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“Fight The Good Fight”


									“Fight The Good Fight”
1 Timothy 1:18-19a

A. As Born Again Christians, Jesus told us –

John 10:10
 I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.‖

B. And we know that the fellowship we have with God is demonstrated in

Galatians 5:22-23
―…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

C. And yet everyone of us who have been saved more than a few years realize that –
      1. There is another side to the Christian life
      2. A side of the Christian life that is a life of SPIRITUAL WARFARE

D. The moment we received Christ as Lord and Savior;
      1. Not only did we enter a life of WONDERFUL FELLOWSHIP with GOD;
      2. We also entered

―As believers, we entered a lifelong fight against the evil world system, Satan, and our own
sinful human flesh.‖

E. Sadly, much of the contemporary church seems to have missed this reality
      1. And many have only heard only the gospel of easy believism and cheap grace
             a. Which results in an inadequate understanding of spiritual warfare

―Many Christians, who have an inadequate concept of the spiritual struggle involved in loving
Christ, often magnify the petty temporal annoyances of everyday life until they seem like trials
of epic proportions. Frankly, that is as absurd as a soldier in the midst of a raging fire-fight
complaining about the dirt on his uniform.‖                        Dr. John MacArthur

F. The Apostle Paul was very aware of Spiritual Warfare, not only did he
      1. Understand the battle w/in in flesh (Romans 7:14-25)
      2. And he also had to continually engage the world in conflict
G. In 2 Corinthians 12:7 Paul said that he was relentlessly assaulted by Satan,
       1. As a messenger of Satan was sent to beat him

H. In 1 Thess. 2:17-18,
       1. Paul said it was Satanic opposition that kept him from visiting the Thessalonians

I. And now, here in 1 Timothy 1:18-19;
      1. Paul calls Timothy to ‗fight the good fight‘ against Satan

―Like everyone who is in the ministry, Timothy was called to an unceasing spiritual warfare. That
fight demands equipped, trained, and devoted soldiers. Paul wrote this letter to help Timothy
gear up for the current battles.‖

J. Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus to oppose the false teachers who opposed the –
       1. Person and work of Jesus Christ

K. As the head of the church of Ephesus, Timothy was in the forefront of the battle;
       1. And Paul wanted him to be prepared as he fought the spiritual battle in Ephesus

What is Spiritual Warfare?                        (At its highest level, it is a…)
      War between God and Satan                 (it is also on an angelic level between…)
      Satan‘s demons and God‘s Holy Angels          (on a human level, it is a battle between…)
      Godly and ungodly men

L. Originally, there was no such war

Genesis 1:31 (On the end of the 6th day…)
Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.

―Everything in God‘s creation submitted to His sovereign rule; there was no conflict or rebellion.
There was no Satan, no adversary, no rebel, no deceiver.‖

M. But then came that disastrous event that ignited the COSMIC WAR
      1. Turn with me to Ezekiel 28, beginning with v 11

Ezekiel 28:11-19
   Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
   "Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord
God: "You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
   You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius,
topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The
workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created.
   "You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain
of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
   You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you.
   "By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned;
Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O
covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones. 17 "Your heart was lifted up because of
your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground,
I laid you before kings, That they might gaze at you. 18 "You defiled your sanctuaries By the
multitude of your iniquities, By the iniquity of your trading; Therefore I brought fire from your
midst; It devoured you, And I turned you to ashes upon the earth In the sight of all who saw
you. 19 All who knew you among the peoples are astonished at you; You have become a horror,
And shall be no more forever." ' "

N. Beginning in Ezekiel 26, Ezekiel had been giving prophecies against the city of Tyre
      1. Here in Ezekiel 28, Ezekiel indicts the human ruler of Tyre
      2. Then he describes the supernatural power behind the human ruler

O. Ezekiel 28: 1–10 describes the human leader of Tyre,
      1. Then verses 11–19 contain descriptions that could not apply to any human

      The leader of Tyre did not have ―the seal of perfection‖ (v. 12)
      nor was he in ―Eden, the garden of God‖ (v. 13)
      No mere human could be called ―the anointed cherub who covers‖ (v. 14)
      and of no man except Adam could it be said, ―You were blameless in your ways from the
        day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you‖ (v. 15)
      Verses 11–19, then, describe Lucifer

P. Before his fall, which obviously took place after the creation of the Garden of Eden,
     Satan was the ―anointed cherub who covers‖ (v. 14)
     He was the highest ranking angelic being, concerned particularly with the glory of God
     He was ―on the holy mountain of God,‖ and ―walked in the midst of the stones of fire.‖

Q. That speaks of his dwelling in the immediate presence of God
      1. How such a being, blameless since his creation,
      2. Existing in a perfectly holy environment, could sin remains a mystery
      3. That he did sin is a fact, however
      4. All Ezekiel says of him is that
    ―unrighteousness was found in you‖ (v. 15)
    He was then cast from his station among the holy ones in God‘s presence (v. 16)

R. Although he is still allowed access to that presence (Job 1:6; Rev. 12:10)
     It was then that he became Satan, the adversary; Apollyon, the destroyer; Devil, the
S. It‘s difficult for our finite minds to understand
       1. How a perfect being in a perfect environment could fall into sin

T. Ezekiel describes Lucifer‘s motivation in verse 17: ―Your heart was lifted up because of your
beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor.‖

―Satan somehow became enamored with his beauty and splendor, and his response
was the sin of pride, which led to rebellion.‖

U. Isaiah 14:12–14 confirms that it was indeed pride that caused Satan‘s downfall:

Isaiah 14:12-14
   "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the
ground, You who weakened the nations!
   For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the
stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the
north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.'

V. Notice Satan‘s pride is revealed here in the five statements in verses 13 and 14
      1. That begin, ―I will‖

―As Ezekiel described Satan as the greater power behind the ruler of Tyre, so Isaiah shows him
to be the power behind the king of Babylon. He calls him ―star of the morning,‖ emphasizing the
glory Satan possessed before his fall (Rev. 22:16 where a similar phrase is used to describe
Christ). Isaiah‘s exclamation ―How you have fallen from heaven‖ is reminiscent of our Lord‘s
words in Luke 10:18, ―I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.‖

W. Satan was not was not content with being the highest–ranking created being,
     1. Dwelling constantly in God‘s presence

X. He became jealous of God, and sought equality with Him
      1. That sin, a projection of his pride,
            a. Was the same one he soon tempted Eve to commit (Gen. 3:5)

 When Satan, in his pride, tried to ―ascend above the heights of the clouds,‖ and make himself
―like the Most High,‖ the long war with God began.

Satan was not alone in his rebellion
A. Revelation 12:3–4 reveals that hosts of other angels joined him:
Revelation 12:3-4 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having
seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. 4 His tail drew a third of the stars
of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready
to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.

―The dragon is none other than Satan, and the stars of heaven symbolize the angels (Job 38:7).
When Satan fell, he took one third of the angels with him. These fallen angels, or demons, aid
Satan in his warfare against God. While some God has permanently bound (Jude 6), and others
He has temporarily bound until the Tribulation (Rev. 9:3), the others move through the world to
do Satan‘s bidding and their own evil.‖

B. The specific target of Satan and his demonic hosts is Christ
      1. And His redemptive work and final glory

C. In Revelation 12:5, we read of the woman, symbolizing Israel,
       1. Giving birth to the Messiah, who was to rule the nations with a rod of iron

D. In verse 4, we see Satan attempting to destroy the child
       1. Throughout history, that has been the special focus of his attack

―Satan and his angels, in battling God and His purposes, also wage war against God‘s elect angels,
led by Michael. That warfare has a past (Jude 9; Dan. 9), present, and future (Rev. 12:7) aspect.
Although hidden from our view, their battle is no less real (Dan. 10:12–13).‖

E. Satan also attacks the people of God

Satan‘s Warfare against the Believer –
    He personally attacks us
        o He attacks us through fallen angels
               He attacks us through evil men

F. It‘s important for us to remember that Satan has limited interest in individual believers
        1. His attacks against us are ultimately attacks on God and attempts to thwart His plans
               a. How we fare in the battle, then, reflects on God

―If we are defeated, Satan has in that sense been effective. When we are victorious, his attack
against God are defeated.‖

G. This is the reason Paul urged Timothy in 2 Tim 2:3, to
      ―You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.‖

H. If we want to be victorious, we must understand how Satan attacks the church today
      1. Then we will not be ―ignorant of his schemes‖ (2 Cor. 2:11)
How does Satan attack the Church?
      First he attacks the church by blinding the minds of unbelievers to the gospel (2 Cor. 4:3–4)
          o Thereby keeping them away from the truth and the church
          o He accomplishes that through ignorance, false religion, pride, lust, and the
              wickedness that results from his control over the world system

      Second, Satan attempts to devastate those who are already believers
          o To cripple them and destroy the credibility of their witness

      Third, Satan attacks the church by attacking marriage and the family
          o Paul commanded husbands and wives not to deprive each other of sexual relations
             so Satan would have no opportunity to tempt them (1 Cor. 7:5)
          o Strong marriages and families are a prerequisite to a healthy church and witness
          o By attacking those institutions, Satan weakens the church
          o The recent upsurge in divorce and other family problems among Christians
             indicates he is having success in that area

      Fourth, Satan attacks the church through the leaders
          o 1 Timothy 3 tells us that leaders must be well qualified for their positions
          o Otherwise, they may ―fall into reproach and the snare of the devil‖ (1 Tim. 3:7)
          o There is no one in the church Satan would rather destroy than leaders
          o This, too, is an area where Satan has had much success in recent years
          o Leader after leader has been devastated by Satan‘s attacks, whether through
             sexual sin, pride, materialism, or authoritarianism
          o The results for the church are tragic
          o When the shepherds are destroyed, the flock will scatter

      Fifth, Satan attacks the church through false religious systems
          o Liberal Christianity, the cults, world religions & humanism are a constant menace
          o The leaders of those movements, like their evil master, can transform themselves
              into angels of light (2 Cor. 11:14–15)
          o The things taught in the name of biblical truth are sometimes frightening

I. The church faces a constant barrage of error,
      1. All of it ultimately spawned by Satan—―doctrines of demons‖ (1 Tim. 4:1)

How can the church defend itself against the wicked one?
     Paul gives the answer in -
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for
pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself
against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
Ephesians 6:10-18
   Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
   Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
   For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers,
against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the
heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand
in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with
truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the
preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be
able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the
sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication
in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints-

Our weapons for fighting the spiritual battle are
        God‘s Word
           o Prayer
                  ―at all times‖

B. Satan would love to draw us into the physical realm of spiritual warfare;
      1. Where all our intellect, ability, skill, and ingenuity are useless

C. It is a DAILY spiritual war that we are all engaged in
         1. And this is why Paul urges Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:18 ----

 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made
concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,

A. It was important for Timothy to remember that he was not in the battle alone
       1. He had not chosen his ministry;
       2. Rather he had been commissioned by Paul,
              a. And his call to the ministry was confirmed by revelation from God

―Timothy was responsible and accountable to the church and the Head of the church for his
role in the battle.‖

B. In order for Timothy to carry out his responsibility to the LORD and the CHURCH;
       1. Timothy had 1st the command to OBEY
       2. It was not a suggestion, and is not open for discussion
―Timothy had a duty to God in the church, something our self-indulgent culture knows little
about. We talk much of freedom, success, joy, and peace, but little of duty. Yet we are duty-
bound to obey the Commander and fulfill our ministries. Those things are not optional… Every
servant of the Lord is duty-bound to carry out his ministry…In our society, with its emphasis on
entertainment, anti-authoritarian attitude, critic mentality, and psychological orientation, our
message will often be rejected. That, however, does not excuse us from our duty.‖ J. MacArthur

C. Note also here in V18, that Timothy had a confirmation to live up to
      1. Timothy‘s calling had been confirmed through prophecies

1 Timothy 4:14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with
the laying on of the hands of the eldership.

―The prophecies were those that specifically and supernaturally called Timothy into the
ministry. Paul‘s command to Timothy was not his own, but was confirmed by God through the
ministry of some prophets.‖

D. Typically today, God calls men to be Pastors from within
      1. That desire, or calling is then confirmed by the church

E. Through the observation of a man‘s life & service,
      1. The church can confirm whether he gives evidence of
             a. Being called by God to the ministry

―The confirmation of the call of God upon the Pastor‘s life, should keep him going when the
battle is fierce. Having been commissioned by God through divine revelation, and then by the
confirmation of God‘s people, a leader can‘t quit. The call of God in his life should encourage
Timothy and all other preachers to fight the good fight.‖

The most notable convert of the early English Reformer and martyr Thomas Bilney was Hugh
Latimer, who like Bilney died at the stake. Latimer was easily the most popular of the reforming
preachers - full of the Word, with a vivid preaching style. He preached justification by faith
alone but also preached that a justified man will show it in the way he lives. He was unsparing of
other preachers' shortcomings: "Since lording and loitering hath come up, preaching hath come
down... . They hawk, they hunt, they card, they dice." He accused his fellow preachers of
"pampering of their paunches... munching in their mangers, and moiling in their gay manors and
On one occasion he was invited to preach at Hampton Court before Henry VIII, and he
predictably offended the king. Henry commanded Latimer to preach again the following Sunday
and to make an apology. Latimer addressed himself as he began to preach:
Hugh Latimer, dost thou know before whom thou art this day to speak? To the high and mighty
monarch, the king's most excellent majesty, who can take away thy life if thou offendest;
therefore, take heed that thou speakest not a word that may displease; but then consider well,
Hugh, dost thou not know from whence thou comest; upon whose message thou art sent? Even
by the great and mighty God! who is all present, and who beholdest all thy ways, and who is able
to cast thy soul into hell! Therefore, take care that thou deliverest thy message faithfully.
Then Hugh Latimer preached the same sermon he had preached the week before - with even
more energy! What a man of God! There can be no doubt that Hugh Latimer, like his mentor
Thomas Bilney, fought the good fight. Those sixteenth-century saints embodied apostolic

F. Like Timothy, Hugh Latimer & Thomas Bilney;
       1. Those called by God must accept the duty to fulfill their ministries.

     having faith and a good conscience,

A. We could easily spend an entire morning studying just this phrase!
     1. Notice here in V19a, that Paul is pointing out 2 FACTORS
            a. FAITH…and a GOOD CONSCIENCE

―The faith is a reference to the Christian faith, the gospel, the Word of God. Keeping the faith
means holding fast to that revealed truth. Timothy‘s first responsibility to the Lord was to
remain loyal to the objective body of revealed Scripture. A good conscience is the result of a
pure life. Like Paul, Timothy was to maintain a blameless conscience. Conscience is a God-given
device in every human mind that reacts to that person‘s behavior. It either accuses or excuses
(Rom. 2:14–15). It produces feelings of well-being, peace, contentment, and calm when behavior
is good. When behavior is evil, it activates guilt, shame, remorse, fear, doubt, insecurity, and
despair. Its purpose is to warn the person of the fact that he is sinning. What a blessing to
have such a warning device. It is to the soul what pain is to the body. Pain warns that something
threatens the body‘s well-being. Guilt warns that something threatens the well-being of the
soul. Paul was always anxious to have a clean, clear, pure, good conscience ( 2 Cor. 1:12) and
desired the same for Timothy. He calls for holiness in this charge to Timothy.‖ T.M.N.T.C.

                ―Doctrinal purity must be accompanied by purity of life.‖

B. It is not enough to proclaim the faith with our lips;
       1. We must practice the faith in our daily lives

C. One man said of his hypocritical pastor,
 ―He is such a good preacher, he should never get out of the pulpit; but he is such
a poor Christian, he should never get into the pulpit!‖

D. What a sad commentary on what I believe to be true among many modern day preachers!
     1. A good conscience is important to a good warfare and a good ministry

―Because there is an inseparable link between truth and morality, between right belief and right
behavior; consequently, theological error has its roots in moral rather than intellectual soil
(Matt. 7:15–20). People often teach wrong doctrine to accommodate their sin. That truth is
borne out by the immorality that so often characterizes false teachers (2 Peter 2).

E. It‘s not surprising then that Paul emphasizes godliness
       1. As a PREDOMINATE theme in 1 Timothy

―Sound doctrine and godly living are the twin towers guarding the purity of the church.‖

A. Paul exhorted Timothy vv18-19a;
       1. ―you‘re in a Spiritual Battle‖
       2. The enemy is seeking to destroy you

B. Two of his biggest targets will be
      1. Your FAITH
      2. And your CONSCIENCE

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