Thursday, September 15, 2022

2022.09.15 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Timothy 1:18–20

Read 1 Timothy 1:18–20

Questions from the Scripture text: How does the apostle describe this statement in 1 Timothy 1:18? To whom is it committed? How does he describe Timothy? With what is this entrusting in accordance? What else (besides Paul’s letter) will be done according to these prophecies? With what two attributes does the apostle hope the prophecies will enable Timothy to wage this warfare (1 Timothy 1:19)? What have some done to faith and to good conscience? What has been the result for them? What two such individuals does the apostle name in 1 Timothy 1:20? What has he done to them? For what purpose?

Why is it so urgent that Timothy reestablish right preaching, conduct, and order in the church in Ephesus? 1 Timothy 1:18–20 looks forward to the second serial reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these three verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that Timothy (and other gospel ministers) must labor for right doctrine, practice, and order both to fulfill the will of God Who called them and to safeguard their own and others’ faith.

Fulfill the will of God
The apostle has just set before Timothy the great glory of the Lord Jesus Christ in the display of His mercy in redeeming sinners and enlisting them into His service (cf. 1 Timothy 1:12-17). Now, he reminds his “son” (1 Timothy 1:18) Timothy that he too has been called by Christ Jesus. The Word of God was proclaimed and applied in bringing him into ministry. So, it is a matter of obedience to God’s will that he press on in this ministry.

And ministry is a battle (end of verse 18). It is a good battle. It is worth fighting, and it would be unfaithful to stop fighting it. The apostle tells Timothy that his hope is that his charge, working together with the proclamations that have been made to Timothy and about him, would enable Timothy to do this battling.

Safeguard your own and others’ faith
Timothy has been on the receiving end of good theology. We remember that in 1 Timothy 1:5 two of the things aimed at by the command to maintain good theology were “a good conscience and sincere faith” (cf. 1 Timothy 1:19). Now, he tells Timothy that the way to wage the good battle of the ministry is to do so “having faith and a good conscience.” He must have faith: he must be convinced of the truth of the Scripture. He must have a good conscience: his affections, choices, and desires must be ruled actively by the truth of the Scripture.

But there are those who seem to have had these things and do so no longer. “Some have rejected” (verse 19) this faith and good conscience. This has been disastrous for them. The apostle describes their faith as “shipwrecked”; they have done great harm to themselves. Timothy apparently knows Hymenaeus and Alexander, and they are significant enough for the apostle to mention them by name. 

Yet, these significant men have been delivered to Satan. This means that they have been excommunicated and that the protection from Satan that comes to those in the church, they have lost. Even this action was designed to disciple them (“that they may learn,” 1 Timothy 1:20) so that their doctrine and life would stop blaspheming God. But there are others who have been shipwrecked as well. Timothy’s calling is God’s means for protecting others in Christ’s flock from suffering similar.

When a minister of the gospel is properly called, who has called him? Who called your minister? What is his ministry designed to safeguard you from doing? What should be done if this fails?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for giving us men whom You help to battle the battle of ministry. Forgive us for forgetting that it is You Who have called them. Truly, we too easily lose conviction about what Your Word teaches, and our consciences come to be bad consciences, directed by other ideas. Forgive us, Father and stir up our faith, and make our consciences good, by Your Spirit’s blessing upon the Word of Jesus Christ, in Whose Name we ask it, AMEN!

 Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace”

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