The good is actually very good news. The best news possible is the fact of God’s mercy for humans.
Paul wrote of this news to Timothy. As the chief of sinners, he claimed:
“But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience as an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life” (1 Timothy 1.16).
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you are saying.”
Paul matched his words with his lifestyle. The result was that many came to believe in Jesus and experienced eternal life.
What is at stake with the behavior of Christians is eternal life or the lack of it in people who observe them.
If our lives are genuine examples of God’s mercy and transformation, people will be more apt to accept our message.
If our actions make our words hollow, they will reject what we have to say. Speech that does not match behavior creates a hurdle that people will have to cross over to meet Jesus.
They don’t just reject our message, they may miss out on knowing the Greatest Being of All.
Paul knew the truth about God and exulted in his greatness.
1 Timothy 1.17 – To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
This is the One whom we want people to know and experience. Christian behavior and a clear message of the gospel will better enable people to have a relationship with him.
The Good Fight
Part of my physical education experience in college was a wrestling class taught by one of my friends.
The class was fun and accompanied an easy “A” grade. However, the three-minute rounds of wrestling a Southeast Missouri farm boy was a serious test of endurance.
To “fight the good fight” is a test of strength, determination, and endurance. That is exactly what Paul told Timothy to do.
1 Timothy 1.18-19 – This charge I commit to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies made earlier about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, having faith and a good conscience.
Timothy faced obstacles on two sides. Society was suspicious of the new religion that sprung from the Jewish faith. It was only a few decades old and worshiped a crucified God.
The early church was discovering the truth of the gospel. False teachers and charlatans threatened the existence of the church.
Even though Christianity is the largest religion in the world, it suffers from the same two detractions as in the first century.
Secular satire in the media against Christianity portrays the church as hypocritical, negative, and controlling.
False teachers and people who use the gospel for private gain are present today as they were in Paul’s day.
Paul’s words ring true today. We need to “fight the good fight” and demonstrate in word and deed the glorious God we serve.
The fact that false teachers wreck their lives on self-will should be a caution to us all.
1 Timothy 1.19b-20 – By rejecting conscience, certain persons have suffered shipwreck in the faith; 20 among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have turned over to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme.
Note, being “turned over to Satan” is Paul’s way of describing ex-communication. These words were issued as a warning, so that the men may have an opportunity to repent.
Let’s determine to fight the good fight and display God’s great character in our words and deeds.
Rudy Ross and I talk about this passage today on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.