1 Timothy 11
The Secret of Contentment: [1 Timothy 6:5-21]
Intro: - Tom last week spoke on Babylon that will dominate at the end - it is marked by commercialism, the desire to gain wealth.
- reading through passage in ICU waiting room outline came, brings perspective, what really matters
- contentment an illusive thing - everyone’s chasing something: pleasure, fame, fortune, security, significance, acceptance
- there is a great dissatisfaction fuelled by advertizing industry - great ache and longing in the human heart to be satisfied
- contentment is a rare and precious thing - all are looking for contentment - the secret is in this passage!
- before we look at it, ask you a question: “Where is your citizenship? [OHP] - the home where your heart is fixed (Eddie) [Phil 3:12-21 I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ]
- Where is your heart? - you tell by where your investments are [Matt 6:9-21 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 neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.]
Read 1 Tim 6:5-21
- Where is your heart? - we have a choice what we set it on: below or above, on the things of this world or on heaven [Col 3:1-4 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.]
Get or give [1 Tim 6:5]
- Is God a means to get what you want? - people in the church for what they can get out of it - motive is selfish contrary to the Gospel which calls for us to deny self.
Riches or contentment [1 Tim 6:6-8]
- contentment - a glorious key to peace - to accept ones lot as from the hand of God and aspire to godly living in that situation is indeed great gain. (Heb 13:5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”).
- There is a blessing on godly contentment. Godliness is great gain - not material gain. For godliness to be of great benefit to us it must be accompanied with contentment.
Godly contentment is precious indeed - a wonderful, indescribable blessing which those longing after the world’s riches cannot comprehend. Dissatisfaction and complaining, hankering after more robs us of the benefit of godliness (cf. Israel’s grumbling in the wilderness). It is one of the most enervating diseases in the church today - it robs people of their joy in the Lord. [Phil 4:11-13 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.]
- we brought nothing into the world, we’ll be taking nothing out except the godly character we have cultivated. So then what is the use of popularity, material gain, prestige, riches etc? Nothing! - may we ever see life in the light of eternity.
- all we strive to obtain we will leave behind (Ps 49:16-20 Do not be afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house is increased; for when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not descend after him. Man in his pomp, yet without understanding, is like the beasts that perish. Ecclesiastes 2:18-20; 5:15 I must leave it to the man who will come after me. And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the fruit of my labor for which I have labored by acting wisely under the sun. This too is vanity. As he had come naked from his mother’s womb, so will he return as he came. He will take nothing from the fruit of his labor that he can carry in his hand Luke 12:15-34 Then He said to them, “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.” ’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you... but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.)
- Contentment (1 Tim 6:6,8) is the key to godliness. All we need in this world, and all we require to be content is food and covering (clothes and a roof over our head) -the basic necessities of life - the things required to survive - all else has no true value.- God has given us the requirements of life (food and clothing) most of have those and much more! Let us be grateful for all material blessings and use these for His glory.
- gratitude, not dissatisfaction, is the work of a spirit filled Christian - to complain is to insult God who is the Giver of every good gift - we are saying He is either poor or miserly
Evil or godliness [1 Tim 6:9-14]
- What are you pursuing? - choosing wealth above all else opens you up to temptations which ensnare - we are trapped by our lusts: greed leads to lust; leads to temptation; leads to evil; leads to ruin; leads to death! (Jas 1:14,15 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.). "Plunge" (v.9) - the verb is the image of drowning someone in the sea - a giant squid’s tentacles wrap around your legs and drag you down to the bottom, helpless to escape its grip - that is lust! They drag us down to ruin, destruction. Get rid of the desire to be rich, - continually pursuing wealth will cause you to be led astray from the true faith - it ends in apostasy! It pierces you with many sorrows. The love of money leads to disaster! Beware! flee from lusts! - they are a mortal danger!
- flee lusts, rather pursue godliness - Instead of pursuing money we should be absorbed in pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverence and gentleness. (2 Tim 2:22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.) - Paul gives a serious charge in the authority of God to flee evil and pursue godliness - to maintain his Christian testimony in the world that is totally absorbed with pursuing material things. Jesus maintained that confession so must we.
Faith is not something that is received and reveled in - it requires fighting for in order to preserve it, keep it true and pure, unadulterated by false teaching against which Paul has warned -it takes effort and striving to preserve the faith which is under constant attacks from the enemy.
- pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness -it is a fight, an endurance race - eternal life is the goal
- Christ’s return is what motivates us to godliness and purity - Timothy was to keep this charge whilst God gave him life - Paul expects Jesus’ return imminently - he expects His return before Timothy’s life ends. The man of God must be beyond reproach - without stain or reproach - blameless at Christ’s coming - only Christ can do this work in us.(1 Cor 1:7,8 awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Phil 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. 1 Thess 3:13 so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. 1 Thess 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude 24,25 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.).
Material or eternal [1 Tim 6:17-19]
- it is the eternal goal that motivates us - having our eyes fixed there will bring the attractions of this present world into perspective
- Paul returns to the issue of riches - material wealth brings pride, we tend to trust in it and what we have obtained rather than reliance upon God
- So He gives instructions to wealthy believers. What they have is from God. Their hope must be on the Giver not the gifts He gives.
- The trouble is that we are convinced by what we see, not what is real and true.
- the rich tend to be conceited - thinking themselves superior to those who have less - more astute, harder working, more intelligent etc.
- their attention is on the wealth of the "now age" whereas true wealth is given to the "poor" - the wealth that carries beyond this present life (cf. Luke 6:20-24 “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. Jas 2:5 Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?.).
Present riches are no security (cf. stock market crash) - it is temporary, only is present in this world - it has no place in eternity.
- Our hope must be fixed solely on God, even if we are "blessed" with wealth - the danger of wealth is the temptation to rely on it rather than God, to feel secure, to place your heart in this world rather than eternity (cf. Ps 62:10 if riches increase, do not set your heart upon them. Jer 9:23,24 Thus says the Lord, “ let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me ).
- God is the Supplier, the Source of all we have. Riches and possessions are not evil - He has generously given them to us for our enjoyment - the danger is when they take too bigger place - when our attention shifts to them from God - all He has given us should direct us to Him - to worship the Giver of every good and perfect gift (Jas 1:17).
- The rich are to be rich in good works - this is where they should be laying up wealth - in doing good for others (Matthew 6:20,21 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ).
- God has made them rich for a reason - they are equipped to give. Wealth is a gift from God in order to be generous - every gift God gives us is for giving it is not for us ourselves (cf. spiritual gifts) -we are stewards - How will you Master regard your stewardship of the wealth with which He has entrusted you?
- The danger for the wealthy is to become too much at home in this present life because it is comfortable for them. In doing so they are placing their foundation on what is not really life but a mere vapour. They should build their foundation in eternity by giving their wealth away (cf. Luke 18:22 When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” ). By laying up treasure in heaven (not in this earthly "life") they receive that which is really life, eternal life, life that goes on into eternity, life in all its fullness.
- Our hearts must be set on the future, not on the now - A walk of faith is the opposite to the pursuit of present reward.
- Only when we have our heart set on the future, storing up treasure by giving away present worldly wealth; only then, do we receive, lay hold of true life (cf. v.12). By good works and generosity we store up treasure for the future.
Human ideas or faith (depending on what God says) [1 Tim 6:20,21]
- Yet again Paul refers to the pressing issue of false teaching (gnosticism) - man’s ideas which lead away from faith -living by what God says
- we must carefully guard the treasure we have received - we are responsible for the truth delivered to us
- don’t get caught up in theories and speculations, science can be a side track (Mark VanV), special knowledge(George Curle), apologetics defending the faith by human reason
- "Knowledge" appeals to man’s pride - but it is falsely named because it doesn’t lead to knowledge of God who is truth(1 Cor 8:1-3 Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.) - remember the goal (1 Tim 1:5)
False knowledge argues with the truth - is skeptical, it doesn’t believe and so cannot come to knowledge of the truth. Turn from creation-evolution debates, from theological debates, arguing with liberals, cultists etc. - it is futile, wasting time - it achieves nothing. Denounce and continue proclaiming the truth but don’t get ensnared in arguments with them.
- Christians had got caught up in arguments and speculations and shipwrecked their faith e.g. Alexander and Hymenaeus but also men today
Self or God [v.15,16] - perspective comes right when we look at God [Ps 73:16,17 When I pondered to understand this, It was troublesome in my sight until I came into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end.]
- worldly wealth may appear attractive but it is nothing in comparison to the glory of God! Read 1 Tim 6:15,16 [OHP]
- v.15,16 describe the unique sovereignty of God. In His absolute bliss and unending life He is completely self contained. Such things belong wholly to Him, and to Him alone. He is thus the exclusive LORD of all else. So to Him should all honour be rendered and all power or rule ascribed.
- He is the only Sovereign, the sole Ruler, whose dominion is universal in heaven, earth and hell - the King of all kings and Lord of all lords - the Absolute Monarch - absolute dominion!
- This glorious God alone has immortality - undieable - death can never approach Him because He is righteous - God is life, the Source and Sustainer of all life - death is that which is separated from Him - absolute life
- He is absolute pure light, everything that pure light shines on becomes light [Ephesians 5:13,14 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.] - absolute purity!
- this infinitely transcendent God dwells in unapproachable light [Psalm 104:1,2 Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendour and majesty, Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak, Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.] A vast cloud of impenetrable light shrouds His glorious Being so that He abides eternally aloof from all created beings. We cannot stand such light (ever tried looking at the sun? Scarred retina) [John 3:19-21 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”] In His pure Divine essence He is unseeable and unseen. No one has seen God nor can see Him (try looking at the sun!) He remains forever hidden in His glorious sanctuary of light. We cannot stand to gaze upon the infinite blaze of Divine glory - totally above and beyond all we know - absolutely transcendent!
- to such a One, infinitely transcendent, eternal, immortal dwelling in unapproachable light, all honour and eternal dominion is due. Worship universal, spontaneous and unending will rise from the elect angels and redeemed hearts to the all together worthy God, the Absolute Monarch, yet our Redeemer and Friend. Absolutely worthy!
- immortal, invisible, unapproachable - God being God must be worshipped. God being eternal must be eternally worshipped - in comparison to this glory worldly wealth is purile
Conclusion: My life or Christ’s return [v.24,17] -the secret of contentment, it all comes down to whether we are seeking our own life or Christ’s return (Luke 9:23,24 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. 2 Pet 3:11,12 what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.)
- God Himself knows and will determine the exact date of His Son’s appearing - He will make Him manifest at the proper time
- guard what has been entrusted to you, the faith you have received.
- It is an endurance race with eternal life as the prize - endure, don’t let yourself be sidetracked, keep the goal in view [Heb 12:1-3 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.]
- difficulty and disillusionment can lead to distraction, we give up and settle for lesser goals, the appeals of the world end in utter disappointment, they cannot satisfy
- there is great gain and contentment in godliness - the choice is yours - one way is uncertain and ends in going astray, sorrow and ruin, the other way is a sure foundation leading to contentment, enjoyment and true life that is eternal
- it is God’s grace alone that keeps us on this right path
- Though the letter is written to Timothy, grace is to “you” plural - it is all of them that are in need of God’s grace in order to be established and grow as Christ’s body. Timothy had been given instruction concerning the administration of the church but its life in reality depended of God’s grace. We are utterly dependent upon God’s grace. It is not mere platitude - this is reality! The power of God! - His undeserved favour to be upon us. It is by grace alone that the church exists, that we have life. We stand by God’s grace. “Grace be with you. Amen!”