“As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” Timothy 1:3-16
The theme of 1 Timothy is that the gospel of grace leads to practical, visible change in the lives of those who believe (stewards). The gospel, in contrast to false teaching (speculation), will always lead to an observable lifestyle characterized by love which comes from a pure heart, clear conscience, and sincere faith (v.5).
• They are grounded in Scripture.
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:2-3
• They embrace life-giving, enhancing, healthy doctrine.
“Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 1:13
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.” Proverbs 3:1-2
• They have a life that constantly desires the reality of verse 5.
SPECULATORS (those who are idle, yet question everything)
• They swerve and wander from the truth.
“‘There is no such thing as truth’ they teach even the little ones. ‘Truth is bondage. Believe what seems right to you. There are as many truths as there are individuals. Follow your feelings. Do as you please. Get in touch with yourself. Do what feels comfortable.’ Those who speak in this way prepare the jails of the 21st century. They do the work of tyrants.” Michael Novak, The Templeton Prize Address as published in “First Things,” 9/1994, p.21
“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers” Psalm 1:1
• They are known for vain discussions which misuse the Law of God, making it a point of boasting, thus using the Law to underscore their goodness, instead of receiving it as that which convicts of sin. (Romans 3:20)
• Their speculative approach to truth produces “shipwrecks” (vv.19-20).
“holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” 1 Timothy 1:19-20
STEWARDSHIP FROM GOD BY FAITH
1. Stewards do not live on the basis of “if…then,” but on the basis of “because…therefore!”
“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called” Ephesians 4:1
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1
“Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1
2. There is an ongoing beholding and treasuring of the goodness and mercy of Jesus, which leads to a pure heart and a clear conscience.
3. Stewards treasure Jesus which leads to personal humility and a sincere faith.
4. Stewards are known for thanksgiving and gladness (v.14).
“I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” Psalm 9:1-2
5. Stewards live with glad responsibility (vv.15-16).
1. Why is “sound doctrine: of essential importance?
2. What produces “shipwrecks”? (vv.19-20)
3. Describe the difference between “If…then” and “Because…therefore”.
4. Why is there no singing in Islamic mosques?
5. How does the Holy Spirit build sincerity and humility in our hearts?
6. Why do stewards of the gospel of grace live with glad-hearted responsibility?