Remain true! — 1 Timothy 6:1-10
By Pastor Lee Hemen
January 28, 2018
We truly have no idea what slavery is like unless we personally have been enslaved. We can theorize, emphasize, and philosophize about it but until we have experienced for ourselves we have no real clue what it means to be enslaved. It was and is one of the most horrendous things humans can do to one another. Christianity played a huge role in the abolition of slavery throughout the world. It still exists where the evil of mankind is allowed to go unchecked. Gangs, Islam, and socialist nations that rule through fear and intimidation we find enslavement still exists.
When Paul wrote about slaves he was in no way endorsing the ungodly practice; instead he knew that those who were masters and those who were slaves that had been changed by Jesus Christ needed to practice a new way of life that reflected their change. Paul’s desire was that no matter what a person’s circumstance in life that they would remain true to their faith in Jesus. Let’s see what he wrote Timothy…
Paul understood Christians should act like Christians. What a concept, right? Jesus taught “no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’” (Luke 5:37-39 NIV) Paul taught…
I. Christians remain true by respecting Jesus! (Vv. 1-2)
All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. Those who have believing masters are not to show less respect for them because they are brothers. Instead, they are to serve them even better, because those who benefit from their service are believers, and dear to them. These are the things you are to teach and urge on them.
1. The “new wine” of the Holy Spirit living within the believer will spill out and splash all over others! Jesus taught “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 NIV) He did not say that it depended upon how we felt or the circumstance of our lives. So Paul writes those who were slaves in Timothy’s church that “All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect”! Why was this so important to Paul? Wasn’t slavery horrendous and weren’t all people seen as free before the Lord? Yes, but Paul knew that the focus should be on honoring God “so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered”; so much so that while we are all “one” in Christ “Those who have believing masters are not to show less respect for them because they are brothers.” Their position in life may not have changed but their relationship to the Lord had. Even though their masters were now “brothers” in the Lord they were still slaves, and as slaves they as believers were “to serve them even better, because those who benefit from their service are believers, and dear to them.” This holds true for the employee and employer of our day. A Christian’s position in life should honor Jesus. While in our day we can either quit a believing boss who is not living for the Lord or we can stay and show others how a true believer is to serve no matter what the boss does! Slaves of Paul’s day did not have the choice to simply quit; they would be tracked down, resold, imprisoned, or if lucky just flogged! Yet as a believer they were to first honor the Lord with their lives. “These are the things” Timothy “was to teach and urge” on his church! Christians remain true by respecting Jesus!
EXAMPLE: Can you imagine being a Christian slave to a Christian owner? How about being a Christian slave owner who owns a Christian slave that runs away? Paul wrote a personal letter to a man named Philemon regarding such an issue. He began his letter by reminding Philemon that he Paul was “a prisoner of Christ Jesus”. It reminded Philemon that he was in prison, thereby enslaved, because of his faith. Christians remain true by respecting Jesus! Paul appealed to Philemon’s faith to treat Onesimus, his runaway slave, with the love of Christ. Paul was sending Onesimus back to Philemon but “no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother” in Jesus. Paul was willing to pay the cost of Philemon looking for Onesimus but Philemon needed to remember that they were both now followers of Jesus and that Christians remain true by respecting Jesus!
The love of Jesus should change our lives. He sacrificed everything to set us free form our bondage and enslavement to personal sin! Paul therefore writes Timothy that he was to remain true to the gospel and that…
II. Christians remain true by following Jesus! (Vv. 3-5)
If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
1. We have become so enamored with being liked by everyone and being accepting of everyone that we allow ungodly behavior to continue or we excuse it. While it is true we are to take care of the ungodly log in our eye before we try to remove the sinful splinter in a brother’s eye we can and are commanded to remain in Jesus! Jesus succinctly taught: “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4 NIV) Therefore Paul told Timothy “If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing.” Paul bluntly tells us that those who refuse to understand Jesus’ teaching are spiritually ignorant! Why, because Jesus’ teaching is not only “sound”, correct, and true it is “godly teaching!”! In fact those who continue to refute Jesus regurgitate ungodliness! They have an “unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result” in all kinds of ungodly behavior! Paul’s words are directed towards those who were Judaizers who wanted believers to follow Jesus plus Old Testament laws. Paul told them bluntly “that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.” (Galatians 2:16 NIV) Their continued teaching of false doctrines within the church resulted in “envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction” and not the unity and love of Jesus! Paul told Timothy that these were “men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain”! These ungodly men had ulterior motives to enrich themselves! Paul knew that Christians remain true by following Jesus!
EXAMPLE: Several ungodly examples of this kind of thing are Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, and Latter Day Saints. While wanting the world to think of them as “Christian” nothing could be further from the truth! However there also can be pastors who claim Christ but are blind guides that keep their congregation in the chains of spiritual slavery by telling them that only they teach the truth by corrupting the gospel or Scripture into their own twisted doctrines in order to aggrandize themselves. This is why it is so important for believers to know the Bible! Bible Study is important! Paul reminds us that Christians remain true by following Jesus!
Evidently there were those who claimed Jesus in Timothy’s church but were using their so-called faith as a means to enrich themselves! Kind of like many name-it-and-claim-it, blab-it-and-grab-it, Trinity Broadcasting Network types do nowadays. Paul reminds Timothy that…
III. Christians remain true by being satisfied! (Vv. 6-10)
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
1. These are some of the best verses in the Bible and should be learned, remembered, and used by believers. We often forget that we live one life here on this earth and then we will either live eternally with God or separated from him. There are religions that teach you are to lose yourself and become nothing by becoming one with the whole in order to find bliss. Jesus teaches us that we are to remain who we are but to walk in him moment-by-moment. We are created individuals who are each special and unique to God but we live in a sin-tainted creation. When we come to Christ by faith we discover that “godliness with contentment is great gain”. We are to be content in him because “we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it”. All that we treasure so much now means nothing once we die. Believers are to treasure up for themselves the things of God. Jesus taught for a reason: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV) Paul reminds us that “if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that”. Paul knew it depended up what your focus in life was and he did not want Timothy to fall into the trap of wanting “things”. Now having a good house, job, or income is not the problem – the problem is when we begin to focus our lives on the wrong things. Paul knew that people whose only focus was “to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.” Money is neither good nor bad, it is simply a tool however “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” and in fact Paul relates that some “people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many [of the] griefs” in life they could have avoided by focusing on Jesus! Christians remain true by being satisfied!
EXAMPLE: In the old movie The Jerk with Steve Martin he is having an emotional fight with his wife and he claims he “doesn’t need anything” in life. Except as he leaves his house he begins to pick up an ashtray, a paddleball, a chair and other nonsensical items that he “needs”. We finally see him aimlessly wandering down the street still claiming that he doesn’t “need anything”! It is a perfect commentary on how many view their lives, including some believers. Paul understood that Christians remain true by being satisfied!
Christians remain true by respecting Jesus! Christians remain true by following Jesus! Christians remain true by being satisfied!
This article is copyrighted © 2018 by Lee Hemen and is the sole property of Lee Hemen, and may not be used unless you quote the entire article and have my permission.