Iテモテ1:18-2-7 『勇敢な戦い』 2018/08/26 David Hawley

Passage 1 Timothy 1:18 – 2:7
Other passages Ephesians 6:12-20
Background
Synopsis of the passage Fight, Timothy. What is at stake is faith and conscience.
Church discipline.

Pray for political peace.
God wants all people to be saved
Message Outline Metaphors for the Christian life
The good fight.
● What, Why, How
Prayer
● Peace within and without the church
● because of the church’s mission.
And Paul is doing exactly that, consciously.
Application Pray for purpose
Title Fighting the good fight
1:18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.
2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
Ephesians 6: 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. 13 For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, 15 and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. 16 In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God. 18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. 19 Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. 20 For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough to speak about it as I should.

1. Introduction
● This is the third in our series on the 1st letter to Timothy, which Paul wrote to guide his youngish disciple Timothy in fixing major issues in the church at Ephesus.
● Paul states that his letter is to teach us how we should do church
○ It applies not only to church leaders, but all members of the body of Christ.
Because the church is something that we do together.
● Previously we had learned
○ That the gospel is the core message we should be teaching, and that the goal of teaching should be sincere love, not useless bits of information
○ And that there is a Law for Christians, but it is not the Law of Moses, it is the Law of Christ.
■ This Law is a living thing, being based on the person of Jesus
■ This Law is a mirror to us of how we should be,
■ and it has power to change us which is from the Holy Spirit
● Timothy had a big job to do, and we know he was a timid guy. He needed some encouragement.
● In today’s passage, Paul ends the 1st chapter by saying to Timothy
○ ‘Man up, fight the good fight! Fulfill your destiny!’.
○ I’d like to look at this together, because I think it speaks to us as well.
○ We are also going to look at a related passage in the book of Ephesians, which is an open letter that Paul wrote to the same church..

2. Christian Life
● v18 Timothy, prophecies have been made on your life’s calling.
And so you must live them out, by ‘fighting the good fight.’
This doesn’t mean punching someone, it’s a metaphor!
● People have various metaphors they use to describe life. Here are some popular ones.
○ A story. You must be the active Author of your life.
■ Shakespeare had Macbeth say something less positive about our life story:
■ “Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”
■ Our modern age prefers to think more positively 🙂
○ A game. There are rules, which you might break, but the goal is to have fun and compete and get more points than other people.
■ I worked at a company whose Japan GM gave this as our company culture. But then he was found to break some legal rules, and he was fired.
○ Water (Bruce Lee). You adapt to the situation, and go with the flow.
■ Well that’s seems completely opposite to the other metaphors, so who knows?
● The Bible also has several metaphors for the Christian life
○ A way, or path. Originally the Christian movement called itself ‘The Way’, which is the metaphor of a road.
■ Jesus said that he is the Way, the Truth and the Life. The Way is a road that leads to God.
○ A race (Hebrews 12:1). Our life has a goal, and a reward that awaits.
○ A ‘good fight’ (v18, 1 Tim 6:12, 2 Tim 4:7). We actively struggle to live by our faith, and to not fall away, or compromise with evil.
● There a key difference between the world’s metaphors and the Bible’s metaphor, which is alluded in v18. It is the idea of ‘calling’.
○ ‘in keeping with the prophecies once made about you’.
○ God had plans for Timothy.
○ Timothy’s life was not his own to author, or play as a game, or to let drift passively
○ But there is opposition.
○ And so Timothy was called to fight to realize God’s plan for him
● All of the bible metaphors involve actively choosing.
○ A Way
■ This church is called Crossroads. A crossroad is a meeting place, but it is also a decision. When you are moving through a Crossroads, you take one road or another.
■ We looked at this when we studied Romans. There is a path that leads to life and one that leads to death. We are given freedom to choose, and we are urged to choose the path to life.
○ A race
■ is about finishing with a good time.
■ It involves choosing what we will focus on to get us to the end, and discarding what could stop us or slow us down.
Hebrews 12:1-3 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
○ A fight
■ is also a choice, between what you are for and what you are against.
■ A fight means opposition, and conflict. And you have to accept that conflict.
3. The Good Fight
● So, what does it mean to fight the “good fight?”
● Well, a good fight is certainly about something, but it is also about how we fight. For example,
○ If you fight with a friend or your spouse, you are careful not to damage the relationship, but fight a way such that the relationship will get better.
○ Or if you fight against an evil, you must not use evil means.
● And when we think about a fight in the Christian sense, Ephesians 6 comes to mind.
○ Read (Ephesians 6:12-20)
Ephesians 6: 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. 13 For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. 14 Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, 15 and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. 16 In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God. 18 Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints. 19 Pray also for me, that the message may be given to me when I open my mouth to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel. 20 For this I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I might be bold enough to speak about it as I should.
● Some key words
○ Stand firm
○ Truth
○ righteousness – God calls us righteous because of Jesus’ death, and we are learning to live righteously with the HS’s help.
○ feet ready with the gospel of peace, meaning willingness to go and share the gospel
○ faith in God: his love for us, his trustworthiness, and his ability to do what he promises
○ sword of the Spirit: that is the Word of God, the bible
○ And finally, prayer: esp. for the saints in general, and also for Paul’s missionary work
● Paul in 1 Tim 1:18-19 picks up on two of these, faith and a good conscience (from doing what is right as best we know).
● v20 And this fight is important not only for Timothy, but others.
○ You can lose the goal of your life to which God called you.
○ Some people have lost the fight and their faith is destroyed. And probably their salvation.
● v19 Paul has kicked the people who have got astray out of the church, so they will repent.
○ That is what he means by ‘handed over to Satan’, to be kicked out into the world, where there is no salvation or escape from God’s wrath.
○ The stakes are high in this fight. It is about salvation, of ourselves and others.
○ It is a fight that is necessary and important.
○ It is a fight that we need to learn how to conduct
● So, those in brief were the elements of fighting the good fight according to Paul in the open letter to the church in Ephesus.
○ And the final element is prayer
■ Prayer in general
■ And for the ministry of Paul as apostle and evangelist

4. Prayer, Peace, and Proclamation
● Paul’s thought in 1 Timothy flows the same way as it did in the Ephesians 6 passage.
● So like in Ephesians 6, Paul ends up with prayer.
Prayer is an essential part of the Christian life considered as a fight.
● 2:1 We are urged to pray for
○ all men, that is for the world
○ for all those in authority in the world, kings, and presidents,
● And as this is given in a book about how to run a church, this must include our corporate prayer!
● We don’t do this very often at Crossroads. But Paul urges that we do!
● 2:2 The reason he does is so that
○ We may lead a tranquil and quiet life.
○ In other words, that the government will leave us alone, and not persecute us.
● In Japan, the government does not persecute us today. The government does not really have a strong civil religion that would cause conflict with Christians.
● But that was not always the case. During the Tokugawa shogunate, Christians were persecuted to death or into hiding. And as State Shinto was established in the late 19th century, other religions were suppressed as unpatriotic, including Christianity. People were arrested, and some died.
● This could happen again, and we should pray it does not.
○ Why is persecution bad? Well, it is often repeated that the blood of martyrs is the seed of the church. But that is simplistic.
○ North Korea government used to support Christianity, and the capital Pyongyang used to be called ‘Jerusalem of the East’. But now belief in Christ is cruelly suppressed.
○ Similar things have happened in the Middle East, where the church has almost disappeared.
○ So we should pray that authorities leave us in peace.
● But Paul gives a specific reason why the church should be allowed to live in peace.
● v3-4 It is that God wants all persons to be saved
● v5-6 Because Jesus is the only way to be saved. Only Jesus can bring peace with God.
So everyone needs to hear it.
● v7 And this is Paul’s calling, to proclaim the gospel to the nations.
○ Is it only Paul’s responsibility? Remember Ephesians 6:15.
● In summary, Paul’s instruction is:
○ Timothy, fight to realize your calling
○ Teach the church to pray so it can fulfill its role
○ Pray!
■ for the society, so the church can be in peace and healthy
■ so that the gospel can be proclaimed,
■ and people can be saved

5. Conclusion
● So how do we apply this to ourselves?
● Firstly, we should consider carefully how we are thinking about our life in our heart
○ Our life is not a story for us to write, it is our participation in God’s story.
We are not the center, and we are not the author.
○ Our life is not a game, with rules we can make up, and a score that shows we did better than others
○ Our life is not just going along with the flow. We are called to choose and commit.
● We should instead consider the bible’s metaphors for our life as Christians
○ A way, not only a way to heaven, but a way of life.
■ Not like Judaism or Islam, with their many laws, but a life lived as a living sacrifice to God, and love and service to the church and witness to the world. (Romans 12)
○ A race, in which we must choose what to take along with us and what to discard.
○ A fight, to fulfill our calling
● Practically: We should pray as a church, regularly
○ For secular authorities, to let us live as Christians
○ For our leaders and ourselves, that we will have the determination and boldness to witness
● We are not strong in these areas, are we?
○ Perhaps we are like Timothy, a little timid.
○ Perhaps we forget we are in a fight
○ Perhaps we forget our calling
○ Perhaps we don’t know how to do it?
● But we can pray for strength
○ Even Paul asks for prayer that he would be given wisdom and given boldness
○ We can at least pray, and let God gives us what we need
○ We can support and encourage one another
● Let’s remember who we worship, the Son of God
○ who came and persevered in the face of opposition, and died shamefully, in order to bring us peace with the ultimate authority, God
○ who prayed to the point of sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, so he could have the courage to die for us
● And the bible tells us that he did it all for the joy set before him, to see his spiritual children
● Can we hope that we could taste that joy too?
● Will God command a thing, and not bring its fruit in good time? Will he not help us? Is he not faithful?
○ Did he not give Jesus as he promised?
○ DId Jesus not receive the reward God promised?
● Let us look to Jesus as we choose to fight, and to never give up.
Let us pray.

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