This morning we are in chapter 6 … completing our study through 1 Timothy.
And next week we won’t be doing “The Gospel According to the Shack” or “Mr.
Rogers and God.”
No, we’re going to stick with our verse by verse trek through the Bible, so we’ll be starting 2 Timothy.
Because we deviated from our current study through 1 Timothy for Resurrection Sunday, let’s spend a few minutes reviewing where we are with chapter 6.
In chapter 1, Paul took some time to encourage Timothy in his calling and to address some doctrinal concerns.
Then, in chapter 2, Paul addressed etiquette and gender roles in the church.
In chapter 3, Paul again addresses solidifying church structure by addressing leadership.
With chapter 4, Paul addressed some who left the faith by exchanging the good doctrines of the Bible for personal agenda and personal gain … false teachers and false doctrines.
And in chapter 5, Paul addressed some important social relationships and the proper treatment of church members.
This chapter continues Paul’s advice to Timothy on ministering to the various kinds of believers in the church, but also turns again to defending the faith, and not turning to the right or left, but holding to the confession of faith for a good testimony before others.
In the very first days of the church, apostasy was not an issue … they continued in the apostles doctrine.
But … the church was made up of sinners saved by grace, from various walks of life … and as such, needs arose.
This first church sought to care for the needs of the congregation.
So the church sought to help to fill in the gaps with a daily distribution of food … possibly in the form of a meal being served.
Perhaps they were right or maybe it was just a matter of perception … … but the hellenistic widows (those of Greek culture) felt that they were receiving less than the Hebrew widows (those of Jewish culture).So, records that deacons were selected so that the Apostles’ would not be juggling the responsibilities of prayer and ministry of the Word and trying to meet the physical needs of the church.----
30 or so years later, the church had grown dramatically and was no longer only in Jerusalem.
There were individual churches throughout the towns and cities of Asia Minor, Greece, Macedonia, Phoenicia, Samaria, Judea, Europe … possibly as far west as Spain and even up into England.
Many different people from many different backgrounds were now joined together in this “called out group” that is the Body of Christ.
And many people not just from varying cultures, but in different walks of their life … some old, some young, married, unmarried, widowed, rich, poor, free, and even slaves.
Well, in Chapter 5, Paul gave practical advice on how church members of different walks of life should be treated.
And for part of our chapter for today, Paul continues on this theme.
But he soon switches back to defending the faith from those who twist the gospel for personal gain.
Now, we’ve noted already how Paul used military terms in this letter.
“Charge” … “wage warfare” and so forth.
He continues to do that as he wraps up this letter.
The Apostle uses words like: “Fight the good fight of faith” ().
“I give thee charge” (, which is the same military term used in 1:3).
“Command those that are rich” ().
“Guard what was committed to your trust” ().
Paul was like the General of an army receiving orders from the Commander in Chief and passing them on to Timothy.
In turn Timothy was to pass them on to the church he pastored.
That is my job as well.
And it’s not a job that changes over time or that is being redefined or reformed by “New Apostles.”
But it’s the same job today that it was then, just as the doctrines of scripture are the same today as they were then.
Timothy was to charge, urge, command, guard, fight, and commit and that is the job of the pastor today … teaching the Word of God without compromise.
D.L. Moody did not want his soloist, Ira Sankey, to use “Onward, Christian Soldiers” in their evangelistic campaigns.
Moody felt that the church he saw was very un like an army.
If the average military man on our side in World War II had behaved toward his superiors and their orders the way the average Christian behaves toward the Lord, we probably would have lost the war!
Instead of “Onward, Christian Soldiers,” someone has suggested that perhaps we ought to sing “Backward, Christian Soldiers.”
Paul instructed Timothy how to minister to four more groups in the church, and also how to keep his own life in the will of God.
We start out our chapter with Paul addressing a subset of believers that might surprise us … slaves.
Among the many believers from many different walks of life that would be in the early church, some were slaves.
Some historians have estimated that half of the population of the Roman Empire was composed of slaves.
Many of these people were well educated and from good families … accountants and physicians were often slaves.
Some were slaves due to debt, some due to punishment, some were children who were abandoned and others were born into it.
But legally they were not considered persons at all.
No matter how skilled or educated, legally slaves were not considered persons under the law.
Their living conditions were difficult and often brutal … abuse was not uncommon and a slave could be tortured or executed.
It is no wonder that the Great Gospel Message of “salvation” and “freedom in Christ” appealed to slaves.
And many who were slaves became believers.
(The word translated “servant” in the kjvNew Testament usually means “slave.”)
When slaves were able to get away from their duties, they would fellowship in local assemblies where being a slave was not a handicap.
Paul told the Galatian believers:
What a comfort and joy it must have been for a Roman or Greek slave to walk into church and be among not masters, but brothers and sisters in Christ.
But it’s also a relief that we can enjoy today.
Though we are not slaves as so many were in years past, we are so often “chained” like Lot to an immoral and godless society that grieves us.
But we can come here and be refreshed in fellowship and sharing in God’s Word.
That being said, in the church that Timothy was pastoring, there was a problem that Paul needed to address.
Some slaves had masters who were believers.
This was confusing to both the master and the slave … how did their faith change this?
Others who had unbelieving masters used their newfound freedom in Christ as an excuse to disobey, if not defy, their masters.
Some who were slaves used their newfound freedom in Christ as an excuse to disobey, if not defy, their masters.
After all, in Christ, weren’t they no longer slaves?
Paul needed to instruct Timothy in how to deal with this, because rebellious attitudes were a bad testimony of Christ.
So, we pick it up with that in mind.
They needed to learn that their spiritual freedom in Christ did not alter their social position, even though they were accepted graciously into the fellowship of the church.
But first, let’s pray for God’s direction and wisdom in our study:
Prayer: Heavenly Father, as we approach Your Word together this morning, we ask for your guidance and wisdom.
Give us open ears and open hearts that we may be established in all good things through the study of Your written Word.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight.
We pray these things in Jesus’ name.
Paul is not endorsing slavery in these verses.
He is addressing a reality that existed at that time.
The Greek word that the NKJV translates as bondservants is δοῦλος Doulos.
A doulos is a slave.
In Roman times, the term bondservant or slave could refer to someone who voluntarily served others.
But it usually referred to one who was held in a permanent position of servitude, as it does here.
Some believing slaves had believing masters and most had unbelieving masters.
So then, the question … What were they to do now that they were free in Christ?
To put it quite simply, they were to act in a way that would bring glory to Christ, “Lest the name of God and the teaching be slandered.”
What were they to do now that they were free in Christ?
lest the name of God and the teaching be slandered.
They were to act in a way that would bring glory to Christ ‘so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered’
They would do this by showing respect to their masters.
No Christian master would consider his slaves “under the yoke,” but would treat them with love and respect (; ).
For a slave to rebel against an unsaved master would bring disgrace on the Gospel.