Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
1st Timothy 1:5-7
The command to love is present throughout all of the New Testament. It began with Jesus teaching that to love is to fulfill all the law and the prophets. And we find in John’s epistles toward the end of the New Testament era that the only way to love God is to love others. This theme is prevalent and is taught as something for all children of God to live by.
But in this passage, the Apostle Paul gets very specific about who is to be charitable and who is supposed to be loved. Paul is teaching his son-in-the-ministry, Timothy, the proper motivation and manner of preaching that a gospel minister should have.
In verse 3, Paul tells Timothy that there is a specific doctrine that ought to be taught. Anything else is not the gospel (Galatians 1:6-7).
In verse 4, he warns against the teachings and traditions of men while encouraging teachings that will edify, or help, the people of God. The preacher needs to build up God in the minds of the hearers and not build them up in their own power and will. Further, if he is building up God in the minds of his hearers, he will not be building himself up in their eyes.
In verses five through seven, Paul reminds Timothy and all other preachers that the motivation behind preaching should be charity. There should be a love for God and His people. And that love, should be the basis for everything that is taught if word or deed in the ministry of the preacher.
Romans 11:30 tells us that “love worketh no ill.” This means that the gospel message should not be one of coercion or threat. Ministers are not the judge of men. So neither should their messages ever have a hint that the salvation of God’s people is in jeopardy!
The message of the gospel should be the doctrine or “faith” that was once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). The doctrine given to the Apostles by Jesus Himself is to be perpetuated in purity from minister to minister. And it is to be delivered in faith and for no other reason or purpose. Faith worketh by love (Galatians 5:6). True faith has its motivation and design in charity and nothing else.
Rather than desiring to have the prominent position as the teacher, the gospel minister should have a pure heart of love toward God’s people and seek their good rather than his own reputation or status. Any message other than grace and any motivation other than love may sound and look good to an earthly audience but the effort from God’s perspective is nothing more than “vain jangling.” The message is empty and meaningless. The messenger speaks things he doesn’t understand himself. And if he thought about it enough, would not even “AMEN!” his own message.
But when the message is preached in love… It’s a miracle.