Gratitude for Grace Given

This is an exposition of 1 Timothy 1:12-17. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, November 27, 2011.

We’re all different.  Some of us are more “out-going” than others.  Some more verbal.  Some easily share their feelings or emotions while others are more guarded.  It’s not that one is right and the other is wrong – it’s just that we are different.  Rheadon is learning to deal with it – but I’m not a “great fan.”  When at a ball game I don’t clap and stomp and shout and cheer.  When those cheerleaders tell me to stand up and cheer I sit there in absolute defiance!  Stone faced, arms crossed – “you can’t make me cheer.”  You see I’m perfectly capable of enjoying a game without making a fool of myself.  I just happen to believe what is needed is a little dignity and decorum in the stands.  Let’s show a little class here.  But try as I might – some things bring me to me feet.  Sometimes, without warning, words, phrases fly out of my mouth.  Without a moment’s thought – without being aware of any formation of words – I’m cheering.  When that happens, I quickly survey the room and see if anyone noticed my outburst and then I regain my composer.  Regardless of my disposition some things just demand a response.  Some thing internal says, “You aren’t setting through this one and you aren’t remaining silent!”  I didn’t plan it and I can’t stop it.  The more unexpected and the more incredible – the louder and the more exuberant the response.  Now I don’t care for Pentecostal enthusiasm – but some things will make even a Baptist shout!

The apostle Paul was writing to young Timothy, his son in the Lord and co-laborer in the Gospel, about life in the church.  Paul was writing to inform Timothy about how “one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth (3:15).”  Timothy had been placed as pastor of the church in Ephesus.  Ephesus was a dearly loved congregation.  Paul had ministered in the city for three years and bid it a tearful farewell in Acts 20.  This dearly loved fellowship had succumbed to false teaching.  They had abandoned the truth Paul had delivered them and given themselves to endless myths and genealogies.  They had wandered from the truth and lost themselves in vain speculation.  Paul placed Timothy there and then wrote him charging him to stand up to those who were teaching lies.  Stand in opposition to those who like to see themselves as “teachers of the law” but who do not understand what they are talking about or have any real knowledge of the things about which they make such confident boasts.  This letter from the great apostle is very pertinent to us given the similarities in our culture with that of Ephesus.  Ephesus was a pluralistic culture, dominated by materialism and commercialism and enamored with “spirituality.”  Timothy was called to hold the biblical rope in a thoroughly pagan culture not unlike the task before us today.  Our text this morning begins in verse 12 of 1 Timothy chapter 1.

Text: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Chapter 1:1-11 is about staying the biblical course.
Standing on a sure word with divine enabling.
Demanding doctrinal integrity – the aim of which was love (agape).
Remaining focused on the Gospel and evangelism.

Keep in mind this is a letter not a doctrinal dissertation.
Paul is writing to a dear son in the Lord about a beloved church in great trouble.
Thus it is a passionate letter/expressing his heart not just his head.
Our text is an expression of his heart about the passion of his life – the Gospel.
In fact it contains the Gospel in miniature in verse 15.
Our text is a burst of emotion – but must be read in the context – 1:3-4; 1:18-19.
To loose sight of that is to miss the message.
This is not a peripheral issue – it is central to the faith.
It is the heart and soul of the faith.

As we walk through these verses we learn that…

Thesis: The heart touched by grace erupts in spontaneous praise of God’s saving work.

When you consider what God has done for us in Christ – it is not time to sit on your hands.  It is not time to defiantly sit with arms crossed – unmoved – it is time to cheer!

There are three things I want us to note in our text.

  1. Those who have been forgiven are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the mercy shown to them.  (1:12-14)
  2. Those who have experienced the grace of salvation joyfully declare the wonder of salvation to all.  (1:15-16)
  3. The heart set free bursts forth in praise to God our Savior.  (1:17)
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