“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” 1 Timothy 1:1-16
In this opening passage, the apostle Paul gives instruction to Timothy, his younger son in the faith, in how to guard the gospel of grace and advance the kingdom of the risen Christ.
1. “Get” the big picture (vv.1-4)
Timothy was to rejoice in the hope found in Christ and the ongoing grace, mercy, and peace which the living God gives to his people. Also, he was to understand that there are those who give themselves to fruitless discussions regarding spiritual pedigrees and nonsensical issues which would lead to speculation instead of a life characterized by obedient faith (vv.3-4).
2. Embrace the True Aim of Christian Living: Love for God and Others (v.5)
This love is “a personal delight in God, a grateful outgoing of the personality to him, a deep learning of him by the redeemed, and an earnest desire for the temporal and eternal welfare of his creatures” (William Hendrichsen)
That which feeds love:
• A pure heart = the seat of our emotions.
• A clear conscience = the inner awareness of the moral quality of a person’s actions; a clear conscience in Acts 24:16 versus a seared/cynical conscience in 1 Timothy 4:2. In order to develop a clear conscience we must constantly fill our minds with God’s word and take the first steps in obedience to the revealed truth.
• A sincere faith = always ready to listen and a constant desire to do what is right.
3. Embrace the distinctive work of the Law that shows us our need for Christ (vv.8-11) Those who had overshot the goal and minimized the cross by using the Law as a launch pad to justify their behavior or to teach spellbinding stories about their ancestors. This robbed the Law of convicting people of sin (Romans 3:20).
4. Rejoice Constantly in the Gospel of Grace (vv.12-17)
This grace had super-abounded or overflowed in Paul’s life (v.14) and led the apostle to say he was the foremost of all sinners (v.15). This verse led to a life of rejoicing in the “perfect patience” (v.16) that the Lord had displayed to Paul.
“There may be nothing more important, humbling, or culture-shaping for a ministry leadership community than to keep in view at all times that every member of the community is in the middle of their own sanctification (progressive growth in Jesus). No leader is sin-free, no leader lives above the great spiritual battle for the focus and rulership of his heart, and no leader has graduated from his need for grace. Every leader fails to live up to God’s standard in word, thought or action somehow, someway, everyday. Every leader still has moments when he thinks things he should not think, desires things he should not desire, and acts or speaks in ways that are wrong.” Paul David Tripp, Lead, p.180
1. What is a “WARTIME MENTALITY” for the Christian?
2. What is the “the big picture of grace”? (Note the two emphases in vv.1-4)
3. Regarding verse 5, do you think it’s more precise to use the word “aim” (note the bulls-eye) versus the word “goal” to describe the stated desire of the command?
4. How can our conscience become seared? (1 Timothy 4:2)
5. What is the undeniable truth of Proverbs 6:27, “Can a man scoop a flame into his lap and not have his clothes catch on fire?” (NLT)?
6. How do those who taught error “shoot past the goal”?
7. When is it OK to say, “I don’t know”?
8. How has the Father shown you his “unlimited patience” (v.16)?
9. Why is the hymn “I Need Thee Every Hour” a constant prayer for the believer?