1 Timothy

2 Timothy Chapter 1

For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. 

 We are reminded in Paul’s second letter to Timothy of the impact that a legacy of belief and faith has on those we are close to.  Timothy’s mother and grandmother were faithful disciples of Jesus.  The sincerity of their faith was so evident that it had molded Timothy’s view of life, and his purpose in that life.  I often think of how my faith is evidenced to my children.  Do they see the “sincerity” of my devotion to Jesus?  Or is it, (or He) a rarely discussed topic I hope somehow seeps into their consciousness over time?

I think of the passage in Deuteronomy where Moses is encouraging the parents of Israel:

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

 Nothing is more important in my life than Jesus. Education, wealth, career advice, “happiness” --  these things all pale in significance when compared to leaving my sons and daughters a legacy of faith in Jesus.  

1 Timothy Chapter 6

Our world measures success by material things. We have not made it until we have settled in our dream home or have a certain amount in savings or investments, or whatever you want to fill in the blank.  We can get wrapped up in thinking we are able to sustain ourselves.  This chapter reminds us where our heart should be with finances and with the things we have been blessed with. God has provided for us and has given everything we own to us. He has blessed us but wants us to bless others so we can proclaim who the ultimate Provider is.  This chapter also reminds us that hope in money is fickle but God is not. God is able to do all things and He wants us to yearn for, seek after, and rest in relationship with Him. He wants us to realize that we can be content in all things, because of who He is and what He is capable of. Let us be thankful for the blessings we have in our life, trusting in His provision, and willing to share that which we have already received. 

1 Timothy Chapter 5

Chapters 5 and 6 pretty much go together, but Paul lays out some pretty interesting guidance in chapter 5 for Timothy concerning widows, elders, and dealing with sin in the church amongst elders, and finally being cautious about laying on of hands too soon for a leader that is new to the faith.

 AMEN to the opening two verses of 1 Timothy 5!

 Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father. Talk to younger men as you would to your own brothers.2Treat older women as you would your mother, and treat younger women with all purity as you would your own sisters.

 Is this a lost art today? If you asked me last October when I was on vacation in the southern part of the country (not SoCal), I would say not at all. Young’ns were replying “Yes Sir” or “No Ma’am” to those in authority, it was refreshing to see and hear that level of respect again. So is this a lost art in our church? I think that it could be better, our kids may not give an elder a "Yes Sir" or "No Ma'am" response, but I do believe that it is getting better especially with the integration of young and older folk into our life groups. 

 There really is a lot of great wisdom in this chapter, but what stood out to me the most were the final two verses: 

24Remember, the sins of some people are obvious (Ezekiel 21:24), leading them to certain judgment (Rev 20:12-13). But there are others whose sins will not be revealed until later (2 Corinthians 5:10)25In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light (1 Corinthians 3:13-15).

 Be blessed!

1 Timothy Chapter 4

Paul's famous letter to Timothy is a guide for me. The context here is what does Timothy need to pay attention to? What should he particularly pay attention to as he lives out his life?

For starters avoid teaching that is based on deception or demonic.  Know that God’s creation is good, discern rules being presented to you, a thankful heart is important, follow good teaching, and I really love this one in the age of 24 Hour Fitness, Cross Fit, fitness gadgets, and our culture’s preoccupation with beautiful, sculpted bodies.  

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.   This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.” 

I’m not against being fit, the good book says our physical bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit so be sure to take care of it!  It just made me chuckle.

The other major point for me was really about how one’s character can trump being young.  “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”

1 Timothy Chapter 3

Because of his advanced age Paul is writing a letter to Timothy, passing on how he sees the church should be structured, characteristics of the overseers of the church.  Husband of one wife, temperate, self controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent, quarrelsome, or lover of money.  Must manage his family well and his children obey him with proper respect. 

Upon reading this for the first time I never realized that the church was to be intentionally structured this way.  But it makes perfect sense that you would want people of high morals and character to be leading the flock.

We would all aspire to be these kinds of people as believers in Christ.

On a personal note, as a first time member of consistory, I am awed by the quality of leadership this body consist of.  Mindful, respectful, a very diverse group, they have taken on the noble task of leadership of this church very seriously.  Through every situation they have opened it to the floor for discussion, allowing all members to express their views, perspectives, opinions.  Then holding it up for vote.  I have never seen decisions "rubber stamped" or made without mindful consideration.

My point is not to heap praises on our consistory, but to bring to light the awesome power of God, the Bible, the Apostles, and the vision for the church back then is still in place now and hopefully in the future, by the grace of God, prayer, and the Holy Spirit.

1 Timothy Chapter 1

In this first chapter of the first of two letters from Paul to Timothy, I appreciate how Paul’s greeting to Timothy anchors us in context and reminds us that this is a realio, trulio letter from Paul—a letter meant to be shared around with the people and churches Timothy interfaced with and which has survived all this time for us as well. So what are we to glean from a letter between two guys, two thousand years ago? 

Let’s see.

What jumped out at me was verse five: “The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.”

I find this instruction of Paul’s to be particularly compelling in light of his words in verses eight and nine: “We know that the law is good when used correctly. For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy …”

Now, certainly Paul isn’t saying that there exists anyone who does “what is right” all the time. No one is perfect. But I think he is saying that once we dedicate ourselves to Christ, we usually clean up a lot of the big stuff and try to do what is right in all aspects of our lives. An ongoing process, to be sure. 

But Paul is saying that his real point isn’t about believers following the law, because we’re doing this already. His real desire is that we be filled with love. 

And what kind of love? One that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. We wouldn’t have those three things, and thus the love that is born out of them, if we weren’t already doing what was right.

So what does this kind of love look like in my life? Love from a pure heart is not selfish, it is not manipulative. It doesn’t require quid pro quo. I don’t think we can manufacture that love. Paul says “be filled with”—this is a passive construction; someone else is doing the filling. Love rooted in genuine faith is love that comes through us from God himself. We have faith that he is who he says he is, that he loves us with a pure heart. And then we pass that love on—with no diminution of what we get to retain. What an impact we could have individually and corporately if “all believers” were filled with that kind of love! We’d be individuals and a community that attracted people, that was safe, that would stand with others in difficulties and in pain. That kind of love would open doors and open hearts. 

Lord, fill me with your divine love, and help me to pass it on.