About Jesus Steve Sweetman
1 Timothy 6
verse 7 Paul clearly pointed out that what he teaches is what Jesus
taught, or, wanted him to teach. To
those who taught differently, that is to false teachers, he had some
strong words for them. In
verses 4 and 5 he says these false teachers are “conceited and
understand nothing”. He also
says that these people “have an unhealthy interest in controversies and
quarrels about words that result in envy, strife…”
He ends these words by saying that these men think “that
godliness is a means to financial gain”.
Knowing Paul, who refuses financial help, trying to make money from
the gospel when based on greed would be abhorrent.
and conceit is an ever-present tendency, or temptation in the church,
especially among preachers and teachers of the pulpit.
The platform and the pulpit found in most church buildings promote
the preacher or teacher more than what is being preached or taught.
All eyes are on the speaker. He
becomes the centre of things. Our
style of teaching then becomes a vehicle for pride.
uses strong words here for those who teach false doctrine.
All the early apostles spoke this way.
They had great disgust for those who did not teach right or taught
with wrong motives. Remember
Simon the magician in Acts 8. Peter
was greatly angry at him when he wanted the Holy Spirit for personal gain.
For the most part, such strong words are no longer acceptable in
many parts of the church. They
are too negative.
verse 6 he gives the answer to such greediness.
He says, “Godliness with contentment is great gain”.
This type of thinking is quite foreign
in our materialistic society. Paul
did not care much about financial gain.
He cared about “Godliness” in a life.
I have always said that if we don’t have an underlying sense of
contentment in our lives, and if we always want more, then we will be very
frustrated. I don’t think that there is anything inherently wrong with
wanting more, but if we don’t have a foundation of contentment, then our
desires lead to unhealthy frustration.
If we are truly content with what we have, we can want for more,
and if for some reason we don’t get more, then we don’t worry about
it. A key to a happy life is contentment with what one already has, not
with what he does not have.
believe a lack of contentment really shows a lack of trust in Jesus.
If you really trust Jesus for all things that come your way,
whether good or bad, then you will be content.
Paul learned to be content in whatever came his way, and he had
lots of bad things come his way.
gives a reason for his above statement concerning contentment.
He says in verse 7 that
we “brought nothing into this world and we can take nothing out”. As
we are born, we only arrive with who we are. We
will leave the same way. The
only thing we can take from this life into the next is spiritual and
things that pertain to Jesus.
children, I've always said, that if your children give their lives to
Jesus, they are the only physical thing that we can take into the next
life. We need to intercede on
the behalf of all our children.
verse 8 Paul says that he will be content with simply having food to eat
and clothes on his back. Wow,
that isn't anything like most of us would say today.
We need to remember that Paul said this because the only motivating
thing in his life was Jesus and the preaching of the gospel.
He needed nothing else.
verse 9 Paul views riches as a snare and temptation, that lead men into
“ruin and destruction”. It
is evident in today’s world that money can buy lots of things that are
not good for us. Money
itself is not evil. But as
Paul says, “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil”.
This is a better translation than the KJV that says, “the love of
money is the root of all evil”. There
is a big difference between the word “all” and the words “all
kinds”. Money clearly is not
the underlying reason for every evil that is in the world.
closes this section by saying that “some people, eager for money have
wandered from the faith, and pierced themselves with many grief’s”. Human
nature has not changed since Paul's days.
These words apply to us today, just as they did back then.
Misuse of money and pride will always be a temptation for all of
us. All the things we
spend our money on make it easy to distract us from Jesus.
verse 11 Paul begins to close his first letter to Timothy.
He tells him to “flee from all this”.
“All this” means the love of money that Paul just spoke about.
Love for money should not be found in the servant of the Lord.
One should not desire to work for Jesus because of any financial
benefit they might receive. This
was very evident in Paul’s life. Rather,
the servant of the Lord must pursue “righteousness, godliness, faith,
love, endurance and gentleness”, as Paul tells Timothy.
often in today's church we view church leadership as a career.
That shouldn't be. When
we think of it as a career, we have money in mind.
What would happen to a pastor if the church could no longer afford
him. Would he move on?
If he did, then I think that shows that the pastor views pastoring
as a career. Pastoring is
caring for God's people, whether you get paid or not.
verse 11 Paul told Timothy "to flee" from this temptation.
Flee means to run away from, don't hang around, just get out of
temptations way as fast as possible.
Too often in today's
church we don't flee these things, and we get in trouble for it.
We hang out too close to these temptations thinking they won't
affect us, but they do without us even knowing it.
that Paul calls Timothy "a man of God".
I think Paul is emphasizing that a man of God will do God's will
not for money, but simply because he has been called to do God's work.
Those who view God's work then as a career would not be seen as a
man of God in Paul's eyes.
verse 12 Paul tells Timothy “to fight the good fight of faith”.
For Paul this word “fight” is quite fitting.
Paul felt that he was in a battle, not necessarily with flesh and
blood but with spiritual powers of wickedness.
We understand that there is a fight to be fought, but do we
actually feel as if we are in this fight.
Many of us are not serving Jesus to the degree that we should and
so we don’t really experience this battle. Paul was in a daily battle.
Timothy obviously was as well.
continues to exhort Timothy by telling him to “hold
on to eternal life”. This “holding on” is not a passive
holding on to but an active holding on to.
Hold on to your faith with all the might you have.
Don’t let it slip in the least.
Paul is clearly suggesting that one can lose his faith if one
doesn't hold on to it tightly.
took hold of this eternal life when he first “made his confession” of
faith “in the presence of many witnesses”, Paul says in verse 13.
This confession of faith may be when Timothy first gave his life to
Jesus and claimed to trust him for this eternal life.
13 says that not only did Timothy make a confession in the sight of many
people, but “in the sight of God, who gives life to everything”.
We always need to remember that all we do and say is not merely in
the sight of man, but of God as well.
And it is God who gives life to everything, not just to every
living creature, as in animals and human life.
God has given life to plants and to every other organism in the
people and God, Timothy made this confession in the sight of Jesus as
well, who also made a good confession when He stood before Pilate. What
confession is Paul speaking about here?
Pilate asked Jesus if He were a King.
Jesus replied by saying, “you are right in saying that I am a
King…” (John 18:37) The
confession that He Himself was a King is fundamental to who Jesus is and
to our faith as well. Our
faith is based on the premise that Jesus is Lord.
verse 14 Paul continues by telling Timothy to “keep this command”
until Jesus returns to this earth. The command that Paul is speaking about
is the command to hold on to eternal life and the good confession of faith
that Jesus Christ is Lord. And
concerning that day, “God will bring this about in His own time”.
The truth that Jesus is Lord will be evident when He returns to
earth as Lord.
the words "in His own time".
I am convinced from all my study of the Bible that God has an exact
timetable for all things to happen, and that includes the return of Jesus
to earth. Jesus will not
return to earth one second before or one second after God's exact and
verse 15 Paul speaks of God in all of His glory.
He says, “God, the blessed and only Ruler (only true ruler in all
of the universe), the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (God Himself is Lord
over all other lords), who alone is immortal (that is, untouched by deadly
corruption), and who lives in unapproachable light (maybe this is the best
way to describe God), who no one has seen or can see, (we can only see God
through Jesus), To Him be honour and might forever. Amen.”
like the words "unapproachable light".
Remember, Paul was taken up into the third heaven.
He knew what he was talking about.
Jesus Himself said in John 1:18 that no one has ever seen God
except God's Son, and that was Jesus.
God is way to bright for man to see.
I'm not convinced that man will ever see God in His real form.
Men in Old Testament days saw God as He appeared in other forms.
Moses saw Him as a cloud. Other's
saw Him as a man or as an angel, but no one saw Him as He really is.
Paul’s writings he has much to say about money as we have seen in the
last couple of chapters. In verse 17 he tells Timothy “to command those
who are rich in this present world not
to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain”.
Even though Paul himself did not accumulate wealth for himself, he
obviously recognized that some Christians were rich.
He only warns them not to put their trust in these riches since
there is uncertainty with worldly riches.
We are all “to put our hope in God who richly provides us with
everything for our enjoyment”. The
foundation to our lives should be our trust in our God.
Paul says here that He will “provide us with everything for our
enjoyment”. We could ask the
question concerning Paul’s life, that is, did God give Paul everything
for his enjoyment? The answer
might depend on what one means by “enjoyment”.
Paul’s joy came when he saw people come to Jesus and grow in
their trust in Jesus. Beyond
this, I am not sure Paul was interested in other types of enjoyment, if he
were, they weren’t depended on material things.
His enjoyment came in things spiritual, whether in Jesus Himself,
or his brothers and sisters in the Lord.
So we should be careful how we interpret this verse.
We need to interpret these words in respect to how Paul views
enjoyment, not how we may understand enjoyment in today's world.
We also need to understand this verse in light of contentment which
Paul has already spoken about.
may find enjoyment in having a new car, a new house and cottage, and the
latest in all the high tech equipment.
I am not convinced that God is obligated to provide us with all of
these things, just to make us happy.
we are really to be rich in as Paul states here is good works.
We need to have lots of good works, knowing that these good works
don't save us or keep us saved. These
good works must be a result of our trust in Jesus, not a matter of
trusting our own abilities. The
good works that count in the eyes of God and will be rewarded for, are a
result of our trust in Jesus. Any
other type of good works may benefit those who are the recipients of the
good works, but they won't benefit the one doing the good works.
verse 18 Paul goes on to say to the rich Christians that they need to be
“rich in good deeds”, and to be generous with the money that they
they do this, they “will lay up treasures for the coming age”,
similar words that Jesus Himself once said.
be clear, Paul does not say that people should not be rich.
You can find that in the text.
He is simply telling rich people two things here.
One thing is to not trust in your riches, and the second thing is
to share your riches with those who have none.
ends this paragraph by saying “so that they may take hold of the life
that is truly life”. By
saying this we clearly understand Paul’s definition of what life is, and
it is not based on money and possessions.
Real life is based on Jesus, that will last into all of eternity.
20 begins the closing of this letter with personal remarks to Timothy.
Paul tells him “to guard what has been entrusted to him”.
Timothy has a ministry, a calling, and a responsibility to carry
his duties out. God has
“entrusted”, or “trusts
Timothy to carry this out”. Human
tendency is to let things slide after the initial thrill has warn off.
Paul tells Timothy to guard himself so this won’t happen. Do
we really think in terms of "guarding" these days, that is,
guarding our faith, guarding the truth, and guarding what our Lord has
given us? I'm not sure
also tells Timothy to stay away “from Godless chatter and opposing ideas
… which some have professed and by so doing have wandered from the
faith”. Timothy, and us as
well, should stay away from any kind of conversation or teaching that
leads people away from Jesus. An
example of “Godless chatter” might be the constant complaining by some
about the government of the day. This
type of talk usually ends in arguments, and if not, has no redeeming
value. Worldly philosophies
such as post-modernism is another example of something in today's church
that is causing people to stray from their trust and their faith in Jesus.
I have said before, we can “wander from the faith”.
If we wander so far as to lay aside our faith, we, at that time
also lay aside our salvation. Individual
sins, or bad works, do not get us unsaved, just as individual acts of
kindness and good works don’t save us.
Our salvation is based on our trust in Jesus.
When and if we lay aside this faith, then we lay aside our eternal
simply closes this letter by saying, “grace be with you”, something
that we all need.
There are two aspects of God's grace seen in the Bible. One is well known and that is God's unmerited favour He shows to us. Simply put, God shows us grace even when we don't deserve it. The second aspect of grace is not as well known. This is the God given ability given to us through His Spirit to do His will. This is not as well known because this grace requires work to be done on our part. The first aspect of grace is passive, while second is more active. May we all have both aspects of grace in our lives.