1 Timothy 1:18-20 Know Your Mission

1 Timothy 1:18-20 Know Your Mission February 1, 2015

1 Timothy 1:18-20 Know Your Mission

This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

(1 Timothy 1:18-20)

What is the mission? To “wage the good warfare.” This implies some sort of conflict. Let me address this mission by showing the people involved in the mission. We think “being on mission” is sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, and it is. However, in order to do that, we need to lay the ground for the Good Seed to grow. That is because there are some weeds which prevent the Gospel from growing. While I am using an agricultural illustration, Paul uses a military illustration to describe how to get the Gospel prepared. He calls it the good warfare.

PAUL – The Mentor

Paul is charging Timothy. Timothy is considered Paul’s son in the faith. He has spent time developing Timothy as a disciple and as a leader. Timothy received these letters from Paul as a word of encouragement. Timothy sure needed these letters because he was in a difficult situation as a leader. He told Timothy how to know the mission: to wage the good warfare. Every leader is going to be engaged in some kind of spiritual warfare.

Ephesians 6:10-20, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Paul wants Timothy to wage the “good” warfare. That means that Paul wants Timothy to be STRENGTHENED by this battle. Many times, we get engaged in spiritual warfare and we get WEAKENED. Paul wants Timothy to learn how to fight the spiritual battle well. In other words, when we deal with conflict, there are spiritual consequences, and there are proper ways to engage in this battle.

The take-away is that everyone needs a mentor. Every Christian needs a spiritual mentor to help them through their journey. Every Christian needs to BE a mentor to a younger Christian to help others.

2 Timothy 2:2

TIMOTHY – The Leader

This section of Scripture, which is used often at ordination services, places an emphasis upon Timothy as a person—he has certain responsibilities to fulfill as a minister of the Lord and as an exemplary individual. This section of Scripture also places the emphasis upon his official responsibilities—he is to see that the church is properly taught, organized, and administered. [1]

Timothy is the leader of this church. He was groomed into leadership by Paul while they were in Ephesus. Now, Timothy is leading the church. He is now dealing with a leadership dilemma. He is the one with “faith and a good conscience.”

The take-away here is that every leader will have to deal with conflict. Either a leader can engage in this conflict in the flesh or in faith. One can do with a mean spirit or a good conscience. What does it mean a good conscience. It means that when a leader deals with people who cause trouble in the church, you can walk away saying that you did the right thing. You can sleep at night. You know you did everything the Bible teaches you to do. It doesn’t mean that you can control the actions of those who cause problems that need to be dealt with. We are all human. However, as Christians we can make the effort to deal with conflict with a good conscience.

The dilemma for Timothy was this: Two people in the church have caused a problem. They have rejected the faith and they have blasphemed. What does that mean? That brings us to our two conspirators. Hymenaeus and Alexander.

HYMENAEUS and ALEXANDER – The Co-Conspirators

Both of these men are the co-conspirators. They “rejected the faith, suffered shipwreck, by blaspheming”. What did they do? In Paul’s mind, they reject the faith by blaspheming, and suffered consequences as a result. Let’s discover what they actually did.

Hymenaeus said that the resurrection was already past (2 Tim. 2:16–18).

Alexander was a popular name in that day, so we cannot be sure that the man named in Paul’s next letter to Timothy (2 Tim. 4:14) is the same man; but if he is, no doubt he withstood Paul by teaching false doctrine. [2]

What is blasphemy?

The Greek word blasphēmeō can be used to describe both irreverent speech directed against God or general derision and slander intended to mock, revile, and hurt someone’s feelings or damage their reputation (compare John 10:36; James 2:7, and 1 Peter 4:4). [3]

It is verbal abuse. In a specific sense, it is vocally stating that God is not God. In a general sense, it is when we treat other people with disrespect verbally.

Notice that Paul changes the language. Earlier, he was using military language of the Army to speak to Timothy. Paul, like a general, gave a charge to his subordinate officer. Now, when Paul speaks of the co-conspirators Hymenaeus and Alexander, he uses naval language. Paul says that these two have suffered shipwreck.

It is interesting to note that this comes after the two have rejected the faith. People are supposed to support the church and the mission of the church. However, some get their eyes off the ball and start to cause trouble. In this case, they rejected the faith by teaching a false doctrine. They taught that the resurrection has already happened. Many times, however, people don’t have a problem with a doctrine as much as they have a problem with the practice. They have a problem with the form of practice: worship style, building preferences, and personality differences. When it gets to be big enough to cause someone to get off the mission, conflict arises. Either the church can go through the pattern laid out in Matthew 18 of restoration. However, when that does not happen, when a person rejects that path, what follows happens. In essence, their lives get shipwrecked. Have you ever been in a crash? It’s a mess. Things are destroyed, lives are damaged or lost, and people are torn to pieces. This is what happened to these two co-conspirators. They were shipwrecked, by their own doing. When this happens, the Bible teaches us a principle. As Christians, we are told to ignore these people until they repent. We are called to forgive them, but the process of restoration cannot begin without repentance. This is where Satan comes in. God uses Satan in times like this for God’s redemptive purposes.

SATAN – The Accuser

Paul sent the two disobedient ones to Satan to be taught respect for God. Notice that Timothy didn’t send them to Satan, but Paul did.

“Delivered unto Satan” (1 Tim. 1:20) implies an apostolic discipline (see 1 Cor. 5:5) and disassociation from the local church. The verb “learn” (1 Tim. 1:20) means “to learn by discipline.” When a Christian refuses to repent, the local fellowship should exercise discipline, excluding him from the protective fellowship of the saints, making him vulnerable to the attacks of Satan. The fellowship of the local church, in obedience to the will of God, gives a believer spiritual protection.[4]

“This wording reflects the Old Testament belief that the nations of the world were under the control of dark forces—a situation that arose from God’s decision to disinherit the nations as His own in favor of Israel (Deuteronomy 32:8–9; compare Ephesians 6:12). Given this, the Israelites considered Israel to be holy ground in contrast to the territories of other nations. As the Church came to be understood as the people of God (as Israel had been), being expelled from the Church was viewed as forcible removal from holy ground to the realm of darkness.” [5]

The purpose of such discipline is restoration, not condemnation; seeing the alternative, perhaps they will turn back to Christ.

So a church needs proper doctrine which prepares for proper living, good discipline which brings restoration, and a healthy environment so that the mission can continue.

1. Walter M. Dunnett, Ph.D., Exploring the New Testament (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2001), 72. Accessed on January 17, 2015 at 10:52 AM.

2. Warren Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary (Wheaton, Illinois: Victor Books, 1989), Volume 2, page 214. Accessed on January 17, 2015 at 10:43 AM.

3. Douglas Magnum, et. al., Lexham Bible Guide: 1 Timothy, (Bellingham, Washington: Lexham Press, 2013.) “1 Timothy 1:18. Accessed on January 17, 2015 at 11:15 AM.

4. Wiersbe, Volume 2, page 214. January 17, 2015 at 11:08 AM.

5. Douglas Magnum, et. al., “1 Timothy 1:20.” Accessed on January 18, 2015 at 3:30 PM.

6. Gary W. Demarest, The Preacher’s Commentary Series Volume 32: 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus, ed. Lloyd J. Olgive, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, 1984), 169-170. Accessed on January 18, 2015 at 3:34 PM.


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