Monday, March 17, 2008

The close of 1 Timothy 1

18This 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, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
These are the closing words of 1 Timothy 1. In them I learned something new, Paul didn't just willy-nilly pick Timothy as the leader of the church in Ephesus, Timothy was chosen of God to lead this church. That's what "in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you" means. He was called to the ministry and Paul charges him so that he might fight well by holding firm to his faith and having a good conscience.

I actually really like how Henry (e-sword) puts it:
Here is the charge he gives to Timothy to proceed in his work with resolution, ...... Observe,
1. The ministry is a warfare, it is a good warfare against sin and Satan: and under the banner of the Lord Jesus, who is the Captain of our salvation (Heb_2:10), and in his cause, and against his enemies, ministers are in a particular manner engaged.
2. Ministers must war this good warfare, must execute their office diligently and courageously, notwithstanding oppositions and discouragements.
3. The prophecies which went before concerning Timothy are here mentioned as a motive to stir him up to a vigorous and conscientious discharge of his duty; so the good hopes that others have entertained concerning us should excite us to our duty: That thou by them mightest war a good warfare.
4. We must hold both faith and a good conscience: Holding faith and a good conscience, 1Ti_1:19. Those that put away a good conscience will soon make shipwreck of faith.
But Paul puts in a warning here. Hold to the faith and have good conscience lest you make a "shipwreck" of your faith. He specifies two individuals here : Hymenaeus and Alexander. Paul mentions that he has handed them over to Satan so that they might learn not to blaspheme. They were disciplined within the church....probably I'm guessing excommunicated.... IN ORDER THAT they may learn not to be as they are. In this case, they must learn not to be blasphemers.

I have to admit, I think that is what should be key in Church Discipline...the desire to restore people to the faith. To not merely just kick them out of fellowship, but to say, what you are doing is wrong and we wish for you to learn this and until you do, you have no part in the full fellowship of the church. To often discipline within the church is seen as "get out, we don't want your type here" when that's not how it should be. Discipline within the family of God should always be done with the aim of full restoration.


Lillie Ammann said...

I've enjoyed your posts on 1 Timothy and especially appreciate your comments on church discipline here.

Annette said...

Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

Good Blog.

Here's mine:

Sorry I have to be anonymous. Feel free to circulate it if you think it's any good.

God bless you.

Prayer Guy