostle Paul is writing to his young “son in the faith”, Timothy, and gives him the news that he is to stay in Ephesus to continue the work Paul started there by being the pastor of the Ephesians’ church plant. According to verse 3 in the NIV, the reason being is “so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer.” Paul, through Timothy, wanted make sure the leaders and teachers of the church were teaching correct doctrine.
Paul didn’t do this in order to boss the church people around or to show Timothy who was boss. The reason Paul wanted Timothy to correct wrong doctrine was out of love. The command was given in love and was to be obeyed in love. This love is agape love.
Paul goes on to describe where this love comes from: a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith. Paul gives the command out of love for Jesus, Timothy and the church. Timothy is to obey the command and apply it out of love for Jesus, Paul and the church. The church is to receive it and heed it out of love for Jesus, Paul, Timothy and the church.
As a father figure and mentor to Timothy, Paul was preparing Timothy for the inevitable reality of confrontation in the church. In fact, he was telling Timothy he had no choice but to confront. However, he wanted Timothy to confront those who were teaching false doctrines out of love. The only way this can be done is if Timothy confronted others with a pure heart, a good conscience, and genuine faith.
In the post-Christian cultural clash we live in today, we too need to heed Paul’s command to Timothy. We can no longer as a church confront people out of anger and hate, or impure motives, or with hidden agendas, or with a hypocritical attitude. Let us be known as a church that confronts with love.
I love you and it’s a privilege to be your pastor.