The Influence of a Changed Mind


Message Title: The Influence of a Changed Mind
Theme: Paul’s Influence
Season: Ordinary Time
Main Text: 1 Timothy 1:12-17
Scripture Reading: Luke 15:1-10
RCL Scripture: Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28; Psalm 14; Exodus 32:7-14; Psalm 51:1-10; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-10
Focus: Paul was the 1 sheep that Jesus left the 99 to rescue from himself.
 To humbly open ourselves up to conversations that might inform us and change our minds for the sake of the Gospel.
Other Notes:

SCRIPTURE READING: Luke 15:1-10All the tax collectors and sinners were gathering around Jesus to listen to him. The Pharisees and legal experts were grumbling, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose someone among you had one hundred sheep and lost one of them. Wouldn’t he leave the other ninety-nine in the pasture and search for the lost one until he finds it? And when he finds it, he is thrilled and places it on his shoulders. When he arrives home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Celebrate with me because I’ve found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who changes both heart and life than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need to change their hearts and lives. “Or what woman, if she owns ten silver coins and loses one of them, won’t light a lamp and sweep the house, searching her home carefully until she finds it? When she finds it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me because I’ve found my lost coin.’ 10  In the same way, I tell you, joy breaks out in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who changes both heart and life.”


  1. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: Can you name a food you hated as a child and love as an adult? Or visa versa?
  2. “Change my mind” meme- the original photo of Steven Crowder was taken at Texas Christian University and was shared online in February 2018 alongside the caption, “Hello @TCU. Come one come all. #ChangeMyMind.”
    1. It eventually lead to millions of iterations of this photo substituted with ridiculous things, like pineapple on pizza.

TRANSITION: Are we, as American Christians, good at changing our mind? What do we miss when we stick our heels in the dirt and stake our claim?

In our text for today, Paul starts off the bulk of his letter to Timothy by talking about how Jesus changed Paul’s mind and his life was transformed.

  1. Intro to 1 Timothy:
    1. Authorship: If you recall, the NT is organized into: Gospels+ Acts, Paul’s letters, Maybe Paul, Prob not Paul, NOT Paul, and Revelation. 1 Timothy falls in the Maybe/Prob not Paul category for many scholars.
      1. Regardless of scholarly opinion, the author calls themselves Paul, we will call them Paul too.
    1. Recipient: Timothy, companion to Paul, who was sent to Ephesus to deal with some problems in the Ephesian church
    1. Context: Church leadership & order
    1. Paul started his letter with is traditional greeting and a reminder to Timothy about why he was in Ephesus. Then Paul speaks about himself.

MAIN TEXT: 1 Timothy 1:12-17 12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength because he considered me faithful. So he appointed me to ministry 13 even though I used to speak against him, attack his people, and I was proud. But I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and without faith. 14 Our Lord’s favor poured all over me along with the faithfulness and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 This saying is reliable and deserves full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I’m the biggest sinner of all. 16 But this is why I was shown mercy, so that Christ Jesus could show his endless patience to me first of all. So I’m an example for those who are going to believe in him for eternal life. 17 Now to the king of the ages, to the immortal, invisible, and only God, may honor and glory be given to him forever and always! Amen.


  1. Paul’s Faults: “speak against him, attack his people, I was proud”
  2. Paul transformed: the mercy of Jesus transformed Paul’s heart and life.


  1. Lost Sheep: Paul was the 1 sheep that the shepherd left the 99 to rescue.
    1. Paul was rescued from himself by the mercy of Jesus and everything changed & heaven celebrated.
  2. Big Context of the Letter: perhaps Paul starts this letter to Timothy with a reminder of Paul’s transformation because of the big task before Timothy. Paul is going to mention a few different stubborn groups of people that need changed minds within his letter. It would be easy to see these groups as hopeless if it weren’t for Paul’s own transformation.
    1. Paul’s influence to remind Timothy that No one is a hopeless case.

APPLICATION: To humbly open ourselves up to conversations that might inform us and change our minds for the sake of the Gospel.

  1. “Save sinners”: Paul tells us that Jesus came to save sinners. He then calls himself a sinner, the worst of them, who was saved by Jesus.
    1. Christians have “beat the dead horse” when it comes to evangelism tactics. We’ve done the same thing over and over but expected new results. We’ve told people they are sinners going to hell and NEED JESUS to escape damnation.
      1. i.e. Indian Reservations in SD have made it clear they are sick of hearing what Christians have to say. After all, for centuries, the Church’s “m.o.” was to “Kill the Indian in him, save the man.”
        1. Crazy! Kidnapping children, shaving their heads, and beating them when they spoke their native tongue did not convince the Native Americans to follow Jesus.
    1. Christians have attempted to use scare tactics like “turn or burn” or “Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner” to try to convince people to follow Jesus… it’s not working. We are instead known as angry bigots. Who hate people whoa re different.
  2. AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT:  Would you still choose to be a Christian if there wasn’t a heaven? Or a hell?
    1. Change my mind: We’re doing Christianity wrong if it’s motivated by heaven (or hell).
    1. Back to the intro: the “Change my mind” meme is great but the humor misses the bigger issue—Do Christians have a willingness to listen? Are we able to stop talking and listen? And not simply listen to respond but listen to learn & understand?
    1. Library where you “rent” people to hear their stories
  3. We are convinced that we need our opinions known BUT what if instead we took time to listen?
    1. What if we stop EVANGELIZING the Gospel AND INSTEAD started LIVING the Gospel?
      1. What if we radiated the belief: “you are a beloved child of God called to show this world love”??!! * Fruit of the Spirit Galatians 5:23-25*
    1. Are our hearts and lives changed by Jesus, or do we still look like everyone else?
      1. How’s our Christian marketing? Are we actually using what we’re selling.

CONCLUSION: Paul instructs Timothy to help multiple groups change their hearts and lives… they were IN the church. We, not outsiders, need to reflect on our lives and actions and what they say about Jesus.

May we have the humility needed to change our hearts and lives. May we be willing to let go of OUR WAY.

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