Sermon: The Battle for Truth (Part 2) 1 Timothy 1:1-11

The Battle for Truth (Part 2)

1 Timothy 1:1-11

Primary Truth Taught

The correct use of God’s Law will promote first, the gospel of Jesus Christ and second, a life pleasing to God.

Introduction

Last time we looked at the purpose of theology. Paul wrote that the aim of his charge to Timothy was that truth would produce love issuing from a pure heart, good conscience, and a sincere faith. Now today we’re going to see what it looks like to swerve away from the truth of God found in the Bible. He tells Timothy in this text that there are certain people who have left the path of sound teaching and have swerved away into false doctrine. To leave the Law of God is to leave that which will produce in us godliness.

These certain persons as Paul calls them were teaching vain trivial things and meaningless and endless speculation. They were using the Law of God or more specifically the OT to promote their destructive doctrines. So, the Apostle Paul sets out to show Timothy and the Church of Ephesus that this is not what the Law was intended to be used for. Their misuse of the Law of God presents the Law in a bad light and Paul’s theme here is that the Law is not bad but very good, perfect, and will produce within us exactly what God desires.

So the danger, especially today, is to not use the Law correctly. The Law used correctly will allow it to work righteousness within us.

I’ve seen and heard this today from other groups and other pastors. They say things like, Let’s not major on the minors or things like, we can disagree on some minor points of doctrine and still do missions together.

I pray that we see today that what the Apostle is getting at is that there are no minors and we must get it right. What we need to realize is that there is an ecumenical mentality at work today. We cannot do missions with another group if they have portions of the Gospel wrong. This is because there is only one Gospel of God. Here’s the dilemma: mainline Christianity has heard heresy for so long that when they are presented with the truth they think it is heresy. Beloved, we will never be popular among the masses. We will never fit in. To preach and teach the true Gospel today is to set yourself outside of mainline Christianity. All this has come about today through false teachers.

We should not reach watered down conclusions concerning false teachers. They are not just simply mistaken and not just simply after fame and fortune. In fact, Paul later on in his letter to Timothy gives us their real agenda…

1 Timothy 5:15 (ESV)

15 For some have already strayed after Satan.

Satan has enticed these teachers to promote a false gospel because he knows that if you can get people to attend worship services in a church that teaches false doctrine then they will be content to listen, follow and they themselves will promote heresy all the way to hell.

Human Need Met

Our need today is to saturate ourselves with biblical truth. No matter who else is on board we must stay faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We must resist trying to dress it up or make it more palatable to the lost. We must resist watering it down or seeking the least common denominator so we can fit it with others. The Gospel of God is repulsive to the lost whether they are outside or inside the church.

1 Timothy 1:1–11 (ESV)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

To Timothy, my true child in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

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, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 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. Blind Teachers of the Law

Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

The logic that we must trace here if we’re going to discover the true meaning ourselves is to understand that these people are not partakers of divine grace. They are not those who have tasted that the Lord is good. They are not among those who possess a pure heart, good conscience and a sincere faith. Therefore, they cannot teach the truth of the Law of Moses because, simply put, they don’t understand it themselves.

The Apostle lays out for us in the original language first, they don’t understand what the words of the Law mean nor do they understand the themes or doctrines presented…

without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

This is a vital theme for us to see in this letter because the Apostle Paul closes with it…

1 Timothy 6:20–21 (ESV)

20 O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” 21 for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.

Grace be with you.

Literally, these self-appointed teachers are lost. They did not partake of salvation, which leads to the three virtues mentioned above. I would also say that most if not all the false teachers today are lost as well. I realize that may sound harsh but if they were partakers of salvation leading to the three virtues, they would be producing a love for God and for others rather than love for themselves.

Could it be that the pastor of a mega-church is lost and actually following Satan? Paul, here, seems to indicate that these in Ephesus were, so would it not stand to reason that false teachers today may be as well?

I want to wake you up this morning!!! I must say this: most churches in America have left the true Gospel and are being led by false teachers. I did not say some and when I say most I mean a very high percentage. Please hear me today. False teachers dominate the Catholic Church. Most protestant groups have left the true Gospel. I realize this is somewhat strong and may sound harsh but it is the truth.

Most today promote a man-centered works salvation. Now, we can spot the false teachers such as Benny Hinn, Oral Roberts, etc but I’m referring to the pastor of the church on most corners today. We must be alert and careful.

  1. Teaching Their Own Version of the Bible

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 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.

The Apostle has already shown us that true believers exhibit love toward God and toward one another that flows from a changed heart.  God’s Word produces Christian love any other outcome shows that there is something wrong somewhere.

What could be the possible things amiss if a person reads and studies the Bible and never produces the fruit of the Spirit?

-They could be lost

-They could be reading it for knowledge alone and disregard the Holy Spirit’s work.

-They could be reading it as a false teacher unable to produce the love God requires.

Paul opens this section by writing…Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully,

He is purposely placing Timothy and himself among those who have not swerved from the truth and are producing the love God desires.

Then he comments that what they both know is that the Law or we could very accurately say, in this case, the OT is good.

For the Law to be good and to produce good things in a person it must be used as God intended it to be used.

What does Paul mean by good? Good for what? First he writes that it is good if it’s used properly. For an explanation of Paul’s thoughts on the proper use of the Law one only needs to turn to Romans 7.

In this chapter, Paul teaches that it was the Law of God, which showed him his sin…

Romans 7:7–8 (ESV)

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead…

13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure.
There are some who teach that the Law of God is only useful to show a lost person his sin but the Apostle here shows that it is also good to remind the believer of what God desires for us.

So the Law of God shows us what God requires. Then we realize we cannot even come close to pleasing God. Paul writes that when he learned from the Law that he was not to covet he began to find within himself all kinds of covetousness.
Once the Law of God laid open his heart for what it truly was, he saw Christ as the only answer. Jesus is God’s perfect Law-keeper.
So, Paul was saved by Jesus Christ and received the Holy Spirit who transformed him into one who is viewed by God as a perfect Law-keeper as well.
Now there are those who would say that because we are in Christ, the Law of God is null and void. Paul however, shows us that the Law is still God’s requirement and we still must seek to uphold it through the power that is at work within us. When we sin or fail to uphold God’s Law we have our Advocate Jesus Christ.

The false teachers in Ephesus were not teaching the Law correctly. All they did with the OT Law was speculate and enter into endless myths and genealogies. This is because they had never learned God’s Law correctly and not approaching it as a believer. They didn’t see their sin in it only an opportunity to seek after fame and fortune. At the end of the day, after all their made up stories were told they still ended their lives never turning to Christ as Lord and Savior. What’s even worse, all their followers followed…

understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just…

This is an important concept to understand. What does the Apostle mean by this? The Law of God is not given to the just or the righteous but specifically given to those who are violating it sanctions. For the believer who is in sin, the Law points the way to righteousness. For the lost person, the Law points to salvation in Christ.

What the Apostle does next is give a list of those people who need the Law because they are living in sin…

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,

This list is, of course, not exhaustive but simply a sampling of those who are among the unrighteous and those, which would benefit greatly from the right use of God’s Law.

These sins as singled out by Paul are, as he writes, contrary to truth (sound doctrine) and the Gospel of Christ.

11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

We must not overlook the intentional shift Paul gives us. Up until now, he has been discussing the Law of God as found in the OT. Then in verse 11 he refers to the Law-breakers in opposition not only to the OT Law but also they have swerved or deviated from the Gospel. So, if we follow the Apostle’s thinking we realize that the OT Law and the NT Gospel are in perfect unison. Both promote God’s perfection in those who belong to God, whether the OT Jew or the NT Jew or Gentile.
The sins condemned in the OT are still sin today in NT times. God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Application

The two uses of the OT or Mosaic Law today:

1- To expose our sin and cause us to seek Christ as the answer

2- To show us God’s righteous requirements and to pursue them as a believer

In order for the Law of God to accomplish these things it must be used correctly.

There is a big debate today as to what portions of the Law or we could say the OT are still enforced by God.

The quick answer is that the moral law, the part that teaches right from wrong is still just as crucial today for the believer as it was for the Israelite in the OT. However, it is the ceremonial law which has been fulfilled in Christ and is no longer enforced. So we can eat all sorts of things because all has been made clean through Christ. We do not observe the Sabbath because Christ is the Sabbath. We do still understand, however, that murder, stealing, etc are sin.

Conclusion

Primary Truth Taught

The correct use of God’s Law will promote first, the gospel of Jesus Christ and second, a life pleasing to God.

 

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