Wednesday, November 19, 2014

P1 T.h.a.n.k you Jesus

1 Timothy 1:12a "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord...."

Can we ever thank Jesus enough for all He has done? A few days ago I had blogged on this subject of giving thanks to the Lord. God's Word has this amazing property of yielding further riches after multiple times of study and reflection.  

Point of Application: Thanking Jesus will result in a lifestyle of worship. 

I get this thought from what Paul says in the closing part of this particular portion of 1 Timothy 1:12-17. Notice what he writes in verse 17 - "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God,be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." Today's post considers why we must t.h.a.n.k Jesus Christ. We will consider three reasons to thank Jesus today and then two more tomorrow. 

1. Times of strengthening. 1:12a
Paul begins by expressing to Timothy how awesome it was that Jesus Christ Himself was strengthening Him. Some of the false teachers who were confusing the Law and Gospel were "Johnny-Come-Latelys" who only wanted fame and notoriety among men. The well of strength that these false teachers were drawing from was their flesh and magnetic personalities. Paul's ministry on the other hand drew its strength from Jesus and His resurrection power. In Acts 9:22 we read of what took place following Paul's dramatic encounter: "But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ."
It was Jesus Himself who enabled Paul with the gifts and talent to begin serving him in the ministry. 

The strength that Jesus gives is not only for times of ministry, but throughout those seasons of the Christian life when we are at our weakest. After all, it is in those weakest of times that we learn His grace is sufficient. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Only when we have abandoned the mirage of self-sufficiency will we be able to say with the Apostle: "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.' (Philippians 4:13) So let's thank Christ Jesus for times of strengthening and then secondly...

2. Heavenly calling. 1:12b-14
We read in the second part of 1 Timothy 1:12..."because He considered me faithful, putting me into service." It is in 1 Timothy 1:13-14 that Paul expands upon the significant circumstances surrounding His calling to ministry. Before the heavenly call of ministry, Paul's call to salvation came first. The point of these verses is to underscore the fact that out of all the people in the world who were least likely to be the greatest spokeman for Jesus Christ, it was Saul of Tarsus. As Paul relays in 1 Timothy 1:13a "even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor." I love the phrase "even though". Why? Because whatever will come after that "even though" phrase will totally overule whatever Paul had once done prior to his conversion.

You and I dear friend have done a lot of "even though's" in our lifetimes. When God's call of salvation comes to us, we are in an "even though" condition. This "even though" condition in my case would go something like this: "even though I was a sinner, a self-righteous little ten year old boy not worthy to be called by Jesus Christ unto His salvation, yet He found me". We were in the same predicament as all lost sinners. Paul was literally arch-enemy number one to both the early church and to Jesus Christ. 

With that said, the most powerful word in 1 Timothy 1:13 erases Paul's former identity: "yet". When I see the word "yet", that is usually a God word. God alone can take a no body and make them a somebody who can tell everybody about The Somebody who can save anybody. This is Paul's whole point in his fountain of thanksgiving in these verses. We read in 1 Timothy 1:14 "and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus."
The call of God makes nothing into something. 

I thank the Lord who called me unto Himself in 1984 and who called me into His service in 1991. Whatever station of life you are serving, whatever you are doing, give thanks to the Lord for His heavenly calling and times of strengthening. Now notice the third thing to thank Jesus for....

3. Awesome salvation. 1:13b-14a
We read in the latter part of 1 Timothy 1:13 and the beginning part of 1:14 "Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant...". Mercy is God not giving to us what we deserve. What is it that everybody deserves? As a Christian there are three things I deserve: death, hell and the grave. God chose me in His mercy. Because of God, the wrath that I deserved was spared. The Gospel is awesome because of God's choice to show mercy. Wrath being withheld from all who believe is awesome news. But now the Gospel is awesome for another reason - grace. Grace is God giving to us what we don't deserve. Grace cannot be earned, only received. Saul of Tarsus was not looking for Jesus, if anything, he was doing all he could to destroy Christianity. Nonethless on the way to hell, so-to-speak, the King from Heaven met Saul in physical, post-resurrected form and engaged him in grace. Thus we can thank Jesus for awesome salvation, heavenly calling and times of strengthening.

More tomorrow...

1 comment:

  1. Yes, thank You Jesus.

    Grace, mercy, and peace to you, Pastor Mahlon.