Nepaug Bible Church -
Men's Leadership Support Group Meeting notes -

Part II: God's Pattern For Making The Difficult Leadership Decision
(1 Timothy 1:1-11)
  1. Introduction
    1. Leadership is easy and enjoyable when the decisions a leader makes are both right and acceptable to all.
    2. However, if the decision making process is complicated by resistance from subordinates or colleagues and/or the leader begins to be unsure of what direction to take, the process can become very burdensome!
    3. In 1 Timothy 1:1-11, God gave an edifying pattern for leaders who must make such difficult decisions:
  2. God's Pattern For Making The Difficult Leadership Decision, 1 Timothy 1:11.
    1. Paul urged Timothy to make what for him would have been a difficult leadership decision, 1 Tim. 1:3-4a:
      1. Scripture shows Timothy was naturally timid before strong personalities: Paul urged the Corinthians to accept him and not make him afraid in 1 Corinthians 16:10, and his word to Timothy that the Holy Spirit in him was not a Spirit of timidity in 2 Timothy 1:6-7 further exposes this weakness in Timothy!
      2. So, for Paul to tell him in 1 Timothy 1:3-4a to stay in Ephesus and charge false teachers not to teach error, Timothy faced what was for him a difficult decision on whether he should even heed Paul!
    2. Yet, Paul prefaced his charge to Timothy with insight on God's provisions that, providing Timothy chose to APPLY them, would empower him to make the RIGHT decision (as follows): (1 Timothy 1:1-2)
      1. Before giving this charge, Paul had claimed God's "grace, mercy [eleos] and peace" was directed unto Timothy from the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Timothy 1:2; U. B. S. Greek N. T., p. 720.
      2. Now, in the introductions to his New Testament epistles, Paul use this word only in his letters to Timothy (Moulton & Milligan, Conc. to the Grk. Test. , p. 324), and the word speaks of compassion for a party who is often unfairly troubled (Trench, Syn. of the N. T., p. 169; T. D. N. T., v. II, p. 477).
      3. Thus, in writing to Timothy who was specifically and naturally timid, Paul worked to assure him that God was compassionately aware of his natural timidity before difficult people and that God's gracious provisions would equip Timothy to be at peace if him relied on them in his spiritual oversight role!
      4. Now, these gracious provisions included the supernatural gift for service that God had given Timothy (2 Tim. 1:6-7) and the indwelling Holy Spirit who equipped him to stand strong, 2 Timothy 1:8, 13-14.
      5. So, in summary, IF he relied on the Spirit's supernatural gift and power, Timothy would SURELY possess God's support and equipping to make the RIGHT decision in DIFFICULT circumstances!
    3. Then, Paul gave 7 guidelines on HOW leaders like Timothy could FORM the RIGHT decision, 1:3-11:
      1. Guideline One - Select the route that equips us to stay and confront evildoers versus fleeing from them so that subordinates are not helplessly left exposed to their abusiveness , 1 Timothy 1:3-4.
      2. Guideline Two - Select the route that conforms to repeated counsel from reputable (and/or) godly people (as the case may be), 1 Timothy 1:3 with 2 Timothy 3:14c!
      3. Guideline Three - Select the route that clearly communicates the pertinent issues to edify the subordinates, 1 Timothy 1:4b; 1 Timothy 1:4a with 1:7 shows how the false teachers failed here.
      4. Guideline Four - Select the route that promotes love from a pure heart, 1 Timothy 1:5a; Matthew 22:37-40 shows this to be love for both God and man.
      5. Guideline Five - Select the route that promotes faith in God and His Word, 1 Timothy 1:4b, 5b.
      6. Guideline Six - Select the route that protects the consciences of all, 1 Timothy 1:5b, 18-20.
      7. [Guideline Seven - Acquire the facts necessary to make the decision well: in 1 Timothy 1:6-11, the false teachers failed to use the law as God intended [to convict sin and lead people to trust in Christ (as in Paul's case, 1 Timothy 1:12-17)]; this insight would help Timothy discern how to deal effectively with false teachers and their affected listeners when he had to confront the problem.]
Lesson: To make a hard leadership decision, Timothy was (1) to (a) realize GOD was compassionately aware of how UNFAIR was the pressure he faced in the decision making process, and (b) that God had given him the Holy Spirit and service gift to MAKE the RIGHT decision. Thus encouraged and equipped, (2) Timothy was to heed the 7 guidelines listed above to FORM the RIGHT decision!

Application: May we apply this pattern for God's blessing in making difficult leadership decisions!