FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
14TH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 15TH 2019
TEXTS: 1 TIMOTHY 1:12-17
THEME: GRATITUDE FOR GOD’S MERCY.
When Paul was writing to Timothy, he was opening to the young friend his faith journey and what that meant to him every day. Paul conversion was so dramatic that his life had to be changed in a very big way. From that person who persecuted believers to the one being persecuted. In simple terms the hunter became the hunted. Paul considered his conversion as a great work of mercy on God’s side to find him worth of his use to spread the gospel.
Paul therefore believed that he was appointed by God to do the ministry and to this he was very grateful. He knew that his actions against the works of God was out of ignorant and did not know what it meant to believe in God.
Paul did experience God’s favor, faithfulness and love. He knew for sure that he never deserved to be fully accepted by Christ because of his first life of persecuting Christians.
In this story of Paul, we have the following faith lessons that we can learn:
- God’s forgiveness is total: Paul was known to scoff at the teaching of Jesus and even persecuted those who believed in this faith, yet when he met Jesus, (Acts 9:1-9) he was completely made new and the past was no more. Forgiveness journey begins by the realization that we are sinners. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ and I am the biggest sinners of all” (1 Timothy 1:15b). We have to come to this truth that we are sinners. None of us is perfect because we are human only God is perfect. With this in mind our prayer each day need to begin with asking God for forgiveness. We commit sins through commission or omission. When we have presented ourselves to God for forgiveness. We have to believe that God has done that. Paul was a good example from our story. He was a bad person in his early day but when he met God on the Damascus road his life was changed and truly believed that God had forgiven him. God used Paul in a mighty way after he was changed. God never counted his past mistakes against him. We have to live and forgiven sinners who are accepted to serve God whenever he calls us. The main reason for Jesus to come on earth was to offer salvation. It is therefore important for us to realize and acknowledge that we are sinners and our only hope is to accept Christ who has powers to take away our sins.
- God wants to partner with us: God invites each one to be a partner in mission. Paul said a special prayer to the Philippian church when he prayed, “He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). Our missions vary according to where we are and what God has in store for us. to each he as gives a special that he expects us to make us of. It is very easy to dismiss that talent that God has given us. Paul was called to spread the gospel to the gentiles. He did that so effectively and founded many congregations. Over the years God has chosen people to do different things. Many we went to Sunday school will remember their Sunday school teachers for they had a big impact in our lives
- God invites to be examples to others: Paul was a mentor to Timothy and many who went with him on his missionary journeys. Being a mentor to young believers is so important because it helps shape their walk with God. Mentorship does not have to be an older person being a mentor to a younger one only, it could be people of the same age. By mentoring we are able to encourage our mentee and the same time being there for them. It helps to share our past and the struggles we have god through. Paul never was afraid to share his past as way of showing the prevenient grace that existed from God. In the midst of our failures and mistakes God is will to invite us to his love. You help them explore their potential. I remember having a wonderful experience as a mentor in a Teammate program. I remember connecting with this shy young man in the program and after a couple of months he opened to me how he always wanted to be a writer and none of his friends or parents would believe in him. I did encourage him to continue working on that talent and before I knew it our every Monday meeting time, we spend reading some material he had had worked on that week to make a noble. I also do remember my journey of faith as a young man and my mentor Erastus, who mentored me through faith. He helped me discern my calling to the ministry and never judged for my previous actions or lifestyle. What is reminding us is that every Paul needs a Timothy and every Timothy need a Paul. My calling to you which I have called before in this church to try and be a faith mentor to someone and at the same time allowing someone to mentor you. This could be a triangle relationship involving 3 people or just two people.