1 Timothy 1:8-11

A. A major problem in the early church was a proper understanding of the law of Moses
1. Some Jewish Christians sought to bind it upon Gentile Christians… Acts 15:1-6
2. Some Jewish Christians continued to observe certain elements of the Law… Acts 21:20

B. The issue prompted several epistles from Paul
1. To the church at Rome
2. To the churches in Galatia
3. To the church at Colosse
4. To the Hebrew Christians in Palestine (if Paul be the author)

C. It was evidently a problem in the church at Ephesus…
1. Where Paul left Timothy… 1 Timothy 1:3-4
2. Where some strayed as in their use of the Law… 1 Timothy 1:5-7

D. A similar problem often exists today, where people…
1. Fail to understand the purpose and limitations of the Law of Moses
2. Use the Law of Moses in ways that are not lawful

E. But as Paul writes, the Law of Moses is good when used lawfully… 1 Timothy 1:8-11

F. From his words in this text and elsewhere, let’s examine first…

1. The Law of Moses is used lawfully for wisdom regarding salvation through faith
a. As Paul wrote later in his second epistle to Timothy… 2 Timothy 3:14-17
1) Referring to the Scriptures Timothy knew from childhood
2) An obvious reference to the Old Testament, including the Law of Moses

b. Appeal was often made to the Old Testament in discussing the nature of salvation
1) As when Philip preached Christ to the eunuch… Acts 8:30-35
2) As when James spoke at the conference in Jerusalem… Acts 15:13-17
3) As when Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome… Romans 4:1-8

c. We can learn much about our salvation in Christ from the Law of Moses!

2. The Law of Moses is used lawfully for doctrine
a. There is much we can learn about God in the Old Testament
1) His omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience – cf. Psalm 139
2) His longsuffering and mercy, His justice and righteous indignation – cf. Psalm 103
3) His providential workings in the affairs of nations and men – cf. Daniel 2,4,5

b. There is much we can learn about mankind
1) The origin and fall of man – cf. Genesis 1-3
2) The weakness of man and need for redemption… Psalm 51

c. We can learn much about God and our need for Christ from the Law of Moses!

3. The Law of Moses is used lawfully for reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness
a. The Law contains principles of righteousness that remain true throughout time
1) Condemning such sins as murder, fornication, homosexuality, kidnapping, lying, etc.
2) When admonishing Christians regarding basic principles of righteousness, the apostles often appealed to the Old Testament
a) Romans 12:19-21
b) 1 Peter 3:8-12
c) Hebrews 12:4-7

b. The Law reveals much about sin
1) The nature and spread of sin… Galatians 3:19
2) The condemnation of sin… Romans 3:19-20

c. We can learn much about sin and its terrible consequences from the Law of Moses!

4. The Law of Moses is used lawfully for learning and admonition…
a. As Paul in his epistles to churches in Rome and Corinth
1) Romans 15:4
2) 1 Corinthians 10:11-12
a) The Old Testament was written for our learning, that we might have hope
b) The Old Testament was written for our admonition, that we might not fall

b. God’s dealings with Israel serves as an example for the church today
1) As God’s elect, corporate Israel received the promises, but some individuals did not
2) As God’s elect, the church as a whole will be saved, but as individuals we must make our calling and election sure
a) 1 Peter 2:9-10
b) 2 Peter 1:10

c. From the Law we can learn much about the very real danger of apostasy! – e.g., Hebrews 3:8-4:1

5. Yes, “the law is good, if a man use it lawfully.”

6. What then would be some examples of the Law of Moses being used improperly?

1. The Law of Moses is used improperly for foolish arguments
a. What Paul described as “vain talking,” the result of ignorance… 1 Timothy 1:6-7

b. What he described as “foolish questionings, genealogies, strifes, and fightings about the law” (Tit. 3:9)

c. Have you noticed how often false teachers appeal to the Old Testament to broadcast their false doctrines?

2. The Law of Moses is used improperly for justification from sin
a. This was the error of the Judaizing teachers, who demanded that Gentile Christians must be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses… Acts 15:1, 5

b. It renders the death of Christ meaningless… Galatians 2:21

c. Seeking justification (salvation) by the Law separates one from Christ! … Galatians 5:4

3. The Law of Moses is used improperly for binding such things as its feasts and sabbaths
a. Paul evidently had no problem with Jewish Christians (including himself) observing various elements of the Law as a personal matter while the temple was still standing
1) Acts 16:1-3; 18:18, 21; 21:18-26
2) 1 Corinthians 9:19-20

b. But he drew the line when attempts were made to bind such on Gentile Christians
1) Galatians 2:3-5
2) Colossians 2:16

c. For the death of Christ broke down the Law which divided Jew and Gentile… Ephesians 2:14-16

d. Some have sought to bind various Jewish feast days, the Sabbath, dietary restrictions upon the church; this is an unlawful use of the Law of Moses!

4. The Law of Moses is used improperly for authority in worship
a. Some have appealed to the Law to justify various practices in their worship
1) For example, separate priesthood, special clothing, building of temples
2) For example, burning of incense, instrumental music, even animal sacrifices

b. Yet the New Covenant ushered in a more spiritual worship
1) As Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well… John 4:20-24
2) The worship under the Law of Moses:
a) Was “symbolic for the present time” … Hebrews 9:9
b) Contained “fleshly ordinances imposed until the time of reformation” … Hebrews 9:10

c. To appeal to the Law of Moses as authority for any practice in worship fails to recognize that the time of reformation has come!

A. As Paul wrote to the brethren at Rome… Romans 7:12

B. Even so, the Law had its limitations…
1. It was designed to be temporary, until the coming of Christ – Galatians 3:19, 23-25
2. It could not provide true redemption from sin… Hebrews 9:9; 10:1-4

C. Thus, the Law of Moses today is not designed to make one righteous (1 Tim. 1:9), for true justification and sanctification comes only through the work of Christ

D. Our understanding and application of the Law must be governed by and in harmony with the sound doctrine and gospel teachings of the apostles… 1 Timothy 1:10b-11

E. Appreciate the lawful use of the Law of Moses, and benefit thereby, while being careful of its unlawful use!

Tom Moore

About from the Preachers PC

Gospel Preacher for the Park Heights church of Christ in Hamilton, TX. I stand for and defend the truth of God's word. All other degrees and diplomas mean very little in comparison.
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