Mickey D. Brackin
Senior Pastor, Mars Hill Baptist Church, Lawrenceburg
During the next few weeks we will be looking at First Timothy, Second Timothy and Titus. These books are often referred to as the “pastoral epistles” because of their emphasis on church leaders and church leadership. These books were written with a distinct personal touch of love and affection from the aging apostle Paul to his two sons of the faith, Timothy and Titus (I Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4). The message presented from these letters, although personal and specific, still speaks to every generation.
In I Timothy, chapter one, Paul wrote words of instruction, as well as, encouragement to the young church leader Timothy. Under Paul’s direction, Timothy had been placed in Ephesus to guide and lead the church in truth. By Paul’s words it is evident that false teachers with false doctrines were rising in the church.
These false teachers were teaching and emphasizing false fables, religious myths, and endless genealogies (I Timothy 1:3-4). Timothy must confront this error and perversion of the truth by standing on the truth of the gospel (v. 10).
Most pastors who have pastored for any length of time have found themselves confronted following the dismissal of the service by someone who has disregarded the truth of that day’s message; taking off on some needless spiritual sounding tangent of idle meaninglessness and frivolous pursuit. What makes such situations difficult and dangerous for the pastor/shepherd is that oftentimes these individuals will engage others into such idle pursuits that can lead to distractions, disputes, and even division.
Paul’s message to Timothy, teach truth and let the truth combat falseness! Charles Ray said, “The standard by which sound teaching must be measured is the gospel. That is, sound gospel teaching is not that which obsesses over pointless myths but rather proclaims the truth of God’s splendor and the majesty in working through His Son, Jesus Christ to forgive sins and transform the lives of all who believe in Him.”
Paul offers his own personal testimony of God’s wonderful grace. He begins his testimony with his thankfulness to Christ Jesus for what Jesus did for him (vv. 12-17). Paul, unlike the false teachers of Ephesus, did not deem himself worthy of God’s calling. He remembered those days when in the ignorance of unbelief, he persecuted the church with an unmatched zeal (Acts 8:3).
But by God’s grace, “abundant grace” he had been transformed by Christ Jesus. Warren Wiersbe has written that “Paul did not deserve his calling. God’s grace, faith and love were extravagantly poured out upon him” ( I Timothy 1:14).
We would all do well to remember that just like Paul none of us are deserving of God’s wonderful grace and forgiveness (Ephesians 2:4-5). Perhaps the best commentary we can offer on I Timothy chapter 1 is Paul’s closing words to Timothy in chapter 6, “O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoid the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.”