Thinking Through Ministry: 1 Timothy 1:1-2 What Do I Believe About God? [Part 1]
Last updated: 06 Nov 2020 11:17
1 Timothy 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I wanted to take this series as a journal and an examination of what I believe when I read the Bible.
This is not one of intense research. This is a reaction of the words I read in my Bible.
He is the thirteenth apostle after Matthias replaced Judas Iscariot back in Acts 1. The book of Acts called Paul, then Saul, a ravager of the church (Acts 8) and went as so far as to approve the execution of Christians like Stephen (Acts 7-8). But we know that the Lord Jesus Christ called upon Paul and struck him down and directly asked Saul, “Why are you persecuting me?” I firmly believe that this is an instance in the Bible when God effectual called Saul to himself. When God, in his saving power and might, calls to a sinner, that is the effective call of bringing the sinner saved into the grace of God. We read that when he called Noah (Genesis 6) or Abraham (Genesis 12). We see this till this day. It might be as dramatic or not as dramatic as Saul’s conversion but it is just as effective.
We could get into certain soteriological debates whether of not every person called in this way by God is saved. That might be another topic for another post. I will only say this: I am not sure if it is good to look at it as an instantaneous transaction between the calling of God and the saving of one person. I think of it as when Christ said about the Spirit:
John 3:8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
In other words, we don’t know the exact time and place of the Spirit because the Spirit is always working. I know that he does start early in life and continues to work on our hearts until our hearts are turned–or if we are to believe Ezekiel, when God takes our hearts of stone and gives us his soft heart and His Spirit (Ezekiel 36:25-28) so that we might die but be fully alive (1 John 5:1)
Apostle of Christ Jesus
Christ has sent us all as messengers. The difference between us and the 13 Apostles is that Christ charged them specifically with a task that has been fulfilled by the Apostles not because anything they did but because of the perfect work of the One sent them.
There are thirteen apostles in all. Each of them, all save for John, died gruesome horrible deaths because of their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the commission that was given to them and to every single Christian since the Ascension of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:6-11). That is:
Matthew 28:16–20 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Mark 16:14–20 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.
Luke 24:44–49 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
Acts 1:6–11 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
And if I could be so bold, I know the redemption, calling, and blessing of Peter could be applied to every one of us. I know I that it has struck me to the core of my heart
- John 21:15–19 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”
Their deaths were horrible, brutal and gory. No one wants to die that way. But when you know something to be absolutely true, you must choose how to live your life, even to the point of death. This is when Paul quotes Habakkuk in his epistle to the church in Rome: “The righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16-17). By no means does a perfect life equals proof of faith. We know this because the Bible is filled with historical figures who lived imperfect lives but believed and trusted in God and they put their faith and hope in the one man, born of a virgin, who lived perfectly by the will of His Father by the power of the Holy Spirit and His name is Jesus Christ, the Son of God who is God.
And I still think that same Christ has asked us all to lay down our lives, pick up his cross and follow him. It won’t be easy. It’s never safe. But it is good.