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1 Timothy

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Divine Working Relationships

1 Timothy 1:1-2

God often chooses people who we think are unlikely or even unsuitable to work with Him.  The Apostle Paul had once hated Jesus and persecuted the church (1 Corinthians 15:9).  However Paul submitted to the command of Jesus to repent, be baptised and accept an apostolic commission (Acts 22:1-21).  That commission was equally from God who is described as ‘Saviour’ and Jesus Christ who is called his ‘hope’.  Paul had received ‘grace, mercy and peace’ from the Lord and was authorised to announce God’s transforming power to others.

The Responsibility To Challenge Error

1 Timothy 1:3-4

In Ephesus some men had got into the fellowship and were promoting their ideas which had not come from God, did not depend on His grace, and were a different, false Gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).  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 Christian discipleship.  

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 (1 Timothy 1:3-5).  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 and His truth is loved and honoured; a community 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 in the Old Testament is still good, because it defines 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). Recognising our sinfulness is the start point for connecting with the Gospel.

Called, Forgiven and Serving

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 (1 Corinthians 15:9).  Although Christ appointed him to be an apostle, it was not because he was a good man.  He had not honoured Jesus.  Indeed, he had blasphemed God by denigrating Jesus (John 5:22-23), and he had violently persecuted the church (Acts 22:3-5).  Nevertheless, Paul was given strength to repent and believe, and then to work for Jesus.

Fully Accept The Truth and Share It

1 Timothy 1:15-16

Paul starts this section of his letter to Timothy with a banner headline, “Christ came into the world to save sinners”.  He calls it a statement upon which people can trust their lives, and eternities.  It is almost too good to be true, but Paul insists that believers fully embrace it.  

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 contrasted his own sinful past with the glorious unchangeable nature of God.  

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 (1 Timothy 4:1-2).  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 (1 Timothy 4:16).

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 his priority and an essential part of the church’s life.  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.  

Jesus The Mediator

1 Timothy 2:5-7

Paul had been urging Timothy to pray for the community leaders that they would allow space for the Gospel to be shared and believed (1 Timothy 2:1-4).  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.  No other god has a living personality characterised by patient holiness, abundant love and power to bless; they are inventions of the human mind and have no substance.