Summary: Beginning of a series on 1 Timothy. Also, a little vision casting in too.
Text: 1 Tim 1:1-2, Title: Shotgun Start, Date/Place: WHBC, 1.7.18, AM
A. Opening illustration: May of 1956, Jim Russell of Walla Walla Country Club, in Walla Walla, WA fired a shotgun into the air for the first ever “shotgun start,” where all the players start on a different hole at the same time.
B. Background to passage: That is the sermon…We are covering just the first two verses, but laying groundwork on all the holes for the full 18 holes.
C. Main thought: Lay some groundwork for 1 Timothy and Western Heights
A. The City and The Church (v. 1)
1. The importance of Ephesus in the Roman Empire could not be understated for us. Being the fourth largest city in the Empire, it was the banking center, the political center, the commercial center, and the religious center of Asia. Its 250,000 people had the harbor, the Cayster River, the trade routes, as well as the greatest marble temple in the Greek world, the Ephesians had it all. The statue was to the patron god of the city, and the city felt as though they were her protector and representative. The people shouted, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians” when the riot broke out during Paul’s two-year stay there. Over a hundred Ionically-topped columns of marble in double rows, some with mythological scenes overlaid in gold. There was also a large imperial temple as well for emperor worship later.
2. The church had its beginnings with Paul’s second missionary journey with only a brief stop and launch of Aquilla and Priscilla to await his return. It was during the third journey, however, where he spent over two years, teaching, evangelizing, sending, and discipling. This is when he stirred up the city enough to be run out of town. After Paul’s arrest and release from Rome, he dispatched Timothy to Ephesus to correct and encourage the church as his apostolic delegate. The church needed to be strengthened. It was probably a network of house churches scattered out, and protection was needed.
4. Illustration: We are not in Kansas anymore. Mothers sacrifice comfort all the time,
5. We sit among 80,000+ people in Troup Co. Sixteen thousand of which have their names upon an SBC church. If 1/3 attend on a given Sunday and half (generously) of those are genuinely saved, we have 3.75% of the county and surrounding area that knows Christ. This would leave over 96% of people in this area lost. Even if we included another 3% for all the other genuine believers among the other bible preaching churches, that still leaves 93%. Like the city of Ephesus, LaGrange has many people that need Christ; over 74,000. And it is growing, nearly doubling in size in the last 45 years. We sit among a people that needed to be made into disciples of Christ. Just as Ephesus was a church that had sent the gospel to all over Asia, we have sent out; just like Ephesus though, we have need of a fresh outpouring of the Spirit, truth, and passion. We have need of revival. We have need to realize Christ afresh and be ravished by his glory to the point of laying our lives down to make disciples. We must examine ourselves, fix our eyes upon Christ, and take our city. But know that this might mean letting go of some things, and embracing uncomfortable things for the sake of the body and the sake of the unbelievers that may darken our doors. Most of us evaluate the service every week when we go home. Ask yourself the question as to whose standard do you evaluate by? We have but One audience. We have but One to please. We have but One to make much of. We have but one that must say “well done.” We have but one who looks at the hearts and not the technique, external expressions, and words spoken, then evaluates.
B. The Man and The Plan (v. 1)
1. Paul describes himself as an apostle. As some of you know was a Pharisee in the proud lineage of the tribe of Benjamin. He was meticulous about adhering to every jot and tittle of the Mosaic law as well as the pharisaic traditions. It was only after his encounter with Jesus, that apostleship was bestowed. Apostle means sent one, ambassador, or representative, but in this context, it means authorized representative and spokesman for Jesus Christ. This letter was written in about 63 AD, which was a few years since he had been in Ephesus, and a few years before he would be martyred. Why would he describe himself this way to one who had been with him for over 15 years now as his personal disciple and protégé? Often, he described himself as a servant or prisoner, but here an apostle. This letter was to be read to the church as a whole. This would bolster Timothy’s authority as a younger man (in his early 30’s). Then, to complete the link of delegated authority, he uses the word “command.” Usually, if a description like this is offered, it is “by the will.” Very intentional choice, the word was used in that day to describe a non-negotiable, royal directive that carried grave consequences if not followed. Paul wants the church to know that his apostleship and this letter carried the weight of the Sovereign God of the Universe, who is our Savior and Hope. This letter is being inked through a chosen, authorized, inspired man of God, and it is more than simply a good suggestion. He will cover many things related to the church, which he wants Timothy, as his authorized delegate, to teach and implement.