Monthly Archives: February 2020

1 Timothy 2.8-15

Title: The Hope We Have that Comes from Godly Men & Women

Text: 2 Timothy 2.8-15


Introduction: My parents split before I could form memories. My dad was a military man, so I was shipped back and forth to my grandmother as needed. My religious formation comes from her and I stand before you today because of her prayers.

When I was in 8th grade, my grandmother made $125 a month babysitting for two Air Force Officers. I made about $20 a month throwing Newspapers. Never once did I eat a cold breakfast. She was up early fixing a warm breakfast before school. I saw her reading her Bible in her bed as I made my way from the shower to the bedroom to get dressed. I saw the same thing at night when I was getting ready for bed. She would stop and come in and read a chapter from the Bible with me.

I’m grateful for the strong influence my godly grandmother passed on to me.

Let me also say, there was a period in my life, not so long ago, when I was surrounded by girls. Jennifer and three little girls came to live with us when they had been abandoned. My life was filled with estrogen. Lisa, Jennifer, Elizabeth, Caroline, and Sweet Annie. Even our little dog is of the feminine persuasion. Lisa created for me a safe haven where I could flee to and watch news and sports!

And I shall always cherish those days – hugs and kisses at night. But you didn’t give me no hugs and kisses, Pa!

I want to tell you that I want good things for my little girls! I want them to dream big and chase those dreams to become whoever they want as they pursue their dreams in relation to their faith in Christ.

I think many preachers have abused this text before us today. I pray that I get this right. Not because I’m worried about your response, but rather, I fear the response of the Master – The One who has called me to this service.

Let’s pray: God, help me get this right.

One of the reasons so many teachers and preachers get this wrong is because they take the Scripture out of Context. Context is everything. DA Carson: A text without a context is a pretext for a prooftext. I know you’ve heard that before. I promise you will hear it again. (ill.: Worship Conference Radio Advertisment – Jesus said, “32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”)

Our Context for this passage is Public Worship. You remember from last week that we don’t have the same worship experiences of those in the early church. At first, they met in public places. Eventually, they met in public places and in their homes.

The Goal is that the lost, who witness the church in action, might be saved. The converse of that is that the lost might very well remain that way because of the church’s poor behavior in action. That’s a negative way to say: Church, get your act together!

1st, Let me walk through the text with you and show you how this is all playing out:

Evidently, the problem with what was happening in Ephesus was that the lost would observe some of the men being contentious and also observe some of the women, who were dressing in inappropriate clothing. Now, that is the close-up.

Ill.: Read Acts 19.8-10; this is church planting in action! As they met in the synagogue and then in the Hall Tyrannus, and later, wherever they were meeting publicly, their behavior as men was detrimental to the spread of the Gospel! And the behavior of the women was just as detrimental: they were more concerned with their looks and appearance than their godliness and good works.

But, I think the problem is even deeper: there appears to be a lack of respect for those in authority. The whole church seems to have this problem.

Let’s pull away from this small passage on prayer and practice to gain a greater perspective.

  1. Purpose Statement in 3.14-15: 14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, 15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
    1. The Church is a witness to the World against what is false. She is a witness to the Truth of God.
    2. Her witness appears to be damaged because of her behavior. This letter is to inform you of how you ought to behave within the household of God.
    3. A major part of that breakdown for the church was their disrespect for leadership and those in positions of authority. I find it odd that Paul says in combating false doctrine to 1st, pray for:
      1. Kings and all who are in high positions (2.1-2)
      2. Toward their pastor (4.12; 2.11-15; 5.17)
  • Toward the elderly in their congregation (5.1-3)
  1. Slaves toward their Masters (6.1-2)
  2. The Rich toward others (6.17)

There seems to me to be a major problem with these members having respect for those who’ve been put in positions of honor and respect and authority. And, it is hurting their witness. That is the context of this letter: Public Worship viewed by lost folks & a blatant disrespect for others and their positions.

So, Paul commands them to get organized! God gave us structure and within that structure, God gave us roles and responsibility. And, within that structure, you need to show respect where respect is due. Honor those who deserve honor. Respect those who are in certain positions.

Ill.: I learned this in the military. I had an older man who was teaching me. I told him how hard it was to salute an officer who was a low life – unworthy of the respect due to his office and rank. Without missing a beat, my elder said: you salute the rank, not the individual.

Ill.: a few years back, when President Obama was our president. I made a comment about him coming into our worship center. A lady in the congregation – an ultra-conservative lady – made a derogatory comment about the president. And I let it slide. But I shouldn’t have. It was very public, and it should have been corrected in public. There was a blatant disregard for the office of the President. I’m not saying you have to agree with him. Indeed, I can’t find anything for which I can agree. But as Christians, we respect the office.

I saw that as a young man watching my pastor. We were at a convention and the governor was invited to speak. You probably remember her – Governor Ann Richards. When she came in the whole congregation stood to their feet in respect of her position. Except for my pastor; He remained seated. His wife simply looked at him and in a quiet voice said: Are you going to practice what you preach? He stood. It’s was a great teaching moment for me.

Notice 1st, he gets on the men: read 2.8; evidently, their witness was horrible in front of the lost community watching the gathered church; there is contention here; they are lifting hands in anger and they are quarreling in public.

Oh, but women, you’re not without fault either. Your witness is damaged, too. Rd v 9; the women are more concerned with their physical appearance than their spiritual appearance. They want to be seen as pretty and not pious. They want to be seen as gorgeous and not godly. They want to be noticed because of their beauty and not recognized for their behavior.

No one is without fault here. The Church as a whole has been damaging the witness to the world that is watching. But, And here is our 1st point! Our Hope comes through:

1st, Men and Women Behaving as Believers: men, women… the world is watching so ‘behave’.

2nd, When we fulfill our God-given roles and responsibilities in the church. There are roles for leadership and there are roles for men and there are roles for women. That role you fulfill is vital in the presentation of the Gospel by the church as a whole.

As a matter of fact, I think v11-15 actually go closer to 3.1ff, than they do with 2.8-10 or even 2.1-10. It is like he’s saying:

  1. Pray in public for your worldly leaders. There is a hint of: stop being disrespectful of them before the lost world that is watching. Remember: you are to lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
  2. When you gather and pray – Men, stop being contentious and quarrelsome. Women, stop trying to cover up your lack of inner beauty by dressing up the outside. Instead, play down your external beauty and let the inner beauty come through in what you do. Godliness and Good works; with modesty and self-control.
  3. As a matter of fact, let me turn my attention toward leadership in the church. And he does so now in 2.11.

Paul stays on the topic of women; rd 2.11-12; 11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

So, as we look toward leadership – women, respect those men who’ve been placed in authority within the church.

So, I think this is about the position as Elder or Overseer or Pastor. In the church, the position of pastor is for men only. And, I believe God has created this picture with purpose – just like he has in marriage. When you read Ephesians 5 you see that marriage is a picture of the Gospel.

And it is the same here. God has a purpose in his design.

So, let’s look closely at what is doing. I think for v 11, he’s simply restating what he has said before. Notice the words he has repeated:

  • Godliness: rd v 2; godliness is required of every believer;
  • Quietly: rd v 2; here in 11 and again in v 12; that doesn’t mean she sits down and shuts up; No! that demonstrates her attitude and demeanor. She is living her peaceful, quiet life within the context of her position in the congregation. Men are to be the same way.
  • We will see peace and dignified again, too.

I get from this that there may have been women who were being disrespectful of the overseers, including Timothy. Maybe, there may have been some who were trying to take over his role. Paul is simply stating how behavior in the church should go and when it comes to the office of Pastor/Elder/Overseer, that office for men.

For me, it is interesting that when you look at the qualifications for elders and deacons, they really aren’t that special – as compared to all Christians. Review 3.1-12;

But then he says in 2.13-15 just why these roles are put in place by God. And, he uses the Old Testament as hermeneutical grounds. Rd v 13-14; He’s quoting from Genesis 2 & 3; There is “the role” and “position” in the Creation account; and, there is the fact of the fall.

  • Adam is formed first and Eve is fashioned from him to be a helper suitable for him.
  • Then, in the fall, consequences take place – and this is what Paul is referring to…

Turn to Gen 3.13ff; The Fall we find hope; in sin, there is the promise of a Messiah who will come and crush the head of the serpent! But continue in v 16; She will endure tremendous pain in bearing children, but in the bearing of her children comes the hope of a descendant who will crush the serpent’s head.

As we go back to our text in 1 Timothy, we see that in v 12 (12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man;). Paul isn’t saying a woman shouldn’t be a teacher. Indeed, as you compare that with other passages of Scripture, we know women are to teach. Indeed, Timothy’s two greatest teachers were his mom and his grandmother! In Titus, he encourages older women to teach younger women. So it isn’t that a woman isn’t to teach. It’s within the context of chapter 3. She isn’t to be an elder. Paul cites the creation account as grounds for this teaching. And, in his reference to Eve, it’s her faithfulness that one day brings about the Messiah. Rd v 15a;

In 15b, Paul moves from the Genesis account back to the women of Ephesus: if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. Salvation comes through you, too, ladies. Your faithfulness, your love, your holiness, your godliness, your self-control, your modesty, your quiet, peaceful life is a tremendous witness to your children, your spouse, your neighbors, your grandchildren and to the lost who are looking in from the outside.

That would be point # 3: There is hope in the order and organization: 1st, through Eve’s faithfulness, her seed is Jesus. 2nd, through faithfulness today, women bring that same hope of salvation. There is great power in submission. There is great power in showing respect and honor.

I see that in my life. And this is my one take-a-way for this morning: There are tremendous power and influence in a peaceful, quiet life lived out in all godliness and dignity.


  1. What an incredible leadership role you play in the lives of your children, grandchildren – in the formation of their spiritual lives and their eternal destiny.
  2. Men, do you realize how detrimental you are when you crush the spirits of your women and your children through your behavior? Or, your mischaracterization of Scripture
  3. Organization and structure within the church are beneficial for the church and for the lost world.

I believe I am where I am today because a strong, godly woman – my nana – prayed for me and was an example of faith, love, godliness, and self-control. Furthermore, I mean not to embarrass my wife, but her faithfulness is something that has blessed me, too.

In memoirs of an ordinary pastor, DA Carson tells the story of a turbulent time in the life of his family that he never knew about.

His father lost funding for a church plant where he was pastor. What Carson didn’t know was that it came about because his father spoke out against a leader in the denomination. That leader was furious and with his power, pulled all funding that kept that little congregation going. The pastor and his family had to move. DA Carson writes that he was a teenager when all of that happened.

Years later, he encountered the man who had hurt his family. But DA had no idea of what had happened. He was kind and respectful because his mother and father were always kind and respectful of that man. After the mean man walked away, a pastor walked up to DA and asked how he could have been so kind and respectful to that man after all of the damage he caused the Carson’s? DA asked, “What damage?” It was only then that he learned what had happened.

DA Carson said in all the pain that leader within their denomination caused his family, never once did his father or mother speak ill of that leader. They always showed him great respect and spoke highly of him in front of their children. Carson said it was an invaluable lesson he learned from his father and mother about behavior in the church.

So, ladies, I don’t think this is ugly at all. I think this is empowering. You have tremendous power in how you pass on the faith. You do it in your behavior. You do it in the way you live out your quiet, peaceful life with all godliness and dignity.

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Filed under 1 Timothy, Christian Living, Elders, Evangelism, Scripture, Sermon

1 Timothy 2.1-7

Title: Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing

Text: 1 Timothy 2.1-7

CIT (Aim): Praying for others and living a quiet, peaceful life with all godliness and holiness are the fertile grounds for fulfilling the Great Commission.

CIS: I want to encourage our congregation to speak up and tell people about Jesus and the hope we have in him.

Context: The Corporate Body – we’re not talking about individual responsibility.

Introduction: Lisa and I sat in a worship service once, many years ago, and heard a preacher tell the story about a Lighthouse. It was a great story. The jest of the story went like this:

There once was a lighthouse on a tiny island just off the coast. It was a wonderful little lighthouse that saved many a ship as it sailed toward the shore. The people in the town loved the lighthouse and were very proud of that lighthouse. But with the rise of technology, the lighthouse no longer served its function. So, the people moved the lighthouse from the island into town. There, they cleaned it up, fixed it up and created a schedule so visitors could come and hear wonderful stories of how the lighthouse once saved people from doom. There were pamphlets and books, videos and calendars with pictures of the lighthouse. The sad moral of the story was that the lighthouse no longer saved lives. It no longer served the purpose for which it had been created. The Lighthouse was now no longer a lighthouse, but a museum.

The point the pastor was making was that many churches have become museums. The open their doors and are no longer places of worship, but rather give tours to tourists, who come and take pictures of the magnificent stained-glass windows and painted ceilings.

I think that the pastor was on to something. He was challenging his church to consider not just the day they were in, but to consider where they were going.

So, let me ask you this morning: what will the church in Tarpley look like in 25 years? Will she be a museum, where folks come and take tours and learn about the glory days of when Pastor Dick Sisk led the church?

We’re studying 1st Timothy. Today we’re starting chapter 2. We’ve just finished the introduction, which is basically all of Chapter One. Paul is writing to Timothy and he charges Timothy to say something: to confront false teachers and their false teaching/doctrine. Now, in Chapter two, Paul turns to some basic practices in the church to be observed with order and oversight.

To help us construct our passage clearly, Paul uses a word here, that guides us through the points he’s trying to make. That guide, that word is all. You’re familiar with the Gk word which means all, too: παν. And you see it translated into English as all or every.

  • Panacea: a remedy for all ills or difficulties
  • Pan-America: including all of America, North, and South
  • Panchromatic: sensitives to the light of all colors
  • Pandemonium: the home of all demons in Milton’s Paradise Lost; A wild uproar
  • Panorama
  • Pantheism
  • Pantheon

We locate this word in six locations:

  • First of all, in v 1;
  • In every way, v 1;
  • Pray for all people v2;
  • All who are in high positions, v 2;
  • God desires for all people v4
  • Jesus gave himself as a ransom for all people, v6

I think from this, we find Paul’s Structure: v2, all people; v4, all people; v6, all people

  1. Our Priority: The Call to Prayer and Piety that pleases God (1-3):
    1. Prayer for Leadership: The way we battle false doctrine (1)
    2. Godliness:
      1. Public Perception and (2)
      2. God’s Pleasure (3)
    3. Our Purpose: The Foundation for this call to Public Prayer and Piety (4-7)
      1. God’s Passion in seeing the lost saved (4)
      2. God’s Plan in sending his Son as a ransom for all (5-6)
      3. God’s Purpose in sending us (7)


Let’s look at this first section:

I.     Our Priority in the Church (1-3)

exp.: Why do I say priority? Look what he says in 2.1: rd v 1a; first of all; this means one of two things: the first, as in order and maybe even in importance. You either start with prayer or nothing is more important than prayer. If you ask me which one it is, I’d say, both!

Can I repeat that: It is the first thing you should do and there is probably nothing more important in your winning people to Christ than our prayers for them. Which brings me to another very important bit of information. Context: The context here is public prayers (as opposed to private). You will see in v 8 that Paul is referring to the public worship setting. As the church gathers, the first order of business, AND, there is nothing more important than this order of business – is to pray publicly for all people.

We don’t always do that do we? I’m sure there are many reasons, but here’s one: We’ve moved our worship from public settings to these buildings. That wasn’t the early church’s MO (modus operandi). In the very beginning, they met in the Temple. As we make our way through those first few decades of the church’s existence, we see them gather in homes and in public places. They would gather in public places and other people (outsiders) saw them. That still happens to some degree (that is: lost people observing the church in worship). It is my assumption that not everyone who comes to church on Sunday morning is saved.

But the early church didn’t construct magnificent edifices of costly construction like we do. That comes along sometime later. The early church met in public places. Crazy, huh? That’s a foreign concept for us today. But I wonder if the church would fare better if she met in homes and in public places.

ill.: As I think about this, I’m reminded of something: Did you know that the American Church has more in debt each year to banks and financial institutions than what she gives to missions each year?

That’s right: the American Church is Hundreds of Millions of dollars in debt for the Buildings and Worship Centers and Gymnasiums and Swimming pools and Bowling alleys and parking garages….

I’m rambling, but it goes to show you that prayer isn’t our top priority – and according to what Paul is saying – it should be.

No, the early church met in homes and in public places.

Back to our text: Paul says, First of all! Paul has been going off on these false teachers and their false doctrine and then he comes to structure and order in the church. And what comes first? 1First of all, then, I urge that and Paul gives us 4 words for prayer in the church. They’re really all synonyms for prayer.

  • Supplications
  • Prayers
  • Intercessions
  • Thanksgivings

This is “requests, specific requests, general requests, and even gratitude.” It’s all still just prayer. It’s talking to God. It is interceding on behalf of needs – and the context here is publicly praying for people.

Some would argue that this passage is in direct conflict with what Jesus taught in Mt 6.6: But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. But the context there was attitude. These folks would be neglecting the previous verse, which reads: “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. If your purpose is being seen – then, yes, check the motives of your prayers!

Or, as our text outlines for us who to pray for: it says all people. Now, let me ask you: is that even possible? Well, the answer would be no. You don’t know all of the 7.5 billion-plus people on this planet. So, how can you fulfill this charge? Let me offer you a little help in understanding what Paul means in a 1st Century Context of the Greek language. This word translated all can be more easily understood as all kinds. I sometimes translate it that way to help understand what is being communicated.

Ill.: I first came across this passage back in College and wondered about how it was possible: Mt 4.23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So, if you take this literally, there were no other sick people in Galilee. But if you understand the meaning of the word as ‘all kinds’ of sickness and disease – well that changes it a bit doesn’t it?

So you should understand the text as saying; Rd:

V 1: prayer for all kinds of people;

V4: God desires that all kinds of people be saved;

V6; Jesus died (gave himself a ransom) for all kinds of people;

And, Paul says, first of all, pray. And then specifies next that these prayers be made for all kinds of people… let’s label this:

  1. A Call to Prayer: Our priority in the church is a call to prayer; it is like the foundational way we battle false doctrine; but I think there is more here, and that is seen in this little statement: prayers be made for all people.
    1. For sure, there is this universal idea or theme to his statement. In Jewish religious practices, the Jew would normally pray for their neighbor. Paul’s idea is pretty radical compared to what they were used to practicing. Basically, there isn’t anyone who fits outside of these parameters. You can’t find someone you’re not supposed to pray for…
    2. I don’t think this means to be generic in your prayers: God bless everyone. Let there be peace on earth. But rather, pray for all people. Everyone you can think of. There is no one who you shouldn’t pray for.

rd v 2; for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

Let’s call this:

  1. A Call to Piety: this is holy living as described in 4 parts: peaceful, quiet, godly, dignified. You might see this as the Public’s Perception of us. This is what they see in us. So, with this in mind, I think Paul is being more specific here in what he’s talking about in prayers: this isn’t the private devotional prayer. This is public prayer. It is Public Prayer as observed by others who are watching us in our Worship Services.

I think 2ndly, Paul tells us why we are to do this:  in order that… we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. For the Jews, this was a practice that was encouraged because, in that 1st Century, the emperor was to be worshiped. The act of publicly praying for the emperor was encouraging and it caused those in high offices to back off of pressuring and persecuting the Jews and the Christians. So, first, the leadership backed off. 2nd, the leadership would be kind toward those people allowing them to lead… a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

app.: Here is Paul’s charge to them through Timothy: Pray and practice Piety. Because he continues in v 3; rd v 3; it pleases God. This is the pleasure of God in the Church: Prayer and Piety.

t.s.: Let’s continue… 2nd,

II.    Our Purpose in Evangelism (4-7)

exp.: God is pleased with this kind lifestyle and then God desires; Rd who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. So, there is this call to prayer and a call to holy living, all within the sight of lost people. And what is the result – that people would get saved.

In the context of our lives today – which is totally different now than it was for those people – I’m thinking that Worship is still an evangelistic tool. We don’t worship for that purpose, but it is a result of lost people coming into the presence of the church as she worships. At least it should be! I mean, if worship is focused on us, then it won’t be. But if worship focuses on God, then it will be.

Let that sink in for a moment: The passion of God is for people to get saved. Is that overstated? I don’t think so. Peter said something very similar in 2 Peter 3.9

And then, Paul tells us how they can get saved: it’s his plan. Rd v 5; One God (holy, perfect) and us sinners; but there is a mediator who brings us together; How did he do that? rd v 6; Christ freely gave himself as a ransom.

This would be my plea to you this morning if you’ve never committed your life to Christ: God is holy and perfect. We are sinners and our sin separates us from God. I like to use a book like this to illustrate the sin that separates us. So, because we were helpless to act on our own, to remove this sin, God has sent his own son to die on the cross for our sins. He was buried in a borrowed tomb and he was raised three days later, where he ascended to be with the Father – and rules and reigns in glory.

And the Bible teaches us that if we’ll surrender our lives to him, that if we confess Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead, we’ll be saved.

Paul says, that was his mission, rd v 7; that’s God’s purpose for him. But, that is also our mission. We’ve been given the Great Commission.

Conclusion: Paul did his job, as outlined in v5-7; the church flourished. Church tradition teaches that the Apostle John moved to Ephesus sometime around the time 2 Timothy was written. We don’t know if that is true or not, but it is certainly possible. We know in his later life that he was exiled to the isle of Patmos, just off the coast from Ephesus -so that lines up. The church at Ephesus experienced its most fruitful time after this letter was written, in the early ’60s and through the ’90s when John lived there.

But, from that point on, as the church at Ephesus entered the 2nd Century, she faced a steep decline – such that, she would disappear from the annals of history by the year 200. Today, Islam rules this area. Indeed, just up the coast, in what is known today as Istanbul, their famous Muslim Mosque, used to be a church building. It is called Hagia Sophia. And today, it isn’t even a mosque. It’s a museum. Many churches throughout time have faded from history and have become Museums.

Application: What is to become of us? What will we pass on to the next generation? Will we pass a vibrant, living church? Or, will we leave them a pretty building that houses a museum? Do we understand our roles and responsibilities as a church? Are we susceptible to the plague of mediocrity and the result of living in the past, with no eye to the future? Consider this, if we reach no one for Christ from this point forward, who will be here 25 years from now?

So, what do I want you to take home with you? Take-a-ways:

  1. A Call to Prayer. Pray daily. Pray about our future (mission; programs; staff). Pray for people to get saved. Pray for God’s protection on your pastor; on your congregation. On you. Pray for unity.
  2. Evangelism is the Main Thing when it comes to perpetuity. Evangelism is our business. Yes, we come together to worship, but out there – Evangelism is our business.
  3. Evangelism is most effective when undergirded with prayer and a godly lifestyle.
  4. He who determines the ends also determines the means. That means that the same God who knows who will get saved has determined that the way they will get saved is through your obedience to share with them.

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1 Timothy 1.18-20

Title: The Charge Reiterated

Text: 1 Timothy 1.18-20

CIT: Paul reiterates his reason for Timothy’s presence in Ephesus to charge certain men not to teach unsound doctrine which means, they should not teach any doctrine that does not align with the Apostolic Faith.

CIS: That same Apostolic Faith has been handed down to you. This generation of believers is entrusted with this precious gift and the responsibility to pass it on to others and protect its purity and from corruption.


Intro: David Allen, a Guest columnist for the Southern Baptist Texan, tells the story of an ultra-marathon that took place in 1983, in the land down under, in Australia. 150 world-class runners converged on Sydney for this 543.7-mile race to Melbourne. At the time, it was the world’s longest and toughest ultra-marathon. On the day of the race, a toothless 61-year-old potato farmer and sheepherder named Cliff Young approached the registration table wearing overalls and galoshes over his work boots. At first, the people there thought he was a simple bystander–someone who was interested in what was going on. They were shocked when Cliff meandered over to the registration table and wanted to sign up for the race.

What these people didn’t know was that Cliff had grown-up on the farm without the benefit of such luxuries has horses and tractors and 4-wheel drive vehicles. For his entire life, Cliff had run around the hillside rounding up sheep or cattle on their 2000-acre farm. There were times when Cliff would spend 2 to 3 days running around the hillside, rounding up his animals.

The staff, of course, wasn’t so sure that he was serious about entering this race. He wasn’t dressed like the others. He was decades older than the others. However, after much convincing that he was serious, the race staff issued him a bib with the #64 on it. When the gun went off all of the runners took off in a sprint. All, that is, except for Cliff. Can you imagine the scene: athletes with sculptured bodies, Taped up, Vaseline in all the right places, water bottles and food snacks tucked away in their backpacks; running shorts and shirts with athletic company logos on them, Nike running shoes, a shot is fired and all of these professional athletes take off like they’re in race. But, slowly at the back of the pack, Cliff begins to shuffle along. Remember, he’s wearing his raincoat and galoshes over his boots. There were those who thought it was wrong to let Cliff in the race. Someone should stop that crazy old man before he hurts himself.

But, five days, 15 hours and four minutes later, Cliff Young came shuffling across the finish line in Melbourne, winning the ultra-marathon! The nearest runner was some nine hours and 56 minutes behind him. Australians were riveted to the TV as they watched reports of the race unfold. How could someone like Cliff beat all of those well-trained athletes? Everyone knew that the race would take 6 1/2 days, with the runners running some 18 hours each day and sleeping 6 hours at night. But Cliff didn’t know that. Everyone was asleep when he ran by the camping area. He just ran day and night and night and day until he finished. He beat the previous record by 9 hours.

Transition: It sounds kind of like the tortoise and the rabbit. While the others slept, he would pass them up. I’m sure they thought that he was so old, that he couldn’t compete and wouldn’t even complete the race. I’m sure they all thought that he was so slow that they just couldn’t lose. But, but to everyone’s amazement, old, slow and steady won the race.

Paul uses words like these to describe the Christian life. Clay read those verses for us earlier this morning: Runner, Athlete, Fighter. We see that last word in our text today: rd 1 Tim 1.18-20;

This ends the opening section of Paul’s letter to Timothy. You’ll note in the very next verse Paul begins to outline for Timothy the way this looks in the church: Prayer, Roles and Responsibilities, Leadership (the two offices of the church); In Chapter 4 Paul comes back to the issue of doctrine and purity for those who are in leadership. In Chapter 5, Paul outlines care for church membership and the way we act toward each other. Paul closes out his letter in Chapter 6, returning to this topic of Timothy’s responsibility as pastor there at Ephesus. Today we close out this introduction with a return to the charge:

The Charge Reiterated was two-fold:

  1. Confront false teaching: (18-19a)
  2. Confront false teachers: (19b-20)

Let’s take these one at a time:

  1. Confront false teaching: (18-19a); well, how? Paul gives Timothy some great, even inspiring instruction. Note first:
    1. Fight Well: rd v 18; the term is soldier (a noun) and the 2nd term is what the soldier does (verb). A plumber plumbs. A Policeman, polices. A soldier… fights. We don’t usually think of church work in terms of fighting. But in a very real sense, it is. But here’s our problem: We often forget who we’re fighting against! Our fight isn’t against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual realm. That’s probably Satan’s greatest advantage over us. We see this and we think “Yeah” and we fight each other. Wrong! This is a spiritual battle and it requires us to be strategic or methodical in our warfare. 2nd, he says,
    2. Use your gifts: rd 18a; what does he mean here – in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you? The key is the wording that follows, that by them you may wage the good warfare… Lit.: in order that you might soldier in them the good battle. Or, … in order that you might soldier in them the good campaign or war. But, when you put the whole phrase together, don’t forget the ‘by them’ or ‘in them’ prepositional phrase. He writes: 18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that you may fight in them (i.e.: your spiritual gifts, the prophecies) the good fight.
      1. 2 Tim 1.6 Paul mentions that these gifts came to Timothy when Paul and other men laid their hands on Timothy and prayed over him.
      2. There is another way, too. These gifts are affirmed by the people who love Timothy. Paul mentions Lois and Eunice. He mentions in Acts 16, the citizens of Iconium and Lystra, as speaking well of Timothy. They had observed his life and affirmed his gifts. Fight Well, and use your gifts. And 3rd,
    3. Live out what you believe: Paul mentions this 3rd way we see Timothy is to confront this false teaching, by living out his faith. Rd v 19a; holding faith and a good conscience.
      1. Holding faith is lit.: having faith, meaning it is something you possess. What is implied here is that this faith is The Faith. The Apostolic Faith, as has been passed down from Paul to Timothy. You don’t see the definite article here, but it is used earlier – and according to the rules of grammar in the Gk language, the article is to be applied Cliff Youngagain, here, even though it isn’t written. If I recall, it is called anarthrous. But I could be wrong on that. Here’s the point. He’s talking about the apostolic faith.

Ill. Now, this is deep. I mean really deep. Consider that Paul was entrusted with this Faith. He passed it on to Timothy. Timothy will be encouraged to pass it on to other faithful men. That was God’s plan all along. That’s it. This faith, if it is to live on, has to be passed on to others. AND, added to this, it must be preserved in its purity. That’s your job – and that’s my job. Two P’s: Pass it on AND Keep it Pure.

This isn’t some recipe passed down from generation to generation that you might change up a bit for taste. This must be kept pure and undefiled. Those are the rules.

Holding faith and next,

  1. a clear (good) conscience – do you know how to have a clear conscience? It’s how you live. It is when you know what to do and you do it. Simply put: it is living out your faith in the day-to-day context of relationships. (19a) husbands to wives, wives to husbands; children to parents and parents to children; friend to friend and neighbor to neighbor; boss to employee and employee to boss; worker to customer and customer to worker; and on and on it goes.

App.: Timothy, confront false teaching head-on. Fight the good fight, use your gifts well as you live out what you believe.

Transition: Paul does something absolutely mind-boggling for us at this point. He names names! Are you kidding me! rd v 19b-20, He’s naming names and pointing fingers!


  1. Confront false teachers: (19b-20)
    1. Who have rejected this (the faith and a clear conscience) (19b); instead, they’ve swerved (v6) off course and are teaching the opposite of v9-16.
    2. Who are specifically named: Hymenaeus and Alexander; Do we have to do this? I think yes, we do. We must call false teachers out. And this can be so hard. Why? Because some of you like those false teachers. Men and Women. Here’s the problem: we all like to hear inspirational, feel-good teaching. I do. But, what if it is false? Those teachers need to be called out – by name. Let me say that my goal isn’t to begin naming false teachers by name this morning. That would take too long! But, the context is about confronting false teachers in the church. And that isn’t just my calling – but it is yours, too. (20)
    3. Who have been excommunicated (20); handed over to Satan. Someone asked me what this means. I said, “I don’t know, but it doesn’t sound good.” I think this means those men were put out of the church. Some people don’t like that. They feel like it is judging. Well, it is. We’re commanded to judge people in the church. It is non-believers, people outside of the church we’re not supposed to judge. That’s probably what hurts us so bad in the eyes of the world. We’re judgmental of lost people and don’t say anything about the evil that lurks within!

Ill.: I’m grateful for the men in my life who loved me enough to help me as a young preacher and teacher; to correct my faults with love and care.

The Charge: Timothy, confront false teaching head-on. Fight the good fight, use your gifts well as you live out what you believe. When you hear it and see it, call it out – name names! Call ‘em out and put ‘em out of the church.



  1. You’ve been entrusted
  2. You’ve been equipped
    1. w/ the prophecies (Scripture)
    2. w/ the faith (i.e., the Apostolic Faith)
    3. w/ responsibility to live out that faith before others
    4. w/ responsibility to speak it.
  3. You have some negative examples

Conclusion: Story of Cliff Young? He won the race because he simply did what he had always been doing. He’s gone now. He passed away 20 years later, in 2003 at the age of 81. He won $10,000 for coming in first place. He divided up the money and gave the first 5 runners, who came in after him, $2,000 each. He didn’t do it for the money. When asked why he ran, he simply replied. I always wanted to run in a race and this one fit my calendar. The race organizers asked him to run again. But he said, “No. I don’t think so.” When asked of his secret, he said: “don’t stop.”

What about you? Do you find your walk with Christ a struggle, because it isn’t something you live and breathe every day? Don’t wait for the gun to go off to get started preparing. Let the Christian life be your normal MO. And then, when called to ‘fight the good fight’ or to ‘run the race’ it’ll be something you already do normally…

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1 Timothy 1.12-17

Title: Jesus Came to Save Sinners

Text: 1 Timothy 1.12-17


Introduction: One of the things I miss about having church on Sunday night is that it is so relaxed. The music, the conversation… really everything. I miss people sharing Scripture and the specials from children and others who might not normally sing on a Sunday morning. But what I miss most is the testimony time. Now, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes, testimonies were more about the person rough life than about the grace and mercy of Christ. But that is more the exception than the rule. I tell you, I worship when I hear a powerful testimony to the grace and mercy of God. I really do. Something in my spirit is moved.

As we’ve made our way through 1 Timothy we’ve seen Paul charge Timothy with the task of confronting teachers who present unsound, unhealthy doctrine. But now Paul takes a break to insert this… almost parenthetical statement about the joy and privilege of serving Christ and this statement culminates in a glorious doxology.

Transition: But get this, that even in Paul’s Testimony, the story isn’t about him. It is about Christ. This is what Paul wants you to see – He wants you to see Christ. First, he wants you to see:

I.     The Mercy of Christ (12-13):

exp.: rd v 12; Paul expresses his Gratitude toward Christ for his incredible mercy in appointing Paul into Christian Service: Look at how Paul points to Christ…The Mercy of Christ is evident in the following actions:

  • Christ has strengthened him (lit.; empowered me): rd v 12; Timothy, you’ve been called to this work and this is my experience in the work: Christ has empowered me to do this ministry which he has called me to do.

app.: I know I usually give my applications at the end, but can I just stop right here and say, wow! What an incredible application for us. Christ will give you what you need to accomplish the mission he tasks you with! Provision is such an important lesson to learn.

ill.: Phil 4.10-13; context – the context is God’s provision for Paul; that also means strength to enure when it seems you have nothing;

  • Christ has judged him faithful (lit.: considered or thought me faithful; NASB)
  • Christ has appointed him to this ministry; this echoes v 1; an apostle; commissioned; And this is where we see the mercy of Christ; appointed to this ministry, this service (διακονίαν) in spite of the fact that…
    • All of this in spite of the fact that he, himself felt that he was so undeserving of Christ’s mercy. Rd v 13; He says: I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent
    • The Reason: He had acted ignorantly and in unbelief

ill.: we saw that in the passage John read for us earlier; there at the stoning of Stephen, giving approval Acts 7.54-8.3;

app.: Mercy is such a beautiful word – mercy displayed through equipping Paul and empowering him to do this blessed ministry.

t.s.: So first, Paul wants us to see the Mercy of Christ in his life – in spite of who Paul was and how he had acted as a non-believer. Secondly, Paul wants us to see

II.    The Grace of Christ (14-16):

exp.: Paul’s displays his Attitude toward the Gospel because of the grace of Christ toward him: (Christ’s Amazing Grace toward Paul);

exp.: rd v 14a; overflowed like, in superabundance; According to Gordan Knight, this grace, which overflows in superabundance, not only forgives and strengthens, but it moves one into a sphere of faith and love – and better, it keeps one in that sphere. But listen, to Calvin on this…

faith and love may be referring to God… I opt for a more straightforward exposition. Faith and love bear witness to God’s grace that has just been referred to, so nobody will conclude that Paul is boasting for no good reason. Faith is contrasted with Paul’s unbelief (v13); Love in Christ is contrasted with the cruel persecution Paul had handed out to believers. It is as if he was now saying that God had transformed him and he was now a new person.

That’s pretty deep if you ponder on it for a bit. Christ, in all of his mercy and grace, gives the believer the faith and love he or she now needs to live this Christian life. I think this matches what Paul teaches to the Romans in Romans 5.

And to add strength to this, Paul now seems to quote a popular saying: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

Ill.: Philip Ryken tells of how modern-day worship leaders have taken to changing words in hymns to make them more palatable. One example he gives is: Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound, that saved and strengthens me. Which, sounds harmless at first. But, the point Ryken makes is that people don’t want to be considered wretches. They’re basically saying God’s amazing grace reaches to them, but that they’re pretty good people – not wretches. And then Ryken goes on to quote Brian Ragan: Grace is amazing because it saves wretches, not because it puts a final polish on nice people.

What we need to do is see ourselves as Paul sees himself. He, himself, was an example of Christ’s incredible patience toward the hardest sinner. I think the way you and I do that is to see ourselves in light of Christ. I think you do that when you see who Christ is in all of his holiness and purity and glory. And, we then see ourselves in comparison to him – then, we’ll understand the term wretched.

Ill.: it is kind of like having a standard for jumping. We might think we’re pretty good jumpers for someone our age, but the truth is there is someone who jumps higher and farther than we do. Jason, or Blake. If we were that way we’d be happy to jump high and we’d compare ourselves to others that we’re better than and strive to be like those who are better than us.

Back in Harlingen, we had a gym. I’m sure they still do. I was minister of youth and recreation, so I hosted a basketball game at lunch. We had a group of guys who would take lunch and come to play basketball. It was so much fun. There was always a lot of trash talking and fouling, traveling – basic rule-breaking. But, nobody ever believed he was actually at fault. Including myself! So I set up a camera to record our game. I placed it up on the 2nd floor and videoed our lunch hour game. Afterward, I told everyone what I did and most of the guys wanted to stay and watch. I knew I recorded it and was still embarrassed at what I saw. That was at least 25 years ago and I couldn’t believe how pitiful I looked. I’m so used to seeing the pros move and jump and run.

But here’s the thing: the standard in jumping is to jump as high as Lebron James! The stand is to jump up and touch the moon! And no one can do that – we all fall short of the standard – if that were the case.

The reality is that the standard is Holiness – and all of us fall short of the glory of God in that category, too! Only one person met the standard: Christ! But look at how incredible this grace and mercy is toward him in v16; rd v 16; Wow! That’s’ a beautiful picture of the Messiah.

Transition: Once we see ourselves that way and we realize just what He has done for us – his incredible patience toward us, we can’t help but break out in Worship… and that is exactly what Paul does in v 17.

III.   Doxology: The Magnitude of Paul’s Praise to Christ for His great mercy and grace.

exp.: we see that in v 17; rd v 17; this is a sermon in itself. We could set aside this verse, break it down phrase by phrase, word by word and create a sermon series on the glory and majesty of the Father. That actually sounds fun! 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

So, what did we learn today? What will you take with you when we go our separate ways?


  1. I want you to think about the attributes of Christ as Paul presents Christ in his testimony: strengthens, empowers, provides, patient, loving, faithful, He doesn’t give us what we deserve and He gives us what we don’t deserve. You’ve probably heard this little ring before:
    1. Mercy: not getting what we deserve; Paul describes his experience of calling to this incredible service as ‘mercy’. He deserved was what he had dished out to others. He counted it as a blessing to suffer for Christ.
    2. Grace: getting what we don’t deserve; Paul describes his experience of salvation as ‘grace’ toward him. He did not deserve salvation or the privilege of serving the Master. But really, who does? Who is?
  2. I’m glad Samaritan’s Purse was here today with us. I’m grateful for their ministry and the opportunity we have to participate. But I want to caution you: don’t think that the sum of your Christian service is sending shoeboxes filled with Christmas gifts to children. Because serving can feel good. Helping out at helping hand can stroke your ego. Those are good things, but that isn’t what saves you. It should be what you do because of who you are.
    1. The Trustees and I are planning to meet soon to talk strategy for the upcoming year. We want to encourage missions and evangelism. That is all part of the plan. But don’t rely on that to make you feel good about yourself and your Christianity.
    2. It isn’t that you don’t do them then, but that you do those ministries with the right intentions.
    3. Isn’t it odd or peculiar that Paul considers it ‘mercy’ that Christ would allow Paul to suffer as he had caused others to suffer? It brings up a great question about what does it mean to suffer and do we see that as God’s mercy in our lives?
    4. I think we often see mercy as God doing something wonderful in our lives – but what about suffering for him in accomplishing the ministry he’s called us to…
    5. What does it mean that the disciples… left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. Or, when Paul says… Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
    6. How crazy, right? To see God’s mercy in suffering for Him and His glory! It’s Gut-check time.
  3. I think of Paul’s statement about the perfect patience of Christ. Peter says the same thing – it isn’t that the Lord is slack in returning, it’s that he is displaying his perfect patience toward us. If you sit here today and you’ve never committed your life to Christ, that should move you, that he has delayed his return to give you more time.

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Filed under 1 Timothy, Authenticity, Christian Living, Scripture, Sermon, The Gospel