Summary: At the end of chapter 1, Paul returned to addressing the task at hand for Timothy. He must fight the good fight, for many had abandoned faith and a good conscience and had shipwrecked their faith.

A. The story is told about a shipwrecked sailor who had spent several years on a deserted island, completely alone.

1. Then one morning, he was thrilled to see a ship offshore and a smaller vessel coming towards him.

2. When the boat arrived on the beach, the officer in charge handed the marooned sailor a bundle of newspapers and told him: “The captain said to read through these newspapers, and then let us know if you still want to be rescued.”

3. I got a chuckle out of that story, because with the way things are in the world today, a person might choose to stay on a deserted island rather than return to the chaos and conflict of our world today.

B. But in reality, shipwrecks are not a laughing matter.

1. And during wartime, many ships are lost from being hit by torpedoes, or by being hit by other kinds of ammunition.

2. But additionally, other ships are lost during warfare because of carelessness and human error, and when that happens, they end up being dashed against some rocks, or run aground in shallow water.

C. Perhaps you have figured out that the reason I’m starting with a discussion of warfare and shipwrecks is because both of those ideas show up in our Scripture reading for today.

1. The spiritual war is real and is never ending.

2. And tragically there are many casualties in the spiritual war.

3. Many people have shipwrecked their faith and have suffered a spiritual death.

D. Let’s look again at the verses that we are going to explore today from 1 Timothy: 18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies previously made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the good fight, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and have shipwrecked the faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme. (1 Tim. 1:18-20)

1. This is a short paragraph consisting of only three verses, but it is a section filled with important spiritual truths.

2. After Paul spent the last section rejoicing in the difference that the Gospel makes in the lives of people, and especially in his own life, Paul returned to his primary purpose and theme – the need for Timothy, the young preacher, to deal with the false teachers in Ephesus.

3. Paul understood that Timothy’s victory in the spiritual war would not be easy.

4. Standing for the truth is always a challenging battle.

5. And Paul knew that Timothy would need encouragement to “fight the good fight.”

E. We notice in verse 18, that Paul brought up again the fact that Timothy was his son in the faith.

1. Paul wrote: Timothy, my son, I am giving you this instruction…” (vs. 18).

2. Paul used the word instruction back in verse 5 when he wrote: “the goal of this instruction is love.”

3. I am told that the noun form of this word “is strictly used of commands received from a superior.” (Vine, Unger, and White, pg. 96)

4. In a military context, “it conveys a sense of urgent obligation.” (Guthrie, 77)

5. Paul was not giving Timothy a suggestion, rather he was issuing an urgent command from a superior officer – from a spiritual father.

F. And what was the command?

1. Certainly, it could include all the commands that Paul gave Timothy, but I think it applies to the special task Paul gave to Timothy for his ministry in Ephesus: “Remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach false doctrine.” (1:3)

G. Paul mentioned that this command to Timothy was in accordance with the prophesies previously made concerning Timothy.

1. The gift of prophesy was part of God’s arrangement for guiding the church in its infancy, before the New Testament was written.

2. Paul did not specify what the prophesy about Timothy was, because Paul was writing to Timothy and Timothy knew the content of the prophesy.

3. We can assume that the prophesy was consistent with Paul’s present charge to Timothy.

4. And we can assume that being reminded of the prophesy would lead Timothy to be inspired and encouraged, and would enable him to more effectively engage in the spiritual battle.

H. It is possible that these prophesies related to Timothy’s selection by Paul to be part of his mission team and his subsequent “setting-apart” by the elders of the church in Lystra.

1. In chapter 4, verse 14 of this letter, Paul urged Timothy not to neglect the gift which was given to him through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on Timothy.

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