For the next two weeks we are going to be studying Paul's first letter to Timothy using notes previously prepared for the Airdrie “Let’s Worship God” booklet, by Rev. Daniel Hempkin, minister of Hebron RPCNA. This will give me an opportunity to work on ahead on the series in Luke.
Opening Prayer Thoughts
Give thanks for the blessing of the Lord's day. Give thanks for public worship, albeit its unusual circumstances. Thank God that he opened the door for those who are able to return to being together, that we might properly fulfil his command that we worship him corporately. Give thanks that Christ is ruling over all his creation as Mediator King, and the kingdoms of men are ultimately subservient to him. A fact that will be revealed when he returns.
Confess the sin of not understanding the extent of Jesus' authority as Mediator over creation and the world, a fact which impacts our trust in him. Pray that the Holy Spirit would enable us to process and understand the implications of this reality for our lives and the lives of others.
Please ask the Holy Spirit's help as you come to his Word.
Please read 1 Timothy chapter 1:1-11
1 Timothy 1:1-2. Paul and Timothy.
The Book of Acts ends with the Apostle Paul imprisoned in Rome. Piecing together evidence from his letters and from the testimony of the early Church fathers, we learn that Paul was released from this imprisonment and went on another missionary journey which included visits to many of the churches he had founded in Asia Minor, Macedonia and Greece. It was during this journey that he preached the Gospel in Crete, where he left Titus to organize churches. He also visited the church in Ephesus (in modern-day Turkey), where he left Timothy to serve as pastor while he went on to Macedonia. It is from Macedonia that he writes this first letter to Timothy. I Timothy is (along with II Timothy and Titus) one of Paul's "Pastoral Epistles" – letters written to pastors whom the Apostle had trained for ministry. As he begins the letter, Paul identifies himself as "an Apostle of Christ Jesus, by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope", demonstrating that God – particularly in the Person of Christ – has commissioned him to be His Apostle – a messenger (literally "sent one") who speaks with the authority of the King who sent him. It is with that authority that Paul can greet Timothy with "grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord". He addresses the letter to "Timothy, my true child in the faith". Timothy can be called Paul's true child for several reasons, including: 1) He came to faith in Christ as a result of Paul's having preached the Gospel in his home region of Galatia; 2) He has faithfully followed and obeyed Paul's teachings; and 3) He has humbly served Christ by following Paul's example. Are you a true child of the Apostles in the faith? Have you heard and believed the Good News of salvation by God's grace, alone, working through faith, alone, in Jesus Christ, alone? Have you obeyed the teachings of Scripture? Do you humbly follow the example of Christ's faithful servants who have gone before you?
1 Timothy 1:3-4. Different Doctrines.
After greeting Timothy (v.1-2), Paul reminds the younger man of why he left him in Ephesus. When the Apostle and his true child in the faith visited this city, they found that some were teaching doctrines that were inconsistent with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the whole counsel of God found in the Bible. Instead of promoting a deeper understanding of God's revealed Word, many were devoting themselves to "myths and endless genealogies". These were probably fables and legends involving the people who appear in the Old Testament tables of nations and lists of family lines. Rather than encouraging sound application of Biblical principles to people's faith and lives, they were promoting speculations beyond the teachings of Scripture. Paul says that people in the Ephesian church were "devoting" themselves to these speculations, rather than "the stewardship of God that is by faith" (ESV). The term translated here as "stewardship" might also be translated "good order" or "edification". In other words, these speculations, instead of edifying the church's faith in Jesus Christ (which is what all sound teaching does), were distracting people from good Biblical doctrine. While it is good for Christians to be aware of (and able to answer) what others teach – particularly if they claim to be teaching from the Bible – we must never let speculations distract us from study of what the Scriptures are actually teaching. The Bible has far more depth than can be plumbed in a lifetime. Let us be content to learn what God has clearly spoken.
1 Timothy 1:5-7. The Aim of Love.
Yesterday, we saw that some in Ephesus were engaging in wild speculations beyond the teachings of Scripture that were distracting people from the true doctrines of the Bible, which build up Christian faith and bring good order to the Church. Today, we see both the motive and the underlying cause of these speculations. The motive is that those who promote these speculations desire to be teachers in the church. However, Paul makes clear that they are unqualified. One piece of evidence that they are unqualified to teach is that they speak as if certain about things they clearly do not understand. Worse, though, than showing themselves to be unqualified intellectually, they are morally and spiritually unqualified – which gets at the underlying cause of engaging in speculation. The underlying cause is a lack of the fruit the Gospel – namely love that issues from a pure heart, a good conscience and sincere faith. The Gospel of Jesus Christ (and the teaching of good Biblical doctrines that go hand-in-hand with it) calls sinners to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus. Sincere faith in Him comes from a pure heart – that is, a heart changed by the Holy Spirit – which loves God for who He really is. Such a changed heart also produces a healthy conscience which, guided by His Word, convicts us of sin and affirms righteousness. Lacking such faith, love of God and His Word, and sound consciences, these false teachers wander away into "vain discussions" that produce nothing of use to living a life consistent with faith in Christ.
1 Timothy 1:8-11. Right Use of the Law.
When Paul, in verse 7, condemns these false teachers who desire to be teachers of the law, he is not condemning God's law at all. On the contrary, Paul affirms God's law is good, but points out that it must be used lawfully – that is, the Bible is to be applied not by engaging in wild speculations but according to its own principles. God did not reveal His moral law so that sinners could try to be good enough to earn their way into His glorious presence. Any attempt to use the law in that manner is vain. Instead, the right use of God's law is to expose our need for a Savior. The law was not written for "the just" (in other words, those who of their own ability could obey it), but for "the ungodly and sinners". Indeed, God's moral law (summarized in the Ten Commandments) exposes just how sinful each human being, other than Jesus, actually is. The fact that none of us has kept, or can keep, God's law perfectly shows that we need a sinless Substitute to pay the penalty for our sins and to live a righteous life on our behalf, that we might be counted as worthy of entering God's heavenly presence. For those who are saved through faith in Christ, the law no longer condemns, but rather teaches us how to show our love for the God who has saved us by His grace, by warning us about those things that are "contrary to sound doctrine". Of particular note in this passage is verse eleven, which tells us that the only way a teaching can be considered "sound" or "healthy" is if it accords with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Any doctrine that contradicts or undermines the true Gospel in any way is a false doctrine that must be rejected.
Sing with joy in your heart to God.
Psalm 40B. Link to the words. Link to it being sung.
It is a privilege to lay into our hearts and minds the light and truth of God's Word.
Ephesians 2:4-6 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace”
Truth for the Mind and Heart
Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 9 – What is the work of God in creation?
Answer – The work of God in creation is the making by God of all things from nothing, by his powerful word, in the space of six days, and all very good.
This is taken from https://matt2819.com/wsc where you will find proof texts.
Thank God for whatever is on your heart.
Take care in Christ,
Rev. Dr. Andrew Quigley
Minister, Ottawa RPC