Just recently, when Bert obeyed the gospel, we had the opportunity to make a circle with those who were there in order to share things with our new brother in Christ. As is often the case with opportunities like that, someone encouraged him about staying focused, because Satan is not happy. He is that “roaring lion” who is “seeking whom he may devour.” (1st Peter 5:8) The father of lies (Devil, John 8:44) is an opportunist with only one goal in mind, our demise.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
1st Corinthians 10:12
Writing to the church in Corinth, Paul cautions them using the example of those from times past who had “drank from the spiritual Rock” (1st Corinthians 10:4); even so, “God was not well pleased” with many of them because of their rebellion. We are not immune from such rebellion. The road we travel as disciples of Christ is narrow and, at times, difficult. (Matthew 7:14) As we journey along, we need to watch for Satan’s activity to deceive us, as well as our own fleshly (sinful nature) tendencies that could result in such rebellion. As Paul said to the church in Ephesus, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15)
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to men; but God is faithful. who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able . . . 1st Corinthians 10:13
With the exhortation to stay focused, we need to also remind the new disciple (and us as well) that this battle need not be fought alone. Next year we will consider the truth about the church family, a source of tremendous strength. In the above verse though, we are reminded that God is always there, ready to help us “make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1st Corinthians 10:13) So, let us not forget to also remind them to look for God, He is faithfully there!
Today is our scripture reading Sunday and our attention is directed to 1st Timothy. As he was guided by the Holy Spirit, Paul seeks to exhort and encourage Timothy is his endeavors with the church. The unique relationship Paul had with Timothy started during his second missionary journey where he met the young man in Derbe and Lystra. (Acts 16:1) This relationship would grow, to a point where Paul would say this about Timothy, “But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel.” (Philippians 2:22) This affinity towards Timothy is also seen as this letter opens, calling Timothy “a true son in the faith.” (1st Timothy 1:2)
This letter seeks to help Timothy stay focused on his work. There were those causing turmoil with “fables and endless genealogies” he had to deal with. (1st Timothy 1:3; 4:1) Then there was the need for prayer and the orderly manner in which assembly was to be conducted. (1st Timothy 2) Like Titus, whom Paul left on the island of Crete, Timothy had the task of establishing the church’s leadership and a pattern to follow in doing so. (1st Timothy 3) The urgency of all this can be seen in 1st Timothy 4:16, “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” Chapter five and part of chapter six, seek to help Timothy in teaching how people are to treat one another: whether that be older men, widows, church leaders or even slaves towards their masters. The rest of chapter six again cautions Timothy concerning those who distort the truth and the trappings of money. Paul would close this letter in part by saying, “Guard what was committed to your trust . . .” (1st Timothy 6:20)
Although we are not Timothy, these words should resonate through every disciple. So it was then, so it is now. As disciples of Christ, we should be equally vigilant in holding up and defending the truth. May God move us to an ever-increasing understanding of His truth.