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Kamloops Church | First Baptist Church of Kamloops

1 Timothy 1:1-2 ~ "What Makes True Children"

Let's open now to God’s word in 1 Timothy chapter 1. We are going to read the text and we will pray and we will get to work.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Father, we come to your word now and we hear what Paul is saying to Timothy. We hear what your spirit is speaking to the church through the exchange between these two men. We pray Father that you would open our hearts to grasp all the beauty of what you are saying to us today through this pastoral letter. We pray Father that we would take to heart the truths that are taught here and that we would take steps to see to it that our church conforms to your revealed will in this particular matter. We thank you god for speaking to us and giving us clarity in these things. We pray Father that we would be obedient and that you would strengthen our faith as we walk in obedience to you. We ask these things in Christ’s name, Amen.

A number of years ago when I was first called to pastoral ministry, I first began to sense God’s call on pastoral ministry; I was attending a church in the south of Dallas Texas at the time. I had a phenomenal, amazing mentor, a wonderful friend and an incredible pastor by the name of Royce Dodd. He is still as dear friend to me and we still talk on the phone on a fairly regular basis and I enjoy a great friendship with him. At the tender very inexperienced and ignorant age of 22 when I sensed the call of god on my life to go into pastoral ministry, I thought had it all figured out. So, when my pastor would stand up and preach from the pulpit, I would snicker at times when he would mistake words for other words, when he meant to say Jerusalem and he ended up saying Jericho. I would laugh and comment that it was funny and that he was not paying attention to what he is doing. I would think with arrogance and hubris that as soon as I got into the pulpit I would never make any of those mistakes and I would be God’s gift to pastoral ministry and preaching in general. How young and naive I was. Does anybody remember last Christmas? Silas vs. Linus? Ya, you do and it took me about 3 months to live that one down. Having just reminded you of it, I am sure it will take me another 3 months to live it down now. So, of course mistakes are made in the pulpit. You are preaching and you are moving along and you will mistake words, but I was convinced that I had my theology all figured out. I knew exactly what the bible was saying, I had I tall squared away and I knew exactly how to preach it and I knew exactly how it was all supposed to be done. Pastor Royce gave me the opportunity on a Sunday evening to preach my very first sermon. I had been working on three of them. These were to be lengthy discourses on Jesus Christ and the nature of salvation.  My first sermon was meant to be a 30 minute sermon (at least as I had preached it to myself in the mirror it timed out to about 30 minutes). No joke, I whipped through it in about 6.5 minutes. I was so nervous and I was talking so fast the sweat was flowing the words were flying. I can recall looking down at the congregation from the pulpit that Sunday evening as they were sitting there with their bibles in their laps with their mouths a-gape. It was not a facial expression of awe or appreciation of the sermon, but more of a “good job, but not really” facial expression. I remember stepping down out of the pulpit that Sunday evening and I was drenched and sick to my stomach with nerves. I went over to my pastor and I sat down as they all stood up to sing the last hymn and my pastor did not say a word, we sang the last hymn, it was about time for the closing prayer when he leans over and says “I overheard you making fun of me when I miss-spoke Jericho for Jerusalem the other day,” and then he stood up to pray. Humility is a good thing; it comes in a painful manner. I value my pastor so much; I appreciated his teaching and his mentoring so much. He was fully aware every step of the way of how inexperienced and raw I was and how I, in my arrogance, was unfairly and un-lovingly behind his back critical of him sometimes. He knew it and he loved me anyway. He had the heart of a true pastor. I have learned that standing in the pulpit and giving a one-off sermon can be done and it can be done well, but it is nothing like having the responsibility of standing in the pulpit every week. Being charged with the responsibility of keeping your eye on the horizon and seeing dangers as they present themselves to your congregation and having to stand with courage to say unpopular things at times. More than that, having to know that everything you do from the mannerisms, the joke that you tell, just the way that you go about presenting something, the church is watching. Whether you are even consciously aware of it or not, you are mimicking and imitating me. I first became painfully aware of this about 8-years-ago. I mentioned something to do with the church in Corinth, I mentioned something from the passage of first Corinthians and I made the comment “the city of Corinth was such a horrible city. It was like our present day Las Vegas. There is an advertising slogan for Vegas – What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Corinth was that same way. It was a city that was into so much different sinful activity that – What happens in Corinth stays in Corinth.” I remember about 6-months later I was attending a bible study being led by another one of our young men and he was going through something in Corinthians. He made the statement “you know the old saying, what happens in Corinth stays in Corinth.” It wasn’t that old of a saying because I had just said it 6-months before. He had forgotten I was the one who had said it and he was repeating it. I remembered that I had said it to him and I remember thinking at the time that the weight and the responsibility of setting yourself forth as an example and speaking the word of God to a group of people is crushing if it is not done with the help of Jesus Christ. Decisions are made, lives are altered and souls are saved based upon the leadership of what happens in the church.

Timothy needs a word. He needs a lot of words and Paul, like any good pastor or friend, is going to write and give him encouragement and give him help. We have three letters in the New Testament which we will classify as pastoral letters or Pastoral Epistles – 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy (Paul wrote two letters to Timothy) and he also had another young man by the name of Titus that he was mentoring who received a letter. In these three letters, Paul has one primary concern which you will see over and over again in all three letters. True belief, we must believe correctly, and right behavior. They are two sides to the same coin. Wrong belief will lead to wrong behavior. If you do not have true belief you won’t have true behavior. So, he is emphasizing that over and over again as his primary concern. In his letter to Titus, Paul’s concern was that Titus would stay and he would straighten out structural details and matters of leadership within the churches on the Island of Crete. Paul says “This is why I left you there, that you would put into order what was left undone” and he gives specific instructions in that first chapter of Titus regarding the appointment of elders. Leadership and the structure of the church was  important to the apostle Paul, but as you work your way through the rest of the letter you find that is a foundational piece to his ultimate concern. His concerns were that there would be right belief and right behavior within the church. In 2 Timothy his great concern in this particular letter, his last letter before he is to be martyred for the faith, is to make sure that he has completely put into Timothy’s hands the truths of the gospel and to exhort Timothy to make sure that he will guard the deposit that Paul has put into him. We find within the letter of 2 Timothy there is an exhortation to Timothy as a man and as a pastor to man the ramparts and to defend biblical doctrine and biblical orthodoxy. The idea is there for Paul, talking to Timothy, that there will always be this threat of false teachers coming into the church and false doctrine slowly, but surely working its way in which inevitably will result in false living and false belief, leading to false behavior. We find that 1 Timothy is sort of the first of these pastoral letters that he writes. We find that he touches on all of these things. He touches on false teachers, he touches on counterfeit Christianity, he touches on false doctrine, but there are really 3 major reasons that Paul is writing. The first is to bolster Timothy’s spirits. Remember, Timothy is going to be called to confront some of this stuff. As a young man he is unsure of himself. He is probably just like me not to long ago; sweating buckets as he stands before an undoubtedly small congregation to preach at them. He needs encouragement and to be lifted up and edified. He needs advice and instruction from his mentor. Look at 1 Timothy 4:14 where Paul makes the statement to Timothy “Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things; immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.” Paul is saying “Don’t neglect this, keep at it, persistence is the key. Immerse yourself in it.” In chapter 6:12 he makes the statement “Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession...” He is reminding Timothy of his faith, he is reminding him of the hope that Timothy has. Again in 6:20 “Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you.” These are things which you need to look to, which you need to give attention to. One of the primary reasons that Paul is writing to Timothy is to bolster his spirits, the other issue that Paul wants to address within 1 Timothy is the question of doctrine; specifically, false doctrine, false teachers that will bring corruption within the church and that wicked twisted men arise even from within the body of elders. He starts off with a bang. The first thing that he says to Timothy after giving the initial greeting is (1:3) “I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, not to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship form God that is by faith.” Paul is very clear that one of the reasons he sent him there was so that he could take this problem into his hands and he could address it the way the Lord would have him to address him. So, Timothy has to confront false doctrine and false teachers.

If you flip down in that same chapter to verse 18, Paul eludes to the fact that this false doctrine has long term consequences for the faith of the people and the church. He says (verse 18) “This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have mage shipwreck of their faith.” Again, what we believe drives how we behave and how we behave impacts our further growth in faith and whether we have further growth in faith or not. The clear result of individuals who turn away from sound teaching is that their faith is called “shipwrecked.” He goes on to further address this issue in chapter 6:3 “If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed-up with conceit and understands nothing.” So, Paul is touching on these issues: 1. He wants to encourage Timothy 2. He wants Timothy to be sure to address the false teaching that is happening there at the church at Ephesus 3. He wants to address proper doctrine. You will notice in chapter 1:8 he talks about the law and he makes this statement “the law is good, if one uses it lawfully.” So there is a right way and a wrong way to use the law. He goes on in chapter 4:6 “If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus. Being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths.” You need to give instruction in sound doctrine. He wants Timothy not only to confront the false teachers and the false doctrine, but he wants him to give good doctrine, good instruction. Something which you and I might not see as being necessarily apparent, but it is clearly here, in connection with correct teaching, making sure that the church is living a right lifestyle, making sure that things are going well in the church, at the heart of all of that is making sure that the proper structure is in place; specifically, that the proper leadership is in place. Almost the whole chapter is devoted to elders and deacons, their qualifications, their characteristics and their appointment. Structure or the actual forming of the institution of the church is so boring to us. We talk about things like constitution and bylaws and our eyes sort of glaze over. Yet, even though this is not necessarily a constitution and bylaws document for the church, for Paul structure matters. The organization of the church matters. The leadership that is in the church and how they function and how they relate in relation to the people in the pew and the congregation is not secondary, but is primary to making sure that the problem of false teachers and false doctrine is adequately addressed. If you think that you are going to not have any false doctrine in a church with a man in the pulpit who doesn’t have a spine and can’t stand up to false teacher then you have got another thing coming. It will happen if the man teaching cannot stand up for biblical truth it is just a matter of time before Satan brings in error and deception. All of these are things which are at the heart of what Paul is saying to Timothy. Now, as I said, Timothy is pastoring a church at Ephesus and this is an interesting town. It is a very wealthy town. The streets are paved with white marble. In fact, Ephesus is still there today and you can still go there today where tour guides will tell you right around high noon when the sun is at its zenith you need to put sunglasses on because of the glare off of this white marble. The glare is so strong that it actually can damage your eyes. On a bright sunny day on the coast of the Mediterranean it would have literally been a gleaming beacon on the horizon to any ships coming in to port. As a result of its proximity there on the coast and as a way point between Rome and the southern reaches in Jerusalem and Israel it was a gateway to the east so a number of ships would stop there. It was a merchant town. It was a place where Roman soldiers cold stop, disembark, get something to eat, get a moment to rest before they are headed on their way somewhere else within the empire. It was also popular because a number of people went to this city to attend the temple there. The temple was dedicated to Athena/Diana, the goddess of fertility.

We have CPP and many of us have RSP’s or some sort of pension fund. When we are too old and we cannot work anymore there will be some means of retirement there. In the first century Roman Empire there was no such plan. Your retirement in the first century was your children looking after you and caring for you in your old age. So what if you can’t have kids? There is no way you can retire because there is no one to look after you when you get old. This goddess had her temple there and in fact the merchants there made a fortune selling figurines and statues of her. People who struggled with infertility who were looking to bear children would flock by the thousands to this city every year and would pay exorbitant amounts of money, as they considered it an investment in their retirement, in order to get this statue of this goddess of fertility hoping that somehow they wouldn’t be left without children. At the heart of all of this is a little church founded by Paul struggling with false doctrine and false teaching, but striving to be a light in this city of light. That is the context.

Paul begins his letter with an address. We turn now to chapter 1:1. Letters in the first century are a little different than the letters that you and I write today. Generally when you are writing an email or writing a letter you will say “Dear John,” then you will write your whole body of text and then you will sign it off at the end “sincerely Joshua” or whatever you might like to say. In the first century letters started off differently. They would start off first and foremost with the name of the person who was writing the letter. Actually this is how we do it today via email. You get an email in your “inbox” and you look to see who it is from and that does have influence on whether you are going to open that email am I right? We still do it today and I dare say we did it back in the days when we got letters. The first thing we would do is look to see where the return address was from. In a lot of ways, the same things that they would practice in the first century we still hold to today; although, in a slightly different format and custom, but still the same principal. Here in the first century they would write a letter, they would start off in the very beginning describing who it is from. Paul states it as “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope.” Now right there that should just grab your attention. He is going to call Timothy his true child in the faith. Imagine me writing a letter to my daughter who has gone off to university or gone off somewhere to start her life and I want to encourage her so I write a letter where I give her some points of wisdom and some encouragement. Then, at the end I sign it “sincerely, Joshua Claycamp Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church, BA in Biblical Studies from Dallas Baptist University, MA in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University, MDiv. from Liberty University.” Okay dad, thanks for all of that. I am proud of you too. Your signature is a little bit heading here isn’t it dad? In our day and age it would almost colour and taint everything else in the letter; like I am just bragging on my accomplishments. Yet, notice the way that Paul writes his letter. Paul – that was his Greek name, his given name was Saul. He adopted his Greek name for ministry to the gentiles. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope.” So let us take my letter a little step further “Dear Chloe, do good, I love you. Sincerely Joshua David Claycamp Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church, BA in Biblical Studies from Dallas Baptist University, MA in Pastoral Counseling from Liberty University, MDiv. Liberty University - BY COMMAND OF GOD.” It seems intense doesn’t it! Whoa, you’re hitting me with both barrels here.

Now as you read this first line, recognize that is a powerful statement. He is saying “I am Paul, an apostle of God; you are Timothy my true child in the faith.” What they are experiencing in the first century in terms of the effects upon their souls as a result of all of this teaching that is going on, all of these different deities and different gods, they had the Greek pantheon of gods and the Romans had their own list of gods as well. It was a very pantheistic and pluralistic culture. It was a culture that said essentially that there are a number of different truths and you can believe what you want so long as you are sincere because each person can have his own truth and each person can have his own god.

It was a day and age in which everyone was willing to give plausibility to just about everything, but certainty to nothing.

Can you relate? Does that not sound a little bit like twenty-first century Kamloops? Now, if you are in a culture in which there is nothing concrete, there is nothing firm, there is nothing absolutely certain, a culture in which everyone is running after every type of idea, every type of religion, a culture in which even our gender is up for grabs and we are not even sure whether we are supposed to be boys or girls, a culture that has every possible element of society shifting and you are trying to encourage a pastor within that culture how do you give him something stable? How do you give him something solid in which to stand? I can tell you from personal experience, especially in the early days of my ministry preaching I would say things that I thought sounded awesome I would have people struggle with it. Then I would question was that as awesome as I thought it was or am I just going too hard and too full bore. I had other times in which I would say things that I thought were fairly benign and unremarkable only to have the church rise in an uproar. In either instance whether I was over the top or I was underselling it I was left wondering whether or not I was right to even say it. The question of certainty comes into view here. Is this indeed beyond all shadow of a doubt the right thing to say? Undoubtedly you have experienced this too; whether you are aware of it or not. If you have ever shared the gospel with anyone, if you have ever tried to evangelize your friend, your co-worker, your neighbour. If you are faithful in this you have undoubtedly at some point in time met with resistance. They have said things to you like “that’s offensive, that’s the worst thing I have ever heard. How could you believe that?” You’ve stepped back and you have wondered if you had gone about it the right way or was there a better way that it could have been presented? Then you have wondered if you should have waited to have this conversation until you had been friends for 2-3 more months. This is what Paul is saying, “I am speaking to you as an apostle.” What Timothy needs is a sure certain word from an individual who has been authorized by God the Father to speak these words. He is getting it from his mentor, the apostle Paul. At the end of the day the only thing that has provided me any confidence or any certainty that I am doing anything right is the plain text of the word of God. As a young man pastoring in first century Ephesus without a completed canon, he has Old Testament but he doesn’t have the New Testament, he is pastoring, preaching, and doing the best he can. He needs his friends to speak into his life, but that simply doesn’t cut it. The best encouragement that any of us could receive is a firm certain authoritative word from the Lord and that is exactly what Paul gives him. “I am writing to you as Paul, an apostle, by command of God.” This isn’t Paul being high on himself. What he is about to say comes from an authorized representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is critical for us because there are churches today that even bandy about this term apostle rather loosely. The Greek word apostolos in its most basic form means messenger, someone who carries a message and in that sense you could say that all of you at anytime when you have evangelized or delivered a note to someone, you are an apostle; you are carrying a message from someone else. In the most generic sense that is what the term means. Yet we know that from the New Testament that there were specifically 12 individuals’ who were called apostles, but they were appointed to a very specific office. We have the 12, remember Judas hung himself and in Acts chapter 1 they appointed Mathias to take his place, Mathias reconstituting the group. Then we have the apostle Paul who was also designated an apostle in the sense of the “office of apostle.” Here are a couple of things: 1. the designation. To be an apostle requires you to be called and chosen specifically by Jesus Christ himself. In the gospel of John this is made abundantly clear and we see that Paul mentions this in Galatians chapter 1 as he talks about his own calling in verse 12. He says “I would have you know brothers, that I didn’t receive my gospel from any man, nor was I taught it.” Just stop there for a second. All of us here in this room have heard the gospel proclaimed to us by other men. We have all received the message of salvation, it has come by the power of the Holy Spirit no doubt, but the agent of delivery has been another man. Paul is saying that when he heard the gospel he didn’t hear it from a man; point blank. He goes on to say in that specific passage “nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” Jesus appeared to him directly on the road to Damascus. Undoubtedly there were subsequent revelations. Paul makes a statement regarding this in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 “I have seen revelations too wonderful and too spectacular for man to be allowed to talk about.” Undoubtedly Paul had numerous revelations, numerous direct experiences from the Lord Jesus Christ.

I remember in my first year of systematic theology that they were giving us a “Spiritual Gifts Survey” to help us to know what our spiritual gift was. It was made clear to us that it was just meant to be sort of a primer to help get us thinking about it and that it was not authoritative or definitive. I will never forget that there was a girl in our class that said “my spiritual gift isn’t listed on here.”The professor, a wonderful man that I still love to this day, Dr. Bell said “what do you think your spiritual gift is?” She said “Well, I am clearly a New Testament apostle. We all started laughing before we realized she was serious. The laughter awkwardly died down and it was one of those moments when you think to yourself “I am glad I don’t have to say anything about this” and everybody just sort of turned and looked at Dr. Bell. New Testament apostle requires a direct revelation from Jesus Christ. You have to have been a witness of his ministry and specifically a witness of his resurrection. This is one of the qualifications that are mentioned in the scriptures. Apostles are familiar with his doctrine and they are specifically witnesses of his resurrection. This is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:8 with Paul again shoring up his office, his qualification to be an apostle, when he says “Jesus appeared to a number of people and last of all as one untimely born he appeared also to me.” In the context of that chapter he is talking about the resurrection. So, Paul observed the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. So, first off you have be called and chosen by Jesus and second you have to have certain qualifications you have to meet before you can be designated an apostle. Most notably, you have to be an observer, a direct eye witness of his resurrection. Third, your ministry is authenticated by God himself. God blesses and confirms the work of an apostle with accompanying signs and miracles. In 2 Corinthians 12:12 Paul writing to the church in Corinth says “The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patients with signs and wonders and mighty works.” There office is not restricted to a specific church; it extends across all churches for all time. They hold this office in perpetuity even after they have died. Now, don’t misunderstand me, that is not to say that apostles are still alive and running around somewhere today ministering. They are alive in heaven, but their ministry continues on this earth through the things that they have written.

I want you to flip backwards with me to Ephesians chapter 2:19. Paul, writing to the church at Ephesus – the same church that Timothy is now pastoring - makes the statement “you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” Now, he is using this term “household of God” in the all encompassing universal sense of it. There are individual churches all throughout time, but then there is the church universal which is every believer who has ever trusted in Jesus Christ; past, present and future. Speaking in that specific vain, he says they are members of the household of God built on the foundation of the apostles and prophet, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone in which the whole structure being joined together grows into a holy temple in the Lord. The apostles, as direct eye witnesses of the ministry and teaching of Jesus Christ, were commissioned by Jesus to lay down the authoritative doctrine of Christianity in the first century. The apostolic preaching of the cross is what leads to the birth and the formation of the church in the first century there in Jerusalem. They then take these teachings and largely through a writing ministry, writing letters back and forth to churches which they themselves established in the first century, they take the teachings of Jesus and they largely codify them and boil them down and put them here where the church was then blessed and privileged to recognize the apostolic authority, to recognize to writing and the teaching of the doctrine of Christ and compiled it into the canon of the word of God. Let me push the pause button right there. Contrary to “The Da Vinci Code” the church did not get around 100 years out from the fact and flip a coin and say “hey, what are we going to believe guys?” These letters were written and copied and mass produced in the first century and immediately upon reception it was recognized that these books were scriptural. They were not just the writings of a man. They were indeed the word of God. That is the office of Apostle. We benefit from it today in the sense that we still have the word of God today. They are still exercising a ministry to the written word by the power of the Holy Spirit. There will be no more New Testament Apostles.

In conclusion, I simply want to say that there are some of you out there who are saying “Pastor, that is all well and good but this letter sounds like it is a letter directed mostly to pastors.” Indeed it was written to a pastor from an apostle to a pastor, that is true. But, Paul in making this final statement in 1 Timothy chapter 3 says the reason I am writing these things to you is so that if I delay you may know how one ought to behave in the household God – the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the Truth. Perhaps some of you have been identifying with me and relating to some of my experiences and recognise and appreciate the full weight that comes upon the man who steps into the pulpit to preach the word of God. This isn’t just important for pastors or aspiring pastors; it is important for you too. First and foremost because you as the church need to know how you ought to behave within this household of God. You need to understand what your responsibilities are. You may not be aware of this, but you also need to know that in the same way that there is a great burden upon the pastors in this church to lead lives worthy of imitation and to proclaim and speak forth the truth of God, the same burden is on you too. When you go out into the workplace and you go back to your home and neighbourhood today the family that does not know the Lord Jesus Christ is watching you. Your coworkers who understand that you are a follower of Jesus yet they have rejected faith, they are watching you. I am sure you have heard the expression “for 90% of the world the only bible that they will ever read is you.” Now, obviously that is a bit of an inflated statistic I am sure, but the message rings true. Whatever pressures are felt up here, you may not have been aware of it, but they are there for you when you leave this place as well.

As we turn to the book of 1 Timothy, the Pastoral Epistles, it is of shepherd and apostle striving to shepherd a young man who is himself a shepherd of others. My prayer for you as we begin this book is that we would all allow ourselves to be shepherded by the word of God and to stand up to a lost and broken world to proclaim the glory of God. As we begin this book I am excited about the things that lie ahead and I ask that you would start reading it in advance and preparing for Sunday morning messages from 1 Timothy.

Let us close in prayer. Father, we thank you so much for your word to us this morning. Lord we pray that as we look at 1 Timothy that you Lord would help us to conform more and more fully to the image of your Son. We thank you for sending your Son Jesus to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. We pray God that you would use us to shine as a light to the world around us. Teach us we pray in Christ’s name, Amen.

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