A Good Fight
1 Timothy 1:18-20
Pastor John Sloan
Introduction: In his groundbreaking book, Jesus, Mean and Wild, Mark Galli contends: “Today, we are adherents of the Religion of Niceness. Thus we learn not to make a fuss in school, at work, in life. We quickly discover that people respond positively to us when we are nice to them, and negatively when we aren’t. Since it feels good to be liked, we get addicted to being nice.” But what if we haven’t been called to be nice? Certainly, as followers of Jesus, we are commanded to embody kindness, compassion, grace, forgiveness, and a number of other attributes. But is there ever a time when a Christian should wage war?
Questions for Discussion & Discovery
1. What is Paul referring to by “the prophecies previously made” about Timothy (see 1 Timothy 4:14)? How would this anointing help to sustain Timothy through difficulties?
2.In what sense have you (along with every Christian) been called by God and equipped by His Spirit?
3. Why is it dangerous to equate Christianity with simply being nice? How can we actually do harm to someone by “being nice,” when loving confrontation is needed?
4. What are some ways that you allow your church to encourage and equip you to stay on the right path and finish well?
5. Is your conscience always reliable? Why or why not?
6. What does it mean to “hand someone over to Satan” (verse 20)? What is the goal behind such an action?
1. “Today, we are adherents of the Religion of Niceness. Thus we learn not to make a fuss in school, at work, in life. We quickly discover that people respond positively to us when we are nice to them, and negatively when we aren’t. Since it feels good to be liked, we get addicted to being nice.” – Mark Galli
2. “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.” – 1 Timothy 4:14
3. “Beloved … contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” – Jude 3-4
4. 01. The good fight is the struggle to graciously defend those doctrines that are central to the Christian faith.
5. The Doctrine of the Trinity; The Virgin Birth; The Deity of Jesus Christ; The necessity of atonement for sin; The substitutionary death of Jesus; The Resurrection of Jesus; Salvation by grace alone through faith alone; The Infallibility of the Holy Scriptures; & The Second Coming of Christ.
6. “Since it is in the church that Christ holds the seat of His Kingdom, outside the church there is nothing but the dominion of Satan. Thus he who is cut off from the church must necessarily fall for a time under Satan’s tyranny, till he returns to Christ and is reconciled to the church.”
7. 02. There is no more dangerous place to be than outside the watchcare and protection of the church of Jesus Christ.
8. 03. We “hold on” to our faith by regularly taking in the Grand Story of Redemption (of which Jesus is the Hero).