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1 Timothy

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Concentrate On Doing The Truth

1 Timothy 4:7-8

Thinking and discussing is good - as long as we are focussed on what is true and discussing how best to do it. After that, we need to move from the debate to the action. 1st century Ephesus was a major trading hub, with people from many nationalities and cultures. The large amphitheatre attracted thousands to watch drama and hear speakers talk about the latest philosophical ideas. But when the gospel came to the city, Jesus was proclaimed as the only way.

Striving That The Gospel Will Be Accepted

1 Timothy 4:9-10

Truth is always true, but until it is received and obeyed it brings no blessing. Timothy knew how hard the Apostle Paul had previously laboured in preaching the gospel (2 Timothy 3:10-13). So Paul urges his trusted assistant to keep working in the same way to make Jesus known. Both men had abandoned their former way of life. Their hope was exclusively in the Lord Jesus Christ who is God the Son, the Saviour of the world.

Teaching By Lip And Life

1 Timothy 4:11-12

The gospel has never been ‘just an interesting idea’ for people who like that sort of thing, or a suggestion to be considered along with others. The gospel contains a command to repent: Paul said, “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31). Timothy was not called to be a nice community leader but a strong prophetic voice.

Keep God's Word Central

1 Timothy 4:13-14

Philosophers bring human ideas but preachers should bring God’s Word. Paul was concerned that Timothy should not drift into being a social coordinator or even concentrate on humanitarian aid to the poor. His primary task was to bring God’s Word to the believers, and anyone who would listen, and apply it to their lives. His first responsibility was to read the Bible publically and then explain how Jesus has always been at the centre of Scripture, and should be at the centre of their lives too.

Keep Watching And Learning

1 Timothy 4:15-16

Timothy had a special gift to teach God’s Word. However he could not sit back and just let God use his mouth; he had to work at being a faithful disciple (disciple means ‘learner’) of Jesus as well. It would be hard work too. The Christian life is not a game and ministry is not for amusement. Walking with Jesus Christ is an everyday business of keeping close to Him and ensuring that we live and teach in ways that stay true to Scripture.

Honourable Behaviour

1 Timothy 5:1-2

Being in God’s family means that we are all brothers and sisters. We are all equal in the sight of God. Rich and poor are equally loved and valued by God; so are men and women, old and young (Galatians 3:28). So we should treat each other in ways which honour God. Older men should expect respect; they have had more experience of life and should not be rebuked or ridiculed. Older people may think more slowly so we should give them time to think and reply.

Responsible And Caring Relationships

1 Timothy 5:3-4

Our old sinful nature is more selfish than we think. But in the family of God we follow Jesus who unselfishly gave His own life to save us, when we could not help ourselves (Romans 5:6-8). If He did that for us, then how much should we do for others, especially those who cannot help themselves? So one of the first tests of our faith in Christ is the way in which we treat our elderly and helpless relatives.

Responsible Old Age

1 Timothy 5:5-6

Growing old graciously takes a lifetime of practise! Usually, increasing age displays more of our real character. We will lose some of the social tricks which cover up our weaknesses and will increasingly reveal what we are really like. The potential load of social care to widows in Ephesus was huge and so Paul instructed Timothy to focus on those widows who had nobody to help them, and who have practically demonstrated their faith in Jesus.

Accountable Relationships

1 Timothy 5:7-8

Relationships are not commodities. We do not ‘have’ them, we live in them. They are formed by what we believe deep in our hearts. Our need for relationship comes from being made in the image of God, and therefore we are accountable to Him. So, Paul instructs Timothy about how he should live, and what he should teach the church about living in a way which honoured God. Those who disobey God in how they relate with others, especially in their families, open themselves to Divine blame.

Focussed Ministry

1 Timothy 5:9-10 

In 1stC Ephesus, as in many places in the world today, the scale of human need was overwhelming. The church had to prioritise. Paul’s instruction to Timothy was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Widows who had trusted God should be honoured, but only if they met certain criteria: then they could be included on a list of women who received food and other help from the church.