Monday, November 17, 2014

5 Statements you can trust from 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus

1 Timothy 1:15 "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all."

Today's post is about the five "trustworthy" statements we find throughout 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus. As Paul wrote these letters to Timothy, Titus and their congregations, he wrapped his arms around key truths of scripture and the early apostolic preaching based upon the scriptures and summarized it all in five statements. Being that the Holy Spirit of God was superintending these words, we could say that these 5 statements illustrate for us the truth of the Bible's infallibility - that is to say, the Bible's ability to lead us into all truth and to never fail (hence the term "trustworthy statements). Below I will list the sayings with headings to highlight these 5 statements you can trust, and why it is you can trust them.

1. Gospel to save the sheep. 
1 Timothy 1:15 states - "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all." This first "trustworthy statement" deals with the mission of Jesus Christ as spelled out clearly in the Gospel. When I speak of "sheep", I'm referring to believers in Jesus Christ, as called by Jesus for example in John 10. The term "gospel" is found over 100 times in the New Testament. Paul told Timothy to deal with the false teachers that were infiltrating the church at Ephesus, and to be sure to preach the Gospel which can save both he and his hearers. (1 Timothy 4:13-16). Thus the Gospel itself is the first statement we can trust, because it saves the sheep. But notice the second trustworthy statement...

2. Pastors to guard the sheep
1 Timothy 3:1 "It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do." We as believers in Jesus Christ need pastors. Even as a pastor writing this post today, I myself look to other fellow pastors and listen to pastors in their preaching to get fed, to attain wisdom and to better understand the scriptures. This statement is trustworthy for the simple fact that it gives us the qualifications for pastors and it reminds us of our need to be under God's Word. Jesus prescribes the pastoral ministry to His church to build up the church to the goal of attaining the unity He prayed for and aims to achieve before His second coming. (John 17; Ephesians 4:11-12). Now lets consider a third statement you can trust regarding doctrine.

3. Doctrine to feed the sheep
1 Timothy 4:9-10 tells us these words - "It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. 10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers." What is doctrine? Doctrine is the fine pearl necklace that adorns the church and tells us who God is, who we are, how to think Biblically and what to tell others about the Gospel. Doctrine gives us vocabulary with which to describe our glorious Savior. Doctrine is the handmaiden of Biblical preaching and the assistant to the Christian in the practical affairs of everyday life. The reason why I ascribe the value of doctrine to this third trustworthy statement is because it answers for us in the clearest way possible: for whom did Christ die? The accomplishment of Jesus Christ on the cross requires doctrine to explain it and apply it to both believers and non-believers alike. This statement is one that summarizes virtually every scripture that touches upon Jesus' atoning death. He died for all men in a historic sense (Savior of all men) and for His church in the eternal sense (especially of believers). (1 John 2:2; Acts 20:28) 

Jesus died for all men in the sense to give time and room in history for everyone to believe and repent. God's general revelation in creation renders all people without excuse and no one can say they did not know about God and His nature, power and wrath. (Romans 1:18-20; Acts 14:17). If a person so humbles them selves to such general revelation, God by His Spirit will send a Christian with the Gospel of the special revelation of the Bible, drawing that person then to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Unless the Son's work on the cross had been directed toward the whole world, the whole world would had been destroyed due to the fact that the Holy God of eternity cannot tolerate sin in His sight. (Isaiah 6; Habakkuk 1:13). 

In dying for all men, those whom the Father sends His Spirit to Divinely affect by His convicting work, whom He lovingly set His affection upon, who willingly and freely respond to the call of Gospel are those for whom Jesus died for in the ultimate sense. Those truly regenerate persons are those who compose the true church of Jesus Christ, which is what Jesus gave His life for as planned out between He, the Father and The Spirit in eternity. (Acts 20:28) 1 Timothy 4:9-10 is a trustworthy statement that wraps its long arms around the massive doctrine of the atoning achievement of Jesus Christ and thus is a statement we can trust as doctrine that feeds the soul of the sheep. 

4. Truth to liberate the captive sheep and those pretending to be sheep
2 Timothy 2:9-11 tells us - "It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;
12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself."  I find in this fourth trustworthy statement a word of warning and a word of encouragement. The liberating truth comes in freeing believers from the fear of wondering whether or not they are saved. Likewise, for some who are playing church or make-believers, the jarring truth of 1 Timothy 2:12 awakens them from their little game to believe, repent and be saved. We need this statement to set us free from fear and carelessness. Truly then this statement can liberate people. 

5. Holiness to purify the sheep
Titus 3:8 notes - "This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men." We have considered four statements thus far that you can trust in essential matters of the Christian life. This final statement is important due to the call to live a holy life for the glory of God. Without the scriptures and the power of the Holy Spirit, our efforts to live holy lives will be exercises in futility. Paul reminds Titus that the scriptures (including what he is writing) are designed to urge readers to pursue a holy and devout life with God and before men. 

Closing thoughts
Today we have considered the five "trustworthy statements" found in Paul's three letters of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus. These are summaries of large and important teachings of scripture that are inspired statements themselves that we can trust. As was mention, such statements highlight the infallibility of scripture or the ability of the Bible to lead us into all truth without fail. In considering these five statements you can trust, we saw...
1. The Gospel that saves the sheep
2. Pastor to guard the sheep
3. Doctrine to feed the sheep
4. Liberation of captive sheep
5. Holiness to purifiy the sheep

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