Comfortable Words

I love reading the “comfortable words” (Matthew 11:28; John 3:16; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 John 2:1-2) during the communion service. Think about where they occur. We’ve just confessed our sin; and then, after our forgiveness has been pronounced, the four words of comfort assure us of God’s love for us in Jesus. No comment is added, because none is needed. #micdropboom

This week, we’ll be thinking about the third comfortable word, the “trustworthy” saying in 1 Timothy 1. Paul actually has four of these “trustworthy” sayings.

  • The first is in 1 Timothy 1:15, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
  • The next is in 1 Timothy 4:8-9, “Godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance.”
  • The third is in 2 Timothy 2:11, “The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him.”
  • And the fourth is in Titus 3:8, “The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to do good works.”

How They Help Us

Trustworthy sayings stick in our minds. First-century Christians didn’t own Bibles conveniently divided into numbered chapters and verses. Short, memorable truth-summaries helped them to recall the apostles’ teachings, and they do the same for us.

Trustworthy sayings overcome negative talk. There was a lot of unfaithful conversation going around when Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus. Negative talk can destroy a congregation, so Paul said to watch out for “godless myths and old wives’ tales” that “promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith” (1 Timothy 1:4). Trustworthy sayings stand in sharp contrast to the “meaningless talk” (1:6), “old wives’ tales” (4:7), “nonsense” (5:13), “controversies and quarrels about words” (6:4), and “godless chatter” (6:20) that were spreading through the church. Paul insisted, “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels” (2 Timothy 2:23).

Trustworthy sayings convey spiritual truth. Because they follow “the pattern of sound teaching” (2 Timothy 1:13), the Bible’s trustworthy sayings can help church leaders “hold firmly to the trustworthy message” so they “can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it” (Titus 1:9).

We should treasure up these trustworthy sayings. They can help guide, comfort and instruct us. They are still trustworthy today. They are worthy of full acceptance!

Sunday November 13 ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.’ (John 3:16)

Sunday November 20 ‘The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.’ (1 Timothy 1:15)

Sunday November 27 ‘If anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.’ (1 John 2:1-2)

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