Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: missionary

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

Ladies – win them without a word

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Ladies – win them without a word

1 Peter 3:1 (ESV) Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they see your respectful and pure conduct. 3 Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

It is not often that I get to brag on my wife, however if it was not for her beauty and her kindness, I am convinced that you would not be reading this blog today. I have reviewed the above verse over and over again in my heart and used to have it memorized. The reason for this devotion to this small chunk of scripture is simple – I have lived it!

You see, up until late 2005 I was a raging alcoholic, an impending marriage to the lady who is now my wife did not stop me from my self-destructive path. A quiet Sunday morning in a small Calvary Chapel in the west end of Glasgow, the week after I quit drinking was step one on a path to where I am today. (If you want the full story check out my “testimony” page)

My wife Chelsea also blogs, if you have not had an opportunity, then please check out her blog at this link. But she “showed me Jesus”, we made mistakes along the way for sure, but I certainly would not have the unshakable faith I have today had it not been for my wife.

This is a call to arms to all women who may or may not want to obey this scripture, the husband is meant to be the head of the home and the wife is the keeper of the home, in today’s modern families both or either partner (I use that word because marriage is a partnership) may not have to do the traditional roles. I know that in my household, both of us earn money because of our different gifts.

Will they be won over by your conduct?

I can only speak for me and say that I was. There is something so beautiful about a God fearing woman; from a man’s point of view I must not do anything to pierce that. People get very literal with this passage and mean it that if you don’t have braided hair and wear lots of jewelry that you are somehow less of a Christian. I know that such things don’t interest me and my wife is beautiful to me most when she is her, when she loses herself in the worship of the LORD. That is real beauty!

Also if you are reflecting your Savior then you will inspire discussion into where it comes from, if you are infectious for the LORD then you will have comfort in times of trial and also you will have the love and honor of your husbands.

Missionary dating

Despite the fact that my wife and I are a success story, I would not advocate missionary dating. I know that for my daughter I would like a man who is a strong Christian and an effective leader in the home. I want my daughter to have what my wife has and also all the things my wife does not have. I know no man is perfect but I do want the best for my daughter.

Outward adornment

We have to be really careful with what we hold in our hearts, the reason I say this is that we can get really discontent with all of the stuff that we do not have. This is counterproductive as we then fail to recognize the many blessings we have. If we live in the western world I can guarantee that we have more than we need, even in the most abject of poverties, but we still whine when we see others on vacation or others get new “shiny things”.

We then start to question God and question whether we are truly being blessed. It is hard because the human heart will naturally covet perishable things and things that are temporary.

Vicious cycle

This leads to chasing what others have, coveting other folk’s things in order to “get ahead” and when we get in that mindset, we get desperate. We start taking on more things, to get more stuff and life becomes far more complicated than God would ever have planned.

Then we start getting into cycles like debt, depression and un-fulfilment because there is that “God shaped hole” that we are trying to stuff our stuff into. It is all perishable; it is as good for you as eating fruit that has gone off. I know in my life I am guilty of this and need to devote more time to the finer (Godly) things in life.

Call him LORD

Maybe not literally, my wife does not call me lord and I am not sure how I would feel about it if she did. But in her heart I know that she loves and respects me. Do I tick her off? Of course I do? Do we bicker? not very often, Am I all that she needs? (Ouch) Guys this is our part! The next few verses tell us that

Do not hinder your prayers

1 Peter 3:7 (ESV) Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

We have to love our wife’s, it is not a dictatorship, it is a partnership. We have promised on our wedding day to love, honor and cherish. Every day when I come home from work, I am glad that my wife is there, sometimes she is teaching lessons and sometimes she is there to greet me, either way I would not choose anyone else.

Out of everyone I know, I pray for my wife most of all. Partly because she has to live with me, but as she is the primary educator in our family, she has a lot on her shoulders. I understand that she doesn’t have a 9-5; hers are more like 8-12 midnight.

Love your wives by doing more

Like I say guys, it is a team effort, don’t complain about the dishes, get off your butt and go do them! Same with the laundry! It won’t kill you, just do what I do and seek advice of you are not sure. (I didn’t once and I now have a pink football jersey!)

My hope is that in this blog you found something useful, edifying or challenging, as usual please share, comment or like below.
TGBTG
TTE