We are beginning to study first and second Timothy, and probably following that, we may go right into the book of Titus.
Today we are going to do a introduction to this book, giving an overview of the book, and highlight some of the things we will address.
A few background items about this letter:
This is a letter written by the apostle Paul to a 30 something year old pastor named Timothy. Timothy was serving in the city of Ephesus which we studied Paul’s letter to that church a few months ago. This letter was written after Paul’s house arrest in Rome sometime between AD 62 and 64. This letter comes after Paul’s letter to the Church in Ephesus.
This differs from the letter to the church in that is is written to leader in the church instead of the church in general. This is in a group of Paul’s letters often called the pastoral epistles, since they contain a lot of pastoral council on leading the church.
Now, that does not mean it doesn’t pertain to every Christian, because it does. Every believer should be well studied in these books because you need to know what a pastor is supposed to be doing, and how a pastor is supposed to lead the church. You also need to know many of the truths contained in these texts. One of the great things about Paul is that he doesn’t ever really just give orders, he gives the why for any what that he gives. He isn’t a “just do what I say” guy. He helps us understand why he is giving us commands so that we understand his thought process as well as his command. Another great thing about these letters is that they address issues in the church in Paul’s time that are as important to the health of the church now, as they were in the time they were written. Lets do an exercise: I am going to list a few topics, and you raise your hand if you think these are issues that are current in the church today: False teaching, leadership (fallen leaders), relating to the government, sexuality, hypocrisy, generational tension, relating to your boss, caring for those who don’t have the means on their own. All these things and more are discussed in this letter.
Lets read the first 17 verses today, then I want to highlight the purpose of studying this letter and applying what Paul has written.
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Warning Against False Teachers
3 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, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardshipfn from God that is by faith. 5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 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, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers,fn liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to soundfn doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.
Christ Jesus Came to Save Sinners
12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 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. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.fn Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:1-17 ESV
As I have said many times in the past, when it comes to reading and understanding the Bible, there are two types of people, those who bend to the Word, and those who try and bend the Word. So, as we study, there may be things about your thinking that are challenged. If so, you need to examine your life and act accordingly. I want to get to the point of the letter that he sends, and the main emphasis, possibly what might be a summary of the heart of this letter can be found in verse 5. “The aim of their charge is love that issues from a pure heart and good conscience, and sincere faith.” So before we even get into this study, I want to remind us all today that my aim in preaching through this text is not conformity, it is love.
So, what does Paul mean by this? Well very simply put, Paul is addressing false teaching in the church at Ephesus. While he doesn’t explain exactly what the false teaching is, he does tell us the outcome of that teaching, and also tells us the outcome of true teaching. Now I cant be totally sure why Paul starts this letter like this, but I know why I want to begin this series like this. The main reason I think it is important to begin with this truth is that it is very easy to study the scriptures and know lots of what God commands so that we can be right, but the reality that Paul lays out for Timothy is that we need to study these scriptures and put them into practice so that we can be love! I want to look at how this plays out in this text…
False teaching leads to confusion: myths, endless genealogies, trying to apply the law in extra Biblical ways result in: speculations, vain discussion, lack of understanding.
True teaching leads to a heart of love:
pure heart: Your actions are not out of pride…
Teaching that is in line with true doctrine must be applied first to your heart. You cannot begin with the idea that you are studying for someone else’s benefit. A proper understanding of the Good news of Jesus will do three things:
1.Diagnose your heart… reveal the problem of sin
2. Condemn your heart… reveal the punishment for your sin
3. Renew your heart… Reveal the cure for your sin
good conscience: Your actions are not out of selfish motives…
Teaching that is in line with true doctrine will call you into a life of freedom to obey.
1. Freedom from the penalty of sin. Your debt has been payed.
2. Freedom from the power of sin. You are no longer a slave to sin…
3. Fight for the presence of sin. We are given in the scriptures clear teaching on how we might walk in the spirit and fight the good fight against the presence of sin in our lives. We also have in scripture a promise that there will come a day when we will no longer have to wage the war against sin in our lives. Verse 18 calls us to wage the good warfare.
sincere faith: Your actions are not out of false pretenses…
1. you trust the Lord for the work in you… you don’t have to be someone you are not
2. You trust the Lord for the work in others… you dont pressure others to conform to your ideals…
3. You trust in the Lord for eternal life… v. 16