“Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.” - 1 Timothy 1:20
At first thought, when you read his words, they seem really harsh! Paul, you can’t possibly mean what you said. You didn’t really hand them over to Satan, did you?! Yes, he did mean it. Paul believes it best for the church and these two men, who had shipwrecked their own faith, if they were not a part of the church gathering any longer, and instead given over to the enemy so that he can work them over. Paul talks about this in another letter to the Corinthians, saying, “hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 5:5). The reasons for excommunicating these men from the church is two-fold. First is that by removing them from the fellowship, it protects the sheep. Secondly, it also allows them to experience what life is like when you are no longer in fellowship with other believers and the favor of God is no longer present either. The hope is for their eventual restoration and growth. Even if that takes handing these people over to Satan. We should take some comfort in knowing that his was only done twice in Scripture, and it was only done because the people we unrepentant and willfully sinning against the Lord.
Putting it into Practice
What do you think about this practice of allowing Satan to have his way with people who are unwilling to repent from their sin?
Lord we ask today for your protection for our souls. We ask that you will give us a living faith that desires to please you alone and may we never get to that place where our faith is shipwrecked and we are in need of being turned over to the evil one. May you instead protect us from the evil one and may we willfully and obediently serve you alone. In Jesus Name, Amen.
“Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well” 1 Timothy 1:18
We believe that God still speaks. He does this through His word first and foremost, but we also believe that he still uses people and gifts them in the prophetic. Speaking forth his preferred will and destiny for his sons and daughters. We are not sure what was prophesied over Timothy, but Paul wants him to recall the word so that it may encourage him to fight the battle well. This is one of the most important functions of a true prophetic word from the Lord. It should instill courage for us to fight the good fight of faith. When Paul was writing to the Corinthians about the purpose of the prophetic he said, “But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.”
In my notes on my phone I have kept a few prophetic words that dearly loved brothers have spoken over me. One that encourages me the most to press on what given during a time when I was desperately seeking the Father’s healing touch over my past. I could share the word, but what it said was not for you. It was for me, and it’s a good one. I still tear up when I think back to that moment when God so clearly spoke to me.
Putting it into Practice
Have you ever had an experience with the prophetic, or maybe just to a time when the Lord spoke directly to you right when you needed Him to? I would encourage you today to take some time remembering those special times when God’s voice clearly spoke to you. Then, take some time and listen for the voice of God, maybe He wants to say something fresh to you today.
Jesus we thank you for those moments when we can sit before you in awe that you are a God who still speaks. May we quite ourselves today from any and all distractions so that we can hear you clearly. Amen.
“But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.” -1 Timothy 1:16
Some days I get the chance to drive down 8th street towards the Peninsula. I really enjoy the drive, especially as I pass by Forest Park Honda. See, Forest Park has really big windows to showcase all their beautiful motorcycles. These big windows are perfect for window shopping, which is one of my favorite ways to shop, because it doesn’t cost me any money!
Did you ever think about the reality that we are carriers of the presence of God? We are to be his display, his showcase of grace and mercy. Our lives are to model what it means to live as free and forgiven children of God. How are doing? Do you feel like a city on a hill, or are you trying to cover your lamp? Paul says the whole reason Christ showed him mercy and grace was because he was the worst sinner of them all, and if he can change, then there is hope for others! Yes, proclaiming the gospel in words is important, but unless our lives match our speech, our speech is meaningless. Paul also write to the Corinthians, claiming that we are to be the mirrored images, reflecting Christ’s glory. “And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
Putting it into Practice
Sing along with me. This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. Hide it under a bushel? No! I'm going to let it shine, Hide it under a bushel? No! I'm going to let it shine, Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. Won’t let Satan (blow) it out! I’m going to let it shine, Won’t let Satan (blow) it out! I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.
Lord we thank you for trusting us with living out the gospel each day. Please continue to pour out your mercy and grace to us. May our lives reflect the beauty of a people who are free and forgiven. May the people with whom we come into contact with today see your reflection in our lives. Light our fires and keep the evil one away from blowing out our lights. In Jesus Name, Amen.
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” - 1 Timothy 1:15
We live in a funny world these days. What one persons believes to be true is called “their truth”. As long as they are living out “their truth” then all is well. That is until you claim that there is an ultimate or absolute truth that does not align with “their truth”. So today I post the question, is there an absolute truth, or is all truth relative? This has been a question for people for the last couple millennia (thousand years). According to a quick google search, relative truth began sometime around 5th Century BC, or around 500 years before Christ entered the world. Is that coincidental? I think not! I believe that the enemy of our souls wanted it this way. He wanted people to be in the habit of questioning truth. This way, when Jesus came, they would also question His claims that He is “the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)
This entire letter was written on the premise that there is an absolute truth that exists in this world. There is a truth that transcends time, cultures, and language barriers. Why else would Paul write to Timothy about holding fast to the truth and commanding the false teachers to stop teaching? What is this ultimate truth? It’s the gospel, the good news. And Paul’s statement, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance” is the “you can take-it-to-the-bank” statement of his day. This check will cash, there are funds to cover this expense. Jesus Christ “came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” (1 Tim 1:15) What a glorious truth we have to hold on to, one that we can bank on!
Putting it into Practice
I want to encourage you today to share the truth with someone. The truth that God loved this world so much that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him would never perish but have eternal life. Because God didn’t send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it through Him.
God we thank you today that you are the solid rock of truth that we can stand on. We thank you that your promises are yes and Amen. That even in the dark moments when we are walking through valleys, that you are there and you will walk with us. We pray that we are able to stand on the solid rock of Christ, which can weather any storm, and it’s in His priceless and matchless name we pray, Amen.
“The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 1:14
I love a good summer thunderstorm. With thunderstorms there are dangers: trees falling, lightning crashing, wind howling, driveways flooding, dog running away, yet despite all this, I still love sitting on the porch feeling the gentle mist of the downpour. On rare occasions though, you just embrace the downpour and go out and dance in the rain. Is this safe? Of course it’s not safe, but it’s good for my soul. Ever hear a line like that before? I’ll tell you where it comes from. In the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis pens these words. “Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion." "Ooh" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion"..."Safe?" said Mr Beaver ..."Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.” Aslan of course is the Christ-like character in the Chronicles of Narnia.
Likewise, God isn’t safe, but He is good. Grace isn’t safe, but it is so good. When we become the recipients of grace, we enter into the storms of life carrying a new perspective. Grace get’s poured out on us from heaven and we are now grace carriers wherever we go. And Jesus calls us to go and make disciples, witnessing to others of his mercy and grace. Carrying his presence into the darkness and advancing the Kingdom of light. Paul writes that the grace of our Lord was poured out on him abundantly and he thanks Jesus for trusting him and appointing him to his service (1:12). It’s not safe work, but by carrying the grace of Jesus with us, we can go knowing that God is good and he will be with us, even in the storms of life.
Putting it into Practice
Have you ever been in a situation where you felt in danger, yet because of the goodness of God, and His presence, you were able to stand in the midst of the storm?
God, today I thank you for your comforting presence and your promises throughout Scripture that you will never leave us or forsake us. That no matter where we go, you will be with us. Please continue to pour out your grace in our lives so we can continually stand in the midst of storms. In Jesus Name, Amen.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” - Matthew 5:7
Growing up with a brother who was a couple years older than me, we had the opportunity to get into lots of little scuffles, and some all out brawls. Sometimes though, we would just wrestling for the fun of it, and during these matches there was a way to end it. You simply had to tap out, or yell out the word mercy. Of course there was much shame in asking for mercy because that showed weakness, and growing boys shouldn’t be showing weakness, right? The pop culture phenomenon, The Karate Kid highlights this idea that mercy is weakness when the sensei of Cobra Kai, John Kreese says, “We do not train to be merciful here. Mercy is for the weak. Here, in the streets, in competition. A man confronts you, he is the enemy. An enemy deserves no mercy.” Inevitably I would tap out, plead for mercy and the punishment would be over.
This is the antithesis of God’s view of mercy, though it may help us understand the concept of mercy. God’s mercy is righteous. God is merciful because we deserve the punishment we are due, yet out of his love towards us and because of the gracious and merciful sacrifice of his son, we do not receive the punishment we are due. Paul writes, “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.” 1 Timothy 1:13. That’s the beauty of the gospel. We are shown mercy, not because we deserve it, but we simply tap out and receive it as a free gift. God is merciful, and calls us to be merciful towards others. In this act of showing mercy, we are closer in fact to being like God.
Putting it into Practice
Would you take some time today to reflect on the mercy you have received from God? How are you doing on being merciful in your relationships now?
God we thank you for your righteous judgment and your undying affection towards those of us you call your sons and daughters. Though we deserve the death penalty because we have sinned against you, you are merciful to us. The crazy thing is that you call this justice Lord. It is right and just for you to extend mercy to us because of what you have done on the cross. We thank you again for the marvelous gift of forgiveness that you made possible through your son Jesus on that cross. It’s in His precious name that we pray, Amen.
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 1:12-14
Zach Williams has an amazing song, called “Rescue Story”. Check it out, seriously, stop reading this right now and click this link… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Yr48Berkqc Glad to have you back. Pretty awesome right?! “Where would I be without you, Where would I be Jesus?” We all have a rescue story, we all have a testimony of God’s goodness to us, though none of us deserve it.
My rescue story began at the Coudersport Alliance VBS when I was 10. It was there where I received my first bible, a brown hardcover NIV. I still read it from time to time. After I was given it, I remember reading the book of Genesis, and then I set it down; forgotten about. Many years passed and I began to walk down a path that was littered with some bad choices, but Jesus kept pursuing me. It wasn’t until I was a junior in high school when I began to pursue him back. What brought me to that point? Well it was multiple things that all were happening at once. I met a family who loved God in a way that I had not seen before, and I wanted what they had. I also lost two friends to suicide in 4 months, which sent me seeking. That’s when I found Jesus, well it would be more accurate to say that’s when Jesus found me. He found me when I was seeking for comfort. He found me when I needed answers. He found me when I was lost. That’s the beginning of my rescue story, what’s yours?
Putting it into Practice
Have you thought about your testimony, and how you would share it with others? In our groups last night we hopefully covered a few things that comprise a good testimony. 1. Short and Concise. 2. Clear and Structured. 3. Personal. 4. Interesting. 5. Ends with a question. If you haven’t yet, take some time today to begin writing out your testimony, your rescue story.
Lord, I thank you for the greatness of the gospel that rescued me. May I never take for granted the forgiveness and freedom in which you purchased for me on that cross. May I continually be amazed at the new life I have in Christ through His resurrection and ascension. In Jesus Name, Amen.
“…and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.”
May the Lord convict and correct me if I ever move beyond the greatness of the gospel. Many believe that the gospel, the good news is just to bring people into the Kingdom. To get them “saved” and into the church. The gospel is not just the first step of our faith, it is the centrality of every part of our faith. It’s the foundation and if ever we are lost on our way all we need to do is simply dig deeper into the gospel truths. It will always bring us back to the throne room of grace, where Jesus only is more than enough. A. B. Simpson wrote an amazing hymn that I would like to share with you today. It is called Jesus Only is Our Message.
Jesus only is our message,
Jesus all our theme shall be;
We will lift up Jesus ever,
Jesus only will we see.
Jesus only, Jesus ever,
Jesus all in all we sing,
Savior, Sanctifier, and Healer,
Glorious Lord and coming King.
Jesus only is our Savior,
All our guilt He bore away,
All our righteousness He gives us,
All our strength from day to day.
Jesus is our Sanctifier,
Cleansing us from self and sin,
And with all His Spirit’s fullness,
Filling all our hearts within.
Jesus only is our Healer,
All our sicknesses He bare,
And His risen life and fullness,
All His members still may share.
Jesus only is our Power,
He the Gift of Pentecost,
Jesus, breathe Thy pow’r upon us,
Fill us with the Holy Ghost.
And for Jesus we are waiting,
List’ning for the advent call;
But ’twill still be Jesus only,
Jesus ever, all in all. [Refrain]
Putting it into Practice:
When was the last time you sat down and simply marveled at the fact that you are saved by grace through faith? When was the last time you thanked God for giving you the gift of eternal life through Jesus and filled you with His Spirit? If it has been a little while, and even if it hasn’t, take some time today to dwell in the reality that you are a child of God, forgiven and made new.
Glorious Lord, we come before you today and marvel in your goodness. Not only did you bear all my sin on the cross, you gave me a fresh start. Your mercies are new each and every day. May I rest in the goodness of God today. In Jesus name, Amen