The Community of Saving Faith (IITim1:1-7)
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,2 To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
*Objective: We have to keep the sound faith by receiving some spiritual gifts for our ministry.
(1) Most people like to focus on the external part in the Christian life, but the Bible concentrates on the internal part in the lives. One of these proofs is the teaching of the Second Epistle of Timothy. The book has informed for the last book among the Prison Epistles which are the first epistle of Timothy, Ephesian, Philippian, Colossian, Titus and Philemon. Probably this book was written just before his death at Roman prison (AD.69). He wanted to tell to the church of Christ the most important message that they should proclaim strongly toward the world. Of course His had taught the doctrine about the universal church which also includes us. Without changing his first conviction, the Apostle had kept on it till the point of his death. What did Paul expect? He expected that the church of our Lord will be established on the sound faith. Before he was killed for the gospel, Paul had sent Timothy, who was his son of faith, and established the community of Christ at Ephesus. Moreover, Paul himself showed a model of faith to Timothy through his conviction that without exchanging his mission he had kept on the same way. His first confession is ,“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me- the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts20:24). Finally also his last confession is” I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (IITim. 4:7).
(2) What is the purpose that Paul pursued with his whole life after his conversion at Damascus? What is the main purpose of his ministry? It is to accomplish the community of falseless faith”. (4-5)
When we think of the event of Balaam in the Old Testament (Num24:-25), We learn that the responsibility of the church leader is very important. The influence of his false teaching demonstrates that all Israel worshiped the idols and 4200 Israelite were killed by a plague from God. Therefore we have to concentrate to keep on our sound faith. This is true power and true blessing that the church should possess.
Now I would like to think about the importance of biblical faith and the method to keep on it.
I. Why does the church have to keep the biblical faith?
The “Biblical faith (saving faith)”is a very important treasure that the church have to possess, The church has to keep the treasure eagerly. Our church can meet several problems but more important problem is the difficulty of following biblical faith. This problem occurs when the foundation of the church attacked by the sinful nature that is most dangerous in our lives and in our ministries.
Paul thanked God by rejoicing in Spirit because Timothy had possessed the sound faith. (3-4) The Christians should not stay on the false faith but on the true faith by encouraging one another. They shouldn’t pursue on the temporary faith or the miraculous faith or the historical faith. If they give up true faith, the line of faith can be broken. Therefore, even if they have to struggle with their faith, if they keep on the sound faith, their prayer and spiritual burden can change this miserable world into gracious and peaceful world. So Paul could greet to the church, “Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”(2)
What is the sound faith? Paul tells us three facts that the saving faith must have.
1) Because the faith is founded on the promise of life.
The verse 1 “according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus” suggests that it has certain roots based on the strong foundation. In the prophecy of Balaam we can see a prophesies of the messiah. We are surprised at observe that the messiah would come through the root of Judah miraculously. The thought of a human being is different to what God thinks. 450 messianic prophecies of Old Testament were accomplished by Jesus Christ in God’s will. So Paul tells us that it is the promise of life. If anyone believes in Christ as his Lord and savior, he directly takes the life, but if he doesn’t accept him as his Lord he has already received the judgment. Do you have the saved faith to build on the foundation of the Scripture?
A Chinese Christian came in the United States of America and gave a testimony of his country to me, which is the Northern China. They wrote down all the Scriptures on a piece of paper to make a Bible. Then the Chinese thought that a Bible saves one soul. So they could commit themselves to write it wholeheartedly because they believed that the Word of God is the truth and only the promised life.
2) Because we serve the living God with a clean conscience in faith.
A standing Buddha, a sleeping Buddha, and a sitting Buddha, cannot move but our God is alive. So serving Him is a wonderful blessing. If we ask him something, he exactly answers, if we cry to him, He shall accept our prayers and solve his problems”. So, the Psalmist of Psalm 139: confesses, “Examine the kind of sin that I have”.
The Scripture expressed the conscience as “heart”, “spirit”. It means “together with science”. Paul called for an unrepentant conscience as “a conscience sealed with a hot iron” or “a harden heart”. It is like the function of a physical kidney. For example, if the kidney is out of order medically, the poison spreads out on other organs because of the weak activity of the kidney and all bodies will be swallowed, if our good conscience is dull, we can lose an absolute standard. Therefore we have to try keeping a pure conscience. As our Lord tells us “blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God (Mt5:8)”. So we have to serve the Lord with a clean heart without sin.
Whenever I think of church elders, I always remember the criteria of 24 elders revealed in the Revelation of John, who have a golden harp (new song) in one hand and a golden vessel (prayer) in another hand. What does it mean? It means that the clean heart is very important in serving the living God.
How can we have a clean heart? Only through the blood of Jesus Christ our heart can be cleaned through the recovery of our dirty conscience. When the Spirit points our sin concretely under the light of revelation, we have to confess (agree) to God and accept the merit of Jesus Christ on the cross to apply into my heart by believing the power of his precious blood. Then we can restore the clean heart to be able to serve the living God. And we can serve God with praise and prayer. His death is very powerful effective to clean our sins.
3) It is a traditional faith.
Our faith based on the Word does not come out of ourselves but out of God. No body has received it by self- examination, but from hear the Word of God preached by faith which God gave us without price, So Paul emphasized that our salvation comes by faith. This faith came to Timothy from Roys (Timothy’s grandmother) and Eunice who was his mother. His family was international; his father is Jew and his mother Greek. The false faith begot false faith but true faith begot true faith.
“The faith to honor God informed through Abraham, Issac and Jacob was accomplished by Christ from the works of the Holy Spirit. So the Pentecostal fire of Holy Spirit had come to them. When Paul preached the Word of God at Iconion in the minor Asia, Timothy would be born again and become a pastor. God did not despise a traditional faith to keep this sound faith.
In order to keep the sound faith we have to examine above three facts.
II. How can we keep the falseless faith?
Paul taught us two things.
1. The regenerated heart will be kept through our lives.
Timothy who was suffered in Christ had been filled with fear. He got pastoral worry, lots troubles in him. Although he had many helpers, any trouble makers happened in his ministry. Also Paul is same case. Then Paul exhorted that they have to keep the heart God gave him. What are they?
First, it is the heart of power. When he comes across a difficult thing, he could overcome it by that heart. Secondly it is the heart of love. It means that he solve some problems with the love of God. And also it is the heart of self-control. It means a waking heart or a discerning heart. I Tim 1:3 tell us that the purpose of commands (the law or the gospel) is the love to come out of heart. It is very difficult for us to keep the false less faith. We always have to watch out all our lives for this thing.
2. The spiritual gift of our heart should be revived by God’s grace.
– Verse 4 shows us that Paul long to see you. Why does he want to see Timothy? He wanted that he fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of his hands. It means that Timothy may receive the anointing of Holy Spirit and preach the Word of God powerfully in his church for keeping the falseless faith.
Most people concentrate on a crowd, but our Lord concerns to the faith of a little mustard. So we need to study the Scripture and pray without ceasing our lives.
One day when some disciples who sleeked to receive a large faith, Jesus answered that if you have a faith as small as a mustard seed, you can do all things. It means that we need to do every life faithfully. From my heart the grace of faith spreads to my neighbors.
(1) Today we should not lose the purpose of our ministries. Why do we try to take the goal? For Jesus to keep the falseless faith is our purpose in our ministries. We can find that lots of ships of faith have been wrecked by much failure of temptations. How many Christians are wandering around his lives.
My beloved brothers! Watch out to the false faith in your ministry. If you try to keep the apostolic faith, the Lord surly shall give you the wonderful power for your ministry.