The Good Fight (1 Timothy 1:18-20)

Warfare

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This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme ()

STUDY
The Believer is in a battle. It is not a battle “against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (). Satan has always raged against God’s people (cf. ) and he is very strategic in the way he goes about it. One of those ways is by means of false teachers (cf. ). Despite such warfare, in Christ the believer is to stand firm. In his hymn “A Mighty Fortress is our God” Martin Luther declared,

“And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
 We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
 The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
 One little word shall fell him.”

In this passage before us (), Paul calls for Timothy to fight the good fight. In doing so, he speaks of the combat (1:18-19a) and the casualties (1:19b-20).

The Combat (a)
Paul begins by making reference to the “charge” he entrusted to Timothy. This is the charge mentioned back in 1:3-4 (guarding against a departure of doctrine). He reiterates his need to fulfill this so that he “may wage the good warfare“. The means that will enable him is a reminder of his giftedness and calling (“the prophecies previously made about you“). These prophesies occurred when the elders laid their hands on Timothy () – an event that likely took place at Lystra during Paul’s second missionary journey (). The warfare that he is to engage in is to be done in accordance with “holding faith and a good conscience” (1:19).

The Casualties (b-20)
When the people of God engage in such a combat, there will from time to time be casualties. Such causalities come as a result of their rejection of the truth. This rejection results in them making a “shipwreck of their faith” (1:19b). Paul mentioned two individuals by name who were the likely ringleaders of the false teaching in Ephesus (“Hymenaeus and Alexander“). This disciplinary action reveals the seriousness of their error and troublemaking. Paul enforced church discipline on them by handing them “over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1:20). This action indicates a removal from the blessing of Christian fellowship with a view of correction and even conversion.

Despite the difficulty of the believer’s battle against the schemes of Satan, the believer is to “wage the good warfare” (1:18) by the mandate and power of God. This ends the first section of the letter – Defending the Church’s Message (1:1-20). The church has a message and by God’s enabling it needs to be defended.

APPLY

  1. Look up the following passages and discuss what the Scriptures teach about the believer’s warfare: ; ;
  2. Paul tells Timothy that he can “wage the good warfare” by means of his giftedness (1:18). How does the reminder of God-given giftedness encourage us to “wage the good warfare“?
    1. What is the conscience and how does one obtain a “good conscience“? See ; ; ; ;
    1. The Following passages address the topic of church discipline (; ; ). Provide a biblical understanding concerning the purpose, principles and protocols of church discipline.

18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,

14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.

16:1 Paul came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the sea.

16 So I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.

15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them

Romans 9:1

9:1 I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit—

12 For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you.

through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,

16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

Published by

Andrew Courtis

Andrew Courtis

ANDREW - Serves as Pastor of Hills Bible Church. I am married to Dianne and we have three children (Kate, Emma and Jack). I was born and raised in Melbourne, moved to Adelaide to undertake theological studies (BMin.), and have completed additional studies with the Australian College of Theology (MATh.). I have served in pastoral ministry in both Melbourne and Sydney and am a qualified school teacher. I am committed to expository preaching and making the word of God known and understood.