1 Timothy 6
1 Timothy 6
1 Timothy 6
Good morning Church! We are going to try to make our way through the end of 1 Timothy this morning. Those that have been with us know that this letter was primarily written by an older pastor to a younger pastor, Paul to Timothy. They had been serving together in Ephesus and for whatever reason, Paul felt the need to move on to Macedonia, and Timothy remained. We are told the reason in the first chapter 1 Tim 1:3-4
3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.
Apparently there were those that had prominent positions of influence in the church that thought it was a good idea to argue and dispute about things that didn’t really matter, so Paul urges Timothy to keep the main thing the main thing. Keep it about Jesus, and don’t let the church, who is the bride of Christ get weighted down, or distracted by things that aren’t their mission.
So much of this letter talks about what church should look like. What the qualifications are for those serving in leadership, how Timothy as a pastor should conduct himself, and as an extension of that how the church, the people should conduct themselves.
It’s easy to sit through a book like this and think that it doesn’t completely apply you, or maybe to just take it all in to evaluate or critique how the folks in some of these positions are doing. But not today. Today in his closing, there is still some instruction to the conduct of the body of the church, but also to Timothy as a man. Not the Pastor, but just as a follower of Jesus. So, lets look at this together and see what the Lord has for us, we will primarily focus on verses 11&12. But starting in verse 1, 1 Tim 6:1-2
1 Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed. 2 And those who have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren, but rather serve them because those who are benefited are believers and beloved. Teach and exhort these things.
Although the Bible speaks much of slaves and masters, it never endorses the act of enslaving one human by another human, but just as the Scriptures are relevant to our lives today, so it was in the day that it was written. Slavery was also somewhat different than what we know it as in the history of our own country. If you had a debt that you could not pay, there was no visa card, or discover, to put your debt on and pay over time, you could not simply take out a home equity loan and consolidate your debt to pay off for the next 10 or 20 years.
If you owed money you could not pay, you became the servant of the one that you owed, or the servant of another who would pay that debt for you, and then you would serve them until that debt was fully paid. A bondservant was generally one that served in this capacity for life. So he continues on with the conduct of Christians and says, you that are in the position of servant, serve well, honor your masters and that will honor God, people will see that Jesus is real.
He goes on in verse two and says if your master is also a Christian, don’t despise them, don’t take advantage of that fact that you are both believers and not serve well, or think you don’t have to work hard, but instead give your all as those that benefit from your masters work are believers and beloved brethren as he gives to the things of the Lord.
3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.
We often waste time engaging in the useless wranglings of men, these can be both good things and bad things. He mentions a list here for worthless pursuits and the destitute of truth, but there are times when people want to have arguments, and be dogmatic over doctrine, over theology. On occasion when we come to a place in Scripture that speaks of doctrine, the sovereignty of God, the free will of man, the rapture of the church, someone may want to come up after the service and argue their position, not discuss it, or explore different interpretations of the Scriptures but to argue their point of view, and from such I withdraw myself. I don’t have time for it. There are too many of you here that I want to catch up with and hear about how God is working in your life.
I’m going to caution you here as we move to verse 6, it appears to be a radical contrast to what some might describe as the American dream, or Wall Street’s glamorization of greed. Verse 6 1 Tim 6:6-8
6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.
Here is how the Scriptures measure wealth,... food and clothing. Have you eaten today? Do you have more than one shirt, or two pairs of pants, then you have plenty, be content. Be satisfied, fulfilled with that. For most of us that directly contradicts not just how we were raised, but what we have seen modeled. Look out for you. More, more, more is the mantra that the world teaches. Hoard and store up treasures. We brought nothing into this world and we can carry nothing out, other than those things invested into eternity.
9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
This last verse is telling as a love of money ultimately is the result of a love of self. A desire to gain, to get ahead of others. But the love of money never leads to anything good. Now verses 11-12 are what stood out to me in this passage throughout the week. 1 Tim 6:11-12
11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
This is where is becomes personal to all of us. It’s no longer a Senior Pastor giving instructions to a young and growing Pastor, it’s brother to brother, brother to sister. It’s to you man of God, it’s to me, it’s to you women of God, and he says flee these things this pursuit of foolish and harmful lust in which men drown in destruction.
Those of you that were with us for our study of Ecclesiastics, may remember the story of Solomon. I’m going to read part of chapter one as Solomon addresses what Paul is talking about here. Ecc 1:1-4
1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. 2 “Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” 3 What profit has a man from all his labor In which he toils under the sun? 4 One generation passes away, and another generation comes; But the earth abides forever.
He tells us his ultimate conclusion before he gets too far into describing all his pursuits under the sun seeking fulfillment outside of God and concludes all is vanity.
5 The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, And hastens to the place where it arose. 6 The wind goes toward the south, And turns around to the north; The wind whirls about continually, And comes again on its circuit. 7 All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; To the place from which the rivers come, There they return again. 8 All things are full of labor; Man cannot express it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor the ear filled with hearing.
There is so much truth in this. The things we think will fulfill us, the desires we have that are unquenchable, he says the eye is not satisfied with seeing, or the ear filled with hearing. Ecc 1:9-11
9 That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us. 11 There is no remembrance of former things, Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come By those who will come after.
12 I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. 14 I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.
He doesn’t say that there weren’t moments, some highlights, but in the end, all that he grasped for was like grasping for the wind. Maybe some of you have thought if I could just get this thing, or a bigger thing, or finally reach a certain income level, or maybe a person you were pursuing, only to find that after attaining that thing, that goal, that person, you remained thirsty, still empty. Maybe you have found yourself wishing you could go back to that moment when you climbed that summit, had that position, but all is fleeting and ultimately is leaves you with a handful of air. Emptiness. So Paul says, 1 Tim 6:11
11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.
flee these things. Let them go. Some of you have been holding on to things for so long that you have lost your way. Or in your pursuit, you have lost more than you’ve gained and today find yourself in this place of being empty, still longing for fulfillment, but not finding it in anything or anyone. Some of you here may need to pray and surrender those pursuits to God this morning. To just let them go and as this Word says here pursue righteousness, pursue godliness, pursue has the idea of to seek and hunt these things down.
Pursue faith, pursue love, that means looking for opportunities to serve others to put them, and their preferences before your own. To consider them before yourself. How hard is that? You have to be intentional about it. I do. It is easy to thing about myself, that’s the goto. Right? I mean it might just be your selfish pastor, but for me to think about you, I have to make myself think about you. I have to purpose in my heart to put my wife first, your my kids first, or you first.
I don’t want to go out to eat whereever you want to go, I want New York style pizza at Zeppa’s in Ellsworth. Pursue patience, do you know what that means? It doesn’t just say be patient, it says pursue it. Look for opportunities to wait on others, to do things on their schedule…look for situations that make you impatient and don’t be that way anymore. Pursue Gentleness. Situations that you want to be harsh, that ordinarily might make you want to slap somebody, and don’t be that way, practice gentleness instead. Be soft, not harsh. 1 Tim 6:12 No longer seek after self fulfillment, riches, pride, flee those things and pursue godliness.
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
I like that he describes it as a fight, because despite what the tv evangelists might tell you, it won’t be easy. There are several of you in this room, that I know this goes against everything in your world. What I mean by that it that you’re friends don’t go to church and they don’t get it. Your family doesn’t go to church and they no longer get you, but you know this is truth. That God is changing your heart. That for the first time in your life, you have experienced unconditional love, and it is a beautiful thing. Flee the things of the world that will leave you empty and thirsty and lay hold on eternal life....
13 I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, 15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.
17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
20 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.
Grace and Peace