Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hold the Territory

1 Timothy 1:1-11

I. Paul Worked in the Context of Grace

A. Paul wrote with authority far greater than anything which human institutions can grant. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;” (1 Timothy 1:1)

B. Paul frequently placed his authority to speak and to command in the context of election and Biblical doctrine. “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,” (Romans 1:1) “Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,” (1 Corinthians 1:1)

C. God explained Paul’s mission and authority while setting him apart to the ministry on the road to Damascus. “But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:” (Acts 26:16-19)

D. The following letter comes from the God of grace; the subject matter is not optional. “Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Timothy 1:2)

II. False Teaching Obscures Grace

A. Paul ordered Timothy to hold the doctrinal line at Ephesus; doctrine cannot be democratically determined. “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,” (1 Timothy 1:3)

B. One false doctrine imports with it other false doctrines, bad behavior, and misdirection for believers. Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.” (1 Timothy 1:4)

C. In contrast, right doctrine generates good behavior and positive life changes. “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:” (1 Timothy 1:5)

D. People who turn away from heaven’s direction produce nothing but empty noise. “From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;” (1 Timothy 1:6)

E. People who advance themselves rather than Bible truth lose their wits; the authority of church leaders derives from God’s commands and extends no further than the context of faithful doctrine. Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. (1 Timothy 1:7) “My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.” (James 3:1)

III. Biblical Law Is a Function of Grace

A. The place of law in church life is always in contention; grace preachers acknowledge the importance of law when it is used properly. “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;” (1 Timothy 1:8)

B. A dispassionate observer will see the enormous benefit to understanding what is in humanity’s best interest. “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it. Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” (Deuteronomy 4:5-8)

C. The law exposes sin so that sinners can understand their situation and its danger. “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,” (1 Timothy 1:9)

D. Everything that is incongruent with the mind of God is sinful; sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God. “For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;” (1 Timothy 1:10)

E. Behavior either conforms to the gospel of grace entrusted to believers or it is sinful; life does not come with neutral zones. According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” (1 Timothy 1:11)

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