SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Today we start with two consecutive books that were letters Paul wrote to his ministry apprentice Timothy. Timothy was ministering to people in the city of Ephesus.
- Paul tells Ephesus to combat and make "meaningless talk" (myths, genealogies, controversies and emphasizing the law) stop.
- As opposed to the unessential talk other people were spouting, Paul encourages Timothy to focus on the essentials: Christ came into the world to save sinners (verse 15).
- Paul speaks of sinners, but is very clear that he considers himself the worst of sinners. Paul says God's grace was poured out on him abundantly. Grace means to get the opposite of what you deserve. Because of his sin, Paul deserved judgement and punishment from God, but instead received mercy and love.
- Paul says that two former Christians, Hymanaeus and Alexander, had shipwrecked their faith. They did this by rejecting several things: the good fight, faith, and a good conscience. Paul tells Timothy to hold on to these things that others have rejected.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Paul encourages Timothy to battle the false teachers, but he tells them to do so with love (verse 5) not intellectual debate. The way of Jesus is the way of love. And whether it's with our friends we enjoy, or with enemies we disagree with, love is always the way.
- Throughout his speeches (in the book of Acts) and his writings (such as this chapter) we repeatedly see Paul mentioning his very sinful past, and how it was only by God's grace that his life had turned around. We need to understand and remember our sinful past (and present) so we can have a deep appreciation for God's unconditional love and mercy that saved and changed us.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- Are you living a life of love? Who are your "enemies" and the people you disagree with? Do you show them love? How can you see that love might be a better strategy in approaching these people? And, even if you can't see why it's better, choose it because Jesus did. And pray, asking God to help you show everyone love.
- What could you do to remind yourself of what you were, and of the grace God has shown you, and how it's changed your life? One of the keys to not shipwrecking your faith is remembering how much you needed the grace of God, and focusing on how much you still need it today.