What is the most important character quality of a Christian? Humility is right at the top of the list. As the Apostle Paul moves into what we call chapter six of his first letter to Timothy he begins by giving the example of the behavior of slaves. Certainly it was one of the worst and most difficult of existences in the ancient world. But a bad life situation does not exempt them from living like true Christians. What about you? Do you make excuses for your disobedience to the commands of your Lord?
Obsessed With Disputes – AUDIO OF LESSON
Listen to what the Apostle Paul says;
1 Timothy 6:1-2 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.
Whether they are “under the yoke” which means they have a harsh boss or work for a fellow believer, it is not to change they way they approach their jobs. There is no excuse to dishonor or to take advantage of them. They ought to display the same level of integrity and humility in either case. You say, “Wait a minute! That doesn’t seem fair.” Paul anticipated your response. But I want to tell you that the slave with his extremely difficult life it just the example. We are all called to this kind of life as Christians.
1 Timothy 6:3-5 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 are not in the Faith for what it helps us get away with or for any kind of social or personal advantage. Sure, we have the advantage of our sins being forgiven and of fellowship with our Lord. But we are not supposed to look for personal gains by attending the church. We are not to look for power, prestige or pecuniary (financial) gain. To do so actually means that we don’t really get the Gospel. It makes us into jerks! See the description above. It forces to omit the central doctrines of the faith and the fruit of the Spirit that is supposed to be in our lives. It makes us focus on minute details and fight for our place at the top. Do you know a Christian like this? Are you this way? The Apostle John has some scary words for those who are like this.
3 John 1:5-11 Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers, 6 who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well, 7 because they went forth for His name’s sake, taking nothing from the Gentiles. 8 We therefore ought to receive such, that we may become fellow workers for the truth. 9 I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. 10 Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church.
People in the church were helping missionaries or traveling preachers and John said that was great. But one of their leaders, a man named Diotrephes, didn’t like it and kicked people out of the church for it. Apparently it threatened his position there. John says of him,
1 John 1:11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God.
It looks to me like John is saying that Diotrephes does not know Christ. If your way, your power, your reputation is more important to you that the Gospel and the godliness that is to be the result of the Gospel. You should fear. If church is about your personal benefits and not opportunities for you to be a benefit to others, its time to reassess your faith. If you do not, you are in danger of becoming a false teacher. The best gauge to determine whether this is true of you is your attitude. If I have you completely ticked off right now and you are ready to fight, ask the Lord to show you your own heart.
Then, listen to the audio from the lesson. It just might change your attitude.
Obsessed With Disputes – AUDIO OF LESSON