Downtown Cornerstone Media
Feb 17

God our Savior, Hope, Father & Lord

1 Timothy, Media, Sermons | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

1 Timothy Audio | 1 Timothy 1:1-2


Our 1 Timothy series kick-off. To understand this letter and how it applies to us today we must first understand the background, key players and important themes.


What is truth? Is there truth? If so, how should our lives be shaped by the truth? These aren’t new questions. In fact, nearly two thousand years ago the Apostle Paul wrote a letter to his close friend and associate, Timothy, to address these very same issues. Today we refer to that letter as First Timothy. In this letter, Paul’s overriding concern is with the truth of Jesus Christ – that it be faithfully protected, lived out and handed on. Though written in the first century, the content of this letter could hardly be more relevant in our day of pluralism, subjectivism and postmodern allergy to truth. Paul calls Timothy, and every follower of Christ today, to be unambiguously committed to truth because the church, global and local, is intended by God to be a “pillar and buttress of the truth”. (1 Tim 3:13) Therefore, First Timothy is a clear call for the church to tangibly live out the implications of this truth. Over the next four or five months we’ll look at a number of these implications, including: sound doctrine, corporate worship, worldwide evangelism, prayer, selection and qualification of church leaders, confronting sin in the church, social responsibilities, stewarding our material possessions and more. First Timothy not only offers us truth to live by, but truth to thrive by. To understand this letter and how it applies to us today we must first understand the background, key players and important themes. That’s where we’re going today.

“PAUL” (1:1) Hebrew: Saul. Tarsus. Jewish family. Roman citizen. Wealthy. Highly educated in Jerusalem under Gamaliel. Pharisee of pharisees (see Phil 3). Jewish bin Laden. With the rise of the newly forming Christian church, he took it upon himself to arrest, imprison and kill early followers of  Jesus. He then received authorization to go and do the same in Damascus (Syria). On the road to Damascus, as recorded in Acts 9, Jesus appeared, struck Paul blind, saved him, and, ironically called into ministry. Shortly thereafter, Paul went out to preach the gospel in Damascus (the very same city he went to stamp it out), but his life was threatened and he narrowly escaped out through a window hidden in a basket. Later he went to Jerusalem, met the other Apostles, preached the gospel. Yet, there to, his life was threatened, so he left and went back home to Tarsus. Eventually, he ended up in Antioch (where followers of Jesus were first called Christians), where he became one of the pastors. Act 13 records the Sprit then calling him to be sent out on his life’s work as an Apostle to the Gentiles.

“APOSTLE”(1:1) Noun apostolos. “to serve as a messenger and official representative”. There are two senses this term is used in the NT: ministry and office. Broadly speaking, the little “a” apostles were those that were “messengers of the churches” (2 Cor 8:23) Commissioned by churches. More narrowly, the big “A” Apostle referred to the office of the Apostle. Those included the 12 disciples + Matthias (Judas) + Paul + potentially some others? (There are several people that are referred to as “apostles” and the context makes it difficult to determine whether the ministry or the office is in view).

The big “A” Apostles were not commissioned by the churches, but by Jesus Christ himself.  You didn’t sign up to be a big “A” Apostle. There were special qualifications and that office is now closed. You were…

  • Personally chosen by Jesus. Lk 6:13; Acts 9:15.
  • Learned the gospel from Jesus, not other men (Gal 1:11-12)
  • Witness to His words, deeds, and especially his resurrection (Acts 1:21-22)

Given that, Paul qualified having met the risen Christ on way to Damascus and potentially on 3 other occasions (Acts 18:9-10; 22:17; 23:22). This is why Paul refers to himself as being one “abnormally born” as an Apostle (1 Cor 15:8).

“CHRIST”(1:1) Let’s stop here for a moment. It is important to highlight that Jesus is not just some guy that lived a perfect life, died on cross, rose from dead to forgive sins. It is that, but it is profoundly more. Christ is not a last name, or nick-name, but a title. From Hebrew “Messiah”. It means the Anointed One of God. Throughout the OT, there is a growing anticipation of an Anointed One, a Promised One, a King of all Kings set all things right. At this point, many think, well “That’s just for Jewish people or for people with interest or people of a certain age.” But, this Jewish Messiah was never meant to only deal with the Jewish people but the world – everyone, everywhere.

The living God has revealed himself generally in His creation and specifically by planting a seed of revelation in a man, that became a family, that became a nation that gave birth to the Messiah/Christ to bless the whole world. Throughout God’s unfolding story, the Hebrew scriptures hint everywhere of One – the One – who will make all things right:

  • He’d be like Adam, but better » Reverse curse + reunite God to his people + ultimately restore all things.
  • He’d be like Moses, but better » Lead exodus of his people out of bondage to Satan, sin and death.
  • He’d be like King David, but better » Man after God’s heart + King who’s reign would ≠ end.
  • Isa 40-55 “Servant” » Anointed One + true judgment/dominion + salvation to world + die sacrificial death.
  • Isa 1-37 calls “the Conqueror” » world-wide king, who wears garments of salvation and judgment.
  • Jer 23, 33 call him “Branch” » King who will save God’s people, rule with justice and righteousness.
  • Dan 7 calls him “Son of Man” » given dominion, glory and kingdom that will not pass away.

All of these prophesies and expectations fall under “Christ”, the One through whom God working out long-promised/awaited salvation. Jesus saw himself as fulfillment of the all the OT Messianic expectations. He is Jesus the Christ. Therefore, to be Apostle of Christ was to be an official messenger and representative of God’s long-awaited Anointed One, the one who would come to set all things right.

“COMMAND” (1:1) The word here for “command” refers to a royal command that is not negotiable, but mandatory. In other words, Paul is saying, “I am an Apostle of the Christ, chosen, called, appointed, equipped, authorized directly by Jesus…I’m not speaking on own authority. I’m not making this up. I didn’t appoint myself or by church.” Therefore, he is making clear that he is not sharing his opinions or matters of taste, but explaining God’s word for the church today.

Q: What are Apostles messengers of? How did they represent Jesus the Christ? Deliver truth of how God has supremely acted in person/work of Jesus Christ to deliver his people » gospel (see 1:11) In other words, his job, as Apostle, was to preserve the gospel, spread the gospel, faithfully hand on the gospel.

Q: What is the gospel? Look at verse 2: Grace + Mercy + Peace. Those three words comprise one of the shortest summations of the gospel.

GRACE: God’s un-obligated, undeserved favor, love, forgiveness to the guilty. This word alone is a one word  summary of God’s saving act in Jesus. Grace stresses that salvation is a free gift to underserving sinners. This is an incredibly important word to Paul, in fact of its 155 occurrences in the NT, 100 are in his letters.

MERCY: God’s compassion on those who cannot help or save themselves, in Jesus.

PEACE: Reconciliation of those who were previously alienated from him. Followers of Jesus are not just given peaceful subjective feelings. Followers of Jesus actually have objective peace with God. Subjective peace flows from objective peace

This grace, mercy and peace are all freely given to undeserving people. We can’t earn them. They are a gift from God. Rests not in human ability but in divine grace.  That is why our hope is secure, it never was up to us to begin with.

“TIMOTHY” (1:2)

If you’re unfamiliar with Timothy, you will quickly relate to him. Lystra. Grandmother Lois, Mother Eunice (2Ti1:5). Devout Jews before they became followers of Jesus. Timothy was taught the Scriptures from the time he was a child (2Tim3:15). Father pagan Greek. Joined Paul for 2nd missionary journey in Acts 16 when in his late teens/early twenties. As son of Jewish mother and Greek father, Timothy had credentials that gave him access to both cultures, which was one reason he proved to be helpful to Paul.

Timothy became Paul’s disciple, friend, co-worker, “true child in the faith” spiritually. The only other person that Paul speaks of in such enduring terms is Titus. Traveled w/ Paul on much of second and third missionary journeys. Was w/ Paul when wrote Romans (Rom 16:2), 2 Cor (1:1), Phil (1:1), Col (1:1), 1/2 Thess (1:1), Phile (1). Paul sent to handle issues at churches: Corinth (4:17), Thessalonica (3:2), Philippi (2:19) & now Ephesus. By time of writing of this letter, Timothy had been with Paul for about 15 years. Paul writing to Timothy as spiritual son, most loved disciple. You caan imagine the eagerness w/ which he received it.

Now, it is important to point out Timothy was no hero or super-Christian, but an ordinary follower of Jesus.

#1 He was relatively young.

1 Tim 4:12 “Let no one despise you for your youth…”

2 Tim 2:22 “So flee youthful passions…”

How old? If joined Paul in late teens/early 20’s + 15 years = mid 30s. We can infer that Timothy felt immature, young and out of his league given the responsibility given him.

#2 He was timid.

1Cor16:10-11 “When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you…let no one despise him.”

2Ti1:7f “Fan into flame the gift of God…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord…

2 Tim 2:1 “you then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus”

#3 He was prone to sickness.

1Ti5:23 “No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.”

Sum: Young, timid, frequently ill companion of one of the Apostle Paul. Ordinary, but used of God.

Q: Why was Paul writing this letter?

1:3 “As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine…”

In other words,  there were apparently some false teachers within the church that Paul sent Timothy to deal with. We’re not exactly sure what they were saying, but we get hints.

HINT #1 This is probably why Paul starts letter hisin such a formal way to a dear friend. What about, “Dear Timothy, how are you?” Would think would be a little more warmth; Paul has a reason. Problem likely stemmed from church turning away from his authority and his gospel of salvation through Jesus. So, Paul asserts authentic, divinely appointed apostleship. Paul is in charge. Appointed by Jesus himself. This stands in contrast to those (vs7) “desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.”

HINT #2 The solution is that church should listen to Timothy since he is Paul’s “true child in the faith”. “True” refers to a legitimate child, one born in wedlock. Timothy is Paul’s legitimate representative and the church should therefore listen to his instruction.

HINT #3 Letter is written to Timothy, but Paul is writing through Timothy to the church.  6:21 makes this dual nature obvious when is says, “Grace with you (plural)”

Q: Why is Paul so concerned? (3:14-15)

3:14-15 “I hope to come you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.”

Paul’s going to come to Ephesus soon, but anticipates delay, so sends Timothy instruction ahead of time. What’s at stake? Look closely, its not just a matter of behavior, but a matter of truth. The truth of God and gospel at stake. The church is meant to be a pillar/buttress of truth of the living God. Pillars/buttress uphold, protect, elevate, promote. Church is meant to do that with the truth. The church is the living God’s primary testimony to the world of truth. Truth of what? Truth of…who God is, what like, done through person/work of Jesus Christ, how to be reconciled, how to live in light of, etc.

This means that the church is not an idea or program invented by humans. Church is not a building. Not: club, voluntary association, customer service provider, nor optional exercise “really committed XNs”, merely a friendly group of religious people that tend to be free most Sunday mornings. The Christian church is household (family) of God, people of living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. That’s us. If church goes sideways, God’s primary testimony in world to the truth is lost.

Everything depends on correct understanding and grasp of truth of who God is and what he has done. All of our failures arise from our failure to start with God. Humans always starts with themselves. Our needs, desires, prospects and that is where we go wrong. The Gospel starts with God and not with us; the Gospel brings us to God. That is the point of the Bible from beginning to end. How does the Bible start? ”In the beginning God…” How does it end? “Come Lord Jesus.” Our supreme need is to know God and that’s what the scriptures give us.

Paul understood this. Paul used “theos” w/ astonishing frequency b/c God was central to his thinking. Writings make up only about 1/4 of NT, but almost 1/2 of all references to theos in NT are Pauls. Even in the introduction we see his God-centeredness. Paul stresses four attributes of God. (1) God is Savior (2) Jesus is our hope (3) God is Father and (4) Jesus is Lord.


God is our deliverer from sin. God is the source of salvation. God is not an abstract, theological construct. God is not a big teddy bear in the sky. God is savior. We need a God who will forgive and rescue us. Paul starts here. God saves from: sin, despair, guilt, shame, emptiness, meaningless, Satan, death, ultimately eternal judgment. “Why do you talk about sin so much?” Because we want to talk about our God our Savior. If you ever find yourself in a where you don’t hear about sin, don’t hear about God who saves at infinite cost of his son, then you should leave immediately.


Note how closely Paul associated Jesus Christ with God in these verses. Intentional. Making a point. Paul is saying that Jesus is of the same substance, equal in power and glory with God. He is God.

Christian hope is not wishful thinking, but confident expectation in God and all that he is for us – and has in store for us – in Jesus Christ. Confident expectation…in Him, His person, His divinity, His incarnation, His life, His ministry, His death, His burial, His resurrection, His ascension, His current rule and reign, His future return…that all the promises of God find their yes in Jesus….we are saved by grace, through faith, apart from anything we have done or will do….we are now at peace with God, adopted, sealed, and made part of the household of the living God. Our hope is wrapped up in all of that. Ultimately, because our hope finds its source and center in Jesus, it is used as a title for him.


This is a reference to the trinity: Father, Son and Spirit. God the Father is a Perfect Father, Unfailing Father, All-wise Father, Never-leave-your-side Father, an Always-on-time Father. You can’t know the Father, unless you know His Son. We get to the Father through the Son. Why? You become an adopted child of the Father through the redemptive work of the Son. By faith in Jesus, God is no longer our Judge but Father. Welcomes us into his family – and he becomes our Father.


The term “Lord” is a tricky one. It refers to master, owner, ruler. Jesus is not only savior, he is master, king of kings of the universe – and the church. He is not a poor, humble, homeless Galilean peasant right now. He is ruling in glory. He doesn’t require that you merely acknowledge him, but that you give your life to him. He is Lord of all. Let all people tremble before him. The world is his. He controls and sustains everything. He is the judge of the whole earth. He sits on throne and universe is responsible to him – including us. We are created to have him as our ultimate point of reference for our very existence.

God is Savior. Jesus our Hope. God our Father. Jesus our Lord. We are saved by grace and receive mercy and peace from God. The rest of Paul’s letter to Timothy deals with the implications of these truths.

Why is all this relevant for us?
#1 We, Downtown Cornerstone, are a church of the living God, a household of God, a pillar and buttress of truth – in Seattle.
#2 We are coming up on 2nd birthday and there is still lots of work to be done. How should we live? Be organized? Handle false teaching? Serve as pillar and buttress of truth? What role do we all play? How do protect, live our and hand on the gospel to the next generation? We’ll be working through all of this, and more, in the months ahead.