1st Timothy Chapter 1 -- John Karmelich




1.                  There is an interesting little commandment tucked away in the Book of Hebrews that I want to start with today:

a)                  Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near. 
(Hebrews 10:25, The Living Bible [TLB])

b)                  My interpretation of this verse:  The writer of Hebrews, who I believe was Paul, commands us to not neglect to gather together as believers.  That means go to church!  J

i)                    This is a commandment to attend church regularly, be it a super-large church or a small home church, or somewhere in-between.

ii)                  Christianity is designed to be a team-effort, and not a solo act.

2.                  If we are commanded to go to church every Sunday, that leads to a lot of logical questions:

a)                  How do we organize a church?

b)                  Who should be in charge?

c)                  What should we do there anyway?

d)                 How do we know that the church we go to is being “Biblical” in its actions?

e)                  How do I know that the church I’m attending is right for me?

3.                  The answers to all of these marvelous questions are hinted at all through the Bible, but they are specifically discussed in a handful of Paul’s letters.

a)                  More specifically, there are a couple of Paul’s letters known as the “pastoral letters”.

i)                    These are Paul’s letters to 1st Timothy, 2nd Timothy and Titus.

ii)                  They are the only letters specifically written to church pastors.

iii)                All of Paul’s other letters are written to Christians in a specific location.

b)                  OK you say, if these letters are written to pastors, why I should I read them?  I haven’t been to seminary and don’t plan on attending anytime soon.  Why should I read them? J

i)                    Good question, and I’m glad you asked!  J

ii)                  For starters, these letters answer some of the questions that are in “Point 2” above.

a)                  All Christians should be a part of a congregation. 

b)                  All churches are inevitable accountable to God for their actions.

c)                  Churches are also structured in that the membership has final authority on what happens at that church.

(1)               We as Christians “vote with our feet” as to which church we attend.

(2)               Therefore, it is the members who ultimately decide the fate of any given church.  This fact has to balanced with the idea that it is not the size of a church that makes it successful, but whether or not that church is following biblical principals.

(3)               Since the “church”, and all its members belongs to Christ.  It is up to us, as members of the church to keep our pastors and leaders accountable that their actions are biblical.

4.                  There is another reason to study these pastoral letters.

a)                  Ask yourself “am I in the ministry?”

b)                  Now ask yourself, do I choose to follow Jesus and obey his commandments?

i)                    Now ask yourself again, “am I in the ministry?”

ii)                  The answer the second time, should be “yes”.

c)                  If you have committed your life to serving Jesus, you have been called in the ministry.

i)                    Some of us (believers) have been given special ability as apostles; to others he has given the gift of being able to preach well; some have special ability in winning people to Christ, helping them to trust him as their Savior; still others have a gift for caring for God’s people as a shepherd does his sheep, leading and teaching them in the ways of God.  (Ephesians 4:11, TLB)

d)                 One of the great joys as a Christian is discovering how you fit into the body of believers.

i)                    You are not saved by anything you do.  It is only by turning your life over to Jesus and saying He is now in charge of my life, that your life begins.

ii)                  What I encourage, and I believe God encourages, is that you then grow in maturity as a believer.  Part of that growth is finding your role as a believer.

a)                  Discovering how you fit is actually easier than you think. 

(1)               The first step is to discover what spiritual “gifts” you have.  As Ephesians 4:11 stated on the previous page, some are called to be apostles (direct messengers of God), some to be preachers, some to be teachers, some to be evangelists (winning people to Christ) and others to work as helpers in the church.

(2)               No role is any more or less important than any other role.  Some of the simplest tasks as believers will earn rewards in heaven great or greater than what we perceive as the “head-people”.

(3)               The key is are you being faithful to what God has called you to do?

(4)               The other aspect to consider is:  What are you passionate about?

(a)               Personally, I write these Bible studies because I can’t stand not writing them.  I actually get grumpy and depressed if I go too long without writing.  J 

(b)               For others, you may just love helping out around the church.

(c)                Others may be called to raise Godly children.  You may have the gift of helping out with children’s Sunday school.

(d)               “If you like to live dangerously, consider the parking lot ministry.”  Chuck Swindoll.   J

5.                  Which leads us back to 1st Timothy.  In case you’ve forgotten, this is a study of 1st Timothy.  J

a)                  This is Paul’s letter to his young protégée Timothy.

b)                  We first hear of Timothy in the Book of Acts. 

i)                    Remember that the Book of Acts was written by Luke, and not Paul.

a)                  Luke was a good church-historian and a traveling companion of Paul.

ii)                  Luke mentions Timothy in Acts 16:1.  He was a young believer, probably a teenager at the time.  Acts 16:1 says his father was a “Greek”, meaning Greek culture, not necessarily from Greece.  Timothy’s mother was Jewish.  Remember that prior to the Roman Empire, this territory was under the influence of the Greek Empire for centuries, and thus “Greek” means Greek-culture.

iii)                In Chapter 17, Timothy becomes a traveling companion of Paul on his 2nd missionary journey.  Paul sees enough faith in this young man, that he takes Timothy under-his-wings to be his protégée.

iv)                Paul’s 1st Letter to Timothy takes place 15-20 years after this event.

a)                  The consensus date for the time of this letter was about 62-66AD.

v)                  If you know the Book of Acts, it ends with Paul in prison waiting trial before Nero.

a)                  Early church historians teach us that Paul was released from this trial.

b)                  Paul was eventually arrested again, a few years later, and executed by Christian persecutions under Emperor Nero.

c)                  In-between that 1st and 2nd imprisonment in Rome, Paul traveled around again.  We get clues all through Paul’s letters that he went back on the road.  Some of those clues are here in 1st Timothy.

vi)                In Verse 3 of Chapter 1, we learn that Paul writes this letter from Macedonia.

a)                  Paul was in Macedonia as part of his 2nd missionary journey, but the facts of this letter don’t correspond with that journey, so it appears “logical” that Paul went again to this area after his release from Rome.

(1)               Macedonia is an area that is just north of Greece.  It was also part of the former “Yugoslavia” before it broke up.

6.                  Let’s get back to Paul and why he wrote this letter:

a)                  This letter has Paul in Macedonia and Timothy in Ephesus.

b)                  Paul is giving instructions on how to run and organize the church at Ephesus.

c)                  Further, Paul lays out the duties of the minister, as well as other church leaders.

d)                 Remember that Paul wrote this letter after all the events of the Book of Acts.

i)                    This is now Paul “the seasoned veteran”, who has been on 3 full missionary journeys, and has already had a 20+ year career in the ministry.

7.                  Chapter 1, which we’ll cover tonight, focuses on the issue of false doctrines.

a)                  The first few verses are an introduction. It states who the letter is to, and from.

b)                  The first issue the letter discusses is false doctrines and false teachers.

i)                    It would seem like a strange topic to begin such an important letter.

ii)                  Personally, I would start with the “how to organize a church” type of stuff, but Paul has other ideas.  He starts with the warnings against false teachers.

a)                  The “why-this-first” issue is something we’ll tackle when we get to those verses, but I want you to notice that issue before we begin.

8.                  With that, let’s hit verse 1:  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

a)                  In English, when we write a letter, we say “Dear whoever…then write the body of the letter, and then we sign our name.

i)                    In Middle East tradition, you write a letter by first saying who you are, then who the letter is addressed to, and then the text of the letter.

ii)                  When we sign a business letter,  we often put our title after the letter.

a)                  For example, a letter may be signed, John Smith, President.

(1)               That “president” part, is the authority by which the letter is written.

b)                  Which leads us back to Paul.  What is Paul’s “authority” to write this letter?

i)                    First, Paul states he is an apostle of Christ Jesus

a)                  “Apostle” simply means “sent-one”.  He claims to be a direct apostle, with direct revelation from God.

(1)               Exactly “who” is an apostle is a great debate question.

(a)               One can make a argument that it is more than just the “12”, but also includes those who were eye-witnesses of the resurrection who were commissioned to preach the Gospel.

(2)               Besides the “original 12”, Paul himself considers himself an apostle.

ii)                  Second, Paul is sent by the command of God (the father) our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope. 

a)                  Stop and ask yourself, why is Paul telling all of this to Timothy?

b)                  After a 15-20 year relationship of Paul and Timothy, don’t you think Timothy is aware Paul is an apostle and sent by the command of God?

(1)               Understanding that fact is one of the keys of this verse:

(a)               I believe this letter was meant to be read publicly.

(b)               It was designed to be shared among believers.

c)                  Remember that Timothy was still young.  Many people look down upon youthful ministers thinking, “what do they know?”.

(1)               Another clue comes in Chapter 4 of this letter where Paul says,
“Let no one despise your youth”  (1st Timothy 4:12a, NKJV).

d)                 This letter gives authority to Timothy as a church leader.

iii)                Notice the reference of  “God (the Father) our savior and Jesus our hope”:

(1)               Generally, we as Christians think of Jesus as our savior, and rarely say God (the father) as our Savior. 

(2)               We tend to forget that he was the one who gave the command for Jesus to come to take the place for our sins.

(3)               The last phrase says, “Christ Jesus our hope”.

(a)               The key word is “hope”.  Personally, I’m betting my eternal destiny on the fact that the Bible is correct.  That Jesus died in the place of my sins.  That is my hope.

9.                  Verse 2:  To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

a)                  Paul’s first words about Timothy is “my true son in the faith”.

i)                    As best we can tell, Paul never had any children of his own.

ii)                  His “children” were the young ministers who Paul was training to one day become missionaries like himself.

iii)                I believe Paul loved Timothy as one loves his own child.  There was a bond of love that grew through a long term relationship.

iv)                There is an old Biblical saying that applies here:

a)                  “Every Paul needs a Timothy and every Timothy needs a Paul”.

(1)               Many churches have mentor programs where younger members team up with older members.  This is biblically sound and supported from verses like this one. 

(2)               One of my points I pound home a lot is Christianity is not designed to be a solo-act.  God desires team work.  Part of that team work is knowing that no one will be around forever, and we must train up future people to carry on the work of Christ.

b)                  Back to the greeting:  Paul greets Timothy with 3 blessings:  grace, mercy and peace.

i)                    Almost all of Paul’s letters start with the terms “grace and peace”.

a)                  “Mercy” is asking for forgiveness of punishment you do deserve.

b)                  “Grace” is receiving a gift you haven’t merited.

c)                  This is why “grace” always comes before “peace”.

d)                 It is the unmerited grace of God, giving us the free gift of eternal salvation that brings us our peace.  The concept of peace is that sense of inner calm one can have no matter what the circumstance, because we know this is only temporary as we have eternal rewards for trusting in God’s grace.

ii)                  Which leads us back to “mercy”  This is the unique word in the introduction letters of the “pastoral epistles” of 1st Timothy, 2nd Timothy and Titus.

a)                  Why “mercy” here?  Didn’t the Romans, the Ephesians, the Philippians and the Colossians etc. also need mercy?

b)                  What is so special about the pastoral letters that mercy is also added?

c)                  The commentaries are full of theories.  Since a blunt answer is not given in the Bible, we can only speculate.

d)                 My first inclination, which I can biblically support is the added responsibility of being a pastor or a teacher.

(1)               “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.  (James 3:1, NIV)

(a)               Well now, there’s an encouraging verse for us teachers.  J

e)                  You want to feel intimidated?  Try teaching God’s word!  It is intimidating to consider taking the Word of God and wanting to explain it to people.

(1)               For this reason, I believe God holds pastors and teachers more accountable than lay-Christians. 

(2)               Which leads us back to Timothy.  That responsibility should drive us to our knees to not only to ask for God’s grace, but also for his mercy in forgiving us daily for our sins and help us to act responsibly in what God has called us to do.

c)                  For those of you reading this and are not called to be a pastor or teacher, consider this:

i)                    Let’s read ahead to verse 13 of this chapter:  “Even though I (Paul) was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.

a)                  Paul was shown grace by God by forgiving all of his sins.

b)                  But he was also shown mercy for his actions prior to his conversion.

c)                  Let’s face it, our sins, past, present and future have consequences.

(1)               God forgives us, but we often still have to deal with the consequences of those sins for a long time.

(2)               Those sins could have done permanent damage to our bodies (think about drug addictions) our financial health (greed leading to bankruptcy) or fill-in your own example.

(3)               This is why we also ask for mercy.  We do ask God to forgive us our sins for the eternal benefits, but also for mercy to help us cope with out lives to deal with the consequences of our actions.

10.              Verse 3:  As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer.

a)                  Notice the phrase “stay there in Ephesus”. 

i)                    Does this mean Timothy was considering leaving?  Was he “burnt out”?  Did he think his work was done in Ephesus?  We don’t know the answer.

a)                  We do know that Paul commands him to stay. 

b)                  The reason for this request is given in this verse; to fight false doctrines.

b)                  Let’s talk about the issue of false-doctrines and false teachers:

i)                    Every one of Paul’s letters, and all the books of the New Testament for that matter, have something to say about false teachers.

ii)                  This indicates that one of the primary purposes of being a pastor is to make sure those that are under your care stay on the correct path.

iii)                History has also shown how easily churches and members of a church get strayed away into false doctrine.

iv)                Caring for the people in your church is not just being there when they are sick and hurting, but also that you teach them proper doctrine as to avoid false doctrine.

c)                  The specific false-doctrine Paul focuses upon, is the wrong-application of the law, as we’ll see in the next few verses.

11.              Verse 4:  nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work--which is by faith.

a)                  Verse 4 finishes the sentence of Verse 3.  The entire command given by Paul is to watch for men who teach false doctrines and those who devote themselves to “myths and endless genealogies”.

b)                  The question is what does Paul mean by “myths and endless genealogies”?

i)                    The commentators are full of speculations on this one.

ii)                  Some believe it was a local phenomena where people were teaching mystical things about Jesus and using genealogical references of angels.

iii)                Others believe it was teachings of Jewish Christians who focus on how they are more special because they are Jewish and use genealogies to show their Jewish heritage.  The idea is that they know how to properly interpret the law because of their Jewish heritage.

iv)                Again, the true historical answer is a mystery.

v)                  The point to you and me is not so much the historical reference, but to understand how this applies to you and me today.

a)                  To see what Paul meant, lets look at the last part of the verse in which Paul says “God's work--which is by faith”

b)                  What is “God’s work?”  God’s work is to “build up the body of Christ”.  To mature us as believers.  His will for us as believers is that we grow in the knowledge and likeness of our savior Jesus.  We live by faith that he is working through us.  We study God’s word for applications to our lives as how God desires us to live and act.

c)                  The concept and personal application for “myths and endless genealogies” is that people will teach things “extra-biblical”. 

(1)               It is one thing to speculate on the meaning of a Bible verse.

(2)               It is another to teach mythological ideas and claim they are “biblical”.  I believe that’s the idea Paul is shooting for here.

d)                 Let me give you a modern example:  About 5-10 years ago, there was a growing moment in the Pentecostal churches called “Holy Laughter”.  Preachers would go around teaching that if you have the spirit in you, you can receive this special gift of uncontrollable laughter, rolling around on the floor.  There would be whole services of people being “slain in the spirit” and then everybody breaks out in uncontrollable laughter. 

(1)               I have one question for the group:  Where does it say this in the Bible?  Show me a biblical support for “holy laughter” and I’ll consider it.  Personally I think the movement worked due to the hypnotic suggestion of “laughter” and grew that way.

(2)               I’m sure the people behind this movement believe it is a sincere action of the Holy Spirit.  It is a terrific example of “myths and endless genealogies” because it gets your focus off of God and his redemption plan and onto something else (in this case, laughter).

12.              Verse 5:  The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

a)                  My first question is “the goal of “what” command”?

i)                    The only time the word “command” is used, is in Verse 1 when Paul says he was ordained as an apostle by the command of God. 

ii)                  I believe Verse 5 ties in with the “command” of Verse 4 to watch out for false teachers that lead believers astray.

b)                  Verse 5 is gives the purpose of this command.  The purpose is “love”.

i)                    Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  (John 13:34-35, NIV).

ii)                  The concept behind “love” here is not just to go around hugging each other.  The idea is to “give of one self for others”.  The Greek word here used for “love” implies to totally give of one self for someone else.

c)                  The “source” of this love comes from 3 things as stated in Verse 5:

i)                    1) A pure heart, 2) a good conscience and 3) a sincere faith.

ii)                  (Didn’t you just know I was going to analyze all 3 of these on the next page?  J)

iii)                What does Paul mean by “a pure heart?”

a)                  When you become born-again, you get a “new heart”.

(1)               “I (God) will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”  (Ezekiel 36:26-27, NIV)

b)                  The concept behind this is that the ability to obey God’s commandments does not originate from us, but from God.  God puts his Spirit within us so that we have the ability to obey what he commands us to do.

c)                  This is why we pray “thy will be done”.  It is the idea of God working through us (literally) as the Spirit guides our life.

iv)                What does Paul mean by “a good conscience?”

a)                  If your conscience is bothering you, that means you feel guilty of something.  God does not want us to have a guilty conscience as it blocks our relationship with him.  This is why the whole concept of regular confession was set up in the Bible.  Part of that concept is to know we are forgiven of that sin so we can once again renew that relationship with God.

v)                  What does Paul mean by “a sincere faith”?

a)                  It isn’t about having doubts.  All Christians go through periods of doubts. 

b)                  The point is simply that we are committed to follow Jesus no matter the circumstances, and trusting God during those periods of doubts.

c)                  In Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy, he pays him a related compliment:

(1)               “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. (2nd Timothy 1:5, NIV)

(2)               By the way, notice Paul judges Timothys sincerity.  The emphasis is not on judging others but for others to see our sincerity.

13.              Verse 6:  Some have wandered away from these and 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.

a)                  After stating the positive goal of love, Paul now gets back to the negative-aspect of false teachers.

b)                  Paul is now going to spend the next few verses talking about how the false teachers in Ephesus wrongly teach “the law”.

i)                    The law, to a Jewish mind like Paul, can refer specifically to the 10 command-ments, or generally to all the commandments taught in the five books of Moses.

a)                  It is often stated that all the commandments taught in those books is a “commentary” and expansion of the ideas behind the 10 commandments.

(1)               There was a Jewish rabbi who was once asked to summarize “the law”.  He stated (paraphrasing) “Love the God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.  The rest is just commentary.”

c)                  As we will discover, the main idea behind the false teachers is the emphasis on self-discipline.

i)                    It is the idea that one needs to obey the law to be right with God.

ii)                  In a sense that is true.  The mistake made is how one achieves that goal.

iii)                I take the view the 10 commandments are a model for happiness and not salvation.

a)                  By letting God work through us, we want to please God and be obedient to his commandments.

b)                  The mistake made is to start with us, and then turn to God.  By trusting in our self-disciplined effort to keep the law, we will fail.  That is one of the great lessons if one looks at the scope of the history in the Old Testament.

14.              Verse 8:  We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers--and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

a)                  If you read the 10 commandments in the order they were given in Exodus, the first four commandments focus on our relationship with God.  The last six focus on our relationship with other humans.  (By the way, the 10 commandments are numbered differently in the Protestant Bible vs. Roman Catholic version.  The text is the same.)

b)                  The reason I mention this is that one can follow the last six commandments as a pattern of Verses 9-11.

i)                    The 5th commandment is to honor thy father and mother.

a)                  Paul says in Verse 9 is that the law condemns those who kill their mother and father.  (Exodus 21:17, the chapter after the 10 commandments expands this verse to say those who curse their parents should be killed.  Make sure your kids see that verse!  J)

ii)                  The 6th commandment is against murder.  Murder is the last word of Verse 9.

iii)                The 7th commandment is against adultery.

a)                  Paul not only condemns adultery in Verse 10, but also those who have sex outside of marriage.  The NIV translation used here uses the word “perverts”.  Other translations use the word “fornication and homosexuality”, that refer to sex with the opposite sex and the same sex, respectfully, outside of marriage.

(1)               By the way, the Bible clearly condemns these issues.  They are also not unforgivable.  There are many good Christians who have repented of this lifestyle and turned to God.

iv)                The 8th commandment is against stealing. 

a)                  The NIV uses the word “slave-traders”, but I like the word “kidnapping” better.  The idea is against stealing people against their will.

v)                  The 9th commandment is against lying.  (“not bear false witness….)

a)                  Paul condemns “liars and perjurers” in Verse 9.

vi)                The 10h commandment is not desire (covet) what is not yours. 

a)                  Paul ends with “and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine”.

c)                  OK, you get the idea J.  The point is the purpose of the law is to condemn the guilty.

i)                    I, am among the guilty.  On the day of my trial, I must admit my guilt.  I am not going to hell only because I trust in Jesus to pay the price for my sins.

ii)                  The law is the poison to our souls.  Jesus is the antidote.  People are only sent to hell who refuse to take the antidote.

iii)                For those who never heard of Jesus, God will judge them fairly based on what knowledge they do have of the existence of a supreme being.

iv)                This is the “gospel message”.  Now read the closing part of this paragraph again.

a)                  Verse 11: “that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. “.

b)                  The “law” is a necessary part of the Gospel message.  The word “Gospel” means “good news”.  You can’t have the “good news” without the “bad news” of the law.  They go hand-in-hand.

c)                  This is a good thing to remember when the cultists come knocking on your door on Saturday morning.  They (Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons) believe they are “working on their rewards in heaven” based on how many doors they knock on.  That isn’t “good news”, that’s bad news”. J 
They are trying to “work” their way into their heavenly rewards.

15.              Verse 12:  I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.

a)                  Paul takes a breather to give his testimony.  J

b)                  He stops talking about false teachers and those who are condemned by the law and he reminds Timothy of how much he has changed since he has become born again.

c)                  The connection between the last set of verses, and this set is just what the “law” was intended to do.  That is, to get us running to Jesus.

d)                 Paul just laid out in the past set of verses that those who try to “be a good person” are condemned by the 10 commandments.  If you ever mess up once, that’s it.  God is perfect.  A perfect God expects perfection from you in order to spend eternity with him.

e)                  Paul gives his individual crimes in Verse 13:  He was:

i)                    (1) a blasphemer, (2) a persecutor and a (3) violent man.

a)                  Remember that before Paul was converted, he was a devoutly religious Jew who would never do anything intentional to take lightly the name of God.

b)                  When Paul (a.k.a., “Saul of Tarsus”) went condemning Jesus, he was blaspheming the name of God as Jesus is equal with God.

(1)               Which is a good reason why you should show this verse to your Jehovah Witness’ acquaintances, who don’t believe Jesus is God.

(a)               Jesus said, “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father.”  (John 5:22-23, NKJV)

c)                  The point is Paul considered himself a blasphemer because he persecuted those who believed in Jesus, and violently dragged them to prison, and in some cases, their death.

16.              Which, leads to the good news, of Verse 14: The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

a)                  Paul’s sins were great.  The love and grace of God was greater.

b)                  Paul’s life became a living example for Jesus.

i)                    I (Paul) was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they praised God because of me. 
(Galatians 1:22-24, NIV)

c)                  Here is the personal application:  You and I should be the same type of witness.

i)                    This especially holds true to those of us who were saved as adults.

ii)                  The corollary is that one shouldn’t brag about how bad their former life was.  Simply live your new life for Jesus and people will see, and they will remember.  You don’t have to remind them of your former life.

iii)                All born-again Christians are “construction projects”.  Once we are saved, no matter what are former life is like, is when God starts working on us to change us for the better.

17.              Verse 15:   Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst.

a)                  Paul wrote this near the end of his life.  Let’s compare three verses from Paul’s life.

i)                    “For I am the least of the apostles” (1st Corinthians 15:9 NIV)

ii)                  “Although I am less than the least of all God’s people” (Ephesians 3:8a, NIV)

iii)                “to save sinners--of whom I am the worst.”  (1st Timothy, 1:15)

iv)                Notice the progression of Paul’s low self-esteem?  J

v)                  These verses are given in chronological order over Paul’s life.

vi)                The point is that the more Paul grew in his faith, the less he thought of himself and the more dependant he became upon God for his life.

18.              Verse 16:  But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

a)                  The point of Paul’s little mini sermon is not to go around felling sorry for yourself, but it is realize our moment-by-moment dependency upon God for our lives.

b)                  I am convinced that Paul was a joyful person. 

i)                    If you read the letters Paul wrote from prison (Philippians, Colossians, Philemon and Ephesians) it reads as if he just won the lottery and wants to share his joy with his friends. You would never know from those readings of any sorrow or struggle.

ii)                  When you read of Paul’s travels in the book of Acts, you’ll notice all the friends Paul makes along the way.  You’ll notice the sorrow people have when Paul leaves a town.  One does not seek miserable people.  This is why I believe Paul had a joy from the Holy Spirit working within him.

iii)                Yet as Paul grew as a Christian, you could sense the “less of me, more of God” attitude.  It was this realization that got Paul to break out in praise in Verse 17.

19.              Speaking of which J, Verse 17:   Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

a)                  Want a quick remedy the next time you are down, depressed and having a pity party?

i)                    The answer is to start praising God.  Start thanking him for all the blessings in your life.  Thank him for your salvation.  Thank him for the fact he exists now and forever and you can count on his promises being true.

ii)                  What that does, is that it gets your focus off of your problems and gives you the eternal perspective. 

iii)                Paul realized what a sinner he was.  He is thankful of all that God did for him.  Despite his pain, his sufferings, his trials through his missionary journeys, his beatings, his jail time, his death threats (all recorded in Acts) he could praise God due to proper focus.

20.              Verse 18:   Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience.

a)                  Apparently, when Timothy was first asked to go into the missionary on Paul’s second missionary journey, there were some future predictions, i.e., prophecies made about him.  They are not recorded in the Book of Acts, nor anywhere else in the Bible.

b)                  What ever they were, they apparently came true, as Timothy is still in the ministry.

c)                  Paul here is giving a “pep talk”, like a commander to a soldier, to keep up the faith.

i)                    We all need that at time.  I’ve yet to met one person who doesn’t have burn-out at times, no matter how wonderful they seem to do their job.  Never forget the importance of encouragement.

21.              Verse 19, continued: Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

a)                  Before we get to these Hymenaeus and Alexander characters, let’s take on the “shipwrecked their faith” reference.

i)                    Paul said that “some have rejected these”.  What are “these”?

a)                  “These” are the principals taught in this chapter.

(1)               To teach the law properly.

(2)               To focus on what the Bible teaches and not get bogged down with trivial side-tracks that get our focus off of God.

ii)                  Apparently, whoever Hymenaeus and Alexander were, they were guilty of this.

b)                  So who are these guys?

i)                    We only have one other reference to Hymenaeus.  He is mentioned in Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy written a few years later:

a)                  And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort,  (2nd Timothy 2:17)

ii)                  Alexander is also mentioned in Paul’s second letter:

a)                  “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:”  (2nd Timothy 4:14, NKJV)

b)                  Apparently Hymenaeus and Alexander haven’t improved their act by Paul’s 2nd letter.  J

c)                  The last part of the verse Paul speaks to these two guys:  whom I (Paul) have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

i)                    I believe “handed over to Satan” means they were kicked out of the church.

a)                  Remember that this world belongs to Satan until Jesus reclaims it.

b)                  In Matthew 4:9, when Satan was tempting Jesus in the desert, he said “All this (the world) I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” (NIV translation).  Remember that this wouldn’t be a real temptation unless the world belonged to Satan.  Jesus never denied his rule over the earth. 

c)                  That is what Paul meant by “handing these men over to Satan.

ii)                  There is a Biblical procedure Jesus taught for kicking somebody out.

a)                  “If a brother sins against you, go to him privately and confront him with his fault. If he listens and confesses it, you have won back a brother. But if not, then take one or two others with you and go back to him again, proving everything you say by these witnesses. If he still refuses to listen, then take your case to the church, and if the church’s verdict favors you, but he won’t accept it, then the church should excommunicate him.”
Matthew 18:15-17, The Living Bible.

22.              Well, on that happy note, we have finished Chapter 1. J

a)                  For those of you new to my studies, I hope you enjoyed this and are looking forward to lesson two.  Remember to pray as you read these notes and let the Holy Spirit inspire your learning. 

23.              Let’s pray: Father we thank you for the individual ministries you have called us to serve you.  May you be glorified through our worship.  May we never fail to tell you about people and people about you, including those who we may not care for.  We thank you for these practical lessons on what you expect of us, corporatately as well as individually.  May we continue to bring you our supplications, prayers, requests for intercession and finally, gratitude of how you will and do answer our prayers.  For we ask this in Jesus name, Amen.