1 Timothy 1:3,5—As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, continue to remain at Ephesus so that you might command some to teach no other doctrine . . . Now the goal of this command is love from a pure heart, and from a good conscience, and from sincere faith. (Modern English Version)
The word, “command” in verses three and five is a military term which means “to give strict orders.”
He saw me sitting in the car and it seemed by the way he kept looking over at me like something was on his mind. Sure enough, when I exited the vehicle he walked up and introduced himself to me. He said he was one of the new instructors in the Supervisor Course I was attending. Then he said he hoped he wouldn’t offend me, but that he felt it was a breach of protocol to require general officers to take the test at the end of the course. He said he had talked to the course managers about his concerns but that he was acting alone. Then he handed me two manila folders—one for myself and one for Dave, the other general attending the course. He told me to sign the document and turn it in on Friday.
Knowledge is the gateway to freedom. But my freedom may cause another to become shackled. When this happens, the fragrance that once surrounded my thinking becomes a stench before God. Let me give a hypothetical cultural example. From Scripture, I learn that I am to love people. In American culture, it is common and acceptable in most situations for a man to hug a woman. Let us say I travel to India where such action is frowned upon. Because of my knowledge of Scripture and my own culture, I have no problem hugging an Indian woman in the presence of my Indian brothers because I am free to express love with no sense of guilt or temptation. Now two things have occurred.
When I was in Junior High School, Billy Graham came to Seoul, Korea. I was able to sit on a platform not far from where the speakers stood and take pictures. At the time (early 1970’s), it was the largest Billy Graham Crusade ever. Looking behind the platform there on Yoido Island there was an immense sea of people. Dr. Graham explained to this spiritually hungry audience the meaning of the gospel. He quoted John 3:16, read other Bible passages, and outlined in simple terms God’s plan of salvation. Hundreds of thousands of Koreans stood and moved forward when he gave an invitation. Countless faces were wet with tears of repentance. Perhaps heaven’s citizens stood and cheered as they watched this grand spectacle.
A home improvement con artist swindled a 100 year-old blind woman. He rang the woman's bell, unsolicited, to offer to do any repair work needed. The woman told him that for years she had struggled with a door that was difficult to open because it rubbed against the rug. To fix the problem, she agreed to pay the man $8,000, to jack up her house.
What thoughts crisscrossed King David’s mind when he penned Psalm 19? His language is deeply reflective. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psa.19:1). Creation testifies to the whole world God’s greatness (vs. 2-6). Moving on, he notes, “The instruction of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul” (vs. 7). David lauds God’s word for its marvelous qualities (vs. 8-11), and concludes, “In addition, Your servant is warned by them; there is great reward in keeping them” (vs. 11).
When I am tempted it is never along the line of “Oh here is something wrong I can get away with doing.” The danger of temptation is when I rationalize the behavior or action I am drawn to commit over the objections of the Holy Spirit or God’s word. Temptation is a shortcut to pleasing my wants or concerns. Its chorus is never grating. It is extremely appealing:
No one likes to be manipulated. An individual may express an outward message that is incongruent with an inner motive. Once I placed a large order of cassettes for a music project I was working on. The sales person assured me of the solid reputation of this “Christian” company. He did not tell me the company was deeply in debt and about to declare bankruptcy. His motive might have been to help the company pull in more business. Because he withheld information, I made a purchase decision which resulted in losing my money and not receiving the products I’d paid for.
1 Timothy 1:5--Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.