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Truth that Matters: Stewarding the Gospel Well (1 Timothy 1:1-11)

1 Timothy 1:1–11 - 1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope, 2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, 4 nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. 5 But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, 7 wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. 8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. What does today’s passage say? In today's passage, Paul establishes his authority as an apostle of Christ Jesus to give sound instruction (v. 1).  He addresses Timothy as a true fellow believer to charge certain people to stop teaching false doctrines and obsessively studying speculative myths and histories (vv. 2-4). The goal is embodying sincere love coming from pure motives, clear conscience and genuine faith (v. 5). But some teachers have veered off course into fruitless discussion indicating lack of understanding (vv. 6-7). Paul clarifies the proper function of the law is to expose sinful behaviors as lawless (vv. 8-9), describing examples like murderers, the sexually immoral, and liars (vv. 10). He emphasizes successfully stewarding the glorious gospel as a priority (v. 11).

How can I apply 1 Timothy 1:1-11 to my life?

Paul is reminding his protégé, Timothy, to stay grounded in the essential redemption message that breathes new life. In Ephesus, speculation and legalism were eroding that focus, stirring controversy rather than godly edification. Reminding Timothy of his call to steward this gospel of grace, Paul urges faithfulness to accurate representation of the Lord that alone redeems. How crucial his charge remains today! We too must filter out cultural noise and theories that do not produce the fruit of love and reconciliation. God gave us the law not to measure up but to highlight our need for a Savior who offers what we could never gain through self-effort. The one who came to rescue and transform sinners. Clarity on our identity in Christ protects against drifting into legalistic judgment or pride. It frees us to extend the same grace we've so richly received. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

  1. Hold Fast to Sound Teaching and Avoid Conspiracies and Speculations that Don’t Come from True Faith and Love (vv. 3-7): Timothy was urged to not let certain false teachers stray others into useless myths and genealogies. These controversies stir debate rather than advancing God's redemptive plan, which comes from a pure heart, good conscience and sincere faith rooted in love. We too must be vigilant. When presented with questionable doctrines or theorizing that feels fruitless and divisive, redirect the focus with grace. Seek unity around biblical truth that transforms hearts and minds with agape love. Stay centered on representing Jesus and His sacrifice accurately. Cling to sound teaching that affirms Christ’s redemption and leads to righteousness by faith. When encountering speculations that don't align with scripture, ask "does this draw people to Jesus or distract from the core gospel message?" Evaluate if it produces godly love versus dissension. Refuse to get sucked into conspiracy rabbit holes online or elsewhere. Keep coming back to teachings focused on redemption and spiritual rebirth in Christ (2 Timothy 4:3, Titus 1:9, 2 Peter 2:1).

Food for thought: Why do you think rumors and controversies that divide get popular? What scriptures help you test truth versus lies?

  1. Neither the Law nor Legalism Can Save but They Do Show Us How Desperately We Need the Lord’s Grace (vv. 8-10): Here Paul clarifies God’s commands are not to justify good people but to spotlight sin deserving punishment - proving we constantly fall short. Trying through self-control always fails God’s perfection test. This shows we cannot earn salvation on our own effort. We desperately need mercy and grace. Seeking perfection through rules leads to pride or despair because we were designed for friendship with God. Cling joyfully to Christ’s redemption, not rigid rule-keeping that breeds fake piety. Rest in Jesus’ finished work on our behalf. The law reveals our need; grace gives the cure. When you notice yourself or others descending into legalistic judgment, self-righteous comparison, or hypocritical pretending, draw back to grace. Remember that we are made for relationship, not earning approval. No one reaches sinless perfection through self-effort. Place hope in the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus to remove guilt and shame, not checking boxes (Romans 3:20, Galatians 2:16, Hebrews 7:19).

Food for thought: Why does legalism persist when it offers no hope? How does resting in grace revolutionize life with God versus striving for approval?

  1. Believers Need to be Faithful Stewards of the Gospel that Has Been Entrusted to Them (vv. 11): Paul was thankful for the gift of preaching good news - a responsibility requiring faithfulness. If we call Jesus Lord, we too bear duty to handle this rescue message properly. Take this call seriously. It should change how we connect with God and represent Him accurately to others in our actions. The world desperately needs what believers have received. Ask God for boldness to live out and share the gospel consistently and kindly. Consider who needs to hear the gospel story from you. How can you embody God's grace to them? What first steps can you take to steadfastly steward the redeeming message you've been given? Look for opportunities to share your story of salvation and hope in Christ. Prepare a short version you can relay when God opens doors. And faithfully pray that the Spirit will let the gospel shine through your life to those needing rescue and freedom (1 Corinthians 4:1, 2 Corinthians 5:20, Colossians 1:25).

Food for thought: Do you see yourself as caring for the life-changing gospel? What would shift if you took ownership of this charge?

We need to be faithful stewards of the wonderful gospel message we've been given. This good news of salvation should be our foundation and compass that guides everything. It should shape both what we believe and how we live. As the world spins with more confusing ideas that stir conflict, there is desperate need for clarity and kindness. Followers of Jesus get to provide that light! We have the treasure of truth and grace to share generously with all people. This starts by keeping our own doctrine and behaviors in line with Christ's sacrifice for us. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you stay faithful in correctly representing Jesus in what you say and do. Be a trustworthy caretaker of the redemption story that brings rescue and freedom. Eagerly share this powerful message while avoiding useless arguments or pride. Stay rooted in the grace that transforms hearts with love. Freely extend the same gift of undeserved favor to others that Jesus has given you. That's how His salvation plan spreads across the world! Prayer Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray that You would increase discernment to filter out voices and theories that undermine the foundational redemption story or fruitlessly divide. Anchor me in truth that transforms hearts with love. Protect me from legalism’s paralyzing spiral of pride and shame as I rest in the sufficiency of Jesus to make me righteous before You by faith. Embolden me to freely share with humility the glorious gospel I have received. Use my words and my life to clear a path for others to find grace and renewal in Christ. I long for the message that has rescued me to reach all who need Your redemption and healing.

I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

1 Timothy 1:11 - according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

With His Blessings, Pastor Corby

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