2015 Sermon Series
- June 14, 2015
The Deepest Joy Springs from Understanding Christ's Deity.
The church in Ephesus had been unsettled by the false teaching of unbelievers in their midst. Even young pastor Timothy was anxious. Paul knew the flock at Ephesus well from teaching in their houses for over three years. His heart was that no soul would be left behind, and he wrote to settle the Ephesian believers. They needed to be encouraged and settled, so they could then learn proper structure and function in the church, then go on to make spiritual progress. Paul was an example to Timothy in discipleship and pastoral ministry.Listen
Just introducing himself, Paul settled the Ephesians' hearts in three ways.
Paul's Personal Testimony
Being reminded of Paul's testimony encouraged the believers' hearts and brought them joy. They knew Saul had been completely transformed, and they were reminded that Christ did the same thing in their lives. Every Christian now lives as a dispossessed citizen. Our heart does not belong to this world, but we live with our eyes turned toward heaven.
Paul's Divine Responsibility
Paul refers to teaching 32 times in the short book of 1 Timothy. This was one of his primary tasks as an apostle. In its common use, the Greek word for apostle meant "sent one," a person who had a mission or carried a message. In Judaism, those who collected tribute from the Jews scattered in the Diaspora were called apostles.
The New Testament gives a specific spiritual meaning when it uses the word. In the book of Acts, many people are named apostles in a general sense - they were sent on a gospel mission. The usual sense of the word in the New Testament is more narrow: it refers to the original 12 disciples of Jesus with the addition of Paul. These were men who had lived during Christ's ministry or witnessed the post-resurrection living Christ (1 Corinthians 15:8). Apostles were given authority from God on doctrine and lifestyle. They carried this authority wherever they went, and their teaching and exemplary lifestyle continue to influence the church through all of time.
The qualifications for an apostle tell us that there are no true apostles alive today:
- Chosen, called, and sent by Jesus Christ personally.
- Eyewitness to the post-resurrection living Christ.
- Confirmed by miraculous signs.
- Office not limited by time and place.
Paul's life was committed to spreading the Gospel. He belonged wholly to Christ Jesus. Paul used Christ's name in this specific form to make a point to unbelievers who may have been in the audience. The Jews were still waiting for their King Messiah; "Christ Jesus" showed them that the Messiah had to be the Savior first. The name "Christ" showed the Gentiles that Jesus is King and needs to be the Lord of their lives.
Paul's special authority came from his designation as an apostle, but every believer has the authority to guard the truth revealed by God in the Bible.
In 1 Timothy 1:1, Paul immediately directed hurting hearts heavenward through the use of two names of God. "God our Savior" is used only in the pastoral epistles and echoes several Old Testament descriptions of God. Some of the false teaching in Ephesus said that Jesus could not save. Paul assured the Ephesians that they had not been deceived. They did not have to look back to the Law or family traditions but could continue to rest in Jesus' work for their salvation.
Paul further encourages the believers to meditate on "Christ Jesus our hope." Jesus is the hope of the Christian for this life and the next. This certainty is not found in any religion. Jesus is the source and object of our hope. While we remain faithful in this life, we keep looking up to Him and His promises.
These names and the truth they tell of God's character settle the hearts of true saints.
- Word-saturated, Spirit-filled people want to be shepherded. Do you welcome the oversight of your pastors? Do you seek to be connected with other believers at this church? Think of someone who needs some care, and reach out to them.
- We have no true gospel unless it transforms our lives. Are you being changed by the power of Christ's Spirit in you? If you are a believer, you will be transformed.
- Believers today are not apostles in the normal, specific sense that the New Testament uses. But we are all sent to spread the Gospel. You can settle the flock by fulfilling your divine responsibility. Are you worshipping, serving, and disciple-making in the local church?
- Are you distracted and discouraged? We become unsettled when we fail to remember our salvation, our responsibility, and our hope. Paul always looked up more than he looked around at circumstances and people. Rehearsing these things can help bring yourself up and out of discouragement.
Tools for Further Study
Cross References to Explore
- Galatians 6:10 - The spiritual well-being of the body of Christ is the highest priority of pastors.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 - Jesus gives us future hope.
- Psalm 18:46, Psalm 25:5, Psalm 27:9, Micah 7:7, Habakkuk 3:18, 1 Corinthians 1:21, Ephesians 2:4-8, Philippians 1:28, Romans 5:1-11, Romans 8:1-3 - God is our Savior.
- 2 Corinthians 4:1-18 - How Paul fought discouragement.
A Hymn to Encourage: "Not What My Hands Have Done"
Not what my hands have done
Can save my guilty soul;
Not what my toiling flesh has borne
Can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do
Can give me peace with God;
Not all my prayers and sighs and tears
Can bear my awful load.
Thy work alone, O Christ,
Can ease this weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God,
Can give me peace within.
Thy love to me, O God,
Not mine, O Lord to thee,
Can rid me of this dark unrest
And set my spirit free.
Thy grace alone, O God,
To me can pardon speak;
Thy pow'r alone, O Son of God,
Can this sore bondage break.
No other work, save thine,
No other blood will do;
No strength, save that which is divine,
Can bear me safely through.
I bless the Christ of God;
I rest on love divine;
And with unfalt'ring lip and heart
I call this Savior mine.
His cross dispels each doubt;
I bury in his tomb
Each thought of unbelief and fear,
Each ling'ring shade of gloom.
I praise the God of grace;
I trust his truth and might;
He calls me his, I call him mine,
My God, my joy, my light.
'Tis he who saveth me,
And freely pardon gives;
I love because he loveth me,
I live because he lives.