May 8, 2016
Stand and Guard the Gospel
Big Idea – Stand and guard the gospel message that has been entrusted to you by disciplining the wayward in faith-filled love.
Growing up my family only had 3 1/2 channels on the TV. But when I would go visit my grandparents, I got to watch cable television. My favorite channels were, of course, Nickelodeon (Salute Your Shorts, Hey! Arnold) and Cartoon Network (Scooby Doo and Johnny Quest). But I also loved the Discovery Channel (Modern Marvels, Future Tech) and the History Channel (Ken Burns documentaries on the Civil War). Visiting America recently I tuned into the History Channel, but I was hard pressed to find any programming remotely related to historical fact. Here’s a sample: UFO Hunters, Life After People, Monster Quest, Swamp People, Atlantis Found, Countdown to Apocalypse, and the closest that I could find to discussion of historical fact, How Sex Changed the World. There is no doubt that the sensational is popular and it sells.
One of the things that the heretical teachers are accused of in Paul’s first letter to Timothy is “devoting themselves to myths and genealogies without end.” These sensational teachings have promoted speculation (1:4), an unhealthy craving for controversy, and quarrels about words (6:4), producing envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction (6:5).
The church in Ephesus is struggling. And Timothy as a young pastor and leader is tempted to run from the struggles in the church. This was not what he signed up for as a church planter. He is in over his head. Ephesus was a Greek city filled with paganism and rampant immorality and idolatry. Within the church there were these people peddling myths for money, abusing their power, craving controversy, and depriving people of the truthful teaching of the gospel. Paul makes it clear that if he was there he would address these matters himself, but since he’s not, Timothy is going to have to stand his ground and guard the gospel message that has been entrusted to him and “play the man.” Breaking from his normal pattern of letters to churches, Paul, in this more private letter to Timothy, does not take the time to repeat the gospel message and its implicationsRead More »