Summary: Paul issues three cautions of the Christian life
Text: 1 Tim 1:18-20, Title: Struggles, Shipwrecks, and Satan, Date/Place: WHBC, 2.11.18, AM
A. Opening illustration: Job’s life and struggles
B. Background to passage: Paul has dropped Timothy off at Ephesus to handle some problems with false teaching in the church there. Some were more serious than others, but the church needed health and focus. Again today, we will see an apostolic charge to Timothy of his mission before he gets to the specific topics in chapter two.
C. Main thought: This morning we will see how Paul issues three cautions of the Christian life
A. The Christian Life Has Weapons (v. 18)
1. The command given to Timothy here is nuanced in a different light that further enhances and illuminates the background and nature of former language. First, he mentions that the work he is to do was prophesied over him somewhere in the past, this was God’s calling on his life. But more central to this verse is the military language of warfare. You are not there to take in the scenery, eat Baklava, and find a wife. Satan is slithering into the church in order to steal, kill, and destroy. He is not taking a siesta, looking for a ball in the woods on the back nine, sticking his toes in the sand on the Mediterranean Sea, or playing checkers while an open door of false teaching. This war is for the souls of men/women, and for the bride of Christ.
3. Illustration: all of life is war. The peace, comfort, and luxury of life in America today are lying to us, lulling us into a spiritual nap, while hell hangs in the balance and heaven makes hell against evil. The realities of World War II are far closer to our actual reality. -Marshall Segal, complaints about dusk in the jacket while the bullets were flying, spiritual warfare in more deeply controlled and influenced demonic areas of Peru and New England
4. Just briefly, realize that the position that you are in now is God’s calling for you at this time. See it not as the only snag in life or a barrier that is keeping you from your real calling. The Cristian life has weapons because the Christian life is war, and our culture, our nature, and our own selves cause us to be dulled into spiritual lethargy and disengagement on the battlefield. We are generally uncomfortable talking about spiritual warfare in our lives, or we don’t recognize it. We don’t want to be that person/church that sees demons all around, but we shouldn’t be the person that walks through life under the subtle demonic influence without regard to its danger. Satan wants to undermine your faith with doubt, fear, anxieties. He works in our culture to influence you to value earthly things over heavenly things. He clouds our minds with controversy, some significant, some minute, but always distracting. He deceives and lies to us about our families and other relationships causing havoc and the breaking of friendships and marriages. He exploits the poor and weak and causes us to look the other way. He fuels hatred of ethnicities here and abroad. He fuels terrorism, immorality, human trafficking, pornography, addictions of all sorts. Possibly worst of all, he attempts to repress your desires for Christ so that your faith would be cold and lifeless. We fight him with the gospel, the Holy Spirit, prayer, and the word of God. Might do a whole sermon on that…
B. The Christian Faith has Jagged Rocks (v. 19)
1. Speaking about waging warfare and spiritual wickedness in dark places, maintaining faith, and a clear Holy Spirit-sanctified conscience (morality), he mentions that some have willfully determined to reject the faith. He mentions two by name in v. 20 and says that they have made a shipwreck of their faith. They were probably leaders in the church for this was Timothy’s primary area of focus. This wasn’t stumbling off the trail a little, this was jumping off a rock. They had probably embraced these false doctrines and began to live lifestyles unbecoming of believers, which would cause open shame to the church and its Head. They got too close to the beach and found the rocks of false belief and blasphemous behavior.
3. Illustration: denomination hoppers, and those who follow after errant teachers because of their lack of discernment, Angie and her long firm stand at LSCC, and short stand and fall at the University,
4. As in the previous point, Satan is out to shipwreck our faith, but generally, we jump in the car with him. We have a sinful bent in our soul that is not erased by the new birth. Paul is warning Timothy, and the same warning goes toward us. Doctrine is extremely important. What you believe is deadly serious. Not only in the case of eternal destiny, but in the case of determination of our choices in life. Our world does set traps for us to fall into from the ease of access to pornography, to the “open-mindedness” of our institutions of higher learning, to the entertainment and social media industry that distracts and paints unrealistic pictures of body-image, cultural acceptance of immorality, liberal lifestyle examples. Our medically charged culture that has a diagnosis for everyone and every new condition has helped us along the path to self-centeredness and various addictions. Our government helps to maintain poverty, subsidize debt, and undercut marriage. And we fall into some pits blindly and unintentionally. The pain, suffering, consequences, guilt, and condemnation shipwreck our faith. Our salvation from all these things, willful rebellion or unknowing entrapment, is Christ. Christ redeems, delivers, saves, forgives, rescues, restores, empowers, overcomes, breaks, heals, loves, cares, comforts, carries, speaks peace, removes condemnation and guilt, repairs brokenness, frees, watches over, shepherds, feeds, shelters, provides, protects, opens eyes, grants repentance, changes desires, replenishes, fills up, sanctifies, and pronounces righteousness over all who believe in his life, death, burial, and resurrection!