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Archive for January 24th, 2019

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Prayer of the Day

Lord Jesus Christ, You have always given to Your Church on earth faithful shepherds such as Timothy to guide and feed Your flock. Make all pastors diligent to preach Your holy Word and administer Your means of grace, and grant Your people wisdom to follow in the way that leads to life eternal; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Psalm 71:15-24
Acts 16:1-5
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Matthew 24:42-47

Bio:  St. Timothy had Christian believers in his family. His mother, Eunice, was a Christian woman and was the daughter of a Christian woman named Lois (2 Timothy 1:5). Acts records that St. Paul met Timothy on his second missionary journey and wanted Timothy to continue on with him (16:1-3). Over time, Timothy became a dear friend and close associate of Paul to whom Paul entrusted mission work in Greece and Asia Minor. Timothy was also with Paul in Rome. According to tradition, after Paul’s death, Timothy went to Ephesus, where he served as bishop and was martyred around AD 97. Timothy is best remembered as a faithful companion of Paul, one who rendered great service among the Gentile churches.
Reflection by  Fr. Valerius Herberger (21 April 1562-18 May 1627, German Lutheran preacher and theologian):
“Dearly beloved, today we celebrate the commemoration of St. Timothy. He was born in Lystra (Acts 16:2); his father was a pagan, but his mother, Eunice, born an Israelite, had accepted the Christian faith and had committed her son, Timothy, to be raised by her mother, Lois, who was also a Christian. So Timothy learned the catechism from his grandmother. See, dear parents, what the diligent training of children can do! Now since he was a good, excellent thinker, St. Paul accepted him as his colleague or chaplain, and since he improved himself daily, Paul eventually ordained him as bishop of Ephesus, where he was also killed by the raging pagans. St. Paul loved him dearly, which we can see from both epistles that he wrote to him. In 1 Timothy 1:2, he calls him his true son in the faith. From these two epistles, many passages shine forth like the stars of heaven:
  • 1 Timothy 1:5: “The aim of the commandment is love from a pure heart and from a good conscience and from a faith unfeigned.”
  • 1 Timothy 1:15: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:12: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

Since St. Paul and St. Timothy were dear friends, they were put beside each other in the calendar, and also on the day of St. Timothy, the Gospel of John 15:9-16 is read, which speaks of pure love and friendship.”

(From The Treasury of Daily Prayer)

An important adjective in 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus is “sound”, as in, sound teaching, sound words and sound words (see, 1 Timothy 1:10, 1 Timothy 6:3, 2 Timothy 1:13, 2 Timothy 4:3, Titus 1:9, Titus 1:13, Titus 2:1, Titus 2:2,Titus 2:8). 

The word, “sound” is translation of the Greek word from which we have our words hygiene/hygienic. If something is “hygienic”, it’s clean, wholesome, and sound. This Greek a describes true doctrine. God’s teaching makes us sound and well and wholesome. He shows us the ways we are wrong and by His Word, in the medicine of His blood transfusion, makes us well, sound. We can not heal ourselves. The Lord has, as he did Paul:

1 Timothy 1: 12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

 This is sound doctrine and sound doctrine, teaching ever leads us our Lord and Savior as did the star led the Magi.

AS there is sound, cleansing doctrine leading to life and eternal life in the Lord, there is unsound doctrine:

1 Timothy 6: 3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.

The following commentary is by Thomas C. Oden, Interpretation: First and Second Timothy and Titus on the verses just cited. It was published 1989 before the social networking era of Facebook and Twitter. This commentary on 1 Timothy 6 describes very well the orgy of breaking the 8th Commandment on Facebook and Twitter, and the internet in general:

Those who blatantly reject these sayings of Jesus are blinded by pride, puffed up with conceit (cf. 1 3:6; 2 3:4). They know nothing (v. 4), though they may pretend superior knowledge. Chrysostom relished the irony: “It is possible then to be knowing, and yet to know nothing. For he that knows not what he ought to know, knows nothing” . “Commonly those are most proud who know least; for with all their knowledge they do not know themselves” (Henry, p. 827). Having a morbid craving for controversy (cf. 2 2:14), they can hardly wait for the next word game. In this syndrome the driving force is ambition. It uses conceptual tools to gain upward mobility. The “knowledge elites” (attorneys, teachers like myself, bureaucratic manipulators, politicians) in our society have learned to use specialized forms of “knowing” to increase income. Some of those of this temperament delight in verbal conflict, “as infected sheep by contact communicate disease” (Chrysostom, p. 468). They are ready at any time to stir up argument. They “contend earnestly for singular phrases” (Wesley, p. 784), using solemn words to club each other into submission, to avoid responsibility, to manipulate, to pretend piety. In this way the legitimate process of questioning and knowing has become willfully corrupted.

This dangerous brew of acquisitiveness and verbal skill is especially heady for church leaders …Their paths are often strewn with personal hurts and needless conflicts “which produce envy,, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among men who are depraved in mind” (vv. 4—5). Paul could see that the vitality of the worshiping community was being adversely affected by these perpetual quarrelers. Their innuendos, insults and abusive language were damaging to the family cohesion he sought to engender. The scene portrayed is one of ceaseless friction, incessant altercation, with people constantly rubbing each other the wrong way, “full of scurrilous abuse, stinging insult, and heated invective, or else of covert insinuation, malicious innuendo, and thinly veiled disdain”

What is the solution? It is always in our Savior and the evangelical exhortation that St. Paul gave his brother in the ministry:

11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Flee the endless wrangling of the Twitter world, and pursue the Word to be formed in it for the fight, the GOOD fight of faith. Don’t always be thinking of how to one up someone in endless verbal skirmishes on Facebook, but the way the Lord has called you whom you confess, and live in Christ in your vocation not in cyber-time but real time.

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