June 14, 1998

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Faith and a good conscience.

Background:

V. 5, the purpose of the Ten Commandments is to lead us to love God and to love one another.

Among other things,

A) The commandments show man his sinfulness and his need of a Saviour.

B) The commandments show converted man how to please God, and how to inherit God's blessings through Jesus Christ our Lord.

C) The commandments tell us of our duties others; they tell of our duties in society. They tell us how to show our love toward one another, and by showing our love one for another, we show our love toward God.

John 13:34, A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

V. 8, we see that the law was being used unlawfully. It was being used for a profit and to undermine the Gospel of Christ. The law points to Christ; it does not undermine the gospel in anyway. (Lk. 24:44, Jn. 5:46, &c.)

Proper uses of the law in the Book of Romans alone includes:

3:19ff. stops every mouth and making all men sinners before God, proving that justification can only be through faith

4:13ff., chap. 9, shows that the heirs to Abraham's promise is through faith alone

5:20 makes sin abound so that grace may abound;

6:14ff., chap. 7 shows when sin and death have dominion even over the Believer

13:8ff., identifies sin that must be departed from by the Believer.

1 Tim. 4:20, blasphemy makes the law and the gospel conflict.

V. 13, Paul tells us he was a blasphemer before he was saved. He used the law for his own benefit, to fulfill his own desires.

There were men in this church who were using the law unlawfully. Paul took care of the problem before he left -- he removed 2 men from the Church at Ephesus, Hymenaeus and Alexander.

Then Paul gives the reason he turned these men over to Satan: that they may learn not to blaspheme--to speak evil of.

That they might learn... They were to be taught the right way, and they were going to be taught by suffering at the hand of Satan.

WHAT DID THESE MEN DO?

In the context of 1 Timothy chapter 1, these men were speaking evil of the word of God--they were corrupting the Gospel of Christ, v. 3, and they were corrupting the commandments of God, v. 8..

Those who use the law unlawfully -- they were using it to undermine the gospel of Grace.

The two men may have been excommunicated, or they may have been delivered by Paul's apostolic power to Satan while they remained in the church, or maybe they were both removed and delivered.

Regardless, these two men were delivered to Satan because they misrepresented the truth of God word.

SOME THINGS ABOUT SATAN

Satan is shown to us as no more than a subject of God. Though man and Satan may think they are acting on their own, independent of God, they are not.

Satan is no more than a creature of God. He is no more than an instrument of God. God has given him a definite area in which to operate. God has clearly defined Satan's powers. Satan can only operate within the realms of God's government, and only under God's authority.

Satan's power is strictly limited. It is limited in both in the length of time he can work and to the extent he can work. In other words, he is strictly limited as to how much damage he can do. Satan, and all the evil powers under him, is limited by God's permissive will. Satan is not all powerful, nor is he all knowing, nor is he all present.

V. 20, we see here that Satan was going to accomplishes a spiritual cure in these men's lives. In other words, though Satan and the powers under him intend to work against God, they simply execute God's plan of punishing the ungodly, and chastening the godly.

The powers of evil do not work independent of human will. The powers of evil must have the original consent of the human will, and they get that when the human will rebels against God's will. Satan was given power over these men only because these men corrupted the gospel and the law, vv. 3, 8. Therefore, the powers of evil can be shaken off by repentance, prayer and faith in the Lord.

We know by special revelation in the book of Job that there are times when Satan is given control of the wicked armies of this world, of the natural elements and of the most evil kinds of diseases. However, his power is clearly and strictly limited by God. Though Satan does not purpose God's glory, God uses Satan for his glory.

Thus the word of God at times attributes disease and natural calamities to the workings of Satan and to the workings of his evil spirits. Though Satan is opposed to God, God compels him to serve his divine purpose. Satan's power for harm lasts but for a season, and it is always within the purpose of God.

SATAN FULFILLS GOD'S PLAN

The evils Satan is at times permitted to bring upon men always fits within God's plans of punishing the ungodly or of chastening the godly.

His activities always fit within God's plan of illustrating the nature of sin and the results of sin.

The context of 1 Timothy 1:20 easily fits into v. 8: false teachers using the law of God unlawfully--that is, using the law (Ten Commandments) to undermine the Gospel of Grace, and using it for their own profit. (1 Tim. 6:5, 2 Tim. 3:6, Tit. 1:9, 11, 2 Pet. 2:1-3.)

[T]hat they may learn not to blaspheme.

TWO APPLICATIONS

First, on an individual level

Paul is speaking on the individual level. The purpose of delivering these two individuals to Satan was so they would be taught by Satan not to take the word of God lightly. They professed to be Christians; their lives did not verify that profession, so they were delivered to the enemy of their souls. 1 Cor 5:11 lists these sins that deliver one to Satan:

Fornication

Covetousness -- compromise the word of God to gain what we want.

Idolatry -- following after the god's of this world. THERE are certain gods of this world I am leaning not to speak against.

Railing -- harsh, bitter words against others.

Drunkenness

Extortion

Second, on a general level

The general social warfare, both inside and outside the "church," against the word of God is blasphemy against the God of the word. The words of love for the Lord by those who are against the God of the word are no more than vain jangling. (V. 6, Jn. 14:15, &c.)

The militancy, blasphemy, against God's word has delivered society to Satan himself to teach it not to blaspheme. The hard lessons are coming through the wicked armies of this world, the natural elements (droughts, floods, earthquakes, &c.) and from the most evil kinds of diseases.

Observation:

I spoke with a financial advisor from Lafayette a few weeks ago. He is in the process of selling his holdings and converting his "paper" into tangible goods, and seeking property outside of the city. I ask him if he was doing that because of the Y2K problem. He said, No! the reason he was doing it was because of God's word -- that is, if God's word is true, then there MUST be a social-economic collapse, and the cities will not be a good place.

The choice has been offered by God and made by those who hate God's word:

Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Society has chosen death.

Jer. 11:8, Ezk. 7:8, &c. One of the most basic premisses of God's word is that he deals with men according to the imagination of their evil heart.

Proverbs 8:36, But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

The government education system has been very open in its hatred toward God, and then they wonder why the kids are killing each other. Rom. 1:27, the Lord clearly warned the workers of evil that they will receive in themselves the payment of their evil.

Passing anti-gun laws will not solve the problem. The problem is hatred toward God and his word. The "public" education system is at war against God and his word. It is simply receiving the results of that war, death.

Society has yielded itself as a servant to sin. (1 Jn. 3:4.) In doing so, it has chosen death at the hands of a very evil person, Satan. Satan, operating within the bounds established by God, is accomplishing God's purpose for society.

THE END RESULTS, on both individual and social levels:

The end results of the surrounding "upheavals" will be repentance toward God and faith in Christ.

Thus as Christians we must by faith rejoice as we see the "upheavals" around us, for they reveal the truth of God's word, sin will be dealt with. The "upheavals" also remind us that repentance and faith in Christ is ahead.

Took out from above, and did not use in message:

In this first chapter of Timothy, Paul is warning Timothy against false teachers, those who corrupt the GOSPEL OF CHRIST (v. 3) and the Ten Commandments (v. 7).

V. 18, Paul compares Christian faithfulness to the word of God with a warfare. The enemy wars against our faithfulness to doing what we should do.

V. 19 tells us that the two essential weapons in the Christian warfare is faith and a good conscience -- that is, faith and confidence in the word of God and doing what we are told in it.

James 4:17, Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin

Here we are told that when we know from God's word what we are to do, and then refuse to do it, we are in sin. We have laid down ½ of our weapons of warfare.

One reason false teachers prosper so greatly is because people want to continue undisturbed in what they enjoy with a clear conscience.

Illustration:

Over the past years, I have spoken out against things that the word of God is clearly against. The overwhelming response has been that people leave rather than face up to the word of God in a particular area.

I spoke out against the false plans of salvation, and we lost at least two families.

I spoke out against drunkenness, Joe Six Pack, and lost at least one family.

We have lost families who refuse to confront problems and disagreements in a Scriptural manner.

These people go to other places where they do not have to confront certain issues of the Christian warfare.

I am almost to the point where I am afraid to speak out on certain gods of this world.

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