The Water of the Word
1 Timothy 1
It is clear here that the author of this letter is the apostle Paul written to Timothy. Paul not only had to suffer prison and persecution for the gospel he preached but he also had the care of the churches and those that were workers and helpers in starting congregations all over the area. He took the time to admonish Timothy. What unselfish love he had to take the time for one person with the weight of so many upon him.
Unfortunately the church has always faced the temptation of getting sidetracked off the main message of the gospel and into other things. Some of these things are false doctrines and the bible was written so we can check everything we hear by the written account of the word of God. However, not all sidetracks are false doctrines or even wrong things.
We can get busily involved with charity works, programs, entertainment, plays, rallies, banquets and do great things but neglect the presentation the gospel of Jesus Christ which is the main commandment Jesus gave us before He returned to His Father. This work is to be first and the other works follow behind or along with it.
Some Christian societies in the past became so legalistic and judgmental that they forgot to have compassion on the weak and unbelieving. When we do that it is a sign of unbelief in us, because we forgot that God has the power to convict the sinner of sin and save the sinner by the preaching of the gospel. How easy we forget that God would much rather save than destroy. Maintaining our first love for Christ and His gospel will help us to stay focused on the goal and not lose our compassion for the lost.
The story of Jonah is a good example of one who had zeal for the law of God but lacked compassion for those who were lost. We sometimes emphasize the part of Jonah's disobedience and forget that God wanted to save a whole city of "bad" people through the preaching of Jonah.
Love that comes from a pure heart, a conscience that is free of condemnation and faith that is without hypocrisy and pretense is a sign of a true believer. That sums up the whole life that we are to live in Jesus Christ.
This could be talking of and emphasizing things that have nothing to do with the gospel or the salvation of the soul. Have you ever been to a prayer meeting where an hour is taken up by jesting and joking around and only 5 or 10 minutes in prayer. Even if there is no fooling around our intentions may be good when we take up an hour for prayer requests and pray for only a couple of minutes. If we would learn to pray in the spirit, the Holy Spirit many times will lead us into praying for specific needs without going down a list. Its okay to make a list but we can get bogged down and overwhelmed by so many needs that we don't really know how to pray for them much less find the will of God when we pray.
This passage is not really referring to prayer but wasting time with stuff that has nothing to do with the purpose for which Jesus Christ called us when He called us to spread the word.
This shows that the law of God can be misused and misrepresented as many have done. It is easily done when we take a verse out of context and teach doctrine from the one verse without considering the verses before and after it. We can sometimes get an entire different meaning from words taken in the order in which they were written instead of taking it out of the bible and using it by itself to further someone's private agenda. Reading and studying 1 Corinthians 13 along with the fruits of the spirit in Galatians is a good way to stay on track. Our motives is the main thing that gets us off track.
Some in the church have taught false doctrine by trying to require Gentiles to keep Jewish feasts, practice circumcision and do other things that the law required. Paul many times had to remind them that "Having begun in the spirit, are ye now made perfect in the flesh?"
Today we have other false doctrines floating around which can easily be remedied by having perfect love for one another. One of these doctrines is the replacement theology. This is the teaching that replaces Israel with the church. If the church commits the same evil that Israel committed in the Old Testament, some things may apply to the church but when the scripture mentions Israel, it means Israel. That is just one of many examples of how we can misuse scripture to further our own purposes.
There was no nation of Israel after 70 AD until the rebirth of that nation in 1948 so it was easy to be caught up in the teaching that the church replaces Israel but now we have no excuse for such a teaching. Theologians explained Israel away by trying to place the church where Israel was supposed to be in order to make sense out of bible prophecy. We do not need to try to help God fulfill prophecy by changing it to fit our own thinking.
God does not need our help in prophecy fulfillment. Israel had to be back in their land for some of the prophecies to be fulfilled and that is just what happened in 1948. I've read books on the hard struggle they had to form that nation in the beginning. The odds were about 1000 to 1 that they would even be able to have a nation. Old Harry Truman had a hard time getting enough votes for the UN to allow the state of Israel to form.
There have been many other errors men have gotten into over the years. Some have used the scripture in Deuteronomy about God sending a prophet like Moses to apply to certain prophets that have arisen over the years and claimed to be that prophet. We know from studying the whole bible taken together that the prophet Moses spoke of was Jesus Christ and not Joseph Smith, William Branham or any other man past and present.
Many times verses are pulled out of context to puff up some certain man of God above others. The apostles never considered themselves higher than other believers. Most priests, prophets and pastors in both the old and new testaments were there to serve, not to lord over anyone.
Some have used the scriptures that admonish us to obey them that have rule over us to fool us into thinking we have to obey evil rulers and go along with false teachers. Adolph Hitler was one that used the scriptures in that way.
When we take the whole bible rightly understood and taught by the Holy Spirit, we will not be deceived and will know the true from the real. Jesus said that His sheep will know His voice. We must abide in Christ and in His word to hear His voice.
Sound doctrine is very important to us as believers in Jesus. We can't just claim we believe in Jesus and then go about our business without considering anything God's word has to say to us and expect to be saved for eternity.Notice that the above verses mention men stealers. That would apply to kidnapping and taking captive people to buy and sell them for slaves.
We see that God never endorses slavery like the type we had in early America Those men were stolen from their own homeland by slave traders. They did not willingly become indentured servants. The sad part of that story was the fact that the slave's own fellow men sold them into slavery for gain.
The bible condemns sexual immorality, perversion, perjury and other things that defile the flesh and are not to be among those that believe in Jesus Christ.
We are to preach the gospel and preach that people repent of these things and turn to Christ to be made free from these things mentioned above. We don't kill and put to death people when they do those things, but we preach the gospel so that those that do those things can escape the judgment of God and come out of the sin that is destroying them.
Think about those words for a moment. The gospel that was committed to my trust. God has committed to those that have believed in Him, the gospel. We have the gospel and it is given in our keeping. This I believe is what Jesus meant when he said to Peter that he has the keys to the kingdom and whatever he binds on earth shall be bound in heaven. He was given the responsibility to preach the gospel and the other teachings that we have in the word.
This was not given to Peter only but to all who later receive this word and believe. Some are called to be pastors, teachers, etc but all of us are committed to share the gospel. We have the power to sit on it and not share it and we have the power to spread in all over the world. We also have the ability to suppress the gospel or change it into something else but if we do, we will answer to God.
Once we have received the gospel, it is now been put in our trust. If we don't know how to share the gospel, at least we must not hinder someone else from sharing it or get so bogged down with "other things" that we hide the gospel or cover it up with a bunch of nonsense.
It is great to show love and have soup kitchens, and do things to help the poor. In fact woe to us if we have plenty to eat when our neighbors are starving. In saying that though, we must not turn our churches into soup kitchens and charity places to the point that we get so busy we do not pray, teach the word or spread the gospel which is our first calling. While we don't want to become a, "Be ye warmed and filled type," we also do not want to attend to the material things without winning the lost to Jesus Christ. If we neglect the greatest message of all time, we will see people come to just get the food and go away as lost as they ever were.
This is the difference between just religion and the gospel. Religion in itself condemns the sinner and teaches followers to live by the righteousness of the law. It is unmerciful to those who break that law. The gospel on other hand offers mercy to those that have broken God's laws. It says to them. I know you broke the law, I know you are guilty and deserve death but I have made a way that you just admit you are a sinner in need of salvation, be willing to forsake that sin and trust in the Son, Jesus Christ to save you from your sin and you can be forgiven and become a new person in Christ Jesus.
You can be born again by the spirit of God and start anew. A new life and a new spirit can be to all who believe. We did nothing to earn this grace but it is given freely to all who would receive it. The law shows us we are sinners in need of forgiveness and salvation. Grace is given from God to show us mercy and restore us to a right relationship with God. This is all through faith in Jesus Christ who became our mediator and intercessor to bridge the gap that sin caused between us and our Father. Sin separates us from God. Jesus heals the breech of that separation. He is like a bridge bringing us back to God.
If Jesus can save a murderer and one who persecuted the innocent followers of Jesus, He can save the worst one of us.
This truth was forgotten by some that we call early church fathers when they joined hand in hand with the state and begin to persecute those that disagreed with them; killing Jews, so-called heretics and the first protestants. Not all went along with those evil things but it just takes a few to make us all look bad.
This truth was shown to Martin Luther but he forgot it at times when the Jewish people rejected his message and he wrote things that Hitler later used to justify the holocaust.
This truth was shown to John Calvin but he forgot it in Geneva Switzerland many years ago when we had a man arrested and burned to the stake because that man dared to disagree with the doctrine of Calvinism. Some claim that burning heretics was the law of the land and do not blame Calvin but Calvin had the man arrested and never regretted the man's death according to documented accounts of Calvin's life.
This truth was shown to the Puritans but they forgot that Jesus wants to save witches also. Although in most cases, it was accusations that was never proven. This happened in the 2nd generation of Puritans and one of the judges later repented for the phase of witch burnings which happened in that day. We can't blame all Puritans for what a few did but it shows us what can happen if we get away from the main doctrine of Christ and lose our compassion and love for the brethren.
Let us spread the gospel and warn against sin but never forget that we too was once sinners in need of the grace of God. If someone had not have told us about the salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and remission of sins, we too would be doing the same sins that we condemn in others. "But for the grace of God go I."
The law condemns yes but Jesus came to save us from the condemnation of the law and show us how to live in holiness and truth. We must avoid religion that shows no mercy.
Warn yes, but with love and faith in the power of God to change those that do not believe.
We must warn against those that teach we can be saved and still live in immorality. True salvation brings a clear, clean conscience. It is a false doctrine to say we can be saved once and still sin and make heaven our home. We must correct, reprove and exhort but we must do so in faith that God is able to deliver the worst sinner no matter how hopeless his case may be. God still can change lives. We must not forget that. As long as a person is still among the living, there is hope for his (her) salvation.
Paul did not put these men to death or do them any physical harm. Delivering one to Satan is removing the hedge God places about them when they become children of God and allowing evil to befall them in hopes that the trouble that they receive will lead them to repentance. I do not believe this means shunning or doing any physical harm like the Middle Age church practiced. We just leave the wayward person to God after we have instructed, corrected and taught the right way to that person. After a while it is best to go our own way and leave them up to the Lord.