April 19, 2015

We have begun this quick look at the Bible story and the message of God’s Word.  Taking the theme of “Someone” from the old “Jule Miller” filmstrip/video cassette/DVD series, the first lesson on the Old Testament gave us the theme, “Someone is coming.”

The Gospels will announce that this Someone has come, and that He was the Son of God Himself, and that He came with a specific purpose and mission.  Later in the New Testament the apostle Paul would state Jesus’ purpose very plainly: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”  (1 Timothy 1:15)

Paul makes this assertion in the midst of a moment of praise as he reflects on the incredible grace of our Lord, who would call such a sinful man to be His own.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.  Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.  The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.  (1 Tim. 1:12-15)

We are all aware of Paul’s story.  As Saul of Tarsus, “a Hebrew of Hebrews” and a Pharisee, he became the point man for the Jewish leaders in their persecution of the followers of Christ.  When he came face to face with the risen Lord he had opposed, however, he changed his life—that’s repentance.  He remained a point man, but this time for Jesus and His gospel.  (Phil. 3:3-6; Acts 9; 22; 26)

And as wonderful a story as this is, the apostle tells it so that Timothy and others of his day—as well as you and I—can recognize this same opportunity of grace and mercy brought by the One who “came into the world to save sinners.”

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.  But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.  Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.  (1 Tim. 1:15-17)

Like Paul, we are amazed that Jesus could actually forgive us! What is more, we can say with Paul that Christ Jesus has given us strength, has counted us trustworthy, and has called each of us into His service!   And so we join with Paul and with all the saints in praising Him!

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.  Amen.

Bill Allen

Dr. Bill Allen preached at South Fork from 2005 to 2015. He received a Bachelors degree in Bible from Oklahoma Christian in 1978, a Masters in Bible from Abilene Christian (ACU) in 1988, and a Doctor of Ministry from ACU in 1992. He now preaches at the West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas.

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