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1 Timothy

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Divine Working Relationships

1 Timothy 1:1-2

God often chooses unlikely people to work for Him. Paul had once hated Jesus and persecuted the church; but he submitted to the command of Jesus to repent, be baptised and accept an apostolic commission (Acts 22:1-21)! He became the primary missionary and church planter.

The Responsibility To Challenge Error

1 Timothy 1:3-4

In Ephesus some men had got into the fellowship and were promoting their ideas. They were very sincere and passionate, but they were not spreading truth. They came in as brothers, but wanted to be teachers. They talked with weighty words, but did not have apostolic authority. They were fascinated with minor matters and distracted the church from the major principles of discipleship. The consequences of their energetic teaching were to stir up debate, polarise one believer against another and move the church’s focus away from following and proclaiming Jesus.

Godly Rebuke Is Loving

1 Timothy 1:5-7

Paul had just told Timothy to command false teachers to stop polluting the church with their ideas. In Ephesus, it seems that every public forum encouraged different ideas to be taught and explored. But that must not be true of the church. Church leadership is not primarily about creating a loving community, but creating a community in which God’s truth is loved and honoured; and where error is hated and rebuked (2 Timothy 4:1-5) .

The Law Defines Those Who Break It

1 Timothy 1:8-11

Law, of whatever kind, marks out the boundaries. Step over the line and the law is broken, leading to punishment. Keep within the line of the law and there is security and freedom from the fear of punishment. So Paul explained that God’s law is good, because it defined the people whose attitudes and actions are against God’s law. But law can never make people good. All it does is to let people see that they are sinners. Indeed, everybody is a sinner (Romans 3:23).

Called, Forgiven And Blessed

1 Timothy 1:12-14

In contrast to some false teachers, who were saying that only good people find favour with God, the Apostle Paul admits that he had lived an evil life, even though he was a theological lecturer. Although Christ appointed him to be an Apostle, it was not because he was a good man. He had not obeyed the law and he had not honoured Jesus. Indeed, he had blasphemed God by denigrating Jesus, and he had violently persecuted the church. Nevertheless, Paul was given strength to believe and work for Jesus.

Accept The Truth Fully

1 Timothy 1:15-16

Unforgiven sinners, who think honestly about their lives, feel bad and condemned. However, the truth of the gospel is so wonderful that they may find it difficult to grasp. The Lord Jesus Christ came to earth from heaven for a single purpose: to save sinners like them. Christ accepted the guilt of everybody in the world and was punished for it, so that they do not have to suffer God’s judgement. All those who believe in Jesus are therefore released from God’s condemnation of their sin.

Praise God

1 Timothy 1:17

This verse is called a ‘doxology’, which simply means praise to the honour and glory of God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. After Paul had described his personal wicked life, violently persecuting the church (1 Timothy 1:13-16), he contrasts his own past with the glorious unchangeable nature of God. True praise is always objective and descriptive. It focuses on the character qualities of God which are always true, irrespective of whatever our response might be.

Holding On Or Letting Go

1 Timothy 1:18-20

Timothy had a difficult job. Although most people in the church at Ephesus wanted to hold on to the gospel which Paul taught, other people were being distracted to believe and teach lies. Timothy’s task was to keep the gospel at the centre of the church, exposing wrong teaching and rebuking false teachers (1 Timothy 1:3-7) . So it was essential for Timothy to hold tightly to the truth of the gospel himself. If the teacher should go astray, the whole church would be led away from Jesus.

Pray For People, Especially Those With Authority

1 Timothy 2:1-4

Prayer is an essential part of life for God’s people. Paul urged Timothy to make sure that prayer remained a priority for the church. Not just praying for themselves, but for everybody in the community especially those people who had power. Even though the rulers at that time did not believe in Jesus, God still had the right to direct their behaviour. Although they did not know it, they were acting as God’s agents (Romans 13:1-7) and He wanted communities to be good places to live.

Jesus The Mediator

1 Timothy 2:5-7

In a culture of competing religious ideas, the gospel of Jesus was, and is, radical. Paul reminded Timothy that God is not one of many gods; there is only one God. All other gods are false; they have no living personality, they are inventions of the human mind and have no substance. The desire to find God is a universal human quest. Paul knew his job.