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SCRIPTURE REFERENCES » 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Morning Sermon: 1 Timothy 1:12-17: Christ Came To Save Sinners, Of Whom I Am The Foremost

New Testament Reading: Acts 9:1-19

“But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ And he said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’ The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ And he said, ‘Here I am, Lord.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.’ But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.’ So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened. For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus.’” (Acts 9:1–19, ESV)

Sermon Text: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

“I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 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. 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. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:12–17, ESV)

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Please excuse any typos and misspellings within this manuscript. It has been published online for the benefit of the saints of Emmaus Reformed Baptist Church but without the benefit of proofreading.

Introduction

Here in this passage that we are considering today, Paul reminds Timothy of his former life in Judaism, how he once persecuted Christ’s church, of his conversion, and his appointment to the office of apostle. His presentation of his testimony here is very brief. It is only a summary of that story that is found in Acts 8 and following. Here in 1 Timothy the apostle does not speak of these things in detail, but only makes mention of them. Timothy knew the whole story. And indeed, the whole church would have been aware of the whole story. So Paul only gives a brief summary of it here. 

But what was the purpose of this? That is the question we must ask. Why did Paul interrupt his charge to Timothy, which was to confront false teaching within the church of Ephesus, to tell of his conversion and his appointment to the apostleship? You will notice that Paul returns to his charge to Timothy again in verse 18, saying, “This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare…”, etc. So he is not finished with his charge. And neither is he done with his rebuke of false teachers. In verse 20 he mentions two in particular:  “Hymenaeus and Alexander”, whom [he had] handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1 Timothy 1:20, ESV). So again I ask, what is the purpose of this passage that is before us today? How does Paul’s brief presentation of his testimony fit within the argumentation of this letter? What is his point?

Three reasons can be identified. Paul reminded Timothy of his testimony, one, to defend his apostleship. Two, to present a pattern of true conversion. And three, to give all glory to God.

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To Defend His Apostleship

First, recognize that Paul speaks of his conversion to defend his apostleship and his authority as an apostle. 

As I have said before, apostles had a special kind of authority in the early days of the church. They were eyewitnesses to Christ’s resurrection. They were commissioned by Christ himself to serve as his special representatives. And this special authority possessed by the apostles was validated by signs and wonders. These apostles (and the prophets with them) worked miracles as proof that they spoke with divine authority. You can read all about this in the book of Acts. 

Now, Paul was an apostle, but he was unusual. He was not one of Christ’s original disciples. He did not walk with Jesus during his earthly ministry. In fact, he violently persecuted the church at the beginning. And so he was appointed as an apostle after all the rest. 

You can probably imagine how the opponents of Paul used this against him. No doubt these false teachers questioned his legitimacy by highlighting his violence against the church and his late arrival to the apostleship. It is not surprising, then, to see Paul defending his apostolic authority in the letters he wrote. For example, when he wrote to the Corinthians he listed those who had seen Christ in his resurrection. And at the end of that list he wrote, “Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Corinthians 15:8–9, ESV). And this was Paul’s consistent approach. He admitted that he was unworthy to hold the office, and yet at the same time he insisted that he did indeed hold the office, by the grace of God. 

Though I cannot take the time in this sermon, it would be a worthwhile study to read through Acts, chapters 8 and following, and to consider all of the ways in which Paul’s apostleship was validated. The circumstances surrounding his conversion validated his apostleship — his conversion was marked by the miraculous. The miracles he performed also validated his apostleship — they functioned as signs. His reception by the other apostles and the church at large validated his apostleship — Paul did not go it alone but submitted to the church at large. And so too his faithful gospel ministry and his willingness to suffer for the sake of Christ validated his apostleship — clearly he was not in it for selfish gain. He suffered greatly as and apostle of Christ. The point is this: though Paul was an unusual apostle, he was truly an apostle, and he was received as one by the early church. 

The apostle Peter even made mention of Paul in 2 Peter 3:15-16. Listen to what he said: “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:15–16, ESV). Peter referred to Paul as “our beloved brother”. He commended his writings as wise, though he admits there are some things in them that are hard for some to understand. He even places Paul’s writings in the category of scripture.

Again, the point is this: Paul was an apostle. He saw the risen Lord, and he was commissioned by him. In fact, in order to demonstrate this to the church, the Lord called Paul through that faithful brother, Ananias. The Lord appeared to Ananias saying, “‘Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.’ But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name’” (Acts 9:10–16, ESV). Paul was truly an apostle. The other apostles recognized this, as did the church at large. But his authority was often questioned by false teachers, just as it is to this present day. False teachers today will try to pit Paul against Jesus, or Paul against the other apostles. But their views are baseless.  

Here in 1 Timothy Paul defends his apostleship when he says, “I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:12–14, ESV).

Notice three things:

One, Paul does not deny his past but readily admits that he was formerly “a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent” of Christ and his church. A blasphemer is one who speaks evil of God and the things of God. And this Paul did when opposed Christ and his church at first. He persecuted the church. He was zealous in his persecution. He saw to it that many were imprisoned. Some he had killed. He harassed the early followers of The Way from town to town. The early disciples of Christ knew Paul, who was also called Saul, by name, and they feared him. Truly he was an insolent opponent — an arrogant and violent oppressor. Paul did not deny his past but readily admitted that he was opposed to Christ and his church at first.   

Two, Paul points to the mercy and grace of God as the ground of his apostleship. Indeed, all who were appointed to the office of apostle were appointed by the mercy and grace of God. Think of Peter and his shortcomings. Peter denied the Lord three times when the pressure was on. And yet the Lord had mercy upon him. He graciously restored him. And so it was with Paul. There was no room for boasting, therefore. He knew that he was undeserving and that he was appointed to the office by the mercy and grace of God alone. His first words are, “I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord.” It was Christ who appointed him to his service, despite his awful past. He says that he “received mercy” and that the “grace of our Lord overflowed for [him] with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus”. In other words, the strong faith that Paul possessed, and the fervent love that he had for God and for the brethren, was an undeserved gift from God.  

And three, Paul says that the Lord “judged [him] faithful”, and that he received mercy because he acted “ignorantly in unbelief” when he persecuted the church. 

There are some who are perplexed by these words. They imagine that Paul here says that God showed him mercy and grace only because he was found faithful and only because he acted ignorantly and in unbelief. If this is what Paul means — that he was shown grace because of something deserving in him — then he would here contradict things that he has said elsewhere concerning the free and unmerited grace of God. 

 But upon closer examination we see that Paul clearly states in this passage that all is owed to the grace of God alone — his faith and his love were his only because [verse 14] the “grace of our Lord overflowed for [him]”. Indeed, everything good in Paul, including his faithfulness, is owed to this grace of God. Truly, God judged Paul faithful because God had, by his free grace, made Paul faithful. 

So what is Paul’s point? Why does he say in verse 12, “I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief…” (1 Timothy 1:12–14, ESV). 

Well, notice that Paul is not here speaking of his salvation, but of his appointment to the office of apostle. He is speaking of his appointment to the service of Christ. And what is required to serve Christ in an official capacity, either as an apostle or an elder within Christ’s church? Among other things, ministers of the word must be found faithful. This is what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:1-2. “This is how one should regard us [speaking of ministers of the word — Apollos, Cephas and himself], as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:1–2, ESV). Faithfulness — that is, the quality of being trustworthy and dependable — is a requisite for ministers of the gospel. Though the word “faithful” is not used in the qualifications for elders which are listed later in this epistle, faithfulness is certainly implied. In fact, the term “faithful” could be used to summarize the qualifications that Paul gives. An elder must be faithful in the home and within the community before he serves in Christ’s church. It is interesting how often Paul emphasizes “faithfulness” when commending ministers of the word to the church. He commended Epaphras to the Colossians as a “ faithful minister of Christ” (Colossians 1:7, ESV). He said the same thing about  Tychicus, calling him a “beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.” And Onesimus was also called a “ faithful and beloved brother” (Colossians 4:7–9, ESV). Indeed, it should be the objective of every Christian to be found faithful — constant, trustworthy, and dependable — but it is a requirement for ministers of the word. May the Lord say to each one of us, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:23, ESV).

Perhaps this is why Paul emphasized his faithfulness. As awful as his sins were against Christ and his church at the beginning, the Lord judged him faithful, and thus appointed him to the office of apostles. But even his faith and faithfulness were gifts from God. God’s grace was lavished upon him.

But what are we to think of Paul’s little remark, “I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief…” Well, let us think about the sins that Paul committed prior to his conversion. They were truly heinous sins. By his own admission, he was “a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent”. And do not forget the qualifications that Paul will soon lay down for elders. They must be, among other things, “above reproach… not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome…” (1 Timothy 3:2-3, ESV). I would imagine that some questioned Paul’s credentials saying, how could someone with a past like Paul’s be appointed to such a high office in Christ’s church. And the answer? By the mercy and grace of God. He was renewed. He demonstrated that he was renewed over a long period of time.  And concerning his former sins, he committed them being zealous for God and things of God, though he was ignorant. 

In a sense, all sin is sin. And we know that the wages of sin is death. But it is also true that we may distinguish between sins. Some sins are more heinous than others. Some sins have more severe consequences in this life. Some sins are committed intentionally, while others are committed unintentionally. Some sins are disqualifying for ministers, whereas others are not. Here Paul seems to be clarifying that although his former sins were truly heinous, he committed them truly believing that he was serving God and furthering his purposes. He was a blasphemer but did not know it. He was a violent opponent of the church, but he sincerely believed he was offering service to God. This does not make the wrong, right. But it does help us to understand Paul. He was always faithful, and he was always zealous to serve God, but he was ignorant. He was blinded by his sin until Christ graciously removed the scales from his eyes. And this is what Paul seems to be drawing our attention to in this passage when he says, the Lord “judged me faithful, appointing me to his service”, and “I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief…” (1 Timothy 1:12–14, ESV). 

So why did Paul make mention of his former life as a prosecutor of Christ’s church, his conversion, and his appointment to the service of Christ? First, to defend his apostleship against critics.

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To Present a Pattern For True Conversion

Secondly — and I think this is even more important — Paul gives his testimony to present a pattern for true conversion. Stated differently, Paul’s own conversion was to be viewed as typical

Now, please don’t misunderstand. Paul’s conversion was, in some respects, far from typical. Really, it was quite extraordinary, involving visions and supernatural occurrences. But in another respect, Paul’s conversion was typical. He was living in sin and darkness as a prideful and self-righteous enemy of God, until the Lord graciously revealed himself to him, humbled him, and removed the scales from his eyes so that he might see the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is what I mean by typical. Paul’s conversion was spectacularly typical. What he experienced is what we have experienced if we are in Christ, though the details certainly differ.

In fact, this is precisely what Paul says in verse 16: “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost [of sinners], Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:16, ESV). In other words, Paul was converted as he was so that his conversion might “display” the perfect patience of Christ towards sinners, even vile sinners. 

As I have said, all who are in Christ have experienced what Paul experienced, though probably in a less spectacular fashion. 

You too once walked in darkness. You were blinded by your sin and puffed up with pride.

And then in a moment, you were humbled. Your eyes were opened to the severity of your sin and to glorious grace that is found in Christ Jesus. Having been humbled you were drawn to Christ, and you believed upon him. 

And having believed upon Christ you were received by the church through the waters of baptism. And from there you began to grow and to serve the Lord, in one way or another, for the advancement of his kingdom.

In this way, Paul’s conversion is a pattern for true conversion. 

And I want you to recognize two vital components of true conversion. One, a true realization of one’s sin. And two, a true appreciation for the grace of God that is bestowed upon us in Christ Jesus. 

Clearly, Paul understood that God’s grace is glorious. In verse 14 we read, “and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:14, ESV). Grace is undeserved favor. Grace is a gift. By God’s grace, Paul had faith and Christ and love. And he speaks of God’s grace as “overflowing”. God’s grace is not meager or stingy, it is overflowing, superabundant.

But before we can comprehend the superabundance of God’s grace, we must first comprehend the horror of our sin against God. 

Does that sound overstated to you? I hope not. Our sin is truly horrendous. We have failed to love God as we should, and we have failed to love our neighbor as ourselves. Add to this the sins that we have actually committed. Truly, we are rebels who deserve the judgment of God who is pure, right, and perfectly just. I wonder, do you see your sin as horrendous? I ask you this not to drive you from God and to despair, but to urge you to run to God through Christ because his grace is overflowing! Paul saw God’s grace as superabundant because he knew that his sin was so severe. 

Look at verse 15. There Paul says, “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” (1 Timothy 1:15, ESV).

When Paul says that this “saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance”, he is referring to a staying that was common amongst the early Christians. Evidently it was common for them  to say, perhaps in their worship, or perhaps in their personal conversations, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” Paul is here saying, this saying is good and true and ought to be accepted and used.

Where did this saying come from? Well, the first part is based upon something that Christ himself said. Do you remember that episode that is recorded for us in Matthew 9, Mark 2, and Luke 5 where Jesus is criticized by the religious leaders of his day for eating with tax collectors and sinners? What was his reply? He said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17, ESV). This teaching of Christ is reflected in the first part of this “saying” that is “trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…”. He came for this purpose, to “seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10, ESV). The second portion of the saying, “of whom I am the foremost”, is the invention of the early church. But Paul agrees that this portion of the saying is also “trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance”. 

 “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” What does this mean?

One, Christ’s purpose for coming into the world was to save sinners. He did not come primarily to teach. He did not come primarily to serve as a moral example. He came to rescue men and women from sin and the effects of sin. He came to atone for sin. 

Two, if one thinks of themself as righteous, then Christ is of no benefit to them. That is the point of that passage that I cited from the gospels just a moment ago. No one is righteous, no not one. But many think they are righteous. And if someone thinks they are righteous, then Christ is of no benefit to them. They cannot be saved. Christ came to save sinners. And that is why he ate with tax collectors and sinners. They were sinners, and they knew it! Many of the Pharisees, on the other hand, we sinners, but they knew it not. If anyone is to come to Christ truly, they must come to him as the sinners they are, and not as if they were righteous. 

Three, the phrase “of whom I am the foremost” means, I consider myself to be the worst of sinners. Notice that Paul took this phrase to himself. When Paul thought of his own sin he considered himself to be the chief of sinners, or the foremost of sinners.

I think that many Christians are tempted to come running to Paul’s defense, saying, no, Paul. You really aren’t so bad. There are certainly worse sinners than you! Or maybe others questioned Paul’s sincerity, thinking, Paul said this, but he really did not believe it. 

Consider three things though. One, Paul’s sin really was great. He persecuted the church. Christian’s lives were ruined because of what he did. Some were killed. Steven, the first martyr of the church, was stoned to death while Paul, who was also called Saul, gave his formal consent (see Acts 8:1). In fact, it is not hard to imagine that Paul really considered himself to be the foremost of sinners. Two, it is not unreasonable for any Christian to sincerely believe themselves to be the foremost of sinners, even if they have lived a relatively good and wholesome life. I’m much more aware of my sins than I am of yours (or at least I should be). For every one sin of yours that I might be aware of, I am aware of 100 of my own (or at least I should be). And three, as we mature in Christ we should grow more aware of our sin, and not less. It’s a strange phenomenon. As we mature in Christ we actually sin less and less, but we are aware of our sin more and more, so that those who are mature in Christ say with honesty, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” 

As I have said, Paul’s conversion is set forth here as a pattern for true conversion. We are not truly converted unless we are truly humble concerning our sin, and grateful for the superabundant grace that is ours in Christ Jesus.  

But I still have not really answered the question, why does Paul insert his conversion story here in his letter to Timothy? What does his conversion have to do with these false teachers and the charge that he is delivering to Timothy to deal with them?

Let’s think about this for a moment. 

One, can you see how Paul’s testimony would itself counter the errors of these false teachers? They were mishandling the law of Moses, remember. And instead of using the law to confront men in their sin, and thus to drive them to Christ, they were consumed with speculations about myths and genealogies. It is safe to assume, I think, that instead of confronting men with their sin and urging repentance and faith in Christ, these false teachers were claiming to have some kind of special knowledge gained from their expertise in the law of Moses. Paul’s conversion is a reminder that true conversion involves turning from sin and to Christ, and the law is to be use to show us our sin and to drive us from Christ. These false teachers understood neither the law nor the gospel. Their message was powerless to save, therefore .

Two, Paul’s testimony would have also reminded Timothy to be appropriately gracious with these false teachers. That might sound strange, but think of it. Paul did not tell Timothy to cast these men out of the church, but to “charge… [them] not to teach any different doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3, ESV). Repentance was the goal. If they refused to repent from teaching another doctrine, then they would be like “Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom [Paul]… handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1 Timothy 1:20, ESV). These would not turn from their error, and so they were put out of the church. But Timothy was to begin by urging these “certain persons” not to teach any different doctrine”. And how valuable it would have been for Timothy to remember Paul’s story as he ministered to these. Paul himself was a “blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent” of the church, but God was merciful and kind to him, appointing him to the apostleship, for he acted in ignorance. I hope you would agree with me that there is a great difference between a false teacher who teaches different doctrine because he is ignorant, and a false teacher who teaches different doctrine knowing that he is doing so and for selfish gain. If the man is faithful, he will turn from his way and right the wrong. But if the man is faithless and self-serving, he will persist in his error to his own ruin and the ruin of others. These two types must be dealt with differently. And I believe that the reminder of Paul’s testimony would help Timothy to discern the appropriate way. 

Three, Paul’s testimony concerning his former sin and the superabundant grace of God that was shown to him would help Timothy to maintain a kind and patient disposition, not only towards these false teachers, some of whom acted out of ignorance, but towards all of the saints in Ephesus who were struggling with sin. A minster of the word must deal with sin within the Christian congregation. Sin, be it moral failure or false teaching, must be addressed. It cannot be ignored. The whole church must deal with it, but pastors have a special obligation to deal with it. But we are to do so patiently. Listen to 2 Timothy 2:24: “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:24–26, ESV). This does not mean that there is never time for a firm rebuke. But even if a rebuke is in order, patience is required. Listen to 1 Thessalonians 5:14: “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” (1 Thessalonians 5:14, ESV). 

One of the worst things that can happen within the heart of a pastor is for him to forget his own sin and to lose sight of the grace of God as he ministers to others in their sin. Christ said, “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:4–5, ESV). Notice that Christ does not say, do not be concerned with the speck in your brother’s eye, but rather, “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” When you take the log from your own eye first, you will gain a heart of compassion for your brother or sister. Pastors must deal with sin within the congregation, but they must be patient, loving and kind. And if they are to maintain that disposition, they must never lose sight of their own sin and the superabundant grace of God that has been shown to them. These false teachers needed to be corrected. Indeed, they may have been deserving of a firm rebuke. But Paul reminded Timothy that he himself was a “blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent” at the start, but God was merciful to him. 

Brothers and sisters, what I have just said about the heart of a pastor applies to you also. Do you consider your own sin and the marvelous grace that has been shown to you when relating to one another, or have you developed a judgemental spirit? This can be applied to relationships that exist within Christ’s church, but also the relationships within the home. Husbands and wives, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:29–32, ESV). Parents, do the same for your children as you raise them in the instruction and discipline of the Lord. Discipline them but in love. Shower them with grace.

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To Give All Glory To God

There is one last thing that needs to be said concerning the reason that Paul gave his testimony here: to give all glory to God. 

Look at verse 17: To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:12–17, ESV).

Brothers and sisters, when the law and gospel are faithfully proclaimed, it is God who gets the glory, and not man. Conversely, when the law and gospel are distorted, it is man who gets the glory and not God.

Truly, we are sinners saved by the grace of God alone. To him be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Sermons, Joe Anady, 1 Timothy 1:12-17, Posted by Joe. Comments Off on Morning Sermon: 1 Timothy 1:12-17: Christ Came To Save Sinners, Of Whom I Am The Foremost


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