Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: lamb

Christ Jesus came to save sinners

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Christ Jesus Came to Save Sinners

This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of 1st Timothy for other studies in this book. 

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse twelve of the first chapter of First Timothy.

He has judged me faithful

Paul goes on to write…

V12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Paul makes it personal; he talks about his own testimony. Revelation 12 advises that the accuser will be thrown down by “The blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony” see below for full counsel of God…

Revelation 12:9 (ESV) And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death

Do not underestimate the power of your testimony! In sales people buy from people, if you can show in your life the reason for your faith, if you can show that your testimony does not end at conversion but there is a daily, life changing work being done in your life, that will cause people to question this faith and see that it is real. Paul speaks honestly who he was and what he did and where he was in that day.

Paul thanks Jesus because he has judged him faithful, he could see right into Saul’s heart that day on the road to Damascus, he knew who he was picking. Jesus hand-picked Paul for that mission, to reach the gentiles for Jesus Christ. He was counted, he was called as faithful, and he was one who was able to be used of God.

Correct attitude towards service

Paul has the right attitude towards his service; he often called himself a slave, a bondservant or Jesus Christ. One who volunteered himself into a life bound by service unto God’s will for our lives, Paul demonstrates a faithfulness that shows that he was completely compliant to his mission on earth. He was completely sold out on his main priority, furthering the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Paul shows that regardless of where God has planted us, we can be faithful where we are at. We have to be faithful in the small things first and then as we grow God will test us and stretch us into further works for him. This is why it is vital we don’t beg for deliverance every time we are tested or tried, how are we meant to learn and grow in God if we never learn or grow in God?

Paul was in ministry (or service) he made tents during the working hours and spread the Gospel at every opportunity, he was not only in ministry when he spoke in the Synagogues. He was in ministry when he was sewing a tent, when he was chained to a Roman, wherever God had him.

This is a phenomenal lesson to us all as some of us will not serve unless we are a position to be noticed. Jesus spoke about those types of servants and advised the ones who sought the praises of man “had their reward already” and that is a real danger to us all as many good ministries have been damaged or torched by individual pride.

Useable > talented

We have to be useable, not necessarily talented but most certainly useable. I am no great theologian, but God has put a desire in my heart to research and write about his holy word. I am no great teacher, but God has given me people willing to come with a thirst to hear the word of God (not me) I am not really talented in many areas but I want to be used for his glory as opposed to mine.

I am not at all good with public kudos I am sure I have shared that before; when a pastor or leader shouts my name from the front of the church I do get a wee bit embarrassed and tend not to enjoy it. I am a behind the scenes guy who is just as happy stacking chairs as I am teaching a bible study. I am not saying this because it is one of the few things that I have right however we should try to bloom in God where we are planted for his glory first.

God’s choice = Glory to God

God knows how to pick them doesn’t he? Paul describes himself as a “former blasphemer and persecutor” but this is what I love about the bible, God picks the unlikely candidate to show that it was him that did it. He picked the leading thorn in the side to people of “the Way” the one that if there had been a Billboard Chart of top 100 feared Pharisees Paul would have been “Top of the Pops” every time.

He took this man and gave him a place in the front line, he knew Paul’s heart, knew how faithful he was and how faithful he would be and rather than let his past be a hindrance, he put him to work as a front line missionary in one of the most dangerous territories in the world. His conversion was not the end, but merely the first step in a new life as Paul the apostle rather than Saul the persecutor.

He was given an audience with the LORD and he states that he was “formerly” Paul shows that the grace of God was enough not just to get him into heaven but to wipe away the wrongs of the past and qualified him for service in Christian service. Paul shows Timothy that his past didn’t disqualify him; he states that he did it in “ignorance” God used Paul in spite of Paul, his greeting here to Timothy was that he should remain despite how inadequate he felt.

Who is worthy of service?

This is a common occurrence in Christian ministry, that people will try to disqualify themselves because they deem themselves unworthy. Truth is, none of us are actually worthy however in spite of us, and God will still find a way to use us. As imperfect as we are, as incapable as we may think we are God knows who we really are and that is why he has called us. We are called not because of who we are, but by God’s grace. We should take heart from Paul’s experience that he received mercy as opposed to judgment.

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty – December 20th

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty – December 20th

Thank you for reading our twentieth installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at the prophecy that the messiah would not have his bones broken. We read this is the book of Exodus chapter 12 which talks of the Passover lamb…

Exodus 12:43 (ESV) And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the statute of the Passover: no foreigner shall eat of it, 44 but every slave that is bought for money may eat of it after you have circumcised him. 45 No foreigner or hired worker may eat of it. 46 It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones. 47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. 48 If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it. 49 There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.”

I chose this verse to show a comparison between the temporary sacrifice that the Jews were doing in preparation for the messiah coming. The Passover lamb was a sacrifice and a way for the children of Israel to outwardly show that they were following God.

In the recent movie “Son of God” there was a beautiful picture of the Passover lamb being sacrificed in the temple as the Lamb of God was being sacrificed on the cross at Calvary. The very people who were the ones carrying the lamb into the temple were also the very ones who had condemned Jesus to death by crucifixion. It was a beautiful comparison and one of the highlights of the movie.

I loved to see it but I lamented as I realized the point that the moviemakers were making that they were so ritualized and so in tune with keeping their traditions that the very ones who should have recognized the messiah first, were the very ones who were calling for his death.

The idea of Passover

Passover was instituted as a sign of faith to God from the children of Israel, an outward sign in a foreign country that they were identifying with God. Talk about nailing your colors to the mast huh? Being slaves in Egypt, this would not have been a very safe thing to do.  This is why they stated that no foreigners should eat it, it was not to be defiled and it should only have been eaten by those who were of the faith in your family or anyone who had been circumcised into the faith.

Passover was to deliver them from slavery in Egypt, it was important that the lamb used was a firstborn, without spot or blemish and without broken bones. What a wonderful picture of the messiah Jesus Christ, the Lamb who was going to deliver them out of slavery not from Egypt but of sin and into a permanent relationship with God the Father. We see further prophetic proof in Psalms thirty four:

Psalm 34:20 (ESV) He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

We see that this verse is quoted in John nineteen. (As seen below)

John 19:31 (ESV) Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not  remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. 36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

This was unusual of the day, normally the protocol was that they would break the legs of the deceased. I have heard a few reasons why, some commentators state it was in case the criminals were taken from the cross barely alive and could escape. I find difficulty with this as I have issue with being able to escape after surviving scourging and being hung to asphyxiate to death that they would be able to prop themselves up and escape.

Whatever the reason I take great comfort in the fact that God was in control of the proceedings. I know that the Romans who took the decision to pierce his side to see the blood and water hitting the ground were not proficient in Jewish religious prophecy. That tells be that even although they had no idea that they were playing a part, they were being used by God to fulfill prophecy.

God also knew the calendar (and in fact wrote time itself!) and knew that because of the strict Sabbath laws (that he put in place) that the body of Jesus would not hang on the cross over the Passover weekend. I find it wonderful that it was the Jewish leaders who asked for the real Passover lamb to come down to allow them to begin their rituals.

We have to be careful as Christians that we don’t replace Jesus for religion or rituals. We have to come with our contrite and repentant heart and keep ourselves in constant communion with our Savior. Christianity is supposed to be a relationship as opposed to an empty religion.

We are the only ones who believe that God loved us so much that he sent his firstborn and apple of his eye to die to save us all. All other religions are about the adherents trying to appease or keep sweet an angry deity.

Psalm 22:17 (ESV) I can count all my bones—they stare and gloat over me;

David when he writes about this also realizes that despite all of his scars and near death experiences he is not suffering from broken bones. This is near prophecy, but in the life of Christ we see that this has far reaching prophecy, this was written over half a century prior to Jesus being born in Bethlehem.

Jesus ties up the Passover (Exodus 12) he is that lamb without spot, without blemish. He is sinless and died a criminal’s torturous death in order to set us free from our sins. He did not have his bones broken and he could see the people below mocking him. Being both God and man he was also the only one who could fulfill this prophecy.

Jesus said in John 14:6 that “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (ESV) He is the only way to heaven and the only way to have your sins forgiven and restore communion with your creator.

Jesus went through all this so we can go to heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE