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Stay true! Please don't wander and shipwreck your faith
Stay true: Please don't wander from Christ and shipwreck your faith
1 Timothy 1:19

Scripture reading: 1 Timothy 1

This morning we begin a two week study of 1 Timothy

-Written to Timothy by Paul
-Paul mentoring/coaching Timothy
-Timothy left by Paul in Ephesus to shepherd the church their (He left other trusted leaders in other cities as well)
-The church at Ephesus had some problems (false teachers, a penchant to legalism, disorderly worship services, strange church structure)
-Interesting: Ephesus the focus in 1 and 2 Timothy, Revelation 2:1-7, Acts 19
-Timothy's job was to silence the false teachers (1:3), to organize the church (3:15), and to encourage the believers to stay faithful to Christ
-Because of 1 Timothy 3, in particular, we know how a church how a church is to be organized in terms of its leadership structure.
-Sometimes the Book of 1 Timothy is maligned by those who like to say that it proves that Paul was anti woman. This bit of slander far from the truth- for a broad reading of Paul's letters shows a high regard for women and a great sense of partnership in the Gospel work, with them. For Paul to write as he does in 1 Timothy 2, something really strange had to be going on in the church of Ephesus.

This morning I want to talk to you about staying true to Jesus and the faith

Sadly: In my short time in this life I seen a number of people abandon the faith (though I hope not forever).

-Some for a relationship with the opposite sex
-Some for sports and other relaxations
-Some over jobs
-Some because of difficult times
-Some because of conflict with other Christians
-Some by neglect of the Scriptures and the personal pursuit of the Lord and His ways.

In this mornings study we are going to consider 5 passages in 1 Timothy, wherein Paul speaks of the danger of wandering away from Christ and abandoning the faith. In response to this, we are then going to consider how to have a strong faith.

5 passages that illustrate the danger of wandering away from Christ

1 Timothy 1:3-6

"As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work-which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk."

Note the danger: Attending to false teaching. Bending the ear to those of smooth speech.

1 Timothy 1:18-20

Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

Note the danger: Opposition from others- and here it is from those who claim to be Christians

Note also: The vivid word picture Paul employs to talk about those who had rejected the teachings of the Word and of Christ. "They had shipwrecked their faith'. Such is descriptive of a faith in tatters, a failed faith, a faith not reaching it's goal

Thoughts on being handed over to Satan:

The ones in question had professed a faith in Christ. The indicators of the text is that they were part of the group teaching false doctrines in the church and encouraging practices and a lifestyle not in accord with the Scriptures.

As ones proclaiming Christ as Lord, they were subject to church discipline. To be handed over to Satan means that they had dis-regarded those who had approached them one on one. Further, they would have also rejected the gathered body of Christ who called upon them to repent. Instead they persisted in the path they were on-- hence, Paul speaks in colorful (but also meaningful) language of how they were excommunicated and put out of the church and from under her spiritual protection. The goal of such an action is that the persons heart might be broken and that they might repent.

For further study on "handing over to Satan" see 1 Corinthians 5 and then note the effect of such discipline in 2 Corinthians 7:12.

The point: Don't resist correction and church discipline, to carry on a path of disobedience to the Word and to Christ will mean that your faith will be shipwrecked

1 Timothy 4:1-3

"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth."

Here we are warned that some people will abandon the faith. This is a heart wrenching thing. All the more sad is the reason: Tempted by false and yet appealing teachings. Tempted by legalism (which is a perpetual temptation-- for some reason we always tend towards the idea of salvation being merit based)

On the following of deceiving spirits and some peoples propensity to listen to them, 2 Timothy 4:3 says; "For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."
Note the danger: False teaching. Legalism.

1 Timothy 6:9-10

"People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."

Note the danger: The pursuit of money.

Jesus in Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

A sign of Christ's Lordship over your money: Tithing. Generous giving of your money to those in need.

1 Timothy 6:20-21

"Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you."

The danger: False teaching: The Gnostic threat (a higher level of spirituality to be achieved. Taught by masters)


In view of the dangers to our faith. We must consider how to have a strong faith

1. Get in the Word. Feed your faith.

Be transformed by the renewing of your mind! Romans 12:2

Study it. Meditate it. Hold it in high accord -- for it is the Word of God. Take it seriously. Obey it.

Learn as much about God, who he is and how He operates. This will give you insight into all the various circumstances of life.

2. Serve. Use the gifts you have been given

In 1 Timothy 3:13 Paul writes of Deacons and Elders; "Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus."

3. Pursue holiness, righteousness, godliness

1 Timothy 4:8 "For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."

God-- "Be holy as I am holy" 1 Peter 1:16

4. Be an active worshipper

5. Hold a high view of Christ

3 times in 1 Timothy Paul bursts out in praise for God and Christ. 1Timothy 1:17; 3:16; 6:15

In briefly pondering these great exclamations one though is this: For a strong faith, you must maintain a high view of Christ.

6. Have regular fellowship with other Christians

We all need encouragement as Christians. It's important that we make a point to spur one another on in Christ.

It's important that we gather in regular fellowship as believers-- for prayer, for service, for worship, for instruction in the Word. Hebrews 10:25 says; "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching."

See also Acts 2 and Acts 4

7. Guard your heart and mind

Guard your heart, your mind, your ears. Be careful where your feet go.

Be careful who you listen to as it regards following Christ

In 1 Timothy 4:16 Paul writes to Timothy; "Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers."

In 1 Timothy 4:7 Paul writes; "Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly."

8. Pray for a strong faith and exercise it

Have faith in God. Trust Him.

"Lord, increase our faith!"

9. Keep your eyes on Jesus- the author and finisher of our faith

Our faith is all about Jesus. It is in Him. It depends upon Him. It's all about Him. As such, we need to keep our eyes on Jesus, being devoted to Him, obeying Him, living for Him.


This morning we talked about:

-The dangers and threats to our having a strong and lasting faith
-How to have a strong faith

I trust that we will attend to what we've examined this morning and purpose in our hearts to stay true to Jesus and our faith in Him.

Closing verse "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for." Hebrews 11:1-2