Tuesday, August 3, 2010

1 Timothy 1 - Love, Conscience, and Faith

by Katrina

LINK: 1 Timothy 1

BACKGROUND
Paul wrote 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus to these men who were pastors in the early church, so these three books are called the "Pastoral Epistles."

Timothy had joined Paul during his second missionary journey and had eventually been left in Ephesus to lead the church in that city and the surrounding area of Asia Minor. Paul desired to visit Timothy there, but in the meantime sent him this letter to guide him in his pastoral ministry.

In chapter one, Paul reminded Timothy of his overall responsibility to teach and to oversee what was taught in the church. He exhorted Timothy to personally "fight the good fight" and fulfill God's purpose with his life.

Once again, Paul needed to address the issue of people teaching that Christians must keep the Mosaic Law. The Law is useful for pointing out sin, but not for salvation. Only Jesus, not the Law, can save sinners from their sin.

At the very end of the chapter, Paul mentions Hymenaeus and Alexander, "whom I have delivered over to Satan." This means that these two men were removed from the fellowship of the church as disciplinary action, lest they destroy the church with their false teaching and in hopes that they would repent and be restored.

REFLECTION/APPLICATION
In verse five, Paul said, "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." Let's make love our goal no matter what our ministry. If we serve with a pure heart and a good conscience, not seeking reward or recognition, then we truly serve. Let's be motivated by sincere faith and nothing else.

And let's fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience (vs 18-19). Once again, Paul emphasized the importance of our faith. We must guard and keep it. And he also reiterated the importance of a clear conscience. We must make sure our motives are pure and we are doing what is right.

PRAYER
Father, thank you for the heart of a shepherd that you give to our spiritual leaders. Lead them to lead us in our faith. Teach us to do everything out of love, without selfishness or pride. We want to serve you with pure hearts and clear consciences. Amen.
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