The right use of the beautiful law

The right use of the beautiful law

1 Timothy 1:8-11

 

We saw last time that there were some teachers who had been teaching speculative teachings not rooted in the correct exposition of the biblical texts.

 

We discovered some tools from our study to help us avoid believing false teaching and from being a false teacher:

 

1. Don’t presume to be a teacher flippantly (James 3:1)

 

2. Don’t come to expositional conclusions using extra-biblical texts. Use        Scripture to interpret Scripture. If your conclusion cannot be attained by a normal, Spirit-filled, bible believing man / woman / pastor with no special degree it’s probably wrong.

(The problem with pastoring people is not discovering what the text says but rather bending our desires and actions around what the text says. We usually want to bend the text to come to conclusions that support our desires.)

 

3. Do not build theological systems on obscure passages of Scripture, particularly  on obscure single verses. Remember, the bible one book, 66 chapters, one author,   many scribes, one story, many supporting cast members and one main character. Therefore, building systems on one verse isolated from the rest is a recipe for epic          failure.

 

4. Leave your personal agendas on the table. Don’t go to the text looking to justify your  deal. Go to the text with a blank agenda and let the text fill your agenda. Don’t use the bible like Adolf Hitler.

 

5. Gather with the people of God to be equipped, worship, filter your study through community and  submit to biblical leadership.

 

The problem is not the Law from which the teachers were teaching. The problem was with the teachers whose hearts were not pure, their conscience tainted and faith misplaced. False teachers seam to love teaching more than the God they are teaching from and about, their consciences are foggy due to lack of purity and their faith is more like witchcraft that produces their desires rather than an unwavering trust in the God of the bible constructed on evidence from Scripture and hope that Father has all things.

 

So, Paul, rather than leaving us with the impression that the Law was the problem helps us to see that the Law is actually good and has an aim.

 

I say frequently that at school we refer to Scripture as the “Manual”. This is because it is the Manual on all things. Whether addressed directly or by implication due to direct address to related issues, Scripture is the guide-book, the Manual, for knowing God and living life according to his blueprint.

 

If we jettison the Law we jettison God. The writers of the New Testament lived life in grace based on the Old Testament, therefore, this morning we, along with Paul, affirm that the Law is good when one uses it lawfully.

 

When we say “law” let us be clear. We mean not just the 10 commandments, but the entirety of the Old Testament. The Old Testament contains the beginnings of the metanarrative in creation, the fall, the beginning of the restoration in the establishing of God’s covenant with his people and the Net Testament kicks off the end times where we are speeding toward the return of Christ in the completion of the Great Commission. So, the “law” refers to the entire working out of God’s covenants with man leading up to Christ. Then the New Testament reveals Christ’s fulfilling the law and commanding the invasion of all nations with the Gospel.

 

So, lets take a look at what the right use of the means.

 

1. The law is beautiful when used as it is intended v. 8

A. Paul affirms the beauty of the law used properly

1. This implies the law has a proper use and an improper use

2. The proper use of the law v. 9-10

“…understanding this…”

 

A. To use the law properly one must understand the following instruction.

B. The law is not for those who are just.

1. No one is just apart from the righteousness of Christ, therefore, the law is for

every one and Paul gives a list that all people fall into:

a. Lawless – “anomos” – those with no law

b. Disobedient – those without subjecting themselves

c. Ungodly – “asebes” – those without worship

d. Sinners – “hamartolos” – those who miss the mark

e. Unholy – those not consecrated

f. Profane – those unhallowed, barred from the threshold of the temple

g. Those striking fathers and mothers – commandment 5 – honor f and m

h. Murders – commandment 6 – do not murder

i. Sexually immoral – commandment 7 – do not commit adultery

j. Those who practice homosexuality – commandment 7 – adultery

k. Enslavers – commandment 8 – do not steal (humans in slavery)

l. Liars – commandment 9 – do not bear false witness

m. Perjurers – commandment 9 – do not bear false witness

n. Whatever else is contrary to sound (healthy) doctrine – catch-all of

what is not right

C. What is the right use of the law?

1. First, the law serves to reveal sin and lead us to Christ (Rom 3:19–20; Gal 3:24). “…through the law comes knowledge of sin…” “…the law was our tutor to lead us to Christ…”

a. Mark 7:14-23

1. The point of the dietary law is not to restrict eating, but that in

restricted eating man would see that the issue is not the food but

the evil nature man inherited from Adam from the fall and that in

man’s best effort he would still receive the consequences of sin,

which is death (the day you eat of it you will die).

 

2. Even if you eat broccoli as your only meal the rest of your life

you will still produce sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery

etc….

 

2. Second, the law serves to restrain individuals from trespassing onto the wrong territory (Rom 7:7; Ps  19:13).

“…keep back your servant from presumptuous sins…”

3. Third, the law serves to point out the works that please God (Rom 13:8–10)[1]

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

a. Ephesians 4:30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

b. We learn to imitate Father’s passion, gentleness and righteous wrath

1. Jesus imitated this for us by speaking boldly, gently healing

those who hurt, then turning over tables and chasing people with

whips

4. Fourth, the law serves to help us grow in relationship to Father

a. Search the OT to know Father well and to know what the Psalms calls

his “testimonies” – how Father has worked in history

b. Search the OT to know how to imitate Father well as his ambassadors

c. Search the OT to know how to read and interpret NT texts that quote OT texts

3. The proper use of the law is in harmony with the gospel v. 11

“…in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted…”

Three observations from this text that accords with the revelation of the OT:

A. First, the gospel (that accords with the law) concerns the glory of the blessed God.

* Remember, the law accords with this truth!

1. The content of the gospel is to set forth and proclaim the glory of God.

B. Second, this gospel comes from “the blessed God.”

* Remember, the law accords with this truth!

The term “blessed” pictures God as the source and fountain of all blessedness. Blessedness rests in and proceeds from God.

1. God’s glory is found in his blessed state

“makarios”

A prose form of the poetic mákar (n.f.), blessed one. Blessed, possessing the favor of God, that state of being marked by fullness from God. It indicates the state of the believer in Christ (Matt. 5:3–11, “Blessed . . . for my sake”; Luke 6:20–22, “Blessed . . . for the Son of man’s sake”), said of one who becomes a partaker of God’s nature through faith in Christ (2 Pet. 1:4). The believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit because of Christ and as a result should be fully satisfied no matter the circumstances. Makários differs from the word “happy” in that the person is happy who has good luck (from the root hap meaning luck as a favorable circumstance). To be makários, blessed, is equivalent to having God’s kingdom within one’s heart (Matt. 5:3, 10). Aristotle contrasts makários to endeḗs (1729), the needy one. Makários is the one who is in the world yet independent of the world. His satisfaction comes from God and not from favorable circumstances.[2 

C. Third, this gospel had been entrusted to Paul (and it has been entrusted to us)

1. The malicious perversions of truth Paul cited in vv. 9–10 did not proceed from the God of glory, and Paul wanted such heretical teaching to cease.[3]

2. We have entrusted with this gospel, therefore, we must know it and guard it

3. We must become experts and using the law to preach Christ (Acts 8:26-40)

a. We can show man the awesomeness of Father from the text

b. We can show man his lostness and war against Father from the text

c. We can show man Father’s love to send the Son to die and rise to so

man can be restored to Father

4. Let God’s people revel in this glorious gospel that is revealed cover to cover in Scripture

1. We have Scripture that tells us all we need to know. Father has not left us without

witness

 

2. We have a glorious message that we should be reveling in, therefore, revel in it

3. Engage the Triune God of the bible this morning in responding to him in worship


[1] Thomas D. Lea and Hayne P. Griffin, 1, 2 Timothy, Titus, vol. 34, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 70.

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[3] Thomas D. Lea and Hayne P. Griffin, 1, 2 Timothy, Titus, vol. 34, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 72.

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