1st Timothy 1:1-17
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling: desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Background on the 1st Epistle to Timothy
"This is the first of what is called the Pastoral Epistles, 1st, 2nd Timothy and Titus, really in one sense written to them, not so much as pastors but as Paul's agents, as official delegates sent to local pastors and local churches in areas. Timothy has probably been with Paul longer and more regularly than anyone except Luke. But probably time-wise, and day by day, week by week, month by month, probably Timothy has been with Paul more regularly than anyone. Certainly the most endearing terms come from Paul's mouth in regards to Timothy, his beloved son in the faith. And sometimes we don't perceive Paul that way. But he's very passionate with some of the terms he uses for Timothy. And in fact when we get to the second letter to Timothy, we find some of the greatest pathos we have in the pages of the New Testament, from the great apostle, knowing where he was at that time, the importance of the things that he was saying. In his first missionary journey, he came to the area of Derbe in Lystra. There was a man there that was crippled. Paul perceiving the man had faith to be healed prayed for him, and the man was healed. And they [the natives] thought, "Well these missionaries must be Hermes and Zeus, they must be gods, come down to visit us because of what's happened,' and Paul said "No, not at all, we're not gods, we're just men, don't bring this ox down here to slaughter in sacrifice to us.' Well within a day, that's the way people are, they stoned him. They call you a god one day and stone you the next day. And Paul even possibly dead at that point, they took him out of the city as dead, threw him in the rubbish heap. And the group of people, probably Timothy included with his mother at least, stood around with some others and prayed for Paul, and God raised him up. He went right back into the city, it's hard to stop a guy like this. Well evidently in that first encounter, Timothy, whose name means "to honor God," was raised by a Jewish mother that was religious, and a Jewish grandmother, his father was a Greek we're told, ah, that would not have been accepted in Jerusalem, for a Jew to marry outside of their faith. It was more common in the greater Roman world. And this Jewish woman had married this Greek man. In the description we get, we don't get an indication that Timothy's father had ever come to genuine faith, but his mother and his grandmother had determined to raise him, instructing him in the Scripture, the Old Testament. And during this first missionary journey evidently both Timothy's mother and himself, and probably the grandmother too, came to a genuine faith. So that when Paul turns to that area in his second missionary journey, it says "Then came he to Derbe and Lystra,' and Luke tells us, "Behold,' Now he says that for a reason. "A certain disciple was there named Timotheus, a son of a certain woman, which was a Jew and believed, his father was a Greek, which was well-reported of by the brethren,' that's Timothy, "that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him,' Paul decided to take him, "and took him, and circumcised him, because of the Jews that were in those quarters, for they knew all of them that his father was a Greek.' So, interestingly, Paul must have said something like this to Timothy, "Sure, you can come with me and be an apprentice, but one problem, I'm going into the synagogues first everywhere I go, you know, your dad's a Greek. For you to have been raised by a Jewish mother and not to have been circumcised insinuates that you don't care about the faith at all, of Judaism, and it's an insult [to the orthodox Jews, that is].' (cf. Acts 16:1-3) So Paul took him, probably 18 to 20 years old at this point in time, and circumcises him. So they have an interesting bond, these two, to say the least. Now in each town there was a Jewish male who had the responsibility of circumcision, normally on the 8th day. But it wasn't sacred in that a rabbi couldn't do it, or the father couldn't do it. And Paul really owns Timothy as his son in the faith. Now he does that to be all things to all men. When it comes to Titus, the Judaizers, the legalists, wanted Paul to circumcise Titus to make him "accepted of God." Paul refused to have Titus circumcised, saying "Righteousness is not by the law' [ie the ceremonial law] But this is an interesting circumstance where he takes Timothy, and Timothy travels with him, and most often, where there was a synagogue, certainly they were in the synagogue first before they would minister to the Gentiles. [Comment: Paul was actually ministering to both the Gentiles and Jews within each synagogue he visited and was asked to speak in (and it was customary to ask any visiting Jew to speak before the congregation in that synagogue). Each synagogue in Asia Minor was composed of at least 10 percent of Gentiles, who were referred to in Acts as "God-fearers." Both the Jews and these "God-fearer" Gentiles knew the Old Testament Scriptures well, and Paul's method of evangelism was to prove out of the Old Testament prophecies that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the promised Messiah, which for anyone really knowing the Old Testament, is an easy job (see http://www.unityinchrist.com/prophecies/1stcoming.htm). The apostle Paul was emptying out the synagogues of their God-fearer Gentiles and a good number of Jews in the process of his evangelizing each synagogue he visited. This was Paul's method of evangelism. This is discussed thoroughly at: http://www.unityinchrist.com/history2/earlychurch1.htm. It is no wonder the Jews in Jerusalem, getting word from their synagogues in Asia Minor, wanted to kill Paul, and did all in their power to do so.] So this is fourteen to fifteen years after Acts 16, when Timothy begins to travel with Paul. It says here he had to implore him, or beseech him to stay at Ephesus. Evidently Paul had to convince Timothy sometimes. In the second letter to Timothy he says, "That God hasn't given us the spirit of fear, but of power, of love and a sound mind,' and he encourages Timothy. So Timothy, much like Joshua, seems to be a personality that needs encouragement. In chapter 5 of this first epistle, in verse 23, he says "No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach.' Now those are important words. He doesn't say so "No longer drink only water, but drink a little wine,' it doesn't say that. He says "No longer drink water only, but use a little wine,' different word, it's medicinal. Evidently he had Caesar's revenge or something, I don't know, alcohol would kill some of the bugs. But Timothy, you know, that kind of a stomach, might be in keeping with someone who needed encouragement. At this point in time, he's probably mid-30s to 40 years old. He said Paul will say "Let no man despise your youth,' another indication that he needed encouragement. That particular word "youth" was only used in that culture until they were 40 years old. So if we know he's been with Paul 14 or 15 years, by this point in time, most scholars estimate he was 18 to 22 when Paul calls him and takes him with him, he is now 35, 36, somewhere in that age bracket at this point in time, which was considered young, particularly to have spiritual leadership. So Paul is encouraging him in these letters. And there is great encouragement, great instruction, wonderful to think that if you're 35 to 40, you're still a youth. What a kind book this is. If you're a youth at 40, a teenager at 52, I appreciate that. Probably the idea of this first Epistle is in chapter 3:15 where it says "But if I tarry long,' he's writing, "that thou mayest know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth.' So he's giving instruction in regards to the church.
I'm Fulfilling The Calling That God Has Upon My Life
He begins by saying, "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord." (verses 1-2) Some interesting things as he begins. He says "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of GodÉ" Normally when you read through, he says "by the will of God." In at least three of four other epistles he says "apostle by the will of God." Here he's saying to Timothy "I'm an apostle by the commandment of God, this is the will of God, Timothy, in my life.' Because he's going to be encouraging Timothy in regards to the will of God for his own life. He's saying, "Timothy, you know, it is of course the will of God, but it's more than that, it's the commandment of God, I'm fulfilling the calling that God has upon my life.' And he says "Éthe commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ," now, you know when I read that, I've read that a long time, and it seems it's saying "by the commandment of God our Saviour, and the Lord Jesus Christ,' but there is no article there, and the more I look at it, I wonder if it's saying "By the commandment of God our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ,' "which is our hope; unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord." Now he changes this to "grace, mercy and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord." (verse 2) Normally it's just "grace and peace." But he interjects mercy here, he does it in the second letter to Timothy, and he does it in the letter to Titus. And I think that he just knows, "you know, you're 35 to 40, you're still fairly new at this, you're only 14 or 15 years into this, and to be in ministry you need grace, and you need peace, but you need mercy too.' So he's encouraging him in an interesting way now as he begins to give him these exhortations, "grace, mercy and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." And immediately too, he spoke to them of the hope that we have in the Lord, at the end of verse 1.
Sound Bible Doctrine Is Meant To Edify, Teach And Answer Questions, Not To Raise Questions And Cause Confusion
Now, he says "As I besought thee" "I begged you, I talked to you about this,' "to abide still at Ephesus, when I went to Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine," (verse 3) So Paul had asked Timothy to stay at Ephesus. Ephesus is a tough place, Paul had started a riot there, he had to get out of town. He asked Timothy to stay there. It's interesting, Paul laboured there for quite awhile, and as we read the letter to the church at Ephesus, it's high and it's lofty and it's beautiful. And it really affirms our position in Christ. But even here it seems that Paul is taking note of the fact that there is both immorality and bad doctrine coming into the church. If you remember, Paul on his way to Jerusalem, called for the elders of Ephesus to meet him at Miletus. And it tells us in Acts 20 there that he met with them, and he wept, he encouraged them, he said "You know that I didn't neglect to communicate to you the whole counsel of God,' he said, "how I ministered house to house. I know that bonds and affliction await me, but none of these things move me, that I might fulfil my course.' And he said, "But I ceased not to warn you for the space of two or three years, that after my departure grievous wolves will creep in from outside, and then will arise out of your own midst false teachers, leading disciples after themselves, and not after the Lord Jesus Christ.' And there seems to be a sense of that here, a foreboding, you know, God had made him aware of that as he is writing this letter to Timothy, this exhortation. "I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine," (verse 3) So, "I left you there that you might do this.' Now, he kind of digresses from there, and he'll come back to that exhortation more towards the end of the chapter. But he says, "that you would charge some that they teach no other doctrine,' the military word, and it is a word that was used of a commander speaking to someone who was less in rank. He uses it 8 times in 1st and 2nd Timothy. So as Paul looks at the Church, he understands that the Church is an order, it's not a democracy, and that Timothy as a leader in the Church, part of his responsibility at times would be to give someone "a charge." That charge was that they would teach no other doctrine. Now in 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus, and when you read through, you will find the words "doctrine" or "teaching" in one form or another 32 times. So it was a very central part of what Paul was concerned about in these churches, was the teaching that was taking place there. And it's important for us to see that, it wasn't entertainment. It wasn't "This kind of thing is going on in the church to appeal to the Ephesians,' it wasn't, you know, movies, drama, overheads. We know it was the teaching of the Word of God, and it was the teaching of doctrine. And Paul says, "You know I left you there at Ephesus so that you would charge, give a commandment to some that they teach no other doctrine,' he says. The idea is then, what Paul had taught while he was there. Because he had the sense that others would come in with false teaching. Again we saw that in Acts 20. "Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do." (verse 4) He says there are those up there, and they would rather wrangle about stuff that raises questions rather than answering questions. "We have this young church there, it's a good church, I left you there to put things in order, and to take charge, and give a command to some that they don't teach any other doctrine than what they received when I was there when the church was planted, and the foundation of the church was laid. Because there are some, all they want to do is give heed to fables, and argue about genealogies, you know, "Where did Cain get his wife? You know, this is an important question, you want me to believe, where did Cain get his wife,'' Always be suspicious of someone whose interested in another man's wife, that's all I have to say. And there are those things that go on, just wrangling. You know, look, it hasn't changed with some of the strange things that are in the Church today. You know, I would even warn about some of the things that go on in name of "hidden codes." You know, we can't get along with some of the stuff that's on the surface, now there are all these people coming out with codes, "There's hidden codes there in the Bible, about Hitler, Saddam Hussein and all this stuff.' Now look, I don't know everything that's in here [the Bible]. There are some remarkable things in the Book. You know, I know from Genesis through Exodus, every 39th letter is T.O.R.A.H., it spells Torah, the Law. And then when you go from Numbers through Deuteronomy every 39 letters it's H. A. R. O. T., it's backwards, whatever it is, Torah, spelled the other way, and it's pointing to Leviticus, which is the sacrificial book. There are remarkable things in the Book. But anything that does happen to be there, what it's really saying to us, is "That you can trust what's on the surface." It doesn't point away from the surface, it points to the surface, and it says "What you hold in your hand is the Word of God, and a ten-year-old can read it and understand and believe what it's saying, and that that's the mystery and the power and the beauty of it all." There are 400,000 words in the English language, there are only 6,000 of them in the King James Bible. It only took them an initial part of the language to communicate the truths of God. So God doesn't want to hide anything. But there are people who will wrangle about these things, they want to argue about these things. "Don't give heed to fables and endless genealogies which minister questions rather than godly edifying, I mean, you want to build people up, to edify them, in a godly way, which is in faith.'
The Goal Of The Commandments And Teaching Sound Doctrine Is To Bring Us To Agape-love
"Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned." (verse 5) The end of the commandment, now "It's the goal,' it's telos, telescope, to look off, the goal, the telos of the commandment, the aim of it is this, it's clear, number 1, "charity out of a pure heart," [Comment: If God's agape-love is the goal of the commandments, what is this agape-love? See, http://www.unityinchrist.com/Agape/Agape%20I.htm. It makes sense that God's agape-love is the goal of God's commandments, and not faith, as some teach, as Paul brings out, God's agape-love is to be preferred above all the other spiritual gifts, including faith.] Now Timothy is between 35 and 40. The purpose of the teaching of sound doctrine, is #1, love, charity [God's agape-love], of a pure heart. Anybody here have that conquered? Somebody cut me off in traffic on the way over here. My emotion was not love out of a pure heart [J]. And I thought about that, "Wait a minute, Lord, you made this [laughter] needy person, and you so loved them that you sent your Son, and what I just thought about them was not love out of a pure heart.' The people you work with, you know, I'm here as part of the staff of the church, we want that to be more prominent amongst ourselves, the people in your own fellowship, Christians that you know. The purpose of sound doctrine, of teaching the Scripture, one of the first goals, first aim of it is, love [Greek agape'], "By this shall all men know that you're my disciples by the love that you have one for another, that you love one another as I have loved you,' the new commandment. That's sacrificially. First [and central] goal, love out of a pure heart. I can work there for awhile, I don't know about you.
2nd Goal Of Teaching Sound Doctrine And The Commandments: A Good Conscience
Secondly, "a good conscience," a good conscience. And Paul's going to talk about the conscience six times in the Pastoral Epistles. He's going to talk about a good conscience, a pure conscience, he's going to talk about a seared conscience, an evil conscience, or a corrupt conscience. You go through it and you see, he's very aware, as he's speaking to the Body of Christ, of the needs that are amongst believers. He says there are those with a pure conscience, there are those with a seared conscience, there are those who are listening to their conscience amongst believers, and there are those who are not. And the Holy Spirit deals with us there in that internal part of us, where there is a compass, and we come to a decision, and that internal compass, the Holy Spirit is pointing us, saying "Don't go that way, go that way.' And then we make that decision. I had someone that I love very dearly say to me, "Dad [laughter], one of the teachers at Bible college said, that if you had a pure conscience, you'll be able to serve the Lord with more authority. Do you think that's true?" And I said, "David was a man after God's own heart, and he fell, he sinned. He became a much better Psalmist, but he was not as great a king. Jacob, Abraham, were men that made mistakes, and walked with God. Paul the apostle was a man who slaughtered Christians, made them blaspheme the name of Jesus. And those things worked in the lives of individuals to make them appreciate the grace and the power of God. But there were those, like Joseph, and like Daniel, men who seemed to be sterling in their character, who changed the course of nations. I have defiled mine, because I grew up unsaved, and there was immorality in my life, there was using of drugs, and there was violence. And God has allowed all of that to be a backdrop in my life for me to see his grace, and be filled with wonder, that I could lift my head to heaven and say Father, Abba. But you have the chance to do this with none of that knocking inside of you, and hear that voice say "I want to do it right.'" I think of John saying, "I have no greater joy than to know my children walk in truth.' One of the reasons of teaching the Scripture is that we might live with a pure conscience, just to know "that I've been doing it right.' I mean, I can go to bed at night with one of those. I can't change my past, but in my present [state] I can go to bed and say, "Did ok Lord, didn't we.' And he says "I did, I don't know about you. [laughter]' "But Lord, I didn't'É"That's because I kept you from doing it, that's why you didn't do it.' "Oh, we're a good team, aren't we? I'm a good sheep and you're a good Shepherd.' One of the purposes of good sound teaching, healthy teaching, is so that we might have a good conscience, good walk, the way that we're supposed to walk. It's not rocket-science, it's something that we know in our hearts.
3rd Goal Of Teaching Sound Doctrine: To Have A Non-Hypocritical Faith
"and a faith unfeigned." That's faith unhypocritical. Unfeigned is, you know, faith without hypocrisy. "I believe in Jesus.' "Oh do you really?' "Yea, this slot machine, if I hit the jackpot I'll give half to the church.' You know, faith unfeigned. Because someone who professes Christ, and lives in sin or hypocrisy, sends such a confusing message, particularly to their children, in their own home. But to someone who observes them that's not a believer that's just as bad. So, there's a point, Paul's saying, "Look, people get caught up in all kinds of wrangling, and fables, and genealogies, and Timothy I want you to charge them in regards to teaching, that they don't depart from those things that are healthy, and the solid teaching of the Scripture, which in every one of our lives should produce a love that's from a pure heart, and a faith that's unfeigned, unhypocritical, and a walk with Christ with a good conscience, those are the things, that's the kind of fruit Timothy we're looking for in people's lives.' And there's all kinds of other emphasis today in the Church [greater Body of Christ]. You know, if you have the great privilege to minister to young people, people anywhere under 40 I guess, which is young, to just see those kinds of things in their lives, to think "Wow, they're walking with the Lord, just great fruit there.' I mean, they don't lash out, there's fruit, there's solid love, and you just know there's purity, conscience, their faith is genuine, not compromising, they're walking with the Lord. I don't know, that's good stuff.
The Purpose Of The Law Of God
Paul says, "From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;" your know, dueling Bibles or something, empty verbiage, they've just turned aside, "desiring to be teachers of the law;" their ego and their pride is involved, "understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm." (verses 6-7) They don't know anything about what they're talking about. They're smug, they're self-confident, they're affirming something, but they don't know what they're talking about, and they're desiring to be something that God hasn't appointed them to be. And Paul, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee of the Pharisees understood the law well. Timothy, who was raised by a Jewish mother understood the law well. And Paul knows that the law is a taskmaster or a schoolmaster. That if we don't know the grace of Jesus Christ, and we're trying to somehow get in good with God by keeping the law and trying to earn his love or favour by doing good stuff, that the law is a taskmaster, and it will grind you to powder. Because righteousness does not come by the law, because if we break it in one point we're guilty of the whole thing. You read through the Ten Commandments, and some of the things he's going to outline here as far as sin, following along with the Ten Commandments, but it's interesting that you look at the bookends on the Ten Commandments, the first one says "Have no other gods before me,' that means in my presence, doesn't mean before me in line, like you got a number two god and a number three god, no it has "no other god before me in my presence.' It's worship, and nothing else. And the last commandment says "Thou shalt not covet.' You can say "Well I didn't commit adultery, and I didn't commit murder, and I didn't steal anything,' but wait a minute, those are all actions, the last commandment Paul says "slew me because it went to the attitude of heart.' You may not have committed adultery, but did you covet a woman? You may not have stolen anything, but did you covet something that didn't belong to you? The law then, Paul says, really is not something that God gave to produce righteousness, it is a schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, and make us see our need for forgiveness. The law is a thermometer, it tells you that you have a fever. When you realize you have a fever you don't get a big glass of water and swallow the thermometer. But you need aspirin, because the thermometer won't take the fever away. The Law is a mirror so that you can look at it and see how dirty your face is (cf. James 1:22-25). When you see how dirty your face is, you don't take the mirror and scrub your face with it. The Law doesn't remove sin, it makes it evident to us. When you read through Exodus chapter 20 and you see the commandments given there, and immediately after that the sacrificial system is given. Well if man could have kept the Law, the sacrificial system would have been unnecessary, and all of that pointing to Christ, and that Law being a schoolmaster to bring us to our realization that we need forgiveness [and the power to overcome sin (which is the transgression of Gods Law, 1st John 3:4), which is given to us by God's Holy Spirit], unmerited forgiveness. We need unmerited forgiveness, we need undeserved forgiveness. Paul says, and here are these, and particularly probably some of the Judaizers, who always followed Paul, trying to bring people back under the laws of circumcision and so forth. And no doubt there were others who were false teachers who were just self-righteous. I can see it a mile away, because I went through ministries, you know, you start out, you get saved, and all you know is, you're saved. You kind of wish you could stay like that the rest of your life. But then you start to hear of all of these other things in the Church that you never knew about---tongues, what are tongues? Slain in the spirit, what is slain in the spirit? Holy laughter, what is holy laughter? What is this? What is that? All of these other things, and always with those things, you know, this brand of discipleship, always with those things comes some human, "Oh our apostle says this, the head of our movement says this, and these are what his tapes say, this is what his book says,' and it's always "Jesus and,' "Yea you know you need to be saved, yea, I understand you're at Calvary Chapel with all of these babes in Christ, there's milk there, glad you go there, but you can't just drink milk for the rest of your life, you need some meat, and let me give you these tapes, let me give you this book by our guy,' you know, the more spiritual things, there's always a man involved, and that is always legalism, there is always some form of self-righteousness, and there's always the smell of some man there. Because the truth is, when you're born-again, whether you're a born-again Baptist or a born-again Methodist or a born-again Calvary Chapel, you have the same Lord, the same Spirit, the same Scriptures, the same salvation, the same Father, the same destiny, the same grace. But it's always when you're being told "You're lacking something,' that there's a man, there's some form of legalism. So Paul says "They desire to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they're affirming,' "But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;" (verse 8) There's a reason for it, it's a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. [ie, as he said before, the Law is a spiritual mirror, showing us where the dirt is in our lives. It doesn't clean up the dirt, only shows where it is, James 1:22-25. We're to use it with God's indwelling Holy Spirit, to clean up the dirt in our lives. For more about Law & Grace, see http://www.unityinchrist.com/whatisgrace/whatisgraceintro.htm] "Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man," now he's really going to bang these false teachers and Judaizers, the law's not for a righteous person, 55 miles per hour sign on the side of the road is not for a righteous person who always does 40, it's for me [laughter], the law's not for a righteous person, it's for a law-breaker, that's why the law's given, that's why we need laws, "but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind," homosexuality, fornication, sexual sin [of all kinds] "for menstealers," those that are kidnapping, "for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;" (verses 9-10)ÉThe law is for lawbreakers, the law is to set a standard. Imagine tonight if there was no law, not only what it would be like driving home, what it would be like when you got home. If there was no law anywhere in this city [Philadelphia] imagine the looting that would be taking place tonight, imagine the murder, imagine just what would happen. Law is there to establish, to bring order, because human beings are law-breakers. Paul says "The law's not for righteous people, you're believers, you're righteous by faith, it is for those who are ungodly, for those who do those things. And anything that's contrary to sound doctrine,' "according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust." (verse 11) i.e. the sound teaching which is according to the glorious gospel of my teaching, glorious not by character, glorious by content, is the idea in the grammar, "the glorious gospel that I preach to you contains, you know, any teaching that is not in keeping with what these false teachers are trying to teach you,' he says. And look, he's going to charge Timothy to war a good warfare, over in verse 18. And we're going to see that warfare is moral and doctrinal. Those are two of the main things he's facing in Ephesus. There was doctrinal error, that was in regards to legalism, it was in regards to a number of things, disorder in the church, and there were moral problems, which was because of some of the pagan worship that was there, temple prostitutes, it was very much accepted to participate in that. Again, we all hear so much about pornography today, but imagine being in Corinth, Ephesus, one of these places where there's a thousand temple prostitutes, and it is an acceptable behavior for you to go in, day in and day out, and indulge yourself in everything imaginable. And Paul knew, that when someone was converted through the power of the Holy Spirit, and they were taught the Scripture, that in their lives, they should have pure love, unhypocritical faith, and a good conscience, that the power of God was there to transform lives. And if it was there at that point to transform lives, the same God, "I am the Lord, I change not, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever,' he is effective to transform lives today, and set us free from anything that is morally or doctrinally in error, today, tonight, or he's not on the throne, and we might as well not be here.
If God Calls You, He Enables You
Verse 12 he says, "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief." (verses 12-13) Paul says, "You know, I thank the Lord, he enabled me,' it's not because of Paul's certificates, it's not because of his education, it's not because of his resume'. You know, who would have hired Paul as an apostle? "Hey, I slaughtered Christians, I made them blaspheme the name of Jesus, I'm the apostle you're looking for.' It says he wreaked havoc on the Church. This is not the guy we would look for. He said "God enabled me,' because God's calling is enabling. Without God's calling, there is not an enabling, there's an exercise of the flesh. But he's saying "the God who called me enabled me.' If God calls you, he enables you. "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;" now of course he wants to encourage Timothy in this, that God's call is on his life and God will enable him. And he wants every Timothy here in this room to be encouraged, and Timothy-ess, too, and Timothy-esses, Timothy-she's, that God's calling is God's enabling. "for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;" we can say Amen to that, because Paul was on his way to do more damage to the Church when the Lord interrupted him and he fell down on the Road to Damascus, and it certainly was the Lord who took him and put him in the ministry, he was drafted, he didn't enlist, "who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief." (verse 13) Now this is BC, Before Christ, it's nice to have a "before," if it can glorify God's grace. It's not to have a "before" just to brag about it, but to have a "before" to say "Hey, look at what the Lord's done,' is a great thing. He, Paul, blasphemed God and he blasphemed Jesus, he made people blaspheme the name of Christ, at the point of a sword. He said "I was a persecutor, I was your worst nightmare,' if you were a Christian. "I went around hauling men and women off to prison, I broke families up.' There were fathers that were in prison that were praying, "God, kill Saul.' I mean, if he came into my home and destroyed my family, and threw me in prison, and ran my wife and my kids off, and I was taken away and saw them screaming, I'd be somewhere in prison saying "God, kill that guy! Just kill that Saul. Put him in a vegematic and chop him up, Lord, just get rid of him.' "I was a persecutor, and I was injurious:" he was a bully, it says in Acts chapter 8 that he was wreaking havoc in the Church, "but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief." Now I think he's appealing to something that Timothy might understand in regards to doing it ignorantly in unbelief. There was a provision in the Law for ignorant sin. There was a provision in the Law where there were those who sinned willfully, in complete rebellion. But there was a sacrifice for those who sinned, and they sinned ignorantly, they didn't know what they were doing. Remember what Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." And Steven when he was stoned, and Saul of Tarsus was there giving consent to it, said much the same thing. And how that must have lodged in his heart. He says "but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus." (verses 13b-14) Just exceeding abundant, he uses superlatives to talk about God's love and grace towards him.
An Early Creed: "This Is A Faithful Saying, And Worthy Of All Acceptation, That Christ Jesus Came Into The World To Save Sinners"---The Process of Salvation
And "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." (verse 15) Now you can read through the Pastoral Epistles as we study them, there are four of these sayings in 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus in which you find them. There are four sayings that are "faithful, and worthy of acceptation", "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." "This is a faithful saying", now the way it's written in the grammar, it means to be committed to memory, and it may have been a creed of the church there in Ephesus. "This is a faithful saying, worthy of all acceptation" means "it is to be accepted without question, it is to be accepted without any qualifications being placed upon it, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.' "Wait a minute, you don't know the guy who lives next door to me,' yea we do. I've had people come here who have seen some of you, and I won't point you out or mention your names, that have said to me, "The reason I stayed at your church, because I came here seeing that guy or that girl with a Bible in their hand, and I figured God had to be alive and doing something, if that guy is sitting in a church with a Bible.' Now look, what he's saying is it doesn't matter what you've done. Listen to me tonight, it doesn't matter how many Christians you've killed, just in case a strange case would be here tonight, but it doesn't matter how many times you've blasphemed the name of God, and it doesn't matter how many times you personally have tried to destroy the faith of some believer. What he's saying is, "This is a worthy saying, it's worth accepting without putting any qualifiers on it, that Jesus Christ has come into the world to save sinners.' That's why he came. And Paul said "I was a blasphemer, I was a persecutor, I was an injurious person, I was your worst nightmare, I murdered the Church, and put them to death, hauled them off to prison, destroyed Christian families and congregations, and he saved me, and forgave me, he enabled me, and counted me faithful to be in the ministry.' "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." So if he's the chief, everybody in the tribe gets in too. You thought you were the chief. Paul said he's the chief. And he doesn't say "of whom I was chief.' He says "of whom I am chief." Because he's aware of his own life. You know, there have been miracles in his ministry, Christ has appeared to him, his doctrine in regards to so many things is no doubt the purest doctrine in the Church during his ministry, and yet this man will say, "You know, I count everything else as dung, that I might know him, that I might know him, that I might know him, and the power of his resurrection, the fellowship of his sufferings. If by any means I might be made conformable unto his death.' And he says "I have not yet apprehended that which I have been apprehended for. I have not yet fully taken hold of why he has fully taken hold of me. I have not yet fully apprehended the great measure of God's love that has been extended, but I do this. I forget those things that are behind, I press toward the mark, the high calling in Christ, those things that are hid.' So here he's still very aware of that, not of whom I was chief, but of whom I am chief. Isn't it interesting? You first get saved, and there should be change in your life [i.e. initial repentance, growing and overcoming of visible sins]. You first get saved, and there should be change in your life. If you're claiming to be a Christian and there hasn't been any changes in your life, you know the Bible says, "Let a man, or a woman, examine himself to see whether they be in the faith.' When you first get saved, I can remember, fist-fighting goes. You can't beat people up anymore, you're a Christian. Drugs, you can't get stoned anymore, you're a Christian. Alcohol, you shouldn't be out getting drunk anymore. You're a Christian, you shouldn't be lying, robbing banks anymore. Paul got saved, he said there were some changes, he didn't kill Christians anymore. There should be a change. "Let those who name the name of Christ depart from iniquity,' the Bible says. There should be a transformation, there should be a change in our lives. And you first get saved, and you think, "Wow, I just, I'm set free.' It isn't like "I have to give up drugs,' you know, he wants to give us an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, he's giving us unimaginable glory, he's giving us new life, peace and hope. It's like "I got to give up my crack-house for a mansion, I don't know about that deal. You mean I got to give up the beat-up old junker for that Rolls Royce, you mean I got to give up my row boat full of holes for that yacht?' It's not like we give anything up, you know. [And as David said throughout Psalm 119, God's laws are good for you, not bad for you. God never asks us to give up something that is good for us, his laws are for our good and our protection.] "Oh, I've gotta give up drugs,' well all of those things should go. There's things in front of us that are remarkable. But you know as time goes on, you first get saved and you think "Oh, yea my life has changed, this is different, that is different,' and as time goes on, then the Lord's saying, "Well, what about this too?' "Now wait a minute, I didn't know about that.' "And, what about what you say?' "Come on, Lord, I don't punch people anymore, can't I just yell at them?' You know, isn't it funny, as the years go by, then it's like wasting time. "Oh no, it's not sin, but should I be in it?' What about this, your thoughts? You know, if he had told us all at the first day we'd have freaked out, and you would have said "Well there's no way I can do this.' And isn't it fun, as all of the years go by, and here I've been saved for over 30 years, and I'm more conscious of the things within myself that do not measure up to the image he's conforming me into now than I was then when I was a lunatic. I heard someone who had walked with the Lord for over 60 years say "The more you go on with Christ, the more you repent, and the less you sin." [Comment: and the Bible's definition of sin is found in 1st John 3:4, "Sin is the transgression of the law."] And Paul is saying, "This is a faithful saying, worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." (verse 15) He understood. Isaiah, remarkable man, when he saw the LORD high and lifted upÉhe said "Woe is me.' John the apostle in the Book of Revelation when he sees the Lord, eyes a flame of fire, golden breastplate, face shining like the sun, says he falls down like a dead man. That's John the apostle, that's John the apostle, the a-postle. Daniel, sterling character, said when the LORD appeared to him that all of his comeliness turned to ashes, all of his beauty turned to just ashes in the LORD's presence. And see that's the image we're being conformed into, that's really the comparison we want to make, "How much am I like Jesus?' It's easy to look around church and say "I'm glad I'm not like that sap. Look at that guy, I see him and I feel good about myself, making progress here.' Well, the question is, if the Lord appeared to you right now, how would you feel? And Paul knows he would go down on his face, "of whom I am chief." You know, it's not saying that he's continued doing all of the things he did, he says but God has done that for a purpose. And he says that in the next verse. "Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting." (verse 16) He said, "You know, it honored the Lord that he took my life, and all my insanity, and all my sin, a persecutor, an injurious person, a blasphemer, and he took me, and he washed me, and he cleansed me, and he cleaned me up, and he held up my life---and I'm not just any b-grade sinner, I was class-A sinner, chief. And he said he did that so anyone after me who would come to believe, could see my life as a pattern, the word means "a sketch,' that my life is actually an illustration of the power of God's grace and love to take the most vile, hate-filled sinner, and to forgive him completely through the death and resurrection of Jesus.' And he said, "and God just loved to do that so that he could hold me up as an example for anybody who'd come to believe afterwards, so we could all know that if the "chief' got in, all the rest of us, we could get in too.' It doesn't matter what you've done, you haven't measured up to Paul's sins. And then of course he goes off the deep end, he says "This is a faithful saying, worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." "But you know, it's for this cause that I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them who should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.' And then he just goes off, goes off the deep end, he can't control himself, he just goes into a doxology, "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen." (verse 17) [Doxology: "a hymn or form of words containing an ascription of praise to God."] He goes right off into a doxology right in the middle of his letter. "But excuse me, I'm back now,' he went off there. You read that description of Jesus Christ, what an amazing description, "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen." [transcript of a connective expository sermon given on 1st Timothy 1:1-17 by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19116]
Why Timothy needed to be circumcised by Paul, because of Paul's particular method of evangelism. See,
For more about Law & Grace see,
The purpose of the commandments and sound doctrine: To bring us into God's Agape-love. See,