Tuesday, October 24, 2006

TOPIC: Acceptable Conduct?
What is acceptable conduct? In a world where "it's all about me" is the main theme, it seems that ANYTHING is acceptable. That is an incorrect, selfish and destructive train of thought. Here is a good devotional expressing how we should conduct ourselves -- especially pointed towards Christian believers...
Sometimes we read signs that begin with the words, “Rules for Use of . . . .” They might be posted on the wall at a swimming pool or an exercise room. The purpose is to inform or remind you of how you are to conduct yourself there. Paul did that for the church. He made a list that could be posted by the door as a reminder of what is acceptable and unacceptable conduct.
Typically this list is applied only to the leaders of the church. Yet Paul said, “I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God.” Yes, these rules apply to leaders but they are the standard of conduct for all believers.
Now read again 1 Timothy 3:1–13, marking the specific “rules.”
1Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer,[a] he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap. 8Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons. 11In the same way, their wives[b] are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything. 12A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus. 14Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, 15if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.
Imagine writing them out and posting them on the wall of the church. “Be blameless” would be rule number one, followed by statements on marital fidelity, temper, self-discipline, hospitality and gossip. Hopefully, this list would make quite an impression on Christians.
Far more significant than pool regulations against running and obeying the lifeguard is this list for conduct in the church. Those pool rules are for your safety, to keep you from getting hurt, and for your enjoyment so that your time at the pool will be pleasant. Following the list in 1 Timothy 3 will do the same: it will keep people from getting hurt at church and help make their time there a blessing.
It is easier to apply rules to others. But don’t miss how your life should measure up to this standard.

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