Theme: Entrusting the Gospel to Others
In this week’s lessons, we are reminded of the importance of sound doctrine if the church is to function properly and be protected from false teaching.
Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:1-11
Third, he speaks of grace to sinners. This was Paul’s own experience—the one who in all of his religious self-righteousness, when he thought he was serving God, was actually going about trying to destroy God’s work and persecute the church. But God in his grace turned Paul around and showed him that the one Paul was persecuting was actually the one whom he should have been serving. Paul cannot get over what God had done for him; he talks about God’s grace shown to him in Jesus Christ repeatedly.
Finally, we will mention the matter of faith. False doctrines promote controversies rather than God’s work, which he says is by faith. Furthermore, Paul’s exhortation to Timothy to rebuke those who are teaching false doctrine has love as its goal, which comes from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and a sincere faith.
Paul in effect says that we need to talk about all these things. We must talk about our need, and God’s grace toward us through the work of Christ as the only answer for our sin. But these things become ours when, again by the grace of God, we personally believe them and receive the Lord Jesus Christ unto salvation. This is the gospel. There’s not another gospel, whether that of the Gnostics or anyone else. The gospel of God is what Paul had, this is what he gave to Timothy, this is what Timothy in his turn passed on to the churches, and it’s what we have today because of faithful men and women who have gone before us.
In verse 11, Paul writes of sound doctrine, describing it as that which “conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.” Having received it, Paul then entrusted it to Timothy, and from Timothy to others. The same continues today in our own time. Those who have gone before us in the faith have entrusted this same glorious gospel to us as well. Do we believe it? Do we really live by it? Or is it just something that exists in the mind, but does not affect how we live. Is it really ours? Is this our gospel? Has it been entrusted to us, and have we received it? Well, if so, then we have this great task of letting other people know about it both by word and by deed. And this is what the world needs to know.
Several weeks ago, I was reading a small pamphlet by a man who was a bookseller and a scholar in his own right. It listed a number of books that had been very influential for him and he was commending these books to others. In the course of this tract where the books were listed, he told a story. One day when he was in his store, selling books, a man came in and began to browse. He looked around in sort of an unhappy way with a sour expression on his face. For fifteen minutes, or maybe even half an hour, he picked up this book and that book. Finally, obviously feeling restless and dissatisfied, he came over to the owner of the store, and he said, “I don’t want any of these books. I want a book that tells us how to solve all these modern problems. But it can’t be a long book, and it can’t be religious.” The bookseller wisely said, “Well there is no such book, if you exclude the religious ones. But there is a book if you recognize that the Book of God, the Bible, gives the solutions and points the way to life.”
This book has been entrusted to us. This is a precious possession, and the gospel that it contains is precious as well, precious beyond all possible price. Let’s guard it. Let’s love it. Let’s live by it. Let’s read it. Let’s study it. Let’s share it. Let’s talk about it. Then, by the grace of God, others will come to love these truths too.
What other two areas of doctrine does Paul mention to Timothy?
How did Paul faithfully carry out his responsibility to pass the gospel on to others? How will Timothy do the same?
Application: Recount the means by which the Lord entrusted the gospel to you. What were the circumstances, and whom did he use? How can you pass on to others the message of the gospel?