Summary: # 2 in continuing series on 1 Timothy. Emphasis is "Why God’s grace is so Amazing.
“Living For Christ In A Confused and Confusing World”
A Study of Paul’s Letters to Timothy
“Gratitude For Grace”
As the Apostle Paul writes to his dear son in the faith, Timothy, who he has charged to lead the church at Ephesus, he knew that he had asked a lot of Timothy. As we noted in the last lesson Timothy may have had a predisposition due to his temperament to discouragement and depression. Therefore Paul writes to encourage this young preacher to continue to serve the LORD faithfully. In an effort to accomplish his goal of encouraging Timothy Paul uses his own life as an example of what Jesus can do through His grace and His power. Paul did not share his personal testimony in order to show how bad he had once been but rather how good God is! He says to Timothy, “Look at my life Timothy! Look what Jesus has done for me!”
Many people today seem to think that they deserve to be loved and forgiven by God. Paul was under no such delusion, in fact, Paul never got over being amazed that God could and did redeem someone like him. I want to examine with you three reasons given by Paul why God’s Grace is so amazing.
First, God’s Grace Is Amazing Because of How It Has Strengthened Him (v. 12)
“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.”
Paul pointed out to Timothy how God had strengthened him. Sometimes the strengthening was physical. Sometimes the divine strengthening was mental. Sometimes the supply imparted was emotional (2 Cor. 7:6). Imagine how encouraging the knowledge of how God had strengthened Paul would have been to Timothy. Timothy could know that he did not have to do this task alone – the LORD was with him.
God’s Grace Is Amazing Because of How It Has Strengthened Him and…
Secondly, God’s Grace Is Amazing Because of What He was Called To Do. (v. 12) “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry”
Paul says that he labored with the realization that he had been divinely appointed by God to the ministry, although he did not deserve it. Although there can be little doubt that Paul is describing his own call into the ministry we should not lose sight of the fact that the word translated “ministry” (diakonian) is the word we get deacon from. What is being described is a general call of the saved to serve God whether it is as a preacher in Paul’s case or some other capacity.
God’s Grace Is Amazing Because of What He was Called To Do and..
Third, God’s Grace Is Amazing Because of what Paul Had Been (v. 13)
“although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”
Now if there ever was a man you would think would be the least likely to be saved it would have been Saul of Tarsus. In Acts 26:9-11 we read, “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. (10) This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. (11) And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.”
Paul tells the story of his experience with Christ in Acts 9:3-6, “As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. (4) Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" (5) And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads." (6) So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."
While Paul was on his way to the city of Damascus to hunt down more Christians, suddenly Christ himself appeared to Paul. Paul was knocked from his horse and struck blind, and at that time he heard those unforgettable words from Jesus, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” Paul life was never the same, as he came to trust Jesus as his own personal Savior that day and he received his call to become an apostle of Jesus Christ.