The House Rules (1 Timothy 1:1-2)

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The House Rules

Keep your heart all about Christ–1 Timothy 1:1-2

You have had one of those talks–the most important talk. Maybe it was father to son, business partner to partner, a death-bed farewell to you. I remember getting a couple of those talks and I remember giving those talks. “Boys, the car is a 2,000 pound weapon. Drive like everyone else is an idiot.”

“Never get in debt. Don’t ever use your credit card without knowing you have the money.” “Make certain the woman you choose to marry is proven in Christ.” These were the most important dialogs–the ones that matter now and forever. The first New Testament letter to Timothy is just such a talk, between a spiritual father and his spiritual son. Paul writes to Timothy to tell him how to direct the Church to behave biblically.

First Timothy is your Guide to God’s Family, your Lectures on Leadership, Paul’s challenge to Timothy to take care of the church in Ephesus. First Timothy is the Household Handbook. Turn to 1 Timothy 3:15. It was written around fall of AD 63 when Paul was on the loose, ministering out and about after his jail time in Rome. As he does, Paul left Timothy in Ephesus and that city was rich, smart and proud.

As a result, there was a lot of error attacking the church. Plus, there were a lot of needs going unmet in their midst and Timothy needed assistance, since he was not an apostle like Paul, nor as uniquely gifted. Timothy needed some explicit, written authorization to help get things in order. So even though Paul wrote this to Tim, it was also going to be read by the church, who would then know to affirm the teaching and leadership of Timothy, confirming what Tim has already being saying and doing in their midst.

So this letter would get everyone on the same page and help Tim get the job done. And today, for our blessing and instruction, 1 Timothy is a part of the New Testament canon of Scripture. Here is the proof that what Timothy was teaching the leaders in Ephesus was God’s Word. This is what God wants His Church to be like. This letter describes the household handbook, the church Brochure for Believers, your Guide to God’s Family.

Plus, because it’s directed to Timothy to intentionally initiate within the church, this letter, 1Timothy, is also your Lectures on Leadership. You desperately need to study, know and apply this letter. Read 1 Timothy 3:15–Paul tells you why he writes, “But in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”

Each of you are part of the household of God–the Church, the body of Christ. You need to know how to conduct yourself in the Church of God. There are places you’ve gone to which required certain clothing or silence. There are buildings you’ve entered where you must be constantly on guard and aware. There are houses you have been in which were cold, distant—others which were welcoming.

There is behavior which is pleasing and appropriate, and behavior which is not pleasing to Christ in the Church. Turn to chapter 1:3, you have an individual responsibility to the entire body. Godly believers make godly marriages, which make godly homes, which make godly churches. The choices the church makes, Christians make. The choices Christians make, churches often make. The warnings to this church in Ephesus are also warnings to you as a believer and to us as a church.

So what does the Handbook for the Household say about your behavior in the Church? What are the exhortations for behavior you must know in the household of God? What are Paul’s Lessons on Leadership for Timothy and for us? What does Paul write to Timothy here, which transform your life today?

Allow me to highlight some of what is awaiting us in our study of this great letter. Chapter 1, each of you have had to deal with errant doctrine at some point. Paul will tell us in 1 Timothy 1:3, “As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines.”

You need to resist errant doctrine–not ignore it and hope it goes away, but actually stop people in this church who want to teach strange doctrines. Paul will teach us how. Society says everyone’s opinion matters, everyone’s ideas are good for them, and everyone’s view of truth is relevant. But God says there is one truth and everyone else is wrong.

Paul goes on in chapter 1 to describe how true doctrine dramatically saved him, so Paul continues to exhort Timothy to fight for truth and reject error. It doesn’t matter what the culture says about sex, roles, gender, or religion. It doesn’t matter what other believers or other churches say about what is true. You, Timothy–and you, FBC Christian, stand on truth alone.

Look at chapter 2. Paul instructs Timothy how believers are to behave themselves in public worship. Paul teaches Timothy both men and women have unique functions when we gather as a church. Look at verses 8 to 10, “Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. 9 Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments, 10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.” In the midst of a society which is totally confused about the role of men and women, you and I must be clear about God’s design for men and for women in life and the Church.

Look at chapter 3:1, in contrast to the money-driven false teachers, Paul describes what a true spiritual leader looks like for Timothy, for Ephesus and for us. “It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.” Paul describes true elders, then genuine deacons–and as he does, he describes the goal of godliness, Christlike character every believer is to pursue in the Church, at home and in this world. Keep your heart all about Christ.

God is describing how spiritual leadership is different than secular leadership. God describes the heart and behavior of a godly man. Paul tells Timothy how to identify a God-chosen elder and sovereignly selected deacon. Then after telling Timothy the purpose of this letter and why he writes at the end of chapter 3 . . .

In chapter 4, Paul warns Timothy in verses 1 to 5 to watch out for false teachers, describing exactly how to identify them. Like verse 3, “They are men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.” Then in verses 6 to 16 he tells Timothy the cost, the character, and the commitments he will need to make to take down false teaching and be a leader among men.

Paul calls Timothy to act like a man, Tim–work hard, stand up for truth, keep growing and pursuing Christ. Look at verse 15, “Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.” Keep your heart all about Christ.

Then 1 Timothy really gets fun in chapter 5, as Paul deals with practical issues in the life of every Christian as he addresses issues found at Ephesus. Have you ever wondered how to treat older saints? How about how do single male believers treat single female believers–Paul’s dating plan. Look at 1 Timothy 5:2, “Treat the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity”—mmmmm.

How do things change when your mom or dad or friend becomes a widow or widower? Do you know what to do and how to help them biblically? Verses 3 to 16 answer that–is the Church to care for widows and which ones are to be cared for? In verses 17 to 22, Paul tackles how you pay your pastors–do you know why certain elders are paid? How to confront an elder? And how you can appoint elders?

In Chapter 6, Paul discusses slaves and masters, somewhat like employer and employee in verses 1 and 2. Then in 3 to 5, how to identify a false teacher. Their lust for money moves Paul to discuss the relationship between godliness and wealth in 6 to 10. Keeping your heart all about Christ means living life like Christ is returning today in 11 to 16. And to be clear about wealth, Paul gives special commands to the rich in verses 17 to 19. Paul then wraps up this letter with exhortations for Timothy to guard the truth in vs 20 to 21.

There is more in this Household Handbook and it will unfold for us in exactly 17 weeks. The passages are all planned out–JP, Nigel, Shawn and I are studying them now. It will be the first time we tackle a single book expositionally using four different preachers. I am so excited for what this letter will do in my life, your life, and our lives. I am begging God to change my life, your life and our church to become more like Christ.

This letter is written to the main apostolic assistant, but it’s good for all believers. Never forget, this is one of those talks–a “never to forget” kind of lesson. These truths are crucial–Timothy, Ephesus, FBC, you must hear it and do it. Hear and heed, trust and obey. And what you hear today in chapter 1:1 to 2 and all throughout this epistle is to keep your heart all about Christ and His Word.

As Paul introduces himself and addresses Timothy, you’ll see it in the words and hear it from Paul’s heart–keep your life all about Christ. New Testament letters don’t start with the recipient, “Dear Tim” and finally end with the sender, “From Paul.” No, New Testament letters start with the sender and immediately address the recipient.

It is not, “To Timothy,” ending with, “from Paul”, but the letter begins with “From Paul” and “to Timothy.” Read verses 1 and 2 and listen for a heart all about Christ. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope, 2 to Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The focus of this letter and these two opening verses is Christ, so Paul starts, “From: Paul.” This is Paul. The name Paul is from the Latin, Paulus, meaning little–Paul might have been a short guy. His Hebrew name is Saul. Paul was the son of a Jewish father who was also a Roman citizen, so it is very likely he received both names at his birth. It was a common practice among the Jews of the first century to give their sons a Jewish name and a Gentile name.

In the book of Acts, Luke uses Saul until he’s saved, then Luke generally calls him Paul, which was fitting since Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. This is Paul who hated Christians and killed them from a heart of religious zeal, but was suddenly transformed from #1 hater of Christ, to #1 missionary for Christ. But more than apostle to the Gentiles, Paul had . . .

1  His Apostleship CREDIBILITY

Verse 1, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus.”

“Oh, you’re a surgeon?” “No, I am the Surgeon General of the United States.” “OHHHHH!”

“Oh, you’re a pilot?” “No, I’m the pilot who trains all the 747 pilots in the world.” “OHHHHH!”

“Oh, you’re in the Navy?” “No, I’m a sniper on Seal Team 6.” “OHHHHH!”

“Oh, you’re a president?” “No, I’m the President of the United States.” “OHHHHH!”

“Oh, you’re an apostle—a sent one?” “No, I’m an apostle of Christ Jesus.” “OHHHHH!”

Not merely sent by Christ, but set apart by Christ as a proxy. More than a messenger, more than a missionary, more than an ambassador or representative–Paul says, “I am a proxy, fully manifesting the actual words and actions of Christ. An apostle of Christ Jesus means he saw the resurrected Christ. But more than that, Paul was chosen to bear witness of Christ’s resurrection and to proclaim the message of God’s salvation, which is only found through Christ alone.

The word of—“apostle of Jesus Christ” is important. Paul was chosen of Christ, meaning by Christ Himself, from Christ, belonging to Christ and carrying the full authority of Christ Himself. Paul could do the signs of Christ, speak the truth of Christ, and was uniquely set apart to record the words of Christ.

Paul is reminding the Ephesians of His authority and establishing His credibility. So as he writes Timothy as to what to do in the church, they will respond to what Timothy teaches and does because they too will read it here in this letter, knowing it is God’s Word because it came from Christ, through the apostle Paul to Timothy, his apostolic assistant.

Paul is reminding the Ephesians and us, He is all about Christ. Paul was called and saved by Christ on the Damascus road forcibly by Christ, and now Paul serves Christ and is directed by Christ. His heart was all about Christ. Paul refers to His savior as Christ Jesus–sometimes as Jesus Christ, most often, especially in His later writings, Paul lists Christ first then Jesus second.

Most commentators believe that by listing Christ then Jesus, Paul is emphasizing the One who was with the Father in eternal glory–Christ who then became incarnate in human form, Jesus. It might be that Paul who had not accompanied the God-man, human Jesus, while He was here on Earth, thought of the name Christ first, because in his own experience, the knowledge of the Christ of glory came first to him. Regardless, His life was all about Christ. In fact, Paul had actually received . . .

2  His Authority COMMISSION according to the commandment

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment.” This is more than, “The boss has a job plan.” This is stronger than, “Sargent has orders.” “You were My enemy and I made you My friend, then My representative. You were killing My people and hating Me–I changed your heart, transformed your mind, opened your blind eyes and caused you to submit, surrender, and now serve Me.”

Verse 1, “According to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus,” stresses that Paul’s appointment as an apostle was not from people but from God. Completely unlike false teachers who are self-driven and deceivers, Paul was commanded by the triune God to function as truth teacher.

This word commandment adds weight to the letter–not for Timothy, but for some in the Ephesian congregation who doubted Paul’s calling or questioned his authority. For us, remember that book you have in your lap is God’s living Word. It is the only truth, describing the only God, and the only way of salvation.

This commandment, verse 1, was given to Paul on the day of his conversion. Paul actually describes it in Acts 26:16 to 18. God said to Paul, “’But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’”

As Paul writes Timothy in verse 1, he reminds his student and the Ephesian congregation that both God the Father and God the Son jointly commanded Paul to be an apostle. And notice the of again—“of God our savior and of Christ Jesus,” telling us God is the origin of His apostleship and Christ is the mediator of His apostleship.

Paul’s authority came directly from God–it was not a choice. It was not human in origin, it was not from Paul Himself–it was from God. As a result, Paul’s life was all about Christ. As we studied a few weeks ago, you are commissioned Christian–you have good works God has pre-chosen for you to live out in this life for his glory.

You have a spiritual giftedness to use in ministry within the church family, and you have a powerful Gospel message to share to those headed to Hell in the world. Those whose lives are all about Christ will serve in the church and share in the world. And as Paul begins, he can’t help but point to . . .

3  His Awesome SAVING GOD

Two truths stand out here–God is our Savior and Christ is our guarantee.


Of God our Savior,”–God is called savior many times in the New Testament, pointing to God the Father as the source of salvation. God the Father is the initiator of the plan of salvation and Christ is the means by which the plan is carried out. God the father began the process of salvation and God the Father will complete it on the last day. It is the Father who put the entire plan into motion–He is our Savior.

And savior means rescuing someone from danger by placing that one in complete and permanent safety. The Father initiated salvation, the Son secured it and the Spirit applied it to your life–God is your Savior. Do you know how different this is from religion and people’s opinions–yours?

God our Savior” means you cannot save yourself, religion can’t save you, offerings, service, attendance, decisions, walking aisles, signing cards, nor can being moved emotionally save you. Living good, doing good deeds, helping the homeless, giving some money can’t save you. You can’t be saved by being a Mormon, or a Muslim, or a Catholic, or a churchgoer. No—God must save you. God alone can save you—“God our Savior.”

There is a big difference between human achievement and divine accomplishment–you doing it or Christ did it. I will finish the work, or Christ saying, “It is finished.” You trying to earn salvation, or Christ gifting you with salvation. You working your way to Heaven or God coming down from Heaven and doing all the work.

God is our Savior–you must turn from your sin in repentance and to God alone in faith to be saved, because God is our Savior. That’s why Paul’s heart is all about Christ, since Christ brings about . . .


And of Christ Jesus, who is our hope.” Eternal God the Son Christ, was born a man, Jesus, who became for all His children, the certainty of salvation–our hope. Hope is lost on English speakers. Hope in the Bible is different than our word hope. English hope is “I wish.” Biblical hope is, “It’s done.” English hope is, “I want to graduate.” Biblical hope is, “I got the grades—it’s in the bag.”

English hope is, “I desire to never live in Hemet.” Biblical hope is, “I have five homes all paid for and none are even close to Hemet.” English hope is, “I hope to get married. Biblical hope is, “He proposed last night.” English hope is uncertain desire. Biblical hope is a certain decree. Paul says Christ is the object of our hope.

Christ is the confident anticipation of what God has in store for believers. Because Christ was born, lived a perfect life, died in our place, rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven, the magnitude of His power, the awesomeness of his love, the overwhelmingness of his sacrifice gives us certain hope. He can save us, glorify us with a new body and bring us home to Heaven to be with him forever.

Jesus Christ our hope. For Paul, for Timothy, for the Ephesians and for the US, Christ Jesus makes being a believer a certainty. The certainty of salvation. The certainty of His return and the certainty of my home in Heaven forever–that’s why Paul keeps his heart all about Christ. Paul writes to Timothy.

You know Paul was Timothy’s hero. Paul was the messenger of salvation and a father to Tim. Timothy’s earthly father was a Gentile. His Jewish mother and grandmother reared him on Bible stories and instructed him in the messianic hope of the Jewish people. His father’s influence was strong enough to prevent Timothy from being circumcised as a baby, but his mother insisted on teaching the boy the Scriptures.

So while his father told him tales about the Greek gods, Alexander the Great and the Roman Empire–his mother filled his mind with biblical heroes, like Moses, Elisha, David, Daniel and Joseph. Then Paul came, invading Galatia with the Gospel of Christ in Acts 14. When Paul arrived in Tim’s hometown of Lystra, the city was turned upside down by the message of Paul and the dramatic healing of a local cripple, a man everyone knew to be lame from birth.

The town proclaimed Paul and Barnabas incarnations of the pagan gods, Mercury and Jupiter. Everyone was talking about it. But angry Jews from other cities arrived and branded Paul as a heretic and troublemaker, stirring up a riot. Paul was seized, stoned, dragged out of the city and left for dead. Battered and bleeding, the apostle lived and possibly spent the night in Timothy’s house before leaving for Derbe.

Sometime later, possibly through letters or that initial contact, Timothy, his mother and grandmother became believers. Little did Timothy know at that time how influential for God’s glory he would be in the ministry of the Early Church and in the written Word of God. Paul and Timothy had a . . .


To Timothy, my true child in the faith.” Like a father is instrumental in the physical birth of his children, so Paul was instrumental in the spiritual birth of Timothy. Like a good father loves his children, so Paul loves Timothy. And like a father trains his children in matters of ordinary life, so Paul is training Timothy in matters of the Christian life and ministry.

Paul was used by God to convert Timothy and to ordain him to the ministry. Their relationship is personal, family, truthful, binding and it’s genuine. Notice the word true child–it means genuine, like describing a legitimate child, an authentic spiritual offspring. Timothy was the real deal, genuine and sincere.

There is nothing better than a person who is faithful–you can trust them because they are genuine in their relationship, and Paul says here in the faith. Timothy was a genuine, sincere, faithful child “in the sphere of faith.” They’re bound together, not physically but spiritually–bound together in Christ and bound together in the faith, often a reference to the body of truth contained in God’s Word. They love the same God and believe the same truths–a true child in the faith. Timothy was also the recipient of . . .

2  Bountiful RESOURCES

To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace.” Grace, mercy and peace–definitely a greeting, but pointing to the incredible blessings and resources every born again Christian receives from God in salvation. Remembering these gifts makes it easy to keep your heart all about Christ.

GRACE is getting what you don’t deserve–goodness offered to undeserving sinners, God’s blessing in undeserved ways, God’s favor in undeserved actions, not only in salvation, but in service, sanctification and grace to secure us home to Heaven.

MERCY is not getting what you do deserve. God’s pity on those who deserve punishment. God’s kindness and willingness to forgive those who are in deserved trouble.

PEACE is enjoying the war with God is over–enjoying that the punishment for sin, the debt has been paid, a sense of stability and tranquility from God.

So, a greeting and reminder of what God gives us when we turn from our sin in repentance and depend on Christ by faith alone. Grace, mercy, peace, forgiveness, our sins being washed whiter than snow by God is all yours, Timothy–it’s all yours, Christian. And it all came from God and Christ.

3  Boundless GOD

Paul focuses again on the Father and the Son

First  From God who is Father

From God the Father”—“grace, mercy and peace from God the Father.” The Father chose you to be His child before the foundation of the world. As a born again Christian, you are now His child and He is your true Father. First John 3:1a, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.”

He is all a father should be and can be to all His children. One of the best ways for men to cultivate intimacy with their God is to approach Him as their perfect, involved, engaged, aware, all-loving, all-wise, all-powerful Father. Plus, all these blessings from a boundless God come from the . . .

Second  From Christ who is LORD and Christ Jesus our Lord

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” Timothy, Christ is your Savior and he is our Lord. Lord is now your Master. You are servant, He is owner. You are slave, He is master. You were a slave of sin, now you are a slave of the Lord. You no longer are under any authority except the Lord, and the authorities He appoints.

Christ is Lord–He is Lord of lords. Every knee will bow, either now or later. Christ is Lord. He is in charge. He either allows or initiates every person, every event in your life. Remembering Christ as Lord will keep your heart all about Christ. And Paul reminds Timothy, Christ is our Lord–we serve the same King. We are slaves under the same Master. We both follow the one Lord of all. And Christian–so do you and so do I.

A  Have you bowed before Christ as Lord now?

If not, you will bow before Him later. Lord now, Judge later. He is God who became a man, took our place on the cross receiving all of God’s wrath for our sin upon Himself, rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven. He is God. Bow to Christ now, turn from your sin, depend on Him by faith and be rescued. If you don’t, you will bow before Him later as Judge, as He casts you into Hell forever.

B  Are you keeping your heart all about Christ?

To live is Christ and to die is gain.” Write a C on your hand. Put a post-it note on your mirror. Build reminders in your life–every relationship, every responsibility, every service, every conversation, every hope, every dream, every action is all about Christ.

C  Are you remembering your salvation blessings?

God is your Savior, Christ is your Lord. God made you His child and he functions as your perfect Father. Christ redeemed you and lavished you with his grace, mercy and peace.

D  Is Christ your hope?

Only those who pursue Christ are confident in Christ. Only those who serve Christ have security in Christ. Only those who seek to be obedient to the Word have biblical hope. Do you? Let’s pray.

About Chris Mueller

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.

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