Sermon – July 14, 2019
1 Timothy 1:12-20 – A Great Kind of Good (mp3)
Last week we ended in 1 Timothy with Paul’s statement that sound doctrine was in “accordance with the good news of the glory of the blessed God.” Good news can mean so many different things. We declare good news when babies are born, promotions are gained, games are won, dinner is served. This good news is not just any news, though: it is the good news of the glory of the happy God. It is the announcement that speaks of the most glorious, happy being of which we could ever conceive. What does such good news mean for us? What does such news even have to do with us? Let us consider today the kind of good news Paul was entrusted with:
1. The gospel is powerful good news
Paul was appointed to service before God, but not because he was worthy of such service. Rather, the strength of the Lord made him faithful, providing to him what was needed for the service. What good news is this! We, too, have been called into service by our God, although certainly a different kind of service than Paul was called to. Yet, still, through the strength of the Lord, we can accomplish the great things that Jesus has called us to.
2. The gospel is plentiful good news
Paul was a wretched, blasphemous, violent, wrathful man. Yet, the grace of the Lord Jesus overflowed to him. The grace of Jesus is not shallow – it does not barely cover, not barely satisfy, not barely heal. Rather, it is sufficient in all its ways, giving more than we could ever hope or need. The good news is good because it is always so plentiful!
3. The gospel is paradigmatic good news
Paul knows that he himself is an example, a paradigm, for the mission of the Lord. Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and Paul is the prime example of that. Thinking himself above salvation from Jesus, he was brought to see the terrible nature of his sin. So should we! We are not too good for this salvation, nor is our sin so deep, or our lives so far away, that the Lord cannot save. If Paul was brought near to God through the work of Jesus, the same can happen for us!
4. The gospel is praiseworthy good news
Paul, thinking of the great love and grace seen in the gospel, then breaks out into song. This verse of praise is indeed fitting, for the salvation we need and have had supplied in Christ should make us sing. We do not simply sing because we are commanded to – although we are – we sing because voice, melody, harmony, and beat give rise to emotions that we could otherwise not express. Let us lift up our voice and sing for our God has indeed been good to us!
5. The gospel is precious good news
Paul knew the value of this good news. He entrusts it to Timothy, a choice back not only by Paul’s experience, but also through the prophetic word spoken over the young man. Others have turned their back on it – and so, to protect the precious gospel, Paul has thrust them out to the black night and the evil of Satan. Let us be warned – the gospel is precious good news! It is worth song and dance, war and words.