1 Timothy – the first of 3 'pastoral epistles'
A title coined many years ago to describe 1 + 2 Timothy and Titus
There certainly is in them much which has to do with the care of Gods people individually, collectively in families and as a congregation, in the church.
Perhaps timely in an age of increasing selfishness and individualism to appreciate afresh our place before the Lord as individuals, as families and as a church.
The pastoral epistles brim with people self sacrificially serving:
Timothy and Titus – not as pastors in the modern sense, really apostolic envoys, or apostolic legates.
Women in the family (chp 2)
Overseers and deacons (chp 3)
Widows in the church (chp 5)
Workers and servants (chp 6)
Everyone has something to give
Everyone has something to gain
To see the 'pastoral epistles' as being about 'the pastor' or the responsibilities of the few is of course to completely miss the point of these epistles.
Timely letters in a culture, in which some have likened the approach of some to the church as a 'buffet cultures' – pick and choose those bits that we want, that we can fit in around our other priorities, those bits that suite us.
If we do adopt that approach we will be impoverished and so will others.
Not to say that the centre of the epistle is 'church truth'
I don't believe that is correct at all
Church truth in 1 Timothy is secondary to a matter far more important, the matter which gives the church its significance and mandate.
The pattern of 1 Timothy:
Sin and the law (1:7-11)
Sacrifice and a Saviour (1:15 – 2:6)
Supplication and Prayer (2:1ff)
Servants of God (chp3)
Sacred and Secret (chp 4)
in the Church (chp 5)
in the World (chp 6)
This is a pattern which re-echoes throughout the whole of the scriptures.
This is the pattern of the tabernacle and of the temple.
Not that 1 Timothy is particularly patterned after the tabernacle or the temple but that there is a set of truths common to them all.
Here is the path into the presence of God:
Sin and broken law (chp 1) – the impediment to His Presence to,
Saviour and a Sacrifice (chp 1 + 2) to,
Sanctuary – Presence of Christ (chp 3) to,
Service – in the Holy Place with its lamp fed by the oil of the Spirit (4:1ff); bread from heaven to feed upon (4:6,13)
The 'tabernacle' of God with man always follows these same principles!
Here lies the service of the church to both:
To bring us into a closer experience of the presence of Christ.
That kind of knocks on the head the old chestnut:
'you don't need to go to church to be a Christian'
This is true, church attendance does not define the Christian, the new birth does.
But you must desire the presence of God!
If the church is in essence in its service about an encounter with the presence of God in Christ, if I am a believer, I must desire that presence of God.
To be a believer means that God is present in me; 'Christ in you the hope of Glory.'
If the Church is indeed the church, ie it is about the presence of God, 'God is there of a truth,' the preachers speaking as the 'oracles of God' then I ought to desire that presence.
Is it possible to be a believer and not to desire the presence of God – I do not believe so.
'As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.' (Psalm 42:1)
1:1 'Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus'
Note AV: 'Jesus Christ'
The newer critical translations and the UBS text will reverse the order from 'Jesus Christ' to 'Christ Jesus'
'Christ Jesus' is the order in which Paul met Christ
On the Damascus road, not like the other apostles, who first encountered Christ in His humanity, as the mee and lowly Jesus but rather first encountering Christ in the brightness of the light above the noon day sun and in the reply to the question; 'who art thou LORD?' - 'I AM Jesus.'
'God our Saviour' :
5 X in the pastoral epistles this phrase appears precisely as this
8 X in total this or a similar phrase occurs in the pastoral epistles
Never occurs in Pauls writings outwith the pastoral epistles
The Gospel is primarily good news
The Gospel is primarily Gods means of salvation, not condemnation
Men stand lost and condemned already because of their sin (Romans chps 1 to 3):
Creation (Roms 1)
Conscience (Roms 2)
Covenant (Roms 3)
Like the sinking ship, the lifeboat is not the means of perishing, it is the means of salvation, men are perishing by virtue of the sinking ship. Certainly if we reject the only means of salvation, our fate is certain, but the disaster looms not because of the life boat but because of the sinking ship.
Important to appreciate the simplicity of that, for at times some are troubled with the answer to the question of standing of those who have never heard the gospel. It is the same as the standing of those who have heard. Mans condemnation is on the basis of his sin, not upon wether or not he has heard the gospel.
V2 'Timothy my own son in the faith'
Prepared by grace as uniquely suited for his ministry in the church:
Bridging between the Jewish past and gentile future!
'my genuine child in the faith'
In what sense a 'child in the faith'?
Many assume that he was a convert of Paul
I'm not so sure of that.
First encounter him in Acts 16:1, where he is already a 'disciple'
Bearing in mind 2 Timothy 1:5, the faith of Eunice and Lois, it would seem to be that Timothy was a 'genuine child' of Paul not so much by conversion but by discipleship.
Timothy had often been with / accompanied Paul
2 ways of impacting others for Christ:
Timothy was impacted by discipleship
He was often with Paul:
Philippi (Acts 16:12)
Corinth (Acts 18:5)
Ephesus (Acts 19:22)
What was he doing there?
I'm not sure
He was faithful
He was there
He was in the back ground
He was PRESENT
He was being PREPARED
We may be apparently insignificant in the events of a moment and yet those events can be of great significance to us.
Illust: Henry Tandey, private in the Yorkshire Regiment, awarded the Victoria Cross in WW1, the most decorated private of WW1, fought in Ypres, wounded at the Somme and Paschendale,
On 28th September 1918 in Marcoing in France, a German soldier stumbled dazed into his sites, unable to defend himself, Henry Tandey showed mercy and pity and let him go.
As a consequence of the man he spared recognising his picture in a newspaper article many years later, a painting of Tandey hung in the Berghof.
The man he spared was Adolf Hitler
Don't confuse prominence with significance.
Timothy may not have had a prominent part to play at Corinth, Ephesus and Philippi, but the part he played was very significant, these events were very significant for Him.
But what I do know; when problems arose at:
Philippi – Timothy was sent (Phil 2:19)
Corinth – Timothy was sent (1 Co 4:17)
Epesus – Timothy was sent (1 + 2 Timothy)
Prepared in the background for greatness, as was:
Joseph in the prison cell
Joshua to replace Moses
David in the pasture, the shepherd who would become sovereign
Elisha to replace Elijah
Outline preaching notes from our series of Bible teaching messages in 1 Timothy chapter 1, available for free audio download or to listen online,
Yours by God's grace in Christ
Dr J Stewart Gillespie