The Power of God’s Unlimited Patience and the Value of Fellowship
Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:15-16 (NIV)
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.“
I highlight two significant aspects of 1 Timothy that have deeply impacted my understanding of God’s love and the importance of fellowship. The first is the Apostle Paul’s recognition of his own sinfulness and God’s unlimited patience in saving him. The second is the value and power of being part of a community of believers.
God’s Unlimited Patience: The Apostle Paul acknowledges that he was the worst of sinners, yet God showed him mercy and saved him. This serves as a powerful reminder that no matter how far we may have strayed or how deep our sins may be, God’s love and patience are boundless. We should never believe that we have gone too far for God’s forgiveness. Instead, we should humbly repent and turn to Him, knowing that He eagerly waits to embrace us with open arms.
The Value of Fellowship: The early church understood the significance of being part of a community of believers. They relied on one another for encouragement, support, and accountability. Today, in a world dominated by social media and superficial connections, we must recognize the importance of genuine fellowship. It is through deep relationships with other believers that we can experience the power of God’s love and grow in our faith. We should prioritize spending time with fellow believers, engaging in meaningful conversations, and supporting one another in our spiritual journeys.
Embrace God’s Unlimited Patience: Reflect on your own life and acknowledge any areas where you may have felt unworthy of God’s forgiveness. Remember that God’s love knows no bounds, and He eagerly waits for you to turn to Him. Take time to confess your sins, seek His forgiveness, and embrace the unlimited patience and grace He offers.
Prioritize Fellowship: Evaluate your commitment to fellowship with other believers. Are you actively engaged in a community of believers, or have you allowed superficial connections to replace deep relationships? Make a conscious effort to prioritize fellowship by attending church, joining small groups, and seeking opportunities to connect with other believers. Invest in meaningful conversations, encourage one another, and support each other’s spiritual growth.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your unlimited patience and boundless love. Help us to recognize that no matter how far we may have strayed, you eagerly await our return. Give us the humility to repent and turn to you, knowing that you will embrace us with open arms. Lord, help us value and prioritize fellowship with other believers. Show us the importance of deep relationships and genuine connections within the body of Christ. Guide us to actively engage in meaningful conversations, encourage one another, and support each other’s spiritual growth. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Podcast Transcript: The Value of Church Fellowship
There are two things that stand out to me in 1 Timothy. One is something that always stands out to me. I have underlined. And the other, it was the first time that I had actually considered it something to be of a lot of value. And that’s what I love about rereading things and getting into the Bible daily, is that sometimes you read something that you’ve read several times before, and for some reason this time it stands out and I do a little bit deeper studying on, and it really impacts me in a big way.
God’s Unlimited Patience
The first thing that stands out to me is that the Apostle Paul is talking about how he is the worst of all sinners, yet God still saved him. That he’s the example of how God has unlimited patience. I want to read out of verses 15 and following. It says, “Here’s a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. Christ Jesus came to the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy, so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
This has stood out to me for a long time because I think there’s a lot of people that struggle with going to church or struggle with seeking out God just because they think that they have gone too far, that the stuff in my life that I have, the issues that I’m going through, are too much, and there’s no way God can forgive this, there’s no way God can forgive that. But when you read about the Apostle Paul, before his encounter with God, he was a zealous person, lots of passion, out there killing Christians for what they believed in, and until he encountered Jesus himself, where he changed his life, and basically apologized, repented, and then started to serve God, started to serve Jesus. And that is a miraculous turn. And that’s something that I think a lot of people don’t know, especially if they haven’t gone to church a lot. So that, to me, is important to know, that there is nothing that you can’t come back from.
The Power of Church Fellowship
The last part of chapter one really emphasizes the power of the church and how awesome it is to be a part of a group of believers when it is done right and we are doing as we are called to do as believers. I’m currently not actually a part of any clubs or memberships or anything, not even Sam’s club or Costco. I don’t have any memberships to anything. I have friends that are, I have a business partner that is a member of a great country club and we’ve gone there to eat and golf. And when you have something like that, there is a ton of advantages that you have when you go there. I mean, it is super nice. Maybe you have a membership at a gym where you’re able to go and work out, and you have all these advantages there that you can take advantage of. I think that there is a huge advantage to being a part of a body of believers who are seeking after God, who are encouraging one another, who are lifting each other up, and so much so that there are parts in Scripture where it seems like the ultimate punishment for somebody is actually to cast them out of the church because of what they’ve been doing.
At the end of chapter 1 verses 19 and 20, the Apostle Paul is talking to Timothy and he’s telling him this in verse 19. It says, “Hold on to the faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. Among them are Himineris and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.” What stands out to me is he actually calls out two people by name here need to be kicked out of the church, because that’s what he’s referencing when he says handed over to Satan. They would have an understanding that being in the church gives them this huge advantage and there’s protection in there, and that’s what he’s referring to as handing over to Satan. That would be like, we are taking you out of this fellowship, and you are gonna be out on your own, and you’re not gonna have the protection that you have when you’re with all those believers, and everybody’s praying for you, and we’re looking out for each other, and we’re encouraging one another. You’re gonna have to go out there on your own now, and that was like the ultimate punishment that they could do, would be to basically disown them. The only reason that they’re doing that this time is for blasphemy. So these guys must have been saying that Jesus is not the only way and that even though we are open to discussing that and telling you why that’s wrong when you have a big belief in that and you’re trying to spread that to others, you are not welcome here. And so that was a big deal. You were kicked out of the church then and I feel like that stands out to me that they had such a huge value in the body of believers, in a fellowship of believers, that that was a huge massive punishment was to say, you are no longer welcome here.
The Importance of Church Fellowship
I think maybe we have lost a little bit of the value of church, the value of being around other believers. A lot of people are at home now and they’re just watching services online or they put importance on other things rather than being with the body of believers. When a soccer game comes up or they’re just tired from possibly the night before and they just want to sleep in. I mean, this is a sign that we are not valuing the fellowship of believers as the early church did. That was something that they relied on and that was something that they look forward to. I feel like the question to be asking ourselves is, would we see it as a massive punishment if just our local church all of a sudden said, you know, you’re not welcome here anymore? Would that wreck our life like it would have in the first church? Or would we be like, okay, oh well, whatever. I think that’s a huge sign of the importance of other Christians in my life right now. And that is something that I strive and desire for, that I want close relationships with other believers so we can encourage one another, because when you miss out on that, you’re missing out on something huge. And I feel like that is a struggle of the church nowadays because of social media and the way that culture’s going, that most people don’t even hang out or invite people over for dinner anymore. We just see each other online, we like posts, we comment, that’s it. And we’re missing something so much deeper and that was so valued in the early church. For what it’s worth, those are my thoughts on 1 Timothy.