My sermon from Sunday evening is posted over at the Tacoma BPC site.
It’s an introductory sermon. As far as introductory sermons go, they can be really good, or really bad. The really bad ones are basically history lessons. You get background information about the city, the economic conditions, what was happening elsewhere in the world at the time the letter was written. Who was emperor, what their reign looked like, etc. All this might be interesting, but if it’s the meat of your sermon, you missed the mark. Widely. After all, we’re called to preach Christ Jesus.
Here’s how I went about it. First, who is Paul writing to?
Timothy, duh. But not only Timothy. His declaration of his apostleship is an indicator that this pastoral epistle was meant to be read by more than just Pastor Timothy, but by the churches in the region, as was customary or the apostolic epistles. Timothy didn’t need the reminder that Paul was an apostle. With that bit of info we’re able to look at who Timothy was (and shake the idea that he’s nothing mroe than a weak-stomached inexperienced Pastor unable to decide what he should do next). We also get to look at the authority of Scripture every time we do a sermon on an epistles introduction.
The gospel meat of the message has to do with Paul’s specific decision to show Jesus as coequal with God the Father as well as his declaration that he’s working under marching orders from God (both found in 1 Timothy 1:1). Paul isn’t writing this epistle just because he loves Timothy as a true son, but because Christ has commanded him to do so according to the office he called Paul into.
Believers have marching orders from God too, and 1 Timothy deals with a number of them. So the message calls for repentance and obedience through the proclamation of the Gospel as well as an exhortation to serve Christ in love by remembering what the standing orders God has given us are (think Commission, Great).
Give it a listen. Let me know what you think, about this post or about the sermon in general.