We are in week two of studying 1 Timothy. The focus each week is to read, study, and apply Paul’s advice for how to best navigate the challenges of life. Last week we looked at the importance of our lifestyle. This week we look at: How to Navigate Life: The Gospel Matters.
When Paul wrote his letter to Timothy he was addressing the challenges Timothy was navigating in the church in Ephesus. There were no lake of challenges: incorrect doctrine (1:3), use of mythology (1:4), abusing the Scriptures (1:7), immorality (1:19-20), making up rules (4:3), constant infighting in the church (6:4), and using the church for material gain. As I look at all those problems I see a common factor: people and the church were putting the world ahead of the gospel. Lets be honest: we still face that problem today. We put what the world tells us to want: sex, fun, fame, stuff, etc. over living in light of the transforming power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Not only are we not letting the good news of Christ be the light that guides us every day, many of us can’t even explain what the gospel is. Here is a shocking, but real, example. Years ago I was one of seven candidates interviewed for a youth pastor position at a church. Every candidate had at least a college degree in religion, while several had masters. Yet, I was the only one of the seven that could clearly share the gospel message. And that was among people who wanted to be pastors! It demonstrates how easy it is to lose sight of the gospel message.
12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.1 Timothy 1:12-17
Two questions to reflect upon today. First, are you living in light of the good news that Jesus died for your sins? When you are faced with trials and uncertainty do you panic, or do you remember that Jesus died so that you may live forever? Life is always hard to navigate, but is much easier when we always remember that our final destination is assured: eternal life in a perfect heaven. Second: are you able to share the good news with others? Do you understand what it means that Jesus came to save sinners, and are you ready to share that with others? We are living in a world where increasingly more and more people need Christ Jesus. They need someone to share that message with them. Are you ready and able to be that messenger for them?