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“A DIVINE VISITOR FOR A DIVINE WORK”

 

READ IN THE BIBLE (1 TIMOTHY 1:15, 16)

 

 

The scripture text we will be considering in this message is found in Paul’s first letter to Timothy.  He says in, (1 Timothy 1:15, 16) “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”  And, verse 16 says, “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting”.  Notice from verse 15 we have the following significant truths brought before us:

 

1.        THE PRECEPTS OF GOD – “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation”.

2.      THE PERSON WHO CAME – “Christ Jesus came”.

3.      THE PLACE TO WHICH HE CAME – “Into the world”.

4.      THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH HE CAME – “To save sinners”

5.      THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION – “Of whom I am chief”.

 

In this message we will consider each of these points beginning with;

 

1. THE PRECEPTS OF GOD – “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation”.

These words are saying to us that what is about to be said is a “trustworthy” statement.  The Greek order of the words is, “faithful is the saying” or “trustworthy is the saying”.  The statement to follow is completely reliable and therefore should be universally accepted.  It is the Word of God therefore it can be trusted.  Because it is the Word of God it is true and is deserving of your whole hearted acceptance.  What God is saying must be believed without hesitation.  God can neither lie or be mistaken.  If YOU reject God’s Word you are being unreasonable and unwise.  The Psalmist said in, (Psalm 19:7-11) “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.”  “The statutes of the lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes”.  “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether”.  What is to follow in this verse, and what we want to consider, is a “declaration from God”.  It has universal consequences; therefore it should be universally accepted.  Because all are sinners and need a Savior, all, therefore, ought to welcome a doctrine which shows them how they may be saved.  The only way you can know and understand God’s way of salvation, and how YOU personally may be saved, is from the Bible, the Word of God.  Why should it be hard to believe the Bible is God’s word and revelation of Himself to us?  The God of the Bible is the God of creation and the God of salvation.  It is not difficult to believe therefore, that he is also the God of communication.  The cornerstone of all bible teaching is the subject of salvation.  The message that tells men, women, boys and girls how they may be saved is called the “gospel”, God’s good news.  We are told in, (1 Timothy 2:3, 4) “God our Savior who will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth”.   It is God’s will that all men be saved.  The same truth is stated in another way in, (2 Peter 3:9) “The Lord is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance”.  It is not the will of God that any should perish in their sins.  Because this is God’s will, He has commissioned His people to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature”. (Mark 16:15).  We read in, (Romans 1:16) “The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth”.  When the gospel message is heard (or read) and believed whole heartedly (not just a mental accent to historical facts) a person will be saved.  Salvation is bestowed on the grounds of faith alone.  Neither remorse for sins, nor prayers, nor human desire can bring about salvation.  Faith alone saves and the object of saving faith must be in God’s beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  The gospel message is found in (1 Timothy 1:15, 16), the scripture portion we are considering in this message.  This is the “trustworthy” statement worthy of your wholehearted acceptance.  Let us consider, then, the following:

 

2. THE PERSON WHO CAME – “Christ Jesus came”.

Notice the order of His Names, “Christ Jesus”.  It emphasizes the deity of His person.  The One who came from heaven to earth was first of all “God”, the “Christ”, the Messiah, and the anointed One.  It was “Christ” who came.  He was rich in power and glory and majesty.   The title deeds of this vast universe were His.  We read in, (Colossians 1:16) “By Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible: all things were created by Him and for Him”.  He eternally existed in the “form of God”.   We read in, (Philippians 2:6) “Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God”.  The prophet Isaiah was given a vision of Him as He sat upon His throne in heaven.  We read in, (Isaiah 6:1, 5) “I saw the Lord sitting upon His throne, high and lifted up”.  “Mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts”.  But, it says in, (2 Corinthians 8:9) “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich”.  It was for our sakes He became poor.  He came into manhood.  Deity took on humanity.  The Son of God became the Son of man.  The high and lofty One of heaven would become the “man of sorrows”.  Before His birth, it was announced by the angel, (Matthew 1:21) “Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins”.   The name “Jesus” means “Jehovah saves” or “Jehovah Savior”.  It speaks of the work that he would do to vindicate the throne of God and provide salvation for sinful men.  The One who came then was the Son of God.  By His coming into the world the love of God for this world of sinners lost was clearly demonstrated.  We read in, (John 3:16, 17) “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.  “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved”.  This blessed One left the glory of heaven.  He laid aside His garments of glory and majesty in exchange for swaddling clothes and a servants robe.  It was a great mystery; God was manifest in the flesh.  We read in, (Hebrews 2:14, 9) “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil”.  “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man”.  “Christ Jesus CAME”.  It tells us He had a previous existence.  He said in another place, (John 6:38) “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me”.  O thank God He came.  Apart from His coming and His redeeming work on the cross, mankind had no hope of salvation and escape from the judgment to come. 

 

3. THE PLACE TO WHICH HE CAME – “Into the world”.

He came “into the world”.  The pre-existence of the savior is indicated by these words, “He came into the world”.  He came from another place.  He came from heaven.  This blessed One who dwelt with God, His father, from all eternity, came down into this world in condescending grace.  He came to where we are.  He came as we are sin apart.  Deity took on humanity as we said above.  He came to this place of sin, shame and sorrow.  When He came into the world, the world “hung out the no vacancy sign” for Him.  He was born in a stable and laid in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.  The Word of God has some things to say about the world to which He came:

·        When the savior came into the world, He came into Satan’s domain.  (2 Corinthians 4:4) “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not”.  Satan is the god of this age.  He has power to blind the minds of those who will not believe in God or His gospel.  He does not have power however, to keep veiled those whose eyes have been opened and have turned by faith to the light of the gospel.  Satan’s supreme ambition with regard to men is to fill the place in their hearts which God alone should have.  We are told in, (1 John 5:19) “The whole world lieth in wickedness (the wicked one, i.e., Satan)”.  He is called, “the prince of the power of the air”.  (Ephesians 2:2). His realm of power is the atmosphere above the earth.  The behavior of the unsaved is often diabolical as they are led about by the god of this age and his evil spirits.    

·        When the Savior came into the world, He came into an environment of sin and death.  (Romans 5:12) “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.  The devastating effects of sin which are sickness, disease and death were all around Him as they are us as well.  We read of the Savior in, (Isaiah 53:4) “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows”.  The Savior’s earthly healing ministry was evident by the many that were miraculously healed by His gracious power.  There were times that even the dead were raised back to life.  We read in, (1 John 2:16) “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the father, but is of the world”.  These three elements of worldliness have been around since Adam and Eve and are evident every day.

·        When the Savior came into the world, He came to a world sentenced as guilty before God.  (Romans 3:19) “All the world …guilty before God”.  God has pronounced this world to be guilty in His sight.  The supreme guilt of this world was manifested in its rejection and crucifixion of God’s beloved Son.  The world said through the voices of men, “we will not have this man to reign over us”. 

·        When the savior came into this world, He came to a world under the judgment of God.  (Acts 17:30, 31) “God now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because He hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained: whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead”.  In light of the certainty of God’s coming judgment, all men everywhere are commanded to repent.  It means to do an about-face.  To change your mind regarding your sin and God’s Savior.  Dear reader, have YOU repented of YOUR sins?  The Lord Jesus said in, (Luke 13:3) “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish”.  The message is very clear.  God’s judgment is coming.  Unless YOU repent YOU will perish in YOUR sins.  The One who came into the world to save the world will one day judge this world.

 

But, why did He come anyway?  This leads us to the next point we want to consider;

 

4. THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH HE CAME – “To save sinners”

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”.  WHY DID THE SAVIOR COME?  There are at least three reasons why He came.  (Psalm 14) gives us two of these reasons:

  1. HE CAME BECAUSE OF HIS DIVINE PERCEPTION.  It says in, (Psalm 14:2) “The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God”.  O what a sight before the eyes of a holy God.  This world of mankind totally depraved and without understanding.  The natural man will not seek God.  We read in, (Psalm 10:4) “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts”.  Wickedness, pride and selfishness are characteristic of those who do not believe God and will not seek God.  God sees it all.  (Job 34:21) “His eyes are upon the ways of man, and He seeth all his goings”.  (Proverbs 15:3) “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good”. 
  2. HE CAME BECAUSE OF HIS DIVINE DECLARATION.  It says in (Psalm 14:3, 4) after the Lord looked down upon mankind, “They are all gone aside, they are altogether become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no not one”.  “They call not upon the Lord”.  Such is the condition of mankind. God’s Word teaches that “sin” is a universal condition and a universal problem.  Sin came into the world through one man, Adam.  We read in, (Romans 5:12) “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned”.  We see then, not only was Adam a sinner, but each of his descendants inherited the same.  In (Romans 3) we have what is described as God’s “word portrait” of mankind.  (Romans 3:9-23) “Jews and Gentiles, they are all under sin”.  “There is none righteous, no not one”.  “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God”.  “There is no fear of God before their eyes”.  “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”.  “All the world is guilty before God”.  Please note dear reader, there are no exceptions and no exclusions.  YOU are included in God’s description of fallen sinful man.  Have YOU acknowledged and confessed YOUR sins before God?  Have YOU repented of YOUR sins? This means to change your mind with regard to your sins and God’s salvation.  The awful truth is, that you, like everyone else, is not just a one-time sinner but a sinner by practice.  We sin every day in thought, word, and deed.  If you deny this, you deceive yourself and make God a liar.   
  3. HE CAME BECAUSE OF HIS DIVINE UNDERSTANDING.  God is holy.  He must always do what is right and proper.  He cannot tolerate sin, compromise with it, overlook it, or pass it by.  God has declared in His Word, (Ezekiel 18:4) “The soul that sinneth, it shall die”.  (Romans 6:23) “The wages of sin is death”.  (Hebrews 9:27) “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”.  God’s law demands the death of the sinner.  God’s judgment will then fall upon the sinner for we read in, (Revelation 20:15) “Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire”.  Dear reader, is YOUR name in the “book of life”?  If not, you must pay your own sin debt.  Your sin’s penalty must be endured.  Without a Savior, you must endure the penalty of your sins and therefore be doomed and damned eternally.  God knows this, of course, and thus in His love, mercy and grace, He devised a plan of salvation.  The hymn writer wrote of this when he said;

O the love that drew salvations plan

O the grace that brought it down to man

O the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary

 

God is a loving God and has proved it by providing a Savior for sinful man.  (John 3:16) “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.  (Romans 8:32) “God spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all”.  This is the good news.  Read these wonderful words again.  “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”.  O thank God, He came.  He was under no obligation to come but He came anyway.  He came with a purpose.  He came with an intention, with a plan.  He came when we needed Him most.  We read in, (Galatians 4:4) “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons”.  He did not come to save “good” people because God says in His Word, (Ecclesiastes 7:20) “There is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not”.  He came to save, not to destroy; to show mercy, not to pronounce judgment; to save sinners – the poor, the lost, the down trodden, not to condemn them; He came to restore them to the favor of God, to raise them up from their degradation, and to bring them to heaven.  We read in, (John 3:17) “God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved”. 

 

He came down from heaven to do a work that no other could do.  “There was none other good enough to pay the price of sin, He only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in”.  “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”.  He could only do this by going to the cross.  A holy God had declared, “Without shedding of blood there is no remission”, no forgiveness.  He was, (Philippians 2:8) “Obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”.  He could say in, (John 10:11, 17, and 18) “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep”.  “I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This commandment have I received of my Father”.  He was taken outside the city of Jerusalem to a place called Calvary and there they crucified Him.  They nailed His hands and feet to a wooden cross and lifted Him up between heaven and earth.  During those first three daylight hours He was mocked and ridiculed and called upon to come down from the cross to prove He was the Son of God and the king of Israel.  Then we read, “From the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land till the ninth hour”.  During those dark hours on Calvary He went under the wrath and judgment of a holy God.  He took your sins and my sins in His own body on the tree.  We read in, (Isaiah 53:10) “The Lord made His soul an offering for sin”.  (Isaiah 53:6) “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all”.  This is the gospel, God’s good news, (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4) “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; He was buried, and He rose again the third day according to the scriptures”.  Dear reader, are YOU saved?  Do YOU have, a time when, a place where and a manner how you were saved?  Was there a definite time in your life when you believed the gospel message?  This leads us to the final point we want to consider;

 

5. THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION – “Of whom I am chief”.

The Apostle Paul said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief”.  Then, he went on to say in, (1 Timothy 1:16) “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting”.  Paul said he occupied the first or foremost rank among sinners.  He was a great sinner because he openly persecuted the people of God and consented to putting some of them to death.  If the Lord could save the “chief of sinners” He can certainly save YOU dear reader.  Paul’s experienced a dramatic conversion to Christ is he was traveling on the Damascus road on his way to find Christians that he might arrest them and bring them bound unto Jerusalem.  He was on a path away from God, as all unsaved people are, when he had a meeting with the Lord Jesus Christ.  Dear reader, think of God’s great mercy and longsuffering to save this man who was openly antagonistic to God and His people.  Paul’s conversion was a “pattern”, an example, of God’s longsuffering and mercy that would be and has been shown to any who believe in His beloved Son.  No one need despair, no matter how wicked they might be.  Since the Lord already saved the “chief of sinners”, he will save anyone who believes on Him and He can certainly save YOU dear reader.

  

In closing, I urge YOU to take advantage of this present time while you can and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as YOUR personal Savior.  The Apostle Paul was traveling the Damascus road when God saved him.  YOU are traveling the “highway of life”, passing through time on the way to eternity.  There are only two destinations.  It is either heaven or hell.  Now that you have read this message you have come to the “crossroads”.  Which way will you go?  You can remain on the “broad way” to eternal destruction and hell by doing absolutely nothing.  But, heaven can be your eternal destiny by believing the gospel message and by a definite act of faith, receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior.  Please give this matter your most serious attention.  Your eternal destiny depends on your decision.

 

Christian Messenger