1 Timothy & Titus Lesson 1
Texts: 1 Tim 1:1, 2; Titus 1:4
Please read these verses through in your Bible.
What the church needs in these days of peril is an army of workers who, like Paul, have educated themselves for usefulness, who have a deep experience in the things of God, and who are filled with earnestness and zeal. Sanctified, self-sacrificing men are needed; men who will not shun trials and responsibility; men who are brave and true; men in whose hearts Christ is formed “the hope of glory,” and who with lips touched with holy fire will “preach the word.” For errors, like a deadly poison, taint the morals and blight the hopes of a large part of the human race.
Paul’s labors at Antioch, in association with Barnabas, strengthened him in his conviction that the Lord had called him to do a special work for the Gentile world. At the time of Paul’s conversion, the Lord had declared that he was to be made a minister to the Gentiles, “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me”. Acts 26:18. The angel that appeared to Ananias had said of Paul, “he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and Kings, and the children of Israel.” Acts 9:15. And Paul himself, later in his Christian experience, while praying in the temple at Jerusalem, had been visited by an angel from heaven, who bade him, “Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.” Acts 22:21. (AA159)
Thus the Lord had given Paul his commission to enter the broad missionary field of the Gentile world. To prepare him for this extensive and difficult work, God had brought him into close connection with Himself and had opened before his enraptured vision views of the beauty and glory of heaven. To him had been given the ministry of making known “the mystery” which had been “kept secret since the world began” (Romans 16:25) ….
God had abundantly blessed the labors of Paul and Barnabas during the year they remained with the believers in Antioch. But neither of them had as yet been formally ordained to the gospel ministry. They had now reached a point in their Christian experience when God was about to entrust them with the carrying forward of a difficult missionary enterprise, in the prosecution of which thy would need every advantage that could be obtained through the agency of the Church. (AA160)
“There were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucuius of Cyrene, and Manean, … and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for other work whereunto I have called them.” Before being sent forth as missionaries to the heathen world, these apostles were solemnly dedicated to God by fasting and prayer and the laying on of hands. Thus they were authorized by the church, not only to teach the truth, but to perform the rite of baptism and to organize churches, being invested with full ecclesiastical authority…. Their teachings concerning the breaking down of “the middle wall of partition” (Ephesians 2:14) that had so long separated the Jewish and the Gentile world, would naturally subject them to the charge of heresy, and their authority as ministers of the gospel would be questioned by many zealous, believing Jews. God foresaw the difficulties that His servants would be called to meet, and, in order that their work should be above challenge, He instructed the church by revelation to set them apart publicly to the work of the ministry. Their ordination was a public recognition of their divine appointment to bear to the Gentiles the glad tidings of the gospel. (AA161)
Both Paul and Barnabas had already received their commission from God Himself, and the ceremony of the laying on of hands added no new grace or virtual qualification. It was an acknowledged form of designation to an appointed office and a recognition of one’s authority in that office. By it the seal of the church was set upon the work of God.
To the Jew this form was a significant one. When a Jewish father blessed his children, he laid his hands reverently upon their heads. When an animal was devoted to sacrifice, the hand of the one invested with priestly authority was laid upon the head of the victim. And when the ministers of the church of believers in Antioch laid their hands upon Paul and Barnabas, they, by that action, asked God to bestow His blessing upon the chosen apostles in their devotion to the specific work to which they had been appointed.
At a later date the rite of ordination by the laying on of hands was greatly abused; unwarrantable importance was attached to the act, as if a power came at once upon those who received such ordination, which immediately qualified them for any and all ministerial work. But in the setting apart of these two apostles, there is no record indicating that any virtue was imparted by the mere act of laying on of hands. There is only the simple record of their ordination and of the bearing that it had on their future work.
The circumstances connected with the separation of Paul and Barnabas by the Holy Spirit to a definite line of service show clearly that the Lord works through appointed agencies in His organized Church. Years before, when the divine purpose concerning Paul was first revealed to him by the Savior Himself, Paul was immediately afterward brought into contact with members of the newly organized church at Damascus. Furthermore, the church at that place was not long left in darkness as to the personal experience of the converted Pharisee. And now, when the divine commission given at that time was to be more fully carried out, the Holy Spirit, again bearing witness concerning Paul as a chosen vessel to bear the gospel to the Gentiles, laid upon the church the work of ordaining him and his fellow laborer. As the leaders of the church in Antioch “ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” (AA163)
Paul regarded the occasion of his formal ordination as marking the beginning of a new and important epoch in his lifework. (AA165). It was from this time that he afterward dated the beginning of his apostleship in the Christian church. (AA165)
God has made His church on the earth a channel of light, and through it He communicates His purposes and His will. He does not give to one of His servants an experience independent of and contrary to the experience of the church itself. Neither does He give one man a knowledge of His will for the entire church while the church – Christ’s body – is left in darkness. In his providence He places His servants in close connection with His church in order that they may have less confidence in themselves and greater confidence in others whom He is leading out to advance His work. (AA163)
Those who are inclined to regard their individual judgment as supreme are in grave peril. It is Satan’s studied effort to separate such ones from those who are channels of light, through whim God has wrought to build up and extend His work in the earth. To neglect or despise those whom God has appointed to bear the responsibilities of leadership in connection with the advancement of the truth, is to reject the means that He has ordained for the help, encouragement, and strength of His people. For any worker in the Lord’s cause to pass these by, and to think that his light must come through no other channel than directly from God, is to place himself in a position where he is liable to be deceived by the enemy and overthrown. The Lord in His wisdom has arranged that by means of the close relationship that should be maintained by all believers, Christian shall be united to Christian and church to church. Thus the human instrumentality will be enabled to cooperate with the divine. Every agency will be subordinate to the Holy Spirit, and all the believers will be united in an organized and well-directed effort to give to the world the glad tidings of the grace of God. (AA164)
The cause of God in the earth today is in need of living representatives of bible truth. The ordained ministers alone are not equal to the task of warning the great cities. God is calling not only upon ministers, but also upon physicians, nurses, colporteurs, Bible workers, and other consecrated laymen of varied talent who have a knowledge of the word of God and who know the power of His grace, to consider the needs of the unwarned cities. Time is rapidly passing, and there is much to be done. Every agency must be set in operation, that present opportunities may be wisely improved. (AA158-159)
1 Tim 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
- In 1 Timothy 1:1 and in Titus 1:1 Paul refers to himself as an Apostle. Study the New Testament occurrences of this word and determine its significance. Then summarize your findings to answer the question, What qualities and/or experiences go together to make one eligible to be called an apostle?
- According to 1 Tim 1:1a, who is our Savior?
- According to 1 Tim 1:1b what is the function of Christ Jesus?
1 Tim 1:2
2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
- In light of the fact Paul calls Timothy, the one to whom he is addressing this epistle, “a true child in faith” in this verse, can those who serve God in faith read this epistle, 1 Timothy, as an epistle written to them? Be ready to explain your answer.
- According to Acts of the Apostles, pp. 205, 206, does Paul have more reason than Timothy’s faith to motivate him to write this epistle to Timothy?
- Define Grace. List its qualities. Seek to identify the concept of grace appearing in the Spirit of prophecy materials when it is compared to other protestant authors, and when it is compared to a Catholic writer. (You may wish to consult sources such as the following:
- A dictionary of theology, such as Bakers.
- Steps to Christ, p. 68.
- The Spirit of Prophecy Index, under “Grace, “ and “atmosphere.”
- “Grace,” in The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible.
- Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology, by Emmanuel Dorozo, translator, a Roman Catholic document
- Define Mercy. See 7T264. You may also wish to consult the sources you used to work out your description and definition of grace. Reading the entries in the Spirit of Prophecy Index under “Mercy” should be very interesting, even if you don’t read the sources themselves.
- True or false: God treats the unfallen angels without mercy.
- Define peace. See Child Guidance, p 173 and The Desire of Ages, p. 152 paragraph 4-p. 153. You may also find it very helpful to consult the Sprit of Prophecy Index under “peace”, especially the entries under “is, “ p. 2004, col. 2.
- Can one person be instrumental in another person’s receiving grace, mercy, and peace from God, according to 1 Tim 1:2?
- Summarize the message of 1 Tim 1:1,2, in your own words.
4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith; Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
- What do you think – according to Titus 1:4, does holding “a common faith” make one “a legitimate child” of God?
If you answered yes, does having a false or distorted view of God mean you are not a legitimate child?
If you have a distorted view of God, and are not a legitimate child of God, are you serving a false God?
1 Tim 1:1
- Who is an Apostle:
|Acts 1:3 – one who has seen the resurrected Jesus.
2, 4 – one commissioned by Jesus
5 – one Baptized with the Holy Spirit
|What work?||8 – commissioned to be a witness to Jesus
8 – one who receives power through the Holy Spirit (cf. v. 43)
21, 22a – One who was (a man) and accompanied the disciples all the time of Jesus work: from the baptism of John until Jesus ascension
|Re:||Peter 22b – a commission witness to Jesus resurrection (4:33)
2:38 – instructs others in the way of salvation
(43 – Works signs and wonders [cf. v. 8]) so did deacons: 6:8 cf. 3:1-10 healed crippled man.
3:13-15 – Witnessed Jesus trial and crucifixion and saw the resurrected One
|Work||4:2 – proclaimed in Jesus the resurrection from the dead|
|Work||4:33 – testified to Jesus resurrection with great power; so did deacons
5:12 – did many signs and wonders so did deacons : 6:8
5:15 – even Peter’s shadow, combined with faith in sick – brought healing
16 – cast out unclean spirits – all who came healed
|Work||5:20 – commissioned by angel to go to tell
5:32 – apostle is eye-witness to Jesus life, death, and work in heaven
6:7 – is to be distinguished from a disciple 9:23-27
4:8 – Peter filled with Holy Spirit (2:4 all Apostles filled with Holy Spirit)
|Re:||Paul 9:15 – a chosen instrument of mine to carry My name before….|
|13:2 – Holy Spirit selects; says set apart for me…for the work to which I have called them|
|People cooperate (channels of something)
3 – after fasting and payer hands were laid on them and they sent them off.
4 – sent out by the Holy Spirit
47 – given a specific commission
14:4,14 – called apostles
14:21 – converts through Apostles not “Apostles’ but disciples’
14:28 – Apostles remained with disciples: – disciples and apostles not synonymous
15:2 – Apostles and Elders listed separately
22:15 – Paul sees Jesus and receives a commission
26:15-18 – record of Paul’s vision of Jesus and Jesus commission to him.
|CONCLUSION:||Rom 1:1 – called to be an Apostle; set apart for the Gospel of God
5 – Apostleship is received through Jesus to bring about the obedience of faith
1 Cor 9:1 – Am I not an Apostle? Have I not seen the Jesus or Lord?
2 – Apostleship is proved by fruits; “you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.”
1 Cor 1:1 – called to be an Apostle by the will of God.
SUMMARY: Who is an Apostle?
- one who has: seen the resurrected Jesus
- been commissioned by Him, to be a witness to Him
- been Baptized with the Holy Spirit
- received power through the Holy Spirit
(to be one of 12)
- a man:
- who has accompanied the disciples all the time of Jesus work; from Baptism of John to ascension of Jesus.
- instructs others in the way of salvation
- works signs and wonders
- witnessed Jesus trial and crucifixion and saw the resurrected One
- Eyewitness to Jesus life and death and work in Heaven
- chosen of God for a particular work
- designated by the Holy Spirit
- given a commission
- Sent out by the Holy Spirit
- Acknowledged by Brethren under Holy Spirit’s leading
- Called Apostles by others
- Sees the resurrected Jesus
CONCLUSION: An Apostle is one who:
- Has seen the resurrected Lord
- is called by God through Jesus for a particular work
- proves his apostleship by his works
Note: to be one of the 12 apostles one must also have seen the life of Jesus from baptism by John on –
It is recorded in Acts 2:22 of Jesus of Nazareth that He was “a man having been approved from God among you by powerful deeds and wonders and signs which God did through Him in midst of you….”
In 2 Corinthians 11:5 Paul writes, “For I reckon nothing to have come behind of the super apostles.” This statement he explains in 2 Corinthians 12:12 when he writes that “Indeed the signs of the apostle were wrought among you in all endurance, both by signs and by wonders and by powerful deeds.” – the same words that describe the work God did through Jesus the Nazarene as approval of Jesus in Acts 2:22.
Because Jesus credibility is said to be established by the Works God did through Him, and because Paul claims these same qualities prove him to be “nothing behind” the “super apostles, “ the significance of these acts is worth studying.
For much of this material I am indebted to Earle Hilgert and a lecture on the Meaning and Nature of Miracle.
In Acts 1:1 Luke points out he has recorded “all that Jesus began both to do and teach.”
The significance of recording the teachings of Jesus is apparent to all of us. But what is the significance of the acts of Jesus which are recorded? Why are these particular acts recorded, out of all that Jesus did?
The first clue to why the acts of Jesus are recorded comes from Luke in Acts 2:22 where he writes, “Jesus of Nazareth, “a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know, …”
Jesus works show He is approved of God as Jesus of Nazareth.
The second reason we can find why Jesus works are recorded is that presented by Matthew in his gospel – Matt 11:2-6 – When he record that Jesus answer to the disciples of John the Baptist is to whether He was the Expected One was to point them to His works.
This means that Jesus works were testimonies to who He was – the expected One – the Messiah.
The Apostles John points to this testimonial purpose of the works of Jesus when he writes in his gospel (20:30,31),
“And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book:
“But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.”
Third – Jesus works enable us to believe He is the Christ – the Son of God, and by believing we have life through His name.
Jesus works then show –
- He is the approved of God, as Jesus of Nazareth
- They show He is the Expected One
- That He is the Christ, the Son of God
The purpose for which Jesus works were recorded is that we might believe in Him – and by believing have life through His name.
While we know now why Jesus works were recorded we still need to study Jesus works, to see how each work testifies to His being the Christ, the Son of God.
An analysis of the recorded works or miracles of Jesus points to their being divisible into four divisions; (1) miracles of healing, (2) the miracle of raising the dead, and (3) miracles of exorcism or casting out devils, and (4) Nature miracles.
Miracles of healing done by Jesus were aimed at the ordinary ills of any oriental village; the blind were given sight, and lame were made whole, the deaf were made to hear, and the lepers were restored whole.
In Mark 2:17 Jesus connects sickness with sin when He says, “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
In the case of leprosy the ritual required for the restoration of the healed leper was a complete portrayal of the Gospel – (of, Lev, 14:1-20).
Sickness and sin are very closely related in Scripture. Isaiah writes (35:3-10) of salvation as bringing physical healing to man and earth.
Often Jesus went through villages healing, and when he left there was not one person who was still sick – even the chronically ill were healed.
In the story of the healing of the man sick of the palsy recorded in Mark 2:3-12, healing and forgiveness of sin are interchanged by Jesus, again emphasizing the close relationship between sickness, sin, and restoration.
Mrs. White speaks of this close relationship when she writes: “disease is the result of violating God’s laws, both natural and spiritual. The great misery in the world would not exist did man but live in harmony with the Creator’s plan” (DA824)
Before Jesus healed the paralytic, forgiving his sins and giving him a new life, He first drew him to Himself by His love even though his afflictions were the result of his own sins.
Because the woman who has been ill for 12 years was healed by simply reaching out in faith to Jesus, we know that however chronic our evilness has been Jesus is able to make us clean if we but reach out in faith to Him.
The healing of the blind man of Jerico resulted in his becoming a follower of Jesus (Mark 10:52). Just so if we leave our old garments and come to Jesus seeking sight our eyes will be opened and we will be followers of Jesus in the way. To know Jesus – to see Him as He is – is to love Him.
But one might reason that while Jesus can surely heal the ordinary sins of life as in illustrated by His healing the ordinary ills of the people of His time – the blind were made whole, and the lepers were cleansed – that there are no sins so dreadful – so extensive – that Jesus can’t heal them. Just as there are people who however sick they have been – even after years of continued sickness – get worse, and die. When sickness has reached its greatest extent – when it can never get worse the person dies.
Therefore if Jesus were to raise someone from the dead such a deed would point sinners to the greatness of His power to heal sinners – sin in its greatest extremity would by such a miracle be shown to be subject to His healing touch. And as you know Jesus did raise people from the dead.
When the widow of Nain lost her son to death it was a great blow to her – she needed her son in addition to loving him. He was her monogenes, her unique one – her only son – and she had no husband.
Jesus raising of this woman’s son tells us that when Satan has apparently succeeded in destroying our most prized and needed possession Jesus is often waiting to restore it. Jesus knows our needs and cares for us.
Jesus allowing Lazarus to die tells us that God doesn’t always work in the way that we expect him to – while His raising Lazarus from death shows that even when He disappoints our hopes and allows us to suffer what appears to be unrecoverable loss He is only leading in the way that will result in our having even greater trust and faith in Him – in whom to believe is to have eternal life.
Jesus raising of Lazarus shows us that He not only can open the eyes of the blind, or prevent us from suffering, but that when sin has apparently gained the final victory Jesus is able to bring us the greatest joy and proof of His power and care.
But Jesus not only knows our needs and cares for us, as His raising of the widow of Nain’s son shows; He not only responds to bring glory to God and established men’s hearts in a trust relation with Him – as the raising of Lazarus shows but He responds and manifests His great power in our behalf when our only need is that of an aching heart.
In Mark 5:21-43 we read of a father with an aching heart.
This man didn’t need his little girl – she wasn’t his only means of support.
Jesus knew He would raise Lazarus; He didn’t need this miracle to prove His power over the grave.
When Jesus raised this little girl it showed that He cares when our hearts are heavy and full of sorrow.
There’s another type of miracle – miracles of exorcism.
In Mark 1:21-28, 32-34 we read of Jesus being confronted directly by the devil in church.
The miracles of exorcism are different from miracles of healing and raising from the dead in that Jesus is not here dealing with the effects of sin – but He is rather in direct confrontation with the supernatural world of evil.
In casting out demons Jesus showed that He not only can heal sin – even when it is so extensive as to cause death – but that He is able to rebuke the causers of sin and suffering. This work of Jesus is that which tells us there really will be a time when evil is no more (1 Cor 15:24).
Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
Miracles of exorcism are not only healings but are lifting to a cosmic level the conquest of sin – and they are a prediction of the ultimate victory of Christ over evil.
The commission to the disciples was to preach the gospel and cast out demons – therefore preaching the gospel is very closely connected to the casting out of Satan.
When Jesus healed the demoniac in the synagogue the people learned of Jesus power and all the city came to Him for healing.
When Jesus heals sin in someone’s life today it is an invitation to all who hear to come to Him and be healed.
In Mark 9:14-29 we read of a man who had heard of Jesus great power to heal and restore. When He brought his boy to Jesus for healing Mrs. White writes again “the Prince of life and the prince of darkness…met on the field of battle, – Christ in fulfillment of His mission to ‘preach deliverance to the captives, … to set at liberty them that are bruised’ (Luke 4:18), Satan seeking to hold his victim under his control. Angels of light and hosts of evil angels, unseen, were pressing near to behold the conflict. For a moment, Jesus permitted the evil spirit to display his power, that the beholders might comprehend the deliverance about to be wrought.
“The multitude looked on with bated breath, the father in an agony of hope and fear. Jesus asked, ‘How long is it since this came unto him?’ The father told the story of long years of suffering, and then, as if he could endure no more, exclaimed, ‘If thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us.’ ‘If Thou canst!’ Even now the Father questioned the power of Christ.
“Jesus answers, ‘If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.’ There is no lack of power on the part of Christ; the healing of the son depends upon the father’s faith. With a burst of tears, realizing his own weakness, the father casts himself upon Christ’s mercy, and with the cry, ‘Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.’
“Jesus turns to the suffering one, and says, ‘Thou dumb and deaf sprit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.’
“There is a cry, an agonized struggle. The demon, in passing, seems about to rend the life from his victim. The boy lies motionless, and apparently lifeless. The multitude whisper, ‘He is dead.’ But Jesus takes him by the hand, and lifting him up, presents him, in perfect soundness of mind and body, to his father. Father and son praise the name of their deliverer” (DA 429).
In the Desire of Ages, pp. 429-431, we read
The multitude are “amazed at the mighty power of God, “ while the scribes, defeated and crestfallen, turn sullenly away.
“If Thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us.” How many a sin-burdened soul has echoed that prayer. And to all, the pitying Savior’s answer is, “ If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” It is faith that connects us with heaven, and brings us strength for coping with the powers of darkness. In Christ, God has provided means for subduing every sinful trait, and resisting every temptation, however strong. But many feel that they lack faith, and therefore they remain away from Christ. Let these souls, in their helpless unworthiness, cast themselves upon the mercy of their compassionate Savior. Look not to self, but to Christ. He who healed the sick and cast out demons when He walked among men is the same mighty Redeemer today. Faith comes by the word of God. Then grasp His promise, “him that cometh to Me I will in nowise cast out.” John 6:37. Cast yourself at His feet with the cry, “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.” You can never perish while you do this – never.
In a brief space of time the favored disciples have beheld the extreme of glory and of humiliation. They have seen humanity as transfigured into the image of God and as debased into the likeness of Satan. From the mountain where He has talked with the heavenly messengers, and has been proclaimed the Son of God by the voice from the radiant glory, they have seen Jesus descend to meet that most distressing and revolting spectacle, the maniac boy, with distorted countenance, gnashing his teeth in spasms of agony that no human power could relieve. And this mighty Redeemer, who but a few hours before stood glorified before His wondering disciples, stoops to lift the victim of Satan from the earth where he is wallowing, and in health of mind and body restores him to his father and his home.
It was an object lesson of redemption – the Divine One from the Father’s glory stooping to save the lost. It represented also the disciples’ mission. Not alone upon the mountaintop with Jesus, in hours of spiritual illumination, is the life of Christ’s servants to be spent. There is work for them down in the plain. Souls whom Satan has enslaved are waiting for the Word of faith and prayer to set them free.
The nine disciples were yet pondering upon the bitter fact of their own failure; and when Jesus was once more alone with them, they questioned, “Why could not we cast him out?” Jesus answered them, “Because of your unbelief; for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” Their unbelief, that shut them out from deeper sympathy with Christ, and the carelessness with which they regarded the sacred work committed to them, had caused their failure in the conflict with the powers of darkness.
The words of Christ pointing to His death had brought sadness and doubt. And the selection of the three disciples to accompany Jesus to the mountain had excited the jealousy of the nine. Instead of strengthening their faith by prayer and meditation on the words of Christ, they had been dwelling on their discouragements and personal grievances. In this state of darkness they had undertaken the conflict with Satan.
In order to succeed in such a conflict they must come to the work in a different spirit. Their faith must be strengthened by fervent prayer and fasting, and humiliation of heart. They must be emptied of self, and be filled with the Spirit and power of God. Earnest, persevering supplication to God in faith – faith that leads to entire dependence upon God, and unreserved consecration to His work – can alone avail to bring men the Holy Spirit’s aid in the battle against principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and wicked spirits in high places.
“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard see,” said Jesus “ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove.” Though the grain of mustard seed is so small, it contains that same mysterious life principle which produces growth in the loftiest tree. When the mustard seed is cast into the ground, the tiny germ lays hold of every element that God has provided for its nutriment, and it speedily develops a sturdy growth. If you have faith like this, you will lay hold upon God’s word, and upon all the helpful agencies He has appointed. Thus your faith will strengthen, and will bring to your aid the power of heaven. The obstacles that are piled by Satan across your path, though apparently as insurmountable as the eternal hills, shall disappear before the demand of faith. “Nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
The invitation to come to Jesus and have Satan cast out of our lives is applicable to everyone who hears of His power to heal today, just as it was in Jesus own time – but it is also true that just as the healing of the possessed son, requested by the father, was dependent on his believing, so today we have a part to act if Christ is to cast Satan out of our lives – and we can’t shift our work over onto God for him to do. Just as Jesus would have refused the father’s request had he refused to believe, and just as the disciples were powerless to work for God when they grumbled in their hearts against him, so God will refuse our requests for His aid, and we will be unable to work for Him if we don’t trust and believe.
“Without faith it is impossible to please him.” But faith in God is easy because He tells us, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
“Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will harken unto you.
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart,
“And I will be found of you, saith the Lord….” (Hebrews 11:6, Jeremiah 28:11-14a)
Have you lived without faith? Remember –
“Thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).
The last aspect of miracle that we wish to examine is that of Nature Miracles.
The first thing we want to notice about nature miracles is that they were capable of causing people to ask “What manner of man is this? That even the wind and the sea obey Him.”
This question comes from the story recorded in Mark 4:35-41.
This passage not only raises the question as to what manner of man Jesus is but it implies the answer.
The sea in Scripture is often the habitation of dragons or evil.
The greek word for wind is the same greek word that means spirit.
Therefore a storm on the sea with the winds and waves can be a symbol of evil spirits on a rampage.
It has been suggested the ship is a symbol for the church.
With this understanding, the symbolical message conveyed through Christ’s act of stilling the storm is very rich for each of us.
The ship – the church – with God’s people in it (the apostles) is in the midst of the forces of evil and apparently about to be overcome by evil – even though Jesus is in the church (the ship). But His presence doesn’t bring any apparent saving effect until His people call on Him for help; but when they call to Him for help He stands up and speaks to the wind – saying, be quiet, muzzle yourself – the same word he used to tell the demon to be quiet in MK 1:25. The fact of Jesus waking from sleep may point to the victory gained by His resurrection.
So for us individually – Jesus comes promising peace and giving it to all who ask and seek.
What manner of man is Jesus? He is the One to whom sickness, death, demons, and nature are all subject. What must we do to have Him help us? Ask, and believe.
Jesus miracle of feeding the 5,000 shows He is the Bread of life (John 6:26-59). If the disciples had understood this miracle, which points to the communion service, they would have known who Jesus was.
Again the miracle of Jesus walking on the water shows He and His constant followers only have victory over evil. As long as Peter walks toward Jesus he is safe, even while walking on the water – but when he takes his eyes off Jesus he immediately begins to sink – a warning from Jesus to Him to re-establish his awareness of his need of Jesus, a call to renewed trust before he perishes.
The miracles of healing performed by Jesus tell us that Jesus loves us and seeks to make us whole even while we are in our sin.
They tell us that Jesus is able and willing to make us whole if we but reach out in faith to Him; He will open our eyes that we may see His loveliness if we but ask Him to.
Jesus miracles of raising the dead tell us that when Satan has been allowed to destroy our most prized and needed possession Jesus is often at hand to restore it – thus leading us to a greater awareness of His power, and to bring us the greatest joy. They also tell us that He cares for more than our necessities – He cares when our hearts ache – and brings the comfort we need.
Miracles of exorcism are proof that Jesus is stronger than the Devil and won’t let us be tempted more than we are able to bear. They also assure us that if we have fallen under the power of sin until we are unable to speak of our need, that He reads our hearts and is able to free us. But they also point us to the fact that without faith in Him, it is impossible for us to work for him – even if he has called and commissioned us as He did the twelve. We have a part to act if Christ’s plan and work for our lives is to succeed and we are to be with Him at last. We are to believe, and preach the Gospel.
The Nature Miracles of Jesus raise before us the question – “What manner of man do we serve?” – the answer that is given is He is the One to whom sickness, death, demons, and nature are all subject.
What a great God we serve – what a wonderful Lord. What is the message of miracle?
1 Tim 1:1
Our Lord will come – He will save us. In the desserts of our lives springs of living water are promised through Isaiah and fulfilled by Jesus.
“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (JN 4:14).
“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward…. For yet a little while, and He that shall come with come, and will not tarry” (Heb 10:35, 37).
Every miracle recorded in Scripture is an invitation to us to bring our problems to our Great Heavenly Father.
Addendum Conclusion – the miracles performed by Paul taught these same lessons – they showed his God to be the same as Jesus of Nazareth’s God – and established who Paul was.
- God the Father is here our Savior.
- Jesus is our hope.
1 Tim 1:2
- In general, yes. The counsels of Paul were for one who followed the life of faith. Those counsels are God’s word to us if we choose to live the life of faith.
- Yes; Paul wishes Timothy to be the one who replaces him (Acts of the Apostles, pp. 506, 507).
In addition, “Paul and Timothy were bound together by an affection unusually deep and strong. Since his conversion, Timothy had shared Paul’s labors and sufferings, and the friendship between the two had grown stronger, deeper, and more sacred, until all that a son could be to a loved and honored father, Timothy was to the aged, toilworn apostle.
The desire for love and sympathy is implanted in the heart by God Himself. Christ, in His hour of agony in Gethsemane, longed for the sympathy of His disciples. And Paul, though apparently indifferent to hardship and suffering, yearned for sympathy and companionship (Acts of the Apostles, pp. 498, 499, 491).
- Grace as a doctrine essentially means that God is for us; that God has effectually acted toward us, according to Baker’s Dictionary of Theology – a basic protestant work.
In A Dictionary of Christian Theology, edited by Alan Richardson, a more philosophical work, we read that grace has the general meaning of a “favour freely shown, especially by a superior to an inferior. In the NT, it denotes primarily the favour and kindness of God, freely shown to men in the incarnate life and atoning death of his son…”
These concepts of grace are said to be that which distinguishes Christianity from other religions.
Grace can here be said to be carrying the meaning of “the redemptive activity of divine love” (Richardson, p. 148).
In Catholicism grace is primarily a power conveyed through various vehicles to people.
According to the Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology by Parente, et al., a Catholic work, grace is “A gratuitous gift infused by God into the rational creature with reference to the end of eternal life: (p. 116).
In this understanding “Grace, in general , confers on man the capacity or power to act supernaturally, in a way proportionate to life eternal. It transcends the natural order” (p. 116)
These general understandings of grace are divided into several kinds of grace, one of which is “habitual grace” which is defined by Parente as “A divine gift infused by God into the soul….” (p. 117).
It should be noted that this Catholic concept of grace as something which God infuses into the soul, as a divine gift, is quite different from the protestant concept of grace as a favor freely shown by God to fallen man, which favour is the redemptive activity of divine love.
With these contrasting positions very generally summarized before us we will look now at some material from the Spirit of Prophecy, noticing briefly the concepts grace, and soul there presented.
Note the following Sprit of Prophecy material taken from a study regarding Soul and Grace in First Peter.
- The Word gives Immortal vigor to the soul.
“Those who eat and digest this Word, making it a part of every action and of every attribute of character, grow strong in the strength of God. It gives immortal vigor to the soul, perfecting the experience, and bringing joys that will abide forever” (The Faith I Live By, p. 22).
- Christ will give life to dead souls.
“… Christ is able and longs to deliver. He will impart life to the soul that is ‘dead in trespasses.’ Eph 2:1” (The Desire of Ages, p. 203).
- The entire being must be brought into subjection to God.
“The entire being, body, soul, and spirit, must be brought into subjection to God, …” (The Youth’s Instructor, Nov 8, 1900, p. 286)
- The Soul and the body of man are distinguishable.
“A healthy soul in a healthy body makes a man or woman more precious than silver or gold, …” (Pacific Union Recorder Articles, p. 1).
- “The Spirit of God, received into the soul, quickens all its faculties” (Gospel Workers, p. 285)
- “When the soul has been cleansed, it is the duty of the Christian to keep it undefiled” (The Youth’s Instructor, p. 562)
- The soul, once dead in trespasses and sins, but healed by Christ and quickened in all its faculties by the Spirit of God, is capable of participating in immortality.
“Yes, the Word of God is the bread of life, eat of it daily. It will infuse immortal vigor into your soul,…” (Pacific Union Recorder Articles, p. 164).
“The soul that God has created and Christ has redeemed is of great value because of the possibilities before it, the spiritual advantages that have been granted it, the capabilities that it may possess if vitalized by the word of God, and the immortality it may gain through the hope presented in the gospel” (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 370).
NOTE also The Faith I Live By, p. 22: “It gives immortal vigor to the soul.”
- “If you do evil you injure and mar your own soul” (Present Truth and Review and Herald Articles, vol. 3, p. 115).
- “When truth becomes an abiding principle in the life, the soul is born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God which liveth and abideth forever” (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 520).
- Through the Holy Spirit the Lord infuses spiritual life into the soul.
“The Lord Jesus acts through the Holy Spirit; for it is His representative. Through it He infuses spiritual life into the soul, quickening its energies for good, cleansing it from moral defilement, and giving it a fitness for His kingdom” (Messages to Young People. P. 55).
- “It is the grace of God that gives life to the soul” (The Desire of Ages, p. 181).
- “It is the grace of God alone which can vitalize and refresh the soul” (Signs of the Times Articles, vol. 3, p. 54).
“His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness….” (The Faith I Live B, p. 96).
- “The grace of God comes to the soul though the channel of living faith, and that faith it is in our power to exercise” (Messages to Young People, p. 72).
- The grace of God, which makes alive (quickens) the soul, has existence; it is as real as the air.
“In the matchless gift of His Son God has encircled the whole world with an atmosphere of grace as real as the air which circulates around the globe. All who choose to breathe this life-giving atmosphere will live and grow up to the stature of men and women in Christ Jesus” (Steps to Christ, p. 68).
- The fiercer the conflict, the greater the supply of grace.
“The fiercer the conflict, the greater the supply of grace to meet the need of the soul; and the very nature of the grace received will enlarge the capacity of the servant of Christ to know God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent” (The Present Truth and Review and Herald Articles, vol 3, p. 367).
- The Word of God activates the life of God in the soul, through ministering grace to the hearer.
“Who would dream of the possibilities of beauty in the rough brown bulb of the lily? But when the life of God hidden therein, unfolds at His call in the rain and sunshine, men marvel at the vision of grace and loveliness. Even so will the life of God unfold in every human soul that will yield itself to the ministry of His grace, which, free as the rain and the sunshine, comes with its benediction to all. It is the word of God that creates the flowers, and the same word will produce in you the graces of His Spirit” (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, P. 97).
- By His grace we are to be made perfect: (Present Truth and Review and Herald Articles, vol. 2, p. 593).
- One application of grace is not enough; we must be growing.
“Our growth in grace, our joy, our usefulness – all depend upon our union with Christ. It is by communion with Him, daily, hourly, – by abiding in him, – that we are to grow in grace” (Steps to Christ, p. 69). Additional results of Grace working in us.
- “Additional results of Grace working in us.”
“Through the provisions of divine grace we may attain almost to the excellency of the angels” (Present Truth and Review and Herald Articles, vol. 1, p. 323).
“By his grace he will work upon the soul until it will be like a jewel polished for the heavenly kingdom” (the Youth’s Instructor, p. 223).
“The nature of the grace that he receives, enlarges his capacity to know God and His Son” (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 50).
“Man cannot conceive what he may be and what he may become. Through the grace of Christ he is capable of constant mental progress” (God’s amazing Grace, p. 278).
“It is the grace of Christ alone, through faith that can make us holy” (The Faith I Live By, p. 93).
“By the gentle touch of grace He banished from the soul unrest and doubt, changing enmity to love, and unbelief to confidence” (Ministry of Healing, p. 25).
- God’s goal, or desired conclusion to the work of grace in the soul.
“As the sunbeam imparts to the flowers there varied and delicate tints, so does God impart to the soul the beauty of His own character” (The Desire of Ages, p. 313).
“Christ abides in the soul of the believer” (Signs of the Times, vol. 2, p. 498).
- The Grace that changes the soul and enables it to participate in immortality brings changes that last eternally. The soul is unharmed though the body dies for Christ.
“When He suffers death for Christ’s sake, the Savior says to him, they may kill the body, but they cannot hurt the soul” (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 85).
- Christians have eternal life in them now.
“All believers who pass through a natural death have, through eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God, eternal life in them, . . .” (The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol 7, p. 926).
- A participant of grace is protected in death.
“The life giver will call up His purchased possession in the first resurrection, and until that triumphant hour, . . . every sleeping sain will be kept in safety and will be guarded as a precious jewel, who is known to God by name” (Sons and Daughters of god, p. 359).
- Grace keeps us from the slumber of death. Mrs. White writes that the Holy spirit is ready to supply every soul with grace according to the capacity to receive. Next she adds,
“then let us not be satisfied with only a little of this blessing, only that amount which will keep us from the slumber of death, but let us diligently seek for the abundance of the grace of God” (Present Truth and Review and herald Articles, vol. 2, p. 555)
- If we don’t make the proper preparations, “ye lie down in the grave unsheltered, . . . “ (Testimonies from the church, vol. 1, p. 133)
- Truth followers of Christ come forth from the grave partly by the life within them.
“By the power of the Savior that dwelt in them while living and because they were partakers of the divine nature, they are brought forth from the death. (Sons and Daughters of God, p. 359
- To conclude this survey of statements from the Spirit of Prophecy regarding soul and grace and death, we will quote an eschatological statement that is very fascinating. The exact message of this quotation is not real clear, but if it says what I think it says, it means that God’s people serve him whenever He needs them – whether that is before death, or while they are still in their graves, or after the resurrection.
“When the defiance of God’s law is almost universal, . . . then will the voice be heard from the graves of the martyrs, . . . “ (Pacific Union Recorder Articles, p. 336)
“Some ministers, when they find before them unbelievers who are prejudice against our views upon the nonimmortality of the soul out of Christ, feel all stirred up to give a discourse on that very subject” (Evangelism, p. 248).
“A wide door to destruction is open to all those who believe in the immortality of the soul, and do not believe that Christ alone brings life and immortality to light” (Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 156).
Summary and conclusion
In the statements quoted above man is a three-part being; a being who possesses a soul, dead in trespasses and sins until resurrected through the work of grace – which is as real as the air – that comes through the study of the Bible, the agency of the Holy Spirit, and expressed faith.
Under the work of grace man is capable of attaining almost to the excellency of the angels; he is capable of constant metal progress.
As he participates in grace his soul becomes a partaker of the elements of eternal life,
[“The living Christian will be filled with cheerfulness and peace, because he lives as seeing Him who is invisible; and those who see Christ is his true character have within the elements of everlasting life, because they are partakers of the divine nature, . . . “ (Present Truth and Review and Herald Articles, vol. 3, p. 117, col. 3.]
and when he dies his soul is protected in death until the time when the eternal life in him enables him to hear the call of the lifegiver and come up in the first resurrection.
We turn now to our study of First Peter.
1 Peter, Chapters 1-5
- The central theme of this book of Peter’s is the grace of God and how people can be benefitted by it to salvation.
- Grace comes to people from God in conjunction with their acts of obedience to the expressed will of God about how life is to be lived and responded to.
- In my opinion Peter’s first epistle and Mrs. White’s materials express the same nature of man.For Peter the soul is to be saved through a faith response (1:9). This is because the various experiences through which people pass, if one responds properly, become a channel of grace (4:19; 1:9, 10; 5:10). Those who follow God stand in grace (5:12).
For Mrs. White also the soul is to be saved through grace because she writes that “by his grace he will work upon the soul until it will be like a jewel polished for the heavenly kingdom” (Y.I. 223). In addition life’s experiences become channels of grace. Notice again.
“You receive grace, you develop grace, and as you reveal grace in your words, in your spirit and actions, God pours upon you a larger measure of grace. In proportion as you surrender yourselves to the working of the Holy Spirit, you are supplied with heavenly grace. You are molded and fashioned a vessel unto honor, and become a channel through which God makes manifest his grace to the world.” (Ellen White, The Youth’s Instructor, p. 222).
Our next quote from Mrs. White is not one of Peter’s points in my opinion, it sounds more like Paul, but it shows the reason for Peter’s exhortations and counsels regarding how people conduct themselves. “The flesh in which the soul tabernacles belongs to God” (The Youth’s Instructor, p. 487).
Finally, Peter we found concluded his study about grace saying that those who serve God stand in grace. Mrs. White has the same concept. Those who by faith serve God are surrounded by the atmosphere of heaven which is grace, and which they breathe in.
See Steps in Christ, p. 68, and notice the following. “He who abides in Christ is in an atmosphere that forbids evil, . . .” (Y.I., 320)
Christians realize that in order to bring the principles of Christianity into daily life, they need much of the grace of Christ. . . .”
“Whatever may be your defects, the Holy Spirit will reveal them, and grace will be given you to overcome” (The Youth’s Instructor, p. 551).
Summary and Conclusion
“The life of Christ was an ever-widening, shoreless influence, an influence that bound him to God and to the whole human family. Through Christ God has invested man with an influence that makes it impossible for him to live to himself. . . .
“Every soul is surrounded by an atmosphere of its own – an atmosphere, it may be, charged with the life-giving power of faith, courage, and hope, and sweet with the fragrance of love. Or it may be heavy and chill with the gloom of discontent and selfishness, or poisonous with the deadly taint of cherished sin. By the atmosphere surrounding us, every person with whom we come in contact is consciously or unconsciously affected.
“This is a responsibility from which we cannot free ourselves. . . .
“It is only through the grace of God that we can make a right use of this endowment. There is nothing in use of ourselves by which we can influence others for good. If we realize our helplessness and our need of divine power, we shall not trust to ourselves. We know not what results a day, an hour, or a moment may determine, and never should be begin the day without committing our ways to our heavenly Father. His angels are appointed to watch over us, and if we put ourselves under their guardianship, then in every time of danger they will be at our right hand. When unconsciously we are in danger of exerting a wrong influence, the angels will be by our side, prompting us to a better course, choosing our words for us, and influencing our actions.
Thus our influence may be a silent, unconscious, but mighty power in drawing others to Christ and the heavenly world” (E.G. white, Christ’s Object Lessons, pp.339-342).
- Mercy is sometimes called a communicable attribute of God; a definition which serves to emphasize the ability of man to become like his Creator, and the willingness of God to share His qualities with those He loves.
God’s willingness to share implies the object toward which the sharing is directed is less than the One doing the sharing.
Ellen White writes that
“God’s love for the fallen race is a peculiar manifestation of love – a love born of mercy, for human beings are all undeserving. Mercy implies imperfection of the object toward which it is shown. It is because of sin that mercy was brought into active exercise” (7T264).
Our Catholic Dictionary (Parente) defines “merit” as “the right to a reward due for a morally good action.” This Catholic concept is one I have been aware of for sometime, but it is not until I started to write this material that I realized that such a definition means that this Catholic dictionary does not list the word mercy. Defective objects cannot earn a reward.
Therefore it is clear that the biblical teaching that men are rewarded according to their works (Rev 22:12; Matt 25:31-46, etc.), means that as long as the Bible also teaches men are the objects of God’s mercy, man can and must remember he will be judged by his works although these works give him no basis for making a claim against God. Any reward is because of God’s kindness to defective beings – not because of man’s earned right to merit.
With these definitions before us it is clear that God extends no mercy to the angels – for they are not defective.
- The most common Hebrew word which is translated by the English word peace is Shalom, which has the dictionary meaning of to be complete or sound (BDB1022), when it appears as a verb, and which has the added meaning of wellness as a noun (BDB1022).
These meanings include the extended implications of being healthy, or complete, or prosperous, according to the Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, vol. 3, p. 705.
In Baker’s dictionary of Theology we find this summation:
The innumerable blessings of the Christian revolve around the concept of peace. The gospel is the gospel of peace (Eph 6:15). Christ is our peace. (Eph 2:14-15); God the Father is the God of peace (1 Thess 5:23). The inalienable privilege of every Christian is the peace of God (Phil 4:9) because of the legacy of peace left by Christ in His death (John 14:27; 16:33). These blessings are not benefits laid up in eternal glory only, but are a present possession (Rom 8:6; Col 3:15). Thus, peace is “a conception distinctly peculiar to Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatever sort that is. . . . (p.399).
- In my opinion, yes; but there is no linguistic support for this opinion in 1 Tim 1:2 that I am aware of.
- Yes, Titus 1:4, in part, literally translates to, “To Titus a true child according to a common faith, “ If you do not properly perceive God, we worship a false God. As copiers of a god other than the biblically revealed God we do those things which show we do not hold a common faith with God’s true worshippers and are therefore not true or legitimate children of the heavenly Father.
Notice the following from the Spirit of Prophecy:
“In the fear of God I tell you that the true exposition of the Scriptures is necessary for the correct moral development of our characters: (4RH20).
“To be a child of God means to be perfectly obedient to his words. . . . “ (3RH219).
“Do not drown the voice of Christ by your own interpretation of the Scriptures. Do not make the word of God mean what He never meant it to mean” (4RH21).
“Through belief in Satan’s misrepresentation of God, man’s character and destiny were changed, . . . (1SM346).
“Faith in a lie will not have a sanctifying influence upon the life or character. No error is truth, or can be made truth by repetition, or by faith in it. Sincerity will never save a soul from the consequences of believing an error” (2SM56).