We learned a great deal as we studied 1 and 2 Peter. Now, we are going to study two letter from the apostle Paul. He is writing to his dear friend and partner in faith, Timothy. He, along with Peter, teaches us what active faith looks like on a daily basis in the most purest form.
Go ahead and read 1 Timothy 1. You will see that Paul teaches on the same subject that you studied in 2 Peter 2. He gives us a warning about wolves in sheep’s clothing. Unfortunately, these false teachers are everywhere. They have been since sin entered the world. So, Paul is wanting you to be aware of them, along with not forgetting the truths that you have learned in God’s Word, as well as keeping in step with the Holy Spirit as you listen and obey.
From verse 1, what do you learn about the relationship between Paul and Jesus? How does Paul refer to Timothy in verse 2? What does Paul want God to give Timothy?
Paul went wherever the Spirit led him. He had one reason for his travels, and that was to tell everyone about Jesus Christ. How he lived out his faith is an example for you and I to follow. A child of God lives to please Christ. He listens to the Spirit and does what he is told. Sinful man doesn’t like that, so he is prone to do his own thing. Thus, false teachings thrive and cause division within the family of God. Believers leave the narrow path that leads to heaven without realizing that they have gone astray, unless they keep close to Christ.
While Paul left for Macedonia, he urged Timothy to stay in Ephesus. Why was Timothy needed there, see verse 3? What do you learn about false teachings from verse 4? Anything that doesn’t help and encourage believers in their faith in God is meaningless.
“The purpose of (Paul’s) instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.”5
How do people miss this, see verses 6-7?
It is easy to lose your focus on God when you turn away to focus on yourself. When you do this, you become self-serving instead of serving God. You become self-confident rather than God-confident. The arrows are turned inward instead of outward.
In verses 8-11, Paul talks about God’s Law, which is the scriptures. It is your guide book in how to live faithfully with God. Paul says that those who do what is right, those who recognize they are sinners and have turned to Christ, are no longer under the Law for they walk in the Spirit; see Galatians 5:13-26.
The Law is for people who are still under the curse of sin. What are some adjectives that describe an unbeliever from verses 9-10? Watch the news or social media and you will see how sinful man is. Look at what is making the headlines and you will see how much people need Jesus Christ.
“Sinners contradict the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News (that was) entrusted to (Paul) by our blessed God.”10,11
Paul does not forget the dark pit of unbelief that God yanked him out of, see Acts 9. He also doesn’t allow himself to be swayed by anything worldly. His heart belongs to Christ and his life reflects that. Reread verses 12-14 to see why Paul is deeply grateful for God’s mercy. Before Christ entered his heart, Paul was ignorant and unbelieving. What does his heart say now, see verse 14?
“Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.”14
Where does God find your heart today? Remember, the day of reckoning is approaching. You do not know when Christ will come for you. Today is the day of salvation, my friend, your salvation. Take hold of it and run with God wild and free!
Paul gives Timothy instructions so he understands his responsibilities as a servant of God in the final three verses of this chapter. In verse 18, Paul is referring to verse 3. Timothy is to stop the false teaching that is going on. He is to fight well in who’s battles?
It is good to know and remember that there is a spiritual side to life. We cannot see it but it is ever so real. God and His angels are in an all out battle with Satan and his demons. The battle between good and evil is waging on as we speak. As God’s children, we are to fight for THE TRUTH, which is Jesus Christ.
What else is Timothy asked to do, see verse 19?
Keep your conscience clear.19 What happens when you don’t? Paul gives two examples in verse 20 of disobedience. What happened to Hymenaeus and Alexander?
God does not take shenanigans lightly. The Oxford American definition of shenanigans is “secret or dishonest activity or maneuvering.” Don’t we hide when we turn from God to do our own thing? Don’t we manipulate and control when we want our own way? Lord, help us!
What did you learn from Paul today? You and I need to be on the lookout for false teachers and stop them. We can’t stay silent any longer. The enemy is gaining control, especially in the United States. There are too many Christians loving their freedoms as Americans over their freedoms in Christ. It’s time to become grateful for God’s mercy and change our ways and become like Paul and Timothy.