1 Timothy 6:17-21
Life in the Local Church
Paul’s Final Instructions
Good Morning. Please turn in your Bibles with me to 1 Timothy, chapter 6. If you do not have a Bible, please help yourself to one from the back table as our gift to you.
Today, we finish up Paul’s first letter to his child in the faith, Timothy. We will continue into 2 Timothy starting next week. Timothy, of course, is being mentored and discipled by Paul. Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus as the head pastor to look after things, to fix problems that were going on, to clear out false teachers and their false teachings, and to guard, protect and rightly train the people of God in the congregation.
And the letter he wrote to Timothy was to encourage him to stand for the sound doctrine of the Gospel. To command him to deal with and counteract the false teachers. To exhort him to teach the right teachings, showing the false teachings as lies. The teach him to fight the good fight and live his life for and to God himself.
Before we go any further, lets go ahead and read this week’s passage, the last couple of verses of this letter, 1 Timothy 6:17-21. I will be reading out of the English Standard Version, my favorite translation. I encourage you to find out which is your favorite translation and bring that each week and read along with me as we read from Gods holy, inspired, inerrant Word of God. 1 Timothy 6:17-21. Paul concludes his letter, writing to Timothy, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:
As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the reverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.
Thus, says the Word of God. Amen.
Paul had just recently written in his letter about those who want to be rich. He has addressed those who have a love of money. He wrote in verse 10, that the love of money is a root all sorts of evil. And the Love of money is one of the main motivations of False Teachers.
Paul then turns to Timothy, tells him to flee those things! Flee the things that come from these false teachers, including and especially the love of money. Instead, pursue Christ and his righteousness. Verse 11, he tells Timothy to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness and gentleness.
Paul’s point to Timothy, his point to us is simple, yet tough. In essences, pursue and focus on Christ and who he is, and he will be reward enough.
Here Paul starts of talking about those who are already rich. Those who are solid, biblical Christians whom God has blessed with much money. Again, money in and of itself is not automatically bad. Remember it is the love of money, and why you want it and what you do with it.
One of the biggest, strongest temptations with having money is that we think it elevates us above others. That we are more worthy, that we are more righteous, more pious than those who don’t have money. That we are closer to or more loved by God. Scriptures makes clear that nothing could be further from the truth.
Its easy to say, but riches come, and riches go. One huge example that still affects the way many of us in this room were raised happened in 1929, the start of the Great Depression. More recently, we have the economy, especially the housing market, crashing in 2008. I personally lost my job as a direct result of the economy in 2009. What would have otherwise been a minor mistake, was looked at by the owner of the business I worked for as, risking him business, risking a customer in an economy where he couldn’t risk losing business.
We cannot trust and we cannot depend on the economy, on our jobs, on money and wealth. They are not guaranteed to be there tomorrow. Here today, gone tomorrow. This is not what we can have any faith, this is not what we can put our hope in.
Jesus addresses this, telling us in Matthew 6:19-21:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust[e] destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
The old saying is true, “You can’t take it with you when you go.” Treasures here on earth are temporary. They are going to go away. Anything earthly, anything temporal that we put our hope and faith in, it will rust away. It will die and let us down. Jesus will not let us down. The kingdom of Heaven will not let us down.
God the Father is a generous, loving God. He also knows, literally, everything. Omniscient, is the word. He blesses all of us in different ways. He knows who to and chooses who to bless in specific ways. James writes, every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights,
In verse 18, Paul tells us how to use the money we have, especially those who are blessed to have an abundance. We are to use our money to bless others. We are to use the gifts that God the Father has blessed us with to show the love of God to others.
We are to be generous and ready to share. No matter what we have, there are opportunities to be generous to those around us. One of the mottos that Hope, and I live by, “You can’t out give God.”
Let me be clear, Gods purpose for us is not to make us healthy, wealthy and rich. Gods purpose for us is to redeem us, to save sinners, so that HE may be glorified. Everything that God does or wants us to do is ultimately to bring glory to God. One of the ways that happens is by having some of his children to have more material wealth and riches and some to not have as much. But on either end of the spectrum and those in the middle, his call is for us to be generous and to use our blessings and gifts to glory God.
Another way to think about this. When you see businesses and specifically business owners who have money, and are very generous with their resources, giving and helping and thinking about more than themselves, acting and living like the money that they have earned and acquired does not belong to them, but instead belongs to God and is given to them to bless others with. We should be praying that God gives those business more business. We should be praying that God gives those individuals more money. Because what will happen is that the more money people like that receive, the more they will be generous with and the more people they will bless.
In the parable of the talents, in Matthew 25, Jesus points out that those who are faithful with some will be given more. Those who are not faithful with a little, even what they have will be taken away.
Paul tells us too that this is storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. Theirs, and ours good works do not earn us salvation, either partly or entirely. Our good works do not keep our salvation. Our salvation is solely because of the grace of God and is kept solely because of his faithfulness, not because of anything about us.
But God tells us that after we are saved, after we are changed by him that we are to do good works, the good works that he has prepared for us beforehand (Ephesians 2). And he tells us that we be rewarded for our good works in the Kingdom of Heaven, mostly clearly in Matthew 16:27. But what that actually means or looks like, we have no idea.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, if you research this and investigate it, you will find all sorts of explanations and theories. And its possible that one of them is right, or a combination, or whatever, but the truth is, if anyone says, “I know that it means this…” they are either lying or have fooled themselves.
At the end of that verse, Paul draws allusions to one of the phrases he wrote just a few verses before, that we touched on last week. Back in verse 12, Paul said to “take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.” And here in verse 19, he says that we are to do the things that we do, that we are called to do, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” Jesus tells us in John 10:10, that he came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Paul finishes up his letter to Timothy and succinctly sums up the letter in his conclusion. Guard the deposit entrusted to you. God has entrusted his people, he has entrusted those of us who have received the Gospel, and trusted in it, to guard it and to defend it, to fight the good fight of the faith.
It is our responsibility, once we have come to know Christ, to get deep into His Word and to know what the true, biblical Gospel is. It is easy to become a Christian, or to think you have become a Christian and to, then, just let it be. We don’t take the time or the energy to dig into the Bible and develop and see the sound doctrine that the Bible teaches. We kick back, let the pastor do his thing on Sunday, maybe even attend a Bible Study, and that’s it.
But it is our responsibility to learn what Gods word says. It is our responsibility to guard our heart and our mind from the rest of the world, and to entrust it to the Gospel.
The Gospel is what changes lives. Faith comes from hearing, hearing by the Word of Christ. (Romans 10:18) The Gospel is the most precious gift that God has given us, and he has entrusted it to us, to have a right understanding of it and to share it rightly with those around us.
Paul tells Timothy, Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,”. This is directly referencing False Teachers. Its right and useful even in everyday, face to face conversations as well. In both instances, Red Flags should not only go up but alarms in your head should start going off and those circular red flashing light thingys should start shining if you hear some one mention that they have secret or hidden knowledge. If they claim to have heard the voice of God, had direct revelation from him. “I know it’s always meant that, but God told me…” If they have figured out the “real” meaning, a new meaning of scripture that no one else has known or figured out before. “I know its always meant that, but I found a hidden code,” If they change the meaning, “Well, I know people have always said it means this, but really that was for an archaic culture and today it means this…”
All False teachings that will end up directly contradicting themselves or outright denying Christ in some way, shape or form. The Gospel, the Bible, Gods Word is what tells us how Jesus is, and if someone things Jesus is anything other than that, they are wrong. “Well, I know the Bible says that, but the God I know, or the Jesus I love wouldn’t say or do or thing that…”
1 Corinthians 1:18-31, which we wont read the whole thing right now, speaks of the difference between earthly, human wisdom and Godly, biblical Wisdom. V 25 specifically says, For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Proverbs often contrasts true wisdom and human wisdom, and states in Proverbs 1:7, The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Avoid those false teachings and those foolish heresies as if your life depends on it, because as Paul points out to Timothy, your eternal life does depend on it. He says that many have professed this so-called knowledge and by doing so, have swerved from the faith.
Calling yourself a Christian, saying that you love God and love Jesus, means absolutely nothing if you are not talking about the true Gospel, if you are not referring to Jesus of Nazareth, who is the Christ, who is God the Son, who became man to save sinners, to give himself as a ransom for many, who preached more about the realities of Hell than almost any other subject. If the Jesus of the bible, the WHOLE Bible is not who you are talking about, then you don’t know Jesus. And if you don’t know Jesus, then you can’t follow him. If you do not have your faith and trust in the true Jesus as revealed in the bible then you are on the wide and easy road which descends surely but gradually away from heaven and eternal life with God and goes straight down to Hell and eternal life feeling the wrath and justice of God.
What you believe matters. Sound Doctrine matters. Because it doesn’t matter what you think, if what you believe is not the Biblical, true Gospel, then it’s absolutely nothing at all, so called, “Knowledge.”
This reminds me of the passage in 1 John, where he affirms what it means to be a child of God, 1 John 5:1-4:
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
Paul closes the letter, simply, lovingly and biblically. Grace be with you. And all the former Catholics in here, in their minds responded, And also with you.
For those of us who have met and been changed and forgiven and saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, revealed by the Scriptures alone and all done to the Glory of God alone, today is a day we rejoice, and we celebrate. We celebrate the fact that we have been assured of our right standing with God and we remember what Christ did to achieve this for us. We come together as a church family, once a Month and we celebrate communion. We come together, setting aside any differences, any pettiness, all that stuff that does not matter, anything other than our standing in Christ and we unite as brothers and sisters in Christ.
The thing that unites us together is the cross of Jesus Christ. Today we pursue that unity by remembering. We remember and celebrate Christ’s death for us, that act on the cross, that act of pure love, grace and goodness. That perfect act of mercy. God holding out his hands to us, disobedient and contrary people.
We remember the sacrifice, the bloodshed. We remember what that means to us, as those who have turned to follow Jesus Christ. It means that we have been declared righteous in his sight and we get to spend eternity with Jesus Christ and God the Father.
We often take this time somberly and soberly, because of what it cost Jesus, what he had to go through. But We celebrate because Jesus is alive, and we get to partake in eternal life with him if we chose to follow him.
Now, Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians 11 some things about partaking in communion. First, this is for those that have made a commitment to Jesus. This is a celebration and remembrance for what he won, what he purchased when he paid the penalty for our sins and rose from the grave. If you have not made that commitment, out of respect, please pass the plate.
Paul also makes it clear that we need to be in the right state of mind, that we need to be honest with ourselves and with God and about our sins.
I greatly encourage you, as we are passing out the items for communion, take that time to talk to God. Make sure you are examining yourself and you are taking it for the right reasons. Again, please do not be afraid to pass the plate along. There will be no glances, no judgments. What is important is for each of us to make sure that we are in right standing with God.
Paul gives us a picture of Communion in 1 Corinthians chapter 11. In verses 23-25 he writes:
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for[f] you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
So, what we are going to do here, is Mike and Jim are going to come up here. One will pray for the crackers, which symbolize the broken body of Jesus on the cross. They will pass them out and when we are finished, we will take the cracker together as a church family.
Then, the other will pray for the juice, which symbolizes the blood of Christ, shed for the forgiveness of sins. They will pass them out and again, we will take it together as a church family.