“There is grace for the worst of sinners”

(1 Timothy 1.12-17)

 (Taken from Sermon of 13th January 2019 AM)



There are some very unusual double acts…

The new film released, entitled “Stan & Ollie”, tells the story of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy who seemingly were so different yet complimented each other perfectly.

Two men in the early church were greatly different, yet, God brought them together in his service…


  1. Paul and Timothy
  2. Their many differences


The older man and the young man

From Tarsus (Syria) and Lystra (Greece)

Pharisaic Jew and Mixed background


  1. Their family connection

“My true son in the faith”


“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord…” (v12)

He was Lord of both their lives


They had both come to know God’s…

“Grace, mercy and peace…”

2 Timothy 1.5 tells us of Timothy’s testimony

It is thought Timothy became a believer through Paul’s first missionary journey.


God works in many wonderful and varied ways, through all sorts of people.


iii.                Their work together


Timothy served in a number of situations – here, he is based at Ephesus contending for the faith among false teachers and their controversies.

Timothy was a loyal friend to Paul throughout their years.

Paul had known the Lord’s strength to serve and wants Timothy to know the same (v12; 2 Timothy 1.7)

Timothy would ultimately know prison for his faith too (Hebrews 13.23)




  1. Paul’s Testimony


We all have a past. Paul’s speaks of his past describing himself as a:

–         Blasphemer

–         Persecutor

–         Violent man

That’s quite a charge sheet!

He also displayed:

–         Ignorance

–         Unbelief

Note he is able to say, “I was once…” (v13a) these things.

By the grace of God he has changed


“I was shown mercy…” (v13b)


Paul is now an example of God’s unlimited patience!

He’s not perfect but “grace was poured out on me abundantly”


The hardest heart – the most unpliable clay has been softened to make known to others the grace and mercy of God – so that they might believe and receive eternal life (v16)


There is nothing to hard for the Lord. He can change the hardest heart.


Paul, at the end of his days – after being imprisoned, still remains faithful to God’s call upon his life.


Understandably, Paul has the eternal on his mind. Not in a morbid way but he is full of hope as he looks ahead.

He breaks out into a benediction (v17) – almost angelically adding his voice to heaven’s chorus!


Yet, while he still has breath – he proclaims once more his message:


  1. Paul’s Trustworthy Saying


“Here is a trustworthy saying…”

(among the false teachers)

“…that deserves full acceptance…”

It’s worth fighting for (v18) – holding on to (v19)


WHO: “Christ Jesus”

WHAT: “came into the world”

WHY: “to save sinners”


Jesus Christ – the Messiah, the anointed one, the one prophesied from the beginning – God made flesh


Came – into the world

Not as a spirit but in a body like ours.

He shared our humanity – warts and all.

He lived among us – but without sin!


He came…”to save sinners”

He did what the Law couldn’t do.

He became the perfect sacrifice for sin – the fulfilment of the sacrificial system.

He was both sacrifice and high priest

Through his death at Calvary sinners (who put their faith in him) are saved from the impact of sin!

As he conquered sin and death – so do all who believe.

We believe and receive eternal life!

All by God’s grace – a gift of God freely given.


What an amazing transformation God made to Paul’s life and thinking!

He has been a Pharisee – a man of Law, now he was a man of grace!


What a difference the gospel makes?


Application / Conclusion


Have you fully accepted this trustworthy saying?

Do you know Jesus as the one who has saved you from your sins?

Do you know your past forgiven? Do you know Jesus is with you in the present? Are you looking forward to seeing Him in the future?


Regarding the trustworthy saying of Paul:


  1. a) I need to know it

Because “I am a sinner”


  1. b) I need to remember it

Because “I’m saved by grace”


  1. c) I need to share it

Because “I live in a world of sinners”


Knowing the truth – set Paul free!

–         To be thankful (v12a)

–         To receive strength (v12b)

–         To share grace, mercy and peace – as a blessing

           (See 2 Timothy 2.2) – again and again

–         To give glory and honour to God through his life (v17b)


Has this trustworthy saying set you free?

It can do so. If you believe and rely upon what Jesus did for you on the cross of Calvary – you can receive God’s grace which means your past is dealt with and your future secure.


You would be more than welcome to join with us at Rochford Congregational Church, North Street SS4 1AB – if you are local, or listen to ministry from our Pastors via the website.


If you believe Jesus died for your sin you can be free and you will receive eternal life. You can depend, as Paul did, on this trustworthy saying.