Sermon or Lesson:  1 Timothy 1:15-17 (NIV based)
[Lesson Questions included]

TITLE:  Available To Even The Worst Of Sinners

INTRO:  From your hard experiences in life, have you learned to be very suspicious and automatically decline whenever an offer comes along that sounds too good to be true?
     Well, perhaps to your surprise, there is one incredible offer that God makes which is completely authentic.

READ:  1 Timothy 1:15-17, with vv.12-14 for context

- - Within the discussion so far in 1 Timothy chapter 1 relating to the teaching of false doctrines, myths, and genealogies, Paul has identified himself as formerly having believed, followed, and promoted false doctrines. 
- - But with abundant grace and mercy, the Lord changed Paul and then empowered Paul to teach the law with sound doctrines rather than with false doctrines. 
- - Let's look at the next verses to learn further details about these activities of the Lord that so dramatically impacted Paul and the direction of his life.

v.15 - READ

[Lesson Question:  What credibility and applicability are being stated or implied here for this saying?]

SECTION POINT:  'Jesus came to save sinners' is the trustworthy doctrine that characterizes some of what God did in Paul, which turned his life around.

- - This saying is a statement and a principle, a sound biblical doctrine.
- - The doctrine is that Jesus came into the world, having come down from heaven. 
(John 6:38)
- - And that Jesus came with a mission to accomplish - to save sinners.

- - This statement of doctrine is "trustworthy", being entirely true and accurate.
- - Thereby, this doctrine is worthy to be "fully accepted", without reservation.
- - By using this specific and highlighting introduction, this statement of doctrine is being given special emphasis, suggesting it is of significant importance, value, or benefit for us humans to pay attention to.
- - Furthermore, the special emphasis being given here also implies that this statement of doctrine is originated from, endorsed by, backed by, and recommended by God, who therefore is advising that this doctrine is worthy to be heeded.
- - Essentially, this statement of doctrine is being given assurances by God of its certainty, validity, quality, and 'veracity' - "conformity to fact, truth, accuracy, and precision". 

- - Attached to the end of this statement of doctrine, Paul identifies himself as the "worst" or "foremost" of sinners, as he previously stated in verse 13 of being "a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man". 
(Strong's #4413)
- - Paul again openly admits the truth and the reality about what he has done in the past, not minimizing or making excuses or shifting blame.
- - By attaching this self-disclosure, Paul implies and personalizes that this doctrine is a statement of the primary dynamic by which God turned his life around.

v.16 - READ

[Lesson Question:  Deriving from the reason Paul was shown mercy, what else is being said here about the availability and applicability of this doctrine?]

SECTION POINT:  From the example of Paul, salvation of sinners is available to even the most worst of evildoers.

- - Even though Paul was foremost among sinners, the action of Christ Jesus saving sinners was mercifully applied to Paul, "the worst of sinners".
- - Through this saving 'worst of sinners' Paul, Christ Jesus "displayed" or "showed forth" his "unlimited patience" or "long-suffering", or forbearance with Paul and the evil Paul was perpetrating against the followers of Christ Jesus. 
(Strong's #1731, #3115; Acts 22:4)
- - This merciful saving of 'worst of sinners' Paul is an example designed by God to encourage other profusely evil people to believe in Christ Jesus for eternal life, which by biblical definition includes forgiveness of all of that believing person's sins. 
(Colossians 1:13-14)
- - From this example to encourage evil people to believe for eternal life, a reality is that this merciful beneficial treatment by God is available and is being offered to everyone, which includes even the most worst of evildoers.
- - Therefore, no person has too many sins or too horrific of sins which can exceed what Christ Jesus can save them from, if they believe on Him for eternal life.
- - Wow!! What an incredible deal that is for us sinful humans.  No wonder Paul goes on to praise God in the next verse.

v.17 - READ

[Lesson Question:  What role or place does the contents of this verse have within the concepts and doctrine discussed in the previous verses?]

SECTION POINT:  Long-term praise and gratitude to God are appropriate responses from those sinners and evildoers who become the receivers of this salvation from Christ Jesus.

- - A pronouncement of praise, thanksgiving, and gratitude is given to "the only God", "immortal" or ever-existing in eternity, and "invisible" or choosing to remain hidden from us humans.
- - "Honor" and "glory" are given to the holy, worthy, blessed "eternal King", the One who is "sovereign" or "supreme in authority". 
(Strong's #0935 "sovereign" - AHD; v.11)
- - Our praise and thanksgiving "for ever and ever" go to the One who abundantly pours out grace and mercy upon us undeserving sinners so that we may believe in Christ Jesus for eternal life. 
- - "Amen" and "so be" the praise, thanksgiving, gratitude, honoring, and glorifying of our King eternal from us sinners who have been saved. 
(Strong's #0281)

BIG IDEA:  Salvation, which comes from Christ Jesus, is available to sinners, and even to the most worst of evildoers.



- - What does the teaching of this passage say to each of you about how you should respond to this aspect of God's program, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners?

- - For those of you who believe in Christ Jesus to receive eternal life, what has been your response to that so far?
- - Is your heart filled with praise, gratitude, and honor to God for this incredible gracious blessing He has poured out upon you?
- - Or have you been blasé - relatively unconcerned, uninterested, nonchalant, and unmoved spiritually? 
(AHD - blasé)
- - Are you motivated because of appreciation for the tremendous blessing you have received?
- - Or are you unmotivated because of apathy towards the tremendous blessing you have received?

- - For those of you who do not believe in Christ Jesus to receive eternal life, exactly what is holding you back from responding in this way?
- - Are you like Paul formerly was, foremost and worst among sinners?
- - Is your unbelief, or false doctrine, or sin, with its effects, results, and long-term consequences, so valued by you that you would decline such an incredible gracious blessing that is being offered by Christ Jesus to save you?
- - One hundred years from now after you have died, do you think you will still value your unbelief, or false doctrine, or sin so much then?  Or will you have horrifying regret that you declined this incredible offer here, now?
- - Why not change your mind, and turn away from your unbelief, or false doctrine, or sin right here, right now?
- - And why not turn towards Christ Jesus - believe in the "King eternal" who came into the world to save sinners?
- - If you want some guidance on how to believe in Christ Jesus, one of our leaders will be glad to meet with you right after this meeting and explain from Romans 3:23 and John 3:16 how you can believe in Christ Jesus and receive eternal life.

Works Cited:
The American Heritage Dictionary. 3rd ed., ver. 3.6a (CD-ROM). Cambridge, MA: SoftKey International Inc., 1994.

Bible. “The Holy Bible: New International Version.” The Bible Library CD-ROM. Oklahoma City, OK: Ellis Enterprises, 1988.

“Strong's Greek Dictionary.” The Bible Library CD-ROM. Oklahoma City, OK: Ellis Enterprises, 1988.
Scriptures taken from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®
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Updated:  September 15, 2016