Today marks the end of our study in the letter of First Timothy. We will wrap up with chapter six, verses 11-21. Paul closes out his letter with some last words of warning and encouragement to his young protégé. His overwhelming desire for Timothy is that he pursue godliness and righteousness at all costs. That he fight the good fight of faith and finish strong. He knows that Timothy is going to face difficult days ahead. It came with the role of pastor/teacher/shepherd. This young man was in for his fair share of headaches and heartaches, failures and setbacks. Temptations would come his way. He would have moments when he wanted to give up. He would face days when he felt like a failure. There would be deserters and detractors, false teachers and fake followers. But Timothy was to remain faithful to His charge and complete reliant upon the Spirit of God to accomplish will of God to which he had been called.
Today, as we move into chapter six of 1 Timothy, we’ll be looking at verses 1-10, where Paul is going to address the idea of godly contentment and how it relates to true godliness. To make his point, Paul will address three specific groups within the local church, giving them insights into how they were to live their lives within the local context of the body of Christ. Each was radically different from the other, but they each shared a common power to influence the church in a negative way. The antidote to becoming a cancer within the local body of church was to pursue godliness, at all costs. Seeking a change in your less-than-ideal circumstances in the hopes that it produces more joy is misguided and will prove disappointing. Chasing after money and material things in order to find contentment and happiness will never produce the results you’re looking for. And teaching a form of truth other than that revealed by God through the life, death and resurrection of His Son, will always be revealed for exactly what it is: A lie.
We’ll be covering First Timothy chapter five, verse 17-25 in today’s episode. It entitled, “Choose Wisely” because Paul is going to give Timothy some wise counsel regarding the selection of elders. He has already addressed their qualifications, now he’s going to deal with Timothy’s relationship with these men and how he was to lead them as they led the church. Paul knew from personal experience that leading the local church was a lot of work – more than enough for one man to accomplish. So, the selection of elders was of vital importance. And their ongoing spiritual well-being was not to be assumed or taken for granted. Leaders will inevitably have detractors and those who would undermine their authority. Criticism comes with the territory, but because these men are ultimately appointed by God, they were to be treated with dignity and respect. They were to be viewed as servants of God as much as Timothy and Paul were. Their qualifications were vitally important and not to be overlooked, but neither was their spiritual well-being and right to respect and honor.
In today’s episode, based on 1 Timothy chapter five, verse 6-16, Paul is going to get very practical, providing Timothy with some specific insights into how to handle problems within the local church. As usual, it would be easy for us to search for prescriptive commands or black and white rules for us to follow in leading our own churches, but that is not what Paul is offering here. He is providing some principles that can apply to various circumstances, but not necessarily hard and fast rules for behavior or inter-relationships within the local church body. Timothy was a young man attempting to lead a church that was made up of older men and women, as well as young people his own age. It would seem that Timothy was single and yet he was responsible for the marriages within his local congregation. How was he to lead them? And what about the problem with widows that was unique to his local fellowship? Some of what Paul has to say was likely in response to questions Timothy had sent him. He was a young man with a huge responsibility for the family of God under his care.
Today’s episode covers 1 Timothy chapter four, verse 6-16 and is entitled, “The Exemplary Life.” In this passage, Paul is going to give Timothy some invaluable advice on living the Christian life in the midst of the body of Christ, the church, but also the world. The life of a servant of Jesus Christ is not an easy one. And Timothy was discovering that following in the footsteps of Jesus was a sometimes difficult journey. Even Jesus had warned that “the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it” (Matthew 5:14 NLT). Paul wanted Timothy to know that his faith walk would be no cake walk or pleasant stroll in the park. And there were things Timothy was to be busy doing on the journey. He was not a tourist on a pleasure cruise, but a servant of Jesus Christ with an assignment from God Himself. He was to follow after Christ obediently and model Christ-likeness faithfully. There are to be no spectators in the household of faith. Like Timothy, we are to be busy about the work of God. We are to teach, train and typify the transformative power of the gospel.
In today’s episode, we’ll be looking at 1 Timothy chapter three, verse 14 through chapter four, verse 5. In this section of his letter, Paul will discuss the foundational nature of the truth of the gospel. He will contrast the truth regarding God’s gracious gift concerning His Son with the lies of the enemy – that take a myriad of forms – from the subtle to the blatantly contradictory. The church, the body of Christ, was to be the keeper of the truth, as well as the main vehicle through which the truth was to be manifested. The reality of the gospel message should be best seen in those who share the designation of Christ-follower, and live out the power made possible through the gospel in their everyday lives. The church is designated with the responsibility of upholding and embodying the truth regarding man’s redemption and sanctification. We are to be agents of change and beacons of light in a dark and dying world.
Today, we’ll be looking at 1 Timothy chapter three, verses 1-13, where Paul is going to outline the qualifications for elders and deacons in the local church. Paul is encouraging Timothy to surround himself with men who have qualities and characteristics that will make them invaluable to his leadership and indispensable to the church’s spiritual well-being. And Paul makes it clear that these two offices in the church are to be something to which men aspire. There should be no shortage of qualified and eager candidates. Timothy is not going to be able to lead the church in Ephesus on his own. He will need coworkers and co-laborers who will stand beside him, teaching the Word and protecting the flock. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul will instruct him to take “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). The health of the church is dependent upon godly men, who will model godly lives and supply godly leadership.
In 1 Timothy chapter 2, Paul deals with the gospel and prayer and provides us with a primer on how these two things go together. Paul will admonition Timothy to make prayer a high priority in his life and ministry. Prayer is to be God-focused and expectant. We pray because we believe God answers our prayers. And our prayers are not to be limited in terms of their extent. We are to pray for all people, including those who are lost, and even those who serve us in government. The primary objective behind our prayers is not some selfish intent to get from God, but to lift up others so that they might receive the gift of Jesus Christ. Along with prayer, Paul will address the spiritual and moral demeanor of those within the body of Christ. Men are to be prayerful, but also holy in their outward behavior. Women are to be modest in their dress, and focused on inward piety more than outward beauty. Paul’s point seems to be that our behavior and appearance, like our prayers, are to be selfless and gospel-focused.
In today’s episode, we’ll be in 1 Timothy chapter 1, verses 12-20. Paul is going to use himself as a prime example of God’s saving grace. There had a been a time when Paul was wrong – about a lot of things. Including His views of salvation, God, righteousness, the Messiah, and this new thing called The Way. At one time, Paul had been a blasphemer, persecutor and insolent opponent of Christ. And yet, in spite of his ignorance and unbelief, God had mercifully saved him. Timothy is going to meet his fair share of blasphemers, persecutors and opponents of Christ. And he will have to stay strong, standing firm on his faith in Christ. But Paul also wants him to realize that God has the capacity to transform anyone, no matter how vile and antagonistic to the gospel they may be. I’ve titled this episode, “I was wrong, but God made me right” to help remind each of us that our salvation as the work of God, not us. Read the passage when you get a chance to remind yourself that there was a time when you were wrong, but God made you right.
Today, we’ll be covering 1 Timothy chapter 1:1-11. In these opening verses, it will become clear what Paul’s primary concern was in penning this letter to Timothy: False teachers. This was a real problem in the early church, and we will find out just how strongly Paul felt about these individuals. They seemed to be a constant threat to the young congregations that Paul had helped found, and they tended to show up immediately after Paul had gone on to the next region on his missionary journey. Paul was far from tolerant of these people. He knew the kind of damage they could do to a local congregation, because the content of their teaching was not only false, it was dangerous. I’ve entitled this episode, “Sound Teaching Needed” and it as true today as it was when Paul penned this letter. Let me encourage you to read the passage when you get the chance. And do so each day. It will go a long way in helping you understand what Paul is writing and how it might apply to our lives today.