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PAUL, A PATTERN!

 

"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen." First Timothy 1:15-17

 

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2

 

 

 

 

LESSON 1, INTRODUCTION:

This Text is fundamental. From the lips of the Apostle Paul, his very testimony!

"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen." First Timothy 1:15-17

I am particularly interested in the way Paul describes his conversion, his salvation experience.

It's a "pattern" to us all.

We will begin these lessons tomorrow, Lord willing.

                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2, A FAITHFUL SAYING:

The Text we are noting uses the expression "faithful saying." Paul evidently enjoys this term. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." 1st Timothy 1:15, part of the verse.

The short string of words here, "This is a faithful saying," employs the Greek "pistos ho logos." A Truth especially vital, extremely fundamental to our faith, is now being exposed.

"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."

Don't miss it!

It's critical!

Four other times in the New Testament "faithful sayings" are presented. All by Paul, as the Lord would have it.

Here they are. I will highlight my favorite. It also concerns the matter of the salvation of sinners.

"This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work." 1 Timothy 3:1, where "true" is "faithful" or "pistos" in Greek. The "bishop" is the Preacher, the Pastor.

"This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe." 1 Timothy 4:9-10, my favorite! He's the Saviour, available to the whole world!

"It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him."  2 Timothy 2:11-12, concerning suffering!

"This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works." Titus 3:8, live for Jesus once He has saved you!

Tomorrow, Lord willing, we will delve further into our Passage for the week. It's a Paragraph no true Christian can deny, "worthy of all acceptation."

Help us, Lord, to be better students of thy Word.

                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3, WORTHY OF ALL ACCEPTATION:

When something is "worthy of all acceptation," a phrase beautifully couched in King James English, what does it mean?

Paul utilizes the term in First Timothy 1:15, one of the classic statements of the whole New Testament. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."

The adjective "worthy" is spelled "axios" in Greek. It means "deserving." Anything that is "proper" or "fitting." It also implies that which carries "weight" with a person, is "important" to him or her. It is derived from "ago," a root verb meaning "to be a leader," that important!

The saying Paul is giving us here, this line of Truth, is "worthy" in all those senses. But worthy of what?

"All acceptation," Paul assures us. Here "apodoche" is the word, the noun. The root verb behind it all is "dechomai," meaning "to take with the hand!" To receive, to take up, to grant full access to one's heart and soul and mind!

There's just no way a sentence could have been given any more priority! "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation."

Talk about emphasis!

But again I ask a question.

What is that worthy?

That universally accepted among Christians?

The answer, tomorrow.

Lord willing.

Meanwhile, keep studying your Bible!

Hint: It's about Jesus.

                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4, CHIEF OF SINNERS:

When Paul called himself the "chief of sinners," he was in his heart being as honest as possible. The phrase he used is amazing.

In fact, Paul is anything but proud.

In First Corinthians 15:9 he wrote: "For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God." What humility!

Then later Paul went even further.

Again describing himself he said: "Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given." Wow, a "nobody" among all the saved of all the ages!

And now, later in his life, Paul has hit the bottom. He's now the very "chief of sinners!"

What a beautiful digression!

Humility in abundance!

Sincerely so, to Paul anyway.

The noun "chief" translates "protos" in Greek. It means "first place." Prominent in rank!

Paul had attacked the Church of Jesus Christ in bygone days, when he was lost in sin. Before he was saved by the Grace of God.

And he never forgot the harm he did to Jesus and His Body.

Here's how our Text, First Timothy 1:15 puts it: "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."

Each of us had best remember too.

The place from which God brought us.

The sin which is now forgiven!

Truthfully, it might be good for each of us to quit reading now and go to the Lord in prayer. To thank Him I mean.

You might not have been the "chief" of sinners, but each of us was on our way to Hell.

Until Jesus came and saved our souls!

Bless His Good Name!

                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5, FOR THIS CAUSE:

Paul uses this sentence, telling us at least one clear reason why God saved him. I will capitalize the words we're going to study.

"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that ...." First Timothy 1:15-16

"For this cause" ... Paul was saved!

"For this cause" he obtained mercy!

Makes me wonder, "Why?"

Why did God save me?

And you?

For what "cause?"

The verb "obtained mercy" is rare. "Eleeo" means "to be given help or aid when at life's lowest point." It's when someone shows great "compassion" on you!

In English we could nearly invent a word and say God "mercified" Paul! Or God "mercy-rized" you and me when He saved us!

And soul salvation is indeed the greatest act of Mercy ever bestowed on anyone!

"For this cause I obtained mercy. "

But still, why?

Paul is pretty sure God saved him as a "pattern" for other sinners! As an "example" that Jesus could saved anyone! After all, if the "chief of sinners" can be born-again, so can anyone else!

But that's tomorrow's lesson.

Today, "why" did Jesus save me?

Here's one reason, perhaps the paramount one. It certainly brings Glory to God anyway. And again it's Paul who supplies the words, the verse.

"Even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." That's taken from Ephesians 4:32, the last clause.

God saved us, God forgave us ... for Christ's sake!

This is astounding.

Oh yes, Jesus loved me and died for me and you.

But behind all that was the inexplicable Love God the Father had for God the Son. If Jesus was willing to come die for sinners, and He certainly was, God promised to save a bunch of us ... simply for Jesus' Sake!

I am saved today ... because of Him!

So are you if you've trusted the shed Blood of Christ to wash away your sin.

"For this cause," thank you Paul for that very thought.

Thanks to Thee also, Jesus, for being the Saviour of the world.

                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6, PAUL A PATTERN:

Paul considered himself a "pattern" in some ways. And rightly so, I think. Let's look at the verse for today. "Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting." First Timothy 1:16

The noun the Holy Spirit uses here is "hupotuposis." It means the "mark" or "image" that is stamped on an object by a precast model. Today's rubber stamps that reproduce one's name and address on an envelope might be a good example of "hupotuposis."

Paul is the "type," the "model," the "pattern" of how God saves an old lost sinner! A clear prototype of God's amazing Grace!

If God can save Paul, God can save anyone!

If God can forgive Saul of Tarsus of all his wrongdoing, all his harm to the early Church, God can certainly forgive you and me!

The root noun "tupos" means a "print, mark, stroke or blow" hit upon one item by a greater and heavier object!

We Christians should read everything we can about Paul's conversion. Acts 9 and Acts 22 and Acts 26 are good places to begin, all from Luke's pen. Then we should scour everything the Apostle himself wrote autobiographically about his salvation experience.

Why all this?

Because Paul is God's template for salvation!

Again, our verse just said so. "Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting." 

Are you saved?

Please be sure.

                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7, LONGSUFFERING:

Paul in First Timothy 1:16 writes these words: "That in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting."

Paul is God's great "pattern," perhaps even God's greatest "example" of Divine Longsuffering!

That word "longsuffering," an old English noun, is spelled "makrothumia" in Greek. It essentially means "going a very long time without giving into one's passions, particularly one's anger!" Really "makro" is the Greek word for "long" and "thumos" is their word for "passion, wrath" and so forth.

God was patient with Paul even when he was a sinner!

God was kind to him, even when he was persecuting the Church!

So much so that the Apostle believes himself to be the "standard," the very "criteria" for such Patience!

And if God did not prematurely kill Paul and send him to Hell ... maybe there is hope for our lost loved ones!

That's what Paul has in mind here. He is attempting to encourage us in the matter of the salvation of sinners!

So that other soon-to-be-saved sinners might reason, "There's hope for even me! God saved Paul. Surely He will honor my faith too!"

What a Saviour we serve!

A longsuffering Heavenly Father!

                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

No one can presume on salvation tomorrow. Just today it is offered to repenting sinners. But God is so longsuffering and understanding and patient that His pattern has been for millennia saving lost souls who call on Him in faith!

He will do so again today no doubt!

 

 

LESSON 8, THE DOXOLOGY:

Paul ends this great First Timothy 1:15-17 Passage with a doxology, a hymn of praise to Almighty God!

"Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen."

The King, I believe, is Jesus!

The noun "eternal" is "aion," a root noun meaning "evermore," literally for all the "ages."

"Immortal" incorporates the Greek adjective "aphthartos," suggesting One Who will "not decay!" Actually "incorruptible, never liable to wilt or fade!"

And "invisible" is "aoratos," likely meaning "unseen" in the sense of the Bright Awesome Glory emanating from Jesus as the victoriously resurrected Son of God.

And "wise" is "sophos," akin to "saphes," meaning "clear, unblemished, unstained." One old Preacher, a scholar, defined the word as "skilled in godly living!"

To this Saviour, to our Lord Jesus Christ, be honour and glory for ever!

And to Paul's words here we all respond, "Amen."

                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9, CONCLUSION:

Paul is ending his Text, First Timothy 1:15-17. He often concludes his great messages with a word of praise to God.

For example, Galatians 1:3-5. "Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father. To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."

And this one, too. "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." Romans 11:33-36

Even here. "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith. To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen." Romans 16:24-27

Then one more, too good to omit. "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen." Philippians 4:19-20, still glorifying God!

Well, I must include one of my favorites. "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

Last of all. "Until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen." First Timothy 6:14-16, one of Paul's fullest!

Then it's no wonder the Apostles closes his "testimony" text in like fashion. Here it is. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen." First Timothy 1:15-17

Then I join!

Glory to God!

Forever!

                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

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