1Timothy Introduction: Your First Church

April 25, 2010 Series: 1 Timothy

Topic: New Testament Passage: 1 Timothy 1:5–1:5

Introduction to 1st Timothy_Week 1

April 25, 2010

Sam Ford

 

Introduction to the study

Today, we’re beginning a new series called CHARGE—it’s a verse by verse study of 1st Timothy.  This is the first of three letters to young pastors in the Bible.  It could have easily been written today as we find that the same false teachings that plagued the church 2,000 years ago are still alive and well today.  In this letter we see Paul charging a young pastor named Timothy to FIGHT…to protect the truth and the church atEphesus from wolves who want to deny doctrine and destroy the church from within.

 

As is Paul’s style, he writes with boldness and without apology.  This letter is full of some hard words ALL motivated by a love for God, His Word, and His bride.  Paul will charge Timothy to draw clear lines in the sand, to take particular stands, and to defend specific truths from false teachers.  Along with his command to fight, Paul encourages Timothy to be more than an apologist, more than an intellectual- warrior—he must be a Shepherd who feeds AND cares for the sheep.

 

In choosing a study of 1st Timothy, the elders are choosing to reveal the biblical rubric to measure how we lead this church.  This letter provides a clear blueprint for what is MOST important and what is not.  With the continual growth of our church it is essential that we regularly visit this book together, as well as 2nd Timothy and Titus, for collective refreshment, correction, and direction.

 

Pastor your Home 

It will be tempting for many of us to dismiss 1st & 2nd Timothy, and Titus as letters JUST for the “Professional Pastors.” One of the greatest responsibilities we have as elders is to equip (Eph. 4-11-12) parents to pastor your first churches at home; to live out Deuteronomy 6.4-9  4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.   

 

The series is titled charge because this is going to be a fight.  The fight will begin against your own sinful flesh, the little voice in your head that comes up every time a sermon is preached and you believe it is intended for anyone but you.  Most men, women, and even young people give into that voice, sit back and watched others fight the battles and charge the hills.  There are some battles that no one else can fight for you.  And though we are all in the battle together, if you choose not to fight for what is MOST important (too old, too young, too unskilled, too busy, too tired) you and the people that you have been charged to lead and protect will suffer because you have not defended them or equipped them to defend themselves.   

 

History before/up to Timothy

We’ll begin with a SNAP SHOT OF HISTORY before and up/to the young FIGHTER named Timothy.  We need to understand how, at about 30 years of age, this young, ill-equipped, uneducated, and inexperienced pastor finds himself with the horrifically wonderful task of leading a church full of wolves, in the middle of a metropolis dedicated to a femin-nazi cult.  About 15+ years before this letter was written, at the time of the death and resurrection of Jesus, the author Paul was an accomplished and respected Jewish Pharisee who hated Jesus, and Timothy was probably in his early teens living in a city called Lystra with his Jewish mom and Greek Father.

 

ACTS Chapter 1-2 Holy Spirit and the Church

According to Dr. Luke, Jesus spent about 40 days with the disciples before he ascended to heaven.  Right before he left, he told them to go to Jerusalemand wait him to send the Holy Spirit who would empower them to be witnesses.  Acts 1.8-111 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”   At the feast of Pentecost, 50 days after the Passover, the Spirit fell and Peter preached his first sermon amounting to “You killed Jesus, but God raised him from the dead.  Repent and be baptized.  About 3,000 people believed and they began to be the church Acts 2.42-44 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 

 

ACTS Chapter 3-4 – Leaders of the church

Peter and John are soon arrested because they are healing and preaching and thousands are coming to faith.  Their sermons really don’t change too much and they are told not to speak anymore by the authorities because of their boldness.  Acts 4.10-12  10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

 

ACTS Chapter 5-6– Organization in the church

Whenever a church grows quickly, two types of people float to the surface—sinners and servants.  The leaders confront SIN with truth and they bring organization to the church to make use of servants. Acts 6. 3-6. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6 These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.

 

ACTS Chapter 7-9 Persecution of the church

Though Jesus had told them they would be witnesses to Jerusalem, Judea, Samarian, and the rest of the world…they hadn’t moved beyond the safety of Jerusalem.  God uses persecution to them moving.  Stephen, one of the deacons, preaches an awesome sermon about Jesus and gets stoned.  A zealous Jewish Pharisee named Saul is there holding everyone’s coats while they murder Stephen. In Acts 9, murderous Paul is on his way to the city of Damascusto arrest and kill Christians.  Then Jesus shows up.  Acts 9.13-16 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 

 

ACTS Chapter 10-12 – Changes Peter - Jews and Gentiles

Meanwhile, back in Jerusalem, Pastor Peter is going through his own changes.  Up until this point, as a Jewish disciple of the Jewish Messiah, Peter assumed salvation was all for the Jews.  God shows him differently in a vision and shows him that salvation is for the whole world, meaning, people from every tribe and tongue. Peter reports back to his fellows leaders.  Acts 11.17-18 17 If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 18 When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”

 

Chapter 13 – 15 – Changes in Paul – Evangelist and Church Planter

Saul is no using his Roman named, Paul having become a completely different person.  Before his fateful meeting with the risen Jesus, Saul was a violent persecutor of the church.  After Jesus saved Him, Saul became the apostle Paul, a pastor, church planter, missionary, and martyr who authored more than half of the New Testament.  He preached the gospel to many Jews but even more Gentiles (Non-Jews) who had never heard of Jesus.  Throughout His ministry, he himself became intensely persecuted.  One city he visited was called Lystra.  Acts 14.19-23  19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

 

Chapter 16 – Paul & Young Timothy

It is in Lystra where young Timothy lived and, it is assumed, believed in Jesus.  He later joined Paul’s ministry when Paul visited Lystra again (Acts 16.1-4).  Acts 16.1 Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek.  He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium.  Paul wanted Timothy to accompany, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.  This might seem strange or “legalistic” to us, but in many ways it is missional.  At this point, Paul still begins his evangelism by entering synagogues and preaching Jesus.  The power of this passage is not what Paul does, but that Timothy agrees to make this kind of sacrifice for the mission.  By Acts 18, most of Paul’s evangelism is aimed toward Gentiles.

 

Sometime on n his second missionary journey, Paul planted the first church in the metropolis of Ephesuswhile Timothy was with him.  He had attempted to preach earlier, but the Holy Spirit had directed him differently (Acts 16.6).  Luke records that Paul later spent three months preaching in the Jewish synagogue in Ephesuson his way to Jerusalemfrom Corinth(Acts 19).  Paul’s preaching was well received, but soon turned to hostility.  So he took those who believed and continue to teach them for the next two years in a lecture Hall of Tyrannus. Eventually, Paul had so negatively impacted the cultic practices of Ephesus, a riot ensued. Paul left Ephesus shortly after this incident. Before he left Asia, however, he called the Ephesians elders together and charged them protect the flock from wolves that would rise up in the church and lead them away from the truth.  Paul then tearfully prayed with the Ephesian elders knowing he would not see them again.  Acts 20.28  28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish everyone with tears.


A family of faith

Shortly after Paul’s departure, the false teachers he had prophesied about came to Ephesus.  At some point in the future, a young Timothy was dispatched to Ephesusto deal with a list of church problems.  According to the pastoral letters of 1st and 2nd Timothy, he had his hands full.  In two letters, Paul give’s Timothy personal encouragement and practical instructions about “how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.” (1Timothy 3.15).   The letters, however, reveal a picture the of a young man who is a young, shy, and suffering from a chronic stomach illness.  He is a relatively immature and inexperienced pastor who loves Jesus but doesn’t necessarily know what he is doing in leading the church at Ephesus.  But he is there fighting. And I have to wonder why? Where does this kind of fight and faith come from?

 

Our Legacy to the Generations

In order to understand how this young man was prepared to face challenges he was ill-equipped for, we have to go to the 2nd letter to Timothy, and last letter Paul ever wrote before he was martyred.  It is his “last words” to a man he calls a son.  2Timothy 1.5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.  Paul attributed the strength of Timothy’s faith to the influence of his mom Eunice and grandmother Lois. There is no mention of Timothy’s father and, as a Gentile, he was probably an unbeliever. Perhaps this is why Paul “adopts” Timothy, calling him a Son of Faith—he set the example his father was supposed to. 

 

Most of us will live an average of 78.4 years but we are impacted by over 100 years of life We affect and are affected by three generations before us.  Our great grandparents, most of whom we have faint memories of, our grandparents, and of course, our parents who influence us.  And how we live our lives will impact the generations following us our children, our grandchildren, and even our great grandchildren.  Have you ever looked at your Mom or Dad, then at yourself and went…OH YEAH…that’s where it is from.  Have you ever looked at your children, then at yourself?  We’re all pastors.  We’re all preachers.  We preach sermons through our actions and our inaction. We preach through our words and our silences. We preach through the values we live not the ones we speak. We teach through what we worship and how we sacrifice.  We preach through our joys and our sufferings.

 

Charged to Fight

The Bible teaches us that our fight, or lack thereof, for faith—how we wage our battle—will impact others.  Here is how Mommy Eunice and Grandma Lois raised Timothy:  2Timothy 3.14-15 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. The Bible equips us to fight, especially when the battle of life rages.  

 

Men, Women, Moms, Dads, Kids, Grandparents, Great grandparents you are charged to PROTECT

As an under-shepherd of Jesus’ flock, Timothy is charged to protect the sheep from wolves teaching unbiblical truths.  As pastor parents, you are charged with protecting those in your care from false truth.  Paul’s charge is not a suggestion of a good idea, rather, a command essential to the life and health.  Gospel-centered doctrine does matter—it’s not just for the scholars.  Belief in true or false doctrine is what, according to Paul, sets one’s life on a course toward joy and safety OR toward sorrow and shipwreck.

 

Men, Women, Moms, Dads, Kids, Grandparents, Great grandparents you are charged to LEAD

Avoiding sewer water is not our only responsibility; we must pursue the pure water of God.  Paul also charges Timothy to take responsibility and lead—he must make a decision to MOVE.  Excuses such as difficulty of the task, feelings of inadequacy, or the realities of age, will not justify the abdication of his call to lead.  Just as Timothy was, you are the Man, Woman, Mom, Dad, Kid, Grandparent, Great grandparent chosen for the job, by God. You must be active not passive; you must speak and not remain silent; he must take responsibility and not blame shift.

 

Men, Women, Moms, Dads, Kids, Grandparents, Great grandparents you are charged to TEACH

The pastor doesn’t only rebuke, exhort, and otherwise resist falsehood, you must proclaim the truth. Paul does not assume that once people stop drinking from the toilet of world’s wisdom that they will naturally begin to drink from the fountain of biblical knowledge—unless they are taught to.  But in order to denounce or proclaim, in order to teach, you must first learn.  That is where the fight begins.  Some of us feel inadequate to teach anyone…welcome to my world.  Are you the resident theologian of your home?

 

Men, Women, Moms, Dads, Kids, Grandparents, Great grandparents you are charged to PASTOR

In addition to the charges to defend, lead, and teach, Timothy is also charged to love.  All of our actions to fight mean nothing if we are not motivated by love.  People in our care are not to be viewed as “our projects” to fix, rather, as people to be cared for because we love them.  And the question for all of us is, if you are not protecting, leading, or teaching your first church—do you really love them at all?

 

There are some battles that no one else can fight for you.  And though we are all in the battle together, if you choose not to fight for what is MOST important (too old, too young, too unskilled, too busy, too tired) you and the people that you have been charged to lead and protect will suffer because you have not defended them or equipped them to defend themselves.    

 

CONCLUSION The legacy we leave: Paul’s Last Words

Are you living with INTENTION?  If you died tomorrow, how would you be remembered? Some of us will leave no legacy at all because we refuse to fight.  Some of us will leave a legacy for faithlessness let others fight in our place.  Some of us will leave a legacy of false faith as we fight for the wrong things.  And a few of us will leave a legacy of faith that will last generations. 

 

Communion reminds us of the gospel, but it is an active confession.  It confesses that grace is ready to forgive, to cleanse, and to change us.  It’s never too late to start fighting.  He can use whatever time you have left to bring glory and honor to Him.

 

CLOSING

2Timothy 4.7 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.