“I love to live on the brink of eternity.”

David Brainerd

TODAY’S READING: 1 Timothy

First and 2 Timothy and Titus are addressed to pastors, not churches like the rest of the epistles. Timothy was half Greek, half Jewish, and was led to Jesus by Paul in Lystra (present day Turkey) on his first missionary journey. Timothy then joined Paul and Silas on the second missionary journey, traveling with them to Greece. Paul then sent Timothy on missionary assignments to Thessalonica and Corinth[1] before assigning him to pastor in Ephesus. The book of 1 Timothy then is an old missionary writing to a new missionary, an old lion passing on what is critical about a missionary heart and life to the young lion.

Teach. Counter to the wisdom of our day which insists new believers must discover truth, Paul pounded into missionary Timothy his missionary responsibility to impart truth and correct error. Timothy was to control what doctrine was taught, preserving sound doctrine as a glorious gospel trust even if that meant turning some over to Satan so they learn not to blaspheme. Doctrine matters; it’s a good thing. Timothy was to instruct the brethren in how they should live and act. In fact, Paul used even stronger verbiage saying, “These things command and teach” (4:11). Timothy was to give attention to exhortation and to take heed to doctrine, continuing in teaching so that he might save both himself and those who hear him. Timothy was to guard the doctrine that accords with godliness, correcting anyone who teaches otherwise. Timothy was to give commands. Good missionary practice centers on strong, clear teaching and correcting. Let us rise to this biblical injunction.

Model. Strong, authoritative missionary or pastoral teaching only has moral authority if the life of the teacher is blameless. Paul, by no means perfect, realized that his life was a pattern for those who would believe. Every minister must live an exemplary life, including showing how to suffer and how to receive God’s mercy. Paul expected Timothy to conduct himself in the house of God in a blameless manner. Paul expected young Timothy to be an example to all in conduct, love, spirit, faith, and purity, pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness. Yes, we must teach with power and conviction, but that truth will only be palatable and powerful if we live blameless lives.

Fight and Pray. To pray is to fight, for we advance against the powers of hell on our knees. Paul tells Timothy to wage the good warfare by first of all making supplications, prayers, intercession, and giving of thanks for all men. Paul desired that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy, fighting hands without wrath or doubting, guarding what is committed to their trust not by prattling, but by praying. Missionaries are wired to act, but those who act without praying are merely actors. The real missionary action figures, the real warriors of the faith over time have always been those who fought first from their knees.

[1] The Chronological Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008. 1371.

Prayer Focus: Iraq

Today’s Unreached People Group: Arab, Saudi Najdi
Population: 1,719,000
Language: Arabic, Najdi Spoken
Primary Religion: Islam
Evangelical: 0.0%
Estimated Workers Needed: 34

[Source: Joshua Project]

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