Your heart needs to be anchored if you’re going to weather the storm. That’s essentially what Paul is saying to Timothy in this passage. He’s saying, hey Timothy, you’ve been entrusted with a responsibility. So pick the right fight. Hold on to the faith and keep a clean conscience while being warned and encouraged by the shipwrecking of others. Your heart needs to be anchored if you’re going to weather the storm, Timothy.
1 Timothy 1:18 – 20
18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Life sometimes feels like you’re just weathering one storm after another. Every day we get out of bed and we face another day. And most of those days feel like we are weathering one storm after the next. If you work a job you know what it feels like to weather some storms. If you are in a romantic relationship you know what it feels like to weather some storms. If you are raising kids you know what it feels like to weather some storms. If you have friends or if you have bills to pay or if you are in college or if you own a car or if you struggle with addictions or anxiety you know what it’s like to weather some storms.
And here’s the thing, your heart needs to be anchored if you’re going to weather the storm. But what do our hearts need to be anchored in? And how do we stay anchored? Your heart needs to be anchored in your responsibilities. Your heart needs to be anchored in the right fight. Your heart needs to be anchored in the faith with a clean conscience. Your heart needs to be anchored in the midst of the shipwrecks. Your heart needs to be anchored if you’re going to weather the storm. But what does this look like and how do we do this?
#1: Your heart needs to be anchored in your responsibility… (18)
Paul says, “This charge (responsibility, command, instruction) I entrust to you, Timothy, my child.” Your heart needs to be anchored in your responsibility if you’re going to weather the storm. What do you think of when you think of the word responsibility?
I think of things like my responsibilities as a parent or as a husband or as a friend or as a pastor or as a Christian. I don’t want to be found irresponsible at the day of Christ’s return. I want to be found faithful. I want to do a good job at handling my responsibilities faithfully. Anyone else with me on that?
Notice this too. Paul says he’s entrusted Timothy with a charge or a command or a responsibility. That word entrusted is the word that reminds me that I am a steward not an owner. I have been given the awesome responsibility to steward or to manage what doesn’t belong to me. So Paul is reminding Timothy that he has been entrusted to be responsible with something that doesn’t belong to him. What is Timothy responsible for that he doesn’t own?
The thing that didn’t belong to Timothy was the church in Ephesus. The church family belongs to Jesus the Chief Shepherd. And Timothy’s responsibility was to shepherd the flock by confronting the false teachers, the elders who were leading the flock astray. I don’t know about you but that sounds like a really scary task to me. Timothy, go confront your friends and fellow leaders who are shipwrecking their faith and doing destructive things in the church.
How would Timothy obey this command faithfully? How would Timothy be responsible with this command? How do you and I stand firm in the face of the loss of friendship? How do we remain faithful in the face of so much unfaithfulness? How do we face the losses of this life with resolve? How do we remain anchored in the midst of the storms of responsibility?
#2: Your heart needs to be anchored in the right fight… (18)
Paul says, hey Timothy, this charge, this responsibility, this command, this instruction that I’ve entrusted to you is “in accordance with (it relates to, it rests upon or it is supported by) the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare.” Your heart needs to be anchored in the right fight if you’re going to weather the storm, Timothy. Wage the good warfare not the bad warfare. Don’t pick stupid fights. Pick the right fight. Choose your battles carefully. Don’t fight from a place fear. Fight from a place of confident expectation in God’s faithfulness.
How would Timothy do this? How would Timothy know what the right fight is? And how would he muster up the courage to pick the right fight? Paul helps Timothy by drawing his attention to the prophecies previously made about you. He does this again later when he reminds Timothy not to neglect the gift you have, which was given to you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. (1Tim. 4:14)
What I think Paul is doing here is he’s reminding Timothy of his calling and he’s reminding him of the gift that he had been given to preach the Word of God. And he’s also reminding Timothy that he has a community of qualified leaders behind him. The fight that Timothy needed to pick was going to require courage and his heart would need to be anchored to something that was immoveable. He would need the right character, the right community and the right tools to pick the right fight.
By these things you may wage the good warfare, Timothy. You will find the courage and the tools to pick the right fight if you use the flashlight of your calling, the community of leaders around you and the Word of God. Be ready in season and out of season. Preach the Word, Timothy. Anchor your heart to your calling. Anchor your heart to the community of qualified leaders around you. Anchor your heart to the Word of God and you will pick the right fight.
Have you ever stood at that crossroads of fear and responsibility? You know your friend needs to be confronted. You know your kid needs to be corrected. You know your coworkers need to hear the gospel. But you also know your own heart is getting bogged down with the weight of fear and anxiety and sin. What do you anchor your heart to when you’re standing at the crossroads of fear and responsibility?
#3: Your heart needs to be anchored in the faith with a clean conscience… (19)
Paul says, hey Timothy, this responsibility that I’ve entrusted to you is important and it’s part of your calling and the only way you will walk this out faithfully is if you are “holding faith and a good conscience.” Your heart needs to be anchored in the faith with a clean conscience if you’re going to weather the storm.
Every now and then I spend a few hours researching some of the celebrity pastors in our country who have shipwrecked their faith. And every now and then I catch wind of another pastor or another leader in our city that begins to travel down the slippery slope of doctrinal and moral controversy. And there have been times in my journey where I have experienced the devastating loss of friendship with people who have loosened their grip on the faith and seared their own conscience through immorality.
This is what Timothy is experiencing painfully in our passage. And Paul knows it. And Paul also knows that the only way Timothy will keep his heart anchored in the midst of the storm is if he holds on tightly to the faith with a clean conscience. True faith will purify your conscience and a pure conscience will fan your faith into flame. The opposite is also true. False faith makes your conscience filthy. And a filthy conscience will fry your faith. Deep down inside, every one of us knows the difference between right and wrong. The law of God has been written upon our hearts. The good news of the gospel has been revealed to us in Christ Jesus.
Every time we sin against God by going against our own conscience we drag our hearts through the muck and the mire of the pigpen. And then on the inside of the pigpen we often wonder why our lives are such a wreck. And the reality oftentimes is that our lives are a mess because we’ve seared our consciences by loosening our grip on the faith. And we’ve loosened our grip on the faith by searing our consciences.
It’s easy to do this in the midst of the storms of life. It would have been easy for Timothy to loosen his grip on the faith and drag his conscience through the mud in the midst of the storm of the false teachers in Ephesus. So Paul tells him to anchor his heart in the faith with a clean conscience.
Do you possess a true faith that is purifying your conscience? Do you possess a pure conscience that is fanning your faith into flame? Or do you possess a false faith that is making your conscience filthy? Do you possess a filthy conscience that is frying your faith? Your heart needs to be anchored in the faith with a clean conscience.
#4: Your heart needs to be anchored in the midst of the shipwrecks… (19-20)
Paul says, Timothy, I am entrusting you to be responsible with your calling as you pick the right fight while holding on to the faith and a clean conscience. So be warned and be encouraged as I remind you that, “by rejecting this (my instructions), some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” Your heart needs to be anchored in the midst of the shipwrecks if you’re going to weather the storm.
When someone shipwrecks his or her faith it’s disorienting, it’s painful and it’s destructive. It’s disorienting and it’s painful because someone you once trusted is no longer trustworthy. The person you once trusted with your children or your spouse can no longer be trusted because they are living destructively. It’s also disorienting because that person is someone who claims the name of Christ while refusing to live obediently to Christ.
When you experience this it’s earth shaking. A close friend becomes a Judas. A spouse finds someone new. A relative refuses to own their sin. And to top it all off, they oftentimes blame you for their sinful behavior. They reject you and they reject the Lord and they stop listening as their hearts become more and more stubbornly set upon their sinful desires. Shipwreck. Something has to anchor your heart amidst the storms of shipwreck.
And Paul’s tactic for encouraging Timothy to remain anchored in the midst of the shipwrecks is to draw his attention to the shipwrecks themselves. For a person who is following Christ a shipwreck in someone else’s life is again disorienting, painful and destructive. But a shipwreck also warns you not to head in the same direction and it also encourages you when you see other Christians handling it faithfully.
The Apostle Paul was no newbie. Paul had his lumps and bruises. He had been through a storm or two already. And he wasn’t afraid to remind Timothy that he wasn’t alone and there was a good purpose from a good God in the midst of the shipwrecks. Paul had personally removed two disqualified, shipwrecked men from the church in Ephesus already. And the purpose of this removal was founded on the hope that if these men tasted the consequences of their sin they would possibly return one day hating their sin and loving Jesus. So that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Another major take away for Timothy was the reminder that these men that Paul had removed had shipwrecked their faith because they rejected what Paul tried to teach them. They stopped listening to biblical instruction. They plugged their ears. They didn’t want to hear what Paul said. They wanted to stubbornly pursue the very things that Paul warned them against. The filthy consciences of these men fried their faith. Their faith was fried while Paul and Timothy and the church at Ephesus held on to the faith with clean consciences amidst the shipwrecks. Your heart needs to be anchored in the midst of the shipwrecks if you are going to weather the storm.
How do you keep your heart anchored in the midst of the storms? Every one of us knows what it’s like to get out of bed everyday and face the storms of this life. Your heart needs to be anchored if you’re going to weather the storm. Your heart needs to be anchored in your responsibility, anchored in the right fight, anchored in the faith with a clean conscience and anchored in the midst of the shipwrecks. Your heart needs to be anchored if you’re going to weather the storm. How do you keep your heart anchored in the midst of the storms?
The only way you will weather the storm, is if your heart is anchored to the immovable, incorruptible, incomparable truth of the gospel. Hebrews 6:19 says that Jesus is the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul. Jesus faced the storm of our sin faithfully. He didn’t tap out on his responsibility. He faced the storm of the cross with great joy. He fought the right fight perfectly. He faced the storms of doubt, despair and impurity with absolute perfection. He didn’t quit and he didn’t turn tail and run. He didn’t hang his head in shame and he never gave in to the temptation to sin. In the cross and the empty tomb we see Jesus, our Savior and our risen King reigning supreme in the midst of the storm.
And the only way you will weather the storm is by anchoring your heart to the immovable, incorruptible, incomparable truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
And the gospel of Jesus Christ is namely that every one of us is shipwrecked by our sin and because of his great love for us the Father gave his Son on the cross to pay the price for our sin so that we could move from being shipwrecked on the shores of our sin to being transformed for all of eternity. The only way you will weather the storm of sin is if your heart is anchored to the immovable, incorruptible and incomparable truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.