1 Timothy 1:18-20 (CSB) Timothy, my son, I am giving you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies previously made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the good fight, having faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and have shipwrecked the faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme.
If you love the Lord your God, you are called to ministry. But we need to examine the intersection where faith and ministry actually meet.
I am giving you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies previously made about you
Through the Pastoral epistles, Paul is giving “these things” to Timothy and Titus. I need you command and teach these things. I don’t want to get ahead because we will examine what Paul gave pastors and ministers in due time.
Yet, Paul is giving instruction “in keeping with the prophecies previously made about you”. What are prophecies?
1 Timothy 4:11-16 (CSB) Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone despise your youth, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. Until I come, give your attention to public reading, exhortation, and teaching. Don’t neglect the gift that is in you; it was given to you through prophecy, with the laying on of hands by the council of elders. Practice these things; be committed to them, so that your progress may be evident to all. Pay close attention to your life and your teaching; persevere in these things, for in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.
2 Peter 1:20-21 (CSB) Above all, you know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from the prophet’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 14:22 (CSB) speaking in tongues, then, is intended as a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers.
Let us demystify prophecy. Prophecy, in short, points to all of what Christ has done. In the OT, it is what Christ was going to do based on the promises of God. Now we have Christ revealed, crucified, resurrected and ascended, we get to admonish, encourage and point all believers back to the finish work of Christ. We have all received godly encouragement in one form or another. Prophecy is a bit more specific. It hits closer to the heart. But it is no less tested by the word of the Lord.
Side note: Anybody who says you cannot test all prophecy against Scripture isn’t trying hard enough. There is no need to rush the testing. Just pray to the Spirit and he will bring to remembrance all that God has said and taught.
Deuteronomy 18:18-22 (CSB) I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. I will hold accountable whoever does not listen to my words that he speaks in my name. But the prophet who presumes to speak a message in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods—that prophet must die.’ You may say to yourself, ‘How can we recognize a message the LORD has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the LORD’s name, and the message does not come true or is not fulfilled, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.
1 Thessalonians 5:20-22 (CSB) Don’t despise prophecies, but test all things. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.
so that by recalling them you may fight the good fight, having faith and a good conscience
If you ever receive a prophetic word, write it down as soon as you can and keep it. Don’t ever forget it. A proper, tested prophetic word is from God alone. It will carry you, sustain you, and encourage you for years.
I am not going to sit here and talk about “your destiny” (because if you are saved, you have been predestined to God by God for God) or “where you need to be” (because God is sovereign) or even worse “you have to do this in order for God to do that”. I will not say such things and then go into some sort of legalistic rant that says you have to try harder for God to bless you.
Listen, if you are in Christ, you are a new creation. The old has pass and the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17) If you are in Christ, then there is no condemnation and your sins–past, present, and future–are all put on the broken body and blood-drained body of our Savior. That is the real blessing. Go after him. Run after him. Turn your heart and affections upon him. In other words, fight the good fight of faith.
However, when you are directed by God and you keep trusting God, there one effect that you going to see: The Spirit will set your face like rock in the direction of our God and it is the work of God that will keep your feet pointed in the proper direction. Remember God operates out of time: what feels like forever to us is not forever to him. In other words, keep trusting in him. If you are in Christ but struggling in sin, don’t lose hope. Where you are now is not where you are going to end up.
This goes back to obeying Christ in trusting Him and take him at his word.
don’t shipwreck your faith
which some have rejected and have shipwrecked the faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme.
In other words, don’t say “God is this” when the Bible says, “God is that”. Paul was so grieved to the core about those who have shipwrecked their faith that he rather turn them over to Satan rather than them to blaspheme God. You might think that is strange. But always keep this in mind: where we are at now is not where we are going. Somebody might be in sin–they might be in the clutches of Satan himself–but salvation belongs to the Lord for he is the only one mighty to save.
To turn blasphemers over to Satan might seem like a gamble. But is only the sheer grace of our Lord and Savior that can bring anybody home.
Some people think that they are not shipwrecking their faith. They walk away from the church never to return. They will think, “I still believe and trust in God” but you have removed yourself from the community of God. That is disobedience. That is shipwrecking. Then without staying in the word and letting God preach the good news to you, you start to miss any kind of good news. Where are you going to turn to? Because the world has bombarded us with what they think is good news. Sad fact is that in my short life of 45+ years, it has changed dramatically. Or listen to the good news of Satan whose lies have not changed in all of eternity: do not love the Lord your God because he is not for you and he will forget you just like he does everyone else.
Don’t shipwreck your faith. Keep your eyes upon God. Confess your sins quickly because he is faithful and just to forgive you and me of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Repent for the kingdom of God is here right now.
As the song goes we are little ones that belong to you we are weak but you are strong. I have seen prophecy sustain me through my darkest times and sustain others through trials and tribulations God help us all to gladly receive these words and test them against your word so you can sustain us all of our days. Lord we pray for those who have walked away from the faith and church and using modern philosophy to make sense of who you are Only you can reveal to mankind who you really are So would you shine your glory show your face smile down upon us be gracious in the light of your countenance and give us peace. We love you. The prophecies you have given over me That have been from you That have been tested against your word That would delivered by your Spirit And out of the mouths of faithful servants Would you always bring them to remembrance And remind me of your sweet encouragement And faithfulness? My Lord, I have fought for so long And I have failed many times But your strength renews me And then I can go back to war And slaughter the giants in the land And they will all fall Because of what your Son has done. Lord, Give me the faith of your Son Write your word upon my heart Never let your Spirit depart from me So I can believe and trust in you So that I might not sin against you. Keep my conscience clean By continuously gently speaking to me When I am in your presence Or wandering in the wilderness. I have already tried to shipwreck my faith I am no better than others who have strayed Keep me in your hands And do not let me go For I am not strong enough And surely I will die If I am not with you. You are my crown and my goodness forevermore. Amen.