ITimothy 1:1-7 『Keeping our Focus』2018/06/24 David Hawley

[Reading on slide 2-4]
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2 To Timothy my true son in the faith:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

I. Introduction
• [SLIDE 5] Time, location
o V1 Letter written by Paul
o Circa 65 AD, Just after Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, Philemon; Luke’s Gospel and Acts
o V2 Written to Timothy, but since the final greeting 6:21 is plural, probably to the church as a whole. So it is not private, but an official letter.
• The summary of the content
• 3:14-15 How people should conduct themselves in the church
 Teaching, prayer, caring for members in need, leadership, how to relate to money, etc.
• We can learn how to have a healthy church!!
• Breakdown into 6 areas
 1:3-20 Doctrine
 2:1-15 Public worship
 3:1-16 Leadership
 4:1-10 Moral instruction, and 4:11-5:2 instructions to leaders
 5:3-6:2 Social responsibilities
 6:3-21 Attitudes to wealth
• [SLIDE 6] The cast:
• Paul:
 A well-educated, rich and powerful Jewish Rabbi
 Met Christ, and became an apostle – a messenger of the gospel, esp to gentiles
 V1 tells us this: an apostle by the command of God
• Note that God is called Saviour, where we would expect Christ Jesus
• This is a trinitarian understanding, and also that the Father is the ultimate source
• Christ is our hope
• His second coming, and our resurrection is our hope.
• Timothy
 One of Paul’s converts
 A close fellow-worker with Paul in his missionary work
 Mentioned several times in Acts, Romans, I&II Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1&2 Thess, Philemon, Hebrews, and of course 1&2 Timothy
 => in Acts, and in almost all of Paul’s letters
 Very close to Paul, like a son.
• The church: Ephesus
 <Map>
 3rd largest city in Asia Minor, est. pop about 170,000 people, important port city
 Hosted the Temple of Artemis, one of 7 Wonders of the Ancient World
 For us => Central hub for the regions churches and missionary work. Paul had spent 3 years there.
 First mentioned in the list of 7 churches of Asia in Rev 1-2.
• [SLIDE 7] Occasion: We haven’t talked about why Paul wrote the letter yet.
 V3 Leaders gone bad
 Timothy sent by Paul to get church back on track
 So what was Timothy like to be given such a task?
• Probably in his 30s <= young according to the culture
• Sickly
• Shy and timid
 What did Timothy have going for him? (Philippians 2:19-22)
• Cared for people
• Dedicated to God’s interests, not his own
• Tested and faithful
• Trained and mentored on Paul’s missionary journeys
 So this young timid man was given the great responsibility of fixing the church at Ephesus
• Let’s not despise the small and weak things, because God doesn’t!
• But let us be involved in ministry, and see where God will lead.
• It led Timothy to the Ephesian church to restore it and its leadership
II. [SLIDE7 continued] Leaders gone bad (target 10min)
• V4 What were these teachers teaching?
• False doctrines
• Myths
• Useless details
• The result
• Speculation and controversy, endless without possibility of resolution
• God’s work not done
• What is wrong here?
• Attention given to the wrong things
• Attention not given to the right things
• [Slide 8] So what should we teach? A little aside on doctrine
• Levels
• Core – basic beliefs, that we must agree on
• Convictions –are important for health, so we can argue and separate over
• Opinions – we must not separate over opinions
• Questions – things about which there is no clarity
• Core
• Things we must know and believe to be a Christian
• Things that if we know, we must not reject
• Things we may not agree to, but we should believe
• [SLIDE 9] Where should we pay our attention? The core => gospel!
• Remember Romans:
• The gospel: what God has done and promises to do
• Therefore, give yourself to God
• God has given you work to do
• V5 Do it with love
• Here we have:
• A sincere faith: trusting the gospel in a way that changes our thinking and behavior
• A pure heart: we give ourselves to God, and nurture a heart that wants only what God wants, and doesn’t have mixed motives
• A good conscience: acting in obedience
• V5 Growing in love is the goal.
• [Slide 10] What went wrong with the bad teachers?
• V6 And they departed from the above: a sincere faith, a good conscience, a pure heart, and love.
• V7 What do they think of themselves
• They want to be teachers of the law
• They are confident
• But they are talking about things they don’t understand.
• Their talk is meaningless
• How did this happen?
• 1:7 Maybe this is part of it: They wanted to be recognized as teachers, without understanding what they are teaching.
 Understanding is not simply an intellectual exercise.
 A sincere faith goes beyond just textbook knowledge
• Acts 20:30 They wanted a following more than the truth
 A desire for status of their own, their own brand
 So you invent your own teaching, to differentiate yourself.
 Some false, some made up, some irrelevant
 In 1 Cor 1:10-13, we read that the church had split into groups following their favorite teacher.
 But Paul was not interested in building his own brand, but in promoting Christ.
 And he praises Timothy for being the same way.
 In some cases, a desire for money.
 And remember, Jesus said you cannot love both God and money (Luke 16:13). Love of one drives out love of the other.
 There are many who fall into this condition
• V6 The result is they turned away
• from true and useful teaching
• and its goal – love.
• And their listeners, like them, just wasted their time with meaningless talk, and didn’t grow spiritually. In fact, they ruin their faith.

III. The hope of the resurrection and us
• [SLIDE 11] So what were these false doctrines?
• Well we know this: 2 Tim 2:18 Heresy that the resurrection had already happened.
• Why is it a problem if there is no bodily resurrection ahead of us?
• Our resurrection marks the completion of our salvation.
• We are saved when we believe in Jesus, we are being saved – restored, and we will be saved when Jesus comes to give us new bodies and take us to himself.
• But if the resurrection has already happened, there is nothing ahead to hope for; it doesn’t get any better than this.
• As we read in 1 John 3:2-3, it is the hope of what lies ahead that gives us motivation to be holy like Jesus.
 We love a singer’s song, and we try to sound like them.
 Even though we know we will never be at that level, our attraction shapes our values and the way we live our lives.
 But we will be like Jesus when we see him again.
• If we lose our hope of the resurrection that lies ahead, we lose our motivation to work towards being like Jesus.
• And inevitably, we will lose our faith and fall into immorality.
Because we have no hope.

IV. [SLIDE 12] What about us?
• We too can fall away, both as individuals and as a body
• When our faith is not sincere, when we do not grasp what God has done for us
• Our hearts are unsatisfied,
• We are tempted to satisfy our needs in other ways => our heart is no longer pure
• We distract ourselves with things that are meaningless or even wrong.
We neglect what we should be doing, because we are separated from God’s life and leadership
• We offend our consciences because we are in conflict inside
• And consequently, we lose our freedom to love, and instead fight and argue
• How can we make sure not to wander away, as individuals and as a church?
• Keep focused and intentional on the main thing
• Always remember the gospel
• Let it change our hearts, so that we want the right things. Struggle with God for it.
• Keep it real.
• Keep a clear conscience: do what we know we should do, stop what we shouldn’t
• Determine to love.
• Faith, a pure heart, and a good conscience will free us to do so.
• But how?
• It is the love of God that is at work within us.
• It is the love of God that sustains us
• It is the hope of God that motivates us
• So let us cling to the love of God shown in the gospel,
• Ask God to teach it to us, so we can believe it sincerely
• Trust God and give ourselves to him, and let him deal with our mixed motives and give us a pure heart
• Keep a good conscience
• Let God teach us how to love
• And let us encourage one another!
Let’s pray

V. Questions
1. As a church
o What are ways that churches and their leaders go off track?
o Why do you think this happens?
o What are the consequences?
o What can we do as a church do to keep the right focus?
2. As individual believers
o What are ways that individual believers go off track?
o Why do you think this happens?
o What ways can we make sure that we are personally focusing on the main thing?
o How can we help each other stay on track?

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