Letters to the Family of God

by Joe Franzone | December 1, 2022 | Pastor's Blog

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December 1, 2022


As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and a sincere faith.


1 Timothy 1:3-5


Sound doctrine is the ground and pattern of love. The true knowledge of God will always lead us to worship, as it did Paul.


John Stott

Dear friends.


It struck me in a way that it never had before. Those words are a piece of what I thought to myself while reading the opening chapter of Paul’s letter to Timothy, especially considering the following line.

The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and a sincere faith.

When Paul wrote this, the context was Timothy’s role as a pastor, to end false doctrine in Ephesus. What struck me was his goal. The word here means the principal end or purpose, what he was to aim for, as Timothy put himself in that context. And his goal wasn’t to have a win or set the other person straight, put them in their place, or build a personal following. There was to be nothing cynical at play here. His goal was love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.


Sound Doctrine—The Ground and Pattern of Love


In a local church, sound doctrine is essential. The following is one of the more pointed passages from the New Testament on what sound doctrine is. Written by an Apostle and carried along by the Holy Spirit, this is the word of God.

Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose, also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.


Colossians 1:25-29

Sound doctrine is essential because it centers on the person of Christ, the ground, and the pattern of love. Subsequently, sound doctrine dramatically impacts the heart, mind, and conscience. As the word of God purifies the heart, what is set loose in the heart is the fruit of the Spirit, which is love. Love for God, His people, and the whole human race.


It is what the Pharisees always missed. Yes, the law informed God's people about how to live a holy life, but it never provided the power to obey it; instead, it only revealed their inability to live up to God's perfect standard. Thus, their teaching produced liars who lived a double life or people so torn inside knowing they could not maintain what was taught; it simply crushed their hearts. Anger, rage, isolation, pride, and anxiousness marked the religious leaders of Jesus' day and, as a result, the context Jesus served.


However, the preaching of Christ has a dramatic impact on the human heart. The puritans would say soft preaching makes hard hearts, but hard preaching makes tender people. By hard preaching, they didn’t mean moralistic, tow-the-line preaching, but rather the preaching of the gospel. Only the gospel humbles a person before it thrills a person. As it has been often said, in the preaching of the Gospel (Colossians 1:25-29), we find we are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time, we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.


The word of God, the preaching of Christ, and the Gospel (all interchangeable in the Bible) by the power of the Holy Spirit will purify people, and out of that purity comes a church body full of sincere love, a good conscience, and genuine affection for each other, others, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Willing to give up personal preferences and surrender legitimate and natural desire for the sake of Christ, for that is His mind. That is sound doctrine.


So, take heart, knowing we will never be perfect in this, I would suggest we are, by God's grace in Jesus, becoming more and more like this. May His grace abound!



With all my love in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor Joe