Summary: We are going to look at Paul’s amazement over the greatest truth
Text: 1 Tim 1:12-17, Title: The Greatest Truth Ever, Date/Place: WHBC, 2.4.18, AM
A. Opening illustration: If you could decide on a news story/event/truth that would be life altering and world changing, what would it be? One such story is about a nineteenth-century South African named Afrikaner, a chief of the Hottentot tribe. He was a hardened, vicious warrior. He and his men were the terror of South Africa. He was so dangerous that the governor of Cape Town offered a large reward for him—dead or alive. Into the scene stepped Robert Moffat, a young Scottish missionary. Believing that God had called him to preach the gospel to the Hottentots, he sought them out. The first person converted under Moffat’s ministry was Afrikaner. His was a remarkable testimony to God’s saving grace.
B. Come behold the wondrous mystery, In the dawning of the King
He the theme of heaven's praises Robed in frail humanity
In our longing in our darkness, Now the light of life has come
Look to Christ who condescended, Took on flesh to ransom us…
C. Background to passage: Picking back up in 1 Timothy. Paul’s left him in Ephesus to stop some people who are causing dissension in the church with trivialities and heresies, but also to encourage the church. The false teachers were arguing about genealogies and Jewish myths and enforcing the OT law on everyone. The church needed a leader, someone with authority that would call these people out, restore order, teach the truth, and prepare the church for upcoming kingdom work. Big T was the man for the hour, and Paul would return to get him later. This passage deals with Paul’s testimony and the gospel of grace that overcomes and sets the centerpiece for all of scripture and the kingdom. This is the first of five “faithful sayings” spoken to give clear doctrine and direction in the churches all over the Mediterranean world.
D. Main thought: We are going to look at Paul’s amazement over the greatest truth
A. Amazed at Christ’s Choice (v. 12-14)
1. Paul offers his testimony in triumphant humility. He noted all the things he’d been given (strength, mercy, grace, faith, love) as well as the reason for his amazement—his former life as a blasphemer, persecutor, and an opponent of Christ. His guilt clear, his judgment deserved, yet removed with no respect to anything he was or did; only because of Christ. “Grace may be defined as God’s loving forgiveness, by which He grants exemption from judgment, and the promise of temporal and eternal blessing to guilty and condemned sinners freely, without any worthiness on their part, and based on nothing they have done or failed to do.” -MacArthur. He uses a word that is a one-time only usage in the NT, “overflowed” is not sufficient to translate it; the prefix “hyper” is added to abundant, so a better translation would be super-abundant, beyond measure, super-exceeding grace. Only because of this, could he be entrusted with
2. Acts 9:15- he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel, Col 1:25- of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 1 Cor 5:9- For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. Eph 3:8- To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ
3. Illustration: “God does not choose a person who is worthy, but by the act of choosing him he makes him worthy” -Augustine, I Stand Amazed in The Presence, Billy Sunday was a hard-drinking professional baseball player in the early days of the sport. Walking down the street one day in Chicago with several of his teammates, he came across a man preaching on a street corner. They stopped to mock the preacher, but something he said struck a responsive chord in Billy Sunday’s heart. He embraced Jesus Christ as his savior and went on to become a noted evangelist.
4. Have you lost the amazement of what God has done in your life? Have you forgotten how far you were from him? Maybe you never knew. Sin is a cosmic rebellion of inestimable proportions against an infinitely holy God. Just the fact that you woke up today is mercy. But that he would take a rebel like you, a treasonous wretch like me, an insolent, blasphemous, enemy of God, those of us who disdained the greatest treasure in the universe as rubbish; and make us friends, and sons and daughters, and co-heirs with Christ, and reconcile us to himself…WOW. We should rejoice every moment.