Charged for the Mission
Every night Amanda and I get ready for bed and we have a regular routine. I go down to the basement to turn the lights off and lock the door. I then come up back to the main floor, go to the back door to lock it, that usually ends up with a slight detour to stand on the deck and look up at the sky. We then come back, meet in the kitchen to grab a drink of water. And lastly we make sure not to miss the unpardonable bedtime routine. We plug our phone in. We have to wake up in the morning with our phone fully charged and ready for the next day. The simplicity makes me wish we got charged just as easily.
We need recharging too. We are spiritual beings and while a good night of sleep helps we also need recharging by spending time in God’s word and prayer. Sometime we need our lives recharged by getting focused on what God calls us to do.
We are studying the book of 1 Timothy for the next couple months. In this book a young man named Timothy is charged to do a few things. I want us to see the charge (command) that he is given and I hope we get charged (as in rejuvenated) to do the things God calls us to do.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, 2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. 5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. 8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. (1 Timothy 1:1-11 ESV)
The word of the Lord.
Here are a things to recharge you:
● Know Who You Are in Christ.:
The opening of a letter can seem perfunctory. Just address who you are and who you are writing to. I can neglect greetings in emails. I jump to the point or to my request.
Paul writes this letter and he wastes no time pointing others to truth and giving encouragement. Paul identifies himself as an apostle. Apostle is one who is sent out. He has been sent out to build churches. Jesus appeared to Paul on his way to Damascus and called him to a new work. Paul now identifies as one that belongs to Jesus Christ.
Christ Jesus our hope. When you believe in a man who healed the crippled, stilled storm, cast out demons and overcame the grave you have hope in all circumstances. This hope was not lost on Paul. Few people did more good than Paul; few encountered more obstacles than him.
The letter is addressed to Timothy, a young man converted to Christianity who Paul took on his missionary travels. Timothy’s father was a gentile and his mother and grandmother were Jewish. Timothy may have been converted in his teens and now years later Timothy is in charge of leading the church in Ephesus. Timothy was a young man, he was probably a bit frail as Paul advised him on some of his health issues, and he was a timid man as Paul exhorted him to be bold.
Timothy may not have had the support he needed in the church and that is why Paul is writing this letter to him. Notice the letter is addressed to Timothy, but repeatedly the letter contains things for the whole church. The letter feels to me like the talk a pastor gives at the installation of another pastor. He charges the pastor to do certain things but he charges him to do that in the presence of the whole congregation. The point of doing that is so the individual will do that and the larger group will support, follow, and encourage that behavior.
And Paul reminds Timothy of who he is in Christ.
First, Paul calls him his true child in the faith. Paul identifies that closely with Timothy. The gospel brings us into so close a relationship that we feel a kinship to others. We are willing to stick out our necks for others. I don’t think Paul is doing this to get Timothy to follow him, but rather that Timothy might feel Paul’s support. Paul does that here. Paul also reminds him of God the Father. Timothy may have gotten flack from Jewish Christians for his father not being Jewish. Paul reminds them who his true father is. Timothy has a heavenly father. He is a child of the living God.
Illustrate: How great do you think it would be for Timothy to know these things. Before Paul gets into all the stuff Timothy needs to do, before he points out Timothy you are timid, before he points out what you have messed up or the great work you have to fix these problems and take care of this house of people. You are a child of God. You have hope. It’s not get these things right and then we will talk about you being welcomed. No. you are welcomed. You are accepted. You have hope. God cares more about you than what you are able to do for him!
It blows our affluent, suburban, western cultural minds that only think about efficiency and goal achievement to hear God gives us a privileged position before we do anything! Know who you are. Share that with your kids. If you don’t get it you probably don’t share it.
Know who you are in Christ.
● Invest in Others
Paul gives Timothy a charge (1 Tim 1:3, 2:1, 5:1, 6:2 urged, exhort. Tim 1:3, 4:11, 5:7, 6:13, 6:17 charged). A charge is a directive from an authoritative source: command, order, direct, instruct. Paul is instructing him.
As Paul Charges Timothy he does not treat him as a no-name soldier under his military command. He called him his child in the faith. Paul has a close relationship with Timothy. Paul is discipling him. He is investing in him. He is taking him under his wing. The backdrop of this is obviously Jesus commission to go and make disciples. Jesus gave a commission. Paul is taking seriously his call to disciple others in the faith.
He does not view Timothy as an inconvenience or a hindrance to his work. It’s what he is called to do. He is instructing him in how to lead a church.
Investing your time with others is a opportunities to help them and to disciple. Helping them see how to do the things God calls them to do. Go help the new guy at work. Help them see how to do the job the right way. Take an interest in the new married couple. Spend time with them, ask them questions, get to know them. Everyone needs helps. Go after those opportunities.
Additionally, some of the most refreshing time for me have come when I am trying to help someone else do things that I have done, helping them to avoid making mistakes. Young people seek after advice!
Invest in others.
● Think Rightly
Paul’s charge to Timothy is specifically to ensure others are not teaching a different doctrine. A doctrine other than what Paul has taught. We must guard what goes into our minds.
The concern here is with what is taught in the church. There are all kind of philosophies in the world that we cannot stop them from developing or being taught. That was true in Paul’s day and it is certainly true in our day. The information age means that any and every belief and teaching is a click away. We can’t refute them all, and that is why in the church we want to make sure we are putting forward people and teaching that conforms to the word of God. We control what goes in our mind. Ask, “Is that biblical?” Be discerning
V3. not to teach different doctrine. Even at this time in the church, ad 60 there is a standard doctrine for the church. It is referred to in the pastoral letters as ‘the faith’, the truth,’ ‘the sound doctrine,’ ‘the teaching,’ ‘the good deposit.” This is very contrary to what people say today about the doctrine of the early church developing over centuries. It does develop and gets clearer, but that happens as different heresies arise and the church more clearly articulates its stance on those topics, but the essence of the church’s faith is here.
He tells them to avoid contrary or speculative doctrine. These teachers were probably talking on Jewish myths and genealogies. We know genealogies were important to Jewish faith as they trace the lineage of God’s promises to his people. But their teaching went beyond the Scriptures. Myths are fables or legends. These words should be taken together to mean “legendary genealogies.” they were spending themselves on things that were not true, things that were not clear in Scripture.
There is always a tendency to get caught up in the fanatical, the fantastical and they were doing this. Possible speculating on things that were not clear in Scripture. Inferences that should have been held lightly or at least not dwelt upon.
This is a warning not to major on minors. Some of it may not have been wrong to speculate on. If you are going to reach others you need to make sure you let little things go and focus on the most important. It’s a great principle for all of life. Consider as you help younger people in office, home, Bible study. The important doctrines of the faith are those that are repeated, expounded, and clearly articulated. Speculation raises doubts but revelation evokes faith.
We have all experienced too great an emphasis on minors. Book series have been written on speculation about the end times, a reading between the lines of Scripture. Its speculative theology but it pays well. People watch it! I think many theological debates could go into this category where the substance of the debate is about speculative issues rather than the clear meaning of Scripture. Teaching should promote the stewardship or the work of God. If you leave a Bible study confused ... it was not the kind of meeting Paul wanted people to have.
Timothy is charged to not let these things go on. He needs to take a stand against them. Timothy is charged to oppose these things. But we are not just against something, we are for something too. We want to promote something. It’s like planting a garden. You have to uproot the weeds and that makes room for the other to grow.
These teachers took God’s law and misused it. Paul says, “the law is good, if one uses it lawfully,” Good things can be twisted. The law helps us understand God’s will. We should know it, even if people misuse it. Computers are good but they get used for evil purposes. Every time I get a virus on mine I want to be completely done with them. But there are good things that can happen with them. The same thing here.
Theologians have said there are three proper uses of the law: 1) The first is it restrains evil: it shows us what right and wrong. It renders us inexcusable before God. 2) leads to Christ: when we see our wrong then we see the need to flee to Christ for forgiveness, 3) reveals the will of God: as believers, we see God’s desire and will revealed in the law and we desire to live by it.
This is evident in his reiterating the ten commandments. Our relationship with God involves following his commands but it is also more than just following commands. The first and second commands ungodly and sinners (v9). the “unholy and profane” correspond to the third commandment about profaning the name of God and fourth commandment of keeping holy the seventh day. Those who strike their mother and father goes against the fifth commandment. Murderers is the sixth command. This has to do with desecrating the image of God in people, and yes it forbids the racial profiling and fascism of the the white nationalist movement. Seventh command is adultery and pertains to sexual immorality and homosexuality. Eighth is stealing and here applies to slavery. Stealing their very dignity and personhood. a slave-dealer, kidnapper, man-stealer, i. e. as well one who unjustly reduces free men to slavery.
Slavery may seem antiquated, but do you know. 1) There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today. 2) Globally, the average cost of a slave is $90. 3) Trafficking involves exploitation of prostitution, involuntary servitude and compelling victims to commit sex acts for the purpose of creating pornography. It reportedly generates a profit of $32 billion every year. Some research has Atlanta as the number one city in the nation in child trafficking. We must think rightly. We need to abide by God’s word. Stick up for right and wrong.
Ninth is bearing false testimony and pertains to liars and perjurers. The tenth is coveting and could be motive for all of these.
The law shows us what is right. The law sets us on a right trajectory. It is good when you do what is right. It recharges you.
● Love Others
Is it refreshing to talk about loving others. “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
Charge to correct; Charged to love. v5 “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
Love: This is what Paul is after. This is what God wants. Often when we teach our aim is to be right. To be smart. Both of which can steer us away from our true destination. When we do things we ought to ask ourselves what our motivation is for doing it. Perhaps when you get angry consider what is motivating you.
Love and law. We advocate for God’s law and we do it with love. So many today want to love, love, love. They love but they cannot say anything another person does is wrong.
It’s OK to do or be whatever you want. Jessica constantly lies to other people and hurts them but let’s just love her for who she is. That’s not love! There may be a glimmer of truth in that we love people regardless of their actions. We don’t want them to think they have to earn our love. But sometimes love expresses itself by speaking the truth and standing up for what is right.
The law says there is a right way to live. Love reminds there is more than just correcting and pointing out another’s faults. Love you kids but speak truthfully to them. Live by God’s word. It provides life-giving barriers that we should hold to.
We are charged to love. Don’t grow weary of it! It’s not easy. Perhaps you have loved before and you have been hurt in the church. Paul was hurt in the church. Timothy was hurt in the church. You will be hurt in the church. People won’t respond as you hope. They will ignore you. Reject you. And you are called to do it again. Perhaps you are young and you think you will do it when you are older. Perhaps you are older and think they have done enough. They are both excuses. This is who you are to be as a Christian all your life. You need some recharging for the charge God has for you!
To connect loving back to thinking rightly. V 11 he mentions sound doctrine. We love others by leading them to sound doctrine. Sound “means a physical and mental soundness be healthy, be well.” It is healthy doctrine. You look at all the things that have been mentioned before, like lying, enslaving, murdering, immorality, hating, profaning, and this is not healthy. Unhealthy doctrine leads to an unhealthy life. If you are giving into these things and feeling the effects of it, know you are not living a healthy lifestyle. Sound thinking precedes sound living. Sound doctrine does not come from within. It comes from God, and that is what you have in the Scripture.
Unhealthy doctrine, diseased doctrine: what you learn on cable tv and movies, what seeps into your mind, what permeates every avenue of life is what leads to all the others things. Unhealthy food. Unhealthy doctrine.
Let the law guide you, show you what’s right, cause you to cry out to Jesus, let it show you God’s will for your life!
Sound doctrine is in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with (v11). A doctrine that leads to health is its captivation with the good news of Jesus Christ, the blessing it brings to people and the glory it brings to God. There is no greater litmus test than that right there. If you are teaching to build your resume and teaching to be well thought of then you are going to glory in big words, unique insights, things that make you appear smart. But if you glory in Christ you are going to view everything else as a means to Christ being exalted, Christ being esteemed, Christ being sung about. Christ being made known. That sets you on a right trajectory. That is the teaching that brings healing. That brings recharging. Look to him. He is the one that can save your from dying, or living with no spark.
What better place to end than on the glorious gospel. It’s in this gospel we are saved. In this gospel all our sins are forgiven. In this gospel that we go from outcasts and enemies to sons and daughters of the living God. In this gospel we get healthy doctrine. Those phone chargers may give you a few volts of electricity, but this gospel is like a bolt of lightning. You don’t need speculative philosophy, secretive doctrines, or newly revealed truths. God has told us all we need and this glorious gospel moves us to live by it. In this gospel we get recharged to do what God calls us to. Charged to love. Charge to think rightly. Charged to teach sound doctrine.
- Do you ever think about greeting people the way Paul does? What might be the reaction of people if you saw them as Christ sees them?
- How are you doing in the charge to refute and love? Which is easiest/hardest for you? How can you grow in that?
- Where does your faith need some recharging? What in these passages help recharge you?