1 Timothy 6:11-12
Many things the world doesn’t understand, many more they woefully distort. Much of what world does understand they follow inconsistently. Let me illustrate: hear statements like “whatever works”; “if it’s true for you / if it works for you, fine”; “whatever floats your boat”; “the end justifies the means”. Easy to conclude that’s how the world thinks and operates – achieving particular result overshadows all other considerations.
Have you noticed, though, bands have conductors; roads have speed limit signs and traffic signals; recipes have directions after list of ingredients; basketball and baseball and lacrosse and soccer and hockey and football and Monopoly and Jenga and Chicken Foot have rules. Even for all the rhetoric and outrageous statements, with most things in life it truly does matter how you get there; it’s more than simply reaching the goal or getting to a destination or winning the game.
Same is true for Christian, all of details of life, to be lived pleasing to God. God is concerned with the means just as much as the end. If means didn’t matter, Jesus would never have died; God would have simply declared “you are saved”. He didn’t do that; it is “by grace you have been saved through faith” (Eph. 2:8). Not all roads lead up the mountain to eternal life; only one way, by faith in Lord Jesus leads to the Father (John 14:6); only one name under heaven by which we may be saved (Acts 4:11-12); “one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).
Just a few examples of Bible’s teaching that how we are saved is of crucial importance to God. So,also, is how we work out our salvation. Those who have been born again, converted from lost sinners into children of God, are different – new creatures with new nature, new desires, new goals. If we’re going to talk the talk, we need to walk the walk: live in such a way that our verbal profession is credible. Profess loyalty to Red Sox while wearing a Yankees shirt, who will listen?! Christians shouldn’t do that; must be consistent, and loyalty to Christ must be more obvious than loyalty to anything else.
So how do we go about walking the walk? Paul gave Timothy instruction in four basic areas: what to run from, what to run after, how to compete, and what to cherish and grasp onto. Notice these words are action words – becoming holy people of God doesn’t simply happen with passage of time. Involves action on our part, actively living in way God has prescribed for us.
A. run from v.11a
false teachers and their followers
incredibly easy to get sucked into an argument, esp. when about important principle or people
good to remember Paul speaking first to experienced pastor here – if anyone should be safe from traps false teachers set, you’d think Timothy would be
Paul makes no assumption, tells him to make tracks – he has far more useful / productive ways to spend his time
their bad behavior
there’s an either-or situation set up here: same thing Jesus taught – “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other.” Matt. 6:24
too often, think it’ll be ok if I watch, listen, do this in small quantities; don’t want neighbors to think I’m too weird!
clear imperative here – don’t even think about sin, don’t hang about it, run away from it as fast as possible
whatever it is, if it is sinful and represents a threat to your holiness, get away
don’t listen to talk radio if it causes you to be critical; watch that TV show if it causes discontent; read that junk mail if it causes fear; go to that website if it causes temptation; hang about with those committed to pursuit of wealth
B. run after v.11b
“Just say NO” doesn’t work! – can’t simply say “No” to sin, must say “Yes” to something in its place
fits perfectly imagery used in our text – to flee from, run from, be a fugitive from one thing, must be running toward something else
must be right thing we’re running toward
“There is more to avoiding sin, however, than simply beating a hasty retreat. If all we do is run away from one sin, we will run right into the arms of another.” Philip Ryken
also implied: same exhortation given to Lot and family – “Escape for your life; do not look back” Gen. 19:17
requires pursuit, purposeful effort toward a goal – things to be pursued not ones that we would naturally put on our “bucket list”
if you’re one to keep that sort of list, I challenge you: put these 6 things at the top
righteousness – δικαιοσυνην – doing what is right and acceptable according to God’s standard
not simply doing what comes next, what’s in your face, what others are hounding you to do
it’s doing what is right, pleasing to God – requires thinking, understanding Bible, applying truth to life
results in blessing: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness” Matt. 5:6
godliness – ευσεβεια – devotion to God characterized by a life of conformity to his will
motivation counts as well as means – why are we doing what is right? should be love / devotion to God
has profound impact on attitude, shows on outside too – loving obedience vs grudging vs desire to make points
sweet gentleness vs sour impatience vs intense competition
faith – πίστις – confidence in God for our destiny, neither of which we can see
“I believe, help my unbelief” Mark 9:24 – faith comes in all sizes and measures
our job to work on growing it so confident trust shapes our outlook in all situations
love – αγαπη – affection for God and man made evident by specific action
again, because we love God (1patience – υπομονην – perseverance in the presence of hostile forces
standing firm – persevering in right course when there is great pressure or temptation to deviate
enduring affliction – remaining faithful with right spirit, confident God has good purpose in your affliction
gentleness – πραοτης – humble and caring spirit toward others
refusing to treat anyone as if they are beyond hope – relating in meekness and humility and tenderness
summarize: strive to develop habit of life that shows presence and power of Holy Spirit
remember fruit / evidence of Spirit’s presence in life: Gal. 5:22-23
take all of Bible’s teaching, must conclude we’re not passive players in Christian life – it’s not cosmic game of foosball where God is only one exerting effort
we cannot succeed apart from God and his help; we cannot expect God to do all the work in making us holy
God’s word heard and memorized and meditated on – moves us along road of increasing godliness / holiness. As it moves us along, enables/equips us to better put off sinful behavior and attitudes, positioning us to more profitably receive Word which moves us along….. Is it the Word applied by the Spirit that enables us? Or is it our preparation that enables us? Yes. Both. In a complementary way: 100% God plus 100% us = 100% holiness. It’s 100% gift of God’s grace plus 100% our responsibility that achieves God’s 100% goal for us.
C. compete well v.12a
contend for the faith against all foes
indwelling sin – primary danger, closest to home and most deeply rooted
must daily weaken and put to death sin dragging at our heels – refuse to feed it, do as Christ said: “deny self, take up the cross daily, follow him” Luke 9:23
Satan and his tools – accusations, discouragements, temptations, fears, distractions
go right back to beginning, how was he successful? – took Eve’s focus off God, onto self and stuff
especially effective when he can get us to focus on what feeds personal weakness, indwelling sin
accuse of being unloving, hypocritical, bigoted; criticize for being old-fashioned, out of touch, uneducated; attempt to limit religious freedoms
must remember Jesus experienced same, but persevered – remained steadfast in faith because kept his eyes fixed on God
fight for the faith
labor to both know and understand true doctrine, and… live according to principles of true doctrine
remember real enemies of the faith are spiritual ones – “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness” (Eph. 6:12)
D. take possession v.12b
make sure eternallife is your prized possession
don’t be fooled by worldly thinking: what you’ll buy at Cherished Possessions is just “stuff”
things that are worth pursuing are ones that make difference in our soul, what is eternal not temporal
act like you own it!
it’s in your grasp, don’t let it go; don’t let grip weaken, don’t set it down to pick up something else
let go of everything else that pulls in different direction, that would pull off course
follow Christ, pursue Christ, lay hold on Christ who is the only way to eternal life – exchange everything else for Christ
Matt. 13:44-46“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
Christ is treasure, pearl of great price – make him yours whatever the cost; you will never regret it.