Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 2 * BOOK 44
Paul – First In the Body of Christ – Part 2
I Timothy 1:1-16
Okay, it’s good to see everybody. Again, we’re going to be getting right back to I Timothy chapter 1 and verse 2. For those of you joining us on television, oh, my, how can I say it, Honey? We just thrill at your letters. Many times you’ve told us you feel like you’re sitting in one of the back rows and are a part of this class. And that’s the way we like to keep it. We want to keep it simple. We want to keep it in such a way that anybody can identify with us. Hopefully we can help you to see what the Scriptures really say. I don’t claim to have all the answers. I don’t claim to be 100% right about everything. And I certainly don’t mind someone disagreeing with me on some things, as long as it doesn’t disagree with the basic fundamentals of our faith. So, we do appreciate your letters, your financial help, and most of all your prayers.
Iris and I just got back again from 3,200 miles of travel. We realize that the prayers of God’s people are with us. Okay, let’s get right back. This is Bible study, and we like to teach in a way that you can compare Scripture with Scripture. And again, as our letters indicate, to help you understand what you read. All right I Timothy chapter 1 verse 2. This letter is written to Timothy.
I Timothy 1:2
“Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: (as I brought out in the last program) Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Now you want to remember that Timothy was up there in Asia Minor in the central part of Turkey. You remember his grandmother, Lois, and his mother, Eunice, were Jewish. Timothy is part Jewish. His father was a Gentile, but evidently came to know the Lord through Paul’s ministry—probably in his first missionary journey, if I’m not mistaken. But whatever, he was a real, young person at the time when Paul first met him. I pointed this out, I think, in one of my other programs—how that Paul at this time is probably in his early 40’s and Timothy is probably around 18 or 20. There was about a 20 year age difference between the two men, but Timothy had just become such an avid follower of the Apostle Paul. And for this reason, then, Paul is more or less passing the mantle of his ministry over to this young man, as well as he will to Titus.
All right, so here he says that you’re my own son in the faith. Verse 3 is where I got the remarks from our last program that I thought Paul was probably up in northern Greece at the time that he writes this letter to Timothy. Who at the time is over in Ephesus and the area of western Turkey, or that part of Asia Minor at the time of the Roman Empire. He says in verse 3:
I Timothy 1:3
“As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,”
Now remember what I said in the last program? That was Paul’s constant concern—don’t be deceived. Don’t be led astray. But, you see, it can come in a hundred different forms. It was no different then than it is today. And it’s so subtle. You want to remember that the Devil has one objective. That is to lead people from God’s salvation. That’s his sole objective. And he doesn’t care how he does it. He’ll use the Scriptures. He’ll use churches. He’ll use anything that you can imagine.
But you think, oh, there’s nothing wrong with those things. No, not in their own innocent situations. But if they are used by the Devil to misguide people and to teach untruth, then he’s the winner. Because, you see, God is absolute. This is what I’m always trying to stress. You do not treat God like a Santa Claus. You do not just tweak His nose and say, “Well, this is the way I think it ought to be.” No, no! God is Sovereign. He’s absolute. I’ve used the word often throughout the programs – exclusivist! We have an exclusive Gospel. You cannot water it down with teachings of another and assume that God will accept it. He will not. He is Sovereign. He is absolute. And He is exclusivist.
I always have to remind people of the Lord’s words Himself back in Matthew when He says, “Narrow is the way…” And how many find it? Few! Few! Why? Because the majority wants to bend the rules and say, “Oh well, certainly God will accept me.” No, He won’t. God is absolute. All right, so here again he said to teach no other Gospel other than what Paul had taught Timothy himself in I Corinthians 15:1-4. Now verse 4 and this is exactly what we see in our day and time.
I Timothy 1:4
“Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister (or bring up) questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.”
A lot of times I’ll get questions in the mail from something way back in the Old Testament. And it isn’t even pertinent. I’ll write back, “Why do you spend your time majoring on minors? Major on the majors! Get into the truth of Paul’s Gospel. Get into the truth of Paul’s letters, because that’s where we are today.” I even made this statement when we finished our series in Revelation a few years ago and started in Romans. I’ve always noticed that it’s not at all hard to keep people interested in Genesis or Revelation, because both of those are pretty far removed from where we are in our present day and time.
But I was a little bit skeptical about holding my audience’s interest when I started Romans. But fortunately the Lord has surprised me, and people have remained interested. But usually people like to be in that area that they are not immediately concerned with. And the same way with a lot of questions, they lead up to nothing more than arguments and discussions with no truth to them. So Paul is warning Timothy—don’t be caught up in some of these things that just simply tend to bring argument. Now verse 5 and here’s where the meat of everything is.
I Timothy 1:5
“Now the end of the commandment is love (or charity) out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: (or untainted, or unadulterated).”
Now when it comes to Paul speaking about love, I think there’s one chapter that should immediately come to mind. That is Romans chapter 13 starting in verse 8. This is this whole concept of love as Paul is admonishing Timothy to concern himself with. All right, Romans 13 verse 8:
“Owe no man (or defraud) any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” That’s quite a statement, isn’t it? How do we fulfill the law? With love. When we speak of Christ and His death on the cross, what put Him there? The love of God! His love for humanity put Him there.
The purpose of His going to the cross was to fulfill the demands of the Mosaic Law. Love is the fulfilling, then, of the Law. All right, just stop and think. This is just plain, logical, good common sense. If you have got the agape love, God’s love, which comes only by virtue of our salvation experience, can you steal from your neighbor? No! You can’t steal from someone you love. Can you commit adultery if you really love your spouse? No way. Can you be envious if you’re a loving type of person? Impossible! So you can go through all the various aspects of the Ten Commandments, and you’ll suddenly realize that love does indeed fulfill the Law.
That’s what Paul is teaching. We don’t have to keep the Law because we’re scared to death if we don’t we’re going to be stoned to death, as Israel was under the Law. We don’t have to be afraid of the wrath of God striking us if we break one of the commandments. But the whole concept here, Paul says, is that if we have the agape love. We have that love that only God can instill. Then look at verse 9. And this is all it says, that this is the mind of God for the human race. This is God’s best for humanity.
You know, it’s amazing. I said once and I’ll say it again. The Ten Commandments are so all-inclusive of human behavior, that if, and that’s a big if—because man is unable to do it. If mankind could keep the Ten Commandments, do you know we wouldn’t even have to have a legislature. We wouldn’t have to have a code book, or constitution. The human race would need nothing more than God’s perfect law. But man can’t keep it.
In fact, I was reading awhile back that Lennon and Trotsky and the fathers of Russian Communism were actually trying to pattern that after Acts chapter 2—the church in Jerusalem when they had all things common. But what Lennon and Trotsky did not take into consideration was the Adamic nature of the human race. And you know, it may be a beautiful concept, but it won’t work. Because the Adamic nature is greedy, and they are going to get all they can out of the system. We’re seeing it in our own beloved nation. The whole idea is, not what I can do for the government or the nation, as John Kennedy said, but what can it do for me. That’s the whole basis anymore for our thinking – what can I get?
Well, you see, love doesn’t operate that way. Love is what? Keeping the other person’s highest good. Remember that? And this is the love that Paul is talking about. All right, come all the way down to verse 10 where it says:
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love (the agape love) is the fulfilling of the law.”
All right, now if you’ll come on over to Titus chapter 2 for a minute, you can see how Paul enlarges on this whole idea of living, not under the Law, but under Grace. How many hundreds of times have I said it over the last many years on television that Grace is not (What?) license! Grace doesn’t say, “Go out and do as you please because God’s Grace is going to cover you”. No, no! The Grace of God is quite the opposite. If once I understand all that God has done for me, then doesn’t it follow that I’m going to do all I can to please Him and be according to His precepts and not the world’s? All right, Titus chapter 2 and drop down to verse 11. This is just plain, good logic.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. 12. Teaching us (the grace of God does) that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, (Not in eternity, but where?) in this present world;”
This is what God expects of us. This is what He has empowered us by His Holy Spirit to do. But does He force us? No, we’re under Grace. We’re unlimited. We’re free. All right, in that light, I’m going to take you all the way back to Romans again. Romans chapter 6 and I just pointed this out to one of the groups in Florida, if I’m not mistaken. As a believer in Grace we have total (What?) freedom! We are not constrained with rules and regulations. We’re not under thou shalt and thou shalt not. No, that’s not Grace. We’ve been set free.
Now the unbeliever thinks he’s free. But I’ve got news for him. He’s under the Devil’s chains. He has no freedom. He is under the god of this world, whether he knows it or not. You see, we’ve been set free. God does not put on us a heavy hand of rules and regulations, but that’s not license. He has given us freedom, and He has given us the free will to exercise that freedom. But based, again, on our whole love concept of God as well as our fellow man, then the choice is up to us. Romans chapter 6 and let’s just drop in at verse 11. Look at the language. See how clear it is that we are left with the free will?
“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Now what does that word “reckon” imply? It’s up to you. If you want to let old Adam control your life, if you want to be a miserable Christian, you can be! You’re not going to lose your salvation because of it. You’re not going to be a happy, victorious Christian, but that’s your freedom. That’s your liberty. Now let’s come on down to the next one in verse 12.
“Let not sin (Old Adam—I always use that in the place of the word sin. But again, what does the word “let” imply? It’s up to you. God isn’t going to force you. You’re now set free. And this is the liberty that Paul is constantly talking about.) therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”
But can you? Yes. You’ll be miserable. You won’t be a happy Christian. But God isn’t going to come and zap you if you do, because we’re free. All right, next one, verse 13, and the language is all the same. Different words, but it means the same thing.
“Neither yield ye your members…” Can you? Sure you can. But I’m going to give you the warning – you’ll be miserable. Because a sinning believer cannot be happy. He cannot enjoy the things of this world as a believer. But he’s free to. God isn’t going to knock him off his feet because he doesn’t live victoriously.
You remember—I think it was back in either I or II Timothy—I called them “garbage can Christians.” Some of you who have heard me teach before, I think that’s what it really is. In a great house there are things of gold and silver and beauty—expensive. But in every home, I don’t care whether it’s a millionaire’s or a pauper’s. What does there also have to be somewhere in the back? A garbage can! You can’t get along without it. Well, the believer has that choice. Do you want to be something that’s beautiful and functional in God’s purposes, or do you want to be a garbage can? It’s up to you. Now come back to I Timothy 1 verse 5.
I Timothy 1:5
“Now the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart,…” See, the world knows nothing of that kind of love. The world is constantly living in the me generation. Do you know that? The whole system is based on—what’s in it for me? But for the believer, we’re on the love basis. What is the other person’s highest good? Now then verse 6.
I Timothy 1:6
“From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;” Do you see what that’s saying? Just a lot of empty chatter that doesn’t amount to anything. But how many are involved? Fortunately, not all, but some. And I take that word for what it really is. A certain percentage is going to be doing this as believers. “…having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;” And now verse 7:
I Timothy 1:7
“Desiring to be teachers of the (What) law;…” Now, do you see what Paul is warning Timothy about? Timothy, one of the most subtle enemies that we have are people who are going to come in and try to take this out of Grace and put it back under the Law. Legalism. And it comes in a hundred different shades of colors, and every one of them is as devastating as the one before.
So Paul is constantly admonishing us to beware of those who would put us back under the Law in one sort or another. Now that doesn’t mean that you have to go all the way back to circumcision and temple worship and sacrifices and all that. That’s not necessarily what he means. Anything that smacks of legalism, and when I speak of legalism, I trust everybody knows what I mean. Legalism is doing something that you can do of your own volition.
I’ll use one example that is very easy to understand. Joining the church. Now just think about it. Can anyone make up their mind at some point in time and just simply go to some group and say, “I want to join the church.” Of course they can. There are a lot of groups that would be glad to take you. But, you see, that’s the flesh. That’s not the will of God, necessarily, to simply say, “I’m going to join the church.” That is legalism. And you can use any of the other facets you can think of that say, “This is what you have to do,” and you say, “Yeah, I can do that.” That’s legalism. It’s of the flesh. But Paul says don’t give in to those people.
I Timothy 1:7
Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.” Now, do you know what that’s saying? They’re not going to do it based on Scripture.
Now hopefully, 99.99% of the time everything that I teach is based on Scripture. And, boy, if I don’t make that plain, I hear about it. They will say, “Well, Les, you said–.” I don’t know how many million times I’ve heard that—“Well, you said–.” Well, I’ve learned to be all the more careful that I don’t say anything that is of my own thinking, unless I qualify it. “Now this is what I think, or this is how I feel about it.” Otherwise, I simply say, “Now this is what the Book says.”
Now I’m going to take you back to Galatians again, if I may, where he says that these people are desiring to be teachers of the Law, understanding neither what they say nor what they affirm. So let’s go back to Galatians; which, of course, is the little letter that was written to a group of Gentile churches up in Galatia. Galatians chapter 4 and these little congregations were primarily Gentiles saved by Paul’s preaching of the Gospel of Grace.
But the Judaizers from the Jerusalem area were coming in, as we mentioned in our last program, and telling these people that Paul’s Gospel was not enough. They had to be circumcised. They had to keep the Law. They had to keep the Saturday Sabbath. They had to watch what they ate and all the things that pertained to the Law. So Paul hurriedly writes this little letter to the Galatian churches to warn them and to admonish them not to be brought back under the Law. Don’t be dragged back into legalism. Now we’re going to start, just for the fun of it, all the way up in verse 19 of Galatians 4. I haven’t done this in a long time. And he’s going to go all the way back to Genesis as his allegory. And he says:
“My little children,…” Now remember, the whole concept here is to show the difference between Law and Grace, and how that Law was to be kicked out the back door, never to be brought into our Christian experience.
“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, 20. I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you. 21. Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?”
You see, even right here in the Bible Belt. Haven’t you talked to someone about their eternity, and they’ll say, “Oh, I’m keeping the commandments. I’m doing the best I can. Surely God will accept me.” And this is what Paul is dealing with. Don’t you know what the Law demands if you’re going to be under the Law? And what is it? If you’re going to keep the Law to get into God’s Heaven, then you’ve got to keep it every jot and title—which no man can do! So, it’s foolish even to think you can. So Paul is warning them—don’t you realize what you’re saying? You can’t keep the Law good enough to satisfy a Holy God. That’s why Christ had to die to fulfill the Law. Well anyway, he comes on down and says in verse 22.
“For it is written, (coming all the way back to Genesis) that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, (Which, of course, was Hagar.) and the other by a freewoman. (his legitimate wife, Sarah) 23. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; (God didn’t tell Abraham to have that child by the slave girl. Abraham and Sarah decided on it between themselves. So, Ishmael was of the flesh.) but he (Isaac) of the freewoman was by promise.” God had told Abraham that he would have this son of promise. Now verse 24 and we’ll wrap this up quickly.
“Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, (Law – the Ten Commandments) which is Hagar. 25. For this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.”
Now remember, Paul is writing this in about A.D. 60. The Temple isn’t destroyed until 10 years later. And he says, “…to Jerusalem which now is….” So what’s he talking about? Under the Law – Temple worship, sacrifices, the whole nine yards. Now, for sake of time, we come down to verse 26. And, again, I want to have you read verse 30, but first verse 26.
“But Jerusalem which is above is free, (That’s us, the heavenly people.) which is the mother of us all.” We’re under Grace and not under Law. Now come down to the verse that says it all – verse 30.
“Nevertheless what saith the scripture? (Not what does man say; not what does your church say; but what does the scripture say?) Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”
Well, what’s he saying? We’re not under Law. We’re not under legalism. We’re under the Grace of God.