I believe that the health and the vitality of the local church rises and falls on her understanding of the promise of the gospel. The only thing that will help you behave in an orderly and godly manner is the promise of the gospel. The only thing that will help you face the monotony of the mundane is the promise of the gospel. The only thing that will give you eternal security is the promise of the gospel. The health and the vitality of the local church rises and falls on her understanding of the promise of the gospel.
1 Timothy 1:1 – 2:
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope. 2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. – Pray
My aim today as we start this new series in the book of First Timothy is four foldfold. #1: I want to identify the purpose of this letter. #2: I want to explain the significance of Paul’s opening words in the first two verses. #3: I want to make some practical application to our lives. #4: I want to encourage us by connecting all of this to the promises of the gospel.
If Someone Asked You To Describe The Local Church What Would You Say?
How would you describe the church to a friend or a co-worker? Listen to these descriptions of the church. The church is the household of God. The church is the assembly of the people of God in the presence of the living God. The church is the pillar and beacon of the truth.
This is how Paul describes the church in 1 Timothy 3:15. It’s a weighty description of Jesus’ bride. And Paul is writing this letter to the lead elder or the lead pastor of the household of God, the church of the living God, the pillar and the beacon of truth in the city of Ephesus.
And this is Paul’s charge to Timothy. You could say this charge in 1 Timothy 3:15 is the key verse or the major theme or the major purpose of the letter. Paul’s charge to Timothy in 3:15 is to help the Ephesian church to know how to behave in an orderly and godly manner and don’t give up. Don’t give up on them Timothy. Help them to behave in an organized and godly manner.
This would not be an easy calling for Timothy. I imagine that Timothy experienced days where he questioned if he would have made a better carpenter or a better farmer or a better truck driver. But the city of Ephesus is where God had called Timothy to minister and there in Ephesus he continued to labor, day in and day out.
The culture in Ephesus was saturated with sexual sin and slavery and witchcraft. The religious culture in Ephesus was pagan at best and the people would have been confused and weary. The culture itself would have been chaotic with its many choices of pleasure-filled past times. Ephesus, quite simply, was a difficult place to work and the job would have been loaded with all sorts of difficult and mundane tasks.
We all know what this feels like right? We all struggle in the monotony of the mundane. We wonder if we are doing anything of any significance. On the surface it may appear that our day-to-day lives hold little to no significance. You work at a gas station or you work at a factory or you work at a convenience store or you labor hard trying to keep your small business afloat or you labor among families with special needs or you slave away behind the scenes at home with your children.
And truth be told, there are more hard days then there are easy days. There are more days full of mundane tasks then there are days that are full of mountain top experiences. There are more days when you question the significance of your calling then resting securely in the arms of Him who called you to the mundane for his Glory.
Where are you wrestling with the monotony of the mundane right now? Where are you walking in the valley rather than soaring high above the mountaintops? Where do you find yourself just going through the motions waiting and hoping for things to get better? Where do feel weighed down with the worry and the suffering of this life? Where do you feel bored or complacent or lazy with the daily routine?
Timothy Understood The Monotony Of The Mundane
Timothy didn’t have a story like Paul’s story. Timothy’s story didn’t have a ton of fireworks in it. Timothy was born to a mom and a dad whose marriage wasn’t recognized as a legitimate marriage by the religious establishment. He was timid and fearful and young. He suffered from chronic stomach pain and his job was full of interpersonal conflict.
Nevertheless, Paul took young Timothy in under his wing. He trained him, he loved him, he encouraged him, he challenged him and then he left him in charge of a church he had planted in Ephesus. And now, many years after his letter to the Ephesian church, he’s writing again.
And this time he’s writing to address both members and leaders alike in the church at Ephesus. And his clearly communicated purpose for writing this letter in 3:15 is to challenge both the church and her pastor to not give up on learning how to behave and live in an orderly and godly manner.
Talk about mundane monotony right?! Keep doing what you are doing Timothy. Keep growing Timothy. Keep eating the elephant, one bite at a time Timothy. Keep preaching the same message Timothy. Keep getting out of the same bed in the morning Timothy. Keep going through the routine Timothy. Keep learning how to behave and live in an orderly and godly manner Timothy. Don’t give up Timothy. Don’t let the barriers stop you from pressing into the monotony of the mundane for the glory of God.
Think About The Common Barriers To Living This Way…
What are some of the common barriers to living in an orderly and godly fashion? As I thought about this question this week I thought about three barriers. The barrier of individual isolation. The barrier of broken families. And the barrier of worldwide chaos. None of us are immune to any of this.
None of us are immune to isolation. Isolation isn’t just a symptom of singleness. People who have large families and people who are super connected to church communities and even people who have lots of friends still struggle with isolation. There are more broken families in this world then there are whole families. And the world we live in continues to spin in chaos.
Sin and rebellion has infected the healthiest of us and darkness intrudes into the most lighthearted of us at the most inopportune times. And into this mess of sin and darkness stands the pastor and the church. The household of God. The church of the living God. The pillar and battering ram of the truth of the gospel.
And Paul’s opening words to Timothy and the church in Ephesus help to set the tone for how to be a church that behaves in an orderly and godly manner in the face of opposition. Make no mistake, Paul will not make a case for the kind of self-defeatism or blame gaming or victimization or entitlement that we so often see in our culture.
Paul will actually continue to make an argument all throughout his letter to Timothy and the church that the church is called to be radically counter cultural in the midst of the monotony of the mundane.
Think About The Calling Of The Church
We are called to be radically countercultural as we learn to live in an orderly and godly manner in the midst of the monotony of the mundane. When Paul says I am an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Jesus Christ our hope he is saying, I know who I am, I know by whose command I am speaking to you and my hope is rooted in Someone who is eternally secure and trustworthy. Paul knew that he wasn’t writing under his own authority. He knew who and whose he was. He knew that his words weren’t rooted in some pop culture opinion of right and wrong. And he knew that his future wasn’t dictated by the momentary brokenness of this sin-infected life.
It is from this deep sense of identity and trust and hope that enables Paul to say hey, Timothy, you are my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord to you. When he says this he’s essentially saying, hey Timothy, you have an eternal place in this family and I’m asking our Father, who is faithful, to fill you with his grace, mercy and peace. Paul knew the only thing that would help Timothy stay the course was to rest in the truth of the gospel. The only thing that will keep us grounded in the face of individual isolation and broken families and worldwide chaos is the truth of God’s grace, mercy and peace towards us in the cross of Christ.
Think About How The Cross Of Christ Connects To What Paul Is Saying Here
The promise of eternal belonging from an eternally faithful Father is the only thing that will help us behave in an orderly and godly fashion until Christ returns. The cross of Christ is where all of this comes together. At the cross, Jesus endures the monotony of the mundane. At the cross, Jesus authoritatively says it is finished and Father forgive them for they know not what they do. At the cross, God the Father through the sacrifice of Jesus adopts you eternally. No longer alone is your new mantra.
Grace, mercy and peace are your new motivations. In Christ, God has been gracious towards you. He’s given you what you could never earn and what you could never deserve. In Christ, God has been merciful towards you. He’s withheld the eternal consequences of your sin and he’s redirected his wrath against you for your sin onto his one and only Son, Jesus, at the cross of Calvary. In Christ, God has extended true peace towards you. This isn’t about the absence of conflict. It’s about the ability to stand secure in the presence of great conflict because you know who and whose you are.
Because of the cross of Christ you can now endure the monotony of the mundane. Because of the cross of Christ, you can embrace your new identity as a sinner saved by grace. Because of the cross of Christ, you can stay in the fight when all you want to do is just give up and run away. Because of the cross of Christ, you can behave in an orderly and godly fashion when all you want to do is live in fear or entitlement.
- The only thing that will help you behave in an orderly and godly manner is the promise of the gospel.
- The only thing that will help you face the monotony of the mundane is the promise of the gospel.
- The only thing that will give you eternal security is the promise of the gospel.
I don’t know what your experience with the church has been like. I don’t know how you would describe the church. I don’t know where you are struggling in the monotony of the mundane right now. I don’t know what barriers you walked in with today. I don’t know what your struggle with isolation or brokenness or chaos looks like. I don’t know if you’re more prone to self-defeatism or blame gaming or victimization or entitlement.
I don’t know what your devotion to the Lord looks like. I don’t know what goes on in the relationships behind the closed doors of your home. I don’t know what your interactions with your coworker’s looks like. I don’t know what kind of mess your private thought life has been like.
But I do know this. The tomb is empty. The grave has no body in it. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day. He has been victorious over Satan, sin and death. And that kind of victory is our inheritance. We look forward to the hope of Heaven and we stand firm here on Earth until Christ returns as the pillar and beacon of the truth of the gospel.
Please be encouraged my friends, if you walked in here today and your heart is a wreck and your life is out of control and you’re just going through the motions and you’re hiding out in your manmade cave of fear and sin and isolation… be encouraged, Jesus went to the cross for you and he left the tomb empty on the third day and because of that Paul could say to Timothy and I can say to us, grace, mercy and peace to you.
Don’t give up. Keep trusting in Christ. He will complete the work he began in you. For some of you, he will begin that work today. And for all of us (who’ve trusted in Christ) we can look forward to the day where there is no more tears, no more sin and no more pain. You are not alone. You are in the presence of family members who know what it’s like to be broken while clinging to the hope of the gospel. This is the good news to us today in the midst of the monotony of the mundane. – Amen?