Archive for February 1st, 2011

1 Timothy 1

1 Timothy 1 finds Paul writing to his spiritual son.  I love how he addressed Timothy: “my true child in the faith”.  This is what being a Christ Follower should look like – we ought to have spiritual prodigy.  We are to reproduce spiritually – to multiply the faith and put it into others that they may come to a saving knowledge of Jesus.  Who is your Timothy?  Who is your child in the faith?  Most Christ Followers never get there – they never reproduce the faith that is in them and place it into another.  We miss the mark badly here.  Go and make disciples means exactly what Paul is modeling for us here.  We pour ourselves into others that they may follow our example and grow and become like Jesus.  It really is a simple process.  But we have to take the step of making that investment.

Paul asks for three things to be poured onto Timothy by God:

–       Grace = God’s riches at Christ’s expense is one way to remember it.  It means that God gives us a gift we do not deserve

–       Mercy = God not giving us what we do deserve – holding back the judgment and punishment that should be ours

–       Peace = God gives us the blessing of being free from internal and external strife – to rest quietly in His arms

One of the key ways we help our children – be they spiritual or physical – is to pray for them.  Paul models it here by asking God for grace, mercy and peace to be poured onto Timothy. We can use that with our kids too.  How often are you praying for your children?  Are you lifting them before the One who can truly make a difference in their lives?

Paul goes on to remind Timothy of the mission and how we need to live as Christ followers: “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith”.  Love is what life is all about.  We are the vessel through which God pours His love out on the entire world.  But that love needs to come from a good foundation – a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith.  It can’t just be show – it has to have deep roots – God’s roots in order to really make a difference.  Paul reminds Timothy that he was entrusted to carry that message of love because God “judged me faithful, appointing me to His service”.  What does God think about you and me?  Are we faithful?  Are we living life the way God intends?  Paul charges Timothy to keep on, to “wage the good warfare holding faith and good conscience”.  We have to keep those things foundational in our lives. 

The other key learning in this chapter is Paul’s conversion and how God looks upon those who are sinners – in Paul’s case a “blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent”.  Some pretty bad stuff that Paul did – he really was a bad egg before he met Jesus.  But that is the good news – no matter what our past or how bad life may have been lived – God is not only able but willing to forgive us.  Paul tells us this: “I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief….the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus….I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life”.  Here is the deal – no matter your past – God’s grace is sufficient.  God’s mercy will cover your past.  Jesus went to the cross to pay the price for sin – all sin – all that is required is that we come to faith in Jesus Christ and receive the gift of mercy and grace God has offered us.  Then the peace of God can cover our lives and we can experience the joy that comes from being a child of God.  Paul turned from being one of the worst to being one that God used mightily to change the world forever.  He wants to do the same in your life and mine.  Will you let Him?

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