The Purpose of the Commandment

1 Timothy 1:3-7

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,

2 To Timothy, a true son in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,

6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk,

7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.

8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,

9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,

11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.

  1. Introduction – As many of you know, my wife is a nurse. She works in the ICU and occasionally moves over (when needed) to the ER. A couple of months ago there was an incident that caught my wife’s attention as a nurse, and then it quickly become a national news story when a Utah nurse named Alex Wubbels was falsely arrested by a Salt Lake police detective. The detective demanded that blood be drawn from an unconscious patient, but she refused to allow it on the grounds that it was both against hospital policy and was in fact illegal.I’m sure a number of you saw the video footage of the incident from both the police officer body-cams and the hospital video cameras. Many people—not just nurses—were infuriated by the actions of the detective. Wubbels became an instant celebrity and hero. Because there is within many of us, if not most of us, a deep conviction and innate understanding that “The law is good, if one uses it lawfully.”

    In watching the footage from the incident in Utah, most instantly felt that this was an improper use of the law. What was happening was unjust! And for some reason, humans hate injustice.

    1. As a quick aside, this deep moral sense that there is such a thing as injustice, inequity, and unfairness, evolutionary theories of origins do not provide good answers for where that came from. Why do humans have this? There is no evidence that any other life-form has a deep moral drive. But we do. We are passionate about justice from a very young age. From birth we, unlike animals, are born with the capacity for moral judgment, and such moral judgments and considerations kick in very quickly. In fact I don’t think there is a day that goes by that I don’t hear it from at least one of my kids—from the 8 year old on down to the 4 year old—“That’s not fair!
    2. The law is good, if one uses it lawfully
      1. What were going to find here in the opening words of 1 Timothy (this week and next) is Paul’s push for a right application of the law.
        1. Why?
          1. Because, apparently, when Paul came back to the City of Ephesus, with Timothy, after their time in Roman incarceration, they found a church—a gathering of Jesus people—not using the law (doctrine, church teaching) correctly.
            1. That’s why we read in verse 3…
  2. 1 Timothy 1:3-4 ~ As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
    4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

    1. This is a role (if not one of the primary ones) of a pastor.
      1. Point 1 — Pastors lead and teach in right doctrine, and defend against wrong.
        1. Which, I feel I can say after having done this very thing now for almost 19 years, this isn’t always easy work, because we—in our fallenness—don’t like sound doctrine.
          1. We don’t like to be instructed in what is right and wrong.
      2. Pastors lead and teach in right doctrine … or that is what they should do.
        1. Now this letter, 1 Timothy, sits with two other letters—2 Timothy and Titus—in a section of the Bible referred to as “The Pastoral Epistles.” Sometimes they’re simply called “The Pastorals” and “epistle” is just an old word for “letter.”
          1. And it is fitting that The Pastorals—since they are written to pastors, and since the role of a pastor is to lead and teach in right doctrine— contain this word and idea of doctrine more than any other New Testament book. Really, more than any other book in the Bible.
            1. Of the 19 uses of the word διδασκαλŒØα(didaskalia), translated as doctrine(s) in the New Testament, 15 are found in The Pastorals, and 8 of those here in 1 Timothy.
          2. This book is all about sound doctrine.
    2. I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine
      1. Paul and Timothy, somewhere about 64 AD, visited the church at Ephesus for the first time in almost 10 years, and they found a church in conflict. They were in conflict because there were “some” that were teaching heterodox doctrine (literally, ·ºëτεροδιδασκαλŒ≠ω heterodidaskale≈ç).
        1. Therefore, when Paul prepared to leave for Phillipi (in Macedonia), he pleaded with Timothy to stay there in Ephesus, to pastor the church, and as a part of that pastoring work, to “charge some that they teach no other doctrine.”
          1. Charge means “Give strict orders” as from a superior officer.
            1. It’s used 8 times in 1 & 2 Timothy.
        2. And not only that they teach no other doctrine, other than the right teachings of Christ and the Apostles, but also…
    3. nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.
      1. I love the amplification of this in some of the other English versions…
        1. NIV ~ or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith.
        2. NLT ~ Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God.
          1. Fables and myths, endless genealogies and spiritual pedigrees – there’s little agreement among Bible teachers and commentatorsabout just what the Ephesian church was quarreling over (we could use our imaginations and come up with some ideas … I imagine their problems were similar to the Corinthians). But the outcome of the problem is clear.
          2. Such things promote controversial speculations.” They “lead to meaningless disputes.” And as a result, the work of God’s church stops.
            1. Well, of course, such things aren’t happening today, right?
              1. Let me give you a myth that does not accord with sound doctrine, that halts the work of God’s church, like sand in the gears.
                1. Illustration — Maybe you heard, next Saturday … September 23, 2017 something big is supposed to happen because if you follow the heavenly bodies of the constellations and planets, then you’ll know that the sun is going to be in the constellation Virgo, after having passed through Leo. And the moon is going to be at Virgo’s feet. And the planets Mercury, Mars and Venus and the bright star Regulus will be in alignment at Virgo’s head. Which all means something very importantly prophetically because Revelation 12 (1-8) says…Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.”

                  So of course something big is going to happen. Probably the rapture of the church.

                  1. If you’re wondering, I plan on being here next Sunday.
                  2. Such things (YouTube Eschatology) promote controversial speculations lead to meaningless disputes. They stop the true work of the church. They do not lead too godly edification. They don’t advance God’s kingdom. They don’t help people live a life of faith. They don’t accord with strong Biblical interpretive methods.
      2. Point 2 — Don’t be jammed up by junk doctrine.
        1. How will you know? How can you discern if it’s junk doctrine or not?
          1. The point of sound doctrinal teaching is godly edification. That you and I would be built up in Him and established in the faith (Colossians 2:6-7). Therefore Paul continues…
  3. 1 Timothy 1:5-7 ~ Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,
    6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk,
    7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.

    1. The purpose of the commandment is love. The point of preaching and teaching is that you and I would grow in love.
      1. Love is the (first) fruit of the Spirit. It is a primary evidence of our growth in Christlikeness (Christ demonstrates God’s love – Romans 5:8).
        1. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 13 ~ Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
          2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
          3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
          13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
    2. The doctrine of Christ and the commandment of Scripture, properly taught, should produce the growing quality of love within the believer and the church.
      1. Point 3 — Love is the product of proper doctrine.
        1. This shouldbe obvious. Love is the summation of the whole of the law and the prophets.
          1. Matthew 22:35-40 ~ Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying,
            36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
            37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’
            38 “This is the first and great commandment.
            39 “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
            40 “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
          2. Galatians 5:14 ~ For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
          3. Romans 13:8-10 ~ Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
            9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,”“You shall not covet,”and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
            10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the  fulfillment of the law
        2. Now as good as it sounds that “love is the product of proper doctrine” there’s clearly a misunderstanding among many as to just what love is and how it is to be expressed.
          1. Thankfully Paul gives us some qualifiers(what kind and quality is this love)
        3. The purpose of the commandment is love, and it is love…
          1. from a pure heart,
            1. The only truly whole love is a love that comes from a heart that has been purified by faith (Acts 15:9) in Christ.
            2. This means that those that do not know Christ (by faith) do not know how to truly love from a pure heart.
              1. This doesn’t mean that you cannot experience or enjoy love apart from Christ. You can, but it’s not love in it’s most perfectform.
                1. Just as sex can be experienced outside of God’s perfect plan in marriage, so also love can be experienced outside of Christ. But just as sex apart from marriage is not as God created it to be (therefore imperfect), so also love apart from Christ will never be love from a pure heart in it’s fullest and most perfect form.
            3. So the purpose of the commandment (or the goal of good preaching) is love from a pure heart, and…
          2. from a good conscience,
            1. The fullest and most perfect form of love is also love that is given and received from a good conscience.
              1. JFB Commentary — “A conscience cleared from guilt by the effect of sound faith in Christ.
              2. A conscience freed from fear
                1. 1 John 4:18 ~ There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
            2. The preaching of Christ brings us into a love that is pure and good because it flows out from a heart and conscience that are also pure and good … and it is a love.
          3. and from sincere faith
            1. From “faith unfeigned” says the KJV.
            2. A faith without hypocrisy (·ºÄνυπœåκριτος anypokritos).
              1. Which produces unhypocritical love too…
            3. Doctrine properly taught and preached should lead to un-hypocritical faith, from which flows pure, good and sincere love.
        4. So if the end (or goal) of the preaching of the law, the prophets, the gospels and the epistles (i.e. the whole Bible) is this kind and quality of love. Then we have a very simple barometer by which we can judge whether or not the preacher is doing his job.
          1. If the church is peddling(more than preaching) fables and myths, endless genealogies and spiritual pedigrees, then it will produce and promote controversial speculations, leading to meaningless disputes.
          2. But if the church is preaching and teaching sound doctrine, it will result in the growth of pure, good and sincere love—from the heart, from faith and a conscience—among the brothers and sisters in Christ.
          3. Point 4 — Sound doctrine promotes genuine faith, cleanses the conscience and purifies the heart, producing love.
            1. Psalm 19:7-11 ~ The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;
              The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
              8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
              The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
              9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
              The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
              10 More to be desired are they than gold,
              Yea, than much fine gold;
              Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
              11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
              And in keeping them there is great reward.

              1. Why do we open and preach the Scriptures every week? Why will we continue to do so until Christ returns (probably not on September 23rd)? That’s why.
              2. That’s why Paul would write
                1. 1 Timothy 4:13 ~ Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
                2. 2 Timothy 4:1-2 ~ I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:
                  2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching
                3. And then notice this…
                  1. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 ~ For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;
                    4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
                4. So then…
  4. 1 Timothy 1:6-7 ~ from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk,
    7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.

    1. Some”—the same “some” back up in verse 3 (“charge some that they teach no other doctrine”)—have strayed and turned aside.
      1. They’ve shifted to idle talk. Meaningless, vain, empty and fruitless discussions. They haven’t left the church. They’re still there. They’re in the right place but not in the right way.
      2. They desire to be teachers of the law. But they are clueless…
        1. NLT ~ They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently.
          1. Illustration — When you take Greek, the first thing you learn is the alphabet, because it’s totally different than the English alphabet. You learn the sounds of each of the consonants and vowels and the diphthongs for the vowels. All of that in the first class. And then you can read Greek. You can sound out the sounds of the words, and even become kind of good at reading each word. And you can even be thought really smart. “Man, that guy can read Greek! He must be pretty smart.” You can read it, but you don’t understand a thing you’re reading. You might catch a word here or there and think you even understand something. But you don’t know Greek. As they say, “He knows just enough to be dangerous.”

            You know, I know a little bit about electricity and wiring things. Just enough to be REALLY dangerous.

          2. Great passage to read later, if you find the time… Romans 2:17-24.
          3. Never forget!
            1. Point 5 — Good talkers aren’t necessarily good teachers.
            2. Lots of guys can give a “helluva” talk. But I guarantee a lot “helluva” talk guys have led people on helluva walks right to hell.
            3. Well, how do you know? How do you discern sound teachers from unsound? A good place to start is with what Jesus said.
              1. Matthew 7:15-23 ~ “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.|16 “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
                17 “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
                18 “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
                19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
                20 “Therefore by their fruits you will know them. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
                22 “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
                23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’