The Glorious Salutation
January 20, 2019 | Speaker: Pastor Jurem Ramos
1Timothy 1:1-2On Nov. 14, 2018, fraternity-related violence happened inside UP Diliman Campus involving Alpha Phi Beta and Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternities. In response, on Nov 23, a statement was posted on Facebook. Let me read portions of the statement: Recent incidents within the University of the Philippines have drawn renewed attention to the roles and actuations of fraternities on our campuses—in particular, a brawl involving members of two fraternities, and even more disturbingly, a series of offensive posts on social media attributed to the Upsilon Sigma Phi. We will not tolerate misogyny, sexual harassment, and bullying or any form of violence against women and other groups in this University, and any such offenses will be dealt with to the full extent of the university’s judicial and administrative remedies. Accordingly, I have instructed UP Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan to expedite the investigation into the recent brawl on campus reportedly involving members of the Upsilon Sigma Phi and Alpha Phi Beta fraternities to identify the participants, establish liabilities, and file the appropriate cases against the offenders. I am also directing all Chancellors to require all new and renewing student organizations for their members to undergo gender sensitivity training before accreditation or renewal is granted, and to intensify security on their campuses to ensure a peaceful and secure environment for students, faculty, staff, and residents. DANILO L. CONCEPCION President [Danilo Concepcion is the 21st President of the University of the Philippines. The Office of the Chancellor is the executive office of UP Diliman. It supervises campus operations through the related offices of the Vice Chancellors (VC for Academic Affairs, VC for Admin, VC for Student Affairs, etc.] What would happen to the UP Diliman Chancellor and the vice chancellors when they receive this letter? They would be encouraged to take immediate action because this is an official authorization from the UP President himself. All leaders and members of the warring fraternities will smarten up, UP Dilliman police will investigate the matter immediately, guilty students will be expelled, police visibility within the campus will increase, Everyone in the university will take action to restore peace and order and every means and effort will be applied to instill the culture of respect, decency and tolerance. This directive will not be taken lightly because its source is from the highest authority in the University, the President of UP. Today, we begin to look at the opening words of the first letter of Paul to Timothy. Often times when we read our Bibles in private, we tend to skim the salutation or the greeting. We do not exert effort to read carefully and to reflect on the significance of the salutation or greetings that we find in the letters of the NT because we think that we already know what it means, having read many salutations before. This attitude is to our loss. We miss many of the blessings we could have gained from God’s Word as promised for example in Ps 19: 7-8 7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; The way to benefit from this is to understand that this letter comes from the highest authority. This is from an apostle, Christ’s representative here on earth and who is also inspired by the Holy Spirit to write this letter. Knowing who the ultimate author of this letter is, let us read this glorious salutation, with an attitude that is ready to understand and reflect upon this passage so that we will receive God’s promised blessing to us. Just a little background of this letter. Timothy is a young assistant of Paul. He has worked with Paul when he was in Ephesus to bring order and establish the churches in that city. Even while Paul was deal, he already dealt with some of their leaders whose names he mentions in the letter by excommunicating them so that they will learn not to blaspheme. But then Paul felt that he needed to go Macedonia, perhaps in order to continue the work of collecting funds for the Jewish Christians who were suffering in Jerusalem. This was work was vital and help reinforce the truth that all believers, whether Jews or Gentiles, they are one body in Christ. Paul therefore commands Timothy to remain at Ephesus to correct church problems and address other related concerns. Timothy had a very difficult task ahead of him. He was going to face wealthy members of his congregation, a congregation with men who tend to be argumentative and divisive; even the women had a tendency to feel important. But the most difficult part of Timothy’s work is to deal with his biggest head-ache, elders who were promoting false teaching and causing disturbance in the church. How will Paul encourage and put confidence to his young, timid, yet faithful assistant to take action to correct the errors in the church and align the conduct of the whole congregation and its ministries to God’s standard? The answer is Paul writes to Timothy with a mix of command, encouragement, and instruction. And at the very beginning of the letter, Paul purposely tries to accomplish this. In this salutation, we already see Paul pointing to the fact that this letter is not just a personal correspondence. This is an authoritative letter from the supreme authority to help Timothy to accomplish his assignment. Today we are going to look at the glorious salutation of 1Timothy. This portion of the letter points us to the wonderful characteristics of this letter of 1 Timothy:
- 1Timothy is authoritative, v.1
- Paul the writer is an apostle [who is owned by Jesus and commanded to be an apostle by God and Christ.]
- God is our Savior
- Christ Jesus is our hope
- 1Timothy is suitable,
- Timothy represents all true disciples and so this letter is suitable for every pastor and true believer
- 1Timothy is heartening, v.2 [it gives encouragement and confidence because of the following truths:]
- Grace, mercy and peace are available
- They come from God the Father
- They come from Jesus Christ our Lord (not Artemis)
I. 1Timothy is authoritative.The opening words of the salutation demand our attention: “Paul, an apostle.” This tells us the identity and the authority of the author of 1Timothy. Be careful that you do not read this portion in a casual manner as when you read a greeting in today’s letters that begin with, for example, “Dear Jun.” Here in the salutation, Paul, the author of this letter, is giving us his credentials. He is n apostle and this means, we should be attentive to what he will tell us in this letter. Paul’s opening words remind us that 1 Timothy is authoritative. Let us look more closely at Paul’s identity and authority here. 1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, It was normal in letters of that period to begin with the name of the author of the letter and then the recipient. And so we read “Paul … to Timothy.” Jews of that period who were born Roman citizens like Paul were given two names—a Jewish and a Gentile name. And so v“Saul” was Paul’s Jewish name, but he often used his Greek-Roman name “Paul” because he was called to be an apostle to the Gentiles. Paul immediately adds that he is “an apostle of Christ Jesus.” If this letter was just a friendly letter of Paul to another individual like his letter to Philemon, there would be no need for him to mention his office and authority. Of course, Timothy knew who Paul was and Timothy did not question it. It is apparent that Paul’s purpose in doing this was to give an official character to the letter. Paul writes it for:
- Timothy’s sake. It was to give authority to everything that Timothy was about to do in the congregation and so that neither their leaders nor people will despise Timothy for his actions.
- It was for the good of the congregation. As implied in 1Ti 6:21, this letter was not a private letter. Paul intended this letter to be read to the churches committed to the charge of Timothy. It would serve as an authoritative guide for the church or churches to which Timothy has to communicate its regulations.
- It would also encourage Timothy when he dealt with the elders who were teaching falsehood, the wealthy, the divisive men, the women who were not submissive, etc.
- Paul wasn’t elected or appointed by men or the church to be an apostle. He was divinely appointed to be an authoritative representative of the risen and ruling Lord.
- The word command gives ‘suggests a royal command which must be obeyed’. At other times Paul says that he is an apostle “by the will of God” (1Co 1:1; 2Co 1:1; Eph 1:1; Col 1:1; 2Ti 1:1) or that he was called to it (Ro 1:1). This was not mean simply that Paul was called by God’s permissive will. It was by God’s decreed will.
- We cannot narrow the “command of God” to the specific date of Paul’s commission as when the Holy Spirit commanded the church to set apart him and Barnabas to the work He had appointed them in Act_13:2. The appointment and decree of God, by which he was separated to this office, was from eternity. Paul claimed that he had been “set apart before he was born” (Gal_1:15).
- Paul does not say that his apostleship was only by the command of God. He also that the command equally came from Christ Jesus. We read in Acts 26:15-18 that he was appointed by immediate commission of Christ, by his voice from heaven.
- God planned salvation by his infinite wisdom. Ro 11:33,36 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! … 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
- He appointed his people to it. Eph 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
- He determined to save sinners by sending his Son to give his life for the forgiveness of their sins (1Jn 4:10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.)
- He sends His ministers to publish the Gospel of it,
- He also sends His Spirit to reveal and apply it to the hearts of his chosen ones;
- He gives grace to people to repent of their sin and put their trust in Christ.
- and keeps them by his power so that they remain saved.
- and will at last put them into the full possession of it;
- Phil 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
- 1Jn 3:2 Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.).
- Don’t get lost with all the details that I showed you. All of them simply point to the fact that 1Timothy was written by an apostle. Let me read again v. 1: Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope. This opening verse immediately point us to the fact that 1Timothy is authoritative.
II. 1Timothy is suitable.We see this in the recipient of this letter, Timothy. 2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith. New American Commentary: Paul calls Timothy, “my true child in the faith.” The term "true" is used in other writings to describe a "legitimate" child or to refer to "genuine" writings. Paul used it to describe the genuineness and sincerity of Timothy's Christianity in distinction from nominal Christians, formal professors and hypocrites. Timothy was a real Christian, a true believer, and a hearty and upright professor and preacher of the faith of Christ, as well as truly regenerated by the Spirit of God. Some commentators say that when Paul described Timothy as my true child, this indicates that “The most intimate of all Paul’s relationships was probably with Timothy.” What makes their friendship very interesting was their differences: Preacher’s Commentary:
- There was the difference of age. When Paul first visited the little town of Lystra, it is possible that he stayed in Timothy’s home (Acts 14:3–21). If so, Timothy was probably a young lad, and one can imagine the impression that the remarkable guest would have made upon him. On Paul’s second visit to Lystra (Acts 16:1–3), Timothy’s life took an entirely new direction. Even as a youth, Timothy had become one of the bright lights in the congregation there, so much so that Paul invited him to be his special traveling companion. Imagine young Timothy’s elation with such an invitation! From then on, Timothy had a relationship with Paul closer than anyone else. He became Paul’s most trusted companion and helper. Their differences in age resulted in a father-son relationship, but always with a sense of partnership and parity in Christ.
- There was also a remarkable difference in their temperaments. Paul comes across as bold and daring—Timothy, as shy and reserved. Paul was ever the innovator and adventurer. Timothy the helper and supporter. It was their emotional and functional differences that created and nurtured their constant need for each other.
- Some think it is because he was converted by Paul to the Christian faith.
- Or that he was more thoroughly instructed, discipled by Paul;
- or that he was of assistance and service to him, as a son is to a father. “When Paul was planning to send Timothy to Philippi, he writes: "I have no one like him.... As a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel" (Phil 2:20, 22).
- or it may be because he resembled him in faith and doctrine, preaching and conversation, as a son resembled a father in face and manners.
- What we have seen about Timothy is that he is a genuine Christian.
- We have learned also that Timothy is a minister of God, a leader in the church who will direct the church and deal with the false teachers.
- We have also seen so far that Timothy is different from Paul in that he is young and shy or timid.
III. 1Timothy is heartening, v.2“Heartening” means it gives gives encouragement and confidence. Verse 2 says, Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. If you understand the implications of the blessing that Paul invokes here upon Timothy, then you are going to appreciate 1Timothy and realize that it is truly heartening. Normally Paul began his letters by greeting the recipients with the blessings of grace and peace. (Rom 1:7; 1Cor 1:3; 2Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; Php 1:2; Col 1:2; 1Th 1:1; 2Th 1:2; Phm 1:3 ). The only epistles where he adds “mercy” to grace and peace is in his letters to Timothy (1Ti 1:1; 2Ti 1:2). Let us look at these three great words.
- Grace is something unearned and undeserved. Grace indicates the unmerited favor which God offers to undeserving sinners. Grace removes the guilt of previous sin and relieves the offender of punishment that is truly deserved.
- Mercy. As I said, mercy in the greeting is only found in Paul’s letters to Timothy.
- Peace. College Press NT: “Peace” represents the normal greeting among Jews, (shalom) in Hebrew.
- Mt 7:7-11 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
- James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
- Ro 8:31-33 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.
- Ps 103: 1-5, 8-13