The Only Wise God

1 Timothy 1:17

17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Our King is eternal. He was there in the beginning. The Word tells us God was there in the beginning (Genesis 1:1). The Word tells us the Holy Spirit was there at the beginning of creation (Genesis 1:2). The Word tell us that Jesus, who is the Word, was there at the beginning as God spoke the universe into existence (Genesis 1:3-27, John 1:1-14). He has always been. From the beginning of the beginning, the King was there.. He had no beginning because He always was. He preceded the sun and moon and stars. He preceded the vast expanse of space. He preceded time.

The King is eternal. He will never not be. He will never go away and leave His creation. He will reign in heaven and be there until the end of time (Revelation 22:13). He will be there after the earth is gone and a new heaven and earth appear (Revelation 21:1-2). He will wipe away all tears. There will be no more death, sorrow, pain or crying (Revelations 21:4). He will be there forever, ruling and reigning from His throne (Exodus 15:18). He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end (Revelation 1:8). He was and He is and He will be. He is eternal.

The King is eternal. He is here with us right now. He will walk beside us through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4). He will be there to carry us close to His heart when we stumble and fall, and He will lead us through life (Isaiah 40:11). He will give us rest when we are weary (Matthew 11:28). He will give you peace in the midst of the storm and calm the wind and the waves (Mark 5:35-41).

The King is immortal. He will never die. He died once, but rose again to live forevermore. He gained victory over death (1 Corinthians 15:55) and will never succumb to it again. All the trees, plants, wildlife, insects, fish, birds, bacteria, and people will eventually die, but He will never die. He is invincible. He will not get sick, weary or fatigued but will reign and rule forever. Death has no power over Him and neither does this world he has overcome the world (John 16:33)

The King is invisible. On this earth, while still in our flesh, we cannot see Him because He is a Spirit (John 4:24). We can only see Him through out spiritual eyes. He will reveal Himself to those whom He chooses. His Spirit can go where it wants (John 3:8), when it wants, how it wants and to whom it wants. He can be many places at one time and also be in the hours ahead of us because He is not constrained to time.

The King is invisible. He can be a shield about me (Psalm 3:3). He can incline unto me to hear my prayer (Psalm 116:2). He is my hiding place. He preserves me from trouble. He encompasses me with deliverance (Psalm 32:7). He goes before me to clear the way from trouble (Deuteronomy 31:8). He is near me when I am brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). He will never leave me or forsake me (Matthew 28:20). Even though I cannot see Him, I will trust Him (1 Peter 1:8).

The King is only wise. All wisdom comes from Him (Proverbs 2:6-8). Man’s wisdom seems is foolishness to God (1 Corinthians 2:19). God’s wisdom will protect us and watch over us (Proverbs 4:6). God’s wisdom is pure, impartial, peace-loving, considerate, submissive sincere and full of mercy and good fruit (James 3:17). His wisdom is unsearchable (Romans 11:33). His ways of wisdom are var above our ways (Isaiah 55:9).

The King is only wise. He gives His wisdom to those who please Him (Ecclesiastes 2:26). He gives wisdom to those who ask with unwavering faith (James 1:5). His wisdom gives us strength (Ecclesiastes 7:19). Wisdom will give us a future and a hope (Proverbs 24:14). Wisdom is better to attain than gold or precious jewels (Job 28:15-18). He who gets wisdom loves his own soul (Proverbs 19:8)

We should give Him honor. Honor is high esteem. We should give Him honor with our praise and worship. We should give Him honor by the way we treat one another (Matthew 25:35-40). We should give Him honor by our daily actions (Colossians 3:23-24). We should give honor to Him with the words we speak. Way to often we do not honor God in these ways and people see us as hypocrites. We should be honoring God and His word in everything we do. There are no exceptions or excuses.

We should give Him glory. We should be praising Him everywhere we go and in everything we do. We are to be a light on a hill, glorifying God with our good deeds (Matthew 5:16). Everything we say should glorify God. If we are ministering grace to those around us with our words, that glorifies God. How do you react when someone takes the Lord’s name in vain? Do we turn that around to give Him glory? He is glorious and mighty. His name is the most powerful name in the universe. His name should be glorified.

All of the above is not a one-time thing. It is not something that is true today but won’t be true tomorrow. These things are not truths you can believe today and decide not to believe tomorrow. They are forever and ever. Hey will always endure. They will always be true whether you believe them or not. He is the King who shall rule and reign for eternity. We must give Him the honor He deserves in our daily lives. We do this by being obedient and staying humble and meek.

Today give Him your all. Be that living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. Don’t accept anything less for yourself. Give Him all of you and He will fill you up!

 

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A Faithful Saying

1 Timothy 1:15-16

15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to lifeverlasting.

A faithful saying is one that will never fail, never be proven wrong and will never change. You can depend on it from dusk to dawn, from Monday until Sunday, from January 1st until December 31st for every single year you are alive. The saying is faithful for your children, your grandchildren and all future generations. It is true for your aunts and uncles, your friends, your enemies, your coworkers and even the clerks in Walmart. A faithful saying applies to everyone, every day at any time.

Another faithful saying is that the sun will rise, and it will set. Or the stars will shine tonight, even though we may not see them because of the clouds. It is a faithful saying to say that winter, spring, summer and fall will come about this year. It is a faithful saying that we will all grow older and eventually die. There are very few faithful sayings that are of this world. But if God said it, it is a faithful saying. It will happen, or it is true, or it did happen. There is no might, maybe, probably or perhaps about it. He is the author of truth and He is faithful and His word is faithful.

This saying is faithful to the rich, poor, fat, skinny, old, young, white, black, yellow, red. It is faithful in the morning, afternoon, evening or night. It is faithful in wind, cold, warm, hot, rain, snow, hail, sleet, cloudy or clear. It is faithful in your home, at work, in your car, in your church, at play and when alone. This saying is faithful when you are tired, angry, sorrowful, impatient, lonely, happy, peaceful, sick, well, or miserable. In any situation, at any time, in any mood or trial, it is faithful. It can be trusted to do what it is intended to do.

This saying is worthy of all acceptance. You can accept it wherever you are, whenever you want and whoever you are. It is acceptable to the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the lame and the leper. It’s worthy of acceptance if you are sick, have cancer, downs syndrome, AIDS, lymphoma, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or any other disease. It is acceptable to all in the North, South, East or West. No matter what your situation, where you have been or where you are now, this saying is worth accepting.

What is this saying that applies in every and all situations in Life? This saying that never fails and always applies? This saying that is faithful to the end and above repute?
This saying is that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners! There is no saying that anyone can say that is more true than that. This is why Jesus came. He did not come to be made a King, or a healer, or a deliverer, or a raiser of the dead or a great teacher. He did all of those things, but that is not the main reason He came. He came to save sinners.

He came to earth from heaven’s glory and was born in a manger, meek and mild. He was raised by a carpenter and learned the value of hard work. He knew at a young age that there was something special about Him as He questioned the very teachers in the temple when He was twelve (Luke 2:41-52). But that did not go to His head because he knew why He had come. He submitted to John the Baptist even though John knew he was the greater of the two (Matthew 3:14). When the heaven’s opened and His heavenly Father said “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17) Jesus did not let it go to His head and declare Himself something special because He knew why He came. When people started to be healed and follow Him, He did not get dreams of being great because He knew why He came.

He came to be cursed and beaten. He came be whipped with a Roman cat-o-nine tails. He came to receive a crown of thorns. He came to be rejected by the people. He came
to be judged by Pilate and Herod. He came to be condemned by His own followers. He came to have His disciples run away. He came to carry a cross down an old rocky street. He came to have nails put in His hands and feet. He came to drink vinegar and have a spear pushed into His side. He came to have His Father turn aside when all of our sins were laid on Him. He took all this for your sins.

He was the sinless sacrifice given by God for all of our sins. The required Lamb that was perfect. All of our scars, all of our pain, all of our hurt was laid on Him on that cross. For the first time in all of eternity He was alone. Alone, hurting with pain He had never felt before and with blood gushing out from several parts of His body All the emotion and all the suffering He went through was why He came. The sacrifice of the spotless Lamb was necessary for the remission of sins, for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Leviticus 17:11, Hebrews 9:22). His blood was shed in place of yours and mine.

On that cross, in all that pain and suffering, alone and worn, He spoke. He spoke words that come down through the annals of time and touch every single person on this earth. He spoke words that are faithful and worthy of acceptance. He said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). He said that about those standing around the cross looking at Him, about the soldiers that were standing guard and about those who were gambling for His garment. He also said it about you and me. Oh what grace! Oh what mercy! That He would speak out and forgive me from that cross.

Then He said “It is finished” (John 19:30). The reason He came was complete. There was no more to do for our salvation. It was done right then and there. We cannot buy it, earn it, work for it or borrow it. It is ours when we accept it. It does not just magically save you from your sin without your acceptance. It is worthy of your acceptance and must be accepted by you in order to cover your sin.

This sacrifice that He gave covers every person, no matter what they did. The murderer, the rapist, the sex offender, the violent, the thief, the deceiver, the mocker, the unbeliever. It is faithful and acceptable for all. No matter how bad, as Paul says he was the chief of sinners. He had killed Christians. He had taken them captive and delivered them to judgment. He terrorized the church. Yet it was faithful for him. It was acceptable for him. It is for you as well.

We most likely will not suffer like Paul suffered for Christ. Shipwrecks, stoning, beatings, near death experiences, mocking, rejection and many other things followed Paul everywhere he went. The pattern of suffering he went through was to let us know this walk with God will not be a bed of roses. It is not all on the mountaintop. We often go into the valley where it is much more difficult and we don’t see the mountaintop clearly. The valley can be a time of sickness or pain or depression or loneliness. The valley is a tough place to be.

The valley is also the place where life is. It is the place where waters flow and birds sing. It is the place where flowers bloom and trees sway in the breeze. The mountaintop is barren and cold. It is lifeless. When we are in the valley, it is a time of growth. It is where God is working on us whether we see it or not. It is a place where He walks with us and talks with us. The valley is a wonderful place to be.

Have you accepted the faithful saying? Have you acknowledged that Jesus Christ died for your sins? Have you accepted Him as your Lord and Savior? If you have, I am grateful and thrilled for you. You have entered into the life that God has prepared for you and it will be a magnificent journey. There will be mountains and valleys but you will trust in God and come through every trial with joy and peace. You know He is in control and you just have to put Him in the driver’s seat and enjoy the ride. It’s a good ride!

If you have not, why not ask Him today. Simply pray and acknowledge that you are a sinner. Ask Jesus to forgive your sins. Ask Him to come into your life. Ask Him to be Lord of your life. It’s that simple. After you pray that get out your Bible, or borrow one, and read John in the New Testament. Then go back and start with Matthew and read through the New Testament. Find a good church and some Christians to fellowship with. You have just entered into new life! Enjoy it!

Does God Count You Faithful?

1 Timothy 1:12-14

12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

I like to take credit. I like to think I did something myself. It was me who read the Bible and gained the knowledge I have. It was me who began to understand how the Old and New Testament worked together., It was me who figured out how the scripture applies to everyday life. I wrote all these poems and songs through the years. The moving of the Holy Spirit is due to my ability and expertise in putting a worship service together. All these years, I have been slaving away for God and coming up with these thoughts and ideas on how God works in our lives. I did it. Me!

That paragraph is the definition of pride. I did it. I accomplished it. I figured it out. This is where I lived for years, and truly believed the sayings in that paragraph. It caused me to start top think I could disregard all that I had learned and do what I wanted to do. After all, I had done it all for God!

But I soon fell hard, lost my job and almost my family and had to take inventory on my spiritual life. What I found out was what Paul says here. God has enabled me. I do not have the ability within myself to do the things above. It is God in me and through me. That is the only way these things can minister the way they do. That is the only way the right words can get on paper that will touch hearts and heal up wounds of the soul.

You see, I was once very much like Paul. I certainly was a blasphemer, a breaker of all the commandments, a drunkard and drug addict and a person who could care less about God. My own way was the way I would go and no one could tell me I was in the wrong. I had walked away from God in high school and had no plans on coming back to Him. I was a persecutor, maybe not of the saint, but of everyone around me. I would put down, speak badly of, and try to hurt with words anyone that wronged me. I was a smaller guy and not a physical specimen, so I relied on a quick wit. This also made me injurious, like Paul. My words could injure peoples spirits and hearts quicker than a dart being thrown at them. The bigger problem is that they could dodge a dart, but could not avoid my stinging words.

Then grace came in. Love came in. Faith came in. Somehow I found myself driving to Iowa to see my best friend. Clear out of the blue I had decided to make the 1300 mile drive from Massachusetts to Iowa. When I arrived at his house, we had a great reunion, having not seen each other for over a year. He was a Christian, and had tried to sway me a year earlier at our high school reunion. It didn’t work, but it also did not hurt our friendship. Here I was on His doorstep in Iowa. Through the last year we had sent letters back and forth and each one of his letters had a scripture address on it. I had to look it up to see what he was saying. He was a sly old fox (well, not that old. He was a week older than me).

Then he said come to church with us tonight, and I said OK. I had no problem going with him, just don’t give me any of that salvation stuff. Don’t tell me I need saving. I was doing just fine. And I was so wrong. That minister, who was a missionary home on leave, told me I was headed for a burning hell. I did not want to go there! Then he told me there was only one way to avoid it, and that was Jesus Christ, I wanted Jesus. Jesus took me into His arms later that week and saved my soul. His grace covered me completely.

Now He enables me. I do everything I can to keep my thoughts out of this blog, out of the poetry, out of the songs that fill the pages of my web sites. I seek God’s wisdom and His words for these pages, not mine. I have nothing of value to give except my life. These are His words, His thoughts, His songs. I claim no ownership.

Since He has enabled me, it is now up to me to be an open conduit. He has put me into this ministry and now I need to allow His message to flow through me out to you. Paul tells us that the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet (1 Corinthians 14:32). This means God gives us the ability to shut it down or make it flow. We can muzzle the message God gives us to share. We can say “God gave this to me and I’m not going to share it!” We absolutely can. But I do no want to be that person.

My heart’s desire is to be counted faithful. Jesus said that to whom much is given, much will be required (Luke 12:48). The words, songs, melodies and so on come from God. He has given them, for some reason I will never understand, to me. He entrusted me with the ability to hear His voice, and I for one want to make sure He will say I did it well. I could care less if anyone on this earth says the same. I am aware that very few hear God the way I hear Him. Very few have learned to listen as He has taught me to. He holds me accountable for those things He has entrusted to me.

What about you? What gift, or gifts, has God given to you? What talents do you possess? What are you doing with them? I suggest you make a list of all the gifts and talents God has bestowed on you. Some will have just a few items they can think of, others might have many dozen. Pray about it and be thorough. Once you have compiled your list, take each item one by one and ask God if you are doing a good job with that talent. If you’re like me, there are some you are doing well with and others you need to do better.

After this is done, ask God to help you do a better job of ministering in the areas where He has gifted you. Ask Him to enable you to reach more, teach more, love more and touch more. Ask Him to make your light shine so that you might bring Him glory. Give yourself as a living sacrifice for Him so that you might prove the will of God is alive in your life. Be vigilant in your ministry and never back down. This world needs you!

Use the Law Lawfully

1 Timothy 1:8-11

8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

Today our cities are being torn apart by the unlawful use of the law. We have seen many riots in the streets because law enforcement officers are suspected of using unnecessary force against people of different color than they are, They are accused of paying closer attention to infractions that minorities commit than the majority commits. They are accused of playing favorites between their own race and those of a different race. It is thought that the over zealous actions of the police has resulted in a large majority of minorities in prison, not because they commit more crimes, but because the police concentrate more on catching them. This is a perfect case of using the law unlawfully. The law is not a respecter of persons. The law should be applied to everyone equally and not single out anyone of one race or one social class. The law should be pure and undefiled. The law should be used lawfully!

In this plea to Timothy, Paul is addressing the fact that many well-intentioned Jews were trying to make the Corinthians live under parts of the law after they had been converted. They were saying that circumcision must be done to truly be a child of God. It is an old case of works vs. grace. They claimed you must do something to earn your salvation. They taught that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was not enough to receive a pardon from God and be adopted into His family.

The fallacy of the necessity of works for salvation is still alive today. There is nothing in the Gospels or the writing of Paul, Peter, James, John or anyone else in the Bible that says we must do something to earn our salvation. The gospel is a simple message. Jesus said God loved the world so much He gave His Son so whoever believes in Him will have eternal life (John 3:16). The key word is “Believes”. That is all it takes. Faith. Pure and simple. Paul wrote that we are saved by faith through grace (Ephesians 2:8). Grace is given to us so we can have the faith to accept Christ’s sacrifice. Paul goes on to say it is not works that saves us (Ephesians 2:9). This is because if we were saved by works we would tend to become full of pride that we were saved because we found favor with God through our works, and that pride would puff us up. Romans 10:9-10 says if we confess Jesus Christ with our mouth and believe in our hearts God raised Him from the dead we will be saved. Once again, no mention of works is made.

We can do nothing to earn our salvation. It is a free gift from God. If you have been trying to earn God’s favor, you will never be able to do it. All you need to do is accept it, accept His sacrifice for your sins, accept that He rose from the dead to give you eternal live. Believe it! Have faith in God and His word. Paul goes on to say here that the Jewish law is what was given to show us our sin – it is for the unsaved. It was given to teach us what sin is. The heathen nations around that area had all kinds of ungodly mannerisms and practices that God did not want His people practicing. So He gave them the law to give them an idea of what holiness was.

Now once you are saved, you have a responsibility to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Jesus says if we do not do the commands of the Father, we will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 7:21). You cannot just get saved ands go on your merry way. Grace covers a lot, but Paul tells us that we should stop sinning. We have no right to keep sinning so He will shed more grace on us
(Romans 6:1-2)

There is preaching out there that once you are saved, you are always saved. The Bible does not support that idea. John 10:28-30 tells us that no one can snatch you out of the Fathers hand., But that does not mean that you can’t leave on your own. You have a choice. You can decide to leave God’s safety by not following His word and walking away from repentance when you do disobey. His grace reaches a long way, and it will reach you no matter how far away you might get. But if you decide you don’t want to be reached, that is your choice. If you decide you will not follow what He has said, then you are in danger. Repent!

There are a lot of other teaching out there that say we must do something on top of our confession of faith in order to truly be saved. Paul says it is the glorious Gospel, the simple gospel that will save us, not laws. Let us never be ones to put burdens on new converts saying they must do more. Let us encourage them in the faith and show them the way to grow in their newfound faith. Faith that came by grace. Grace that saved their souls

Don’t Serve

1 Timothy 1:6-7

6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

That word “swerved” really catches my eye in these two verses. This is the only use of that particular word in the Bible. The Greek word is astacheo, and it is only used in one other place in the Bible. 2 Timothy 2:18, this word is translated “err.” The Greek word means to miss the mark or go astray. The first thing that comes to my mind is a car swerving to miss a deer, or a pothole or even another car. The driver sees danger ahead and turns the wheel to avert the danger. I have done this many times and I’m sure you have as well. It’s a word that we commonly use today describing someone who has to go out of their way to accomplish a task. Another use also comes from driving, and that is the drunkard or drug-filled person who swerves all over the road because they have lost control of their perceptions. They become a danger to themselves and to others but are unaware of it because they are under the influence. Both of these examples show us the meaning of the word swerved.

The second interesting word in the KJV is jangling. This is the Greek word mataiologia, and it means vain speaking or noise. This is the only place in the Bible that this word is used. I immediately think of a large ring with keys on it, attached to the belt of a janitor or landlord. They keys clank together, or jangle, when the person walks or when they go to use one of the keys. It is a metallic sound that is non-sensical. The other reference that Webster’s dictionary gives us for jangling is that it “set on edge” which our nerves might be if certain things happen to make us skeptical or afraid.

The fact that Paul uses these two words exclusively in writing to Timothy is no small thing. Paul is obviously trying to make a strong point to Timothy and uses vivid words to get that point across. He could easily have just said “turned aside to foolish teaching” but he chose not to. We can learn a lot about what Paul is warning Timothy of because he used these two specific words only in writing to Timothy. It is a warning that still resonates today in our world.

The first point is that these teachers who Paul is talking about did not just slip into some teaching that was in error. They went their purposely. They swerved, like we do to miss something. The swerved so that they could bring forth a teaching that no one else would duplicate because they fabricated it. It was not a Holy Spirit inspired teaching. It was not based solidly on scripture. It did not line up with the hole volume of scripture, but may have chosen one verse out of all of them and then was taken out of context. I think of those who worship today by taking up snakes because Paul took up snakes. I think of those who worship by smoking marijuana because God said all of creation was good. I think of the movie that is coming out this year called “Corpus Christie” in which Jesus and the disciples are portrayed as gay men.

These things and many more are just dead wrong. The people who practice them and preach them have swerved from the truth. They try to tell us that these things are not against the law of God and they show their ignorance of the word of God. They somehow miss the scriptures that speak out against these things and only listen to that deceptive little voice in their heads saying “It’s OK. It’s OK.” They swerve into their own path and their own teaching so they can stand out as someone who knows a little more than the next person. But they too are deceived. They think their little foray into an obscure idea of what God is saying is a new revelation God has given specifically to them. The problem is that God will always confirm His word with two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15), and He will always inform His prophets of what He is going to do (Amos 3:7).

The second point is about those who get intoxicated by the world and start to think that God is all about giving them material wealth if they ask. They think they should be able to come up to God and demand things because this verse or that verse says a particular thing. They take the scripture out of context and apply it as law. “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14) is their rallying cry, They are swerving in and out of the truth. They find themselves wanting more and more and thinking that others should be able to gain wealth the same way they did. They think your lack of wealth is a lack of faith. This cannot be farther from the truth. Has God made everyone a rich man? Has God made everyone with the same capabilities? Has He made everyone with the same health?

We are not all the same When these deceptive teaching come along we must be very careful to examine the whole body of what they are saying through the lens of scripture. The whole body of scripture must be taken into account, not just a few verses. These teachers think they are wise and they think they are teaching the law but failing to back up what they say.

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement is a great example of this verse. I am not going to get into all the things this church movement is swerving toward because I want this blog to focus on Christian aspects that will help us grow. The NAR is sweeping through churches across the country and bringing in new doctrine filled with vain jangling and false teaching. I suggest you study up on it so you will be aware if it does start to creep into your church. You can learn a little about this by clicking HERE

Solomon said “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) and that statement is just as true now as it was in his day. In everything we do, we need to do our best to remain true to scripture and it’s context. We need to stay away from those who are just talking with no purpose, or standing on one scripture and miss the mark even on that one. Seek the truth, the whole truth. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth. Don’t swerve off the path!

The End of the Commandment

1 Timothy 1:5

5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

What a mouthful this little verse is. It seems Paul wanted to sum up all of the commandments regarding our relationship to one another with one sentence, and I think he did a superb job. The words penned in this verse resonate to every aspect of our interpersonal relationships and we would do well to practice these simple things every day. He even says this is the “end of the commandment.” This means that once you put them all together the result is found in three simple steps. As we go through these steps, evaluate how you are doing with each one. Ask God to help you do better if you struggle in one area or another.

First we have charity out of a pure heart. As you all know, charity is the same as love when it comes to the Bible. Charity is the word used in 1 Corinthians 13, where love is defined as well as any college textbook or psychologist has ever defined it. Practicing love out of a pure heart takes into account all the attributes of love found in that famous chapter. Let’s take a quick look at what Paul says there.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8:

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. We use all kinds of flowery words and sound so sentimental when we tell someone we love them. In our world today, love is one of the most overused and misused words in the English language. “I love that dress you’re wearing,” I love the way you did your hair,” I love the Patriots (Yes, I really do), or ” I love meatloaf.” Love is used to lure women and men into doing things they would rather not do. An old saying days that men use love to get sex and women use sex to get love. It is a word that has no meaning behind it when used in this context. It’s just a sounding cymbal, a noise amidst all the other noises of the band. Unless there is loving action with it and expects nothing in return, the word love is misused.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. I can have all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, walk around performing miracles in Jesus name. I can have all the knowledge in the world and a vast knowledge of the Bible and it’s implications for life. My faith can be as powerful as possible, able to move obstacles that are in my way because I believe it can happen. All these are great things, but if love is not attached to them they are nothing to God.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. I can give away all that I have to help others in their time of need. This is a good and honorable thing to do. Or I can give my life for the Gospel. But if I do not have the love of God as my driving force, these things will only add to my pride, and they are not profitable to my spiritual life,.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, People with love are patient with others. They does not get anxious or upset if someone else is blessed and they are not. They wait on God without demanding of Him. They do not think of themselves any more than they think of others. They understand that they are supposed to put others before themselves and do not get boastful about their accomplishments.

5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; The kind of love we should have will never behave in a crass or vulgar way. It will not cuss or speak rudely at any time. This love will look out for the other person before thinking of themselves and will not get offended or upset very easily. It also will not even think of bad things about people.

6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; This kind of love does not take pleasure when someone else falls into trouble, and does not think kindly to any type of sin in their own lives. They strive after the truth in all things.

7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. This love bears with anything that might happen around them because they believe and have faith in those people around them and hope for the best at all times. They endure anything that might come their way without offense.

8 Charity never faileth: This charity that we are supposed to have will never fail to do what it says it will do in light of all these characteristics. It will always be there for our friends and our enemies. It will not fail to reach out to someone else with a pure heart.

This charity Paul is speaking of is a high calling to all who take the name of Christ. We cannot do it in ourselves, but only by His strength and with His love shining through us like a beacon. Jesus said the world will know we are His disciples by the love we show to others (John 15:35). I personally have a lot to work on when I look at this list.

The second point Paul makes to Timothy is that he must have a good conscience. There should be nothing he is doing that would need repentance or forgiveness from someone else. We get a guilty conscience when we wrong someone or deceive them. This should never be done by a Christian. We should walk in such a place that all can know what we do day to day. God knows! Does He approve of everything you do, or is there an area of your life where you have a guilty conscience?

This pure conscience extends to the people around us. When we do good deeds, do we do it to gain favor, or to hold it over their heads or to make ourselves look good? None of these type of acts are done with a good conscience unless your conscience has been hardened through repeated defiance. If the love you are extending to others is for greedy purposes and you are not hearing that still small voice in your head saying you must repent and make it right, I think you better examine yourself. You should feel guilty when you take advantage of someone else. If you don’t, something is wrong.

The third attribute Paul wants to see is faith unfeigned. Unfeigned means that there is no hypocrisy or impure motives. It is faith in other people that is genuine and authentic. No one will question the sincerity of this person to minister the Gospel only for the sake of helping other people see the way to Christ, not for reasons of self-indulgence or self-promotion. I have a real problem when I hear countless advertisements for books or CD’s or teachings from a preacher on the radio. I know that is how they make the money to be able to do the shows, but sometimes the promotion is longer than the actual message. They could keep these promos separate and short. The constant harping for funds is one of the main reasons people are turned off by the church.

We need to step back and see ourselves as the world sees us. We need to look in the mirror and understand exactly what others see in us and in the actions we take from day to day. Then we need to compare what we see with these three simple things Paul asks of Timothy. I have a lot to work on in order to be seen ion the pure light of the gospel. How about you?

No Other Doctrine

1 Timothy 1:3-4

3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

Paul faced a constant battle with false teachers everywhere he went. He would set up a church, explain to them that salvation is by grace through faith, and they would all rejoice that they did not to do anything to earn their salvation. After he left the area, false teachers would come in and tell them they were not saved until they were circumcised or baptized or some other work of the flesh that was needed. It was happening all over the new church and it was deceiving many into thinking they actually had to do these things to be part of Christ’s church.

As we explained in the last post, our salvation was secured at Calvary. The only thing you have to do is accept the free gift. Jesus paid the price. He took the penalty for sin once and for all. There is nothing you can do, or have to do, to earn your salvation. It can’t be earned, It can only be taken as the free gift it is. If you are depending on anything else, or any work of the flesh, to obtain your salvation, then you have been listening to false teachers.

Paul decided to leave Timothy in Ephesus so he put down some of these teachings. He specifically mentions two things. Endless genealogies and fables. Timothy had a task ahead of him. The teachers in the church were teaching these things and Timothy had to put a stop to it. Paul wanted to make sure that the teachers were teaching things of God that would edify the people and their faith. Paul went on to Macedonia to check on the churches there and possibly start more.

Endless genealogies points to teaching that says our lineage is what makes us acceptable to God. In those days, being a son of Abraham was a big deal, and claiming that you were a son of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was an even bigger thing. There are many places in the Bible where God is described as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We have top remember that Jacob was later named Israel, and thus the father of the nation. Isaac was also the father of Esau, who was the father of the Edomites, arch enemies of the Israelites. We could spend days hashing out genealogies and get nowhere.

The fact is that we are part of the faith covenant with Abraham. Abrahams seed includes all who by faith accept Christ’s sacrifice since Christ was the fulfillment of the law. We are blessed, just as the nation of Israel is blessed, when we have this faith in God because without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). The Bible says that Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6). This is the faith we must have. Not faith in genealogies, but faith in God and His Son Jesus Christ.

In today’s world, many think that they can hang on the coattails of their parents and grandparents. They think that their genealogy can get them into heaven. The believe that because they go to their parents church and have been good all their lives, they are assured a place in heaven. This could not be further from the truth. We all make heaven our home by our own personal decision. We must believe that Jesus died as an atonement for our sins and that he rose again to give us eternal life. We must act on that belief by accepting the sacrifice He made and making Him the Lord of our lives. We must relent of our sins and leave them at His feet. This is what brings salvation into our lives. Once saved, we must obey His commandments in order to even see the Kingdom of heaven. Nothing in your genealogy can save you. Your parents cannot take you to heaven. Only you can make that decision.

Fables speaks of things made up that falsify the truth. One of the chief examples of this in Paul’s time was the Judaizers. They preached that circumcision must be done to those who accepted Christ. This was a subversion of the truth of the gospel. Paul tells Timothy here that anything that ministers questions in the mind of the believer should not be taught, but things that minister grace.

We have to remember the times they were in. The gospel was preached to the people, not read by the people. The heathen, or Gentiles, did not know the Old Testament either. They had to take the word they were told and process it. It is so different today. When Paul preached, people took him at his word. It was all they knew about what happened. When false teachers came in and told them something different, it raised questions in their minds whether Paul was telling the truth. This is what Paul was trying to stop.

Today we have a lot of examples of false teaching that raises questions. Some would say that all Protestants are following a fabrication of the truth and that Catholicism is the only way to God. Of course, I disagree because Christ is the only way to God, not any church organization. Some would say that once you are saved you are always saved and cannot lose your place in heaven. Jesus clearly says otherwise (Matt 7:21). Some would say if you want something, anything, just claim it from God and it’s yours. If you don’t get it, you don’t have enough faith. I do not believe that for a minute because God is sovereign and He will decide what is best for you. You really don’t know what is best for you at any given moment. God knows you better than you know yourself and he will always do what is best for you.

Then there are some who say once you get saved, grace will cover anything you do after that. Jesus also contradicts that belief by saying we should be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matt 5:48). As stated above, He says that not everyone who calls Him Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of the Father. What is that will? It is found in Matthew chapters 5-7. We are under grace, but we are also told we must do you best to follow Christ’s commands. We can’t just go and do anything we want and expect grace to cover us. Even Jesus knew this as shown by His testing in the wilderness. Satan came to Him three times tempting Him and Jesus did not fall for his charms (Matthew 4:1-11). If anyone would have been covered by grace it would be Jesus. Paul says God forbid that we should continue in sin so grace can cover us (Romans 6:1-2). Let’s not fall for the grace covers all gospel.

These and many more “fables” are around in the church today to lure even the very elect away from the gospel message (Matthew 24:24). The NAR (New Apostolic Reformation church is the latest in trickery. I am not going to get into all the various ways that this cult is drawing people away from the gospel, but I suggest you study it out yourself. It is very deceptive and is sweeping through churches around the globe. I am saddened by how easily people are drawn away from Christ and the pure Gospel message.

Let us be ministers of grace. Grace that leads people to repentance. Grace that tells people of the cross and the price that Jesus paid for them so many years ago. Grace that says you can accept this sacrifice of love by faith if you’ll only believe. It is a simple message that is as profound in so many ways. Christ crucified, the hope of glory. Let us never forget the Gospel message and let us preach it wherever we go.