2015 Sermon Series
- April 17, 2016
God is Infinitely Greater than Our Largest Ministry Obligation and Opportunity.
Believers will have one of two reactions when Christ returns: we will either be confident or ashamed. Paul gives directives to Timothy so that he will be found faithful at Christ's second coming. In 1 Timothy 6:15-16, Paul rehearses several character traits of God which will motivate Timothy's obedience.
Consolation is found in the character of God. What we know about God impacts how we live.
The Only Sovereign
Two titles underpin God's sovereignty in 1 Timothy 6:15: "the King of kings and Lord of lords." These titles are normally given to Jesus Christ, but here they directly refer to God.
There is no attribute more comforting to a believer in affliction than the sovereignty of God. It is an overwhelming doctrine and divine mystery, even as it becomes more understandable with the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This mind-blowing doctrine settles our hearts because God is in control. It's all His.
One author takes this lofty reality into practical understanding with the following phrasing: "Sovereignty means that God is the ultimate source of all power, authority, and everything that exists. Only God can make those claims. Therefore, it is God's sovereignty that makes Him superior to all other gods and makes Him and Him alone worth of worship."
Luther described God's sovereignty in "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God."
And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
An older pastor often says, "When you can't track the Lord or trace Him, you are brought to trust Him." We don't know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future. "Human speculation must always submit itself to divine revelation." A life crisis prompts emotion and many unhelpful assumptions. We must remember Philippians 4:8 and make our minds dwell on the truth.
"Sovereign" has the same root as a Greek word for power. This word describes God's infinite ability to govern all things according to Himself; He needs no outside help. God is above and before all things (Colossians 1:17); He is "the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end" (Revelation 21:6). He is present everywhere so everyone can know Him.
Who Alone Possesses Immortality
"Immortality" is a compound word that literally means "without death" (1 Timothy 6:16). When we are given salvation, we receive God's eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ. When we own Him, His deathlessness is ours.
Dwells in Unapproachable Light
Descriptions of God as Light, as in 1 John 1:7, emphasize God's holiness and purity. These characteristics are consoling because they show that He is able to forgive. Confessing our sins to another sinner is pointless. Only One can forgive sins, because only One is wholly pure. He is infinitely dependable because there is nothing sullied or stained in His character or His actions. Christ's death was only effectual to pay for our sins because of His purity.
Deserving of Praise
"Honor and eternal dominion" are God's exclusive right (1 Timothy 6:16). "Amen" means "so be it." This reality will never change because He Himself is unchanging.
Guarding the Commandment
As Timothy obeys these directives, Paul summarizes his responsibility one more time in 1 Timothy 6:21-22. He is to guard the commandment that was entrusted to him. He is to guard the truth so carefully because it is worth so much. God Himself and the Book of His revelation will forever be enough. The sovereign grace that was strong enough to work the greatest miracle of salvation is also enough to sustain us in guarding the Word. This is the responsibility of the leaders and every person in the church.
- The way you live mirrors how much you know about God. What does your life show that you believe about God?
- Theology books can be useful to deepen your knowledge of God. Here are some authors Pastor Tim would recommend: Louis Berkhof, Augustus Hopkins Strong, Rolland McCune, Millard J. Erickson, and Henry C. Thiessen.
- How do you respond to crisis? Our goal should be to increasingly reach a settled state like that of God, who is completely satisfied with Himself. Are you completely satisfied with God?
- Every person in the church has a part in guarding the truth, keeping the commandment, and setting an example of a Christ-like walk. This protects our church from going astray from sound doctrine. What will you do?
Tools for Further Study
Cross References to Explore
- Colossians 1:16 – God's sovereignty in Creation.
- Romans 11:33 – There is no limit to God's knowledge.
- Jeremiah 32:17 – God's power is at work in everything.
- Psalm 135:6, 115:3, Romans 8:28, 1 Peter 5:7 – God's sovereignty settles our hearts.
- 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 – Christ's effectual death on our behalf.
Quotes to Ponder
"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing to us. the gravest question is God Himself. What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.
"The history of mankind will probably show that no people has ever risen above its religion, and man’s spiritual history will positively demonstrate that no religion has ever been greater than its idea of God. ...
"For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.
"...Were we able to extract from any man a complete understanding to the question, 'What comes into your mind when you think about God?' we might predict with certainty the spiritual future of that man."
– A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy
"God orchestrates and determines everything that is going to happen in your life, in my life, in America, and throughout the world. Whatever He wants to do in the universe, He does, for nothing is impossible for Him."
"Anxiety is the absence of humility, and humility is the absence of anxiety."