The Calling and Charge of the Faithful Servant of Christ
1 Timothy 1:12-20
by Cooper Abrams
Paul often reveals his calling and devotion to that calling. Here in 1 Timothy 1:12-20 he reveals several aspects what a pastor is to be and what is his ministry.
2. His calling and ministry are not based on his worthiness or even his abilities, but rather is an act of God’s grace and mercy. V13-14
3. He is to be a pattern to those he is called to serve.
4. He bring glory to the Lord in his life and also and lead others to do the same.
5. He is to teach others also, and particularly young preachers whom God is calling to “war a good warfare.”
6. He is to teach other also to hold the faith and a good conscience in the face of those who do not do so.
Word "ministry" KJV is the Greek "diakonia".
2. His calling was of being a servant to the Lord Jesus Christ and to the children of God. One cannot serve the Lord Jesus without serving others.
3. Some may misconstrue and hold the the distorted idea that the pastor is to be "church waiter." Acts 6:1-7 dispels this false idea when the Apostles were relieved of the menial tasks needed to be done in a church by appointed servants.
Churches today, following the false ideas of the Roman Catholic and Protestant church have changed these duties of appointed servants (called today “deacons” to positions of leadership. But that is not the biblical example. These servants were appointed to menial tasks, not leadership, to take the load off pastors so they could study the word of God and meet the spiritual needs of the congregation. It was important they those who publically serve be “men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom” and hold the qualifications given in 1 Timothy 3:8-13.
The word “honest” means to publically be a witness for Christ. It means a witness to godliness that points men to Christ. “Full of the Holy Ghost” means men who are filled with the Holy Spirit as Ephesians 5:18 tell us. Filled with the Spirit means to be living guided and directed by the Holy Spirit. This should be the pattern of their lives.
“Wisdom” refers to a higher wisdom that human reasoning. I means they are to be spiritual men who are in tune with godly prinicples and who live by the prinicples. 4. The pastors area of service is leadership and directing the church as God directs and leads him.
5. His ministry is also being a shepherd teachers.
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13)
D. The Pastor's qualification is simply the grace and call of God. V13
2. Literally it reads text reads, "the grace of the Lord was superaboundingly (exceedingly abundantly) was poured on me in faith and love which is in Jesus Christ." V14.
3. His qualification was not his "college or degree, " his experience, intelligence, human ability, but in God's grace.
4. The glory is the Lord's PERIOD! There is no place in the ministry of Jesus Christ for the proud or those who serve for recognition.
For example there are many men who use the title “doctor” before their name who have not earned the title and the degree is one that has been given them without their going through the studies that earn the degree.
In the Anglican and Roman Catholic Church in Great Britain it applies to bishops. However the term “Most Reverend is used for archbishops.” The use of such terms falsely honors the man....not our Savior.
No preach should call himself anything more that “pastor” because that is the biblical term and denotes a shepherd or servant of the flock.
In the Bible the only One who thet title “Reverend” applies to is Almighty God Himself. Yet, many good men, without studying the matter us unbiblical titles which in a sense take glory to themselves.
However, the term “pastor” does not seem to carry the prestige that the title “reverend” does. Maybe that is why many use the term. However, the true pastor seeks only to honor the Lord, not himself. 5. God does not choose His pastors because of the goodnes, worthiness, abilities, or anything else. Paul makes this clear to Timothy by referring to his prior life as one who persercuted Christians.
Two truths are sent here. One Paul was not called because of his worthiness. Secon, Paul is saying if God can make a missionary out of a murderer, he can surely use you. 6. Thus the motivating forces in Paul's life was Grace, Love and faith.
Because Paul did these things in ignorance is no license for others to do the same. Ignorance means not knowing or understanding. Paul was a zealous Pharisee and had been taught falsely. He actually believed he was serving God.
Think how many people in this state and around the world are also falsely taught in false Christian denominations and cults and believe and worship falsely.
Yet, on the Damasus road Paul heard the truth and met Christ. He was forgiven upon hearing and receiving the truth.
Ignorance is really no excuse. Paul received the truth and turned repentantly from his sinful ways. Had he not he like the many Pharisees in Israel would also have died in his sins.
G. Paul recognizes his true sinful nature and calls himself the chief of sinners.
Anyone thinking he is not is the same situation as was Paul is deceiving himself. All men are sinners and Christ came to save sinners and He has never saved anyone else, but sinners. H. Paul saw himself as a pattern for others to follow.
Every man who thinks he is being called to preach needs to submit to a personal test. The question is what kind of example an I before the people. Does my life show that I am trusting in the Lord Jesus and that He has the preeminence or first place in all things. Do I show others that I live by Matthew 6:33, seeking first the kingdom of God, and trusting in Him for the things I need in life.
Many areas of the preacher’s life needs to be examined including how he manages everything in his life including his finances. A poor preacher can have a good testimony where money is concerned. An example of self examination would be to ask:
As Colossians 1:18 proclaims, “And he (Christ) is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1:18)
In the public view does my obedience serve as an example to others. Turning one’s back on wealth and worldliness can stress the importance of serving God, and being committed to his will. However, there is nothing spiritual about living in poverty. God provides adequately for those who give Him their all.
In spite of his natural timidness, some there thought he would be a bold warrior for Christ. When Timothy was ordained great things were predicted for him. Like Gideon who was hiding while threshing out some grain for his family did not look much like what God called him.
God called him a “Mighty man of valor.” Gideon was not truly a mighty man of valor, but empowered by God through his obedience to the Lord, he became the man God called him to be. Like Gideon, Timothy too became a mighty warrior for the Lord.
The preacher who forgets his calling and where it came from is in serious trouble. His only course is that of following God’s leading and His subsequent empowering.
The word charge means that Paul was commanding Timothy to hold the faith and a good conscience. For the pastor it is not optional. The preacher serves the Lord, and God directs what he is to do. The charge is thus on the same level as a military command which is to be obeyed at all costs. Conscience: means "to know with" or to have a co-perception of the task and means at hand. Based on the principles in God’s word, Timothy was to be his own inward judge discerning the leading of the Holy Spirit.
It is an inward wisdom or in a sense a "feeling" of uneasiness or peace about a thing that comes for God.
Christians can have a good conscience and be correctly lead be it. However, a Christian must to looking to serve and be in close fellowship with the Lord. With our consciences the statement often made about computers rightly applies “Junk in Junk out.”
The command was to hold to the faith. In other words know the truth and hold to it. Your conscience will be effected by it and lead you to do what is right. However, it is much more that just knowing the truth, it is having the commitment to it. It is being dedicated to living and teaching others this wonderful truth that frees and satisfies the heart and soul.
Hymenaeus (Hy-men a us) and Alexander were men who tested the faith and commitment of Timothy. In most churches there are such people who will oppose the pastor and wear him down.
In 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 Paul mentions this situation and of turning them over to Satan. That is a profound action. It establishes the fact that there will be those in a church who will not submit themselves to the Lord and certainly not to the pastor.
They will not respond to the preaching of God’s word and often will become greatly offended if confronted. However, if after prayer for them and sound counsel they refuse to repent, there is no course but to turn them to disfellowship them which in effect was turning them out of their church and to the hands of Satan.
It does not mean that Paul “excommunicated” in the sense of having their salvation revoked. No church or congregation imparts salvation nor can it withdraw it. The true believer can fall and go into unrepentant sin, but he will be saved in the end. God will chasten him, and even take the unrepentant sinner’s life, but even God will not cause the believer to lose his salvation. What Paul is saying is that the church in Ephesus was to redraw fellowship and rebuke these erring men.
Paul made the same statement to those in the church at Corinth who were refused to repent of their gross sins. He said he was “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Corinthians 5:5)
It must be recognized that disciplining a wayward and rebellious church member is not easy for a church, an experienced pastor, or in this case young Timothy. It was a difficult task to face these men with God's truth, but he had to do it if he would preserve the purity and power of the church. There would be less false doctrine today if Christians had withstood the false teachers and disputers of yesterday.
We should note that Paul called them by name. He openly identified them as "making a shipwreck of the faith" or destroying the faith. 2 Tim. 4:14, he stated Alexander the coppersmith had also done him much evil.
J. Vernon McGee said that the act of "delivering them to Satan" was a special thing only an apostle could do. I strongly disagree. I believe it basically means that the are left alone to the devices of the Devil and were disciplined by the congregation.
Matthew 18:17 states that the believer who will not repent after being confronted by the congregation should be treated as a heathen or a publican.
Basically, it means, they will reap the just recompense of their sin. There are times when you can go so far, and then you must "back off" and let them go there on way. Jesus said not to cast your pearls before swine.
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