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10. The First Letter to Timothy

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In the first nine lessons, you have learned these truths about Christ.

  • In Romans, Christ is our righteousness. Every believer is equally right with God and has equal righteousness from God.
  • In 1 Corinthians: Christ is the wisdom of God, greater than any human wisdom or strength.
  • In 2 Corinthians: Christ is our comforter when we hurt.
  • In Galatians: Christ is our freedom from the law of works to earn God’s acceptance.
  • In Ephesians: Christ is the powerful head of the church. Christ’s power works in us to help us live God’s way and for us to protect us from anything evil.
  • In Philippians: Christ is the supplier of every need of yours so that you can help others.
  • In Colossians: Christ is Lord over everything. He is Lord over the universe, the earth, the angels, and our behavior.
  • In 1 & 2 Thessalonians: Christ is our returning Lord. When He comes, we will receive new bodies and live forever with Him.

Today, we will look at how Christ is portrayed in Paul’s first letter to Timothy.

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus…” (1 Timothy 2:5 NIV)

The Key Question

1. When have you needed someone to represent you to someone else?

Whoever did that for you was acting as a mediator—someone who goes between two people or groups to solve a problem or settle a dispute. A professional baseball player hires an agent to act as a mediator between himself and a team that is interested in hiring him. The mediator needs to understand both sides—what the player needs and what the team needs.

The key word for this lesson is mediator. The questions we’ll consider are, “Why do we need a mediator, and who is the best one for us?” Paul’s friend Timothy needed to give the people in his church the answer to those questions.

The People and Their Need

Timothy was a teenager when he met Paul. You can read his story in Acts 16. His family lived in Lystra so he was a Galatian. His father was a Greek man; we know nothing of his faith. But, Timothy’s mom and grandmother were faithful Jewish women who taught the Old Testament scriptures to this boy they loved so much. As the women heard Paul preach, they believed in Jesus, and so did Timothy.

Timothy may have seen Paul heal a lame man in his town. That would have been exciting! He may also have watched as an angry mob threw stones at Paul and left him for dead. Yet, he also knew Paul survived.

When Paul came back to Lystra a couple of years later on his second missionary journey, Paul invited Timothy to travel with him. What an honor! Do you think Timothy might have been a little bit scared, too?

Timothy helped Paul as he preached throughout Greece—Macedonia in the north and Achaia in the south. He carried money to Paul collected by the Philippian church to care for Paul’s needs in Corinth. Timothy could be trusted. During the 3 years Paul was in Ephesus teaching them about the amazing power of God, Timothy was there, too.

When Paul was in a Roman prison for two years, Timothy was right alongside him much of the time unselfishly taking care of Paul’s needs. By now, Timothy was a young man of about 30 who for at least 13 years had been learning how to teach about Jesus and serve God’s people well as he watched Paul do it.

Timothy was teachable! Paul thought of Timothy not only as a very faithful friend but also as his spiritual son. The one who leads you to trust Christ becomes your spiritual mother or father. Did you know that?

Hooray! Paul was finally free again. So, he and Timothy traveled to visit friends in the churches they had founded. When they got to Ephesus, Paul recognized some men in the church were teaching bad stuff about Jesus, saying that Jesus could not have been a man and God at the same time.

Paul wanted to go on to visit his friends in Macedonia, but he didn’t want to leave the Ephesian church in turmoil. So, he left Timothy to teach truth to the church there while Paul went on to Macedonia. Paul thought he’d get back to Ephesus soon, but that didn’t happen. He was concerned about what was going on in Ephesus, so Paul wrote a letter.

We have that letter called First Timothy. It is a gift from God to us. In it Paul reminded Timothy, the Ephesians and us that Jesus was fully God and fully man. He had to be both in order to be the perfect mediator for us. In First Timothy, Christ is our mediator. Let’s see what that means.

The Answer: Christ Is Our Mediator

2. Read 1 Timothy 1:11-17.

  • Verse 11—What was entrusted to Paul?
  • Verses 12—What had Jesus done for Paul?
  • Verse 13—For what does Paul thank Jesus?
  • Verse 14—What did Paul receive?
  • Verses 15-16—How does Paul view himself?
  • Verse 17—What is Paul’s response to God’s abundant grace toward him?

True teaching agrees with the good news that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, those who have done wrong things against God’s ways. Paul was thankful for this good news for himself because he was a sinner who needed God’s mercy. Christ showed him that mercy and love, too.

Did Paul need someone to understand how bad he was and how much he needed help? He calls himself the worst of sinners. He couldn’t help himself. He didn’t know any better. Paul needed a mediator to get him out of his trouble.

3. Reread verse 14. Remember that grace is “undeserved favor.” The phrase, “the grace of our Lord poured out abundantly,” carried the idea of overflowing.

  • What picture comes to mind when you read about something overflowing with abundance?
  • How generous is God with His grace to everyone?

4. Read 1 Timothy 2:3-6.

  • Verse 4—What does God want?
  • Verse 5—Who is the go-between for God and humans?
  • Verse 6—As the perfect man, what did Christ Jesus do for us?

Remember that the title Christ refers to Jesus as God. Notice Paul’s emphasis on Jesus as a man. Do you think of Jesus as a man, as a human just like you are? It’s easy to forget that Jesus was fully human like you are. As a man, Jesus could understand how you feel and think. He could understand your troubles and how hard it is to get yourself out of trouble, especially to get rid of the wrong things you do against God. He can have compassion on your helplessness. Isn’t that wonderful news!

In 1 Timothy 2:5 (NIV), Jesus is called our mediator. A mediator helps to solve a dispute between two persons. We were separated from our God because of our sin. Jesus took that sin upon Himself—became the bridge for us to have a relationship with God. No one else, nothing else can ever do that for us—not a parent, a boss, a judge, or a pastor—only Jesus Christ, who was fully human and fully God. Because He was both, He could represent each side perfectly. Isn’t God’s plan wonderful?

In 1 Timothy, Christ Jesus is the mediator between us and God. No man or woman can do that for you. Christ is the perfect mediator between God and mankind. As mediator, Jesus understands our needs and the best way for God to take care of our needs.

5. Read Hebrews 4:15-16.

  • What can you do when you are weak and hurting (verse 16)?
  • When can you go to Him? How often?
  • What do you receive from Him?
  • How should that make you feel?

When you are weak and hurting, you can go directly to Jesus and tell Him all about it. You can go to Him any time and as often as you need it. You will receive grace and mercy in your time of need. That’s a promise! And, you should feel thankful for receiving mercy and help just like Paul was thankful for Christ Jesus showing him mercy when he needed it.

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17)

Living Dependently on Christ

1) Bible verse to learn:

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus…” (1 Timothy 2:5 NIV)

2) Response in prayer & praise:

Where are you hurting today? Where are you feeling weak? Go to Jesus now and tell Him all about it. Let Him pour out His grace on you abundantly. Respond by joining Paul in his response of praise to God (1 Timothy 1:17) for His marvelous plan of grace.

3) Getting to know Him more:

Spend a few minutes each day reading this wonderful letter and reflecting on how God’s marvelous grace offers you a life of freedom and joy.

  • Read 1 Timothy chapter 1. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 1 Timothy chapter 2. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 1 Timothy chapter 3. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 1 Timothy chapter 4. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 1 Timothy chapter 5. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 1 Timothy chapter 6. Reflect on what you read.

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