AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH May 1, 2011
Presbyterian Church following the Bible without Qualification
and the Lord Jesus Christ without Compromise, through Grace by Faith
Sermon Notes I Timothy 1:5
"Now the purpose of the commandment is love
from a pure heart,
from a good conscience, and
from sincere faith."
THE END AND THE OBJECTIVE
THE TWO HAVE A UNITY BACK OF BOTH
What is it all about ? What are we here for ? What is the purpose of man ? Why isn't our way clearer and why do the nations act like squabbling sea-gulls, proud and pushy, and individuals so often lapse out of control, like shot-down zeppelins, aflame and ready to explode ?
What SHOULD we all be doing, and what fits for man, instead of hits ? Where are we going, where should we go and where could we go ? We are certainly not going nowhere, but increasingly clearly, the direction is down the chute to the laundry, where this world finds no water, and the washing piles up as the standards go down.
Let us look at the Bible and see, and realise the extent to which man is even now at war with God. Just consider the difference, and think, think about what it would be like if instead, His plan were followed; but then this means the Lord Himself, if He is to be followed, for HIS followers are dressed in His truth, and covered with His word of reconciliation at entry, for it is a kingdom, and HE is the King.
I Timothy 1:5 tells us precisely where we should be, could be going, and the purpose of it all, just as II Timothy 1:8-12 tells us WHY this is so, and where man should be, go and end. That we have seen; and to this we now look.
Present or Absent
We often hear of beginnings; but here the topic is the two ends. Different, they are yet Inseparable.
The first is a matter of to what it is going.. The second is its objective, its purpose. These two are not the same. One is direction, one is destination. One is where the road ends, the other is a matter of the way. One is to what it all means, its own specifications; the other is where it all arrives, seditious, sedated or sent.
One is in a way, the ultimatum; the other is the ultimate.
One is the vision of quality, the other the victory or defeat at its climax.
In I Timothy 1:5, there is no doubt at all about which of these two is in view. It is the objective, it is the purpose, it is the quality. It is, at that, more than simply qualitative, as in chemistry, where with qualitative analysis, you find out about certain features of a non-living item. There is in the objective, not only a quality, but a thrust, a focus, a purposefulness, a view, and a vision of truth, clear, resolute, operative.
Nor is it simply a matter of following this method, this style, this feature, and THEREFORE YOU MUST reach a good, sound and proper destination. It is not as complex as that. EITHER for your way of going or for your destination, ONE THING is necessary. You must have repented of being separate from God, outlaw or indifferent, not featuring Him, not a part of His kingdom, team and body in Christ, and instead have trusted in Him as Saviour from sin (operative and all-powerful) and Lord of life. It is when we have found Him who seeks us, that we are His, and then as a dog finds with rather amazing relish, sees his own actual master, when he really has come back from holiday, so he is satisfied with scarcely any bounds, such are the bonds between them.
If then this is now true for you, then by His Spirit and word, by His grace and the power of His covenant, His divine agreement with you, the new covenant in His blood, you ARE His, and therefore upon entry into His kingdom, you are changed, regenerated and replenished. These things being so as in Romans 8:1-9, then and therefore the quality, the tenor of your goings will be the result of His being yours and you His. It is with this, that there comes the end, the destiny; for if He is yours, He died for you and if so, then He lives for you, not in terms of a general offer, but of a particular result FOR YOU. If there is free lemonade you either have drunk it or not; and if not, the offer means precisely nothing, except to show that someone else is generous.
II IN DAMNATION:
Neither Functions, though Both may be Desired
If not, then ? If you are not founded, then you are confounded. If regeneration is spurned, or indifferently turned from, then salvation being absent, the purposeful determination to live with His life in you, by His Spirit, for His glory, is lacking. If the foundation in Christ is omitted, then neither is the destination of a fit destiny to be found. The unplanted rots.
In that case, you may hope to be good, try to be good, even yearn to be good, and have a purpose of being satisfactory; but it still is all a matter of depending on you. You are still your own, not inhabited by His Spirit, signed into His covenant, your signature in His blood if you want to put it in that way. It is still all YOU! Your effort, will, quality control, yearning, hope. But it is not dependent on the work of your will but that of God (John 1:12, 6:29). In truth He knows you and implements His will. You may hope you are a Christian; but you are not remade, merely striving with the old person, your precious past, present and future personality, to be the best you can be.
It is like trying to find and found itself, in an old car, unroadworthy by nature. You are refusing the making over, the reconstitution of your entire system; you are not honouring the Lord, He is merely added to your regimen, and could as readily be removed. Then the quality like a scent, a perfume as in I I Corinthians 2, is simply absent. You have then an artificial perfume, made up by your own manufacturing chemist; but the smell of rose is different from this synthetic; and the fragrance and power of Christ, is different from any life you can make from your own alchemies.
Languishing in hope, being animated in drive, being most religious or rather slack, whatever the case may be, if you are not in Christ by coming (John 5:39ff.), then the arena is not for you. If you are in, however, then the whole atmosphere has changed, and inside you are shut in to what is there, and in this case, the very air is charged and the case is animated with a life which is not your own, though you participate in it. It is all new, for as Paul states in II Corinthians 5:17ff., you are now a new creation, not spurned but spawned, not settled on your lees, but poured into a new cask altogether, with a new task to go with it, and this, it is given to you, as is the new life and the very power of God to accomplish what is set before you.
III WHAT IT MEANS, WHEN YOU ARE IN CHRIST, AND HE IS IN YOU
Having seen what our text is not, we find what it is; and having seen the elements in perspective, we inspect them in practice now.
The PURPOSE is love, the reason back of what you have to do, it is love.
You should be loving, like your dog if it is a genuine dog of rapport and energetic affection. Love should be a coin of commerce, a driving thrust in your very being. The love of God, like any love, is distinctive; and in its case, it is unique, unfathomable and has remarkable features. Here in I Timothy 1:5, some of the qualities of the way, which are in tune with the destiny, are brought to light by Paul to Timothy.
This love is to spring from a pure heart,
to function from a good conscience, and
to proceed from a sincere faith.
How can you purify your heart ? Who can say I have no sin ? asks Solomon. This is one of the quandaries when you are not saved, regenerated, have not entered into His kingdom, have not signed your name to His covenant with His blood, and are not redeemed by it.
If however you follow the directions (often so boring and indistinct with manufactured articles from some foreign land of strange English), then this for its part, being comprehensible from God, you will find it done for you. HOW is it done ? It is done by the power and the purity and the motivational passion of the Lord who created you: that is why you are said then on coming to Him by grace through faith (Ephesians 2), to be a "new creation." Physical birth was one thing; it was natural. Spiritual rebirth is another; it is supernatural. Both come from God, one by programmatic regimen from the DNA; the other comes by direct and personal operation of His Spirit. The wind blows, said Jesus the Christ, where it will, and such is everyone born of the Spirit. It is not a matter of experience as such; though it will bring experience as rain brings growth to the desert. It is a matter of yielding to His invitation, trusting in Him to make it operational, and relying on Him as your Redeemer BECAUSE He has made this offer and is trustworthy.
Purified, and ready to be cleansed at any time because of the sin which so easily seeks entry (Hebrews 12:1), you can then function with a clear conscience, for if any dust enters, it can be swept away by the hand which knows the heart, or remorselessly removed by the surgeon of the soul, as can any contamination or folly that has found a temporary haven in you, through carelessness, recklessness or even, as with Jonah, some short period of ravishment with some folly. In his case, even if it meant humiliation for a season, it did not end his mission. Indeed, that triumphed. Thus it became hard, but in the end, he did it very well, and it was profoundly successful; but at that, he needed still more purging to get his motives right, spiritual and godly; for as with Moses when he struck the rock for water and said MUST WE get the water, so an attitude of disrespect to God, can readily bring a rebuilding of no mean order. Explosive errors can lead to sound reconstruction, as after a tornado.
Thus, in conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ, in salvation in Him, the heart is purified at the outset, and kept pure, with labour if need be - as in I Peter 4:12-13.There may be a fiery trial, for the airplanes built for heavenly flight by the Lord: they are not idle; and tested they will be. But rejoice when tested, for you are made to endure! Again, as in I Peter 1:6-7, if need be, you may be subjected to testing so that the reality of your faith may be established. Ambivalence, ambiguity, this has no place before our God. He was not an ambiguous Saviour, did not vacillate getting on and off His cross, but endured. So must we. He enables this (Hebrews 13:5).
But there is a third component for what is to be done out of love, in addition to a pure heart and a clear conscience. What is this ? It is a sincere, an unfeigned faith. Purity is not without clarity, and both are not without a trust which is elemental, desiring service, seeking advice, craving admonition, with delight in spiritual growth, as when a sheep dog acts with quiet co-operation with which the better to serve the Lord, growing in grace and in knowledge of Him.
If love, divinely defined and from Him shed upon your hearts (Romans 5:1-5) is what this proceeds FROM, then growing more like Him is what it proceeds TO, and a sincere faith is its constant accompaniment. This is the purpose, the end, the objective of it.
As to the end, the destiny, that has already been seen,
discovered to depend on one point, are you His ? Have you contracted ? Is your
faith operational or theoretical ? Have you come to Him in faith to receive, or
do you dally, dither, equivocate, assume ? Assuming you have bought a house will
never make it yours. Thinking that in essence, it is now yours, does not make it
so. You have to come to Him; and precisely NOT doing this is what made many of
those to whom Christ Jesus spoke, constitute the outsiders, as in John 5:39ff..
They might in the extreme case, even think that in the Bible they will find
eternal life; but if they do not follow its directions, how is this
so ? If they do not see that it directs them to come to Him as Lord and Saviour practically, operationally and not just in thought, like dreaming to buy that house, but failing to stir to the site for it, or seeing, to act on it, then they are still without covenant and without hope.
The purpose of the commandment is love, but it must operate by faith, and faith without works is dead, since it fails to act, as living things always do. Is this not how we determine in simple fashion whether something is a stick or an insect ? We watch it, and when it is clear that a movement has proceeded from within it, then our decision about is clear. It moves.
Movement itself is not in itself the point; for a criminal, he also, he moves. It is movement TO CHRIST, TRUSTING IN HIM, and in Christ you gain this love to come out of a pure heart, a clear conscience and a sincere faith, nothing feigned about it, straightforward, ready and real. It is trust in His truth, in Him and in His word, not because of man, but because of God, who speaking, infinitely above all men, is utterly trustworthy; and competent. He is so who invented human competence, and for me, nearly 60 years as a Christian confirm in life and heart what the Bible over millenia has declared, that God is faithful and carries out all that He has said. If then, by His grace, we are first carried in by faith to His saving presence, then by grace also, we will be enabled to carry out what He has desired of us, in quality control and in commission, in objective and in life (Ephesians 1:11).
That being said, the security is in Him; the assurance (Romans 8:16) is from Him. Generated through trust, through faith, through His word by His Spirit, it is for those who come to Him in this way, like a birth, for in this way, we become His very children by adoption. When you are a person's child, you know it. When you are God's child, you know God (John 17:1-3). When you know God, you are sated, for He IS GOOD, and there is none like Him. Just as many are thus transformed to grow more like Him, great, so He remains the source and perfection, Himself alone, powerful, empowering, pure and purifying, clear and clarifying.
Praise God for God, the height of desire, the summit of spirit and the generosity source that makes of life a gift better than any Christmas can summon. Life is for the living, and God is not only alive, but imparts spiritual life which has this impregnable advantage, that not only does it have its own divinely dowered quality, but it has the godly guarantee, that it is eternal, and that those who have it will be raised up at the last day (John 6). Desiring all, He gains some, and so His love is fulfilled AS love (John 3:16-19). It will not be fulfilled as something else! Just as He came to save the world, not to judge it, so He has chosen not to please some quirk, but to fund every find, quicken what He may, losing none where His love may dwell. In its purity it is not poetry, but practicality and reality. It is not hope, but holiness, and not probable, but imparted. Praise the Lord for that, for having come to us to bring us to Himself, He keeps that which is committed to Him against that day (II Timothy 1:8-12), and whatever HE does, He does both well and reliably.