1 Timothy 2
FAITH AND LOVE.
- Last time we saw Timothy’s loyal service throughout the years of Paul’s missionary activity, establishment of a thriving church at Ephesus.
- The blessing was not health, wealth and happiness; but grace mercy and peace.
Intro: [Read 1:1-11]
- following his release from prison in Rome Paul went to Macedonia and sent Timothy to Ephesus to deal with matters there, most urgently the matter of false teaching, also it seems the church structure had collapsed. You remember there had been a tremendous response to Paul's preaching in and around Ephesus. A great many Christian groups had sprung up almost overnight. And Paul was quick to realize how vulnerable they were to wrong teaching (Acts 20:28-32). Ten years later his fears had materialized. Apocryphal Jewish legends and family‑trees were being made the basis of strange teaching. This was a wrong approach to the Old Testament law, and Timothy must stop it spreading. The Christian message should result in faith and love and a clear conscience ‑ not idle speculation. It has always seemed more exciting to argue over abstruse topics than to live the Christian life.
-Paul keeps coming back to this issue [1:3,4,6,7,19,20; 4:1-3,6-8; 6:3-5,9,10,20,21; Ephesians 4:14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; Ephesians 5:6,7 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them;] What was this false teaching?
-Two main heresies plagued the early church: Legalism (cf. Galatia) and Gnosticism (cf. Colossae) - both demonic (cf. 4:1).
- Legalism (genealogies): imposing law, particularly Judaism (cf. Jn 8:39,41,53) man made religion (Mk 7:6-13)
- present day nothing changed - Judaism, SDA’s - but closer to home, "Milo" home-group, bound by rules about food & drink, no cinema etc. Many Christians bound by legalism still (10 commandments displayed) can tell by lack of joy, under heavy yoke, we cannot bear it (Acts 15:10 Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?) (Bill Down’s challenge) Jesus’ burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Galatians 4:31-5:1 So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman. It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.)
- Gnosticism (myths): - roots in pagan religions of Persia - means knowledge, a special knowledge that was hidden, only the super spiritual had it.
- levels of spirituality and enlightenment - revelations & visions lesser mortals don’t get - root is pride in asceticism.
- dualism - light vs. darkness, evil fighting good (spiritual warfare, Lion king, Star wars, westerns) God is vastly superior ruling over all!
- matter is evil - led both to asceticism and hedonism.
- present day: New Age, Hinduism, but closer to home: some have special anointing (cf. 1 Jn 2), clergy - come through priest (cf. 1 Pet 2), Rick Joyner has visions and revelations that others don’t get beyond what is in the Bible, Yongi Cho’s asceticism.
- Gospel is the great leveler - we’re all sinners made righteous by grace by what Jesus did not our attainment.
- The fundamental difference between false teaching and true is that the false is human thinking - man’s way , not Gods’.
-How do you deal with false teaching? Twofold: 1/ authoritatively denounce & forbid it - “command” (v. 3,5,18)- it is a military term meaning "to give strict orders" and emphasizes that the commanding was to be done authoritatively.
- lack of church discipline today, everyone entitled to his own opinion - theological speculation. Leaders must exercise authority in order to guard the pure doctrine. We don’t want to offend today. A different doctrine is not to be tolerated. We tolerate carry over of old beliefs RC’s in South America, Maori greeting of ancestors.
- People want to hear a different doctrine, something new & exciting - but if it’s new it’s not the original truth. It is not to be allowed.
- 2/ Antidote of sound teaching, mentioned in (v.10,11) - brought out later on.
The goal is love:
- The test of genuine sound teaching is: does it produce love?
- false teachers get caught up in esoteric theological discussions, speculations - but what does it produce? - it is fruitless! (V.6)(cf. Studying BCNZ texts).
- Love is God’s essential nature (1 John 4:7,8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.) And if we have His life in us, this is what we will express.
- love is not the human sentimental warm fuzzy feeling - what is love? [1 John 4:10,11 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.] - it is active, sacrificial, giving - laying down our life for others.
- how do I lay down my life - am I willing to lay down an afternoon? - sacrifice what I had planned to mow a lawn, paint a house, visit hospital, prison, take old person to supermarket, help someone with maths.
-if you leave and say that was a good message, thought provoking, sound - it is false teaching unless it prompts you to love in action - that is the whole point! The goal!
- not legalism but love - you can know the answers but it must affect your life (cf. Luke 10:25-37) - just what happened some 20 -30 years later (Revelation 2:2-4 I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.)
- love does not come from us it only comes from God so it requires faith - depending on God for Christ’s life to be worked out in us.
- love is characterized by a pure heart, a good conscience and sincere faith - real, without hypocrisy, in action, from within, not legalistic requirements imposed externally - how different to what the world regards as love.
- It our faith doesn’t produce love it is vain, we have lost the plot.
- the false teachers had missed the mark swerved from the target we should be aiming at, from the Divine to human thinking.
- the conflict is against human thinking, discussion and speculation - human reasoning is seductive - but the church is God’s administration not man’s.
- these were so clever but they don’t know what they are talking about - true knowledge requires Divine revelation [1 Corinthians 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.]
- they had religious philosophy, not life, not Divine power (where I was before I came back to the Lord[1 Corinthians 2:1-5 when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power.]
- They were very confident and assertive (like many today) but completely wrong! - Human thinking leads to pride. Grace, by which revelation comes, is only to the humble.
- They used God’s Word but used it wrongly - according to human thinking - they misused the Law.
The purpose of the Law:
- If Timothy was to counter these legalists he had to know the true purpose of the Law.
- Law does not produce righteousness, it was never intended to, it cannot save.
- The purpose of the Law is 1/ reveal sin [Romans 3:19,20 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.] - that we aren’t righteous
- Made for the evil doer to reveal God’s standard (Kim Hill and pastor re-homosexuality) sin not “sexual orientation”- relativism - who says it’s wrong unless there is an absolute standard.
- 2/ leads to Christ [Galatians 3:23-26 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.] - the only One who is righteous and can save. My problem is sin! The Law shows me that, not what to do about it - law says I can’t help but I can show someone who can - leads to Christ, to the Gospel.
Grace triumphs over the Law:
- The positive antidote is sound teaching. Sound teaching is only found in the Gospel.
- the Gospel is glorious! (Cf. Ian Mackey) - sin has dishonoured God and robbed Him of His glory (Rom 3:23). The Gospel provides for the total destruction of sin, imputation of righteousness [Colossians 1:22 He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach] thus bringing back to God His glory.
- Legalism puts us under a yoke, sin imprisons us - but where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more and sets us free! Hallelujah! [Romans 5:20,21 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Law no longer rules but grace! John 1:14-18 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.] What law couldn’t do grace does - Divine favour imparted from heaven to man on the basis of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
- False teaching enslaves but love conquered - the Gospel of God’s grace liberates producing faith and love.
- “Long my imprisoned spirit lay fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray, I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.”