On Wednesday nights at Bethany Baptist Church, we have started a series where we are going through the New Testament letter, 1 Timothy. I thought that I would share a little of my notes from what I shared with our fellowship. This is what we talked about this past Wednesday.
In the passage that we will look at tonight, we will see how Paul focuses on the truth of God’s gospel.
1 Timothy 1:12-14 = Gratitude for God’s grace
In verses 12-13, Paul gives thanks to God for the grace that has been shown to him in his life. Paul remembers how Christ came to him and showed him great grace. You may remember that Paul was on his way with papers in hand to arrest Christians when Jesus confronted him on the Damascus Road. Not only did Christ save Paul, but He also called Paul to be His servant taking the gospel to people who had not heard it.
Paul admits that he was the last person whom God should have extended grace to because he blasphemed the name of Christ and persecuted the church. That is the beautiful thing about grace. It is getting what we do not deserve. Paul reminds Timothy (and us) that we did not deserve God’s grace, but He extends it anyways.
As we are reminded about the amazing grace of God shown to us, are we thankful? Does our lives demonstrate a gratitude for this grace that has been shown to us? Do we take this grace for granted, giving a tip of the hat towards God and then going on about our merry way? We should take time frequently to remember the grace shown to us and live a life of gratitude because of it.
Illustration: Dog adopted from the pound. There was a boy that was taken by his father to the local pound to get a new dog. When he saw this little puppy, the boy knew that it was the one. He gave $50 and took the dog home. The boy would take the dog to a local park and play with it often. Many people would comment at how well the dog was trained. The boy would reply that he had no obedience class training. This dog would wait by the door for the boy to get home from school each day and would jump up and down when the boy got home. This dog showed his love and appreciation to this boy because he rescued him from certain death. If a dog can grasp this concept, shouldn’t we?
1 Timothy 1:15 = The Gospel in a Nutshell
In this verse, Paul gives one of the simplest presentations of the Gospel. He states that Christ came to save sinners, and I am the worst of them all. Paul is reminding Timothy to remember the mission. Helping people realize their need for Christ is hard sometimes. We may want to try different gimmicks, but it all comes to remembering that we are all sinners in need of a Savior, and Christ has come as that Savior.
This was also a means of identifying the false teachers that were trying to destroy the church. If a person does not recognize their sin and the fact that Jesus Christ alone is the Savior and answer, then one should not give them any time. Those who want to add things to the gospel like earning God’s favor by doing good works or other things are not from God.
God has given us a gospel that, though it is simple, is sufficient. The grace of God shown through Jesus Christ coming to save us from our sins is all we need. That is the message that God has given to His church to experience and share with the world.
1 Timothy 1:16-17 = God’s Purpose in Mercy
Not only did God show great grace towards us, but He also has shown great mercy. Mercy is not getting what we do deserve. In verses 16-17, Paul shows Timothy (and us) God’s purpose in mercy = to be an example to show others.
Our sin deserves the full wrath of God. God has chosen to pardon those who come to faith in Him through Jesus Christ. This mercy is not just for our benefit though. It is to show others around us that God is patient and can turn anyone’s life around. The mercy that God has shown to you is a testimony that someone around you needs to hear. It is the answer to someone’s question about “Can God do that for me?” Are we allowing the mercy that God has shown to us to be shared with others so that they can experience this wonderful gift?
In the final verses of chapter 1, Paul encourages Timothy to fight the good fight. It is interesting because here Paul talks about the good fight at the beginning of Timothy’s ministry, and Paul will share about the good fight in the last letter that we have that he wrote – once again to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:7 = I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.)
The life that God calls His followers to live is not easy; it is a fight. It is a fight against the flesh, sin, and the forces of darkness in this world. You do not experience victory in a fight by just standing around. You have to fight.
In verse 19, Paul shares how we are to fight this fight. He simply says to cling to your faith in Christ. The word “cling” in this verse means “to seize or hold strongly in one’s hand.” This would be like the young child who holds on to his or her “comfort toy.” You do not easily pry it away from them.
Paul shares examples of two men who did not hold tightly onto the faith and who were removed from the church (Hymenaeus and Alexander). We are not told as to what exactly they had done, but they apparently were not clinging to their faith in Christ and paying the price for it now.
If we want to experience the victory that Christ has given us in Him, we must cling to Him and follow Him with all that we have. You cannot go into a battle half-hearted. When someone does, that is when they fail. The Bible calls us more than conquerors (Romans 8:37), and if we hold to the faith that saved us, we will experience that victory.