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“…I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the Truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15
This Epistle, written in A.D. 62 to A.D. 64, by Paul, is one of three pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus), written in a time of persecution to Timothy, a young man, who had been left behind in one of the largest, most fast growing churches in the world at that time, Ephesus, to guide them: to be established, planted, organised, how they were to be governed and how they were to behave.
Ephesus had become the geographic and numerical centre of Christianity in the first generation of Christianity. There were more Christians in Ephesus than there were in Antioch or Jerusalem. Ephesus was the epicentre of Christianity at the time. The church consisted of many house-churches, meeting in homes of believers. The leaders in Ephesus: ministers, elders and deacons, were chosen from among the ordinary believers, who also had their own vocations. As expected with fast growing churches, all kinds of influences easily slipped in, including false teachers and heresies.
Timothy – Co-worker of Paul
While Paul was ministering in Lystra, he brought Timothy to the Lord, who was called by God (1:18), then Paul recruited him to join his missionary team. Timothy studied the Word of God daily. He was commended for being a Bible-reading student. Timothy was reliable, responsible, trustworthy, hard-working, devout and diligent. Because he lacked boldness and was timid, Paul kept encouraging him to fight the good fight of Faith, to be bold, steadfast, expose, rebuke and exhort. Timothy and Luke are Paul’s most constant companions. Paul names Timothy as his co-worker in six of his letters: (2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians and Philemon). His mother is named Eunice and grandmother, Lois (2 Timothy 1:5) and were well known for their strength in the Faith. Timothy was converted in Acts 16:1, on Paul’s missionary journeys. Paul was on a mission and established the church in Ephesus, where he left Timothy to continue to care for this church.
A Solemn Warning
Paul warned the church in Ephesus: “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore, watch and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” Acts 20:29-32
Timothy is called a pastoral Epistle, but actually it is a missionary Epistle. Most churches see missions as outside of the church. There is no Salvation outside of Christ, or outside of the church. We are believers as a result of Missions. This is a missionary Epistle, written by a Missionary, to a Missionary, about a Missionary Church planting situation. The entire New Testament is a result of missions, written by missionaries in a missionary context.
Missionaries are trained much the same way as ministers and complete the same subjects and requirements as ministers. They even have to receive additional training, but some people still consider missionaries to be on a lower level to minsters. There is a mentality that missions are for people that are not really as qualified as Ministers, as though you could send your second rate to deal with false religions, like Buddhism, Hinduism, Animism and Islam and minister to hostile audiences. To establish work where the Gospel is not legal is actually more difficult. Somehow being a pastor is considered more demanding than being a missionary. Today missions are often seen as an optional extra. Some people are even told they could be so much more effective as a lecturer at a college than as a missionary in the field.
Chapter 1 deals with sound teaching.
Chapter 2 deals with prayer.
Chapter 3 with good leadership.
Chapter 4 deals with spiritual discernment to be aware of false teaching.
Chapter 5 practical instructions to respect elders and importance of serving without fear, or favour, separating from that which is not fully loyal to God.
Chapter 6 deals with right attitudes.
Belief Determines Behaviour
“Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Saviour and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, to Timothy, a true son in the Faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Timothy 1:1-2. Chapter 1 speaks about sound teaching. Your belief determines your behaviour. Your doctrine determines your duty. There is fruit you can see in people’s behaviour and conduct. “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia - remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the Law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.” 1 Timothy 1:3-7. Those who are faithful is small matters can be trusted with large matters. Those who are unreliable in small matters, cannot be trusted with large matters. That is why he urges great attention to good doctrine, which determines your duty.
In Timothy, Paul issues warnings and lists qualifications required for leadership. Here instructions are issued for church organisation. Timothy has been given authority and responsibility and told to remain in Ephesus. He is doubtless feeling intimidated because of his age, so Timothy is told: “let no one despise you because of your youth, but be an example to the believers.” Ephesus has been infiltrated with false doctrine. The emphasis of Biblical love, to love God with all your body, mind, soul and spirit. Idle talk and greed reigned paramount, so Paul, as a good example, was not concerned with money and asked nothing from them, except good works, good doctrine and fruit that accompanies repentance.
Law and Gospel
“But we know that the Law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the Law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious Gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.” 1 Timothy 1:8-11
Saved by the Grace of God Alone
“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.” 1 Timothy 1:12-16
Set Free to Serve Christ
Ministry is another word for service. Civil government is to be a minister of justice, even as the church is a minister of grace. Being put into ministry is a solemn responsibility. Not many of us should be teachers, as we will be judged with great strictness. To whom much is given, much is required. To whom much more is given, much more is required. There is a great responsibility, solemn duty and even burden upon people who have been called by God to teach. Paul humbly admits that he was the worst of sinners and explains how he received mercy, undeserved favour. He is an example of God's grace.
Wage the Good Warfare
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen. This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the Faith have suffered shipwreck, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” 1 Timothy 1:17-20. Timothy is more inclined to be non-confrontational, quiet and reserved. Timothy has a timid nature so he is reminded that we are in a spiritual world war. This requires sacrifice, confrontation and an earnest striving, fighting the good fight.
Protect the Body from False Doctrine
Paul names Hymenaeus and Alexander and explains that they are guilty of shipwrecking their faith. A shipwreck would have been the worst thing that could happen in the ancient world. These men have caused so much devastation, that they have been excommunicated by the church. There is a time to be harsh. A doctor must be intolerant of disease. Some things are so bad they need to be cut out otherwise, it will destroy the whole body. If a person does not respect the truth of the Faith after warnings and counselling them, if they are unresponsive, then they need to be excommunicated, put out from the church. Sometimes church discipline needs to name names and go as far as to hand them over to satan.
Faith in Prayer
“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle - I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying - a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-7
There is One God and One Mediator
Prayers should include thanksgiving, supplications (requesting what I need) and intercessions (praying for others). We are also to pray for kings and all in authority so we can have peaceful lives. Solus Christus – Christ alone is the only Head of the Church. It is through His Atonement on the Cross of Calvary that we are saved.
The Roles of Men and Women in Church
“I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless, she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love and holiness, with self-control.” 1 Timothy 2:8-15
Responsibilities and Duties
God desires that men should take the lead and be responsible. Feminism has promised women deliverance from all sorts of oppression by taking the lead, but in the name of feminism, women are more oppressed, more abused, less respected and in more physical danger than ever before. Men need to take the lead, protecting, caring and providing for their women. Some men are willing to let the woman take the lead due to laziness. Feminists, claiming to liberate women, have actually liberated men from the responsibility to care for their wives and children and give them the go-ahead to live irresponsible lives. Men are meant to take the lead. Just like the socialists claim that they will liberate the poor by advocating socialism, the end result of socialism is more unemployment and more oppression. The poor are even poorer under socialism and then they starve and flee as refugees, as in Zimbabwe. Do not become a slave of fashion and excessive make-up.
Eve and Mary
A woman’s primary area of influence is in the home, the basic building block of society, nurturing the family by providing love, compassion and healing. It is a privilege to raise the next generation in the love and fear of the Lord. Sin came through Eve, a woman. Salvation comes through Mary’s child, Emmanuel. Sin came through the first Adam. Salvation came through the second Adam.
Division of Labour
The order in which God made Adam first and then formed Eve from a rib of Adam shows he intended man to lead and Eve is to be next to him, a helpmeet, under his arm, protected and cared for. Marriage is meant to be a partnership. Man and woman have their strengths and weaknesses and there is a division of labour and responsibilities and we work best when we follow God's natural creative order.
Qualifications for Good Leadership
“This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behaviour, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover, he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” 1 Timothy 3:1-7
Parenthood is a School of Discipleship
A bishop is a pastor, a shepherd, an overseer. The qualifications for a good church leader include: He is to blameless (not faultless), the husband of one wife. These rule out polygamy. The Reformers believed, if a man is not married, he is not qualified to be a pastor of a church. Martin Luther said: “A man who refuses to get married is guilty, as if he had shed innocent blood.” He said: “I learnt more in one year of marriage than I learnt in ten years in the monastery.” How can you be a good and effective pastor of God's people if you are not a faithful husband and diligent father?
Trained and Tested
How can we possibly be effective in church leadership if we have not learned to be effective in the home? This re-emphasises the fact that a pastor should be one who has learned how to handle and raise his own children, before he can handle the church. This principle comes out over and over again in the Scripture. It is better to be able to control yourself than to rule a city. A man who is incapable of ruling himself, practising self-control, cannot be entrusted with any kind of authority in the church. We should not be choosing a Christian who is too young. They need to be tested.
Faithful at Home and in the Church
“Likewise, deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the Faith with a pure conscience. But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the Faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 3:8-13. The difference between an Elder and a Deacon, is that an Eder teaches and a Deacon serves in a practical way. Note, the importance of faithfulness, temperance and not being gossips. Not just for the man, but also for his wife. The qualifications for a person in church leadership does not just apply for a man, but for his wife and children. There is a standard for all.
The Purpose of This Epistle
“These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” 1 Timothy 3:14
A Hymn of Praise – The Mystery of Godliness
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory.” 1 Timothy 3:15-16
Do not be surprised if God pushes you out of your comfort zone. God can call you to do something that you are not naturally inclined to do. He will push us to do that which is not normal and natural to us. The emphasis here is on the structure of the churches having unity in the Faith, reciting key doctrines, repeating certain prayers together, singing hymns together. The structure of the Church is grounded in the truth. Your doctrine determines your duty. Your belief determines your behaviour. Salvation is by the grace of God alone. Christ is your hope.
A Call for Spiritual Discernment
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the Faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:1-5
A Strategic Church
When the Apostle Paul was writing of this church in Ephesus, which Timothy was left behind to care for, it was the largest church in the First Century world, the church that had become the epicentre of Christianity and of Missionary sending in the first century. It was the fastest growing church and consisted of hundreds of house churches around Ephesus. Timothy, a young leader, had been left responsible for overseeing this church.
A Solemn Warning
When the Apostle Paul spoke for the last time to the church in Ephesus, he warned them: “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore, watch and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. ‘So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.’” Acts 20:29-32
Be Prepared to Recognise and Resist Heresy
Paul knew that after he left false prophets would rise up, even from among the congregation. He warned them that the Holy Spirt has expressly warned through the Scripture that there will be times of apostasy, seducing, evil spirits, heresy, false doctrine, false teaching, hypocrisy and attacks. The Nicean Creed, The Apostles Creed, The Athanasian Creed, Westminster Confession of Faith, Synod of Dort, the Heidelberg Catechism and many others, were developed to help define and defend the Faith, so that we can recognise false teaching and false prophets. We need to be grounded in the gold standard of the Word of God.
Deceiving Spirits and Doctrines of Demons
There is a spiritual world war on the go and we are dealing not just with people who have slid away, but with a society that is giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. The Apostle Paul is specifically speaking against the Gnostics and Judaizers. He speaks against those who try to promote abstinence of certain foods and those who advocate a Saturday Sabbath.
Strive to Be a Faithful Servant of Christ Jesus
“If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the Words of Faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. But reject profane and old wives’ fables and exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. For to this end we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those who believe. These things command and teach.” 1 Timothy 4:6-11
Scripture Alone is Our Ultimate Authority
The antidote to heresy is faithful instruction in the Word of God. Sola Scriptura is emphasised. Your teaching needs to be grounded on the rock of God's Word. Train the people in the Word of God with Expository preaching, as Ulrich Zwingli launched on 1 January 1519, line-by-line, verse-by-verse from Matthew 1:1 preaching through the New Testament. All Christians claim to believe the Bible, but most Christians have not read the whole Bible. We are to reject fables and profane worldliness. Jesus is the written Word of God and we need to spend more time in the Word of God than listening to dreams and visions of people. We have to come back to the Word of God. Scripture alone is our ultimate authority. Paul is being told if he wants to be a good minister of Jesus Christ, he needs to be nourished in the Words of Faith and good doctrine and instruct the believers in accordance with this Word.
Be Disciplined Like an Athlete, Farmer and Soldier
Some people think bodily exercise profits nothing. That is wrong. As the Scripture uses a lot of athletic imagery. We need to press toward the goal, harden our bodies like an athlete, train ourselves. There are also examples of how a Christian needs to be like a farmer, like a soldier and like an athlete. Bodily exercise and discipline does profit. Godliness is even more profitable for all things.
Body, Mind and Spirit
Spiritual exercise is even more important. We should not neglect our physical exercise. Participating in sports is good for your body, soul and mind. It is good to be disciplined and to exercise our bodies. We are not to make an idol of sports, as a spectator. We are not to make anything an idol. Idolatry is the most condemned sin in the Bible.
Live and Work in the Light of Eternity
Spiritual exercise is profitable for all things in life that now is and of that which is to come. It is good for the present, for the future and for eternity. It is for this end that we need to labour. Spiritual work is hard work. If you are not being criticised, you are not doing your job. Do not seek to please men. The fear of man is a snare and a trap. A missionary must be ready to preach, pray or die at a moment’s notice. We are to command and teach these things.
“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in Word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:12-16
Youth Is No Excuse
God calls the young. God called David, the youngest and the least. God called Jeremiah and told him not to say that he is too young, but to go to the people He sent him to and to say the things He commanded him to teach. John was the youngest of the Apostles, yet God gave him great responsibility. Do not let your youth be an excuse for disobedience or for holding back from the field. Be an example.
Give Attention to Reading
If you want to lead, you must read. A reading Christian is a growing Christian. The library is a gym for the mind. We need to exercise and expand our minds. The average person today spends more money on their feet (shoes) than on their brain (books). Our body’s muscles can be stretched by exercise the brain can be stretched by reading. We are not just to interest or tickle the minds of Christians, we need to challenge and call people to action. There needs to be doctrine and balanced emphasis on body mind and spirit.
Do Not Neglect Your Gift and Calling
We are all given a limited amount of time and we have a specific gift, or gifts, that God has entrusted to us. Do not neglect the gift that God has given you. Do not be like the unfaithful servant who buried his talents in the ground. We need to use our talents, not bury them.
Stamina and Perseverance
We need to persevere and to have stamina to pass the baton of Faith to the next generation, which will carry it to the next generation. We need to think multi-generationally. We need to be strict on ourselves. Others may, but you may not. Be strict on yourself. Be more gracious to others.
Be Respectful of Elders
“Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity.” 1 Timothy 5:1-2. These are practical instructions. This verse speaks about the need to be respectful of elders.
Qualifications for Support
“Honour widows who are really widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. Now she who is really a widow and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. And these things command, that they may be blameless. But if anyone does not provide for his own and especially for those of his household, he has denied the Faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number and not unless she has been the wife of one man, well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work. But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. Therefore, I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some have already turned aside after satan. If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.” 1 Timothy 5:3-16
Worthy Widows Should be Supported
Charity begins at home. We are not to exercise charity indiscriminately. Charity is to be exercised with wisdom and discernment, in accordance with the standards of the person. These are very specific instructions on how to care for widows and orphans. The widow needs to be worthy and deserving of being helped. Today’s modern mentality of welfare is so different, they give to drunkards and the immoral, rather than to those who deserve it. “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble…” James 1:27. Caring for widows and orphans is a real fruit of genuine Christianity. We are meant to care for those who are worthy, not those who are worldly. It also speaks about those who are not qualified for welfare. The church is to give priority to believers and to worthy widows.
Respect and Protect Your Elders
“Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in the Word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,’ and, ‘The labourer is worthy of his wages.’ Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear. I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality. Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure. No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities. Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden.” 1 Timothy 5:17-25. This speaks about the importance of respecting and supporting elders who are teaching and preaching the Word of God. There has to be confirmation and proof of any accusation to be God’s Word. We must rebuke false teachers. We must not respect and support false teachers. Do not be a man pleaser. You need to fear God and treat people according to God's Word. Do not appoint someone as an elder or deacon, or to any position of leadership, without first seeing that they are tested.
Separate yourselves from those who do not work and walk faithfully with the Lord. Do not share in other people’s sins, keep yourself pure. “You shall not follow a crowd to do evil.” Exodus 23:2; “They shall not dwell in your land, lest they make you sin against Me. For if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.” Exodus 23:33; “…those who were registered by genealogy, but they were not found; therefore they were excluded from the priesthood as defiled.” Ezra 2:62; “…with all who had separated themselves from the filth of the nations of the land in order to seek the Lord…” Ezra 6:21; “…those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners…” Nehemiah 9:2; “We would not give our daughters as wives to the peoples of the land, nor take their daughters for our sons.” Nehemiah 10:30; “…when they had heard the Law, that they separated all the mixed multitude from Israel.” Nehemiah 13:3. Clearly, we need to be separate from those who are not faithful to the Lord’s work and His Word and those not of our lineage.
Who Is On the Lord’s Side?
“Moses… said, ‘Whoever is on the Lord’s side - come to me!” Exodus 32:26. The question is not, Is God on our side? The question is, Are we on His side? “…I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Psalm 84:10. “…Go out… from the midst of her, be clean…” Isaiah 52:11; “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:19. If the world loves you, you must be doing something wrong in God's eyes; “Therefore, ‘Come out from among them and be separate’, says the Lord. ‘Do not touch what is unclean and I will receive you.’” 2 Corinthians 6:17; “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11; “But we command you, brethren, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6; “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15. Again and again, we see the importance of separation throughout the Old and New Testament. Not just that we are faithful in our teachings, but whom we associate with, whom we marry and whom we allow our children to marry.
Be Diligent in Your Duties
“Let as many bondservants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, so that the name of God and His doctrine may not be blasphemed. 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.” 1 Timothy 6:1-2. Salvation does not change your social status or alleviate you from your duties. We must be respectful and faithful. Christianity does not teach revolutionary egalitarianism. Rather the opposite. Love should make us serve better. We are meant to be diligent in our service.
Beware of Prosperity Preachers
“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, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 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. Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the Faith in their greediness and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” 1 Timothy 6:3-10
We start to see the downward spiral of bad leadership. We need to be people of wholesome, whole pure words. Sola Scriptura!
Fruit of False Teachers
We are told to separate ourselves from false teachers. They have a different doctrine which comes from proud hearts. Beware of greed. We need to lay up our treasures in Heaven. Where our treasures are, there our heart is. God promises to meet all of our needs, not our greeds.
Seek First the Kingdom of God
As Joseph Tson said: “In the West you have a theology of prosperity. In the East we have a Theology of suffering. It is a privilege to suffer for Christ.” There is a huge difference between these teaching. The Eastern Christians are more interested in seeking first the Kingdom of God than all these things that will be added unto you.
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure with trouble.” Proverbs 15:16; “…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.” Philippians 4:11; “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have…” Hebrews 13:5. Contentment is very important. This goes against what the media advertises: “be discontent and covetous!” If we have food and clothing, we should be content with that. We bring nothing into the world and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
Beware of Covetousness
How many people have destroyed their lives and their families due to covetousness? Gambling is theft by consent and is built on greed. That is foolish. A fool and his money are easily parted. If you want to get rich, you will fall into temptation and all kinds of harmful desires that will drown you into perdition and destruction. It will pierce you through with many sorrows and destroy your family and your faith. If you love money, you cannot also love God. You cannot love the things of this world and love the Lord at the same time.
Fight the Good Fight of Faith
“But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 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. 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, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honour and everlasting power. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:11-16
Serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords
How much more solemnly and seriously can the Apostle Paul make it? He charges and commands that Jesus is the only One who has all power. He is the King of kings; He is the Lord of lords. When Jesus came to the earth, He came as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. The next time He will come as Lion. He will come as the Judge. So, we are commanded to fight the good fight of Faith, to honour the Lord Jesus. Paul is trying to encourage Timothy, who is more reserved, to be more bold.
Store Treasure in Heaven
“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:17-19. The rich must not trust in their riches. David did not put his trust in his sling, he put his trust in God. We need to be rich in good works. You may not be able to take the things of the earth with you, but you can send treasures on ahead, for when you give to the poor, you are lending to the Lord. When you give without others knowing about it, as unto the Lord, there is treasure being laid up in Heaven. We can be generous on earth and lay up treasures in Heaven. Where your treasures is; there your heart is.
Contend for the Faith
“O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge - by professing it some have strayed concerning the Faith. Grace be with you. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:20-21. Reject false teachers and false teachings. If we accept what is taught in the worlds’ seminaries and colleges, you might depart from the Faith. We should not assume that all professors in Theological Seminaries or Bible Colleges are committed and faithful to the Word of God. We have to guard what has been entrusted to our care. We must avoid the profane and idle babblings and contradictions and what is falsely called knowledge. By professing it, some have strayed. “Contend for the Faith once for all delivered to the Saints.” Sola Scripture.
Chapters 1 to 3 in Summary
Salvation is by the grace of God alone. Christ is our hope. Avoid Jewish fables and profane babbling. Reject those who cause disputes. Live with a pure heart. Maintain a good conscience and a sincere faith. Men should take the lead and be responsible and prayerful in thanksgiving, supplication and intercession. Stand boldly for the truth. Women should dress modestly with propriety and moderation, in faith, love holiness and self-control. Church leaders must be faithful husbands and diligent fathers, temperate, sober minded, hospitable, able to teach, blameless, of good behaviour, not double-tongued, not greedy, holding the Faith with a good conscience, tested and found faithful in service. Wives must be faithful in all things, reverend, not slanderers, not gossips, they must be those who serve God and demonstrate boldness in the Faith. The Church is a House of God, the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Chapters 4 to 6 in Summary
Beware of Apostasy, deceptions and false doctrines. Reject Jewish fables and legalism. Nourish yourself in good doctrine. Work hard and diligently. Be an example in word and deed, in faith and conduct, in love and purity. Give attention to reading. Do not neglect your spiritual gifts. Persevere in the Faith. Provide for your family. Honour the elders who labour among you. Do not receive an accusation against an elder. Be respectful of your elders. Be content with what God has given you. Fight the good fight of Faith. Be rich in good works. Live in the light of eternity. Guard what has been committed to your trust. Reject false teaching. Store treasures in Heaven. Christ alone is the Head of the Church. Salvation is by the grace of God alone, received by faith alone. Everything should be done for the glory of God alone. We are more than conquers through Christ Jesus who loved us. This is a very practical pastoral and missionary Epistle and a manual for all Christian workers.
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
The New Testament Survey book consists of 304 pages and includes 14 pictures, maps and charts and the New Testament Survey Audio and Data MP3 boxset (31 audio sermons & 1 PDF book) are available from CLB.
The Old Testament Survey book consists of 284 pages and includes 37 pictures, maps, charts and chronologies and the Old Testament Survey Audio and Data MP3 boxset (42 audio sermons & 39 PDF sermon notes - 28hrs & 18min) are available from CLB.
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