Faith Baptist Church
4258 Botetourt Road
Fincastle, Virginia 24090
Upon entering the ministry years ago I had this romantic vision of quietly sitting in a church study, earnestly pouring over rich gems in the word of God. All was quiet about me as the wisdom of God trickled into the recesses of my studious soul. Every once and a while I would pause to reflect on the nuggets I had been shown by the Lord. I read of men who charted the way of faith; men from Old Testament days; the days of Christ, and the early Church. I reflected on the lives of men and women of the past two-thousand years who have contributed to the in-depth study of Bible languages, theology, doctrinal development, Church history, missionary and church life.
As my studies took shape they would be put in written form. They would be the thoughts, and findings of those glorious encounters with the Spirit of God, and the word of God. I couldn’t wait until Sunday to share these findings with my Sunday School class. Our classes were wonderful. We had Bible teaching and study questions, and after class hungry students would ask more questions about the Bible. And then we would all assemble in the main auditorium to hear Pastor Richard Frampton speak. I heard his delivery, passion, concern, and his biblical and academic soundness.
I knew then, thirty-five years ago, that there was a high standard to which I had to attain if I were to be an acceptable minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Years ago Paul told Timothy in the first century of the Church, “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Spirit, who dwelleth in us.”
The verb, hold fast, [present active imperative] is in the present tense in the Greek text which means continuous action in present time having present results. The active voice of this command means Timothy, as well as any minister of the gospel, has the personal responsibility of keeping sound, wholesome biblical teachings. The imperative mood means it is a command to hold fast the pattern of these wholesome biblical teachings. It is a command from the Lord to every pastor-teacher, as well as to all born again believers. Initiating and teaching this command to all believers lies at the doorstep of every pastor. We are not called to entertain and amuse God’s people, but to feed them God’s word. We are not called to reconcile Jesus Christ to the world by attempting to make Him more cool and modern to the world, but we are called to reconcile the world to Christ through preaching a pure gospel and teaching wholesome Bible teachings. This is the first thing a believer should look for when seeking a local Church.
The word, form, as used in II Tim.1:13, is our word pattern. Paul tells Timothy to cling to a pattern of wholesome teachings. Paul instructed Titus, another pastor of the first century of the Church, to hold fast the faithful words as he had been taught that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the opposers of truth, Ti.1:9. Paul continued to instruct Titus by exhorting him, “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:” Ti.2:1. If a pastor forgets this he will fail the Lord and deep down inside he will know it. This is why many pastors become depressed and exit the ministry.
This pastor as well as all pastors must never depart from the purity of sound doctrine. If this remains a pastor’s testimony then he will never loose his spiritual insight and Christian joy of faithfully serving the Lord. This truth applies to all believers as well. Only by perseverance in the Word of the Lord will our souls live in purity and blessing.