This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. — 1 Timothy 1:15
Brother “Scotty” Clasper, one of our Gospel veterans, used to give this testimony: “Working in one of the largest explosive factories in the world, I saw men and women blown into eternity in a moment of time. Each time, God thundered out of Heaven to me, ‘What would happen if it were you?’ I didn’t feel ready to meet God, even though I was a deacon in a church. I had entered that church as a young man, and when I grew older they made me a deacon. I was the minister’s right-hand man and never missed a church service.
“In Portland, Oregon I caught the sound of the old-time religion. I heard a band of Apostolic Faith people on a street corner singing, ‘Rock of Ages.’ As I stood two blocks away with tears flowing down my cheeks, God was talking to me! I went a ways closer and heard the ex-drunkard and the ex-dope addict telling the marvelous things God had done for them. I reasoned that it was all right for them, but I was a deacon in the church, and I didn’t need it.
“However, I accepted their invitation to attend services at their church. At the Apostolic Faith Church one Sunday morning, I heard something that went down into my heart, and I learned that acting religious and being born again are two different things. That morning a preacher got up and began to preach about hypocrisy. I left the meeting with my fists clenched, determined never to go back.
“I went from the church to my job, where I had to work for two hours that day. Tears began to run down my face, and I wondered what was wrong with me. I went to the motor room to make an electrical adjustment on one of the motors, but in my state I was too afraid to touch anything for fear of severe burns or death. As I stood there in tears, every click of those motors seemed to say, ‘You hypocrite!’
“There was a terrible internal battle going on as I wondered what my co-workers would say if I prayed. I finally decided that if God would give me what the preacher had talked about, I would give it a try. I got down on my knees before three of my fellow workers. I lifted my hands to Heaven and said, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner. I want salvation!’ God answered, the heavens opened, and the glory of God flowed into my soul. He saved me through and through. In about two minutes I rose to my feet saying, ‘I’ve got it! I’ve got it!’ ”
Brother Scotty had real salvation from then until the Lord called him home. Like Paul, he never forgot how God delivered him from his self-righteousness and changed him into a “sinner saved by grace.”
The Lord knows the condition of our hearts even if it is hidden from everyone else. When something stands between God and us, we are not assured of Heaven. If God puts His finger on a problem in our lives, we can pray through to a clear conscience before Him and find true victory.
The Epistle of 1 Timothy, along with 2 Timothy and Titus, is one of three “pastoral epistles,” letters written to young pastors (Timothy and Titus). Bible scholars believe Paul wrote 1 Timothy (and Titus) between his first and second Roman imprisonments, whereas 2 Timothy was written during Paul’s second imprisonment, shortly before his martyrdom.
In verses 1-11 of chapter 1, Paul addressed Timothy (whose name means “he who honors God”) speaking of him as “my own son.” He challenged the younger man to uphold the sound doctrine of the pure Gospel in his oversight of the church at Ephesus. The word charge in verse 3 means “to take a strong stand.” He reminded Timothy of the purpose for which he had been left at Ephesus: to correct the false teachings of some there regarding the Law of Moses. Outward conformity to a variety of cumbersome rites and ceremonies would not suffice; rather, love out of a pure heart and a good conscience were the basic principles of religion.
Next, in verses 12-17, Paul expressed his deep gratitude to God for His mercy and for the fact that he had been entrusted with the message of salvation. There was no arrogance in Paul’s words, and he did not take his privileges for granted. At one time he had been a blasphemer against Jesus, not knowing He was God, but he did it “ignorantly in unbelief” (Acts 26:9). However, God had granted him mercy, and had given him understanding of the plan of salvation — a plan that was worthy of universal proclamation.
In verses 18-20, Paul charged Timothy with the solemn duty of preaching the Gospel, encouraging him to remain faithful to the charge that had been committed (or deposited) to him. Finally, two examples are named — individuals who had not remained true and had made shipwreck of their faith.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. Introduction (1:1-2)
A. The author (1:1)
B. The recipient and blessing (1:2)
II. Charge concerning sound doctrine (1:3-20)
A. The danger to sound doctrine (1:3-11)
1. The nature of strange doctrine (1:3-4)
2. The goal of sound doctrine (1:5)
3. The perversion of sound doctrine (1:6-11)
a. Their misuse of the law (1:6-7)
b. The proper use of the law (1:8-11)
B. The demonstration of sound doctrine (1:12-17)
1. The position under the law (1:12-13)
2. The position under grace (1:14)
3. The example of conversion (1:15-16)
4. Praise for conversion (1:17)
C. The direction to Timothy (1:18-20)
1. The charge to Timothy (1:18)
2. The neglect of some (1:19-20)
As we reflect upon the mercies of God, we can all rejoice that no sinner is beyond the saving power of Jesus Christ!