Sermon 3: Using the Law Responsibly 1 Timothy 1:7-11 Part 1

Sermon Audio Link: Using the Law Responsibly

Text: 1 Timothy 1:7-10 “Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine…”

Purpose: Paul wanted to correct irresponsible uses of the law, without giving the impression that the law served no current function or was evil, therefore he reminded Timothy of two good functions of the law, restraining evil and revealing righteousness.

Part 1: The Law and Its Proper Use

Four important observations about the concept of law and righteousness

  • Observation 1: A righteous person does not need the law to become righteous, he already is righteous. Matthew 5:17-18 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
  • Observation 2: A person does by nature what is in his heart, whether there is a law or not. Romans 2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves…
  • Observation 3: An unrighteous person does not know that he is unrighteous unless a righteous standard reveals his unrighteousness.  Romans 7:7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet…
  • Observation 4: Once an unrighteous person becomes aware of their unrighteous nature, a change of nature, not the presence of the law is the only way to make them righteous. Romans 7:8-14 “Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin…”

Three wrong uses of the law: The law cannot make you something that you are not already.

  • Seeking to be justified by the Law: A means to become righteous before God Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:28 “We conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Galatians 2:16 “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Galatians 5:4 “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
  • A source of pride: because of my relationship to the law Romans 2:17-21 Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?
  • Seeking to be sanctified by the law: A means by which we become more holy Galatians 3:1-3 “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”

Part 2: The Specifics of this Passage

Four good uses of the Law

  • Reveals God’s righteous character in real life circumstances:
    • Old Covenant/Testament Law: A national ancient near eastern context
      • The Mosaic Law was given in the context of God’s covenant with Israel.
      • This law articulated the conditions associated blessing and cursing from God and toward the nation.
      • Much of the Mosaic Law is written as case law, using situation that were common in their culture, but not necessarily in our own.
      • The timeless principles that were applied in each of these cases is often restated and then applied appropriately in the context of the NT.
    • New Covenant/Testament Law: An individual and local church context
      • Relationship within the church
      • Relationship to God in worship
      • Relationship within the home
      • Relationship to human government
  • Restrains evil by giving a standard by which to judge individuals: 1:9-10 “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine…”
    • People without regard to proper order in society: “Lawless and disobedient” 1 Peter 2:13-14 “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme. Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”
    • People without regard for God’s right to rule their lives: “Ungodly and for sinners” Romans 3:19 “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God…”
    • People without regard for the sacred: “Unholy and profane” 1 Peter 1:13-16 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy…”
    • People without regard for the dignity of human life: “Murderers” Romans 13:9-10 “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law…”
    • People without regard for the sacredness of the marriage covenant: “Whoremongers” 1 Thessalonians 4:1-7 “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness…”
    • People without regard for God’s design for human sexuality: “They that defile themselves with mankind” Romans 1:24-28 “Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient…”
    • People without regard for people’s right to be freedom: “Menstealers”
    • People without regard for truth: “Liars”
    • People without regard to the fidelity of the justice system: “for perjured persons”
    • People without regard for Christian doctrine: “Anything that is contrary to sound doctrine” 1 Timothy 1:3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine… 20 times in the Pastoral Epistles
  • Reveals man’s moral bankruptcy to drive Him to the finished work of Christ: Philippians 3:4-9 “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith…”
  • Provides a gauge that reveals real Spirit produced growth into Christlikeness: Romans 8:3-5 “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit…” Galatians 2:19-21 “For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain…”

Conclusion: Let’s be careful how we handle issues related to the law. Let’s realize God’s purposes for the use of the law and use it accordingly.

 

Sermon 10: Now the People of God Part 2

Sermon Audio Link: “Now the People of God” Part 2

Text: 1 Peter 2:5-10 “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

Purpose: The purpose of this section was to remind these Christian’s that though their new position in Christ was full of rich blessings, this relationship to Christ would put them in a volatile conflict with the world around them and leave them with significant responsibilities.

Proposition: God wants us to be prepared to live faithfully because of the position we have in Christ.

Interrogative: How can we do this?

Review from Last Time

Truth 1: The church forms two distinct and glorious functions: we are God’s priesthood and temple.

Truth 2: God accepts our worship entirely because of our union with Christ:

Truth 3: Our relationship to Christ puts it in constant conflict with the world: 2:6-8 “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed…”

His threefold description of Christ: 2:6 “Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious…”

  • Focal point: “Chief corner stone…” Building construction. The first stone is the most important. Everything else in the building is related to that initial stone, and the
  • Well-favored: “Elect…” Something that is choice, well favored,
    • The most common way we tend to find this word used in the NT is a description of God’s People/His Elect
    • Another example: Genesis 41 6 times in Joseph’s dream the term is used to describe the cattle and produce in his dream.
  • Priceless: “Precious…” Something that is immensely valuable that cannot be purchased
    • Example: You can put a price tag on a piece of property a house or a new car, but you cannot put a price tag on the gift of a child.

The Contrast Between the way you view Christ and the way the world views Christ: 2:7 “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient…”

The believer:

  • Precious: Something that is immensely valuable that cannot be purchased
  • Shall not be confounded: You will not be ashamed
  • A stone of stumbling: Something that causes some to fall

The Unbeliever:

  • Rock of offense: σκάνδαλον  Something that causes anger because it is offensive
  • Disobedient: They reject Him because he is offensive to them

Application:

  • Christ is the center of all that we hold dear as Christians
  • All Christian doctrine flows directly from our understanding of Him.
    • How God reveals Himself: He is the in flesh revelation of God the Father
    • How God saves people: He is the one who purchased our redemption and in whose righteousness we stand
    • God’s nature: He is the second person of the Trinity who created all things, and who holds all things together by the word of His pwer
    • How God orders His People: He is the head of the church and the Savior of the body who is purifying unto himself a people/a bride
    • How God will ultimately deal with His creation: He is the rightful owner of the Creation who is coming at His second coming to judge the world in righteousness, establish His rightful rule over the nations, and to restore the creation to its original beauty and glory.
  • His is precious to us:
    • We feel a sense of indebtedness to Him, because of what He has accomplished on our behalf.
    • We have an overwhelming sense of the need to submit ourselves entirely to His authority because He has the right to demand our absolute obedience.
    • We have an overwhelming sense of His value, and we want to worship Him exclusively.
  • He is offensive to the world around us:
    • They don’t like the concept of the cross
    • They don’t like the need for the cross
    • They don’t like His commandments
    • They vehemently reject His person, work, and the people associated with Him.

Truth 4: The church’s relationship to Christ should humble and mobilize it: 2:9-10 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy…”

 Peter emphasizes the mercies of God towards us:

  • “But…” There is an incredible contrast between the Christian and the unbeliever
  • We are well favored: “Chosen generation…” Something that is choice, well favored
  • We are set aside to rule and represent Him: “Royal priesthood…” Ruling priests
  • We are set apart to Him: “Holy nation…” Set apart people to God
  • We are His own special/personal possession: “Peculiar people…” A people that is personally possessed by God
  • We are rescued from darkness and spiritual blindness into a knowledge of God and clarity about the world we live in: “Called out of darkness into his marvelous light…”
  • We are His people: “In times past were not a people but are now the people of God…”
  • We have been the objects of His compassion: “Had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy…”

 The driving thrust of this passage: “That we should show forth the praises of him…”

  • God is good, and has dealt mercifully and lavishly with us.
  • Because He has dealt lavishly with us, and we have responded in repentance and faith toward the gospel, we treasure Him.
  • Those who are disobedient to the gospel’s call to repentance and faith, are troubled by it and therefore antagonistic to God’s people.
  • Because He has dealt lavishly with us, we ought to proclaim His excellencies in the gospel to the nations.

Conclusion: Through this passage of scripture, we have been reminded that though our position in Christ is full of rich blessings, this relationship to Christ will put us in an inescapably volatile conflict with the world around us. Let us purpose today by God’s daily grace to proclaim His excellencies in the gospel to the world around us.

 

 

 

 

Lesson 2: The Necessity of Sound Doctrine

“The Necessity of Sound Doctrine”

Sermon Audio Part 1

Sermon Audio Part 2

Text: 1 Timothy 1:3-8 “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully…”

Summary: Paul wanted Timothy to correct faulty approaches to Bible interpretation that had led to weak mystical thinking rather than focused vibrant Christian living.

Fact 1: Paul commands Timothy to hold fast to the standard of the church: 1:3 “I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine…”

  • Paul commanded Timothy to call the church to hold fast only to and entirely to the doctrines of Christ through the apostles: 2 Thessalonians 2:15 “Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle…” Ephesians 2:19-20 “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone… 2 Peter 3:2 “Be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Savior…” Matthew 28:18-20 “Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…”
  • Clarify what he is not saying: These are not standards, the way we tend to hear the term used today.
    • Practical applications that we have established as a result of attempting to implement Biblical principles.
    • A personal conviction that flows from our conscience on areas of soul liberty.
    • A personal practice we have established to protect us from violating a principle or Biblical command.
    • A personal preference we have adopted or a tradition we have established in the church over time.
  • The principle being emphasized in this passage: We must be rigidly bound to that body of truth that was delivered through the apostles under the authority of Christ. Jude 1:3 “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints…”
  • Several warnings:
    • We can violate this principle in three ways:
      • By being purposefully or carelessly selective in what we choose to address or emphasize in our teaching ministries.
      • By adding to the standard by injecting our own opinions rather than staying true to the intent of the text.
      • By clouding the intent of the standard through sloppy interpretation or communication.
  • Three ways we have and do see this in church history:
    • The abuses of the Middle Ages were being combated by the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.
    • The modern day abuses within the modern charismatic movement should be combated by the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture.
    • The modern day abuses we find in many conservative churches should be combated with the practice of sound Bible exposition rather that hobby horse “standards” driven preaching.
  • Fundamental core doctrine/Gospel essentials:
    • The nature of the gospel
    • The nature of salvation
    • The Trinitarian nature of God
    • The full humanity and deity of Christ
    • The depravity of man
    • The inspiration and

Fact 2: This standard of the church, flows from a literal rather than allegorical/theoretical approach to Bible interpretation: 1:4 “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do…”

  • Fables: The word used literally means myths (a myth was either a story that was entirely not true or an embellishment of a story about a real person.)
  • Endless genealogies which minister questions: Taking Old Testament narratives and allegorizing them.
  • He is contrasting mythological embellishments and infatuation with allegorized interpretations with the plain meaning of the historically reliable accounts in scripture.

1 Timothy 4:7 “Refuse profane and old wives’ fables…”

2 Timothy 4:4 “They shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables…”

Titus 1:14 “Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth…”

Be cautious how you approach Bible study:

  • Don’t approach the Bible as a skeptic who picks and chooses based upon what he believes to be rational.
  • Don’t be like the moralist who picks and chooses based upon what is he thinks is morally acceptable.
  • Don’t be like the mystic who focuses primarily on the internal impressions that accompany Bible study.
  • Don’t be like the syncretist who takes the Bible and blends it with his philosophical approach to life issues.
  • Have a responsible Biblical approach to Bible study:
    • Approach the scriptures with a confidence in its nature.
    • Approach the scriptures humbled by your own bias.
    • Approach the scriptures diligently as a persistent student.
    • Approach the scriptures with a vulnerability to its contents.

Fact 3: This standard of the church promotes healthy Christian living 1:5 “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned…”

  • The ultimate goal is growth into spiritual maturity/godly edification: 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works…”
  • Four aspects to his description of spiritual maturity:
  • Christian love: “Now the end of the commandment is charity…”
    • God-centered
    • Others-focused
    • Affectionate
    • Active
  • Purity in the heart: “Charity out of a pure heart…”
    • Focused/undivided/untainted
  • A healthy conscience: “and of a good conscience…”
    • Is shaped by a Biblical world view.
    • Is based upon a practiced sense of discernment.
    • Has not become desensitized by ignoring its unsettledness.
  • Sincere faith: “and of faith unfeigned…”
    • It will not be put on, but will be the real thing

Application: False doctrine, imbalanced teaching, or a faulty approach to Bible study and teaching will hinder our ability to grow properly.

  • We will lack Christian love.
  • We will have divided hearts.
  • Our consciences will be unhealthy.
  • We will have hypocrisy.

Fact 4: This standard and interpretative approach to scripture, view the law correctly “From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; 7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. 8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully…”

Three thoughts that will prepare us for the next section of discussion:

  • The law is good
  • Just because it is good, does not mean that we will use it correctly
  • A proper approach to how we interpret and teach the scriptures is a safeguard to improper uses of the law.

Conclusion:

  • Summary: Paul wanted Timothy to correct faulty approaches to Bible interpretation that have led to weak mystical thinking rather than focused vibrant Christian living.
  • Primary Application: We must be careful in how we approach studying and teaching the scriptures, because it is the primary tool that God uses to bring us in spiritual maturity.

 

Sermon Audio: Sermon 8: Simply Healthy Christianity

Text: 1 Peter 2:1-3 “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious…”

Purpose: The purpose of these verses is to emphasize that Christians must have a longing for God’s word so that they will have a healthy growing Christian walk.

Proposition: God wants me to have a longing for His word.

Interrogative: How can I have a longing for God’s word?

Truth 1: Command: I must realize that I am commanded to have this appetite: 3:2 “Desire the sincere milk of the word…”

  • The sense of the statements: You absolutely must desire the word of God.
  • The context of the statement: The word used for desire (ἐπιποθέω) is used 9 times in the NT and in all 9 examples; the word is used in the context of a longing for or yearning to be close to someone that we love.
  • The nature of object of the statement:
    • The word is sincere/without any mixture of error
    • The word is logically order: The word used for “word” is not the typical word used (λογός) but is a word used only one other time in the NT. (λογικός) Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Application: I am being disobedient to God’s clear command if I refuse to cultivate this healthy appetite for God’s word.

Truth 2: Rivals: I must remove hindrances to this appetite: 3:1 “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking…”

  • The Prominence of this command in the NT:
    • Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light…
    • Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts…
    • James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls…
  • Our hunger for God’s word is directly related to our willingness to put away the specific sins that are mentioned in this list:
    • Observation 1: We cannot afford to go half way on this command “All”
    • Observation 2: The dehumanizing lusts that we harbor in our hearts will so dominate our thinking that they replace a healthy hunger for God’s word and shade the way we interpret it:
      • Malice: Ill will toward others
      • Guile: Deception
      • Hypocrisy: Two-facedness
      • Envies: Becoming discontented because another has experienced God’s good hand
      • Evil Speaking: Slandering others

Application: I am acting in self-deception if I think I am able to entertain sinful passions while continuing to cultivate a hunger for God’s word.

Truth 3: Picture: I must understand this practical illustration: 3:2 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby…”

  • The illustration: “As newborn babes…”
    • Newborns have a relentless hunger for their mother’s milk.
    • Newborns need this constant feeding to support rapid growth and good health.
    • Newborn establish a powerful bond with their mother while feeding.
    • Newborn babies develop a sense of security as they feed.
  • The stated purpose of the command: “That ye may grow thereby…”
    • We cannot grow apart from the means that God has provided
      • Cleansing: Psalm 119:9 “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word…”
      • Renewal of the mind: Romans 12:2 “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…”
      • Faith: Romans 10:17 “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God…”
      • Victory in Spiritual Battle: Ephesians 6:17 “The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…”
      • Salvation at the Judgment Seat: 1 Timothy 4:16 “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee…”

Application: I need to realize that this illustration is as much about relationship and health as it is about growth.

Truth 4: Experience: I must to get back to basic Christianity: 2:3 “If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious…”

  • “If:” This word means that there is a condition for all this working together
    • Growth into Christ-likeness is contingent on new life in Christ!
    • Hunger after God’s Word is contingent on new life in Christ!
    • The power to put off these lusts that hinder our love for God’s Word is contingent on new life in Christ!
  • “Ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious:” He could have stated their position in Christ as a matter of fact, but instead he states it as a matter of experience
    • God wants us to have a real, healthy communion with Him, not just a cold academic understanding of Him.

Another example of this Philippians 2:1 “If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy…”

  • Consolation in Christ: Comforter/ παράκλησις
  • Comfort of love: Internal sense that you belong to God
  • Fellowship of the Spirit: Communion/ κοινωνία
  • Bowels and mercies: Deep seated affection for God and other believers

Conclusion: God wants me to have a longing for His word. If I will see this as a serious matter of obedience, so that I am motivated to remove all rivals as I consider the illustration of a hungering newborn, then I will be able to get back to the basics of a healthy growing Christian experience.

The Helmet of Salvation: Ephesians 6:16

Sermon Audio: Part 6: The Helmet of Salvation

Text: Ephesians 6:10-16 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation…”

Purpose: Paul wrote this section, recognizing both the reality of the constant conflict with spiritual wickedness in high places, and the means by which God strengthens Christians in the battle so they can be victorious.

Proposition: God wants us to focus our thinking on the reality of our coming salvation when we are most prone to discouragement in the battle.

Interrogative: How can we do this?

Review

Article 1: Have your loins girt about with truth…

Article 2: Have on the breastplate of righteousness…

Article 3: Have your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace…

Article 4: Taking the shield of faith…

Article 5: Take the helmet of salvation…

Take the helmet of salvation:

Question 1: What is the helmet of salvation?

  • Dwight Pentecost in His book Designed to be Like Him wrote: “No Roman soldier would think of advancing into battle without a helmet to cover his head. This helmet was usually a cap made of leather to which metal plates had been fastened. Some helmets were made of solid metal cast in the form of a head-covering. Whatever the external form of the helmet, the purpose was the same—to protect the head from the blows of the broadsword.[1]Simply put for the soldier: The purpose of the helmet protects the mind.

Two Facts about the Helmet:

  • Fact 1: The helmet is a defensive instrument to protect how the Christian thinks:
    • Simply put for the Christian: The state of the Christian’s mental health is perhaps the single most important thing that is true about him.
      • Every Christian Needs: freedom from internal restlessness
        • A confidence that He is saved.
        • A clean conscience.
        • A disinterest in the favorable or unfavorable opinions of others.
        • A freedom from the lust of materialism.
        • A confidence in the providence of God.
        • An all-consuming passion for God and His Kingdom
  • Fact 2: Putting on the helmet is an illustration of the Christian choosing to focus his thinking on his salvation when he is in the face of tremendous spiritual opposition:
    • What aspect of our salvation are the scriptures telling us to focus upon?
      • The Christian’s salvation in the Past:
      • The Christian’s salvation in the Present:
      • The Christian’s salvation in the Future: 1 Thessalonians 5:8-9 “Let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ…”
        • Saved from the wrath of God both in the Tribulation and for all eternity: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-9 “Yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night…But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief…Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober…let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ…”
        • Saved from the Corruption of our fallenness and our fallen world: Romans 8:18-23 “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God…the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God…we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body…”
        • Saved from the grip of sin and death: 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed…For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality…then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory…”
  • Fact 3: The aspect of our salvation that he is emphasizing is the believer’s blessed hope, our future deliverance from this fallen world and entrance into God’s eternal Kingdom.

Question 2: How does Satan attack us in this area?

6:11 “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil… 6:13 that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day…”

  • Satan seeks to capitalize on every moment of weakness we face whether self-inflicted or otherwise.
    • Health crisis
    • Relational crisis
    • Financial crisis
    • The hardships of life for me or for others
    • The constant struggle of besetting sins
  • He seeks to convince us that we cannot stand when we face relentless waves of intense troubles.
  • He seeks to convince us the battle will never end.
  • He seeks to draw us into a shortsighted perspective where all we can see is what is happening today, rather than the glory that is yet to come.
  • He seeks to convince us that God is not good, does not care, or is unable to use your current circumstances for your good and His glory.

Question 3: How does this piece of armor meet the need?

Illustration: Running a race with the perspective of mile markers and the ultimate end.

  • It puts our current plights in perspective:
    • There is an answer for why this world is the way that it is.
    • There is an answer for why I struggle with sin.
    • There is an answer for why I face physical infirmities.
    • There is an answer for why God does not insulate me from every problem.
  • It instructs me that the battle is not without purpose or end.
  • It instructs me that God will reward my faithfulness, and in that day the struggle will have been worth it.
  • It instructs me that I can stand by the enablement of our all-mighty God, and there is glory yet to come in the future.

Conclusion: God wants us to focus our thinking on the reality of our coming salvation when we are most prone to discouragement in the battle. Let’s purpose to establish the daily discipline of focusing our attention on aspects of our salvation that we have not yet experienced!

 

[1] J. Dwight Pentecost, Designed to Be like Him: Understanding God’s Plan for Fellowship, Conduct, Conflict, and Maturity (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2001), 250.

Introduction to Pastoral Epistles: 1 Timothy 1:1-4

Audio File: Introduction to Pastoral Epistles: Part 1

Text: 1 Timothy 1:1-4 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.  As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,  Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do…”

Summary Statement for the book: Paul instructs Timothy regarding life in the local church and his responsibilities in it so that the church would remain orderly in practice and pure in doctrine as it proclaimed the Word of God to the world.[1]

Summary Statement for 1:1-4: Paul identified himself, his authority as a representative of Christ, and his primary concern for the church at Ephesus.

Detail 1: God used the apostle Paul to write this letter.

  • Paul was converted in the mid 30’s
  • His missionary journey’s out of the church are Antioch went from the mid 40’s- mid 50’s and are covered in the book of Acts
  • He first involved Timothy in the early 50’s
  • This is likely written in the mid 60’s between two imprisonments, from Macedonia.
  • The details of the church plant at Ephesus are recorded by Luke from Acts 16-18.
  • It seems that Paul sent Timothy to Ephesus around 10 years after the church was planted, and after a period of time at Ephesus, Timothy wants to leave and be with Paul.
  • This is the catalyst for the letter we are studying.

Detail 2: Paul emphasized the ultimate authority of his instructions to Timothy regarding church life: “An apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior…”

  • Though he has a tender relationship with Timothy, he is establishing his authority as an apostle.
  • He is further emphasizing his authority by indicating that he is an apostle by the commandment of Christ.
  • Sub question: What is an apostle?
    • On the most basic level, an apostle was an individual who was is sent out under the authority of another and acting as a representative of the one who sent them. (Commissioned)
    • In many cases the person had a role in government like an ambassador.
    • In the case of the spread of the gospel in the first century, some individuals functioned as church planters/missionaries as representatives of their respective churches.
    • In this case, the term is very specific and worthy of careful notice: He is an apostle of Jesus Christ
      • Knew Christ personally.
      • Was personally called by Christ to an official capacity.
      • He was representing Christ and was also bearing Christ’s authority.
      • There was a validation of this ministry.
      • They were recognized as officials in this capacity in the early church.

Passage 1: Acts 1:15-25 “And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry…21Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.  And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship…

Passage 2: 1 Corinthians 15:1-9 “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God…”

Passage 3: 2 Corinthians 12:12 “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds…”

Detail 3: Paul identified the one who has commissioned Him, and the nature of His personal ministry toward Paul and the recipients of his letter:

  • He is our Savior: “God our Savior…”
  • He is our hope: “And Lord Jesus Christ which is our hope…”

Detail 4: Paul identified the primary recipient of his letter, and his relationship to him: “Unto Timothy my own son in the faith…”

Three Observations:

  • Paul explicitly trusted Timothy: Philippians 2:19-22 “But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel.”
  • Paul saw Timothy as a grounded man whom he personally appointed to the ministry office he currently held: 2 Timothy 1:3-6 “I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands…”
  • Paul had poured significant time and energy into a mentoring relationship with Timothy, and he had confidence in his ability to make discerning judgments about future leadership: 2 Timothy 2:1-2 “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also…”

Detail 5: Paul reminded Timothy not only of their personal relationship one with another, but also, God’s relationship to them both: “Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord…”

  • Grace: Unmerited favor
  • Mercy: Tender compassion
  • Peace: The removal of the former animosity created by their sin
  • From God: God not mankind is the initiator of this relationship
  • Our Father: As Father, God assumes the responsibility to provide care and sustenance to His people, and He does it from the disposition of a loving father
  • Jesus Christ our Lord: As those who have been redeemed to God, we are responsible to submit to His authority as our master.

Detail 6: Though Paul has apostolic authority, he appealed to Timothy from the position of an encourager: “I besought thee to abide in Ephesus when I went to Macedonia…”

  • Observation 1: Timothy wanted to come be with Paul, and as we get later into the letter, we will see that he is facing tremendous opposition and pressures, so he wants to be back in a place of serving under/alongside, rather than out in the forefront.
  • Observation 2: παρακαλέω: He is coming alongside him as an encourager/coach, understanding that

Detail 7: He told Timothy that his primary ministry responsibility involved confronting false teaching in the church: “That thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine…”

  • Charge: This would involve confrontation.
  • Some: Not every teacher in the church was involved in these doctrinal deviations.
  • No other doctrine: This statement indicates that there was an established body of truth, known to the apostles and to the church, and it was the standard for the teaching and practices of the church.

Detail 8: He told Timothy that his second responsibility involved helping the average church member develop both discernment and courage to reject false teaching: “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies…”

  • Fables: Rabbinical teachings
  • Endless genealogies: Hypothetical situations and assumptions about the content of the scriptures.

Detail 9: He told Timothy that the reason he needed to address these false teachers and help the church develop discernment was that they were becoming distracted with unanswerable discussions and missing opportunities to grow in the faith and be stirred up into godly living: “Which minister questions rather than godly edification which is in the faith…”

  • Questions rather than godly edification: Not all false teaching will send you to eternal destruction. Some false teaching simply distracts you from the heart of the Christian faith and keeps you from developing into a faithful godly servant of Christ.
  • Which is in the faith: Spiritual maturity happens within a body of truth, not independent of it.

Some practical implications from this text:

  • Implication 1: We must give careful attention to every detail of this epistle, because it is not simply the opinion of a Christian sage from the first century, but it is the word of God.
  • Implication 2: The strength of the future of the church is rooted in its ability to reproduce godly mentoring relationships like Paul had with Timothy.
  • Implication 3: A healthy view of our relationship to God and His relationship to us positions us to properly receive His instructions.
  • Implication 4: Authority should never replace an encouraging spirit.
  • Implication 5: We must be fiercely loyal for the faith, not simply popular teachers within the faith.
  • Implication 6: We need to realize that false teaching always has negative consequences.
  • Implication 7: Don’t waste people’s time and opportunities to grow by spending time in theological hypotheticals.

 

 

 

 

[1] Hullinger, Dr. Jerry. New Testament Life and Belief: A Study in History, Culture, and Meaning (p. 475). Piedmont International University. Kindle Edition.

 

 

A Common Denominator in De-Conversions- Caleb Wait TGC

“Without the definition of doctrine, the guardrails of catechesis, and the accountability of a church community, one’s “spiritual journey” too easily veers into a subjective, fit-to-me thing where the focus is less on truth than on preference and pragmatism.”

A Common Denominator in De-Conversions- Caleb Wait TGC