1 Timothy 1:6-11 ~ "Flee From Vain Discussions"
Before we get to work, would you please ask God to help us all and help you as we consider the text before us this morning.
Father, we know that your word is beautiful and we know Lord that you speak amazing and wonderful things to your people through your scripture. Father, we know that you desire above all things, having sent your Son to die for us on the cross, is to work in our hearts to continue to shape and mold us to be more like him and to be the people that you ransomed and redeemed us to become. So Father, we just want you to have your way in our hearts this morning. We want you to be king not only over all the earth, but inside these souls that have been ransomed by the precious blood of Christ. Father we pray that your spirit would go before us knowing that is your desire we ask according to your will that your spirit would shine upon the text on the page, that it would illuminate before us Your truth. We do pray and ask God that you would take the truth and the meaning of this passage and you would drive it home into our hearts; that you Lord, would continue to mold and shape our live, that we would be a people who would walk in obedience to you. We pray and we ask these things in Christ’s name, Amen.
I am one of those guys that like to watch those documentaries that you sometimes see on TV where they are doing something like knee replacement surgery. Anybody else here like to watch those kinds of things? My wife doesn’t understand it, I don’t know that she will ever understand it. I find surgeries fascinating. I am recalling now a knee surgery that happened not too long ago that I was watching and of course they peeled back the skin of the knee and they are yanking stuff out, they are going to replace this guys knee and they are going to chop off certain bones; it’s quite graphic. My wife told me she didn’t understand how I could watch this. Of course I give the only answer that a godly man could give, “I don’t know either, but I can’t look away." There is just something about it that I have to see.” (chuckles from the congregation). It is horrific, but it is still so fascinating. So, we were watching this documentary a few weeks ago and there was a nurse in the operating room who was coughing while she had the surgical mask on. The doctor was working on the knee, but still made mention to the coughing nurse that if she would stop smoking that cough would go away. Of course, she acknowledges this to be true. You would think that of all the people, those in the medical profession would fully understand the dangers that are inherent with smoking. The doctor offered to prescribe her a smoking cessation product to help her deal with her cough. On the next episode of surgeries I tuned back in to watch and they were doing a hip replacement surgery. The same nurse and doctor were featured in this episode as last. The nurse starts coughing and the doctor tells her that the prescription that he wrote for her is only going to treat the symptom of cough, but it won’t completely cure the lung damage from smoking that causes the cough. He then gave her a hard time for continuing to smoke. That is a little bit like the scripture we are looking at today.
The apostle Paul, here in 1 Timothy, addressing the reality of false teachers in Ephesus and speaking to the issues that they spoke to and trying to provide biblical understanding, he makes the assertion that the way that the teachers are using the law is the wrong way. They are using the law in an unlawful manner. That is what he is getting at. What we are going to look at today as we consider 1 Timothy is that the law is good, but it is not the ultimate cure. It addresses symptoms, but it can never ever fix what is truly broken in all of us.
Turn with me now to 1 Timothy chapter 1. As we have been working our way through this passage you will recall that the reason that Paul even writes this letter, the first and most basic urge and the command that he gives him is “Stay there, stay at Ephesus in order that you will charge certain people not to teach any different doctrine.” There are some individuals there who are teaching a different doctrine and towards the end of chapter 1 he points out two of them: chapter 1:19 “holding faith and a good conscience by rejecting this some have made shipwreck of their faith.” They have swerved away from Jesus Christ and they have destroyed their belief. He identifies them by saying “among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” These are two of the false teachers that Paul is going to identify. We are not entirely sure of what exactly it is that they are teaching, we don’t know concretely from 1 Timothy, but we get some ideas of some things that their touching on. We know that they are focused in on the law. If you jump down to verse 6, again he mentions these false teachers and he says “certain persons by swerving from these.” Now, that is exactly what he says at the end of the chapter when he identifies Alexander and Hymenaeus so swerving from what? We say last week that the charge of our preaching, the charge of true biblical preaching is love that comes from a pure heart, a good well adjusted conscience that is calibrated by the scriptures (that is not the same thing as a clear conscience), and a sincerer faith. Swerving from that these guys have made shipwreck of their faith and Paul makes the assertion “they have wondered away into vain discussions desiring to be teachers of the law without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.” We don’t know exactly what it is that they are teaching, but we do know that there is a pre-occupation there with the law. Whatever it is that these teachers are teaching in Ephesus, whatever it is that they are getting at, they are using the Old Testament law codes and legal requirements as a foundation, as a basis for what it is that they are writing.
Before we jump in here, I do want to just point out to you one thing that is of absolute concern to the apostle Paul; that is the speed with which apostasy moves; it moves fast! Paul does not stop to encourage Timothy like he does in many of his other letters. He moves quickly to say “this is why you need to stay in Ephesus. You stay put in order to tell people to stop teaching certain things.” In the 1960’s Billy graham came to prominence within American evangelicalism and he hosted crusades all across North America and the world. The 60’s in particular were known as a time of incredible social upheaval, but it was also a time of incredible evangelistic fervor within the American evangelical church. In the 70’s evangelicals came into such prominence within the culture that Time Magazine in 1974 declared that year the year of the evangelical. A number of new ministries were started, this was the rise of youth ministry, young people wanted to give their lives to Christ and wanted to be disciple; yet, sadly, within just a decade in 1987 James Davison Hunter with Chicago Press published a book titled “The Coming Generation of Evangelicalism.” In this book he basically did a survey of nine evangelical liberal arts colleges that were now teaching and instructing many of those younger evangelicals who came to faith in the 70’s and had grown up and gone off to university. He surveyed 9 evangelical liberal arts colleges and 7 evangelical seminaries and as he look carefully at the curriculum and sat through and audited several of these courses that were being presented within these schools he made this observation “there is now here in 1987 (comparing this against the year of the evangelical which was 1974) less sharpness, less boldness and accordingly a measure of opaqueness in their theological vision that simply did not exist a decade ago. What a difference 10 years can make. What is happening in an alteration in the cultural meaning of orthodoxy.” An alteration of orthodoxy. “In each case there is a broadening of the meaning of some of evangelical’s religious symbols such as baptism and communion. The meaning of other doctrines such as the inerrancy and infallibility of scripture or justification through Christ alone and even the nature and the goal of the great commission and what it is that we are to be doing as a church have become much more inclusive than what we saw just a decade ago.” He is saying essentially that within evangelicalism regardless of the fervor and the passion and the zeal of what he noted in the 70’s, here we are just a decade later in the mid to late 80’s and it is beginning to twist. It is becoming opaque.
One of the reasons Paul is writing to Timothy is because Paul understood under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit what we have seen time and again throughout 2000 years of church history; apostasy moves so fast. You think it’s not an issue and within just the breath of a moment it has seized your church. There are false teachers at Ephesus and Timothy you need to be quick to the task at hand, which is ordering them not to teach. Again, we do not know exactly what it is that they are teaching, but they are focusing in on the law that much is clear.
Probably about 3-years-ago I got a little brochure in the mail saying that they were doing tours of Israel. I have always wanted to go to Israel, to see the Holy Land and tour around. I have always thought that would be absolutely fascinating to be able to do that. This brochure that came in the mail said that I could get 10 people from the church to go then the pastor gets to go for free. I was excited to try and get people to go until I flipped it over to see what the cost was going to be and it turned out it was about $4000 per person. Nevertheless, I started reading this brochure and it said that it was important to get people to go that year because as part of the tour of the Holy Land they were giving special instruction that cannot be found anywhere else. That was intriguing; what were the special instructions? I was thinking it may be a cool visit to an archeological dig site that is normally off limits or some neat artifact that is not a part of the normal scheduled tour. I flipped the page in the brochure to see that they had quoted a passage from John chapter 21 stating that when Jesus resurrected he met the disciples on the beach and he told them “children cast your net on the other side of the boat,” and they hauled in 153 fish. The brochure said to note the number 153. That is when you always know that whatever they are about to say is ridiculous. Of course, they went on to say something ludicrous along the lines of 153 years has passed since such and such event in the 1800’s of church history and as a result we know the return of the Lord is imminent in 2010. It is now 2017 and we are all aware the Lord has not yet come. So, I thought to myself “how am I going to convince 10 people in my church to commit $4000 each to go hear heresy.” I still really wanted to see the nation of Israel (laughter from the congregation). Obviously we didn’t go. The Lord spoke to my heart, but I have prayed about this number 153. Indeed I stayed up all night fasting and praying and on my face before the Lord and I tell you why the scriptures said they caught 153 fish.........it is because when the scripture says that the disciples caught 153 fish what the scriptures wanted you to know is that they DID NOT catch 154 fish and they did not catch 152 fish. They want you to know that they caught 153 fish. There is no indication that there is any prophesy or any kind of crazy end times revelation going on there. It is just very simple, this is a historical fact, and it is not a figment of our imagination. How do you know? There is a lot of little detail here. They ate breakfast together on the beach, they were out fishing on the sea and they pulled out 153 fish. That is what the bible wants you to know. So, when we come to the Old Testament, one of the things you find in addition to the moral law and ceremonial law, you find a lot of numerical things and emphasis on having the festivals happen at certain times of the year whether it is the feast of trumpets or Passover or Pentecost. Although we don’t know exactly what it is that these false teachers were teaching it seems likely that on some level they were looking to these Old Testament laws and prescriptions and they were trying to divine/uncover some meaning beneath the text that was beyond the plane meaning of the text. They were trying to stylize themselves as knowledgeable and informed teachers of the law and they were attempting to draw the disciples away after them with this false and erroneous teaching. So, Paul tells Timothy he needs to stop these guys from talking and he has been very clear here they have swerved from the faith and he is very clear at the tail end of chapter 1 where he says “they have made shipwreck of their faith. Their teaching diminishes Jesus Christ, it diminishes the good news of what God has done for us on the cross and because of that, it must be silenced. Now, this all begs the question, what is the law there for? What is the lawful use of the law? In verse 8 Paul makes the statement “we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully. So, there is a lawful use of the law. There is an unlawful use of the law and all of us look to the law for various points of instruction or council or guidance and so it would behoove us to ask the question “what is Paul’s meaning here when he says this? What is the lawful, correct, appropriate use, the God ordained use of the law? He goes further, verse 9 “Understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers.” As we are working our way through this you might see a close parallel here from what Paul says to what you find in the 10 commandments. There is a close parallel here. He started off by talking about the lawless and the disobedient and he goes on to say ungodly and sinners, the unholy and profane. These are clear references to the first several commandments of the 10 commandments where it says “You shall have no other gods before me, you shall not make any graven images, and you shall keep the Sabbath holy.” So, Paul is alluding to this when he says “godless,” they don’t worship God. “Unholy,” they don’t set aside time for the worship of God. Then he goes on in a clear reference to the 5th commandment by saying “for those who strike their fathers and their mothers,” with commanding that we shall honour your father and your mother.” He is working his way through the list “for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers (we find that at the tail end of the 10 commandments with “you shall not bear false witness”), perjurers and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine. Paul makes a couple of statements there and he does so by referencing the 10 commandments. Number one, the law is not laid down for the just. The law is laid down for the unjust. The law is not laid down for those who are pursuing righteousness, the law is laid down for those who are not pursuing God and who are not pursuing righteousness. You might then be tempted to think that what Paul is saying is that we don’t really need to pay attention to the law; after all, if we place our faith in Jesus the law doesn’t have any bearing on us right? Look carefully to what Paul is saying, he says the law was not laid down for the just but for the unjust. He then goes on to talk about all the stuff that the law speaks to by closely referencing the 10 commandments and he makes the statement here at the very end of verse 10 “and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, to healthy teaching. So the law is laid down for that which is to be the opposite of what it is that Timothy is to be preaching and teaching. What that means then is that the focus and the goal of what Timothy is preaching and teaching must be something beyond the law, but it cannot be that which is contrary to the law. What that means is that the law has within it a power or a force that is intended to address those who do not desire God. That same power or force does not apply to those who are pursuing God, but what Paul is saying then is that our pursuit of God cannot in any way be against or contrary to the law though the power and the force of the law is not oriented to us, our pursuit of Jesus if it involves any of these practices such as lying, such as perjury, such as dishonouring our fathers and our mothers, such as sexual immorality, then our pursuit of God is wrong because the pursuit of God is within the law. Understand that. He makes the statement in verse 11 “whatever is contrary to sound doctrine in accordance with the gospel.” So the law accords with the gospel. I want to show you a couple uses in which the law is to be applied. First off, whatever Paul is saying here about the law, you need to understand that he thinks the law is in fact a good thing. In Romans 7 and verse 12 he makes the statement “the law is Holy and the commandment is Holy and righteous and good,” this is what Paul says about the law. Then he goes on to address a couple of different uses of the law. The law has a restraining influence, it keeps wickedness from running rampant and out of control. There is an element in which the law holds back evil; thereby, preserving human life and in that sense it is good. The law also has another use, a condemning use, a use that speaks of judgment, which speaks of punishment for those that would break the law. First the restraining use: Paul in Romans 7 and verse 7 makes the statement “What shall we say then that the law is sin. Should we say that the law is bad, that the law is nothing but sin.” “By no means.” The Greek expression is ” me genoito,” may it never be. It is a double emphatic. If it had not been for the law I would not have known sin for I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said you shall not covet. Within Romans 7 Paul is saying that the law said to him “you shall not covet,” that is, you should not want to take what belongs to your neighbor, you shall not have the desire in your heart to take that which is not yours or to take something from someone else. You shall not covet your neighbors’ things: when the law said that, all of a sudden Paul sensed in his heart a sinful man rising up; almost as though it was a monster, yet it was Paul. In that moment when the commandment said “you shall not covet,” Paul immediately starts looking around for something to covet. The moment the law says to him “you will not desire what belongs to someone else, you will not want to take what belongs to someone else,” immediately Paul was diagnosed with a defective heart because the heart revealed itself. In this sense the law is like a light that shines and exposes and the human, the man or woman created in God’s image, cannot hear that and refuse to be convicted by that. C.S. Lewis in his great work “Mere Christianity,” talks about what he refers to as the law of human nature. He says, I have noticed that when we talk about things like fair play and duty to country and not being selfish we all agree with those things and yet at the end of the day I want to cut in line and I think that I should get a free pass, but woe to the man who cuts in line in front of me. He should not get a free pass. C.S. Lewis is commenting on this moral law and he says “it bears witness to my own heart; it also bears witness to the duplicitous nature of who I am.” Now, having that spiritual understanding that there is a good we ought to do and having it exposed to us that we do not do it, leads to an attempt at pharisaical righteousness. Knowing that you do not obey the law creates within you a desire to strive to obey the law. This is the basis of most, in not all morality in our civilization. All of us break the speed limit. Yet, how many of us would say that the speed limit is a bad thing? This last week the Coquihalla was closed on Friday morning because of an accident that happened when individuals were not driving to the conditions. So, the law is a good thing. We recognize that the law is there to prescribe limits. We recognize that we all break those limits, yet we all would still affirm the need and the validity of those limits. That duplicity within our hearts compels us, in whatever measure we are capable, of trying to the limited extent that we can to obey the law. It has an exposing effect that leads to and results in a restraining effect on human sinfulness. So, that is use number 1.
Use number 2 is that it has a condemning effect. We all know that we have broken the law. If I had a penny for every time someone said “nobody’s perfect,” and I thought in my head “Jesus is” I would be a wealthy man. Paul in this same passage in Romans chapter 7 in verse 11 makes the statement “sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness.” He said he wouldn’t have known covetousness if it weren’t for the law and yet now knowing the law, I have all kinds of covetousness inside of me. He says that apart from the law sin lies dead, I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. Paul is bringing the argument to a conclusion, an argument that he has started way back in chapter 3 in which he has made the statement “for all have fallen short of the glory of God.” All are under God’s condemnation. Yes it is true, there is no one perfect except Jesus Christ and yet we are all called to that standard. We are all called to live a life of holiness and perfection. If we haven’t been successful in this, which none of us have, then there is now judgment waiting for us. Paul says in this same passage the very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me for sin seizing an opportunity through the commandment deceived me and through it, it killed me. Now, all of us are aware that there is a reckoning, a day of judgment in which we will have our day in court and we will stand before the one who has written the moral law upon our hearts. There will be no escaping that Day of Judgment. Many people today in our society and societies around the world and in every civilization and in every culture, this is the effort – we know what we ought to do, we are going to try harder. There is an ancient Serbian parable that is told of a boy who saw his dad hammering nails into the door frame of his house and he didn’t think anything of it at first and then one day he approached his dad and said “Dad, why are you hammering nails into the door frame?” He dad said “well son, that’s for you. Every time you do something wrong, everything you disrespect your mother, every time you do something contrary to what I had asked and clearly instructed you to do, I hammer a nail into the doorframe.” So, the little boy thought to himself that this isn’t good and that he should try to do better. So he made a deal with his dad that every time his dad saw him doing something good his dad would pull the nail out of the door frame. His dad laughed and agreed. Low and behold, the boy tried really hard. He found ways to conceal from his father all the bad things that he was really doing and he found ways to present to his father all of the good things he was doing. He essentially went out of his way to become a Pharisee. One by one the nails came out of that door frame and the boy began to feel proud of himself for being so clever and deceptive he had become. Eventually the day came in which his dad yanked out the last nail out of the door frame and the kid pointed out that there were no more nails. The dad chuckled and said “Yep, but you will notice that the holes still remain.” First Baptist church listen, keeping of the law can be done from a Pharisaical attitude, but the keeping of the law will never ever fill in the holes that we have already created.
This brings us to the third use of the law and really it’s most crucial use. It is what I would call the edifying or the sanctifying or the saving use of the law. To illustrate this I am going to show you from Jesus’ own ministry how he did it. Many of us when we think of the law we realize it’s purpose is to bring about conviction, it’s purpose is to help us to realize that we have fallen short of God’s standard and its purpose is to point us toward Jesus and to point us towards the one who can fill in the holes. We are right when we say that. Thus begins the debate. When we do evangelism we have got to start with the law, we have to start hammering people on how sinful and bad they are and then we will introduce the gospel. Others say we need to start with the gospel and proclaim the good news and then if you need to you bring in the law. This is a debate that rages throughout all of evangelicalism and is alive and well today. Now, I just want to draw your attention to how it works. It is not necessarily an either/or proposition, but we need to understand that God’s commandments, those things he has prescribed, come hand in hand with his gospel. Whether you start with law and proceed to gospel or start with gospel and proceed to law, both come together. Jesus, the woman at the well, John chapter 4, he begins this engagement with her and he starts off the discussion by telling her “I am thirsty,” and she notes that he doesn’t have a bucket to get any water and he makes the comment to her “I can give you living waters that take away all thirst.” This is Jesus starting off with the promise, a gift, and a miracle so amazing. He is telling her he can do this for her, he is starting off with the gospel promise. Immediately she, the Samaritan woman, takes the discussion towards the law by stating that those guys say to worship on that mountain in Jerusalem and her people say to worship in her land and she begins this discussion. Jesus starting off with gospel proclamation, listening to her trying to evade him, trying to duck and dodge the message of hope that he is trying to offer to her, he listens to her and then he proceeds to the law and he sweeps all of this trivial vague discussion away and says “go get your husband.” She tells him she doesn’t have a husband, and Jesus acknowledges that and states “you have had 5 husbands and the man you are living with now is not your husband. Indeed you have spoken well when you say you have no husband.” Jesus is obviously referencing the law and the fact that she has lived outside of the prescriptions of God’s word for how she is to be married. So, he starts off with gospel and he moves to law. The point of it always is to call her into a relationship with Himself. Next passage, Luke 18 – The Rich Young Ruler – The rich young ruler comes to him and he says “sir, what must I do to be saved?” Well that is an evangelistic conversation I’d love to have. How many of you have ever had anyone approach you and say “I’d really like to get saved, what I have to do?” No, it has never happened. Somehow miraculously it has happened to Jesus; the easiest witnessing moment you would ever expect. He called Him Good sir. Now, rather than Jesus saying to just follow him quickly in the sinners prayer he heard the rich young ruler say “Good sir, tell me what I must do to be saved,” and He makes the statement “why? Why do you call me good? There is only one who is good. Keep the commandments.” So, when he had the opportunity just to go straight to the sinner’s prayer and just wrap this thing up with a nice little bow he does not. With the woman at the well he started off with gospel proclamation, with the rich young ruler he makes sure to start with the law. He says “keep the commandments,” and of course the rich young ruler says "Ya, I have done all that since I was a kid and I have never broke any one of them." Which we all laugh at because we see this guy is trapped in his own deception. So Jesus tells him there is one thing he still lacks and to give away all his treasure and money to the poor and then follow Jesus. He starts to the commandments and presses the issue and concludes with the gospel invitation “follow me;” become a disciple. Of course, the rich young man went away sorrowful. The Samaritan woman went away and told her whole town about Jesus. The rich young man went away hoping more and trusting more in his riches/wealth than in Jesus. In both of these scenarios, whether you start with law or whether you start with gospel or end with gospel or end with law, we see that these two things go together driving you to placing your hope in Jesus Christ. Jesus’ use of the law in his own evangelistic efforts shows us that the law is not an end unto itself. It is there to convict us, it is there to condemn us, and it is there to drive us like a cattle prod straight to Jesus Christ. Jesus’ statement in Matthew chapter 5 “do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets, but to fulfill them.” If you have ever fallen short of the glory of God, which is every person in this room, if you have ever struggled with a sense of guilt or conviction in your soul, which ought to be every person in this room; although, I can’t say that with confidence. If you have ever wondered Lord how can I possibly make it right, here is the good news – you cannot, but Jesus can and he has by dying on the cross. He fulfills the law which in a sense removes all the nails from that door frame and more. As we sit there staring at a door frame full of holes, Jesus is the one who fills them in. As you stand back and you wonder “is there any way that I could ever become right in God’s eyes?” The answer is that Jesus is the one who can make you right. Notice what Paul says here in verse 11 “in accordance with the gospel,” the good news, the proclamation of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. The law is lawful when it teaches us to restrain and to curb our sinful behavior. The law is lawful when we look to it for instruction in terms of the heart and the character of God and the law is used lawfully when it used to drive us straight to Jesus for forgiveness. The law is also useful when we consider our lives in Christ; there is no room for us to be living outside of the law. To be pursuing Jesus is to be honoring the law, trusting in Him to fill and fulfill it’s every requirement. Now, this is where a lot of teaching goes sideways. These false teachers in Ephesus were looking at the law and they were looking at it as a means of somehow making themselves right before God. They were coming to this concept of a holy and righteous life, a blessed life and they were say that if we do these things, if we focus on this stuff here, if we look at this number 153, somehow, someway we will be blessed. We will receive gifts, we will have insight, we will have knowledge, and we will have wisdom far beyond what all the rest of these Christians around us will have. We will have special spiritual discernment, we will have blessings. A completely appropriate analogy would be, considering our coming into the holiday season, that they have taken the gift giver and set him aside in order to focus on what they consider to be the gift such that the gift (that is living a righteous life) means more than knowing the one who gives it. This is so important First Baptist. In our pursuit of being godly Christians, and there are things involved in that such as telling the truth and living a moral lifestyle, not stealing and honoring our parents, we cannot do so in a way that does not focus on the glory of God and only focuses the gifts and the blessings of obedience. It must be obedience for the sake of knowing Him. That is the lawful use of the law.
Charles Spurgeon told a parable in one of his sermons of a gardener who was growing carrots n his fields. One day as the gardener was out pulling up carrots he pulled up a truly enormous carrot. He had to have a wheel barrow in order to move this carrot around. He took the carrot to the king. He loved the king, he loved the way the king ruled the land and created an environment of peace and stability. He respected the king for his wisdom so he said to himself “I will go and I will take this enormous giant carrot that I have made and I will give it to the king. So, he goes to the king and says “Oh king, I love and I respect you. I am so grateful for the way that you rule over this great land. Here is my greatest carrot of all. I give this to you.” The king was so touched that he said “you know what farmer? I own an enormous acreage right next to your tiny farm and I am so blessed by your gift of this carrot that I give you that acreage to have as your own.” The farmer said “wow! That is amazing! Thank you king.” The farmer took that blessing and he walked away. At court that day there was also a rich lord who was in the business of breeding stallions. He thought to himself, as he watched this entire interaction unfold, if a carrot gets you that large of acreage what else can we possibly get out of this guy? Looking to the king not for the greatness and the glory and the beauty of who he is, but looking at him for the benefits he brings and for the blessings he can bestow. The lord went home and he got his finest stallion and he came back to the court where he said to the king “you are a great and wonderful king and I want to show you my love and my appreciation by presenting to you this amazing fine stallion.” The king, discerning the lord’s heart, realizing the true intention of this mans gift said “thanks, have a nice day.” The lord said “Wait a minute; I come to present you with this offering. Should I not get some sort of blessing? The carrot farmer gave you a carrot. It was a big carrot, but it was still just a carrot. I am presenting you with a stallion!” The king said “No, the carrot farmer came to me and presented me with a carrot. You gave yourself a horse.”
Listen to me First Baptist Church; the proper use of the law is not that we would strive to obey it and somehow incur blessing from God through it. Obeying the law does bring blessing, but the true use of the law is that you would honor and love and worship Jesus Christ.
Let’s bow for prayer. Father we thank you so much for your word to us this morning. Lord, let us all strive to be humble carrot farmers and not wealthy lords seeking greater wealth. Let us give you all that we have, the best that we have. Let us give you all our hearts and minds and souls in worship to know you Lord, whatever else may come. Let us be a people who can sing in truth whatever may happen, whatever should come we know it is well with our souls. Father, we want you more than any of the gifts that you provide, we want you to be the thing we look at. We want you to be the one we gaze upon, we want your glory and your beauty to be that with which we are preoccupied in our lives. God help us to know you more and more. Let you Lord, we pray, allow your Son to be the vision – our vision. We ask these things in Christ’s name, Amen.
The book of 1st Timothy is a Pastoral Epistle (letter from Paul to a church leader). It was written to give encouragement and leadership guidelines to a young pastor named Timothy, Paul's "true child in the faith" at the church in Ephesus.