"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"
A Pattern For Would-Be Believers (1:12-17) INTRODUCTION 1. Are you someone who has contemplated becoming a Christian, but wondered... a. Would God forgive you for the terrible things you've done? b. Could you live the kind of life God desires of you? 2. There is a man who serves as an example for you... a. Of the grace and mercy that is available for you b. Of the faith and love that you can have in Jesus [His name is Paul, and in 1Ti 1:12-17 he describes how his own conversion is "A Pattern For Would-Be Believers." First, in...] I. DEMONSTRATING THE GRACE OF OUR LORD A. NOTE PAUL'S FORMER LIFE... 1. He was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent (violent) man - 1Ti 1:13 a. Consenting to the death of Stephen - Ac 7:58; 8:1 b. Making havoc of the church in Jerusalem - Ac 8:3 c. Persecuting Christians even to Damascus - Ac 9:1-2 d. Persecuting even to the point of imprisonment and death - Ac 22:4 e. Enraged against Christians, compelling them to blaspheme - Ac 26:9-11 2. His goal was to destroy the church of God - Ga 1:13 3. He was indeed "chief" of sinners - 1Ti 1:15 -- Yet the grace of the Lord was "exceedingly abundant" and he obtained mercy! - 1Ti 1:14,16 B. WHAT ABOUT YOUR LIFE...? 1. Yes, you have committed sin - Ro 3:23; Jm 2:10 a. Perhaps you are a good, moral person like the Eunuch, Cornelius, or Lydia b. Perhaps you are a murderer and blasphemer like Paul was 2. In either case, Jesus came to into the world to save sinners - 1Ti 1:15 a. The grace of the Lord is exceedingly abundant - 1Ti 1:14 b. The Lord is long-suffering - 1Ti 1:16; 2Pe 3:9 -- Will you not let Paul's pattern move you to believe on the Lord for everlasting life? - 1Ti 1:16 [There is no sin too great, no crime so heinous, that cannot be forgiven by the grace of the Lord! The conversion of Paul serves as evidence that no matter who you are or what you've done, you can be saved. Paul also serves as a pattern...] II. DEMONSTRATING THE FAITH AND LOVE IN JESUS A. NOTE PAUL'S SERVICE TO CHRIST... 1. The Lord put Paul into the ministry - 1Ti 1:12 a. To bear witness to what he had seen - Ac 26:16 b. To turn people from the power of Satan to God - Ac 26:18 2. He became a pattern of the faith and love that is possible in Christ - 1Ti 1:14 a. Because he cooperated with the grace of God - 1Co 15:9-10 b. Striving to be the best he could be - Php 3:12-15 c. Learning contentment, finding strength - Php 4:11-13 -- Paul provides the example of a life of faith and love that leads to peace - Php 4:9 B. WHAT ABOUT YOUR LIFE...? 1. If you are already a Christian a. Are you experiencing the faith and love that is Christ? 1) Faith that comes from the Word of God? - Ro 10:17 2) Love that comes by being taught of God? - 1Th 4:9-10 b. Are you following the pattern of Paul...? 1) Cooperating with the grace of God to turn from sin? 2) Ever pressing onward toward spiritual maturity? 3) Faithful to whatever ministry the Lord places upon you? 2. If you are not yet a Christian a. Why not take the step of faith like Paul did? 1) He did what the Lord commanded him - Ac 22:16 2) He started anew, walking by faith and not by sight - 2 Co 5:7 b. Why not accept the love that is available in Jesus? 1) The love of God, your heavenly Father - 1Jn 4:10,11 2) The love of Jesus, your wonderful Savior - Jn 15:9,10 -- Will you not let Paul's pattern move you to grow in faith and love? - 1Co 11:1 CONCLUSION 1. Note that Paul was moved to respond to the grace of the Lord in two ways... a. He thanked Jesus Christ - 1Ti 1:12 b. He praised God - 1Ti 1:17 2. Shall we not respond to the grace of God in the same way...? a. Thanking God by rendering obedience to the gospel of Christ? b. Praising God by growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ? Then perhaps the Lord can also use us as "A Pattern For Would-Be Believers"... - cf. 1Ti 4:12