1 Timothy 1:1-11 HCSBGreeting1 “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and ofChrist 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.False Doctrine3 As I urged you when I went to Macedonia, remain in Ephesus so that you mayinstruct certain people not to teach different doctrine 4 or to pay attention tomyths and endless genealogies. These promote empty speculations rather thanGod’s plan, which operates by faith. 5 Now the goal of our instruction is:love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.6 Some have deviated from these and turned aside to fruitlessdiscussion. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, although they don’tunderstand what they are saying or what they are insisting on. 8 But we knowthat the law is good, provided one uses it legitimately. 9 We know that the law isnot meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for theungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathersand mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral and homosexuals, forkidnappers, liars, perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the soundteaching 11 based on the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, which wasentrusted to me.” 1 Timothy 1:1-11 HCSBPaul’s Testimony1 Timothy 1:12-1712 “I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord Who has strengthened me, becauseHe considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry— 13 one who wasformerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I receivedmercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief. 14 And the grace of ourLord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 Thissaying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came intothe world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them. 16 But I receivedmercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus mightdemonstrate His extraordinary patience as an example to those who wouldbelieve in Him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, theonly God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:12-17Fighting the Noble War1 Timothy 1:18-19a NASB18 “This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with theprophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight thegood fight, 19 keeping faith and a good conscience,…”1 Timothy 1:18-19a
There is another side to the Christian life, however, one that doesnt often find its way into our belief system. Our Lord Jesus Christ has called His followers to an abundant life of love, peace, joy, and communion with Him. But the Christian life is also a warfare, as believers enter a lifelong fight against the evil world system, their own sinful human flesh, and against Satan. The contemporary church seems to have missed the reality of spiritual warfare. Many have heard only the gospel of easy believism and cheap grace. Many have an inadequate concept of the spiritual struggle involved in loving the Lord Jesus Christ. Such people often magnify the petty temporal annoyances of everyday life until they seem like trials of epic proportions! Frankly, that is as absurd as a soldier in the midst of a raging firefight complaining about the dirt on his uniform. Paul was very much aware of the reality of spiritual warfare. Not only did he battle his flesh (Rom 7:14-25), but he also had to continually engage the world. Paul was relentlessly assaulted by Satan, as his mention of the "messenger of Satan" sent to beat him (2 Cor 12:7) indicates.
A Thorn in the Flesh 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NASB 7 “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NASB Satanic opposition also kept Paul from visiting the Thessalonians (1 Thess 2:17- 18). Here, Paul calls on Timothy to fight the good fight against Satan. Like all of us in the ministry, Timothy was called to an unceasing spiritual warfare. That fight demands equipped, trained, and devoted soldiers. 2 Timothy 2:3-4 NASB 3 “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the One Who enlisted him as a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:3-4 NASB Paul wrote 1 Timothy to help Timothy gear up for his current battles. Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus to oppose the enemies encroaching on the Ephesian church. False leaders in positions of power and authority were teaching heresy about the Person and work of Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 1:4-7). These false teachers were also living impure lives. Timothy was set in the forefront of the battle, and Paul wanted him to acquit himself well. To understand the full scope of Timothys battle, we need to step back and look at the big picture. Spiritual conflict is, at its highest level, a war between God and Satan.
It is fought also on the angelic level, between Satans wicked demons and Gods holy angels. On the human level, it is a battle between godly and ungodly men. Originally, there was no such war. The Bible knows of no eternal dualism between good and evil. Genesis 1:31 records that at the end of the sixth day, "God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good." Everything in Gods creation submitted to His sovereign rule; there was no conflict or rebellion. There was no Satan, no adversary, no rebel, no deceiver. Then came a disastrous event that ignited the war. Ezekiel describes it: Ezekiel 28:11-19 11 “Again the word of the Lord came to me saying, 12 "Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord God, "You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13 "You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created
They were prepared. 14 "You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. 15 "You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created, Until unrighteousness was found in you. 16 "By the abundance of your trade You were internally filled with violence, And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire. 17 "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, That they may see you. 18 "By the multitude of your iniquities, In the unrighteousness of your trade, You profaned your sanctuaries. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; It has consumed you, And I have turned you to ashes on the earth In the eyes of all who see you. 19 "All who know you among the peoples Are appalled at you; You have become terrified, And you will be no more."" Ezekiel 28:11-19 Verses 11-19 describe Lucifer. Before his fall, which obviously took place after the creation of the Garden of Eden, Satan was the "anointed cherub who covers" (v. 14).
He was the highest ranking angelic being, concerned particularly with the glory of God. He was "on the holy mountain of God," and "walked in the midst of the stones of fire." That speaks of his dwelling in the immediate presence of God. How such a being, blameless since his creation, existing in a perfectly holy environment, could sin remains a mystery. That he did sin is a fact, however. All Ezekiel says of him is that "unrighteousness was found in you" (v. 15). He was then cast from his station among the holy ones in Gods presence (v. 16), although he is still allowed access to that presence (Job 1:6; Rev 12). It was then that he became Satan, the adversary; Apollyon, the destroyer; Devil, the slanderer. Ezekiel describes Lucifers motivation in verse 17: "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor." Satan somehow became enamored with his beauty and splendor, and his response was the sin of pride, which led to rebellion. Isaiah 14:12-14 confirms that it was indeed pride that caused Satans downfall: Isaiah 14:12-14 12 “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! 13 But you said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." Isa 14:12-14 As Ezekiel described Satan as the greater power behind the ruler of Tyre, so Isaiah shows him to be the power behind the king of Babylon. He calls him "star of the morning," emphasizing the glory Satan possessed before his fall ( Rev 22:16 where a similar phrase is used to describe Christ). Isaiahs exclamation "How you have fallen from heaven" is reminiscent of our Lords words in Luke 10:18, "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning." Satans pride is revealed in the five statements in verses 13 and 14 that begin, "I will." He was not content with being the highest-ranking created being, dwelling constantly in Gods presence. He became jealous of God, and sought equality with Him. That sin, a projection of his pride, was the same one he soon tempted Eve to
commit (Genesis 3:5). When Satan, in his pride, tried to "ascend above the heights of the clouds," and make himself "like the Most High," the long war with God began. Satan was not alone in his rebellion. Revelation 12:3-4 reveals that hosts of other angels joined him: Revelation 12:3-4 3 “And another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. 4 And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven, and threw them to the earth.” And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.” Revelation 12:3-4 The dragon is none other than Satan, and the stars of heaven symbolize the angels (Job 38:7). When Satan fell, he took one third of the angels with him. These fallen angels, or demons, aid Satan in his warfare against God. While some God has permanently bound (Jude 6), and others He has temporarily bound until the Tribulation (Rev 9:3), the others move through the world to do Satans bidding and their own evil. The specific target of Satan and his demonic hosts is Christ and His redemptive work and final glory. In Rev 12:5, we read of the woman, symbolizing Israel, giving birth to the Messiah, Who was to rule the nations with a rod of iron. In verse 4, we see Satan attempting to destroy the child. Throughout history, that has been the special focus of his attack. In Gen 6, we learn of his attempt to produce a race of half-breed demon-men that would be unredeemable. He often tried to corrupt Israel with sin or mixed marriages so there would be no possibility of a godly seed. He even tried to accomplish the genocide of the Jews, but God used Mordecai and Esther to save them. He tried to kill Jesus through Herods slaughter of the infants, and by having Him thrown off a cliff at Nazareth (Luke 4). He tried to get Christ to fall for his temptations. Finally, he had Him crucified, only to have his own head crushed and his power forever shattered by Christs resurrection.
Satan and his angels, in battling God and His purposes, also wage war against Gods elect angels, led by Michael. That warfare has a past (Jude 9; Dan 9:1), present, and future (Rev 12:7) aspect. Although hidden from our view, their battle is no less real (cf. Dan 10:12-13). Satan also attacks the people of God. In Rev 12:17, we read of his future attack on Israel in the Tribulation. Right now he attacks the church, both personally, and through fallen angels and evil men (Eph 6:12). Satan also has interest in individual believers; even his attacks on them are ultimately attacks on God and attempts to thwart His plans. How we fare in the battle, then, reflects on God. If we are defeated, Satan has in that sense been effective. When we are victorious, his attack against God is beaten off. In light of that, Paul urged Timothy to "suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus" (2 Tim 2:3).
If we would be victorious, we must understand how Satan attacks the church today. Then, like Paul, we will not be "ignorant of his schemes" (2 Corinthians 2:11). First, Satan attacks the church by blinding the minds of unbelievers to the Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:3-4), thereby keeping them away from the truth and the church. He accomplishes that through ignorance, false religion, pride, lust, and the wickedness that results from his control over the world system. Second, Satan attempts to devastate those who are already believers to cripple them and destroy the credibility of their witness. Jesus warned Peter, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat" (Luke 22:31). Satan wanted to destroy Peters faith, to shake him and make what was genuine in him blow away in the wind. If he had succeeded, Peter would have been useless to God.
Peter remembered our Lords warning, and in 1 Peter 5:8 exhorted us to "be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." Satan attacks believers, trying to destroy their faith and trust in God, thereby rendering them ineffective for the battle. Third, Satan attacks the church by attacking marriage and the family. Paul commanded husbands and wives not to deprive each other of sexual relations so Satan would have no opportunity to tempt them (1 Corinthians 7:5). Strong marriages and families are a prerequisite to a healthy church and witness. By attacking those institutions, Satan weakens the church. The recent upsurge in divorce and other family problems among Christians indicates he is having success in that area. Fourth, Satan attacks the church through her leaders. Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 3 that leaders must be well qualified for their positions. Otherwise, they may "fall into reproach and the snare of the devil" (1 Timothy 3:7). There is no one in the church Satan would rather destroy than leaders. This, too, is an area where Satan has had much success in recent years. Leader after leader has been devastated by Satans attacks, whether through sexual sin, pride, materialism, or authoritarianism. The results for the church are tragic. When the shepherds are destroyed, the flock will scatter. Finally, Satan attacks the church through false religious systems. Liberal Christianity, the cults, world religions, and humanism are a constant menace. The leaders of those movements, like their evil master, can transform themselves into angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). The things taught in the name of Biblical truth are sometimes frightening. The church faces a constant barrage of error, all of it ultimately spawned by Satan — "doctrines of demons" (1 Timothy 4:1). How can the church defend itself against such assaults of the wicked one? Paul gives the answer in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5: 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Ephesians 6:13-18 lays out the necessary armor: Ephesians 6:13-18 13 “Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:13-18 Our weapons for fighting the spiritual battle are Gods Word and prayer "at all times." Apart from that, all our intellect, ability, skill, and ingenuity are useless. As Martin Luther wrote in the hymn "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," ‘Did we in our own strength confide, Our striving would be losing.’ We successfully fight the noble war by living in obedience to Scripture. Then we can sing in triumph, ‘And tho this world, with devils filled Should threaten to undo us, We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:’ If we would be victorious, we must understand how Satan attacks the church today. Then, like Paul, we will not be "ignorant of his schemes" (2 Corinthians 2:11). First, Satan attacks the church by blinding the minds of unbelievers to the Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:3-4), thereby keeping them away from the truth and the church. He accomplishes that through ignorance, false religion, pride, lust, and the wickedness that results from his control over the world system. Timothy had a duty to God in the church, something our self-indulgent culture knows little about. We talk much of joy, freedom, success, and peace, but little of duty. Yet we are duty-bound to obey the Commander (2 Timothy 2:4) and fulfill our ministries (2 Timothy 4:5). Those things are not optional. Our Lord stressed the importance of duty in Luke 17:7-10: Luke 17:7-10 7 “But which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, "Come immediately and sit down to eat"? 8 But will he not say to him, "Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me until I have eaten and drunk; and afterward you will eat and drink"? 9 He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he? 10 So you too, when you do all the things
which are commanded you, say, "We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done." Luke 17:7-10 Paul understood clearly the concept of duty. Giving his testimony before King Agrippa he said, "I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision“ (Acts 26). To the Corinthians he wrote, 1 Corinthians 9:16-17 16 For if I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the Gospel. 17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. 1 Corinthians 9:16-17 Paul recognized that he was under a divine obligation to use his gifts and fulfill his calling. In Acts 20:24 he told the Ephesian elders, Acts 20:24 24 "But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, in order that I may finish my course, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the Gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24 Every servant of the Lord is duty-bound to carry out his ministry. Moses (Exodus 4:10-16), Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8-11), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:9), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 2:7-8), and Jonah (Jonah 1:1-2) all were given a charge to fulfill. In 2 Timothy 4:1-2 Paul commanded Timothy to preach the Word "in season and out of season." In our society, with its emphasis on critic mentality, entertainment, anti- authoritarianism and psychological orientation, our message will often be rejected. That, however, does not excuse us from our duty (Jeremiah 7:27; Ezekiel 2:4-5; 3:7; 33:30-32). Second, Timothy was entrusted with a commission to fulfill. Paratith¢mi (entrust) refers to committing something of value to another. It is used, for example, to speak of putting a deposit in a bank. Paul had given Timothy a valuable deposit, Gods truth (2 Timothy 2:2), which was the "treasure" he was to guard diligently (6:20; 2 Timothy 1:14). Paul himself had been entrusted with that deposit (1:11), and that same deposit of truth has been handed down through the centuries to us. We must preserve it and hand it down intact to the next generation. Third, Timothy had a confirmation to live up to. Timothys calling had been confirmed through prophecies. Prophets in the New Testament era spoke the revelation of Gods will to the early church.
Prophecy is the gift of proclaiming Gods Word. In one sense, anyone who preaches or teaches Gods Word is a prophet. Unlike present-day teachers and preachers, however, New Testament prophets occasionally received direct revelation from God. While doctrine was the province of the apostles (Acts 2:42), prophets seem to be the instruments God used to speak of practical issues (cf. Acts 21:10-11). Proago (previously made) literally means "leading the way to." It implies that a series of prophecies had been made concerning Timothy in connection with him having received his spiritual gift (4:14). The prophecies, then, were those that specifically and supernaturally called Timothy into the ministry. Pauls command to Timothy was not his own, but was confirmed by God through the ministry of some prophets. Pastors and elders are no longer called to the ministry in such a dramatic fashion. As we will see in 3:1, the call to ministry rises from inside through desire, rather than outside from revelation. That desire is then to be confirmed by the church. The church, by observing a mans life and service, can confirm whether he gives evidence of being called by God to the ministry. That confirmation by the church should keep us going when the battle is fierce. Having been commissioned by God through divine revelation, or, as now, by the confirmation of Gods people, a leader cant quit. The call of God in his life should encourage Timothy and all other preachers to fight the good fight. Good is from kalos, meaning intrinsically good — noble, excellent, or virtuous. There is the duty to God and the church of Jesus Christ to motivate the embattled preacher — and the knowledge that it is the noblest warfare in all the universe. What better thing to live and die for than the great war between God and Satan — a war for the souls of men and women and the glory of God and our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ? THE RESPONSIBILITY WITHIN HIMSELF 1 Timothy 1:19a “keeping faith and a good conscience” 1 Timothy 1:19a Paul links faith and a good conscience repeatedly in this letter (cf. 1:5; 3:9). The faith is a reference to the Christian faith, the Gospel, the Word of God. Keeping the faith means holding fast to that revealed truth. Timothys first responsibility to the Lord was to remain loyal to the objective body of revealed Scripture. Unlike those who turned away from the faith (1:6; 6:10, 21), Timothy was to remain unwaveringly devoted to the Word of God. In fact, he was to guard it (6:20), nourish himself on it (4:6), and preach it (4:13; 2
Timothy 4:2). 1 Timothy 1:19-20 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. 1 Timothy 1:19-20 A good conscience is the result of a pure life. Like Paul (cf. Acts 24:16), Timothy was to maintain a blameless conscience. Conscience is a God-given device in every human mind that reacts to that persons behavior. It either accuses or excuses (Rom 2:14-15). It produces feelings of well-being, peace, contentment, and calm when behavior is good. When behavior is evil, it activates guilt, shame, remorse, fear, doubt, insecurity, and despair. Its purpose is to warn the person of the fact that he is sinning. What a blessing to have such a warning device. It is to the soul what pain is to the body.