Summary: What kind of first impression of the Christian faith do we leave with those that we meet? If like Paul, we proclaim ourselves as followers of Christ, how loud would our proclamation be if it were under punishment of death?
Sermon Title: The Truth about the Teaching
Text: 1 Timothy 1:1-11
Date: July 13, 2003 AM
Context of Scripture:
I have given this morning’s message the title, “The Truth about the Teaching”, because oftentimes it is not only the teaching that is important but the reason why we teach and the reason that someone else is required to learn. Our text this morning comes to us out of Paul’s first letter to his pupil Timothy. In the next few weeks we will examine this letter in its entirety and flesh out what the Lord would have for us as a body of Christ in this epistle of Paul to his favorite pupil.
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope, 2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, 4 nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.
5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, 7 wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. 8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.
There is much to be said in regards to first impressions. First impressions govern the beginning of a relationship, in spite of the frivolous nature by which a first impression might be tainted. We know that when we go to a job interview, that our hair must be neatly trimmed and combed. The hair doesn’t affect our job performance, unless it hangs in our eyes and obstructs our field of vision. Our clothes should be clean and neatly pressed, not that it really makes a difference in the way we would carry on our duties. What the hair and the clothes does tell the employer, is what manner of importance you place on the job for which you applied. When we greet people, the manner in which we speak and the manner in which we are dressed and the manner in which we carry ourselves speak volumes beyond the words that might leave our lips.
After we manage to land a job, the critique from those that sign the paychecks continue. If the time comes, and it always seems to be happening anymore, and a firm announces a downsizing, one of the things that they might take into account is the way that we carry out the different assignments that were given. How did we go about accomplishing these things? How much did it cost the corporation? What type of attitude did we display? How was our company perceived with us a the mirror?
It oftentimes seems as the most miniscule facts had the greatest bearing, when in fact we boiled it all down, the bottom line was the sharing of a common goal. Did we care enough to view our appearance in light of the reputation of our company? Did we handle our assignments in such a way that we communicated the companies interest in the business of those that we dealt with or worked for in the manner that we conducted all that we did?
It all boils down to the implications of seemingly unrelated and inconsequential details. Things that we view as being worlds apart from the nuts and bolts of the important issue, that grow in importance as we view them through the eyes of the one who has the full picture in mind.
Prayer for Spiritual Enlightenment:
I. What is in a greeting?
Paul’s letter writing followed a standard format of the times. His letter writing always came in the form of greetings and salutation which was followed by the body of the letter or the reason for writing and then always closed with another greeting and a benediction. The length and structure of those components was always as varied as the recipients and the subjects of which he was writing. Let us look at this particular greeting in the first two verses: