Life Together on Mission: Grace, Mercy and Peace
1 Timothy 1:1-2
Paul has left Timothy in charge of a difficult situation in the church in Ephesus, where false teachers (possibly some elders) are leading some house churches astray.
Paul writes to the whole church through Timothy in order to strengthen Timothy’s hand in stopping these straying teachers/elders and some younger widows who have followed them.
These challenges are present all over the church global: 1. 1 Timothy 4:16 “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” Keep a close watch on the teaching and on whom the teaching is coming from. 2. Rescue those straying after things that are deadly to them.
1 Timothy is massively relevant at addressing the need to guard teaching, and not just the teaching of the bible, but cultural teachings that could be harmful or even downright counter to Christianity and the need to guard the individuals that are buying into those teachings. Does the teaching take me away from biblical truth and affect other areas of my life? Am I living like Scripture is the “manual” or like Scripture is an addendum to what I prefer?
Philip A. Towner of Covenant Seminary addresses the question of the relevance of the pastoral letters, saying:
“What do these letters have to do with our present situation? Consider the agendas for Christian action and evangelical response being set in many quarters of the church today. At the forefront are a number of very pressing items: the church’s role in a changing society, the church’s responsibility to the poor and the disfranchised (Christian response to kids in foster care and how to combat poor government systems that lead to fewer people being involved), the Christian message among competing messages, the secularization of Christianity, church and state. Consider some of the perennial issues: a Christian attitude to wealth and materialism, the church’s response to the cults, spiritual lifestyle, leadership and authority, the role of women, discipline in the church. Finally, consider some of the items on our personal agendas: the true meaning of godliness, faithfulness to the Gospel, suffering and life in the Spirit, responsibility to those in authority, the importance of Christian witness. For the church that seeks to understand its role in a complex world and for the individual Christian ‘who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:12) today, the Pastoral Epistles make very relevant reading.”
I agree. 1 Timothy 2 Timothy and Titus are going to encourage us and challenge us at the same time.
1. Our instruction is from God (Father, Son and Spirit)
1 Timothy 1:1 “Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope.”
A. These instructions are not from man for man
1. JR Vassar said this week, “Reading 1 Timothy 3 requirements for an elder. Paul left
out culturally savvy, creative and visionary. No wonder those NT churches were small.”
2. Our instructions are not culturally changing ideas that work for a season.
B. Our instructions are apostolic
1. Paul is writing as an apostle, one sent as an emissary/ambassador of Jesus Christ.
2. Paul is representing Jesus’ interests here. So, these instructions are Jesus’ instructions.
a. 2 Peter 1:16-21 – We have Spirit inspired Scripture relating Jesus’ interests
(since the church is his bride his interests are high)
C. Our instructions are commanded by God our Savior (usually “Savior” is designated for Jesus)
1. First, the designation of God as Savior is rooted deeply in the OT and common in
Jewish devotional language.
a. This ties the church’s instruction to the God of the
OT thus rooting the church in the Gospel of the OT and the NT being recorded as Paul wrote.
2. Second, it is a command.
a. What we find here is to be practiced.
b. What we find here is to be practiced not on Sunday mornings, but as the
SOP of “life together on mission.”
D. Our instructions are rooted in Jesus Christ as our hope
1. Hope in the NT means certain hope, fully confident expectation of an as yet unrealized
2. The church’s preservation, advancement and future victory is grounded in Jesus’ work
past (cross), present (sitting at Father’s right hand ruling the GC) and future (return to
complete the GC, judge, reward and reign forever)
3. These instructions are, therefore, no good if Jesus is not who he says he is. But if Jesus
is really our hope, then these instructions are fool-proof and one can build the church on
2. Instruction for the least, weak, loved and not alone
1 Timothy 1:2a “To Timothy, my true child in the faith:”
A. Timothy, as the appointed pastor to bring order, reflects the reality of all leaders and members
of the church: least and weak.
1. There are no “strong” leaders and “bedrock” members. We are all broken and need
“fixing”. We are all expendable!
2. Timothy came from a blended home of a Jewish believer and Greek pagan
3. Timothy was circumcised to avoid being a hindrance among Jews
4. Timothy was young (4:12)
5. Timothy needed to flee from the “evil desires of youth” (2:22)
6. Timothy was apparently timid (2 Tim 1:7)
7. Timothy had a fragile constitution (5:23)
a. Timothy was no missionary commando…very “un-Paul”.
8. Timothy would later become a prisoner for the Gospel (Hebrews 13:23)
B. Timothy was loved by Paul and was viewed as a “child” in the faith.
1. Paul loved Timothy and Paul loved the church at Ephesus
2. Paul, representing Jesus, makes clear that Timothy was special and loved
C. Pastors, hear this:
1. We are weak and strong
a. We have more weaknesses than we can count yet we have more strength than
we know because Jesus is our strength
2. We are shepherded by the Chief Shepherd and he will not let us down
a. 1 Peter 5:1-4
3. Pastors primary tasks: Shepherd = Pastor (teaching and counseling), Lead = Elder (set the course in word and deed), Manage = Overseer (organize the forward movement with details and great planning)
4. Members primary task: Hebrews 13:17 “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”
3. Abundant blessing from the Lord
1 Timothy 1:2b “…Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The standard Greek greeting was “greetings”. Paul has, in his writing, converted that to “grace”, creating a Christianized greeting that he combined with the standard greeting, “peace”. So, the typical Pauline greeting was “grace and peace.”
But in 1 and 2 Timothy Paul inserts “mercy” between them creating a triple blessing that is most fitting for Timothy and the situation he is in.
A. Grace – the goodness and kindness of God to his people purchased by Christ for his people’s
good, joy and his glory.
1. James 4:6 – He gives us more grace!
B. Mercy – God’s special care for a person in need.
1. The OT equal is “hesed”. “Hesed” carries the idea of help in a time of need.
C. Peace – Peace with God (Romans 5:1) and inner peace for living (John 14:27)
1. Personal tranquility and well-being
2. Interpersonal peace
a. …for the purpose of challenging the church to climb to the heights of the
church of the living God.
4. Invitation to worship
A. We have received instruction from God
B. We are not alone in our journey for “life together on mission”
C. We have received ample grace, mercy and peace and will continue to receive more!
D. Come and offer the fruit of lips that praise the Name of Jesus!