Pastoral Epistles - Lesson 11
1 Timothy 3:14–4:16
This paragraph is the heart of the letter, putting everything that Paul has been discussing into perspective and giving it context. The church is precious, and we should protect the gospel because of the truths it teaches.
1 Timothy 3:14–4:16
Heart of the letter
Four images to describe the church
1. “Household of God”
2. “Church of the living God”
3. That building has pillars
4. That building has buttresses
Description of the truth, the gospel (3:16)
Stanza 1 — Marvel at Christ’s work
Marvel at the Incarnation
Resurrection — “Vindicated by the Spirit”
Ascension — “seen by angels” (universal proclamation)
Second stanza — Marvel at the Result of Christ’s work
Result of widespread faith
This is why we take seriously the charge to leadership
1 Timothy 4:1-5
1 Timothy 4:6-10
4:6-7 — What does it take to be a “good servant of Christ Jesus”?
Teaching the right things
Not easy, so Paul motivates — 4:8
Motivation: Reminds Timothy what is at stake — 4:9-10
“Savior of all men”
1 Timothy 4:11-16
1. Don’t let people look down on you
2. Live in such a way that you are a positive example
Devoted to a biblically based ministry
Order is significant
All three are necessary
4:14 — Encouragement
Ends with a series of personal admonitions (15–16)
Dr. Mounce introduces himself and covers the traditional issues in introductions, including his historical reconstruction of the writing and history behind the Pastorals, basic misconceptions people have of the Pastorals, and the survey of the critical issues often raised.
Paul begins by reminding Timothy of an earlier visit, and encourages Timothy to stay on at Ephesus, dealing with the issues in the church. Paul's goal is love, which stands in stark contrast to the work of the false teachers. Throughout 1 Timothy 1, Dr. Mounce is enumerating the ways in which Timothy (and we) should deal with false teaching.
Paul gives the theological argument up front as to why the false teachers were wrong and Timothy needs to silence them. They are legalists, applying the Mosaic Law to all Chrsitians. Rather, salvation is by God's mercy and grace as seen in Paul's conversion. But things have gotten bad in Ephesus, and Paul had to take a firm stance on dealing with two of the leaders of the opposition.
Having looked at the core teaching on why the false teachers were wrong, the class now looks at the other main pasages in the Pastorals that deal theologically with the false teaching.
Paul begins a two chapter discussion on issues of leadership in the Ephesian church. He begins by critiquing their habit of praying only for some people, which shows their legalistic way of looking at salvation. Then he deals with issues of public worship, first men then women. These are issues that the leaderhip should have been dealing with but most likely were being caused by poor leadership.
While this paragraph is not a matter of orthodoxy, it is nevertheless important since there are so many women in the church. Paul lays out the basic principle that women should learn with a submissive attitude, and then restates that principle with an eye to application; they cannot teach certain people in certain situations. Paul looks to the pre-Fall creation and the relationship that Adam and Eve were created to fulfill, and then spells out a consequence of what happens when that relationship is not honored. Because Paul references Genesis 2 and not Genesis 3, this is not a cultural teaching but transcultural.
After dealing with some questions, the class resumes by finishing the last two verses in chapter 2.
Paul gives four basic requirements for the leaders of a church. He beghins by emphasizing that leadership is a good thing and insists that leaders must be a certain kind of person, a person's who character is above repreoach. To appoint unqualified people to leadership is a sin, and those appointing them share in the responsibiiltiy when they fail and damage the church. But elders must also have a proven managerial ability of people, be spiritually mature, and have a good reputation in the eyes of people outside the church.
We conclude our discussion of elders by looking at two other passages on the role, Titus 1:5–9 and 1 Timothy 5:17–25.
We now move into the discussion of deacons in 1 Tim 3:8–13. There is much overlap between elders and deacons, and yet deacons are more involved in the day-to-day service of the church and are not required to be able to teach. The major interpretive decision is in v 11 as to whether it refers to women (i.e., deaconnesses) or wives (of the deacons).
This paragraph is the heart of the letter, putting everything that Paul has been discussing into perspective and giving it context. The church is precious, and we should protect the gospel because of the truths it teaches.
Paul goes back to addressing the needs of the Ephesian church. He deals in summary fashion with people of different ages, with a special note of concern for Timothy in how he deals with young women, which leads him into a discussion of young widows. His concern is that the church care for those who are "truly widows," i.e., who are old, truly alone, and have lived godly lives. Younger widows, however, should remarry and not burden the church. The church has limited resources, and it should initially care for those who are the most vulnerable.
Paul concludes his letter with a series of different and not always related topics. He deals with slaves, and begins to lay the groundwork for abolition, gives Timothy two tests for correct theology and spells out the download spiral and eventual destruction of the false teacher especially related to their love of money, and then encourages Timothy three ways. And in proper biblical fashion, he concludes with a doxology. The final paragraph (skipped by Dr. Mounce, is a final word to the rich in the church and a final plea to Timothy to be careful.
Most of the content of Titus has been covered in the lectures over 1 Timothy. However, the letter does have something to add to the discussion of leadership, and its two salvific hymns raise the issue of the reationship between justification and sanctification.
Paul begins his letter to his best friend by encouraging him to continue in ministry. If ever there were a model for how you encourage someone, especially someone who looks up to you, this is the chapter. The best thing you can do is find how many ways Paul encourages Timothy, and then see how to apply those points in your own life and ministry.
Paul concludes his encouragement to Timothy, and points out examples of faithless friends, and of one faithful friend.
Paul continues to encourage the discouraged Timothy, reminding him of the glorious gospel that he proclaims. Even if Paul himself is bound, the gospel is not.
The false teachers come back into view with a strong emphasis on Timothy's need to remain faithful. But the encouragement is that God's foundation in Timothy's life, and others, is sealed with a promise, and yet Timothy must also pursue righteousness and flee evil. Paul uses his own life as an example of faithfulness, and concludes with a strong admonition to preach the gospel because it comes from the very mouth of God.
Paul concludes his discussion of the role of Scripture in Timothy's life, reminding Timothy of Paul's own life of faithfulness. Paul makes some personal remarks about a few people, and references his final trial. He knows he will die, but death is merely a loosening.
The Pastoral Epistles contain some of the most practical advice in the New Testament. Learn how to handle heresy, appoint qualified leaders, take care of those who may not be able to care for themselves, and especially how to encourage one another in ministry. Titus alone contains two of the most powerful salvific statements in all of Scripture. These 13 chapters are worth studying.
Dr. Bill Mounce
1 Timothy 3:14–4:16
Okay, so we finished we started the whole issue of the public church assembly and issues related to it. Their prayer life. The women's dress. Women Leadership. Elder Leadership. Deacons. Leadership. Deacons, leadership. And we get to 73 verses 14 to 16. These are really the heart of the entire letter. This is this is the part that that gives that that tells Timothy why all this stuff is so phenomenally important. And so it is really the conclusion to this discussion that started formally, I think it chapter two, verse one. And so Paul says. I hope to come to you soon. I remember the historical setting. Timothy had gone to meet Paul after he got out of jail. Probably. He didn't want to go back to emphasize. Paul said, You got to go back to emphasis. I'm headed off to Macedonia. Eventually, I'll get down to see you in Ephesus. So this is. I hope to come to you soon. Timothy, I'm trying to get there. But I'm writing these things to you. I'm writing the first Timothy the letter to you so that if I delay words is there are ministry things that come up that keep me busy. I'm writing these things so that you may know how one ought to behave, how one must behave in the household of God. And again, Timothy knew exactly how people ought to behave. This is this is in here for the Fusion Church. And Paul's not giving any wiggle room. He said, This is how you ought to the you must do it. This is these are not optional things. This is how you must behave. There is no room to ignore Chapters two and three. And this is how you ought to behave in the household of God.
And then he is going to go off and he's going to talk about what the household of God is. And again, we all know that the church is not the building and not the 501c3. The church is not what happens Sunday morning. It is, as I said, you can't go to what you are. It's theologically impossible to go to church. Right. You cannot go to church because the church is people. You are the church. The church can assemble and small groups. The church can assemble in large groups. But the church is the people. So we understand that. But it I need to emphasize that up front, because Paul is going to start talking about houses and stuff, and you want to make sure that nobody thinks we're talking about the building at all. And what he's trying to do is, again, as I said, is trying to emphasize how important it is that Timothy put these and the physician church put these instructions into play. And he says, this is God's house. We're not dealing here with a human institution. We're dealing here with the household of God. And what he's going to do is that he's going to use four different images to describe this. Um. House for, like, for lack of a better phrase. So the first phrase, the first way he describes the church is that it is the household of God. It's not just the the the building is not just the home that the people are meeting in as the church. It is the people themselves. It is the worshipers who together form the church. I know in this day and age and I'm partially guilty for this as well. We live in such a non-institutional culture, don't we? I mean, institutions kind of by default are bad.
And as soon as you go through a difficult situation in the church, it's really easy to start devaluing the church. My brother in law says instead of the church, it isn't much, but it's all we've got. Sometimes I feel, yes, I guess so. That's not quite the attitude that Paul has here. Paul says this, this the church, the sum total of the assembling of the true believers of Jesus Christ. This is the household of God. This is his home. These are his people. So that's the first image he uses of the church, that it's a house, not just the building, but the people who comprise it. But second of all, he goes on. He says that this is the church of the living God. In other words, God is not some dead deity who's going to idly watch his family and his temple be destroyed. God is a living God. And this is, you know, Hebrews 1013. It's a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. So again, emphasizing how important it is that Timothy deal with the issues and emphasize that the people in Ephesus listen to him. This thing that we call the church is God's house. God is the living God and implied he's going to do something about the problems. But then he goes on and he says. That the church is a pillar and your translations may be wrong on this point. And it is a buttress. Of the truth. I mean, some translations say the foundation. That's. I forget which translation does. That couldn't be further from the truth. It actually is one of the arguments that people use against Pauling authorship. They translate this and maybe it's not a translation, maybe it's just the commentaries I'm thinking of.
But if it's the pillar and the foundation of the truth, then we have a really non Pauling statement because what's the foundation of all things is the gospel, right? It's the gospel, the foundation foundations built by the apostles and the prophets, and and the building is built up. But the picture that some of the commentaries say is that the institutional church is viewed as the bedrock foundation, and there's things sitting on top of it. And that's not. Paul but that's not what he's saying here. Notice it is there's no article here that it is a pillar and it is a whatever this word is that I've translated buttress of the truth. So in what sense is the church a pillar? And in what sense is the church a buttress of the truth? I think what the pillar is doing is creating the image of the church as the temple. It's a common, common image of the church, isn't it? And. The church assembled. Is a pillar. It's actually part of God's temple. And the idea is if you start destroying the church, if you start destroying a pillar, you're actually destroying part of God's church. So the image of a pillar, I think, is just to help people see the church as the temple of God. And if you're chipping away at it, you're chipping away. Not just some pillar, you're chipping away at God's pillar, You're you're chipping away at God's temple. So it's really important that you put these practices that I've been describing, Paul says, into place. And then secondly, or fourthly, I guess that the church is a buttress and the buttress is the ramparts. In ancient cities you would have a wall and then you would usually have another wall further out.
And so if the enemy was going to attack, the first place you would defend are the ramparts, the buttress, so that the outer, not even the outer wall is beyond the outer wall. And then if the enemy overpowered you, would fall back and get behind your city walls. And the the picture that he's painting is that when the church conduct conducts itself according to God's design, we become the ramparts around the truth of the gospel that we surround and we protect the gospel. Right? So when we behave badly, we damage the gospel. But when we behave as Paul is calling us to behave, we actually help to protect the gospel message. So it's they're they're kind of building metaphors. But the overall point is, this is so important that you put instructions in chapters two and three into place. What we're talking about is the church and the church is God's house. It's God's household. He is the living God. And we are we are part of the house. We are we are the pillars of that. We are the ramparts protecting it. So four different images all saying something slightly different, but all really trying to make the point that it's really important to follow the instructions. And what happens when elders aren't qualified? What happens when deacons aren't qualified? What happens when women conduct themselves in seductive ways? What happens to the Gospel when when men live in their anger? What happens to the gospel when people become sectarian and view certain groups as being outside the scope of salvation when everyone all falls apart, doesn't it? That there's no protection? It's not just you're wrong. You're actually working to destroy the gospel and working to destroy what God died for. And so Timothy is saying, Paul's saying, you really need to put these things into place.
He then moves on and again, all these again, what he's trying to do is to emphasize how important it is that we do this. Do you see why biblical training is building a leadership development program? It's really, really important. And, you know, when I was pastor, I mean, was the seminary professor and it was still really hard. I don't think I ever did figure out exactly. I know I didn't figure out how do you how do you raise up and train people who can be elders and can be deacons and and how do you get involved enough in people's lives so the men aren't comfortable in their anger and and the women dress and conduct themselves? I mean, these are these are hard things to do. And it's why biblical training is working so hard to help fill in some of that void. But it's why you also take classes in the pastoral sphere so you can know what to do anyway. It's really, really important. He's so he's talked about this and then he goes, you know, this mystery of godliness, this the gospel. The gospel message in it. It's the mystery of God. Is it is there is a mystery. At one level, there's a mystery around. Well, the gospel message. And as you sometimes we can know bits and pieces of it. But when you kind of stand back and look at it and you can see it in all its splendor and all of the glory of the gospel, when you really get a good look at what we preach. It's it's a reminder how magnificent it is and how important it is that we do our part in it. Mystery for Paul is always the revealed mystery, right? Mystery is always something that was hidden in the past and is now made known in godliness as living lives, fully dedicated to God.
And Paul's saying at some point there's this whole idea of godliness and what the gospel is about has been revealed. And you've got to sit back at times and wonder in all of what Jesus did. And when we do that, it's an incentive to be obedient and to do the hard tasks of leadership. So this is really meant for us just to stand back and marvel at the mystery of it all. Could that concept be in contrast to the boss teachers who were quantifying things by just. In that they're legalistic and they're going to have Thou shalt not, Thou shalt not, thou shall not. I mean, I don't know if Paul is actually thinking of that, but it does produce a contrast. I mean, on a legal list for them, Christianity is a bunch of do's and don'ts for a real Christian. Christianity is the wonder in the all of a relationship of the God who spoke reality into existence. I mean, those are those are radically different things, aren't they? By the way, when you preach, sometimes you got to preach some of the details. But but I hope in your preaching that you that you stand back in awe and wonder at the splendor of the gospel, I think. I mean, when people come in the Sunday morning that we're teaching, there's encouraging. You know, there's a lot of things that happen. Right. Well, I think one of the most important things that you can do as a preacher is to step back and help people realize how big your God is. Just how. Amazingly big he is. And what omniscience and omnipotence is all about. And that he is just as loving as he is powerful. And so he is all loving as well as all powerful.
And just I. I find I need that more than anything else. I don't need instruction on Sunday morning and I don't need to be told there's something else I have to do. I need to be reminded of who God is, and that's what encourages me more than anything else. And that's what Paul's doing here. Just step back for a second, Timothy, and look at the mystery of godliness, the wonder of the gospel and the wonder of of the lives that God has enabled us to live. And then what He does is that He quotes this hymn, most likely this is a, um, a there's not a faithful saying. It doesn't have that normal introduction, but most likely this is a something part of the early liturgy of the early church that they use to teach. You understand an illiterate societies and oral cultures. A lot of teaching happens by memory, by memory, and by singing, right? African-American culture is largely a singing culture. And it's the that's how they taught theology is in their songs. Um. And, uh. And so what we know from the early what we suspect from the early church and Ralph Martin has written on this and other the people have, is that there were these things that were memorized. We call them hymns. It's not hymns versus choruses. This is poetry. And it's what was it was how the theology was taught. They didn't they didn't hand the cat a human's of a piece of piece of parchment and say, here, read it. There'll be a test. They memorize these things. And this they we believe this is one of those things that was passed around in the early church and they memorized. It's very, very difficult to know how to structure this song.
The two options are it's either two stanzas or three lines or three stanzas of two lines each. And it all it really depends upon what you think the different phrases mean. The standard position is three stanzas of two lines each. I went with three with two stanzas of three lines each. I took the minority position, but some of these things are very clear. He was manifested. He meaning. And by the way, this is a King James, a non King James issue. The Texas receptors here has God, right? You, King James. What is your what is your new King James say? Four for he again, I'm not I'm not trusting my memory at this point. I've already made a bad mistake. Just say God. Yeah. The Greek text behind in the text is up just as they are here. And so they translate. This is a hymn about God. But. And if that's true, it's God in Christ, because this clearly is about Christ. The other Greek manuscripts have a. Relative pronoun who. And then you got to figure out from context what the antecedent is. And so most people are willing to say either like me or understanding that this is Jesus. Because God, the father was not manifested in the flesh. So it has to be Jesus. So. So in this translation, he was manifested in the flesh. Flesh. So this is the the marveling at the incarnation, uh, the greatest miracle ever. I think this is a greater miracle than the regeneration of the human heart, which is really quite a feat. It's a greater miracle in creation that the God with whom there is no change became something that he was not. Right. You can figure that out. Write a book. You sell a lot of copies.
But to marvel at the end, all you can do, ultimately the incarnation is Marvel, isn't it? I mean, just that that if you have a true, proper understanding of the holiness of God and the depravity of the human condition, that God would become a human being to save his creation is truly something that you just you can't really understand. I can do is marvel. All you can do is marvel at that. He was vindicated by the spirit, which probably is a reference to his the voice at his baptism. This is my son today. This is my son with whom I was pleased. Seen by angels in this structure could have been either seen during his ministry or it could have been seen at his resurrection. Again, if you're doing three stanzas of two lines, these things are different so that you have the earthly work of Christ in the first stanza, and then you have the result of Christ's work that we marvel at the fact that God Jesus is in fact proclaimed among the nations that the Gospel is spread throughout the the world. We marvel the fact that he was believed on that not only was the message of the Gospel preached, but that he was believed on, and that as a result of world wide belief in Jesus Christ, he is being truly glorified. That's the general sequence if you have two stanzas of three lines. The problem is taken up in glory. Sounds more like an ascension, doesn't it? And if you have three stanzas of two lines, see how it would go. Incarnation. Baptism. Resurrection Proclamation. Believed during his earthly ministry and taken up in his ascension something something along those lines. We just have this snippet is the problem.
We have a snippet of the hymn so we don't have any of its original context. So it's hard to know. But again, the point of the hymn is not so much to teach specific theology as to is to tell us things and to have a stand back and just wonder and amazement at what God has done in your commentary. I think you suggesting that maybe the first line and the last line were right? Yeah. Yeah. Then we wouldn't have to worry about that. It's that kind of strange logic. Well, we know when arguments are like 5050. My basic exegetical rule is I'm asking the wrong question. You know, if if I mean, the arguments are I mean, most people go with three stanzas, two lines. I took a minority position, but there's good arguments on both sides. And so whenever I see good arguments on both sides, it again, I tell myself, am I asking the right question? Because the assumption is that the biblical text is generally pretty clear. But yeah, so if you have incarnation ascension, then the well then these all become different things that happened during his earthly life, right? Yeah. Yeah. Aquino. He was proclaimed among the nations in his early life. You know, he had the Greeks come and ask him and got him. And, you know, so you had the non-Jewish ministries, the travel ministries and then the capitalists. So all these things do happen, I guess, in that if you want to see a straight sequence through its incarnation, baptism, temptation. Preaching to Jews and Gentiles as a response in faith and his ascension in glorious resurrection and glory. So I guess you could see it as one stands up six lines to convince you whatever it is.
Most of the lines are. Are pretty clear, but it is meant to stand back and cause on wonder. One of the favorite sermons that I've preached, it's I did a series called The 52 Major Stories of the Bible really encourage you to steal it and don't just repeat what I did, but to rethink it when when people know the real problem of reading sermons and then regurgitating someone else's sermon in your church is that it's not coming to you and your convictions in your life experiences and personalities, and they generally fall pretty flat. And so but this was a sermon series was very important for me to do. It's up on biblical training and I just thoroughly enjoyed because in a year and a half I was able to give broad strokes of what the Bible is and hit all the major themes and hit the major stories. And it's it was what I did was I chose the 52 stories that would provide the basis for the statement of faith so that when I was done with the 52 stories, you could sit down, you could read through our statement of faith, and you would have heard the main sermons on the the main passages that stand behind all the basic affirmations and the statement of faith and my notes and handouts and overheads and all that stuff for on the web. So you're more than welcome to use that. And it was a it was a blast of a sermon series to preach. Um, but the first one was my favorite, and I've preached it a couple of times and I put up a picture I love the Hubble Space Telescope stuff, and I put up a picture of a of a galaxy, and I identified two different locations in the picture.
And it's a hundred and 120 646 light years from this point to this point in the galaxy. And I figured out light and I said it would take Captain Kirk, Spock and and the Starship Enterprise going at 1010, uh, Warp ten, which is they could never get that. I don't think the original Star Trek ever got past Warp four. But even if they could go ten times the speed of life, it would take them 12 years to get from here to here. I was trying to help people to see when we talk about how big things are, how massive the universe is and and God's power, it's what it is. And then I showed I pulled pull the picture back. And this was actually a very small part of a much larger galaxy. And so you start seeing distances that are incomprehensible. And then I said, Oh, by the way, this galaxy is like 600 light years from Earth. And it was it's one of those aha moments that the couple of times that I've done the sermon, you can you can see the people's faces and go. And it's not that that's a long distance. And only a Vulcan could live long enough to make the distance. It's God is really big. God is God is really big. Did you ever wonder when you were a kid why the universe was so big? Why did God make the universe so big? You never did. I wonder about strange things. And sometimes I think God made the universe so big so that when Little Billy Mounts grew up and we saw pictures of the Hubble Space Telescope, you could actually get some perspective on the greatness and the grandeur of God. I think I think that's why the universe is so big.
It's so that when we got to our scientific age and you could see the edge of the universe, you can realize. The God is equally present in the Orion's belt as He is in your heart. He is everywhere, present, everywhere, powerful. And he is just as loving as he is powerful. I think that's why the universe is so big. Maybe he did it for me. Apparently none of you wanted when you were little. Why the universe was so big. Well, that's what this him is trying to do This time is trying to help us all kind of step back and say, Oh, my goodness. Well, look what we get to do. You guys are heralds of the king. A sweet job, right? This is what you get to do. You get to proclaim the excellences of him who drew us out of darkness into this marvelous light. You get to. You get to proclaim the God that this passage talks about. And, you know, woe will be to anyone who makes God little and humans big. We are small and God is. Magnificent. I think that's that's what the passage is doing. That's why elders have to be a certain kind of person. Deacons have to be a certain kind of person. This is what is at stake. Okay, That's the end of this major section in the pastoral. Any comments or questions? I'm trying to get past the light. Okay, we got a little bit of time. All right, let's, uh. Let's move on. And we've already looked at first. Timothy four. One, two, five. This is the discussion again of, um, the heresy, the false teaching. And then we get to my favorite passage. Well, no, no, I'm sorry. This is not my.
My favorite passage is the next one. Having described the heresy where first Timothy four verses six and following me. Get my notes here. Paul tells Timothy, Let me get this back. That if you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ. Jesus. And how do you be a good servant? Well, good servants are those who are trained in the words. The words of the faith and the words that make up the good doctrine that you have followed. As opposed to the gospel, he says, have nothing to do with irrelevant silly myths. In other words, the teaching of the false teachers, but rather train yourself for godliness. Paul likes war imagery. He likes athletic imagery, doesn't he? And this is one of those examples. Train yourself vigorously, train yourself for godliness. Then he talks about why godliness living a life wholly dedicated to God is so important. He says bodily training is of some value. Okay. Calisthenics, gymnastics, going for a walk. When my wife tells me to go for a hike, that's a good thing. He's not negating the value of physical exercise, but he's using it as a foil to say what's really important. What's really important is godliness. And training for godliness is a value in every way possible. And then he wants to describe what he means by every way he says the value of godliness not only affects your present life, but the value of godliness also affects your life. To come is when you pursue godliness, when you pursue living a life wholly dedicated and consecrated to God. It affects you here and now. So see, Marks is wrong. Mark's just taught that, you know, Christianity was only, you know, for the year hereafter.
Right? And Paul is a firm you know, there's there is value to godliness here and now, and there is value in the life to come. And then he has this next faithful saying the saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. And it's really hard to know where the faithful saying begins. Isn't a talk a long time the commentary about it for to this end as I tend. Well, I hope I'm not contradicting I didn't I didn't check this in the commentary, but I think the faithful thing is that we have set our hope on a living God who's the savior of all people, especially of those who believe. So if I'm being consistent, the saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. And because the saying I'm about to quote to you is worthy of full acceptance, we toil at it. We we strive to teach this and to preach this. And the saying is this We have set our hope. This is why, in the phrasing, it's all the way left. We've set our hope on the living God. Who is this God? He is the savior of all people. And. When it comes to the all people. It's especially for those who believe. Or the other translation is that is those who believe. All right. Again, just words of encouragement to Timothy. In fact, what he's doing, starting here in verse six and going to the end of the chapter, is that this is he just trying to encourage Timothy. It's kind of like the Fusion church fades away in verse six is going to come back in chapter five, but it's like the Vision Church kind of fades away at this verse. And Paul is centering in on Timothy. He knows Timothy is being beaten up badly.
He knows the opposition is extreme, and he just says, I need to encourage Timothy for a while. Let me encourage him for a bit. So that's what's going on in this place. And what I like about it is that it is a very, very personal look into Paul and Timothy's life. I think that's one reason I like it so much, is that it's just so intensely personal. So I'm drawn to it. There's there's a pattern that is present here that we need to learn from is that when Paul describes problems, he usually follows with encouragement. It's just the pattern all the way through the to the pastoral. And so he's been describing the problem for some time and now said it's time to encourage again. And that's a good rule for pastors to follow, isn't it? You can you can teach the theology and and talk about what we should or shouldn't do, and you never leave it at that. The biblical pattern from Paul is to always follow up with encouragement. So he says, You're a good servant of Christ Jesus. And if you put these things, this is one of the interesting things in Greek. This is a conditional sentence. It says, If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ. Jesus. What does that How do you hear that? If. What does that if mean? Does that mean that Timothy is not doing this and that if he changes course, then he becomes a good minister? So sometimes when you hear if that happens and that's not at all, what is the first classic conditional sentence? The truth of the F clause is assumed in the logic of the whole sentence. That's why sometimes these first class conditional sentences are translated with sense.
And maybe this is would be a better translation or something like as you continue to put these things before the brothers, I don't think there's any indication that Timothy isn't doing this. So he says, as you are, as you are putting these instructions, chapters one, two and three, before the brothers, you are being a good servant. And one of the characteristics of a good servant is that you are being daily nourished. You are being daily trained. On on the faith. That's the basic the basic content of the Bible, the basic content of the gospel message and the good doctrine. Use that word we talked about the other day. This word refers to doctrine, refers to theology. And so Paul is again affirming that not only do you have your New Testament Old Testament survey down, but you've got your systematics and biblical theology down. That's why you guys need to be taking both content and theology. That's what it takes to be a good servant. You've got to know the basic message, the basic story of the Bible, but you also have to formulate the beliefs in a coherent, systematic way. That's what doctrine means in the pastoral. So to be a good servant of Christ, you are being constantly nourished on the content of the gospel, the faith and the theological teachings of the Bible. The good Doctor. Says stay. Just stay away from the Mesi. The false teachers have gotten to a point in emphasis were where Paul just says, just, just. You're going to have to rebuke them, but just stay away from. You obviously can't do both at the same time. But there's there's a lot of where it's just pearls before the swine kind of stuff going on. Is it just just you know, once you've reviewed them, just don't deal with them.
Just just just stop it, all right? Have nothing to do with your relevant silliness, but rather train yourself for godliness. You know, godliness is just flat out hard work, isn't it? I mean, growing up in Christ being changed from one degree of glory to another in one sense is the function of the spirit is the development of the fruits of the spirit in our lives. But God doesn't. Our salvation is by grace, through faith alone, right? I mean, we did not participate in our salvation. But when it comes to sanctification, we really participate, don't we? God isn't going to make us into saints against our will. He's not going to snap his fingers, and all of a sudden you're going to be a mature person in Christ. When it comes to sanctification, I don't really like the word cooperate, but I don't know what else to call it. We work with the spirit. We yield to the spirit. But it's hard work. We. Train ourselves. We work hard at it. And again, the Greco-Roman world was as obsessed with its sports as we are, right? Gladiators, the Olympic Games. This was everything. And so the imagery that we have when we talk about physical training evokes the same picture in our mind that Paul intended to evoke to his audience. There's apparently a track team staying at the hotel. And, you know, you see some of these athletes and they must be a pretty good sized collegiate team. And I sometimes you see these athletes, you know, running the 100 meter dash and, you know, it's amazing. But then to actually see them. It's like, Oh, my goodness, you know, And it's like the amount of effort that those people put into their bodies to be able to shot the dead, to put the shot or to throw the javelin or to run the 100 or whatever, you you just you look at the dedication that's necessary to have a body like that.
And and Paul says there's value in physical in there. There's some value in barley training. But the training that's really most important is training for godliness, training for sanctification, for walking down the path, because it affects us now. It affects us here. And now that there is value in life, living totally consecrated to God. I know so many people think that, okay, I went through the gate, I became a Christian. I'm just going to get the best out of the earth I can. And then, you know, when I die, I get to go to heaven, which is, I think, terrible theology, but it misses the whole point. What's the best kind of life that is lived? It is one that is pursued pursuing wealth and fame and power. Or is John Piper right that the greatest joy in life is the life of consecration to God? And I just think people don't believe that. And we need to preach it. We need to preach that the kind of life that is growing in holiness is of infinitely more joy. There's Piper, infinitely more joy than a big house and a big boat. And only by the grace of God will people believe that message. But that what is he saying is has value and it has value for the present life. The life lived of godliness is a better life than anything this world has to offer. And it also affects where you go after you die. All right. Then we get down to your passage. Saying is trustworthy and worthy of full acceptance. In fact, it's so important that we toil. We strive, we work hard. This copy of. Um. Yeah. The word toil. It actually refers to manual labor. It's used in context, like ditch digging.
And certainly, do you not feel at times that you're working as hard as someone digging a six foot ditch through clay? And Paul says, Yeah, let me affirm what you all do in the ministry. It's it's hard physical labor. A lot harder, I think, than digging through clay and gravel, actually. But it's. The goal is so important that it's worth the hard work it's worth, the toil it's worth is driving. And that's because our hope, our hope is not set on the things of this world or hope or set on the things of God. And this God is the savior of all people. Now, what does that mean? Universalists will say that he's going to save all people. And which, if you know anything about the theology of salvation in the pastoral is you can't say that there's the doctrine of and again this is one of the attacks on Pauling authorship is that they'll say the author's a universalist while he's the savior of all people, all people are going to be saved. Of course, that's not what it says, does it? But people will take it to teach universalism, even though many, many, many places in the past, especially Titus two and three. We have a very orthodox Pauline definition of what salvation is. The my Calvinist buddies, those who believe in particular atonement, tend to read this as he is the savior of all groups of people. That he he draws his children from Jews and Gentiles like male and female alike, slave and free alike, Greek and Jew. I say that anyway from all, all different groups possible. Um. Problem is, it doesn't say that. It just doesn't say all groups of people. It says all people that God is the savior of all people.
So there's two other possible interpretations for this phrase, and it's all tied in with the translation. Especially Molester has two different possible meanings. If you translated especially, what you're saying is that there's only one savior of all people, whether they respond to his offer of salvation or not, is something else. But there's only one source of salvation. There's only one savior, and that savior is Jesus Christ. So he is the savior of all people in that there is no other option. However, for those of us who do respond to his offer of salvation, he is our savior in a very special way. So he is the savior of all people. He's the only source of salvation. But the fact that he's a savior means something very, very special to those who respond to his offer. I'm trying to think of analogies. You could say. It'd be one thing to be able to really just say. Well, Michael Jordan in the Bulls was probably I mean, I don't know, Knicks Lakers. I mean, Celtics Lakers, Bulls watch the greatest teams that ever lived them. But it's one thing to look at the bulls when George was there and go. I mean, he is he's the greatest basketball player of all time. It's, um. It's something else, though, to live in Chicago and to have this emotional connection with the Bulls and to say Michael Jordan's the greatest player of all time and is something special to you because you watched his career, his victories were your victories. I'm a Laker fan. So while I respect Jordan, I did not like him at all because he kept beating the Lakers. And yet I look in Memphis, a silly example, but there's a there's there's a sense that God is the savior of all in that he's the sole source of salvation.
Those of us who have responded to it have a very special relationship with him as Savior. The other way to translate mylist is that you can translate it to be precise. In other words, namely, or i.e. God is the savior of all people. And when I say all people, I'm talking about all people who believe. So it's really tied in with how you translate molest especially or. Karma that he's the savior of all people. Karma. Those who believe. In which case all people is not all people. All people is a subgroup of all people, but it's all who believe. But either way you go on that this can't teach universalism because the past rules elsewhere so clear that not everyone goes to heaven is clarified. Calvin himself distinguishes a word All people would say Here is more of a common phrase type of thing along the lines you're talking about. Also, he defines savior as it's a psychic, a spiritual salvation. He's taking saving the more from the curse. But still the Great Falls on the good, bad, common grace versus actual salvation. He doesn't distinguish between people. Dangerous of people. Yeah. Just do what? Calvin goes after the word savior and talks about that. Well, I tried to read Calvin on this, but I didn't remember. That's interesting. It's so. It's that part. You mentioned that. I do. There you go. What did I say? What do I believe that Paul is speaking out of salvation or how the grace of God to care for all people and that it's all worth it? No, no, actually, that's not a word I use. Look, I did my research. I just forgot it. It's for some people, it does settle. Yeah. Who is? I mean, does the Bible anywhere else connect Savior with common grace issues? I mean, if there were other passages in Paul where he talks about God, the Savior causes the rain to fall on the justice and the unjust, then that would strengthen that interpretation.
But does he connect so tear with common grace anyway? Yeah, I don't I don't think he does, which is probably why I didn't go with it. I had forgotten that. Thank you. So what do you think? God, the savior of all people. Everyone going to heaven. Been reading the books lately out there. You might be convinced otherwise. The new translation says. Particularly, particularly and particularly. Well, I tell you, Tyndall is not exactly what you call a reform publishing house. So I don't think that I don't think the use of the word, particularly in the sense of particular. Yeah. No. Well, if it had been the ESV or Crossway, then I think you might be able to see a secret code because of its connection with reformation theology. Anyway, it's this is all why we work as hard as what we do, and this is why we get up early, why we go to bed late while we exhaust ourselves. Why some of you drive busses to be able to afford to, uh, to be able to preach. Good friend of mine was a pastor of the city where little hamlets about 300 people live in. I own where our cabin is and and in order to be the pastor, he is the country pastor for nine years and really the perfect quintessential rural pastor. And he decided to drive the bus round so that he could get to know the kids so they wouldn't just see him as the man behind the pulpit on Sunday. But he knew their names. He knew where they lived. He knew when they were hunting. He offered to go hunting with them. And why did Jeff do all those things? It's just flat out hard work. It's exhausting work.
Then he would go home and take care of his 15 alpacas. Mature, stupid animals. Don't ever get them a packer like you can't get a you have to get to, um. You know, why did Jeff work so hard? Because there's only one savior, and the people in Ireland deserve to hear about it. And for those who responded to the message of salvation that Jeff preached, they had a special, especially a particular relationship with that savior. That's why you do what we do. It's why. And biblical training. We do what you do. It's why Frank works so hard at the school. Because these are all tools. Because the end goal is so tremendously important. So you work hard, you toil and you strive because there's only one source of salvation if we all end up in heaven. There is no reason. Well, there's very little reason to be a preacher. I think I'm going to be a stockbroker if everyone ends up in heaven. It's a lot easier to command and teach these things. You know, some things need to be commanded. Some things need to be taught, don't they? It all depends upon who is listening. And you as a leader have to be willing to command. You have to be willing to teach. And then you have to pray for the discernment to know when to command and when to teach. And he says, Let no one despise you for your youth. We don't know how old Timothy is, and the stuff is in the commentary that kind of looks at the different words that people use to describe ages. And I think we and I ended up late twenties, early thirties. So he's still pretty young. And the interesting thing here is that the women despise.
I think one of the older translations that look down on it's actually a very, very strong word. It means to be treated with contempt. That is a don't let people treat you with contempt. Now, if he's saying that, that means that's what's going on in emphasis. And again, you can imagine the conflict that would happen of an entrenched an older church, entrenched management. This is how we've always done things. I'm the one in charge. I'm the one making the decision. And then this young whippersnapper comes in and tells them, No, they're wrong. Yeah, I'm sure they treat him with total disgust and contempt. I know it's really easy for young people to say, you know, don't just look down on me because I'm young. You got to back it up. And I think that's the point that Paul is making. He says, don't let them treat you contemptuously. And there's a point at which you can say, you know, you may not treat me that way. I will not allow and, you know, talk to the hand kind of stuff. I mean, there is there is you know, you're young and you're in a church and there may be times they look you may not treat me that way. So there is in a sense, you can not let someone treat you with contempt. But the main way in which you don't let people with contempt is you give them no basis for the charges. Which is where he goes, he said. But give the believers an example. And if you are this kind of person, then anyone who treats you contemptuously, there's no basis for what they're saying at all. I mean, some some young people I could see saying, Don't look down on me because I'm young and then go on and act like a complete jerk and give them all the ammunition they need to treat them as badly as they want.
But Paul is balancing thing. Don't them despise you, but. Give them a be an example. Be an example in in your speech, how you talk, your conduct, how you live, your love, how you relate to one another, to your face, to the T you're holding on to the two biblical beliefs to maintaining your absolute moral purity. That's how ultimately you don't let people despise you, live life in such a way that you're such a positive example that they, at the end of the day, have no basis of charge. And again, a lot of people like to go to lie who job for this. You know, you have a job and all these things and you have these three rounds of his three friends and you don't even know there's a fourth person there. This young man, he's respecting his elders. He's listening. And around chapter was at 42, somewhere on there. Eli, He just says, I can't take this any longer. Your desire to, you know, I'm young, so I kept my mouth shut. But you're, you're demanding God to to defend himself. And that's just wrong. And Eli, who is absolutely right in what he had to say. So I'm sorry. That's job 32. Got my first digit wrong. Yeah. Yeah. I'm sorry. Job search. You looked at my nose job 32. So don't let them despise you, Timothy. But, man, you got to be a good example. No matter how bad they are. He says until I come in or I'm coming, I'm still planning. Hang in there. Be devoted. Just like an alcoholic drunk is a devoted alcoholic. The falls teachers are devoted to their falls teaching. So also you are to be devoted, but you are to be devoted to and.
Pet peeve number 13 with Bible translations. In my in my overall list of frustrations with translators, the word that exists with each of these three, it's really important that the verb be translated. And I've lost my vote on these things. Devote yourself to the public, reading a scripture, to the exhortation, to the teaching. And the reason the the is so important is that Timothy is identifying the three standard parts of the early church worship, which corresponds to the three parts of the early synagogue worship. What should characterize when in your church, when your people get together, what should you be devoted to? You should be devoted to a time of public reading of Scripture. How many of us read Scripture publicly? Every service. Cool. I know other areas of this country where no one would raise a hand. I re-instituted a responsive reading if worship is the process of revelation and response. You got to give people something to respond to, right? And if they're not responding, there's no worship going on. And I was just desperate to find ways to turn a performance into a party's worship participation. And responsive reading was one of those things. What was interesting about it is that the older people in the church loved it. The younger people then the foggiest idea what I was talking about and I had to go through, okay, when it's bold, you know, that means you read it. When it's not bold, I read. And then I finally put in the reader and the people I had to put in. Was just so foreign to them to have public times are reading. And yet for Timothy, this is one of the three central regular functions of the church. Yes, sir. And and put it right in your slides in the middle of a sermon.
Yeah. A lot of us will say, let's look at this text again. And that's responsible enough growing up that way. Well, I'm about to reengage. Yeah, that's really good. The first time I ever saw someone do that was. Was Rick Warren. I got got to visit Saddleback and put up a verse, and I found out he always does this. He said, Let's read it together. And it's a wonderful thing because you're the, you know, 20 minutes have gone by. You know, I mean, people get tired when they just sit, right. And having them read the verses is a great way to help and get engaged in it. But the point is, it has to be an observable, regular part of the church. If you're going to follow Paul's instructions in New England, this is a very big deal. Very, very it's very much part of the New England liturgy. And I'll never forget the first time it happened. It scared me. This is a Hamilton Congo, Matt. And they had a first of all, they've got this podium, this pulpit area, just gargantuan thing. It was part of was a part of Wheatfield or earls. It had some real historical significance. So the pulpits are really big deal. None of this plexiglass crud. I hate plexiglass. Hi, this is the show and I'm a singer and I'm behind a plexiglass stand. These are big would. Okay. Well, this this was a this was a wood, wood wood platform and and the podium was huge. And what they were saying architecturally is the word is important and the preaching is important. And it was a it was a way to draw attention to it. But they had the biggest Bible I've ever seen in my life.
This is I know it got to been six inches thick. And the the gal, the lady that normally read had quite a gravelly voice with a pretty firm New England accent. And I swear she would take that thing and she would throw it down on that huge wood podium. It would shake the church and then just open it up and say the word of the Lord, Man, did it get my attention? My kids are my daddy, I want to go home. It did kind of scare them. It was so loud. It's wonderful. It was a wonderful saying. We are committed to the public reading a scripture. And then when you're done, they all say. Thanks be to God. The Word of the Lord. Again, they would repeat, there would be some way for them to participate. I've got a bit off track, but I just think this is really important. We have in so many of our churches, we have left the reading of Scripture aside. I mean, I struggled a bit. I mean, I wish we had few Bibles. We all have the same the same Pew Bible. So I could for for new believers or non-Christians, I could give page numbers. I know a lot of people put the words up on the screen so that especially for nonbelievers, they don't have to be embarrassed of flipping through, not knowing where Joshua is kind of stuff. Um, but I just we're supposed to be reading the Bible, but so devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture. Secondly, devote yourself to the exhortation. Apparently, in the early church, after the Bible was read and read, it was explained. They were exhorted in it. They were, you know, they preached, right. They they exhorted not only read the content, but then they exhorted people to believe the content and to follow the content, but is also to be devoted to the teaching.
And this is that word again, that refers to doctrine. And this whole saying that doctrine divides is is completely fallacious. Bad doctrine, divides, biblical doctrine, unites. That's that's just a simple, hard, cold fact. And if somebody, you know, take baptism and all the ways in which we have split the church and my little segment says Judy Duncan once or twice to say the formative when they're going down or when they're under these, you know, I mean, all the ways in which we destroy the unity of the church over these things, that's. My opinion, that's just bad doctrine. Good doctrine is that people are called as the first act of obedience to publicly proclaim that they've been washed clean of their sins. They have died themselves and they have been raised to new life with Christ by which they live by faith in Him. That's good doctrine. And that's a good doctrine that unites. So there is there is no place in the Pauline Church for storytelling without the theology. Stories always are not stories. The big deal these days or reality is the big deal. It's good. I mean, I think probably in evangelical circles, propositional truth has been given too much weight. Jesus told stories we need to be able to tell narrative. We need to be able to tell stories. But Jesus stories all have a point, right? And that points to theological propositional statement. And so I just these are the three parts of our services. Don't neglect the gift that you have, he continues, which was given to you by prophecy when the Council of Elders laid their hands on you. This is the next next reference to, for lack of a better term, Timothy's ordination service. Again, how is he encouraging Timothy? He's reminding Timothy.
He's he's he's not saying, hey, you're not using your gifts of evangelism and teaching. He's saying later he's going to say fatted in the flame. He said, don't don't forget that you have this gift that as you look at all the problems in Ephesians Church and as people are treating you contemptuously and and beating down on you, don't forget you have the gift. Prophecies were made over you. The whole elders laid their hands on. You have the the prophetic F group affirmation of a group of people that you trust and that you know and they all say, Timothy, you should do this. Don't, don't, don't let this stuff go to the side. Don't don't think that you can't handle the problems and deficits you can. And there's elsewhere, Paul says, I was there. Okay? I was part of that as well. I know that you can do this. And there is there is nothing like an older pastor saying to a younger pastor, I believe in you. Is there? There's nothing like your mentor saying to you. I've known you for three years. I've been with you through good times and bad times. You can do this. You're not alone. And that's what that's what Paul is doing here. He's just using he's just trying to encourage him and then it's hurting at first 15, it's it's kind of like Paul gets almost kind of repetitive in one sense. He starts to saying the same things over and over again. He says, Practice these things. Okay? Just keep working at this. Don't give up, devote yourself to them and do so publicly. Let people see your progress. Let people see that you are growing in your Christ's likeness. And as people see you grow in your Christ likeness, they too will be encouraged to grow in theirs.
And then we have the same warning that we had, I think it was a couple of days ago. Keep a close watch on yourself and on your teaching. Paul is talking to Timothy, his best friend, his his first lieutenant, the man that he chooses to send into the worst possible situations. And even to him, he says, Oh, Timothy, watch yourself. Be so careful. Look, watch yourself. Probably meaning your conduct. Watch how you live out your life, watch your teaching. Make sure that you stick to what I've taught you. Don't don't be influenced by the false teachers. Don't. Don't start to go over into their camp, please. Anybody can fall, right? Anybody can fall. Any one of us can fall. And I've said it before, and I'll say it again, thinking that you are impervious to temptation is the greatest guarantee that you will fall right? So I think once we convince ourselves that somehow we can't fall. Saying goes, hack. Got it. It's just a matter of time. It's why I and I caught a lot of flak for this. I would not counsel women. I just would not do it. I would I would talk to them in open settings. I'm not scared of them. I have a wonderful marriage. One of the reasons I have a wonderful marriage is my wife trusts me completely and totally, and I have proven so faithful to her that that's why I just. You won't find me alone with a woman. You just won't. And know, even to the point I had one gal complain to me and to the elders. You don't hug me on Sunday morning. That was her complaint. And I said, Don't you know I'm not going to hug you. I don't hug women.
I'm married. Well, this other pastor who used to be here left, he always gave me a hug and said, Well, that's between you and him and his wife. I'm never going to hug you on Sunday morning. I don't do that. I'm married and I just put a I put a barrier around myself. Could I have hugged you and have been okay? Yeah, but I'm not going to do it. I'm going to watch myself and I'm going to watch myself closely. That's why we we nurtured women as counselors in our church. We look for women that could come alongside other women and talk to them and cry with them and and listen to them complain. I mean, there is nothing more vulnerable than a woman complaining about her jerk husband. Right? I mean, that puts her in danger. It puts you in danger. And I just. Yeah, I mean, I heard about a pastor who was so concerned about committing an affair. He had all the walls of his office torn down and had glass walls put up. He still had an affair. Um, yeah. Well, the problem is he didn't. He didn't take care of his heart. But I appreciated the gesture. Uh, we we put windows in all our staff office doors. I mean, so we says, watch yourself. I mean, there there are practical steps that we need to take, especially as men, because, again, especially when it comes to, uh, abused women, women who are hurting, they are so vulnerable and you are going to be their hero. Right. The minute you think that you're impervious to that. Satan just got us foothold. Watch yourself. Watch what you teach. And then persistent. And keep doing this for. By doing this by. By.
By working this hard at being careful. You are going to save again. Meaning that you. You are. This is how you are working out your salvation for your working out, your salvation for your benefit, and working out your salvation for the benefit of those who are listening. So just this powerful, powerful personal appeal to Timothy to be very, very persistent and to be very, very careful. And I know I got a lapsed a bit into preaching, but I don't I can't teach this. You got to preach just a bit.