Summary: Many of become ineffective Christians, because of the sin our lives. God gives us a second chance to get it right.
2 CHANCE JESUS? (All my sermons use illustrations found on sermoncentral.com and passages are NIV unless noted)
I have studied many different passages of scripture, I have read and re-read several passages and felt a different leading many times. One of my favorites books in the Bible is the letters to Timothy. I know most of you are aware that 1st Timothy is where we find the qualifications for the leaders of our churches. It is in this first letter to Timothy, that Paul outlines certain things he has been inspired by the Holy Spirit to give us as guidelines about the leaders of our churches.
Yet to truly understand this guideline one must read the entire letter from beginning to end, and see that there is a very important message contained in the first chapter before Paul outlines the standards by which a leader should live his life. As a matter of fact, in verses 3-17 of the first letter to Timothy is a message that each and every Christian should hear and take to heart.
When I was a child, I did childish things (for that matter I probably still do) I would get caught quite often with my proverbial hand in the cookie jar and end up in the “dog house.” Many times I wished that I had been a little smarter and had made better decisions, yet, as a child I think I was more concerned with not getting caught doing something stupid. When I did get caught, punishment most always ensued, yet, there were those rare times when my mother (the disciplinarian in my family) would utter those wonderful words, “I am going to give you another chance.” Those words are so very important this morning as we look into this scripture. Those words are so full of compassion and forgiveness and so vital to the message of the Gospel. Turn with me and let us read a part of that scripture.
1 Tim 1:3-7 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work-which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
Here is a group that could probably use some forgiveness. Look at what it is that Paul is telling Timothy about this group of men. First they are teaching false doctrines. This is something that many of us do today, many of us may not even be aware of the fact that we teach the wrong thing, not in what we say but in the things we do.
I like the old story about the guy who came to church with his family. As they were driving home afterwards he was complaining about everything. He said, “The music was too loud. The sermon was too long. The announcements were unclear. The building was hot. The people were unfriendly.” He went on & on, complaining about virtually everything. Finally, his very observant son said, “Dad, you’ve got to admit it wasn’t a bad show for just a dollar.
Some have wandered away from the real teaching of the Bible which come from: a PURE HEART, a GOOD CONSCIENCE, and a SINCERE FAITH! Can we all say that as teachers of God’s Word we have these things? What are our motives for retaining the title Christian? A pure heart, is one that understands LOVE. Although we may make mistakes, do we have a good conscience? I have met many people that perhaps had gone down the wrong path but had been convinced they were doing God’s will, and perhaps they were. I am not the one God appointed to be judge, that honor and responsibility go to Jesus. The thing about conscience is that we are the only ones besides God that truly know what our motives; are and whether or not we have feelings of guilt. But to be a true teacher of the Word, (which in some way ALL Christians are called to be) we MUST have a sincere faith. The adjective is what is truly important here, SINCERE. Faith is a word easily used until it is truly tested. I would think that Paul knew that some of these want-to-be teachers preached a faith they were unwilling or unable to display. It is easy to speak of our faith in God, but much harder to display it.