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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Wage the Good Warfare (1 Tim. 1:18-20)

Outline: Wage the Good Warfare (1 Tim. 1:18-20)
  1. The call to wage the good warfare
  2. The means meant to help us wage the good warfare
  3. The result of failing to wage the good warfare
  4. Application
Summary:   As Timothy's "commanding officer," Paul gave this charge: stay in Ephesus and confront the false teachers (vv.3-7).  This was an urgent order entrusted to a reliable soldier.  However, carrying out this order would be no easy task, which is why Paul uses military language (wage the good warfare!) to describe the serious effort that Timothy must exert.  This effort is a form of internal warfare, a fight to keep one's faith sincere and conscience clear.  The failure to wage this warfare is disastrous (v.20) but the reward for doing so is glorious (2 Tim. 4:7-8).  We must remind ourselves that every order in the service of our Lord is to be carried out in love (1:5).  But this love is a hard fought love. Underneath this love is a battle that must be fought and won in our hearts (faith and a good conscience).  Every time the flag of love is raised, witnesses may know that a battle has been won in the heart.

Main Point:  We must wage the good warfare, a type of warfare that begins in the heart!

Discussion Questions:
  • What is the charge being entrusted to Timothy? (cf. vv.3-7)
  • Why do you think Paul uses military language (charge/order, warfare)?
  • What means or provisions must Timothy utilize in order to wage the good warfare?
  • What does it mean to hold the "faith"? To maintain a "good conscience"?  What is the relationship between faith and a good conscience? (v.19)
  • How might a culture of discipleship help believers maintain a good conscience?
  • Ponder this statement: "Every time the flag of love is raised, a battle has been won in the heart."
  • How does one make shipwreck of his or her faith (v.19)?
  • What can we learn about church discipline from from v.20?
Application Questions:
  • Do I see my Christian life as a call to wage the good warfare? Explain. 
  • Is there anything I am currently doing that my conscience is uneasy about?
  • How is the death of Jesus good news when I have a troubled conscience?
Prayer Points:
  • Praise Jesus for waging the good warfare on our behalf and empowering us to do likewise 
  • Confess anything you are currently doing that is troubling your conscience
  • Ask God to help you and your church family to maintain clear consciences and to come to him honestly and quickly when our consciences are troubled
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to make unbelievers in your spheres of influence aware of their sin and to empower you to tell them the good news about Jesus and the power of his blood to cover shame and guilt and to purify consciences

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Good News for Great Sinners (1 Tim. 1:12-17)

Outline of 1 Tim. 1:12-17: The Gospel is meant to produce...
  1. Gratitude
  2. Conviction
  3. Hope
  4. Praise
Summary:   Even 30 years after his conversion, Paul seemed to have never lost his gospel awe.  In fact, Paul was continually filled with gratitude for Jesus' saving grace, confidence in Jesus' willingness to save sinners, hope for those who are still lost in sin, and praise to the God who designed so great a healing balm for the soul.  In short, Paul couldn't get over the privilege it was to be saved by and entrusted with the gospel.  Have we lost our gospel awe?  May Paul's testimony help revive our awe for the gospel such that the fruits of the gospel (gratitude, conviction, hope, and praise) may be freshly manifested in our lives.  

Main Point:  It is a marvelous privilege to be saved by and entrusted with the glorious gospel.

Discussion Questions:
  • According to vv.12-14, why is Paul so grateful?
  • With Paul's track record, how could Jesus judge him faithful (or consider him trustworthy)?
  • What is the clear statement of the gospel set forth in v.15?
  • What do you think contributed to Paul's confidence in this gospel? [hint: Consider Paul's testimony and what Paul has seen the gospel do over the past 30 years of his life in ministry]
  • How should we understand Paul's claim to be the "foremost" or worst of sinners?
  • What was Jesus' special agenda in saving Paul (v.16)?  How might Paul's example bring hope to those who think their sin has put them beyond salvation's grasp? 
  • Read v.17.  Do you think this is a fitting way for Paul to end his testimony?  Explain.  
Application Questions:
  • On a scale of 1-10 (10- I'm extremely grateful; 1-I hardly think about it), how grateful am I for the privilege of being saved by and entrusted with the gospel?  
  • How evident in my life are the gospel effects Paul expressed (gratitude, conviction, hope, praise)? How might I grow in these areas?
  • What hope is there in this passage for my current struggle with sin?
  • Is there anyone in my life that I'm tempted to think is beyond Jesus' saving reach?  How has this passage helped produce hope?  Pray for an opportunity to share the good news with them.
Prayer Points:
  • Thank Jesus for His overflowing grace that washed away your sin and shame  
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to bring to mind any sin in your life.  Then ask for a cleansing flood of fresh grace to wash away any wrongdoing  
  • Ask for a renewed appreciation of gospel grace and for faith and love to swell in your heart
  • Ask God to save people you may be tempted to think are beyond His saving reach

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Speculators and Stewards (1 Tim. 1:3-11)

Outline: Speculators and Stewards (1 Tim. 1:3-11)
  1. Speculators 
  2. Stewards
  3. Stewards Confront Speculators
  4. Big Picture Applications
Summary:   False teachers had swerved from the truth and were leading people astray.  They were poisoning the church with their bad doctrine and worthless speculations.   Therefore, Paul dispatched Timothy to Ephesus in order to protect God's flock by confronting and exposing the wolves that had got into the sheepfold.  How would Timothy do this?  He would confront and expose these speculators by being a faithful steward of truth whose constant effort was to love God and others out of pure motives.

Main Point:  Stewards must confront and expose speculators by fulfilling the aim of their charge.

Discussion Questions:
  • Why did Paul urge Timothy to remain at Ephesus? (v.3)
  • Name some characteristics of false teachers. (1:3-4, 6-7; cf. 1:19-20; 4:2-3, 7; 6:2b-5, 20-21). 
  • What is the aim of the a faithful steward? (v.5)
  • What is the relationship between love and pure motives (i.e. a pure heart, good conscience, and a sincere faith)?
  • How is Jesus the ultimate steward?
  • How does the gospel create stewards? (cf. vv.12-15)
  • According to Paul, what is a lawful use of the law? (vv.8-11)
  • Why is it so important that stewards confront speculators?
  • What does this call for stewards to confront speculators say about God's care for His Church?
Application Questions:
  • Am I fulfilling the aim of my charge, that is, am I marked by love for God and others?  If so, praise God and humbly ask for grace to grow all the more.  If not, take time to test and examine the purity of your motives in light of God's word, confessing any impurity, anything that is tainting your conscience, any way that that your interests are out of sync with Christ's interests. Receive forgiveness (1 Jn. 1:9) and start focusing on loving God and others with fresh vigor. 
Prayer Points:
  • Praise Jesus for being the ultimate steward who always operated out of pure motives and for dying on the cross so that I could too be a good steward marked by love and pure motives.
  • Confess to God ways that you have failed to fulfill the aim of your charge.
  • Ask the Holy Spirit to help you love God and others out of pure motives.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Introduction to 1 Timothy (1 Tim. 1:1-2)

Outline: Introduction to 1 Timothy
  1. Who is Paul?
  2. Who is Timothy?
  3. What is Their Relationship Like?
  4. What Themes Can We Expect to Encounter in 1 Timothy?
Summary:  Paul, who was once a Church-ravaging, Christ-opposing pharisee became, by the sovereign grace of God, a lover of the Church and one of the most faithful and sacrificial servants of Christ and the gospel who ever lived.  Timothy, Paul's spiritual son, was a godly young man and a reliable church leader.  Timothy's priorities in life were shaped by the interests of Christ.  This sincerity of spirit was no doubt the hallmark of Timothy's character and one of the main reasons he and Paul were of such kindred spirit.  When we study 1 Timothy, we get to, as it were, "read Timothy's mail." And, as we do, we will do well to keep in mind the nature of Paul and Timothy's relationship.  May their interests shape our interests, their concerns define our concerns and their convictions form our convictions.

Main Point:  1 Timothy was written by the apostle Paul to his spiritual son, Timothy; therefore, the themes encountered in 1 Timothy should be read with and informed by a constant awareness of the Christ-centered, mission-minded nature of their affectionate relationship.

Discussion Questions:
  • Who is Paul? (see Acts 7:58; 8:1; 9:1-22 ; 26:12-18; Gal. 1:11–2:10; Phil. 3:1-11)
  • Who is Timothy? (see 2 Tim. 3:13-15; 1:4-6; 2:1-2)
  • Describe the relationship between Paul and Timothy (1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 3:10-11; Phil. 2:19-24)
  • How might the nature of Paul's relationship to Timothy shape the the nature of our own discipleship relationships and parent-child relationships?
  • READ 1 Tim. 3:14-15. What is Paul's aim in writing 1 Timothy? 
  • READ through 1 Timothy in one sitting. What themes surface as you read through the letter? 
Application Questions:
  • What was one thing that was particularly helpful to me in this sermon?  
  • How might Paul's relationship to Timothy inspire me in my own discipleship relationships and/or parent-child relationships?
Prayer Points:
  • Thank God for giving us His word in general and 1 Timothy in particular.  
  • Thank God for how profitable His word is for teaching, reproof, correction, and for training in righteousness.  
  • Ask God to help us grow in godly sincerity so that spiritual relationships at FBC can me marked by the affection and sweetness that we see in Paul's relationship to Timothy. 
  • Ask God to powerfully shape us by the truths we learn in 1 Timothy so that we can relate to one another beautifully as the household of God called to be a pillar and buttress of the truth.