Saturday, September 22, 2007

TFA 07: Morning devotional

Today saw the 2007 Theology for all conference take place at Christchurch Mayfair in London. Mark Dever from Capitol Hill Baptist church and IX Marks was the speaker. He was excellent. I was also given a free copy of Mark's new book 'What is a healthy Church' plus a free DVD, and picked up a cheaper copy of Mark's other new book 'the Gospel and personal evangelism', which is about one of the nine marks of a healthy church. There are eight more to follow in the series. Hard not to be excited about that.

For the first session Mark's text was 1 Timothy 1:12-17, and these are my notes:

Verse 12: Paul is talking about one moment in the past here, it's not the language of continual strength or filling, but of it happenening at one particular time. On the Damascus road. You notice he thanks Jesus for calling him into His service here. This is not a thankfulness for ease, but for hardship, for service. It was God's call, he had been judged as faithful and appointed to God's service. This was the reason also that Timothy was at Ephesus, not because of him or his life or decisions, but because of God's call. And there's great security, comfort and strength in that. Our call is not of ourselves

Verse 13-14: Paul was a violent man and a blasphemer, and yet he was made an apostle. He received abundent, super abundent mercy, he went from violence to love by God's strength. Again Paul hopes to encourage his young disciple, that his calling, his position in Ephesus was not down to or about Timothy's abilities or talents, but about God's power. See the neccesity of a thoruoughly theological faith? All Paul's talk so far has been deeply theological. He has not massaged Timothy's self esteem or ego, not comforted him with self help schemes. Theology.

Verse 15: Calvin said of Paul here that he was not confessing 'from the teeth forward', that he really, deeply felt his guilt here. He wasn't being morbid and unreal, or (as Mark joked) American). But somehow there's a joy in this humilty, and those two things together can only come from true theology. He was a wolf that became a sheep. All of salvation is from God. These verses are like Paul's personal Ephesians 2. Paul uses the word 'sinner' with great weight. Do we? He says 'of whom i am the worst'. I am, he says. Forgiven sinners are sinners still. We can not save ourselves. Our pride is too great, our resources too few. Verse 15 is a summary of the Gospel, you've got incarnation and salvation. Jesus came to save sinners. He came to ransom people by His blood. He did not come just to teach, or lobby or help, but to save. All our theology flows from that. Why?

Verse 16: So that Christ might show His patience as an example to us. God does not choose anyone who is worth choosing but in choosing He renders worthy said Augustine. The persecutor becomes tne apostle. How long and strong is the arm of God.

Verse 17: Behold your God! Paul turns to joy ful praise. We need to be certain of what God is like and who He is, thats true theology.

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