I Timothy 6 Part 2–Fighting the Good Fight

Paul’s final command to Timothy was huge! As a man of God, run from evil and pursue righteousness. Fight the good fight!!! As General Patton would say, “This is war boys!!!” As Christ faced death, He stood firm and made no excuse.  Paul calls Timothy to do the same.  Face death and make a good confession that Jesus Christ is Lord. Paul further reminds Timothy, let those in your group be God-focused and not focused on the material things. Let the rich worship God not their stuff; understanding God gave them what they have to enjoy and to be generous with others. Use the resources God gave to help others and honor God–by doing that one will lay up treasures in Heaven.
 
That reality is still the same.  This is war and as we march forward, we must do so with a righteous heart and a spirit focused on God. We live as warriors facing death every day.  We use all the resources we have been given to honor God.  We need to hold on loosely to the material things God has blessed us with.  Not fearing the enemy, but treating the enemy with righteous respect for the evil that he is, and the enemy’s focused desire to end us and our mission. if we will, then in God’s time He will lift us up. We will be the Lord’s ambassadors and will leave an impact and legacy for generations to come!
 
God Bless You

 But you, a man of God, flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.

Grace be with you all.

I Timothy 6 Part 1–Learn To Be Content

Paul winds up the discussion with Timothy focused upon learning to be content. He had discussed the misuse of benevolence among the people and told Timothy that people would try to take advantage of the kindness of the church–do not let them.  Make families care for their own and make sure that people do not try to manipulate the truth for personal gain.  He reminded Timothy to focus on what is critical not on the things that cause senseless arguing and strife.  Mostly, though Paul reminded Timothy to teach and be content. As long as you have food to eat and clothes on our back one needs to be grateful and content.
 
Sadly, then and now, money has a hold on us all. We have to have money to live. In our culture, money not only buys things, but it gives power and influence. It is so easy to make money one’s daily obsession. Sadly, it never satisfies, and if allowed becomes Lord and Master. Paul reminds Timothy that becoming content with what one has is the basis for a great walk with God. Chasing money and things conversely lead to being miserable and destroying our lives. Our prayer needs to be one of gratefulness and humility. Never holding so tight to the things of this world that we lose our focus on Christ and His kingdom.  Paul said it best in Philippians 4, “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances, whether well fed or hungry living in plenty and in want, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil 4:12-13.
 
God Bless You

These are the things you are to teach and insist on. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

I Timothy 5 Part 1–Treating People With Dignity

Paul continues his instruction to Timothy by reminding Him that all people should be treated with respect. Old Men should be treated as fathers, young me as brothers, etc. No matter one’s personal sentiment, it is critical that the church act with kindness, tenderness, and wisdom.  In addition, the Church needs to be ready to serve the poor, the infirm and the abandoned.  BUT, not if those people have a family to care for them. Part of treating folks with respect is accepting the responsibility to care for one’s own–even when it is inconvenient.  Paul also reminded Timothy to make sure those in need were properly placed in that category–not there simply to take advantage.  
 
In our current world, many have lost the ability to be respectful.  Unless there is a personal advantage, our culture dehumanizes about every group with need. The old, the poor, the abandoned and the unborn all have been tossed aside as useless and treated as simple inconveniences. The church must do better. We need to treat all people with proper care and respect.  We need to champion the ones left behind.  We need to honor those that have faced life’s battles.  We need to live lives that show kindness and selflessness. We need to be kind, selfless and respectful.  We are to be in the world, but not of the world.
 
God Bless You

 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and  continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

I Timothy 4 Part 2–Stay Focused on the Mission

Paul reminded Timothy that his time and attention needed to be focused upon ministry–not on his concerns about what others thought.  Timothy was young and was certainly receiving pressure about his youth; as he taught in Ephesus.  This was a church that strong and growing. Paul led the church for some time. So, now as Timothy continued to lead it, many would argue that they deserved better.  Paul was clear–do not fall into that trap. simply focus upon the mission and continue to fight forward leading and training the church and using the spiritual gifts God provides.
 
In the present culture, there are countless obstacles and excuses to take one’s eyes off of the Lord. If our focus strays form ministry and mission, then we can be undermined by criticism from others or even by our own fears and baggage.  Paul reminds us, as he did Timothy, that our focus needs to remain on the Lord, and His mission for our lives. Our perceptions, weaknesses, and fears are his to control. We need simply focus on Him as we move forward.  Paul summed it up well in Colossians 3:1-2, “Set your heart on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things!”
 
We must focus on walking and leading! Then He will use us and we will experience an amazing journey.
 
God Bless You

That is why we labor and strive because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

I Timothy 4 Part 1–Spiritual Fitness

Paul reminded Timothy to be on guard for false teachers.  These leaders promote very structured and sacrificial lives for their congregants and yet, have no desire to follow the codes they espouse. They promise the world in exchange for being treated like royalty; but in reality, they intend to deliver nothing.  Paul urged Timothy to stand up to such teaching and to the leaders that make their fortunes promoting it.  
 
In addition, Paul reminds Timothy to remain spiritually fit.  Paul does not diminish the value of physical discipline, but, wants Timothy to note that spiritual fitness is more important. Its importance lies in the eternal nature of the outcome.  Our physical health is as temporal as life itself. The spiritual fitness is preparation for the eternal.  We need to think eternally, live eternally and act eternally.  We can never be afraid to press on to take hold of the Spirit’s teaching, leading and comfort.
 
In short, we have to make the main thing, the main thing. We cannot lose sight of what God has taught and promised.  We have to live our lives focused on becoming like Christ and honoring Him in the way we work, the way we act, and in the way we live!
 
God Bless You

 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters,[a] you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

I Timothy 3 Part 2–How Shall We Then Live?

While Christianity is not a performance-based religion, Paul reminded Timothy that he needed to examine those he served with and also the church at large. In Christ’s life, death and resurrection the Lord demonstrated His authority and His servant’s heart. He led a selfless life, and as a result, was raised to the highest place; and holds the name that is above every name (Philippians 2). Paul reminds Timothy that the truth of that is the very foundation of the Church.  As such, Christ is alive, revered by angels, feared by demons, available to every person on earth and an advocate for all who trust him and believe.
 
Those of us who follow him are called to live similar and selfless lives. Colossians 3 reminds us that we have died and our lives are now hidden in Christ with God. 2 Corinthians 5 tells us we are new creations–ambassadors of eternity. As such, we are to live lives that bring honor to the name that is above every name. We are not checking off boxes to meet requirements; instead, we are becoming like the Lord that gave all he had to redeem us from sin and death. It is no secret that apart from God we can do nothing. More importantly, it is no secret that in Christ, He does it all. In short, We are called to live like the Lord that died for us!
 
God Bless You

In the same way, deacons[b] are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.

11 In the same way, the women[c] are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.

Reasons for Paul’s Instructions

14 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, 15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. 16 Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:

He appeared in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,[d]
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.

I Timothy 3 Part 1–Desire to Lead

Leadership is critical in any organization.  In the body of Christ, the character of a leader is as critical as the leader’s skills and gifts. Paul told Timothy to do a careful search of the character of church leaders. They must live Godly lives, have a noble character, display restraint, gentleness amicability and have families that do the same. Are leaders supposed to be perfect? In Paul’s mind, he knew no leaders–especially himself, were perfect. But, due to the scrutiny and the importance of the role, Leaders need to be a cut above.
 
In our society, we have forgotten that character is often what distinguishes great leaders. Our culture looks at wealth, celebrity, charisma and social status as the hallmark of great leaders. In spite of that, there are many folks of amazing character that rise to the tops of their field and remain unassuming, noncontroversial and humble.  They work hard and are extremely gifted, but see leadership as a wonderful honor; one not to be taken lightly.  They have a lasting influence on those that they lead, and they are recognized and remembered for their legacy and character–not their title and wealth.  God calls his leaders to be servants, He prepares them, promotes them and uses them to shape the church and the community to become like Him.  Thank you, servant leaders, and thank You, Lord, for providing them.
 
God Bless You

Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full[a] respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

In the same way, deacons[b] are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.