Summary: Sermon about the charge that Paul gives to Timothy upon dropping him off in Ephesus.
Text: 1 Timothy 1:3-11, Title: Can You See Well? Date/Place: WHBC, 1.14.18, AM
A. Opening illustration:
B. Background to passage: Timothy being dropped off by Paul in Ephesus for rebuke and encouragement of the church leadership and entire body. A traditional thanksgiving is missing in the letter, as was his (and most other ancient writers/letters) custom. Concern replaces thanksgiving in this instance, as young Timothy has a daunting and weighty, kingdom-minded task. This morning we are going to see the main thrust of Paul’s charge to Timothy and the church.
C. Main thought: Three focal points for Timothy as he begins ministry in Ephesus
A. Focus on Proper Teaching (v. 3-4, 6-7)
1. Paul reminds him of the instruction or conversation they had in route, and it really serves to remind readers again that Timothy is there under delegated apostolic authority. He was telling Timothy to command certain people to stop teaching false gospels, or distracting teachings, endless discussions about trivialities of faith. Command is a strong word, used by Jesus toward the apostles, and the Sanhedrin to the apostles, and it needed apostolic authority in the church. These men were leaders, they were not being good stewards of the church that God instructed them to shepherd, oversee, and lead, therefore they would be held accountable. Lot more to be said about what they taught, but it included Jewish myths and legends, legalistic Jewish Christianity, and more serious blasphemies. Paul said they had wandered away, overshot the goal, walked off the green. He was just as concerned about what these teachers were forsaking and forgetting—gospel-seriousness in the church.
2. 1 Tim 4:3, 7, 6:4, 2 Tim 2:14, 16-18, 4:4, Titus 1:14, 3:9,
3. Illustration: George Washington and the cherry tree, James as a former Mormon,
4. The teaching that goes into your ears affects your thinking, thus your decision-making and your life. We are told to guard our heart. We must screen the things that we put stock in for their veracity, and for their soundness. The bible is our screen. We let scripture weed out error, and give wisdom and discernment. There are divisions and controversies over things that are fruitless, useless, and inconsequential in the Christian life. Often, they are not blatant, but very subtle. Again, when you are distracted, your actions/testimony/walk with Christ suffer. Action is directly affected by belief. Avoiding false teaching is key. This is one of the functions of the church corporately and of elders specifically. Also, keeping focused on the priorities of Christ and His Gospel is key. Couple of thoughts about how we do it: 1) stay in the word (reading, memorizing, praying, interpreting, and hearing) 2) Listen carefully to good teaching/read good books/old confessions of faith. 3) Staying close to the church. As before, the body is a good filter. It serves for accountability. If you are plugged in with relationship in this church, proper teaching will be available for you.
B. Focus on Proper Motivation (v. 5)
1. Even with Timothy’s youth, Paul knew that there was a danger for improper motivation, even if it were to be unintentional. So, he reminded his protégé that his aim was to see love issued forth from the church. He wanted love to abound more and more. The barrier to this was why Timothy was there, notice that love for Christ in our text flowed from three things; a purified heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. All of these things are markers of genuine faith, which John says that love is also one, and the lack of it is an indication of false conversion. Aim for genuine conversion that will manifest as love because of changed heart, informed/sanctified conscience, and non-hypocritical faith.
2. Matt 20:25-26, 1 Cor 13:1-3, 1 Pet 5:3-4
3. Illustration: worked with a lot of deputies over the last ten years, various descriptions of how they see and carry out their duties. Various attitudes, and sometimes, usually the first year out of the academy, so of them feel the need to exert their newly given authority vocally at every call. Husband/wife submission
4. Speak the gospel. Speak the truth in love. Yes, we need to confront error, but we need to do it with the intention of gaining your brother. Our motivation should be not to win, but for Christ to win. Sometime that means that we fall on our sword for issues that we realize are not that important. It may mean that you lay down your agenda for the good of a brother/sister, or of the church. Not that we are people-pleasers, forsaking truth, but that we are peacemakers, loving the errant back to or for the first time to the great treasure of Christ. We may have authority, but we are all under authority. We don’t have to exert it initially.