Some people can be really hard to love! As Paul instructs Pastor Timothy to lead in the Church at Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3), he seems to be dealing with some cranky church members who are causing disruptions there; proud people who try to manipulate the church to their own advantage. This is nothing new if you find yourself in a similar church. Yet Paul gives Timothy instructions on how to correct the situation.
Guarding Our Faith and Love – LESSON AUDIO
First he calls attention to their behavior and character:
1 Timothy 6:1-5 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. 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.
Slaves are given as an example of humility and service. Paul is drawing a parallel to all of those who profess to know Christ. We are His salves. (Paul begins his letter to the Romans, the Philippians and Titus by calling himself a “bondservant” or slave of Jesus Christ.) Just as a slave has no right to make excuses or manipulate to his advantage in his work, we who are in the Church should be submissive and looking out for the welfare of others without complaining or manipulating our local fellowship for our personal advantage! See previous post, Obsessed With Disputes. The problem is that when we are around “those kind of people” we tend to get an attitude and find it difficult to live as we ought as Christians. The primary goal of Christian teaching as it pertains to those who embrace the Faith of Jesus Christ is to create “love from a pure heart, from a good conscience and from sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5) And so, the solution to pastoring in this environment or to being in this environment as a fellow servant is;
1 Timothy 6:11-16 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. 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.
- Get away from the bad attitudes and pursue the fruit of the Spirit! it is going to be a battle! (Vs. 11-12)
- Remember that the God who gives you life and saves you is watching! (vs. 13)
- He is also your example, Jesus stood firm in His conviction as He stood before Pilate who condemned Him to death. (vs. 13)
- Keep, that is obey and protect “the commandment.”
- The “commandment” is the body of doctrine that is the Christian Faith. Bible commentator and Greek scholar, Marvin Vincent says of the word “commandment” verse 14: “Usually of a single commandment or injunction, but sometimes for the whole body of the moral precepts of Christianity, as 2Peter 2:21; 2Peter3:2. The reference may be explained by ἡ παραγγελία the commandment, 1Timothy 1:5, meaning the gospel as the divine standard of conduct and faith. Comp. 2Timothy 1:14. The phrase “
- “The Commandment” here is the Christian Faith. It is to be kept, even in the face of opposition, even by those who profess Christ and do not act in accordance with what they say they believe. That is, when their doctrine does not accord with godliness! (See 1 Timothy 6:3) There is support for this view further on in chapter 6.
1 Timothy 6:20-21 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.
The word Guard is uses by the Apostle as he instructs Timothy on how to “keep” that commandment. Protect your faith by protecting your attitude as you are exposed to this lack of love and concern for true godliness which is a demonstration that those people have not embraced the Faith in sincerity. This is a very difficult place to be! But it was not unforeseen by God and it is noting new in the Church of Jesus Christ. The most important thing we need to take away from this is to ask ourselves the question, Does 1 Timothy 6:3-5 describe me? Am I making excuses for my bad attitude? Am I on a fault-finding mission against people in my church? Am I excusing my lack of love and manipulating my situation to make myself more comfortable? If the answer to these questions is yes for you, its time to reevaluate the reality of your faith. Its time to seek the Lord while He may be found. I will close with the words of the Holy Spirit as He inspired the Apostle to write to the Hebrew Christians in the first century.
Hebrews 3:7-15 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “TODAY, IF YOU WILL HEAR HIS VOICE, 8 DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS IN THE REBELLION, IN THE DAY OF TRIAL IN THE WILDERNESS, 9 WHERE YOUR FATHERS TESTED ME, TRIED ME, AND SAW MY WORKS FORTY YEARS. 10 THEREFORE I WAS ANGRY WITH THAT GENERATION, AND SAID, ‘THEY ALWAYS GO ASTRAY IN THEIR HEART, AND THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN MY WAYS.’ 11 SO I SWORE IN MY WRATH, ‘THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.’ ” 12 Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “TODAY,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, 15 while it is said: “TODAY, IF YOU WILL HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS AS IN THE REBELLION.”
I encourage you to listen to the audio and pray that the Lord would reveal to you where your heart is.
Guarding Our Faith and Love – LESSON AUDIO