Traditional: 8:45 AM Sunday
Contemporary: 11:00 AM Sunday
Refuel Your Faith: 6:30 PM Wednesday
I am giving you these instructions, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies made earlier about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19 having faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have suffered shipwreck in the faith; 20 among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have turned over to Satan, so that they may learn not to blaspheme. (I Timothy 1:18-20, NRSV)
What does it mean to fight the good fight of faith? When we look at the verse above, it seems that we fight the “good fight of faith” by following godly instructions. Timothy, a pastor in the 1st Century city of Ephesus, is receiving instruction and encouragement from the Apostle Paul, who has mentored him and appointed him to this position. The apostolic authority of the Apostle Paul roots these “godly instructions” in the Hebrew Scriptures, in the good news of Jesus Christ, and in the oversight and authority of the church that Jesus has established. Receiving this, God’s Word and God’s Church, centered in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we receive the ability to trust in God (faith) and forgiveness from sins (a clean conscience).
By contrast, what does it mean to reject conscience? How is the faith “shipwrecked” when conscience is rejected? Such a person is compared to a ship that wrecks, because it has no rudder; it is just randomly tossed around by the waves until it is thrown into something it cannot withstand. When we reject the Holy Spirit, who works through the Word of God to convict us – to provoke our conscience so that we might turn to him and repent – we find ourselves drifting, with no means to steer our life. Ultimately, we will be dashed against the forces of sin, death, and the devil; shipwrecked by things we cannot in our own power withstand.
Today, we are invited and exhorted to hear the Word of the Lord and to walk in it; that we might fight the good fight of faith. In this, we will live with a strong faith in Jesus Christ, and a conscience made clean by his forgiveness and new life!