1 Timothy 1:3-11 - Pure Heart, Good Conscience, and Sincere Faith
Acts 20:23–32 (ESV): 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25 And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. 26 Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. 32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Paul had visited Ephesus at least twice and spent a total of 2-3 years with them. A religious city with the Temple of Diana, it was important and very influential at the time. Paul had sent them one letter already. They were strong theologically, but Paul prayed that they would know the love of God.
Vv. 3-4 - Paul left his trusted “son in the faith” at Ephesus to protect the church from false teachers. These false teachers were very likely even elders in the church. They had moved away from the Gospel, and had focused in on false doctrines, strange teachings, and myths.
V. 5 - Paul explains that their aim and ours should be love - love of God and love of others. This aim can only come from:
• A pure heart - a heart that can now please God, like a well with a good source.
• A good conscience - with genuine motives.
• A sincere faith - to honor and glorify God.
V. 6 - If one swerves from these three things mentioned, it will result in wandering away from one’s love of God and others.
V. 7 - These people will then become bold about what they believe. They might even be very sincere, but they will be sincerely bold and wrong about things that are not true. For the Christian, we must understand how the three aspects listed above play into our understanding of the law and how that understanding plays into our love of God and others.
V. 8-11 - Paul now explains which type of usage of the law he wants Timothy to focus in on, and gives a list of pretty much any possible sin.
3 Uses of the Law (from John Calvin)
1. Mirror - The law shows us our need for a savior.
Romans 3:20 (ESV): 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
2. Civil - The law given can restrain evil in the world so societies can function.
Romans 13:1–7 (ESV): 13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
3. Enlightening - The law guides Christians in ways to obey that are pleasing to God. It is how we know what our Father wants and doesn’t want from us. We obey because we now want to obey, and because we love Him.
John 14:15 (ESV): 15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments
1 John 5:1–3 (ESV): 5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
Psalm 119:9–16 (ESV): 9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
10 With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! 11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 12 Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes!
13 With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. 14 In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. 16 I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.
In this passage of 1 Timothy, Paul seems to be writing about the second use of the law. The law is given to restrain evil. The problem is that these false teachers have taught people to use the law unlawfully. There are three possible errors.
1. Antinomianism - That we do not need to obey the law at all. We are saved by grace, so we can now do whatever we want.
Romans 5:19–6:2 (ESV): 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 6 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
2. Legalism - This teaches that we add things to the Gospel for our justification. If we keep laws, then God will accept us or “be for us.”
3. False doctrine leads to false living. These teachers had false doctrine through studying other myths and teachings and had arrived at false beliefs about the law. Then those false beliefs were translated into false living.
True love for God and for others will flow from right doctrine.
Matthew 22:34–40 (ESV): 34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Verse 11 ends with Paul explaining that he has been entrusted with God’s glorious Gospel. We have been entrusted with this glorious Gospel, too. We first focus on the glorious Gospel and have a pure heart, good conscience, and a sincere faith. Then the aim of all we do will be the love of God and love of others.
1. Focus on the Gospel and keep sound doctrine that leads to sound living.
2. Let love of God and others be your aim.
3. Don’t fall in love with doctrine and grow cold toward Christ.
This sermon and the entire sermon series were influenced and impacted by the following commentaries, Bibles, books, teachings and sermons. I am so very grateful for the insight and ministries of those involved with each. Likewise, I am thankful for the insights and input from those who attend the sermon preparation time at FBCCK.
NIV Compact Bible Commentary - John Sailhammer
The Message of the New Testament - 1 Timothy - Mark Dever
The Letters to Timothy and Titus - The Pillar New Testament Commentary - Robert Yarbrough
The Pastoral Epistles - Tyndale New Testament Commentary - Donald Guthrie
1&2 Timothy and Titus - Preaching the Word Commentary - Bryan Chapell and R. Kent Hughes
1 Timothy - Reformed Expository Commentary - Philip Ryken
What is Legalism - John Piper - Podcast
Three Uses of the Law - R.C. Sproul and John Calvin - Articles on Ligioner
ESV Study Bible
HCSB Study Bible
John McArthur Study Bible
Topics for the Prayer Time
*Those who have yet to believe in Jesus
*The unreached peoples of the earth
*Missionaries around the world and for more to go
*The spiritual growth of other believers and churches
*That you would have more spiritual gifts
*That Christians would remain faithful under persecution
*Those who are sick
*Those who have lost loved ones
*Our nation, leaders, military, and civil servants
*Pray for the health and salvation of the unborn babies in our church
*Pray against the evils of abortion and human trafficking
*Pray for the University of Florida international students
*Pray God would bless our efforts to in evangelism and discipleship
*Pray God would bless our community
*Pray God would bless the churches of those visiting us