Category Archives: Christian Living

1 Timothy 5.3-16

Title: The Treatment of Members: Confronting & Caring

Text: 1 Timothy 5. 3-16

 

Introduction: Confronting and Caring. The two words really come together well. Consider this: if you don’t care about someone, you’re not going to confront them in their error. If you don’t care about them, then you don’t care about what will happen to them. Let them perish in their folly. But, if you care, then you’ll want to protect them and help them see the error in their way.

It is interesting to me that Paul moves from confronting people in the church to caring for people in the church. I think that is because they’re close to the same thing.

We pick up where we left off last week – in the discussion of older women, in particular, widows. You probably remember Paul’s commands concerning confronting members.

I.     Confronting Members (1-2)

    1. Confronting Older Men (v 1)
    2. Confronting Younger Men (v 1)
    3. Confronting Older Women (v 2)
    4. Confronting Younger Women (v 2)

exp.: as sisters, in all purity; probably just with this last phrase; a 2nd reminder of the moral responsibility as a man of God;

app.: The Context is that for a pastor, don’t lash out at people; There is an appropriate way to handle problems we have with members; Timothy isn’t to Lord it over them just because he’s the pastor. But instead, he is to confront these brothers and sisters in Christ with respect and dignity and honor (5th commandment);

I don’t think this is just for a young pastor. We can be this way with each other. We should be, right?

Paul turns his attention to another situation in Ephesus, which is point #2:

II.    Caring for Widows (3-8)

exp.: rd v 3; I don’t know about you, but I’m like: Truly Widows? Isn’t the definition of a widow pretty clear?

     1.  Truly a Widow (really, indeed)

exp.: truly; Lk 23:47 – this really was an innocent man; Lk 24:34 – The Lord is really risen; Jn 8:36 – If the Son sets you free indeed; Mark 11.32 – John was truly a prophet. What Paul is saying here is that there are women who have lost their husbands, but they aren’t in desperate need that other women who’ve lost their husbands are! I don’t think he’s being mean or harsh. Paul is trying to not overload the work of the church. Think about this for a moment: a woman in that culture didn’t work like men did. We do find women working and we find them in leadership, but for the overwhelming majority of the women, when they lost their husbands, they lost their livelihood. So, Paul breaks down the need into categories. He identifies those who are truly needy and those living without necessities – a woman who needed care. To clarify, Paul list three categories or ‘types of widows’.

     2. Types of Widows

    • Widow w/ family (4)

exp.: rd v 4a; a widow who has family, both children and/or grandchildren; ‘themis a plural pronoun, which I believe points back to the children and grandchildren; ‘widow’ is singular here. Let the children and grandchildren care for her – and return to them the same care she gave them;

Consider what she has done for them over the years. It’s time to reciprocate. How many diapers has she changed? How many ‘bottoms’ has she wiped and cleaned? How many meals has she cooked for them? How many times has she cared for them when they were sick? Cleaned up vomit? Spit up? Held them, cried for them, prayed over them? She didn’t do it thinking someday they’ll return the favor. She did it out of love.

It’s time now for her children and grandchildren to show that same love to her; rd 4b; this is pleasing in the sight of God; godliness and obedience; it’s how you honor them.

    • Widow w/ no family (5)

exp.: rd v 5a; a widow who is truly a widow has no family (μονόω), we get our word ‘mono’ for the singular; monologue; monotonous; she’s alone.

– Alone: has no concern except for the Lord; her family is the church and the church should care for her;

– She is concerned for the affairs of God; So, God’s family should take her in and care for her;

    • Widow w/ finances (6)

exp.: rd v 6; a widow who is self-sufficient, wealthy, resources; lit.: living in luxury; contrast the widow whose concern is the church and the woman whose concern is her own selfishness; she may have no family, but she has her money and her things;

     3. Teach these Warnings (7-8)

exp.: rd v 7,  who is the ‘they’; v 8 (4, 16); The family; If she has relatives, they are responsible for her; if they don’t care for her, then that is a poor witness; they’ve done two things: denied the faith, worse than an unbeliever; opposite of v 4; ungodly; disobedient; no honor; isn’t better to be an unbeliever and be seen as an unbeliever than to be a believer and bring harm to the body as a poor witness?

t.s.: Paul moves quickly to “the list”

III.   Criteria for Widowhood (9-16)

exp.: rd v 9-10; So, it appears that there is a list of those widows who should be cared for. This is good. We need a group of folks in our church who take on this responsibility – to organize those who are truly widows and then to organize care and concern – to lead the church in this matter. There needs to be some organization – a list is made. That list can then begin to tackle or take on specific needs. Screens that need repair, vehicles that need to be made ready for summer, that these widows are being watched over in the COVID-19 era. What is this List? The List: There seems to have been an official ‘order of widows’. These women had certain requirements and if the church had been supported by these ladies, then, by all means, the church should care for them. Titus 2:3-5;

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

ill.: J. MacArthur: Their duties surely included helping with the baptism of women, visiting the sick, visiting prisoners, teaching and discipling younger women, helping younger women rear and nurture their children, and providing hospitality for visitors and strangers. They may have also assisted in placing orphans into proper Christian homes. That was a very important ministry in the Roman world since orphaned or abandoned children wound up as slaves, and often as prostitutes or gladiators. With their own husbands gone and their children grown, those widows had the time to pursue such essential ministries.

That such a group of widows existed in the early church is known from extra-biblical sources. In the late first and early second centuries, Ignatius and Polycarp wrote of such an order. Tertullian, who lived in the latter part of the second and early part of the third century, also mentioned it. The third-century document known as the Didascalia and the fourth century ‘Apostolic Constitutions’ also refer to an order of widows.

 – Three Criteria to make the List (9-10)

    • Age
    • Faithfulness
    • Service (good works)
      1. Brought up her children; this isn’t necessarily in the order of preference or prominence, but it definitely deserves some attention. Is there a greater task of importance than a mother to her children? Maybe to her husband?
      2. Hospitable
      3. Washed feet
      4. Cared for the afflicted (θλίβω (thlibō) under pressure to squeeze; it means to be between a rock and a hard place)
      5. Devoted herself to these ‘good works’; good works are a demonstration of godliness in a woman’s life – they demonstrate her beauty.

IV.    Caution/Urge Younger Widows to marry (11-15)

          1. Downward spiral
          2. Better to Marry

exp.: evidently, some of the widows have fallen for this false teaching in the church, they’ve chased after the things of this world and are causing trouble in the church.

There is something really interesting here that takes place throughout this chapter:

Aside: The order of people who care for widows: (16)

  • Children and Grandchildren (v 4)
  • Male Relatives (v 8)
  • Female Relatives (v 16)

I don’t think this means that the church should ignore widows who have relatives who can care for them. But it does help us in regard to identifying widows in need and our responsibility to care for them.

Conclusion:

So, what is Paul saying here:

1. Anyone can be led astray: Old, young; male, female. We’re all vulnerable to false teaching.

2. But, widows need particular attention, because they are preyed on by others.

–  Widows, in particular, were targeted with false teaching in Ephesus.

But some of you might be asking about this because it isn’t what you see. What I mean is this: the government has taken over the responsibility to care for widows and orphans. And you know what, I’m grateful for those who saw the need and led out in caring for those folks. I’m grateful that our Christian virtues and ethics impacted our government.

But does that mean we ignore the command as given by God to the church? No, it doesn’t. The church needs to step up and care for her widows.

So, with this in mind, let me ask a question: Are you feeling a tug on your heart to care for the widows/widowers? – to make sure they’re ok? – to make sure they’re not being taken advantage of? Maybe the Lord is moving in your heart to step up to this task.

Ill.: Joanne Walker of Corvalis, Montana: Our wedding reception, in my parents’ home, ended late. Mom didn’t try to clean up until the next morning. To her dismay, there were cake crumbs everywhere! “How careless the guests were,” she thought to herself.

Until she went to the kitchen. There, still neatly stacked and clean, were the plates and forks–forgotten by my mother in the busyness of the preparations. In other words, with all of her work, she forgot to set out the very utensils needed to prevent such a mess. In her busyness, she forgot her business.

3. Busyness vs. Business

It’s easy to forget in the busyness of the church what the true business is: imaging God (being the Body of Christ). Let’s not get so busy with things that we overlook a very important part of our church: Our widows – those women (and I might add men) who are truly widows indeed.

Difference between the Y and the I; Busyness leads to questions: Why are their crumbs all over the floor, Why were people so careless? Business, true business leads to the I…what can I do, how can I help?

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Filed under 1 Timothy, Christian Living, Family, Purpose, Scripture, Sermon

1 Timothy 5.1-2

Title: The Treatment of Members: Confronting & Caring

Text: 1 Timothy 5:1-2

Introduction: 1 Timothy 5.1-2; Titus 2.1-8; Question: type the answer if you remember – What is our purpose as outlined from our WEBS.

Sometimes I think the whole Christian world is made up of just two groups: those who speak their faith and accomplish significant things for God, and those who criticize and malign the first group.

Don Basham, “On the Tip of My Tongue,”

Today I might sound critical of you… that isn’t my intention. I wish to be a part of the first group here – those who are a part of the solution…

You’ll note from the title of today’s message that the issue today is all about relationships. I have to say that I love it when the topic is relationships. I’ll reiterate what I’ve said so many times: nothing is more important in the church than relationships. If you want to know more, see me after the service. I’m serious…

Relationships are hard. Period. Some are harder than others, but it is what it is: hard! That is why they are so important. They’re important in evangelism, in discipleship, in worship, in prayer, in fellowship and the list goes on. Relationships permeate every aspect of the church. So, we need to get this right.

Think about our Purpose as a body as outlined from Wednesday Night: Imaging God. Our purpose isn’t just to worship. Our purpose isn’t evangelism. Our purpose isn’t discipleship. Yes, we ‘do’ all of these; but our purpose is to Glorify God. There is no commandment greater than Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. So, the question is, then, “what do we do when we haven’t been imaging God correctly?” We don’t like this part of relationships but confronting members who are not imaging God correctly is our task.

And, this is what I love about Paul’s letter. He’s saying to Timothy, Do the work of confronting, but do it in love! Let your first thought be love. Again, it comes back to relationships!

 

Opening Illustration: Joshua Harris

The Evangelical World has been rocked in the last few years with defectors from the faith. This past year saw Joshua Harris and Marty Sampson, two very high-profile evangelicals announce that they are no longer Christians. Harris announced that he was both divorcing his wife and renouncing his faith.

Joshua Harris: You probably remember Joshua Harris from his book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Before those two very big announcements, he made some statements in an interview where he simply said he was having trouble reconciling his theology with his life experience.

I think that there’s a push by some people to say being sex-positive means — the kind of the historical sexual ethic related to sex outside of marriage, related to homosexuality, is basically laid aside, and embracing a healthy view of sex means just accepting all that as fine within the Christian tradition. … I do think though that, for me, in that change of interpretation of such a fundamental level when it comes to sexuality, it’s just hard for me to … In a way, it’s almost easier for me to contemplate throwing out all of Christianity than it is to keeping Christianity and adapting it in these different ways.

This is refreshing in the respect that he can’t reconcile what the world teaches and what the Bible teaches. The problem with liberal theology is that it can’t reconcile both either. Their stance is to just throw out those portions of Scripture. But Harris doesn’t do that. He fully acknowledges that the Bible teaches something contrary to what the world teaches. There is more, and it comes out on Social Media. Using either Instagram or his twitter account, He stated that he isn’t a Christian. He said that based on his definition of what a Christian is, he isn’t. Others have encouraged him to move to a more liberal movement in observing the faith, but he has declared that he isn’t there yet.

Here’s the problem with a false gospel being preached from the pulpits – it creates a bunch of false followers who are in the game for all the wrong reasons. When God doesn’t do what the preachers have promised, then there is frustration and anger (and, I suppose, a step-by-step process of all the stages Kübler-Ross outlined) and eventually, a falling away. This is called a ‘transactional view’ of God. If I do such and such, God will reward me with such and such.

To be honest, my heart hurts for these men and others like them who have left devastated followers in their wake. They preach a gospel of success and happiness that comes through legalism. They don’t call it that, but that is what they promise. Don’t date anymore. Instead of dating, court your future spouse and God will give you the blessings of a wonderful marriage. Joshua lived that out and it failed him. So, he gave up on God. God let him down as he sees it. God didn’t keep his end of the bargain.

Hear what I’m saying: court, date, get married through an arranged marriage. It doesn’t matter which one you choose. In any of those cases, relationships are still hard! Do any of the following and your marriage might end. Do any of the following and your kids might still get sick – they might still die. Any message from a preacher who declares that if you’ll do this then God will do that – is a false doctrine.

Michael and Lisa Gungor are two more folks who experienced the same thing. They did what they thought they were supposed to do. According to her YouTube video, they dated and waited. But when they had a child with down syndrome, doubt began to creep in. They had done what they thought God wanted them to do, but then God didn’t keep his end of the bargain – transactional theology. They both now claim to be atheists.

Marty Sampson: Hillsong United Worship Leader. Oh, praise the name of the Lord our God. Oh, praise his name forevermore.

And, this is precisely what Paul has been warning Timothy about in our letter: don’t let false teachers present a false gospel. The damage they bring is destructive. Hear what I’m saying: court, date, get married through an arranged marriage. It doesn’t matter which one you choose. In any of those cases, relationships are still hard! I reiterate: Do any of the following and your marriage might end. Do any of the following and your kids might still get sick – they might still die. Any message from a preacher who declares that if you’ll do this then God will do that – is a false doctrine.

Look at 4.11-16 with me: 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

Now, Paul outlined for Timothy to ‘Command and Teach’ these things: Personal godliness, Preaching the Word, Putting into Practice his giftedness, Diligence over his life and doctrine and focused persistence in keeping a watchful eye over it all.

But how do you command and teach these things? When confronting members, it can be harsh. How do you confront an older man? How do you confront an older woman? Or, brothers and sisters your own age or younger? How do you talk to widows without seeming to be mean or hurtful?

It’s hard! Let’s look at what Paul says to Timothy in 5.1f; rd v 1;

So, the first thing Paul mentions here is how to be direct with members.

  1. Confronting Members (1-2)

exp.: This word in Gk for do not rebuke appears nowhere else in the NT or LXX; epi – at or before; plēsō – to strike; to strike at; do not sharply rebuke; it’s a word picture; slapping someone with your words: don’t do it! We use this kind of language when someone says something and we reply: Oh, that hurt! Or That’s hitting below the belt!

Without referring to the OT Law, Paul is using his words like pictures to point them back to the Law.

Exodus 21.15 – 15 “Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death.

Leviticus 19.32 – 32 “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.

With a word, Paul points back to the Law and the requirement to honor and respect your parents. But there is more, disrespect brings condemnation.

Now, remember our context: False Teaching is infiltrating the church; for Timothy, being a teacher who brings strong, sound, healthy doctrine. Confront false teachers who bring false doctrine. Now, Timothy is charged with how to treat members – members of all ages. I think, because of the context, these are members who may very well be spreading the false teaching that they’re hearing.

*Boy, this has to be tough! You want to show honor and respect, but these older men need to be confronted!

Back in 4.12 – Don’t let them despise you because you’re young! Versus: Just because someone is older, doesn’t mean they’re biblical in their teaching! So, you Timothy, have to confront the destructive, false teaching. But how? Well, first, don’t strike at an older man with your words.

He continues, don’t strike with your words, but, instead exhort or encourage; He told Timothy how to do this back up in 4:13; Public Reading of Scripture…

Ill.: This is God’s Word – say that out loud where you are. Hold up your copy of God’s Word and acknowledge that this is God’s Manual for life. I think that is why some older folks don’t like it when people use their phones or their iPad’s, or Kindle. There is something beautiful in the representation of the leather and the paper and the ribbons.

Continuing on in 4.13: The public reading of Scripture, to exhortation (the same word here: encourage), to teaching.

So, Paul is saying, there is a way to confront without. Sure, there is some discomfort. But remember, the goal is to correct – and you can do that without being mean and hurtful. I wonder if sometimes we feel like its personal. I wonder if some of us respond as if someone’s false teaching is an affront to us.

Look back with me at 5.1: Do not rebuke (strike at) an older man but encourage him as you would a father. So, let’s delineate these:

  1. Confronting Older Men (v 1)

exp.: an older man; πρεσβύτερος (presbyteros); Elder; this is not the office, but referring to age; probably above 40; more like above 50; no doubt 60; ὡς; as or like, a father; Titus 2.1-2; But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. And what is sound doctrine? He continues in v.Older men are to be sober-minded (This means not under the influence), dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. What I find interesting here is that these are the same qualities of an Elder and a Deacon. We hold these men (elders and deacons) to a higher standard – and so we should. But, the standard is no lower for an older man in the church. It doesn’t mean that every man should be an elder or a deacon, but it does mean that every man should live up to the same standard.

Transition: look at the end of 5.1; but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers,

  1. Confronting Younger Men (v 1)

exp.: I’m supposing these are young men like Timothy; so, I consider these men his peers; as brothers; I think this comes out better and a bit clearer in Titus 2.6. In Titus, Paul follows a different order. You see there in 2.1-2 he speaks of older men; in 3-5 he speaks of older women and older women. Then in v6, he says: Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. That’s it, be self-controlled, but not really, because Titus is a young man, like Timothy, he says: Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. So, I think these are attributes for the younger men, too: self-controlled (wise minded); committed to good works (btw: the same words given to the women back in 1 Timothy 2. “Don’t let your outward beauty define who you are,” he said, “but be seen as beautiful by your good works.” 3rd, men of integrity (lit.: incorruptible), dignity, and sound speech. Really, no different than the requirements of all believers.

I think you approach your brother differently than you do your father, for sure. But correction must be made, and it must be done in love.

Transition: back in our text 1 Timothy, look at 5.2;

  1. Confronting Older Women (v 2)

exp.: an older woman; same as above; ὡς; as or like, just as you would confront your mom; I get this.

Ill.: Mama Madkins

Now, to think of correcting your mom has to be a weird feeling, right? Now, I’m only talking about doctrinal issues. But the feeling is the same, right?

Transition: Well, Paul gives Timothy one last group…

  1. Confronting Younger Women (v 2)

exp.: as sisters; Consider how men feel about the women in their life. We’re very protective of our women and girls. I’m not talking about just fathers and daughters. I’m talking about brothers caring for their sisters. That’s the feeling we should have here: we should be protective of them. Notice the phrase here Paul uses; in all purity; probably just with this last phrase; a 2nd reminder of the moral responsibility as a man of God; But so it should be for all men in the church.

app.: The Context is that for a pastor, don’t lash out at people; There is an appropriate way to handle problems we have with members; Timothy isn’t to Lord it over them just because he’s the pastor. But instead, he is to confront these brothers and sisters in Christ with respect and dignity and honor (5th commandment);

I don’t think this is just for a young pastor. We can be this way with each other. We should be, right? And, again, remember the context – false teaching has infiltrated the body. There are those in the church who are practicing and repeating this false doctrine. They have to be confronted and corrected. Otherwise, it can be disastrous for the church.

Consider the 4 people I’ve mentioned in my opening. Be praying for them – I feel pretty sure they would encourage those prayers. But, why would they leave the faith? Consider their theology? Consider their transactional view of God.

Do you remember the story of the rich young man who approached Jesus about inheriting eternal life? Mark 10.17-22;

18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’ ” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.”

I wonder if this young man began to get excited. You see – at this stage of the conversation, it’s all very transactional. You do or don’t do these things and you can inherit eternal life. But Jesus doesn’t stop there. Mark continues: 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

For some reason, this hits the young man hard. 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. When it comes to following rules – he was good. But when it came to surrendering his soul to Christ – that was a different call altogether.

Many people think that following Christ is about the do’s and the don’ts, but really, it is all about the surrender. Surrendering yourself completely. When you have a false doctrine of a ‘transactional view’ of God – that he owes you anything because you’ve performed some sort of duty or you’ve kept all these laws since you were young –  When you have that false doctrine as your view, you set yourself up for failure.

I came across this passage this week: Isaiah 46.8-11:

8     “Remember this and stand firm,

recall it to mind, you transgressors,

       remember the former things of old;

       for I am God, and there is no other;

I am God, and there is none like me,

10    declaring the end from the beginning

and from ancient times things not yet done,

       saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,

and I will accomplish all my purpose,’

11    calling a bird of prey from the east,

the man of my counsel from a far country.

       I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;

I have purposed, and I will do it.

 

God is God alone. He owes no one. And like with Israel, He is at work accomplishing his purpose. All things are for his glory – not ours. He doesn’t have transactions with us to bring Him glory – and he sure doesn’t do it to glorify us. I’m reminded of Romans 11.33-36:

 

33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

34    “For who has known the mind of the Lord,

or who has been his counselor?”

35    “Or who has given a gift to him

that he might be repaid?”

36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

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Filed under 1 Timothy, Christian Living, Church Discipline, Faithfulness, Scripture, Sermon, Titus

1 Timothy 4.1-5

Title: Asceticism: The false appearance of godliness

Text: 2 Timothy 4.1-5

Introduction: We’ll begin in 2 Timothy 4 and at some point look at 1 Corinthians 7 & Mark 7. So, go ahead and find those other texts.

We all filter our experiences through our worldview. You have one, whether you know it or not. Hopefully, it is a Biblical Worldview. That is the main reason I love Starting Points. It is a great class for helping your children develop a Biblical Worldview. In that class, a student creates a filter, a colander of sorts. This filter is based upon God’s Word. Then, as life goes by and these students watch movies or read books or articles, they will filter what they hear through their worldview.

Story of Peter: This is what happens to Peter in Acts 10. God is at work in the lives of two individuals: Peter and Cornelius. Tell the Story.

God is changing Peter’s worldview. He is seeing that Gentiles could get saved. He’s seeing that Gentiles could get saved and not have to become Jews first.

That illustration, that example, that story was experienced and written down for your and my benefit. The Holy Spirit was at work in the lives of those men to teach us. If you keep reading in Acts 11, you’ll see that Peter reports back to the leadership in Jerusalem. By the time we get to Acts 15, so many Gentiles are being saved that the Jews must deal with this issue of OT laws. Their worldview was changing.

But not everyone could get on board with this new way of thinking. Too many Jews, who had become Christians, just couldn’t give up the law. For one reason or another, they held to their Jewish worldview of legalism.

Now, fast-forward a couple of decades to where the Gospel has spread… well, all the way to Rome. And even though it had been concluded that Gentiles did not have to become Jews before they could get saved – the old worldview still corrupted the church through false teaching.

Review of last week’s message and how we got to this place.

Who the Church is! What the church does (behavior)! What the church believes! And when we do these things – live out what we believe, they call us “Christians”. You’re just like your ‘Savior’, Jesus.

But there is a problem, in our text – this isn’t what the false teachers were preaching and teaching: This faith – the mystery of godliness. Their view of godliness was earned. Godliness came through regulation and rules, through abstinence and denial. It came through following Old Testament Laws that no longer were required because Christ had fulfilled the Law.

So Paul gives Timothy three actions of the believer to combat against False Godliness (Asceticism). Look with me at our text in 1 Timothy 4.1-5; it actually begins in the verse before – that statement of faith. The mystery of Godliness is that godliness no longer comes through rituals and rules! Godliness comes through Christ. We become like him. He is the fulfillment of all righteousness.

So Paul says to Timothy that Ungodliness will infiltrate teaching in the church. Expect it to be taught, here are a couple of examples, and recognized the error in that teaching by knowing the Truth. Repeat. False Godliness

  • Expect it to be taught
  • Identify it when you see it. Here are some examples of it (What it is…)
  • Understand what it does: it steals your joy! (What it does…)

Transition: So, let’s take these actions one at a time.

Three actions to combat against False Godliness (Asceticism):

I.     Expect it (1-2)

exp.: rd v 1; Really? People will actually do this? Yes, and you know this because the Holy Spirit has told you so. You should expect this false teaching to promote false godliness. It will be preached and taught and there will be those who will listen and follow – and as a result, they will be led away. The Holy Spirit expressly says, declares, and makes it known to us. It is going to happen, so don’t be surprised, expect it. Timothy repeats this in his next letter: cf. 2 Tim 3.1-7;

This is the beauty of our faith: we have the Holy Spirit to guide us. We don’t walk alone and we don’t walk in ignorance. When you become a believer by faith, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in your spirit. This is one of the foundational, rudimentary doctrines of our faith. And we experience him in various ways as he guides, directs, teaches…

A thing or two about false teachers and those who follow them:

  • They don’t lose their salvation – they leave the faith (1a) as opposed to losing their faith; is there a difference? You bet there is! 1 John 2.19 – 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
  • Their devotion is to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons (1b)
  • They ignore the foundation of truth and they follow the insincerity of liars (2)
  • Their false doctrine leads to your false godliness: these people devote themselves to the wrong people and wrong actions thinking that those actions or behaviors are what makes them godly.

Transition: as a Christian, you’ve been forewarned of this invasion of the enemy: Expect it. Now that you know it is going to happen, how do you prepare for it? And this is our 2nd Action:

II.    Identify it (3)

exp.: You should be aware of what this false teaching looks like, in order that you might avoid its pitfall. Rd v 3; these folks were told that marriage was forbidden and sinful, as well as, they were required to abstain from certain foods. For sure, this isn’t an exhaustive list, it isn’t every doctrine that is false – it is only two of them.

  • Lies about marriage: Celibacy/Single; today it would be cohabitation; sex outside of marriage; Gay marriage

exp.: We see this doctrine of marriage being misunderstood from the beginning of Christianity. Consider Paul’s counsel for people to remain single – in order that their devotion might be single-minded. 1 Cor. 7.1-9; rd v 1; just that alone, appears to say that marriage shouldn’t happen. But, when you read more, you realize that just isn’t the case. Rd 2-5; Sex is to be enjoyed within the confines of marriage. Outside of that context and you have misery. Look at 6-9;

Paul says within the confines of marriage, sex is good. But false teachers say, no – sex is bad. This is Satan’s greatest victory over Christians: he takes what God gives us and perverts it in one of two ways. First, he takes the gift of God and expands the boundaries to include everyone and everything. Or, 2nd, he goes the other way and limits the gift of God to the point that you never find joy in God’s gift.

Did you know that throughout most of the history of Christianity that sex has been seen as bad? R Kent Hughes has done some great research on this subject. He identifies many teachings throughout Christian history which identify sexual love as being wicked and evil. Tertullian, Ambrose, and Augustine wrote of the evils of sexual love. He quotes Ambrose: married people ought to blush at the state in which they are living. Augustine said that the sexual relationship in marriage was innocent, but the passion which comes along with the act is always sinful. The early church fathers praised virginity as superior to marriage. The Council of Trent denounced any who would deny such a thing. And the reformers didn’t help matters! Do you know who actually began to turn the tide on this thinking? The Puritans! Hughes quotes Dr. Leland Ryken: The Puritan doctrine of sex was a watershed on the cultural history of the West. The Puritans devalued celibacy, glorified compassionate marriage, affirmed married sex as both necessary and pure, established the ideal of wedded romantic love, and exalted the role of the wife.

I’ve got to be honest – I was so not expecting that! To be declared Puritanical is to declare a rigid, frigid, and presented in a negative way. When one thinks of Puritans, they don’t think of sex education. So, to clarify: I like what the Puritans had to teach! Let’s get this straight. Sex is great when understood as within the context of God’s design. That’s right, I said that from the pulpit. Sex is a wonderful gift from God. Enjoy it within the confines of marriage. Here is your warning: If you engage in this activity outside of that context, then you will experience pain, destruction, sorrow, depression, and all such misery. If you’re listening to me right now, please identify this false doctrine.

Paul then gives us a 2nd doctrine to identify.

  • Lies about foods: Don’t eat and Don’t drink

exp.: These two examples seem to be right out of the beginning of Genesis, don’t they? I think of Eve’s words – Don’t eat it, don’t even touch it. There are denominations that exist today that take the Old Testament Laws on forbidden, unclean food and apply it to their people. It is a lie that has been perpetuated throughout time. And Southern Baptists aren’t any different. We still apply traditional prohibitions to people – we say if you’re saved you can’t… eat this or that, or we say you can’t drink this or that.

It reminds me of the old country song from the ’70s that was sung by the Imperials as a dig toward conservatives: if you have long hair, then you can’t be saved. That was the big thing in the ’60s and ’70s: cut your hair and shave your beard! Some of you know what I’m talking about…

ill.: the big joke was of the boy who wanted to get a car. He begged his dad. His dad said that his grades were low, his room was a mess and his hair was too long – it needed to be cut. The son agreed to work on those things. The next report card came out and he had all A’s. His father acknowledged his room had been clean and looking really nice. The Dad said, “But son, you didn’t cut your hair.” The son said, “Yes, sir, I know, but Jesus had long hair. And without missing a beat the Dad said, “Yeah, but he walked everywhere he went, too.”

app.: I’m so glad we’ve moved beyond the coat and the tie requirement. And I’m glad you don’t have to cut your hair and your beard to be saved. But we still aren’t there if we put requirements of food and drink on people to declare their salvation and godliness.

Transition: Teaching on False Godliness – expect it, identify it and 3rdly…

III.    Understand what it does:

exp.: it steals your joy – You should know the truth about these doctrines. You should know and identify their parameters for your own health and safety; whether marriage or food – both are created by God and to be enjoyed by his people! Rd v 4-5; Everything God made is Good! Everything! 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.

Turn with me to Mark 7.14-23; rd Mk 7.14-23; when you choose to put limits on God’s gifts, then you miss out on the joy God intended for you to experience. Here’s our problem: we over-indulge in the gifts of God – and that can be a bad thing. Whenever you over-indulge in the gifts, you begin to seek the gift more than the giver of those gifts. Over-indulgence is a bad thing, just as exclusion is a bad thing. There is a happy medium that we need to find.

So, let’s bring the pendulum back to the middle. Let’s stop the extremes of God’s gifts: denial and abstinence or license and debauchery. And instead, enjoy all that this life offers as given by God. Amen?

Truth:

  • Fasting can bring you closer to God. But this is a serious endeavor and should not be embarked upon without preparation. May I be bold enough to say, yes – many of us need to fast.
  • Paul said in 1 Cor 7 that abstinence from your marriage partner for a time can be beneficial to your soul. But don’t use this as an excuse and don’t hurt your spouse with it. Sex isn’t a tool to use for getting what you want. It is a wonderful experience of intimacy in the marriage as created by God.
  • But God gave you these gifts to enjoy in life. Wow… go figure, God wants you to find pleasure in this life and you will find your pleasure in life when you are most satisfied in Him.

Take-a-ways:

  1. If you are not enjoying God’s gifts, get some help. Get help for the sake of your marriage. Get help for the sake of your sanity. Get help for the sake of your family.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met with and offered counsel to over these issues. Many of us bought into the lies of the world and the false doctrines brought into the church and we experienced the depression, the sadness, the anger, the abuse, and the emotional rollercoaster that comes with disobedience. And, we carried that baggage into our marriages. Husbands and wives have fought over these issues because they still feel guilty. Hey get help, get forgiveness, forgive yourself and live life to its fullest. Stop wallowing in your misery. It’s not healthy.

  1. Understand the beauty of moderation – The pendulum extremes are indulgence or abstinence. No, let’s find a happy medium here.

Here’s the thing about moderation – don’t impose your rules upon others. And, don’t confuse your activity or your inactivity with godliness. Just because you’re skinny doesn’t mean you’re godly. Just because you don’t physically cheat on your spouse, doesn’t mean you’re godly. Here’s the big problem with these false teachers – they impose a set of rules as requirements for godliness. Don’t do the same thing.

  1. Never confuse godliness with ritual or routine. Yes, it is important to come to church every Sunday, but that doesn’t demonstrate godliness either. Don’t confuse the two.

I wonder if it saddens the Father to see us missing out on the wonderful life he has designed because we fall for the lies of Satan? I wonder if he thinks that he made it so simple and we complicate it all. I wonder if it breaks his heart to see

  • a young woman destroyed by her decisions;
  • a young man suffering from his decisions;
  • a family broke apart by someone outside that family
  • a person’s understanding that they are godly because they do this or that and avoid this or that.

Can I just conclude with this plea: God has created life to be enjoyed to the fullest possible extent. He created it, he designed it and wrote the manual on how it should be run. Will you trust him with it all?

If you’ve been trying to obtain godliness through all of your action or inaction, can offer you a moment to repent of that? Maybe you’ve never come to Christ and found the forgiveness of your sins. You’ve played the game of life and you’ve lost. Come to Christ. You can email us at tarpleybaptistchurch@gmail.com.

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1 Timothy 3.14-16

Title: Church Matters

Text: 1 Timothy 3.14-16

Intro: What is the church? Why does she exist? And why should you care? I mean, why all of this organization? Do you really want deacons or elders? Does a statement of faith really mean a whole lot? Why should you be a member here? Does “church” even really matter?

 

There was a period in my life when I did not like the church of God. I loved God. I still do! But the church, it just turned me off. I decided I did not want to go to another church as Pastor. If I left the First Baptist Church of Worland, Wyoming, then I would go and plant a church. I didn’t want to deal with people and their traditions. I wanted to start fresh.

Well, I didn’t. I went to Calvary in Tyler. And once again, I said to myself, if ever I leave here, I’m not going to an established church.

There have been many times the church has left me frustrated and disillusioned. I tell you this today because I want you to know that if you’ve ever felt that frustration toward church – I get it. But that isn’t the way it is supposed to be.

I don’t feel that way anymore. I’m not so much ashamed of the church anymore. I think the church is a beautiful place to be. Sure, she isn’t perfect. But she is God’s design. Now, I have a special place in my heart for her. That’s why I’m here with you guys – I hope to help us be the church God has designed.

Do you remember KAL-007? I’m guessing you won’t from those numbers and letters. KAL (Korean Airlines) Flt 007; it was a New York City to Seoul, Korea flight that had a stop in Anchorage. Back in 1983, GPS was in existence, but not everyone had that capability. The Pilots had made a technical error in charting the flight path and ended up way off course – actually, over Russian air space. The airliner was shot down by the Russians and ended up in the Sea of Japan.

Today’s message is all about the church: Who we are. What we believe. How we ought to behave. My message is about the course that has been charted out for us – by one who knows the way. My hope is that you’ll have a greater affection and a deeper appreciation for the church when we’re finished this morning. And, what’s more, you’ll desire to be a strong part of her existence – because she matters!

God has given us a map to follow, but too often, we don’t follow it. We want to chart our own path. He has charted our course, but too often, we think we can do a better job. The results can be disastrous.

This text is Paul’s Purpose Statement for the letter. Let’s read this together (rd 14-16): His purpose in writing is so that they would know how they ought to behave, who they are in Christ, and what they ought to believe. Those are the three points for today, by the way.

This is near and dear to me because I’ve been working on the Church’s Constitution and Bylaws with the Trustees. These documents declare who Tarpley Baptist Church is and why Tarpley Baptist Church exists. These documents present your statement of faith and the polity by which you function and are organized. These documents answer the questions: What is the church? Why does she exist? And why you should care?

For the previous two weeks, we’ve covered the two separate offices of a church: Elder & Deacon. We pick up in v 14-15 where we see the answer to this question:

  1. What is the Church?

exp.:

  • The Household of God: God’s family; I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God. Last week in Bible Study the Men looked at Romans 8 – I was so grateful to be reminded of the fact that we’re heirs with Christ because we’ve been adopted into the family of God. In Romans 8, from verse 12-17, you’ll find so many references to us being in this new family: brothers, sons of God, adoption as sons, we cry, “Abba, Father”; 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. I think it’s interesting that Paul adds that 2nd We love the “children of God” part, but don’t like the “provided we suffer” part. 1st, we’re members of the household of God. 2nd,
  • The Church of the Living God: The Word church in the original language is a compound word that means, “called out”. We’re the “called out” ones. God has called us out of the world and invited us to become his own people. But there is more here! The Church of the … Living God! If you go back to Paul’s first experience at Ephesus, he was harshly treated. I’m guessing many of these people would have been in the crowd of thousands upon thousands of people who were screaming for Paul’s head. Do you remember reading of the story in Acts 19, where Paul was accused of turning people from worshiping the idol, Artemis of the Ephesians? This phrase here, in this letter to them, would have caused many of them to remember Paul’s teaching that Artemis was a fabricated god of stone and wood. The man who started the riot at Ephesus was a Silversmith who created silver shrines of Artemis. He was losing business. So, he got the people all riled up and they rioted. Paul is declaring: Our God, he is the living God! His presence is with us! Where 2 or more are gathered in my name…rd 15c;
  • Guardians of the Truth – God’s Word; You and I have something absolutely incredible that has been preserved for us for 1,000’s of years. It’s truly amazing. We have the Truth of God in the Word of God! Jesus, when praying in John 17 said, “Your Word is Truth”. Paul, as he wrote to these same people in his letter to Ephesus wrote: 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

app.: You are the Household of God, you are the church of the living God, and you are the guardians of the Truth. That’s why the way you live is so very important for the rest of the world to see.

t.s.: which is point # 2; Point # 1, the Church, Point # 2…

  1. Her Conduct: How she ought to behave

exp.: This has been each of my sermons to this point; that is what this letter has been about: 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)
  3. Toward the elderly in their congregation (5.1-3)
  4. Slaves toward their Masters (6.1-2)
  5. The Rich toward others (6.17)

refuting false teaching and false doctrine; respecting and honoring those in positions of authority; respecting and honoring those who are older; organizing the church’s leadership; recognizing and fulfilling roles and responsibilities within the church;

app.: there is no need to spend more time on this here, but for now, just note the call for them to act like the Christians they claim to be!

t.s.: 1st, the church and who she is; 2nd, how she should behave; 3rd, Her Confession

  1. Her Confession: What she believes

exp.: Gk a compound word that means ‘to say the same thing”.

ill.: A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God: Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow.

app.: So it is when 100 believers are tuned to the one same confession. Tozer says: So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become “unity” conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.

Paul, then mentions the tenets of this faith – the same faith we all possess. The tenets of this confession:

  • Manifested: Christ, though he was in nature God, chose to let go of his position in heaven and ‘emptied’ himself and came to earth to live as a man – and not just any man, he became the lowest form of a man – a servant. He humbled himself. And, as Philippians says, he became obedient, even unto death. He was buried in a borrowed tomb.
  • Vindicated: or justified, or declared righteous by the Spirit. The Bible teaches that although Jesus was dead, he didn’t stay that way. The Holy Spirit vindicated him and brought life to his dead body, displaying for all of us that Jesus is God’s Son. Jesus was raised from the Dead! More than just dying for our sins, he was raised to life again. Paul opens his letter to the Romans with this: Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord…
  • Seen by angels: at his birth, at his resurrection, at his ascension. All of heaven offered praises to Him testifying to who he is – the Risen Son of God! But it could have another meaning: messenger. The word ‘angel’ a transliteration of ἄγγελος is Messenger. The Hebrew word is Malachi; So, could the Confession, then, be a statement of the apostles who witnessed the resurrection and testified about it? They are the messengers mentioned here. Scholars disagree.

Manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit who raised him from the dead, seen by angels, or by messengers – and this fits well with the next part of the confession – proclaimed among the nations…

  • Proclaimed among the Nations: this is what the apostles did starting in Jerusalem, then to Judea and Samaria and even to the uttermost parts of the world. And what is their message? Just this: Jesus Christ, God with us, God who became flesh, who lived and died for our sin. Buried and raised to life again. This was their commission as given by Christ himself: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Mt 28.18-20
  • Believed on in the World: This is the message of the book of Acts: They start with 120 persons in the upper room and expand to thousands as the Gospel is proclaimed to the World. Acts 1.15; 2.47 – and the Lord added day by day to their number those who were being saved.
  • Taken up in glory: This, of course, refers to the ascension of Christ, but I think hints at the future. I say this because everything seems to flow in progression until you come to this phrase. It seems out of place unless of course, it is referring to the future. Ryken says this denotes, in particular, the glory, majesty, and sublimity of God. By virtue of his resurrection, Jesus is exalted and enthroned. He radiates the glory of God. What better way to end a hymn than with the glorious praise of the glorious Christ? He continues: Epiphanius had this glory in clearly in mind when he composed his “Second Creed” – a confession of praise that strikes a joyous chord in every believer’s soul: “The Word became flesh; the same suffered in the flesh; rose again; went up to heaven in the same body, sat down gloriously at the right hand of the Father; is coming in the same body in glory to judge the quick and the dead.

t.s.: Let me close this section with: The mystery of godliness. We spent some time last week talking about the mystery, so I don’t want to belabor the point this week. But the mystery is this faith we possess – hidden for ages, revealed in Christ. And, as individuals, we come together with this same faith – One Faith, One Lord, One Spirit – There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Conclusion: Most of you are old enough to remember the South Korean Airliner being shot down by the Russians in 1983. I remember it for a couple of reasons. The main reason is that my mother is from South Korea and so it was bigger than just news to my family. My mom was scheduled to fly to Korea just a few weeks after this happened. Tensions in the Cold War were high and pessimism toward Russia and the USSR was higher than it had been in some time.

I remember watching the news over the next couple of days as so many of those people were in anguish: falling on the ground, flailing about, screaming and crying at the same time. I had never witnessed anything like that before. It really made me sad because people who have no hope see death as the end. I’m telling you, watching the news and seeing their hopeless response just broke my heart. Sometime later I read where Paul wrote that we don’t respond like people do who have no hope (1 Thess 4.13: 13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.)

That’s when I understood what I had seen.

C.S. Lewis: “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

Takeaway’s: Why are these important? That is: Our Conduct and Our Confession

  1. They give us hope. They constantly remind us of our Hope in Christ. His Resurrection means our Resurrection. That these struggles are not the end for us. The Corona Virus could kill millions of people. But our hope isn’t in the surgeon general or in the president. Our Hope is in Christ and our eternal destiny. And when the rest of the world panics – we don’t.
  2. They give others hope. When the lost and confused in this world struggle with a world-wide crisis and they see us living differently, they want to know why!
    1. Aren’t you afraid of the stock market crashing? No, we’re not. These possessions aren’t the totality of our lives.
    2. Aren’t you afraid of getting sick? No, we’re not. This health isn’t the totality of our lives.
    3. Aren’t you afraid of dying? No, we’re not! We understand life differently and we understand death differently.
    4. Aren’t you afraid that things are out of control? Well, no, we’re not. Because while things may appear out of control, we know the One who is in control. And when you think you’re in control, it is only an illusion.

I can’t promise any of you that you or I won’t die from this dreaded Virus that has the World in such a panic. If we’re honest, the statistics are not in our favor here at Tarpley. Most of our congregation is in the ‘high risk’ segment of society. But, as we view this situation, as those who don’t really belong here, we gain a proper perspective.

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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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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.

 

Application:

  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?

Take-a-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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1 Timothy 1.3-7

Title: Timothy’s Appointment to the Church at Ephesus

Text: 1 Timothy 1.3-7

Introduction: March 2, 1962. Hershey, PA. Wilt Chamberlain scored a record 100 points in one game. The record has been approached a couple of times but never broken. Kobe Bryant scored 81 points a few years back. My hero David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs scored 71 in one game. And, the night he set the record, he made 28 free throws out of 32. Here’s the thing about that: Chamberlain was a pitiful free throw shooter, but not that night. Normally, he would shoot in the 40% area. That night he shot nearly 90%. The difference? He shot his free throws underhanded.

But here’s an interesting tidbit of information: shortly afterward, Wilt Chamberlain went back to shooting his free throws overhead and his percentage plummeted once again.

Why? He tells us in his biography: I felt silly, like a sissy, shooting underhanded. I know I was wrong. I know some of the best foul shooters in history shot that way. Even now, the best one in the NBA, Rick Barry, shoots underhanded. I just couldn’t do it.

Check that out…he says: I know I was wrong. He is saying the right thing to do – the best way for him to score on his free throws would be to shoot underhanded. But then he says he just couldn’t do it.

Here’s my question: I wonder how many men would have to shoot underhanded before he would have changed his style.

Malcolm Gladwell has a podcast on this topic (Revisionist History)– the idea that each of us has a threshold where we will surrender our beliefs about something. We have beliefs, but we don’t live by those beliefs all the time.

Gladwell gives the example of a teenager who drives a hundred miles an hour with three of his buddies in the car. He isn’t doing it because he believes it is the right thing to do. He probably believes it is wrong. His threshold for doing what he believes is so low, that he surrenders what he knows to be right to do something wrong. Consider if his grandma was driving that car. Do you think she would drive 100 miles per hour to impress his friends? Example: Do you think Linda Duke would drive 100 miles per hour to impress her grandchildren? Or Virginia Huntress doing the same thing to impress great-grandchildren’s friends? Their threshold for such activities is pretty high. Probably, untouchable.

Transition: Here’s where I’m going with this: Identifying this threshold in our lives is so very important.

Consider a leader in the church. The truth is that when a leader upsets people in the church something happens:

  • Upset one person and that person might leave-taking their family, sometimes their friends, their tithe, and their opinions that they share with others in the community.
  • Upset more than one person and you could have a potential church split.
  • Upset enough people and you’re out of here…terminated.

So, people-pleasing is a tough dilemma for leadership. Leaders face a threshold like what Gladwell talks about in his podcast.

I wonder what it was like for young Timothy… Here is a young man who has to stand up to the likes of false teachers in his church, the church at Ephesus. Turn with me to 1 Timothy 1.3. Pg ???.

I’ve identified three parts to the overall passage of 1.1-11: A Bird’s Eye View of our Journey through 1 Timothy

  1. The Purpose of the Leader: His Charge (Week 1) v1-3
  2. The Purpose of the Letter: His Concern (Week 2) v3-7
  3. The Purpose of the Law: His Caution (Week 3) v8-11

We’re in the 2nd section: Paul’s Concern. In this section we note:

  1. The Assignment at the Church (v3-4) Charge certain persons not to teach
  2. The Aim in this Charge (v5) The aim of this charge is love issued from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.
  3. The Assessment of the Church (v6-7) Certain persons have swerved from these (a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith).

Let’s begin with…

I.     The Assignment: to remain and charge (v3-4)

exp.: The assignment was to… rd v 3b; to remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine…

  • The Charge: Authority from Paul, now on Timothy; Authority of Paul has established in 1-2; an Apostle; by the command; God our Savior; Christ our hope; Now, Timothy has an Assignment and it comes under the authority of Paul. This comes straight from the top! There is a direct line here in the chain of command;
  • Specifics:
    • Do not teach a different doctrine; Gal 1:6-10; you see this in the churches in Galatia, but it is also evident in other letters of Paul. There is only one Gospel. Anything different is false. Note the threshold for Paul in v 10; You can’t make him preach something else to please men.
    • Do not devote
      • Myths and Endless genealogies: scholars don’t agree on what these endless genealogies were; probably something to do with Jewish ancestry; however, what is important is what chasing after these useless myths and endless genealogies did: it brought…
      • Speculation v. Stewardship; I have no idea where this quote comes from. I wrote it down years ago and came across it this past week in my notes on this passage: Speculation without knowledge detracts from responsible execution of the ministry; and here’s why…
        1. Speculative knowledge is a type of theoretical knowledge. It is a knowledge that is gained through reflection without experience.
        2. Stewardship involves our use of not only the financial resources but our gifts, talents, abilities and time.

ill.: I.H. Marshall: …the label applied here and elsewhere in the PE may target not just the fallacious interpretation of OT passages but also applications of this material to conduct that contradicted traditional patterns of godly behavior.

app.: this is the danger of moving away from God’s Word and teaching from the way one feels about something.

t.s.: And Paul has given this particular assignment to Timothy to ‘charge’ these men not to teach false doctrine; But Paul gives Timothy a warning on how this is to be done; Rd v 5;

II.    The Aim: love from… (v5)

exp.: the Gk word here is τέλος; the vb form of this word is τελέω (to bring to an end); this is the word from which we get “telescope”  or “telephone” and others like it; it means to bring something which is far away much closer. This is how we get our word for goal or purpose. You plan your current situation so that you’ll arrive at the appropriate place. The purpose, The goal, The aim, The endgame is love.

  • this verse changes the thought from the negative result of erroneous teaching to the motives of proper instruction within the church; The motive, the goal the aim is…
    • Love (issues itself from Three Sources)
      • A pure heart; καθαρᾶς 1 John 1:9; the καρδία; is the center of the person; who we are before God; our true personality; the seat of our emotions; the origin of desires; This is what we are to love God with…’all of our heart’; Q.: seriously, who wants to bring an impure, dirty heart before God? No one, right?
      • A good conscience; 2nd dimension of the inner person; this word isn’t found in the OT; the heart served in this capacity; in the NT it means a knowledge of good and bad; compound word, with (to gather) knowledge; This conscience isn’t the ultimate judge of right & wrong; it only serves us as a guide since it can be seared by sin; important: we think sin doesn’t affect us, but it does; what our eyes see, what our ears hear; what our senses experience, through time, slowly disconnect us from reality; we truly are in an age when evil is called good and good is called evil, where reality is called false and false is called reality. The media would have you believe you’re watching reality TV. John writes: Little Children, keep yourselves from sin. A pure heart brings a clear conscience. Note: the word good is sometimes translated clear, which would fit here well;
      • A sincere faith; it appears the false teachers taught with an objective other than love, their goal: 1 Tim 6:5 ff; was their pockets;

app.: their endgame is not “love”! Their endgame was what they could get from these people…

t.s.: and so Paul placed Timothy there to confront these men, v 6ff tell us why; rd v 6-7;

III.   The Assessment: Certain men have missed the mark (v6-7)

exp.: The problem: these men are ‘missing the mark’; they have wandered (turned); Certain people have lit.: “missed the mark”; they have deviated off course and wandered from these (a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith); These people are the “false teachers of the Law”; this word, νομοδιδάσκαλοι teachers of the Law is found only 2 other times in the NT and clearly refers to teachers of the Mosaic Law; This ‘missing the mark’ leads to:

  • Vain Discussion; ‘empty, fruitless discussions’; kids are good at this; and that’s immaturity; “my uncle has some cows”; what’s bad is when adults do that; what’s worse is when teachers do that; Question: what exactly were they doing wrong? rd v 7
    • Teaching without understanding (they are wrong)
    • Application with error (they are sincerely wrong)

ill.: As a pastor, I have had people say to me: We don’t need more doctrine! What we need is more practical preaching! I think that means: don’t teach us, tell us stories.

app.: But can’t you see that doctrine is the basis for living? It is what you know from experiencing God’s Word as you live out his teaching for your life. My goal isn’t to motivate you to live a better life. This thing I do up here isn’t just about inspiration. My goal is to love you in such a way that it leads you to a closer relationship with God. And, I do not really love you if all I do is tell you what you want to hear!

Transition: The Church must keep great oversight on what is being taught and be willing to confront doctrine that is unhealthy. Our threshold must be high and not give in to what is popular or the current trend.

Conclusion: Wilt Chamberlain mentioned Rick Barry in his biography as the one person who would shoot his free throws underhanded. He also mentions that Rick Barry led the NBA in Free Throw percentage each year. Rick says that one year he missed only 9 shots. 9! And the next year, he only missed 10. To put that in perspective, Lebron James misses about 150 free throws a year. Rick Barry made 90% of his free throws throughout his career. Lebron James? 73%! Wilt Chamberlain? 50%!

What made Rick Barry not care about what others thought? Well, His goal wasn’t to please others. His goal was to make the shot. He really didn’t care what people thought about him. And, the fact that others made fun of him didn’t bother him. His threshold was incredibly high.

So let me ask you: how high of a threshold do you have toward others making fun of you for not following the world? Paul had an incredibly high threshold. He’s encouraging Timothy to have a high threshold. And I’m doing the same for you: and that brings us to the applications for this morning…

Application: So what do we learn from this section of Paul’s letter? As a pastor, I question my threshold for your pleasure. Will I bow to pressure to do what other churches are doing? You want something from me – the way I preach, the way I lead music. Will I give in to music that is less than glorifying to God to please your ears?

As an individual, what is your threshold? Do you want to grow and gain members so much that you’ll water down what is right and true in order that the lost might be comfortable? And we might see more folks join the church?

Points to ponder:

  1. What is (y)our assignment here?
  2. Do we do what we do because we truly love people? Does our stewardship flow from a heart of love?
  3. What is our threshold for seeing that our church is a New Testament church and not just something that adjusts itself to the culture to accommodate and make lost people feel comfortable?
    1. Really, why do we meet here? What is the goal? What are we trying to accomplish?
    2. If this isn’t organized around the lost, when do they or how will they get saved?
    3. What does it mean for us to Pray the Word, Sing the Word, Read the Word, See the Word, and Preach the Word?

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1 Timothy: An Introduction

Title: 1 Timothy: An Introduction

Text: 1 Timothy 1.1-3

Introduction: Erin Brockovich is now famous for her legal work against a giant company. She herself was not a lawyer, but rather a legal clerk who worked for a small law firm. Her story inspires most because she represents many of us – at least that is the way we see it.

She didn’t look the part. She wasn’t educated. She had made many mistakes when she was young. She was judged on her appearance and not on her work. The snobs with the money judged her incompetent because she didn’t dress like they did. She didn’t have the law degree they had. It was a modern-day David and Goliath story. Pacific Gas and Electric Company had been poisoning the land around Hinkley, California. Their reckless behavior made the people of Hinkley and the surrounding area sick – many even died.

Her story inspires because she stood up to the mammoth of a company that had money and lawyers to fight. But she never backed down. She spent countless hours learning the ins and outs of that company. She met and got to know the people of Hinkley. She knew the sick by name. She knew their spouses and what their spouse did for a living; she knew who their kids were and what grades they were in. She knew where they lived. She knew where they shopped; who their doctors were; the most intimate details about their lives. She knew the company was dumping hexavalent chromium and contaminating the water sources the people of Hinkley were drinking.

Her story inspires because she spoke out and defended the ones who could not stand up for themselves and won.

For me, the Pastoral Epistles inspire like that. Paul writes to these young men who are serving as pastors in their local churches and encourages them to speak out against those who are killing the people around them. He writes to Titus in Crete and to Timothy in Ephesus. Our focus this morning is on the church at Ephesus and this letter to Timothy. The Letter is entitled 1 Timothy. If you’re using a pew Bible, you’ll find the letter on page ???

Paul states his purpose quite clearly in 3.14-15; rd 3.14f; 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. What we’ll find as we work our way through this letter is that Sound Doctrine is vital to a church’s existence. Unhealthy doctrine destroys a church. Sound Doctrine teaches a church 1) how to behave, 2) it represents God, and 3) is a pillar and buttress of the Truth!

Over the next 4 months, our church will be looking at 1st Timothy. Our basic goal this morning is to look at the introduction of this letter. We find the introduction in 1 Timothy 1.1-3 or on page ??? if you’re using a pew Bible.

Basic Outline: First, we will look at the writer (who the letter is from), then the recipient (who the letter is to), and his purpose, which he alludes to in v 3;

  • From: Paul
  • To: Timothy (and the church at Ephesus)
  • Purpose: you may charge…

Transition: that outline looks short, but the truth is, there is so much here, so let’s get to it.

From: Paul

exp.: rd v 1; Paul wrote this letter somewhere around the years 62-66 AD. Consider the following

  • Paul was martyred by Nero in Rome. That is the historical tradition and has strong backing.
  • Nero died in 68 AD, so, we’ll start with that date.
  • Paul was near his death when he wrote 2 Timothy, his last book or letter that we have. If Nero put Paul to death, then Paul died before Nero. Make sense?
  • So, let’s put Paul’s death around 67 AD – that means 2 Timothy was written near that time.
  • There are at least two winters recorded in the Pastoral Epistles (Titus 3.12 and 2 Timothy 4.21).

Titus 3.12: When I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have decided to spend the winter there.

2 Tim 4.21: 21 Do your best to come before winter. Another winter is fast approaching. Each reference is a different context. So: at least two different winters. They could be one year apart or more; winter of ’67; the winter of ‘65. So, that would put 1 Timothy somewhere around 62-64 AD. These are rough guesses, of course – give or take a few years on each side the largest span would be 62-66. You probably have a good guess at the introduction in your Study Bible at 1 Timothy.

Next, Paul is imprisoned in 2 Timothy, but in 1 Timothy, he appears to be writing after his imprisonment as mentioned in Acts 28. I tried to locate times and places mentioned in 1 Timothy with Acts and I can’t reconcile them. Allow me to show you what I mean:

1 & 2 Timothy place Timothy in Ephesus. I jokingly say that he is the pastor of the 1st Baptist Church in Ephesus. 1 Timothy has Paul going to Macedonia (1.3). In the book of Acts, Paul does travel to Macedonia from Ephesus (Acts 20.1), but Timothy has not been left behind in Ephesus. Instead, he is sent ahead to Macedonia (Acts 19.22). Added to this, Timothy accompanies Paul on his journey to Jerusalem (Acts 20.4). It is possible that Paul left Timothy in Miletus when he was meeting with the Ephesian elders; however, Paul’s journey was toward Jerusalem the opposite direction of Macedonia.

So, I can only conclude that Paul was released from prison after Acts 28. He ministered and wrote his letters (1 Timothy and Titus) between the dates of 62-66 AD. Then, at some point after those letters, he is thrown into prison again. According to 2 Timothy, he must have gone eastward after his Roman Imprisonment and not on to Spain, because he left his cloak and books at Troas. From his prison cell, during this 2nd Roman Imprisonment, he wrote his last letter, 2 Timothy. Paul has a sense (concerning himself) that the end is near there in 2 Timothy.

app.: He must be feeling that a bit as he writes his 1st letter to Timothy. Verse 1 tells us about his calling: apostle. That means he is a missionary, a church planter. His authority is from God, who has called him and commissioned him. But, as the years have gone by, he finds himself unable to keep up with his previous pace of planting churches and discipling new believers. Jail time has put a toll on his body. Long hours, long travel, persecution, stress, these all have aged him.

So, he has strategically placed younger men in places of service. 1.3: Timothy at Ephesus; Titus at Crete (1.5); He sends their replacements. 2 Tim 4.12: Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. Before that, in Titus, Paul sent Tychicus to Crete – evidently to carry that particular letter. Paul mentions that Zenas, the Lawyer, and Apollos have been there with Titus and that Titus should send them on their way to Paul. Crescens is in Galatia; Titus served in Dalmatia, as well as in Crete. Mark is serving somewhere along the way between Ephesus and Rome. It would be a hard, but fun study to locate all of the names of these young men and see where Paul had located them for service – with both locations and dates.

Now, added to their placement as overseers in their respective churches, Paul has given them instructions about how a church should look and act. Now, this is so important! Don’t miss that! That is what these letters, 1 Timothy and Titus, are all about; more on that in a moment.

t.s.: For now, let’s turn our attention to Timothy

To: Timothy

exp.: rd v 2; he uses the same language with Titus; my true child in the faith. The Gk word here means legitimate. I think this conveys the idea that Paul had a hand in their conversion to Christ and their foundation in discipleship. My guess is that Timothy was converted to Christ on Paul’s 1st MJ. We first meet Timothy in the book of Acts (16.1). Paul and Barnabas had finished their 1st MJ and had returned to Antioch to report their mission work. After some days and some disagreement about how they should handle things, Paul and Silas take off on Paul’s 2nd MJ. Their first stop is in Galatia, at Derbe and on to a small town called Lystra. This is where they meet a young Timothy, who has impressed the people of Lystra and Iconium – and Paul, too. Paul immediately recognizes his potential and wants Timothy to accompany them on their journey. And so begins a mentoring relationship between the two men that will last for the next 15 years or more. So great is this relationship, greater even than any other relationship Paul will have with many men, that Timothy appears in all but three of Paul’s letters. Galatians, Ephesians, and Titus. An interesting side note about that: Timothy was from Galatia and he was the pastor at Ephesus.

The rest of v 2 is a typical salutation – if there is such a thing. Paul has worked at refining his introduction through the years to reflect a high Christology. And, built upon that Christology is the authority given to Paul. It is typical in nature to other letters, but of course, reflects the change and growth in his faith. Listen to Gordon Knight:

This form of salutation reflects three factors: first, the teachings of the Christian faith have molded Paul’s adaptation of the standard form. Second, there is a great uniformity in this molding, especially in the grading section, which reflects a certain crystallization of his manner of expression of the essential Christian truths in these salutations. Third, there are certain variations that either reflect the recipients’ situation and need or anticipate and emphasize that which will be presented in the letter proper.

In all of his letters except the letter to the churches in Galatia, Paul refers to the recipients’ relationship to Christ (i.e.: to all the saints in Christ Jesus, as here – my true child in the faith, etc).

ill.: but here is where we can’t see the bond and what has forged it. As you read through acts you see Timothy right there with Silas and others, learning how to stand for Christ, learning that persecution will come. He is watching Paul as he suffers: in Philippi, in Thessalonica, in Berea as he watched Paul sail away alone – alone for his own safety; he is there in Corinth when the city erupted and wanted Paul’s head. Timothy was at Ephesus the first time Paul spoke there. He probably heard Paul’s promise to return if the Lord willed it. And the Lord did and Paul returned and stayed for two years. He watched as the people jumped up and down, screaming and yelling at the top of their lungs, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” He watched as Paul begged to address the thousands of people who wanted him dead. Paul saw a crowd where he could preach Christ. I’m sure Timothy was one of the men who begged him not to do that. The crowd yelled for two hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

We have a bunch of material from Acts where Timothy watched and learned from Paul. But what about the “so much more” that we don’t have. What was it like in those prison cells as they had time for some one-on-one discipleship? What was it like for Timothy to listen to this brilliant man who knew the Scriptures and how to apply them? What was it like to watch as the man went from reading the Scriptures to quoting them because his eyes were failing him? What was it like to hear the story of Paul’s conversion and calling – to hear him tell it – the story we read about in Acts Chapter 9 without the inflection, without the emotion of Paul’s voice?

app.: As a pastor, I’m in awe of this relationship. Paul loves the people of Ephesus. He detests false teachers coming and leading people astray. He trusts Timothy to serve those folks – to teach sound doctrine and protect them from the foolishness that others try to bring into a church.

t.s.: which brings us to this last section… it deals with what I touched on at the end of the 1st section… the purpose of these letters.

Part II:

Introduction: Love Does, Bob Goff; rd pg 94-95; eating Lard instead of Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

That’s the problem with religion: people package it in attractive ways, but always leave a person wanting. The problem with it all is that what most people are selling isn’t what Christ is offering.

Review of Part 1: From; To; Dates;

Purpose: charge certain men not to teach a different doctrine

exp.: rd v 3; Paul gets straight to the point. This is why I left you there in Ephesus. This is why I’m writing to you! Paul deals with false teaching repeated through his ministry. We see it in just about every letter of Paul’s.

  1. We see it in Acts 20, as Paul says goodbye to the Ephesian Elders at Miletus. Rd Acts 20.17; 25-32;
  2. We’ll see it in this letter, so you’re going to see it again and again (1.3-11; 13-20; 4.1-7; 6.3-10; 20-21).
  • Myths (1.4; 4.7)
  • Genealogies (1.4)
  • Concern with the Jewish Law and its application (1.7)
  • Empty sounds and contradictions referred to as ‘knowledge’ (6.20)
  • Deception (4.1-3)
  • Immorality (1.19-20)
  • Financial Gain (6.5)
  • Harsh Asceticism (4.1-5) through denying the self what God has blessed us with; rd; 4.1-5

ill.: false teaching is alive and well in the church today. Consider the following for us:

  • For the first 1500 years of the Church’s existence – teaching came only through hearing the Word. Very few people could read it and very few people had access to it. Consider it was in Latin! The Word of God was spread only through copies and oftentimes, those copies were chained to the altar at the church. Regular people did not have their own copies. The only time they got God’s Word was through the preaching.
  • Along comes Johannes Guttenberg and his printing press in 1450, making it possible to have a copy of God’s Word. And that is what he wanted. “It is a press, certainly, but a press from which shall flow in inexhaustible streams… Through it, God will spread His Word. A spring of truth shall flow from it: like a new star it shall scatter the darkness of ignorance, and cause a light heretofore unknown to shine amongst men”
  • Here is the irony in it all. Even after the Printing Press comes along, the church doesn’t want common people to have the Word of God in common hands. They saw that as a danger. They outlawed Scripture that was translated into common languages. Latin was the ‘Authorized’ version for those folks. I think of the modern-day movement of KJV Only folks.
  • So, for the next few hundred years, the word of God could then be spread by reading it and the public preaching and teaching of it. As the Word of God became more and more prevalent, it was outlawed in certain countries. The Church didn’t want it in the hands of normal people because they might teach falsely. I think it was more about control.
  • The Advent of Radio and Recording makes it much easier to access the preaching part. But today, with the internet and TV, with its 557 channels and nothing on, you can hear multiple preachers in any given hour. You can stream your favorite preacher or teacher into your home any hour of any day. False teaching can be pumped into your homes and into your head anytime you want to listen to anyone who tickles your ears.

app.: For me, it is a scary time.

  • Consider Mayor Pete Buttigieg: the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, IN. He’s the next big thing for liberals because he is gay and he is married to a man. And, he is a very nice young man. He’s intelligent and articulate. He went to Notre Dame, Harvard and Oxford. Ok, so far not too very different from most liberals. But, here’s the thing: he spouts his faith and declares his Christianity unashamedly. And this is where I think Sound Doctrine is of great importance to us. Just look at our text, down in v 8-11. Now, there are some, probably more on the internet than here in this room, who would say it is wrong from me to ‘judge’ him and his faith. I think to some degree that would be true. But this is where we need to be very careful. Scripture is clear on this issue. He may be sincere, but he is sincerely wrong according to Scripture. What is scary for me is that there is a group of young, progressive Christians who are pushing and supporting his rise through the Democratic party.
  • This past year, an article came out in the New York Times questioning the foundational doctrines of our faith (I read about it in Dr. Albert Mohler’s daily briefings): the Trinity, The Virgin birth, The Resurrection of Christ. I’m guessing it was Easter and all – and that’s the perfect time to attack Christians. Nicholas Kristoph interviewed a Seminary president: Dr. Serene Jones. She is the president of Union Theological Seminary. And the article basically boils down to throwing out the main tenets of our faith. Serene Jones doesn’t believe in a resurrection. She says the empty tomb illustrates that “the ultimate love in our lives cannot be crucified and killed.” She says there isn’t a resurrection in Mark – only an empty tomb. Kristoph challenges her, not really, but just so she can expand on her thoughts: But without a resurrection, aren’t we left with just the crucifixion? She answers: “Crucifixion is not something that God is orchestrating from upstairs. The pervasive idea of an abusive God-father who sends his own kid to the cross so God could forgive people is nuts. For me,” she said, “the cross is an enactment of our human hatred. But what happens on Easter is the triumph of love in the midst of suffering. Isn’t that reason for hope? Well, according to Paul – No! If all we have is the crucifixion, if Christ is not raised, then we are to be pitied above all men. If Christ is not raised, then we are hopeless and our faith is futile.
  • Joel Osteen is a motivational speaker who masquerades around as a preacher. I’ve chosen not to slam other preachers, but I don’t think Osteen lands in this category: a preacher. Joel Osteen’s teaching revolves around the self. There is no guilt and shame – those things don’t belong at his church. He will not talk about sin – that is so degrading. What he focuses on is making you feel better about yourself when you walk out those doors.
  • The following is from CBSNews.com this past Spring:

Rachel Held Evans, a popular, progressive Christian writer who challenged the traditional evangelical views, died Saturday, her husband confirmed in a blog post. She was 37.

Evans was hospitalized in April for what she described in a tweet as a “a flu + UTI combo and a severe allergic reaction to the antibiotics they gave me.” Her husband, Daniel Evans, had been updating on her blog about her health, writing that she had been placed in a medically-induced coma.

On Saturday, he wrote that she had been weaned from coma medication, but seizures had continued and severe swelling of her brain had been found, which he wrote caused severe damage that “ultimately was not survivable.”

“This entire experience is surreal,” Daniel Evans wrote. “I keep hoping it’s a nightmare from which I’ll awake. I feel like I’m telling someone else’s story.”

Evans was the author of several books, including “Faith Unraveled,” “The Year of Biblical Womanhood,” “Searching for Sunday” and “Inspired.” She spent more than a decade writing about what she described as “faith, doubt, and life in the Bible Belt” on her blog. 

Her popular writing and views on Christianity often enraged traditional evangelicals. In 2015, The Washington Post called her the “most polarizing woman in evangelicalism.” She was an advocate for LGBT membership in the church, urged fellow pro-life Christians to vote for Hillary Clinton and wrestled with the role of the patriarchy in the church. She served on former President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. 

She eventually left the evangelical church, writing in 2016 that “church universal is so much bigger than white American evangelicalism, and that’s going to become ever more apparent in the months and years to come.” 

I’m sad that this young woman died.

But the saddest part of her story is that so much of her ‘ministry’ was much like Hymenaeus and Philetus. She rejected the hard parts of the Bible and followed how she felt. Many have been led astray. She had a great point. I too have been sickened at the organized church; the power plays of individuals; the segregation that is most evident on Sunday mornings.

t.s.: So, how do we handle this? Well, a guilty man should feel guilty. Sin is what separates us from a holy God and we have to deal with our sin. Most people just don’t want to change. But God loves us too much to leave us the way we are. Most people want to hold on to their sin and to religion. But what they end up selling you is much like a tub of lard wrapped in a Cream Cheese package.

Conclusion: We must act and respond like Paul, who is being very clear that Sound, Healthy Doctrine is vital. It is what should guide the church. It isn’t enough to just to babble on and place your focus on things outside of Scripture, like how you feel. We must be clear about what is in Scripture. And that is the whole purpose behind 1 Timothy.

Application:

  1. The Charge: someone has to confront those who are teaching something other than sound doctrine. Someone has to cry out that the water has been poisoned. Don’t drink that water, but rather, come to the life-giving water.
  2. The Word of God is our Standard: It has to be the standard. Culture changes; laws change; emotions change; The Word of God is unchanging! For Timothy, he had the letter to the Ephesians, and he had this letter. This letter closes with a plural “you” – that is ‘the church’, so it appears that Paul had the intention for this letter to go to the church, too.
  3. The goal of this charge is love… v. 5; it isn’t to win arguments, but people. I’ll expound on this next week, but how can we say we love someone, but don’t love them enough to tell them the Truth.

As I think about Ms. Rachel Evans, I’m reminded that her passion was for those who were being rejected by the church. Something has got to change! But what must not change, is the Word of God on which we stand. What must change – is us. Love must drive us to understand God’s Word and use it as the standard for our faith.

 

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1 Timothy 6.20-21

Title: Final Comments

Text: 1 Timothy 6:20-21

CIT: Timothy, Do your job, Beware, Be Strong.

CIS: Same thing.

Introduction: On June 7, 1942, the Japanese attacked a United States territory for the 2nd time. The first is emblazoned upon our memories. It occurred 6 months earlier on December 7th, 1941. But this 2nd attack – it isn’t remembered. The reason is that not much really happened.

The island of Attu in the Aleutian Island Chain is the furthest point West belonging to the United States. It extends as far west as New Zealand, only on this side of the equator. The Japanese brought 1,100 troops and could have easily conquered the island with a bullhorn. That number would climb to 3,000 before American troops get there. On the morning of that attack, there were less than 40 civilians there and they were all in worship because it was a Sunday morning.

The Japanese charge along the mountainside toward the lone little village on Attu. They slipped and fell in the spongy earth and soft, wet snow. Guns were mistakenly discharged as men fell. In fear and in a state of panic, other soldiers began shooting toward the village and out into the open area because they thought they were being shot at by the Islanders. In the process, some Japanese were wounded and one was even killed by friendly fire.

The islanders heard noises and simply looked out the window to see the Japanese moving toward them. Nick Golodolf, who was six years old at the time and happened to be standing outside, actually began to laugh at what he thought was slap-stick comedy going on before him – that is until he figured out the mud jumping up around him was being caused by bullets being fired at him. That’s when he ran for cover.

The Japanese had attacked the US for a 2nd time.

The Unites States responded…eventually. It would be some 10 months later, April 24, 1943, when the Americans would send forces. The powers that be had outlined a strategy for regaining control of Attu. 15,000 troops were sent to attack the Japanese and it was figured that the battle would last less than three days. However, the troops were woefully unprepared. They lacked enough food, the proper gear and had no idea what the island of Attu was like. They weren’t ready for the cold. Their boots slipped in the mud. Have you ever tried to dig a foxhole in the tundra of Alaska? I remember in Wyoming when the city worked on pipes, they had to dig down 8 ft, because the ground freezes above that line. 8 feet! In the early years, before modern technology, funerals took place in the late Spring and Summer only, because the ground was frozen at other times of the year.

What was expected to last 3 days, lasted 6 weeks and cost hundreds of lives.

Why? Leadership. The General in charge of the 7th Infantry and his Naval Commander counterpart couldn’t stand each other. Both were arrogant and ignorant of just what it would take to conquer their enemy. Rear Admiral Robert Theobald insisted the uniforms of his men be neat and to code. The Japanese opted for heavily insulated attire designed for the Alaskan climate. The results for the Americans were disastrous and costly.

And so it is when leadership is concerned about themselves and not their people. If I recall correctly, the only other battle that cost more lives than the Battle of Attu was the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Leadership must be concerned about the people they serve. That’s what leadership is… and that’s Paul plea to Timothy.

He closes here with a final word – a final word that sums up well the contents of this letter:

20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.

Grace be with you.

Herein lies a call to strong leadership on the part of Timothy. And Paul does this with three verbs. The passage is broken down grammatically into three main parts:

One imperative verb: Guard. There is a participle which describes how he is to ‘guard’ … ‘avoiding’;

One past tense verb: those who have swerved from the faith; and a 2nd participle which describes what has happened to those who haven’t avoided irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’.

State of Being vb: And Paul then closes with a common phrase used to say goodbye.

So here is my breakdown of this passage and expressing it in three separate thoughts: Timothy, Guard, Guide, and Goodbye.

Transition: So look with me in v 20 again.

I.    Guard

exp.: rd v 20a: his command – Guard, the thought, ‘keep in custody’. Think of a prison guard keeping watch over the inmates under his charge. He knows where they are at all times. So, Guard. Guard what? “The deposit” – not normally a theological or religious term for us, but the deposit isn’t really foreign to us. We use regularly in banking terms, so we know what it means. This word is used 3 times in the NT. All 3 by Paul and all 3 in his letters to Timothy (1 Tim 6.20; 2 Tim 1.12, 14) and (2ndly) each reference deals with the gospel; LXX; Leviticus 6:1-7; the context of that passage really helps us understand what Paul is saying: The deposit is the property or the possession that has been entrusted to someone. And in our passage this morning, what has been entrusted to Timothy, the deposit is the gospel.

And the question that Paul answers here is ‘how’ Timothy is to guard the gospel. And this is our first participle: avoiding. Rd 20b;

exp.: two characteristics Paul brings out about the actions of these false teachers which are to be avoided:

  • Irreverent Babble; ‘Irreverent’ is the Gk word, which when transliterated is ‘Babylon’; empty-talk or empty-sounds; κενόω (kenoō): Phil 2:7; ‘he emptied’ himself; The nuance of the word is to pour out the contents of a pitcher until it is empty. These babblings are empty and contain no substance – avoid them. 2nd,
  • Contradictions: this Gk word transliterated into English is antithesis and it is in Gk, just as it is in English: the opposite; Contradictions, specifically, of what is falsely called knowledge. Some scholars use this particular passage, and others to say that this letter should be dated in the 2nd century since that is when Gnosticism saw it’s rise OR they say that this is evidence that Gnosticism was around in the 1st I don’t think either one is true.
  • Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,”; I think of John 17 where Jesus pays to the Father: Sanctify them in the Truth; Your Word is Truth. What is false about these teachers is that they’re not teaching God’s Word. They’re expounding on issues and themes that make them look knowledgeable, but it is all false.

app.: You know exactly what Paul’s talking about because 2,000 years later, there are still preachers who are puffed up with their knowledge, but lack the Truth of the Gospel. The Gospel is the Truth. What these others bring is not the truth…

t.s.: now at this point, Paul offers a caution, a reason to Guard the deposit. Whereas we’ve just observed Paul has commanded Timothy to Guard the deposit and how he is to guard the deposit, now he is going to offer a reason why Timothy is to Guard the deposit: rd v 21; 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.

II.   Guide

exp.: because there are those who profess this false knowledge, who chase after debates with no substance, and by so doing, they have swerved from the Truth. People need guidance to get where they’re going. And, the way God has designed this is through discipleship. It is through learning. It comes from learning God’s Truth.

Turn to 1 Tim 1:6 – Certain people have lit.: ‘miss the mark’; the idea is ‘to wander off the path’; they have deviated off course and wandered from these (a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith; cf.: 1.5);

ill.: you guys know I’m teaching this class of young men at BCL; our class is about becoming men; this past week our class was about building a survival kit; I shared with them the story of a lady who was hiking the AP alone. She was at the very end – she was roughly 200 miles to the end of the AP. This photo was taken the day before she disappeared. She left to hike the trail in 2013 but disappeared. Some men who were out surveying the territory for their company found her body. That was in 2016.

Along with her body was her notebook. In it, she recorded her failure, she had left the trail to go to the bathroom, but somehow, when she had completed her task, she got all turned around. She texted her husband for help, but her phone had no signal. She continued wandering around, trying to find the trail and eventually stopped on a ridge, thinking she would see something or be found. Finally, she decided to stay put until searchers could find her. But they never did. She had wandered two miles off the path.

App.: Staying on the path is essential to your survival. Veering off course is certain death. This is what I was teaching the boys this week, but it applies to us, too.

t.s.: Timothy, Watch over and Guard that which you’ve been given charge and responsibility for, Watch out that you don’t chase after things that are fruitless and empty, but instead, Guide others in the Truth. And finally, Timothy, goodbye

III.  Goodbye

exp.: rd v 21b; Grace be with you; Ἡ χάρις μεθʼ ὑμῶν; Grace; this is the typical greeting and goodbye of Paul; Go to each of his letters and you’ll find a very similar ending to those letters (with the one exception being Romans). The word Grace here has the definite article; a definite article adds an idea of something specific, namely, the Grace of Christ and Oftentimes, Paul will say just that, The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all; Now, the traditional ending of a letter can be found in Acts 15:29; Ἔρρωσθε, which means, Be Strong; genuine expression that one may be strong and well; hence, the translation, fare – well; ill.: Be Bold; God Bless; It may very well be that Paul knew that one can only be strong is in the grace of God and so, he changed the way he closed his letters to read the way they do. Grace Be With You. Paul has written to Timothy, but there are times in the epistle when it appears he wants the church to read this letter. This verse affirms what we already knew: The letter is for both Timothy and the church at Ephesus: Grace be with all y’all.

Conclusion: So, we should apply the letter to not just the pastor, but to the church body as a whole. And, how does this apply to us?

  • Well, to me, the application is very personal: I am a pastor. I think for the elders and other teachers, they might feel the same zealousness for the church that meets at 6704 Old Jacksonville Hwy. I take this responsibility very seriously and guard it with my soul. If it appears that I’m scrutinizing what’s being taught or I stand against someone wanting to lead the church astray, then so be it. I do not apologize for it. For I will give account. What about you? Church, what is your feeling for this body – called Calvary?
  • I think you have a responsibility to help keep our church pure, too.
    • Guard the gospel.
    • Live it wisely. Be a guide – like that of a hunter or a fisher. Know your territory – where it is safe. Where the animals are. Where there is freshwater. Where there is shelter. Where this protection.

Ill.: I have a good friend from Wyoming who has been a guide for many people in that area of the state. He knows where the animals are. He guided me on my elk trip when I lived up there.

He once got a call from a friend asking him to guide him and another man on a fishing trip. His friend said, “Now listen, when we show up and get in the boat, don’t get all weird and stuff. This man is famous and he doesn’t like people getting all weirded out!” The famous man, Bob Seger. He’s guided many famous men on hunting and fishing trips. Why? Because this friend of mine can’t get lost in the mountains and he knows how to survive.

We need to be like that when it comes to God’s Word – Guarding it and guiding others through it.

I think there is more here for us:

  • Select your leaders, Don’t quickly put any man into elder or deacon positions. Let them be tested and tried and found faithful.
  • Serve each other in love. Watch out for each other; for each other’s children and grandchildren; let your first thought be love and then act.
  • Treat each other with respect – the respect people deserve as believers in Christ. Mercy and grace have been granted to you – when you came to Christ. Respond to others as Christ has responded to you in your time of need.
  • Communicate Well: Listen, respond in love, listen some more.

We must prevail and persevere. That thought is communicated in the words: some have swerved from the faith. Let us not be among those who fail and fall by the wayside, proving themselves to be lost.

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