Tuesday, March 27, 2007

There are two things to observe this morning:

First, 1 Timothy 1:16 16 And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

Have you ever noticed this verse before and meditated on it? It says that Paul was shown mercy in order that Jesus Christ may demonstate (or show) his perfect patience. The word here is endeiknumi. It has the idea of one who demonstrates or proves something (whether by speech or by act). Thus, Jesus Christ here is the model for demonstrating biblical patience. And he demonstrated this patience with sinners!

Furthermore, it goes on to say that he demonstrated his perfect patience as a hupotuposin. You may hear the "tupos" in hypotuposin. This is the word for a "type." Jesus Christ is our prototype and example as to how to exercise biblical patience. He bore with sinners patiently until the perfect time came to atone for sins on Calvary's cross.

Let me ask you, do you practice this patience? Have you studied the life of our Lord and observed His patience and seen how you can imitate Him (Eph 5:1-2)?

Second, Paul also notes in v. 18 of chapter one:

1 Timothy 1:18 18 This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight,

This command is in the context of Paul charging Timothy to remain in the city of Ephesus to discard false doctrine and to appoint and train elders to teach sound (Lit. healthy) doctrine. Here in 1:18, Paul commands Timothy in accordance with the prophecies previously made, that is, that Christ is our hope (v.1); to command certain ones not to teach strange doctrine (v.3); to do all of this with love (v.5); to recognize the use of the law for the sinner (vv.8-11); to recognize that Christ Jesus strengthens his soldiers (v.12); and that he uses dirty, sinful, filthy people to do his work (vv.13-14).

It is with these words in the back of Timothy's mind that he is to go and "command certain ones not to teach strange doctrine" (v.3). Paul tells Timothy to do this in order that he may fight the good fight.

Paul says, Timothy, remember that the Christian life (and how much more the minister in the service) is a consuming war - not on earth but in the heavenly places. There is active war going on between the forces of light and the forces of darkness; between the minions of Satan and the angels of God. Timothy must never lose sight of the fact that this ministry he is pursuing is a war. Do we recognize this?

In fact, the word for "war" here is strateuo which was used often in the 1st century as referring to a "soldier going out to engage in warfare." It is interesting how Paul takes that imagery and plants it directly in the heart of the Pastoral ministry. May we never lose sight of this fact. Ministry is war. It is a battle. It is tough. It is painful. It is demanding. It produces sweat and bloodshed. Yet may we never forget that we have the most powerful One on our side:

1 Timothy 1:17 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

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