Searchlights from the Word by G. Campbell Morgan: 1 Timothy

Helpful outline sermon suggestion from every chapter from the Book of 1 Timothy

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The Book of 1 Timothy - "Searchlights from the Word" by G. Campbell Morgan.

Chapter 1

According to the Gospel of the glory of the blessed God.
1 Timothy 1:11

This is another instance where the Revision has added greatly to the understanding and beauty of a phrase. In a previous note we observed the difference between "the might of His glory" and "His glorious might" (Col. 1:11). Here we have the same kind of change. Instead of reading "the glorious Gospel," we have "the Gospel of the Glory." That the Gospel is glorious we know, but the Apostolic phrase draws our attention to the fact that the good news is that of "the Glory of the blessed God." Knowing that it is the Gospel of His Grace, we are thus reminded that Grace and Glory in God are one. That which is the very essence of His splendour and beauty is the infinite love of His heart. Also we may, with perfect accuracy, render the description of God as "the happy God." What unfathomable depths of suggestiveness there are in the words: "The Gospel of the Glory of the happy God!" But now observe how the words are introduced. Immediately before them are the words "according to." When we go back to see what this Gospel is the standard of, we find a remarkable denunciation of evil things, some of the most fearful being named, and, all others being included in the words "and if there be any other thing." All these things are "contrary to the sound doctrine, according to the Gospel of the glory of the happy God." Thus again, as so constantly in the New Testament, we are reminded that the Gospel makes no excuse for sin, makes no terms with it.

Chapter 2

Supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings.
1 Timothy 2:1

These four words are not synonymous. They all describe activities of the soul in the presence of God, and so are synthetic. Each has its own peculiar value and suggestion. In the first and last, activities are described in which all unite out of a common experience. In the second, an activity which largely leaves behind the sense of human need. In the third, an activity which excludes personal need, and includes the needs of others. Supplications are requests which express a need in which all those offering them share. In my own view they refer to the deepest spiritual needs, for cleansing, for spiritual enablement, of which all worshippers are conscious as they approach the Holy Place. Prayers here are the distinct acts of worship, in which the saints offer pure praise to God. The sense of need is for the moment forgotten, and the sense of the majesty and mercy of God call forth adoration. Intercessions are those requests for others which are the expression of love for them, begotten of love for God, and in which those offering them are entirely forgetful of their own personal needs. Thanksgivings are those glad outpourings of grateful hearts in which they remember the Giver of all gifts, and render to Him the returns of expressed gratitude which are ever acceptable to Him. As we said, they are all exercises of the soul in the presence of God, and the variety of their suggestion helps us to realize how rich and glorious is the privilege of our access to God through Christ.

Chapter 3

If a man knoweth not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the Church of God?
1 Timothy 3:5

These words were used by the Apostle when he was giving Timothy instructions as to the orderly government of the Church; and their first application was to those who were to exercise oversight, that is, to be bishops or overseers. They contain a principle which applies to the whole field of Christian service. It may be said that every Christian witness is a centre around whom concentric circles are drawn in which his or her witness will operate. We may illustrate by saying that in the ordinary life of every Christian believer, the circles are those of home, church, city, nation, race. While the influence of a life may not seem to affect all these, it certainly does so in a measure. Necessarily it is more evident in the first circles. Now the principle involved in this statement is that we are only able to exert the true influence in the wider circles as we do so in the first. The question of the Apostle has a self-evident answer. If a man is not able to regulate the affairs of his own household, if his own children are unruly, he cannot guide and guard the Church of God so as to ensure its orderliness and power. That is so for two reasons. First, that he lacks the power to rule. If he possessed it, he could rule his own house. Second, that his failure in his own house must negative any attempt he may make in the Church, for men will only obey an authority which is evidenced by results. We may pass back to the central fact, and say that fitness for the guidance of others, in home or Church, or anywhere, is created by the control of one's own life as it is wholly under the sway of the Lord.

Chapter 4

Let no man despise thy youth.
1 Timothy 4:12

These were the words of Paul who in a yet earlier letter (Philemon) had described himself as "Paul the aged," to Timothy, a young man; and they constituted his counsel to him. This is self-evident, and yet it may be interpreted as a warning to others not to despise the youth of this servant of Christ. If that were its meaning, then Paul would have intended to say to Timothy that he must maintain the dignity of his office. Now ultimately that also is involved; but the first meaning of the injunction was that Timothy should so deport himself as to make it impossible for others to despise him. We might render it thus: - "See to it that, thy youth notwithstanding, thou art not despicable!" It may be that there is a tendency among older people to hold youth in contempt, but it is often as much the fault of youth as of age. When a young man, placed in the position of responsible oversight, so lives as to be "an ensample ... in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity," he is not despised. This injunction to Timothy is of perpetual application, and not alone to the young. A man enamoured of the dignity of his office, and seeking to impress other people with that dignity, is always despicable and is invariably despised. A man concerned about his character, and seeking to realize in his life, the ideals of his Lord, gives a weight and dignity to his office which is recognized and yielded to without any reference to his age.

Chapter 5

If any provideth not for his own, and specially his own household, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever.
1 Timothy 5:8

Paul was instructing Timothy as to the duty of the Church in the matter of caring for the poor of the flock, especially in the case of such as were widows. That the Church has such a responsibility he made perfectly clear, but he also showed with care how it ought to be safeguarded. Throughout the whole teaching, it is evident that the Apostle considered that in all such matters responsibility first lay with the family (see verses 4 and 16). In our verse this conception finds central and general expression, and nothing could be clearer or more positive. The statement is characterized by that sane, practical common-sense which is everywhere discoverable in Paul's outlook on life. A man's very first responsibility is that of his own, his own household. No call on him must be allowed to take precedence of that, not even that of the work of the Church, and certainly not that of his own pleasures. To neglect to make such provision is to deny the faith, for the faith is that of the way of love in all its most practical bearings. The believer who does so, is worse than an unbeliever, for common human instincts, apart from the teaching of Christ, will prompt a pagan to care for his own flesh and blood. All this is very commonplace, but it is of the utmost importance; for Christianity is the transfiguration of the commonplace, and in proportion as it enables a man to realize all human obligations on the highest level, he is thereby recommending it to others. In a word like this, there is serious rebuke for some, and there is much of comfort for others. The family is God's first circle of society, and it is man's first sphere of responsibility.

Chapter 6

The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
1 Timothy 6:10

Not money, but the love of it. Money is not a root of evil. Neither is it a root of good. It is non-moral. It may be the greatest curse that can come into a human life. It may be the instrument of untold good. Much depends upon the use of it. Everything depends ultimately upon the attitude of the soul toward it. Where we have three words in this statement, "love of money," the Greek has but one, and perhaps the word in our common speech which best conveys the thought is the word "avarice." It is not covetousness. That is also a root of evil, but it is not the same thing exactly as avarice! Covetousness is a desire to gain possession of money, or indeed anything. Avarice is love-of-money, for itself. It is often the low motive of covetousness from other motives. Love of money is just that, the love of it, that hoards and holds. It is indeed a root of all kinds of evil. It dries up the springs of compassion in the soul. It lowers the whole standard of morality. It is the inspiration of all the basest things, even covetousness; for if there may be covetousness without love-of-money, there is never love-of-money without covetousness. Yet how insidious a peril this is! It is sometimes created by prosperity and the consequent possession of money. It is often powerfully present in lives which are devoid of wealth. It is wholly material, the result of a wrong conception of life, due to forgetfulness of the fact that "a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."