Today’s readings… (Nehemiah 9), (Amos 1), (! Timothy 1,2,3)

The word “love” is in common usage these days, but the way it is used and the meaning given to it, is so different to its’ use in the Bible!  Paul has “urged (Timothy) … remain at Ephesus that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine” [1 Tim. 1 v.3].  Paul advises him of the “stewardship from God that is by faith” adding “the aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” [v.4,5] Those 3 phrases are the vital components our lives must possess and use if we really desire to live our lives in the service of our Lord Jesus and the Father with the anticipation of an utterly wondrous future in God’s kingdom..
The ‘oil’ that makes the ‘engine’ of our minds function in the way God approves must operate from a “pure heart” – do we understand what kind of heart this is?  Is this impossible for normal humans? We notice the Greek word here is quite often translated as ‘clean’  Jesus told his disciples, “You are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you.” [John 15 v.3,4]  It is the word of God, rightly and humbly used, which cleanses our hearts to make and keep them pure.
We recall David’s impassioned Psalm after his grievous sins; “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me,” [51 v.10]  A clean heart is the foundation for  a “good conscience” and a faith that is “sincere”. Paul tells Timothy that some at Ephesus “by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion …” [v.6] We live in a world of much “vain discussion” which lacks the essential foundation of “love that issues from a pure heart”  One of the subjects some discuss and debate is the role of women and this was a factor at Ephesus.  But notice how Paul advises Timothy to teach them, “Let the women learn quietly and with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man” [2 v.11,12] When Paul wrote his Epistle to them he emphasized this point – see Ephesians chap. 5 v.22-24.
Paul hopes to come to Ephesus, but says, “I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God …” [3 v.14,15]  All who are part of this church (the assemblies of true believers) will be very conscious of Paul’s words and therefore readily work at developing and maintaining the “love that issues from a pure heart.”

 

 

* Click verse text to see cross references.
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