Faithlife Sermons

Advice from A Spiritual Father

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Introduction

Review: If you were with us last week you remember we talked from about “Advice from mom.” We said that is about a mother who is giving advice to her young son who is king. She is giving him advice on how to be a wise and just ruler. Today being graduation Sunday, I want to pick up on that theme and talk about “Advice from a spiritual father.” The theme may be graduation, but I think that the advice we are going to talk about today applies to all of us.
Opening Story/Illustration: I grew up in Memphis, TN in an area known as Frayser. When I was little, it was a pretty nice neighborhood, but the older I got and the longer we lived there, the worse the area became. In fact, if you go to Memphis, ask to take a tour of Frayser and watch the reaction that you get. I wouldn’t spend the night in the house I grew up in. My dad worked at a pretty large church and they had a Christian school. I remember as a kid one of my dad’s duties was to play like night-time security. There were several guys on staff who were on security rotation. This rotation included waking up at some weird hour like midnight or 1AM and going to church and walking around to make sure things were secure. It also included showing up when an alarm went off. I never got to go with him on these adventures, but I remember him telling us stories of walking in on homeless people who had managed to slip into the church to sleep or walking in to find equipment or instruments stolen. These events were such a common occurrence that it necessitated this little security rotation. Someone had to be on guard or people would have broken in and trashed the church or taken everything they owned.
Transition to the Text: There is a Spiritual truth here for our lives. There is an enemy who is out to take everything from us. John, in his gospel says, “The enemy comes to kill and steal and destroy.” As Christians we must be constantly on Guard. The Apostle Paul writes to his young friend Timothy about this idea. Paul was Timothy’s Spiritual father. He writes 1st and 2nd Timothy as letters of advice, from a spiritual father to his son.
In the books of first and second Timothy Paul reminds young son in the Faith, Timothy, that he has an obligation to guard what has been entrusted to Him.
When Paul writes 1 Timothy was pastoring the Church at Ephesus and he was coming under some opposition.
b. If Timothy failed to take a stand, something important would be stolen and distorted. Paul reminds him in both of these books that he is to guard what had been entrusted to him.
If Timothy failed to take a stand, something important would be stolen and distorted. Paul reminds him in both of these books that he is to guard what had been entrusted to him.
c. Paul writes 2 Timothy as his last known letter. He's writing to his son in the faith reminding him to stand firm and continue on in spite of opposition.
Paul writes 2 Timothy as his last known letter. He's writing to his son in the faith reminding him to stand firm and continue on in spite of opposition.
Graduates, this is what I want to remind you of this morning - You must guard what has been entrusted to you.
Text: Let’s begin this morning by looking at
1 Timothy 6:20 ESV
O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,”
1 Timothy 6:20–21 NLT
Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness. May God’s grace be with you all.
Transition to Points: I want to dive a little deeper into these letters this morning and point out some areas Paul warned Timothy to guard and remind us that we must guard them as well.

Points

Guard the Truth
Truth is foundational to our lives
Jesus used an illustration in the gospels of a house built on sand and a house built on a rock. The house built on the sand he saids was the one who heard his word but didn’t obey it. THis house fell when the storms came.
If we want a solid foundation, we must guard the truth of God’s word and apply to our lives!
Illustration: My first car was a 1997 Pontiac grand am. It was a nice car but it had 2 problems - 1) The Water pump went out 2) The gas gauge didn’t read properly. Both required some extra TLC. For one, I had to carry water in my trunk so my car didn’t overheat. For the gas gauge I had to watch how many miles I had driven since my last fill up. If you got in my car and didn’t know this, you would think you had a full tank of gas when you didn’t. If you drove on it, you might run out of gas and end up stranded. The gauge that you had based your behavior on was lying to you.
Here’s the point - When you fail to guard the truth your life and behavior end up based on things that lie to you - this can leave you stranded and broken.
Example: What you believe to be true about God matters - if you believe the truth that he loves you, you have a solid basis for your life. But, there are many people who believe that God is angry with them. Base your life on this lie and you end up stranded.
This is why we base our lives on the truth of God’s word.
Timothy was dealing with people who had wandered from the truth. They were no long basing their lives on the accurate measure of God’s word.
1 Timothy 1:3 NLT
When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth.
Timothy was to stay with the truth, to continue in it, to guard it.
Some had wandered from the truth because they were after money. They believed the lie that money was what they needed. Timothy was to guard the truth that Jesus was his source. -
1 Timothy 6:3–10 NLT
Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy. Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
Others believed false doctrines and were teaching things contrary to scripture. Timothy was to Guard the truth that salvation was only through Jesus.
Guard what Matters
Illustration - This last summer during camp we had a color war. The goal of this war was each team had a "person" that they had to guard. So a few teams decided to be smart and throw the other team off. They decided to guard the wrong person and make it look like that was the real person. - This is what many churches do - We are running around guarding what doesn't really matter!
Illustration - This last summer during camp we had a color war. The goal of this war was each team had a "person" that they had to guard. So a few teams decided to be smart and throw the other team off. They decided to guard the wrong person and make it look like that was the real person. - This is what many churches do - We are running around guarding what doesn't really matter!
Evidently Timothy was dealing with people who were arguing over stupid stuff. They were arguing and gossiping and fighting over things that were useless. Timothy was to guard what really mattered.
1 Timothy 4:7–8 NLT
Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”
Life is full of people who want to major in the minors.
We worry about stupid stuff sometimes, when we ought to be worried about what really matters.
What Matters? Jesus Christ and Him Crucified and risen.
What Matters? Are you following and obeying Jesus?
What Matters?
There are many churches who focus on trivial things - They build themselves around  things that do not matter and will not last - the word of God will stand forever!
b. Paul tells us here that physical training is good - but godliness is better!
Paul tells us here that physical training is good - but godliness is better!
c. What are you building your life on? Is your life focused on what matters or are you building your life around trivial and stupid things?
What are you building your life on? Is your life focused on what matters or are you building your life around trivial and stupid things?
One commentator put it this way:
4:7 Paul appealed for Timothy to reject the empty ideas of the heretics. He described the teaching of the Ephesian heretics as “godless” and as “old wives’ tales.”96 The former term suggests something that is religiously bankrupt. The latter term describes an idea that is frivolous and not worthy of serious attention. Hiebert uses the adjective to picture the “myths” as “nothing but silly fictions, fit only for senile, childish old crones to chatter about.”97 The word “myths” is the same word used in 1:4. The command “Have nothing to do with” suggests a strong rejection (see , where “Don’t have anything to do” is the same word). Paul did not want Timothy even to occupy his time with answering such profane chatter. Some false teaching is best ignored rather than discussed.
In contrast to following the vapid vagaries of the false teachers, Timothy was to seek after God. Paul borrowed a metaphor from the sphere of athletics to describe the pursuit of godliness (cf. ). Paul urged Timothy to concentrate his energy on vigorous training for genuine godliness. For Paul genuine godliness involved both right belief and obedient action. Godly habits would not appear without determined human purpose and effort. Timothy was to persist in that Christian discipline which would prepare him for God’s highest purposes.
Guard your character
1 Timothy 4:12–16 NLT
Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them. Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.
Paul tells Timothy not to let anyone look down on him because he is young
I have to tell you, I don't really like the way these verses are often taken out of context. It's like in an old Movie the Princess Bride - You keep using that word, but I don't think it means what you think it means - People use this scripture, but I don't think it means what they think it means. I put this one right up there with "Judge not, lest ye be Judged.  I saw a thing recently that said - "You say only God can judge you - That should scare you!"
This verse is often quoted by some young person that wants to get away with acting stupid. They think it's their out verse when anyone older tries to discipline them or help them to grow - Don't despise me because I'm young.
I have to tell you, I don't really like the way these verses are often taken out of context. It's like in an old Movie the Princess Bride - You keep using that word, but I don't think it means what you think it means - People use this scripture, but I don't think it means what they think it means. I put this one right up there with "Judge not, lest ye be Judged.  I saw a thing recently that said - "You say only God can judge you - That should scare you!"
But look at the next part - But set and example
1. This verse is often quoted by some young person that wants to get away with acting stupid. They think it's their out verse when anyone older tries to discipline them or help them to grow - Don't despise me because I'm young.
2. But look at the next part - But set and example
When others his age are running around doing who knows what - Timothy is told to guard His character and set an example that even someone older than him would want to follow!
ii. When others his age are running around doing who knows what - Timothy is told to guard His character and set an example that even someone older than him would want to follow!
He's to set an example in the way he talks
1. He's to set an example in the way he talks
He's to set an example in the way he lives
2. He's to set an example in the way he lives
He's to set an example in the way loves
3. He's to set an example in the way loves
Paul's list of areas Timothy is supposed to set and example is pretty all inclusive! In other words - Timothy, no matter what you're doing or where you are - set an example!
b. Paul's list of areas Timothy is supposed to set and example is pretty all inclusive! In other words - Timothy, no matter what you're doing or where you are - set an example!
Graduate - You should live such good lives that even those older from you have something worthy of following!!
c. Young person - You should live such good lives that even those older from you have something worthy of following!!
You see we live in a society that tells you to rebel
i. You see we live in a society that tells you to rebel
You live in a society that says that young adult rebellion is a normal thing that everyone has a right to. I want to tell you that is a lie! You don't have to rebel that is a choice. You can choose to live in such a way that even those who are older than you see something worth following!
ii. You live in a society that says that teenager rebellion is a normal thing that everyone has a right to. I want to tell you that is a lie! You don't have to rebel that is a choice. You can choose to live in such a way that even those who are older than you see something worth following!

Conclusion

We could sum all this up in this - Timothy is to guard the message of the gospel!  The message that Christ is the Truth, Christ is what matters, and Christ transforms your character! He is to guard this message and pass it on to others!  This is the same message that we are called to guard. The same message that we are called to pass on to others.
Graduates, whatever you do over the next few years, Hold onto Jesus.
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