Summary: First message in an exposition of First Timothy that gives the setting, background and purpose of Paul's first letter to his son in the faith, Timothy
PASSING CHRISTIANITY DOWN
AN EXPOSITION OF FIRST TIMOTHY
Copyright 2004 by Bob Marcaurelle
First Timothy Sermon 1
A. The Faith Passed On (1:1-3)
PASS IT ON! PASS IT DOWN!
“Paul- an Apostle of Christ by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus our hope. To Timothy my true son in the faith. Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” (1:1-2)
As I urged you when I went to Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command (a military word) certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer (3)
“You have often heard me teach. Now I want you to tell these same things to followers who can be trusted to tell others” (2 Tim. 2:2)**(NIV unless noted)
THE LAST YEARS OF PAUL (63-67)
Christianity is always one generation away from extinction. For Christianity to survive each generation must pass it on and pass it down, and be sure what it passes is true. Church history is like a river, the further it goes the more polluted it gets. That’s when God intervenes with revival which is always a return to the Bible.
The Book of Acts ends around AD 61 with Paul in prison. Tradition says he was released in AD 63 and was executed fours years later when Nero persecuted Christians in and around Rome. All we know of these four - five years we get from his planned trips mentioned in his prison letters, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus and his plans mentioned in other letters. One hope was to go to Spain (Rom. 15:24) and we can only hope that he made it, because there the waves of the great Atlantic lay at his feet, the same Atlantic that 1600 years later became the highway of the gospel to our blessed America in the Mayflower.
THE PASTORAL LETTERS
1. Paul’s Activities
Let out of prison Paul hit the missionary trail once more. He visited old churches, established new ones, put Timothy and Titus to work without him and wrote 1 and 2 Timothy to teach and encourage them. One new work was on the island of Crete where he landed years before on his trip to Rome. He sent Titus to work there. Now he and Timothy are in Ephesus, the center of Christianity in Asia Minor.
The “Seven Churches of the Revelation” (Rev. 1-3) are here and after the destruction of Jerusalem the highest population of Christians in the world would be here. This would be in the providence of God the heart land of Christianity and it was here the devil, ever on the prowl to hinder our faith, was doing his work. False teachers were perverting the Gospel and some good teachers were trading it in for petty teachings.
This was the time for the great champion of the faith to attack heresy (false teaching) as he had done all his life for Christ. But not this time, he sent Timothy, the representative of the future of Christianity, into the battle zone. For some reason Paul needed to go west to Macedonia (Modern Hungary and SW Russia), where Philippi was. He gave his companion Timothy, a young man probably still in his 20’s, the tough assignment of dealing with false teachers in the Church.
2. Paul’s Apostleship
Who was Paul to tell folks what is right and what is wrong? He was, “An apostle by the command of God and Jesus.” In Acts converts were taught from the beginning, “The doctrine (teachings) of the Apostles.” (Acts 2) The Bible says the church is “built on the foundation of the Apostles and the prophets.” (Eph. 2:20) Apostles were like the OT prophets who came with a word from God. They were the official spokesmen for the faith. Until the NT was written, the Apostles were the “Living Bibles” of the early church
Our foundation for truth and error, for what is right and what is wrong is what the Holy Spirit said and wrote through the blessed Apostles.
3. Paul’s Ambassador- Timothy
As an Apostle, Paul had authority over Timothy that Timothy fearfully (v.3) and humbly accepted. After he was in the warfare for awhile Paul wrote him two letters, 1 and 2 Timothy. We call them Pastoral Letters, but strictly speaking Timothy was not a pastor of a local church (Called pastors, bishops and elders- Acts 20:17-28). He was Paul’s ambassador sent to straighten out false teachers. This was a transitional procedure, a help to all the Apostles, and not intended to be a permanent part of the Church. But in the 100’s, after John, the last Apostle went to be with the Lord, the churches wrongly made men like Timothy “Bishops” who claimed to in the authoritative line of some Apostle. They ruled over pastors and churches and soon they all fought and bribed and politicked for first place until in the 400’s the Bishop of Rome, claiming the authority of the Apostle Peter, ruled over the Churches in the West. These men in this foul line became the Father “Papa” (Pope). How strange, since our Lord expressly told us to call no man “Father” in the church. Baptists believe this line of authority is not taught in the Word of God. Since the death of the Apostles the NT is our sole authority and there is no administrative position above the local church that has authority over it. The letters, written perhaps around AD 65 are pastoral in that they tell a pastor how to conduct himself as a man of God in the church and how to teach and treat those he shepherds.