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1st Timothy 1:1-17
1st Timothy 2:1-15
1st Timothy 3:1-13
1st Timothy 4:1-13
1st Timothy 5:1-25
1st Timothy 6:3-21
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1st Timothy 6:3-21

 

“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to the wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railing, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, supposing that gain is godliness:  from such withdraw thyself.  But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.  But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is the [“a”] root of all evil:  which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.  But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.  I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; that they keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:  which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see:  to whom be honour and power everlasting.  Amen.  Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.  O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:  which some professing have erred concerning the faith.  Grace be with thee.  Amen.” 

 

“Paul ends this Epistle to Timothy with certain exhortations.  First, in verses 3 to 5 concerning false teachers.  Then in verses 6 to 10, godliness and contentment.  Verses 11 to 16, an exhortation in light of the coming of Christ.  Verses 17 to 19, an admonition to those who are rich in this world.  And verses 20 and 21, his last admonition to his “son in the faith, Timothy.” 

What A False Teacher Is, And Is Not

 

He says “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is” (verse 3) and he goes on, he begins by telling us what a false teacher is, and what he is not.  He’s come to the end of a series of exhortations, and he looks back at this idea of false teaching again.  And he says, “If any man teach otherwise,” in light of all of these exhortations he’s given us since the first chapter, ‘if anybody teaches otherwise, and does not consent to wholesome words,’ that is “healthy” the idea is “wholesome” is that there is spiritual health there, in contrast of course to diseased doctrine, that which is sick, doesn’t bear good fruit.  “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;” again, “godliness” mentioned 8 times in this short letter, the first time it’s used in the New Testament is in 1st Timothy, and it’s use 8 times in 1st Timothy.  “and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;” godly character in a godly relationship with the Lord, if these are the things this false teacher does not do, they don’t embrace healthy teaching, they don’t embrace the doctrine of Christ that’s according to godliness, that’s what they lack, what they are, on the positive, is this, whoever this person is, “he is proud,” and we know right from that, that the Lord holds him at arm’s length, “knowing nothing,” Paul, tells us how he really feels.  In fact the word there, you may have ‘a fool,’ for the word “proud” there, can be translated like that, he’s a fool, knows nothing.  “but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness:  from such withdraw thyself.” (verses 4-5)  So, he’s proud, doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and he’s “doting about questions and strifes over words,” it’s an interesting phrase that means he’s “word-sick.”  And you know people like that, they love to major on minors, they’ll argue from now until the Lord comes about where Cain got his wife, and how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, ah, ‘If God can make anything can he make a rock too heavy to pick up, for himself?’  I mean, just ridiculous things, the guy on the island.  I mean, they specialize in the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not of Christian doctrine.  Paul says ‘Turn away from those, withdraw yourself, don’t be involved with those that are word-sick, they’re arguing over and doting over questions, and strife over words, because from this kind of strife and so forth comes envy,’ they’re not embracing doctrine that’s in regards to godliness.  They’re not concerned about their character, their integrity, the very simple things of the Christian faith.  They want to go on and dote about other things.  And by the way, we can even go on and argue about legitimate doctrines with a wrong attitude [which ends up getting us majoring in the minors, and I’ve seen this happen in a fellowship, very deadly, gets the whole congregation or house-church away from the central teachings about godly character and Christian living].  I always think of Luther and his preface to Romans, when he says “Who are these audacious young Christians who dare to soar the heights of eternal depravity and predestination and irresistible grace and preservation of the saints before they understand sin, the flesh, and grace, and temptation?”  He says “Surely they must fall, because there is a doctrine for every season in a man’s life.””  And we can argue about all kinds of things in the wrong spirit.  I think we can maintain a personal theology in the right spirit, if love and the right kind of character, and the right attitude is central, if we’re more concerned about the nature of Christ in our lives than just what we know, because knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.  And these are those now who have even turned away from anything like that, they’re not concerned about godliness, not concerned about sound doctrine, they’re proud, puffed up, they’re arguing about stuff all the time.  This kind of stuff gives birth, it says, to envy, they’re envious over something, “to strife, to railings,” not the kind on your stairway, this is “arguing.”  “evil surmisings,” you know people like that, ‘I know what he’s doing,’ evil surmisings, everything they surmise gives birth to evil surmisings. I like the King James on phrases like that.  “perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, destitute of the truth,” and what they’re “supposing that gain is godliness:” monetary gain, material gain, they’re supposing that is “godliness.” “from such withdraw thyself.”  Now, you have to understand, there was throughout the Old Testament, under the Law, a principle put forth, that if the children of Israel would obey the Law, if they would walk before God uprightly, if they would keep his commandments, that God would bless their flocks, their herds, that their wives would not be barren, their crops would bring forth, God would bring rain and so forth.  So there was in their minds, as time went on, and then their theology a correlation between prosperity and godliness developed.  But that theology became sick by the time Christ came on the scene.  In the New Testament, Paul said ‘I’ve learned to be abased and to abound, I’ve learned to suffer the want of all things, to be hungry, to be destitute.’  And then there’s another theology that’s developed in the Church, that if we have faith, that we are never sick, physically, and we’re never broke [the Health & Wealth doctrine folks, part of the ‘Name It, Claim It’ group of whackos].  I don’t appreciate that, because I’ve been broke and sick over the years.  And that kind of theology is more concerned about physical health than doctrinal health.  And Paul begins by warning about those who are not given to wholesome doctrine, healthy doctrine.  And Paul said, in this environment in Ephesus, it’s the banking capital of the world, that the temple of Dianna is there, ah, at least the banking capital of Asia Minor, there are those that are teaching that gain is godliness, to get more and more money, to become more and more wealthy is a sign of godliness.  “From such” he says, “withdraw thyself.” 

 

In Contrast To These False Teachings---“Godliness With Contentment Is Great Gain”

 

Now verse 6 gives us one of the contrasts, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” (verses 6-7)  We brought nothing into this world, and we’re not staying long, we just got here, and we’re not staying long [even a hundred year lifetime is a brief flash in the pan compared to eternity], and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  You’ll read about somebody every once in a while, buried in their Cadillac.  They ain’t driving it anywhere, they’re just buried in a Cadillac, that’s all.  We brought nothing into this world.  I watched all four of my children born.  Job says ‘Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, naked I shall return, the LORD giveth, the LORD taketh away, blessed is the name of the LORD.’  I watched my children born, all four of them came naked into this world, they didn’t bring anything, not even a wallet stitched to their rear-end when they were born, soon as they were born they were after mine.  [laughter]  That’s alright, because I can’t take it with me when I go anyway, I’d rather, a father lays up for the children, that’s what the Bible says.  We didn’t bring anything in, materially, and we’re not going to take anything out.  You can send it ahead, there is an investment program.  But you can’t take it with you, you can invest it, and I’ll talk more about that as the chapter goes on.  A content man, and I think Thoreau said “A content man is not the man that has the most, he’s the man that can do with the least.”  The content man in this world is not the man that has the most, he’s the man that can do with the least.  One of the Rockefellers was asked what it would take for him to be content when he was one of the three or four richest men in the world, and he said “A little more.”  And he said that knowing how ridiculous it was to say that.  Because the human soul, the human being is not contented with things.  There is something else that gnaws at us.  That is why the Betty Ford Clinic can be filled with millionaires.  You look at somebody in the Sports world whose getting paid, you know, 5 million, 10 million, 15 million dollars a year, and they get busted for using drugs.  You think ‘What’s the problem?’  Or they get in a fight in the bar, and we think they have everything they could ever want, why are they still acting like they’re empty?  Well because they are.  Contentment is when we finally come to the point of experiencing what we were made for, and that is fellowship with the Living God.  And it’s only as we come into a vital relationship with Jesus Christ that we can really experience contentment.  He said, ‘But there are false teachers that are saying,’ if you can imagine this, if you can imagine, it’s never happened in our day, you never see this on television, ‘But there are false teachers who say that gain is godliness.’  Imagine that [he’s being facetious].  The ‘Health & Wealth’ stuff, the ‘Blab It & Grab It’ folks.  And look, as we go on, God does not condemn prosperity or wealth.  A lot of the greatest men in the Bible were wealthy.  The greatest men in the Old Testament were wealthy, Joseph, Abraham, David, Daniel, none of them were Bible teachers, they were all administrators, they administrated kingdoms.  But Abraham, looked for a city whose builder and maker is God (cf. Hebrews 11:8-10), it says he was overloaded with silver and gold.  Hard to imagine, isn’t it, to be overloaded?...David, his heart was after God, he gave the majority of his wealth to build the Temple that his son would build.  Daniel, Joseph in Egypt, wealthy, but whose hearts were after God.  ‘Godliness with contentment, and that’s great gain, true riches,’ “for we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”  Psalm 49 tells us this, “Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased, for when he dieth he shall take nothing away, his glory shall not descend after him.” that’s a scary word.  “Though while he lived he blessed his soul, and men will praise thee when you do well for yourself, he shall go to the generation of his fathers, they shall never see the light.”  Ecclesiastes says this, “There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt.  But those riches perish by evil travail, and he begeteth a son, and there is nothing in his hand.  And as he came forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour which he may carry away in his hand.  This is also a sore evil,” and it all points “as he came so shall he go.  What profit hath he that he’s laboured for to the wind?”  So the idea is the Bible throughout, holds up this idea, yeah, prosperity is a blessing, and there is a purpose for it.  And God does prosper certain men and women for his purposes.  But the pursuit of those things without God doesn’t bring any contentment at all.  We see it all around us in the world that we live in.  We brought nothing into this world, and it’s certain that we’re not going to take anything out of it.  “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (verse 8)  And they’re both plural here, foods and coverings.  We have something to eat in the refrigerator, let’s be content.  And we’re not, are we?  I watch my kids do it, open the refrigerator, stand there, close the refrigerator.  ‘What, are you cooling the world?  Just take something out of it, and shut it!’   ‘There’s nothing to eat in there.’  ‘It’s filled with FOOD, what do you mean there’s nothing to eat?  What do you think’s in there, pottery?  It’s filled with food, what do you mean there’s nothing to eat?’  They open their closet and stand there, ‘I don’t have anything to wear.’  You’re laughing because you can relate.  There’s people starving all over the world, ‘There’s nothing to eat in here.’  It could start a stampede in some places.  If we have food, and clothing, covering, a roof over our heads, if you say grace at your table and you have something to put in your mouth, and you can get on your knees next to your kid’s bed at night and there’s clean sheets and a pillow, there’s heat in the house, and they’re healthy, that’s as rich as it gets in this world.  I think of the panic and difficulty that thousands are going to have in the next few hours of life on earth.  In food, coverings, therewith be content. 

 

“But They That Will Be Rich Fall Into Temptation And A Snare”

 

In contrast to this, “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare,”  and the word “will” means they’ve set their pursuit, “and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is the [“a”] root of all evil:  which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (verses 9-10)  So, they that would be rich.  Again, there’s no condemnation of wealth.  But it is the condemnation of the pursuit of wealth.  You know, if that’s the driving force of your life, it’s your god, it’s mammon.  If pleasure is the pursuit of your life, your Ashtoreth, you’re worshipping some demon from the past that had a different name.  If knowledge, you know I’m a discovery channel freak, and I know when they say ‘and 50 million years ago,’ they don’t have any idea of what they’re talking about.  I mean, I like to watch lions eating hyenas and stuff, I enjoy that, crockadiles in the Nile River dragging down those wildebeests, I can watch that, mindless entertainment.  “they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare,” the pursuit of that, the pursuit of those things, first of all there’s something tempting about it that takes our hearts, and that becomes a snare, we get caught up in it.  And then caught up in that snare it is into many foolish and hurtful desires.  And it says that those hurtful desires “drown men in destruction and perdition.”  Now, it means to be pulled down, to sink.  And there’s a picture here of a human life that has more value in the sight of God than just what it can acquire in this world.  Jesus says ‘What does a man profit if he gain the entire Cosmos, the entire Universe, and lose his own soul?’  Jesus says, you know, people question God about his love, and if there is a God of love, why is there war.  Wait a minute, Jesus says that a single human soul, to him, is more valuable than all of the Universe.  What does it gain a man if he gains the whole world, the cosmos, and he loses his own soul?  Jesus is saying that soul is more valuable, not just in the treasures on earth, but the entire universe.  Because all of this is going to pass away, and that soul is eternal, there’s a greater value, it lasts longer, it endures.  So people who make that their goal, wealth and so forth, they pierce themselves through with foolish hurtful lusts that drown men in destruction and perdition.  Why?  “For the love of money is the root of all evil,” now, it’s an interesting phrase, money-love is, and there’s no definite article, it’s “a” root of all evil, it’s one of the roots of evil, not money itself, but the love of it.  It doesn’t say money is evil, but the pursuit of it, money-love, that that’s where our heart is set on, instead of the things of God.  I mean, it’s money-love that has somebody selling crack-cocaine on the corner, and somebody’s dying from using that drug, money.  It’s money-love that’s got somebody prostituting themselves.  It’s money-love that makes someone sell the nuclear device in a suitcase for 200 million dollars, to a terrorist.  It’s money-love that promotes the level of morality and ethics we see in Media and Entertainment, and all of that is driven by, acquiring wealth.  “Godliness with contentment is great gain” because “godliness”, you’re right with God, you’re right with the world, you’re right with the devil, you’re right with eternity, you’re right with heaven, you’re right with hell, you’re right with money, you’re right with one another, you’re right with your children, you’re right with your family, that’s great gain to be in the right perspective and relationship with all of those things.  But money-love, it’s “a” root of many evils, “which while some covet after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”  And you and I both know folks who started out on fire, talking about Jesus, witnessing, and pretty soon they get disillusioned through one thing or another, then they turn their heart after, ‘Oh yea, I can get a raise here, I can get six figures here, I can do this here,’ and somehow they cool, they become luke-warm, they turn away, they embrace another value-system.  He talks about those who have erred from the faith, that they “pierce themselves through with many sorrows.”  It’s not money that’s wrong, it’s the pursuit of it, and the lie that ‘If I have more I’ll be happy.’ 

 

‘Flee These Things, And Follow After These Things’---A Letting Go And Reaching For

 

Contrast again, verse 11.  And this is an exhortation now to Timothy that runs to verse 16.  “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” (verse 11)  Interesting phrase used in the Old Testament, “man of God.”  He’s looking at Timothy, and he’s saying, ‘You know, you need to be separate from this world, different from worldly men and women.’  And we will take this exhortation to ourselves in a day when the world can be blowing apart, tonight, in a world when it’s going to prove once again how temporary things are.  ‘Thou oh man of God, thou oh woman of God,’ let’s take the exhortation, I’ll take it to my own heart as we look at this, ‘flee these things, and follow after these other things.’  Now he’s going to say the process is not just leaving something to get away from it, because that leaves you in limbo, it’s letting go and reaching for.  You know, it says in Colossians ‘we should put off the old man with his lusts and so forth,’ but it doesn’t stop there, it says ‘put off, and put on these,’  And you know, the transformation takes place in our life not just because, you know, ‘Well tell me about yourself.’  ‘Well I don’t do this, I don’t smoke this, and I don’t snort this, I don’t steal this, and I don’t do this, and I don’t sleep with this person, and I don’t do that…’  ‘Well I still don’t know who you are.  All I knew is what you don’t do.  I won’t know who you are until you tell me what you do.  I’m never going to know who you are by what you don’t do.’  Because we can line up a thousand people who don’t do those things, and we don’t know the difference between any of them, until we know what they do with their lives.  So the exhortation, he says ‘Flee these things, but follow [do] these things.’  And the tenses are “continually be fleeing these things, the hurtful lusts, the love of money,” things that he’s laid out, “continually flee these wrong values, and continually follow after, thou man of God, thou woman of God, continually be pursuing, instead of money, be pursuing after these, righteousness and godliness, being right with man, right with God, be pursuing that.  If you now somebody that you need to ask forgiveness of, ask forgiveness.  If you know someone that the power is with you to make peace, even though they were wrong and you were right, let me tell you something, in the Kingdom of God there are things that are higher than being just right and wrong.  We love to battle along the lines of right and wrong, ‘Well you’re wrong and I’m right,’ ‘I’m right an you’re wrong,’  Well, Jesus was right, we were wrong.  He came and made peace, laid down his life.  Follow after righteousness and godliness, make peace if you can make peace, if it’s within your power, blessed are the peacemakers, Jesus said.  If you can do that, do it.  It’s not a matter of right and wrong, it’s a matter of the Kingdom of God, and who controls your heart and who controls your mouth.  Jesus is Saviour and he’s Lord.  I don’t know why I said that, if the shoe fits.  “and follow after these things, righteousness, godliness, faith, love,” Faith and love, follow after those things, you know, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God, we should be growing in our faith.  And love, it’s easy to follow after selfishness, you don’t have to do that, you just breathe and that happens.  But flee selfishness, love of money, follow after continually “love, patience, meekness.”  I’m not crazy about those two words.  I’m not real patient in certain circumstances, I hate to call somewhere and they say to me “Would you hold for a minute?”  [I’ve actually said “no” to see what kind of reaction I’d get, kind of derails them from their spiel, followed by a long silence J].  ‘A minute!?  You know what I could do with a minute?’   I hate to be driving in a 35 mile-an-hour speed limit zone behind somebody doing 34 and a half, drives me out of my mind.  I hate to be in the checkout line when somebody whips out a checkbook.  [I always seem to choose the line that takes the longest, even when I consciously try to pick the line that’s going to go the fastest.  I sense God’s sense of humour there J]  I’m thinking ‘This is called CHECK OUT line, not, this person must believe in reincarnation…get me outa here.’  And look, the exhortation is for me to follow after “patience” and “meekness” that’s part of it.  And “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” (verse 12)  So fleeing from and following after is a fight, fleeing from worldliness and carnal desires, fleeing from that takes energy, takes spiritual determination, it takes God’s grace, it takes prayer, it takes time in the Word of God to flee things that are wrong, and with your heart to follow after the things that are right, that’s the battle that all of us are in.  All of us, John, 90-years-old, writing his first Epistle, says “If we say” including himself, personal pronoun, including himself, 90-year-old apostle, “If we say we have not sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”  “If we confess our sin, he’s faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  He recognized, at 90-years-old, a struggle of fleeing and following after.  That’s the warfare that we’re in.  Fight the good fight, Paul would say at the end “I fought the good fight, I’ve kept the faith, I’ve finished my course.”  And he’s going to give that exhortation to Timothy here, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life,” now the tense, the construction there gives us the idea of “fight the good fight of faith”, now  Paul’s going to say that in his letter to Timothy, ‘Timothy, I’ve fought the good fight, I’ve finished my course,’ that’s the sense here.  “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life,” the idea is, that should be your heart’s final goal, you flee worldliness, you lay hold on godliness and righteousness, and you fight that good fight, and at the end when you’re breathing your last breathe in the hospital or a battle field or however it comes, at that point you’re laying hold of the goal, which is eternal life.  ‘Fight the good fight Timothy, lay hold,’ not by your energy, but idea is, this is what we’re called to.  This is what we’re called to, “lay hold of eternal life, whereunto thou art called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”  This is what we’ve always given as your testimony, Timothy,’  “I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession.” (verse 13)  Now it is getting more serious, how’d you like Paul to write this to you?  I think Paul did write it to you.  In fact I think God wrote it to you through Paul.  I assume he’s talking about when Pontius Pilate said ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’  Pilate said to him, ‘Am I a Jew?’  ‘Your own nation and your chief priests have delivered you unto me, what have you done?’  Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world, if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight that I should not be delivered to the Jews.  But now is my kingdom not from hence.  Thou sayest that I am a king, to this end I was born, and for this cause I came into the world, that I should bear witness of the truth.  Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice.’  He says, ‘Timothy, I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickens all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; “that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:” (verse 14)  ‘That you keep constantly, that you guard, that you hold onto this commandment in regards to fleeing worldliness, taking hold of godliness, looking forward to the consummation of that when you step into the presence of God, in the sight of that God who quickens all things, in the sight of Christ who himself said his kingdom was not of this world, he came to bear witness of the truth, he gave a testimony in front of Pilate, that you keep this commandment, without spot, you know, without bringing a reproach on Christ, unrebukeable,’ notice, ‘until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.’   Notice Paul doesn’t say ‘you gotta hold on till seven years, till the end of the tribulation, and then,’ no, Paul’s expecting the return of Christ in Timothy’s lifetime, his own lifetime.  ‘Timothy, keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.’  They lived in the light of the imminent return of Christ, “which in his times, he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;” (verse 15)  Interesting, only here in all of Paul’s writings, will you find that ‘Kings of kings and Lord of lords,’ certainly John the apostle writes it, but here it’s Paul’s King of kings and Lord of lords, “who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see:  to whom be honour and power everlasting.  Amen.” (verse 16)  I like this “who only hath immortality”, it’s a very strange word, he talks of him as being immortal, but he said “who only hath immortality” the Greek is, ‘who only has deathlessness.’  Jesus is the one who has “deathlessness.”  That’s why we’re here.  We don’t just believe in life after death in the sense of we go to some ethereal spiritual plane.  We believe in “resurrection.”  [Comment:  Some Christian groups, parts of the Body of Christ believe this verse flies in the face of the “immortal soul” teaching, showing Jesus is the only one, as far as him being a human being, who has currently achieved “immortality.”  That controversy is a whole other can of worms I won’t get into.  Calvary Chapels sort of got their feet in both camps, straddling the fence on this one.  For more on the subject of resurrection for the believer see, http://www.unityinchrist.com/corinthians/cor15-16.htm]  “Deathlessness”, we’re here tonight because 2,000 years ago someone was crucified, and laid in a tomb for three days [and three nights] and got back up again, got back up again.  I don’t know, you guys, if you go to a funeral, I’ve done many funerals, I’m still not comfortable at funerals, I enjoy weddings, I’m never comfortable at funerals.  I don’t think God’s given me the wiring, or you, for funerals.  I think if Adam hadn’t sinned we’d never had to deal with death.  And you watch Christians themselves mourn for a year or more, mourn for two years, trying to file their emotions in the right place, and the file is not there.  Because when we’re taken to glory, there will be no death, no sorrow, no suffering, no tears.  So all of that stuff we’re trying to file is going to be removed, there’s going to be no need to file it anywhere, because there ain’t a file for it in eternity, because he alone has “deathlessness.”  I like that, deathlessness.  How do you feel tonight, deathless?  He’s going to say in his 2nd epistle that he’s abolished death, done away with it, taken the power out of it.  “who only hath immortality,” deathlessness, “dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see:  to whom be honour and power everlasting.  Amen.” (verse 16) 

 

A Charge, Command For The Wealthy

 

Now, verse 17 begins a charge to those that happen to be wealthy.  So, if that’s you, ‘it ain’t me, don’t apply to me now, man,’ you are the wealthy in this world, I hate to tell you that.  ‘Well I don’t have any servants,’ really?  Do you have to go down to the well to draw water every morning?  You don’t need a servant because you got plumbing.  You don’t have to go out and kill a goat for dinner because you got a refrigerator.  You probably even have a dishwasher [electric one], if you don’t you married one, I’m sure.  [laughter]  Hey, I wash dishes.  You are the wealthy in this world.  I guarantee you, you’re in the top 5th percentile of income, globally.  You read about the average income per capita in India, Nepal, nations in Africa, South America.  You see the problem is, we are exposed constantly to stuff on TV.  ‘You know I’ll be happy when I have a big black marble bathtub in my bathroom, with some ferns and parrots, and giant skylight,’ and you know, we see all this stuff on The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, and we get all these catalogues with all this stuff in it, we live in the American illusion. [Comment:  You don’t think you’ve got modern servants, electro-mechanical servants?  Go on a 24-hour electrical fast, go down cellar and throw off the main breaker in your circuit breaker panel, and leave it off for 24 hours.  You’ll be outside with the barbecue to heat water for coffee or tea, to cook your meals on, you may have cold water if your water heater is electric, no lights, tv, computers, radios, stereos, no way to charge your cell phones.  Try it.  Want to really rough it, like the 3rd world?  Turn off the water main valve for that span of time too.] It’s interesting when I talk to couples before I do their weddings sometime, and I say ‘Now, what are your goals?’ ‘Well we want to get rid of our two junker’s and get one decent car, we want to pay off school, we want to get a new apartment, or we want to get out of our apartment and get into real debt, we want to buy a house, ah, we want to get this, we want to do this, we want to set up this bank account,’ and you know it’s interesting to listen, because, you know there’s nothing wrong with those things, but they’re all “attaining” goals.  We want to acquire.  Now they’re back in five years, marriage counseling, and they have a boat, and they have a car, they have a house, they have everything they wanted to acquire, and the problem is, they forgot about maintenance goals [if you have a boat, you learn about those fast, real fast J.  Same goes for owning a house J]  See there’s maintenance goals, and there’s attaining goals, acquiring goals.  A maintenance goal is not to loose your first love.  Jesus accuses the Church at Ephesus, he says ‘I have this against you, you’ve lost your first love,’  ‘As you have received Christ Jesus so walk ye in him.’  And how is it that two people who had nothing, before they were married, acted so goofy, wore the same socks, the same shorts, ‘look at them, they’re gone,’ he lost weight, they’re on the love-diet, the only diet that works, the engagement-diet, he’s getting in shape, his hair is combed every day now, got that big wart removed from his cheek, man he’s looking good.  And you see people [coupes starting out] with nothing, and they carry on like that, they’re in another world, there’s no real sense trying to communicate with them, and having each other is all they need.  And then they come back [for counseling] when they got all this stuff they thought they wanted, and they’ve lost that, whatever that was, that first love, that attraction, willing to sacrifice for the other person, to do without so that they could have, all that changes.  And that can happen with Christ, too.  ‘If I only had this, and I had that,’ no, no, no, look we are the rich in this world.  We were inundated with stuff to sell us on this, and sell us on that, and sell us on this.  But we are the rich in this world.  We have more than the rest in this world, all of us, even the worst of us.  “Charge them that are rich in this world,” in this world, in this age, and it’s a reminder that we’re stewards, there’s no condemnation here, but ‘give them this charge,’ “that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches,” the Bible says riches, they take wings like an eagle, they fly away, again people say money talks, money does, it says ‘Good-bye…’ [laughter]  “but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;” (verse 17)  The tenses here are beautiful, “who continually giveth us richly all things to enjoy;” read that again, “who continually giveth us all things to enjoy;”  You got a boat?  God gave you that, and he wants you to enjoy it.  Imagine that?  He’s not up there in heaven saying ‘You got a boat?  The guys I hung around with, they had to mend their nets all the time, we didn’t have a fancy boat like that!’  He wants you to enjoy, he gives things to us, our homes, recreation.  But the point is, that is never to be to the exclusion of our serving Christ, with the things that he’s given to us.  Never to exclude the consciousness that ‘I am just a steward of these things, God is so gracious to me, he lets me enjoy them, but my eye is always open to see whom I may be able to help, Lord where I may be able to be obedient with the stewardship you’ve granted to me.’  So it is beautiful, and look at that, “who giveth us richly all things to enjoy”, that that’s the heart of God.  He doesn’t give grudgingly, he doesn’t want us to give grudgingly to him.  And he doesn’t give grudgingly to us.  “that they continually” verse 18, those that are rich, “do good,” they continually, this is the tense, “they continually do good, that they may be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;”  God doesn’t begrudge, I know millionaires, and I know millionaires that are miserable, not many, but I know millionaires who don’t have to work a day for the rest of their life, but they labour for the benefit of other people.  They understand that what they’ve been given is a resource for missionaries, for the cause of Christ, and they are worthy men and women, they understand.  [Comment:  Good works are one of the two central ways Jesus has given us to shine our lights, to get the Gospel out.  See, http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/wearesalt.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Questions.htm]  “that they do good” and so should we, “ready to distribute, willing to communicate;” that means to fellowship with people that are less fortunate, they’re not highminded [because of their being rich], “laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life” (verse 19)  They know they can’t take it with them, but they know that you can send it ahead, it’s a great investment program, that those things can receive us into everlasting habitations, that we can lay up in the Kingdom good works, send it ahead, for those eternal mansions that are ahead of us.  [Comment:  and those abodes, mansions will be in the New Jerusalem, which will come to earth at the very end of God’s plan of Salvation, cf. Revelation 21:1-23.  That is the city Abraham was waiting for, cf. Hebrews 11:8-10).]  “laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”  He encourages Timothy, ‘lay ahold, you can send these things ahead, so that that day, when it comes, you lay hold of the final goal, you cross the finish line, that you’ve sent those things ahead, and you’re embracing that day,’  you’re not crossing the finish line as a millionaire, someone who is wealthy or someone who has what you have, saying, ‘Oh man, I wish I hadn’t given this away,’ no, no, it’s when you cross the finish line and laying hold of eternal life,  there’s no regrets, ‘Yeah, I gave money to this missionary, yes I supported this work, yes, I  went over and helped with this person, yes, I didn’t have money to give, but I helped cut this person’s lawn, I helped with the widows cleaning up, I helped serve at Sunday school [or Sabbath school].’  He’s not just interested in our money, he wants our lives, he wants our lives.  Even in the Old Testament he wanted a tenth of their increase, and a seventh of their time.  He wanted the tithe, but he wanted one day out of seven, he wanted more of their lives than of their increase.  And it hasn’t changed [except he wants 100 percent of our time, 24/7.  Entering into God’s Sabbath rest is a 24/7 deal, interestingly enough.  See, http://www.unityinchrist.com/hebrews/Hebrews4-1-16.htm] 

 

‘O Timothy, I Want You To Guard What God Has Put On Deposit In Your Life’

 

“laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”  The idea is they’re not purchasing eternal life, and then this last exhortation to Timothy, “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:  which some professing have erred concerning the faith.  Grace be with thee.  Amen.” (verses 20-21)  And it’s interesting, maybe not to you, was to me, this word “O” here.  “O Timothy” we have it over in verse 11, “O man of God”, rarely used in the New Testament.  There’s a pathos here.  Paul loves Timothy.  Paul is not sure at this point if he’s going to write 2nd Timothy.  So there’s a lot of passion and pathos in this.  “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust,” keep, guard, it speaks of a soldier guarding, garrisoning a base, “keep that which is committed” that’s “on deposit”, he’s talking about wealth and riches, he said ‘Timothy, I want you to guard what God has put on deposit in your life, the Gospel of Christ, obviously,’ “avoiding” literally “distaining” “profane and vain babblings,” “profane,” Latin profanum, outside the temple, outside the threshold of the Temple, avoid spending your time arguing and talking about stuff that’s not sacred, that has no continuing value, vain babblings, profane talking, oppositions of science falsely so called,’ no doubt it’s “knowledge” in your translation.  There was a problem with the Gnostics, certainly evolution, some of the ridiculous things we hear today in the name of science that undermine the reality of God, the Creator.  ‘Timothy, guard that which has been put on deposit to your trust, avoid, abstain from this profane stuff, babblings and arguments about things falsely called science,’ “which some professing have erred concerning the faith.  Grace be with you.  Amen.” (verse 21)  Interesting, “Grace be with you.  Amen.”  [transcript of a connective expository sermon given on 1st Timothy 6:3-21 by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA, 19116]

 

related links:

 

We in America are truly the wealthy of this world.  ‘Timothy, charge them that are rich to be rich in good works.’  See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/wearesalt.htm and

http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/Questions.htm

 

Entering into God’s “Sabbath rest” is a 24/7 deal, God wants all of our time, our lives.  See,

http://www.unityinchrist.com/hebrews/Hebrews4-1-16.htm

 

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