We are focusing on the gospel implications of Paul’s letters to Pastor Timothy of the Church in Ephesus. What is the good news that we can draw out of these letters.
Paul is writing to Timothy to encourage him, urge him on, stand his ground, flee from sin, and shepherd his people–which includes pastoring and preaching and teaching to his congregation.
Last week, we see Paul to admonish both to young Timothy and his church to be content in everything–especially with money and provisions.
This is the not the first and only time Paul preaches contentment:
Philippians 4:10-14 (CSB) I rejoiced in the Lord greatly because once again you renewed your care for me. You were, in fact, concerned about me but lacked the opportunity to show it. 11 I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself. 12 I know how to make do with little, and I know how to make do with a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I am able to do all things through him who strengthens me. 14 Still, you did well by partnering with me in my hardship.
This is not just sound wisdom that Paul made up–even though what Paul wrote is divinely inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
He is following up what Christ preached in his ministry:
Matthew 6:31-33 (CSB) So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.
Paul is telling Timothy, the Ephesian church, you and me to be content in the provision of God and to avoid and flee the temptation to love and serve money rather than God.
It is not just enough to be flee from the temptation and not just to be content. How do we do this? Let us continue:
1 Timothy 6:11-16 (CSB) But you, man of God, flee from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of eternal life to which you were called and about which you have made a good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the presence of God, who gives life to all, and of Christ Jesus, who gave a good confession before Pontius Pilate, I charge you to keep this command without fault or failure until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. God will bring this about in his own time. He is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see, to him be honor and eternal power. Amen.
But you, man of God
We might read the Bible and think that certain passages apply to everyone. That is not true.
Romans 1:16-17 (CSB) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.
What does it say? Is the gospel that is the power of God for salvation to everyone or everyone who believes?
John 3:16 (CSB) For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
What does it say? Will everyone not perish or everyone believes in him will not perish.
So here, by stating this:
But you, man of God
… insomuch as speaking to Timothy, are you a man or a woman of God? Give ears to hear and see what Paul has to say.
flee from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness
What are these things?
1 Timothy 6:9-10 (CSB) But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
- want to be rich
- harmful desires
which plunge people into ruin and destruction
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Jesus said it best:
Matthew 6:24 (CSB) “No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Fight the good fight of the faith
Paul is going to say it again to Timothy:
2 Timothy 1:13 - 2:7 (CSB) Hold on to the pattern of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit through the Holy Spirit who lives in us. You know that all those in the province of Asia have deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he diligently searched for me and found me. May the Lord grant that he obtain mercy from him on that day. You know very well how much he ministered at Ephesus.
You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in the concerns of civilian life; he seeks to please the commanding officer. Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer ought to be the first to get a share of the crops. Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
Christ puts it this way:
Luke 14:25-30 (CSB) ow great crowds were traveling with him. So he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
“For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, after he has laid the foundation and cannot finish it, all the onlookers will begin to ridicule him, saying, ‘This man started to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
Here’s the point: while God the Father does not lose his kids (John 10:28-29), there is a cost to following Jesus:
Matthew 16:24-25 (CSB) Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will find it.
You are going to have to lay down your life, everyday, for the rest of your life here. There are no exceptions. Have you counted the cost of what it takes to follow Jesus?
This is the gospel command:
Take hold of eternal life to which you were called and about which you have made a good confession in the presence of many witnesses
That is John 3:16. That is believing in and taking him at his word so that you will not perish but have everlasting life. Those who don’t believe in him will be under the wrath of God. (John 3:36)
You and I cannot afford the sin of double-mindedness: to say you believe the gospel but you are not sure that God has saved you. You cannot have it both ways. For the prophet Habakkuk said, “the righteous shall live by faith!” If you believe, it is counted to you as righteousness! Now you that you are righteous, go and sin no more. I am not talking perfection–I am preaching repentance. Let us be quick to repent and watch my Lord Jesus be quicker to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Here is the charge of the gospel:
In the presence of God, who gives life to all, and of Christ Jesus, who gave a good confession before Pontius Pilate, I charge you to keep this command without fault or failure until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ
What is the command? Take quick hold of the perfect life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ was the only innocent, perfect, and spotless human in the history of human existence ever. That is why Isaiah says:
Isaiah 53:7 (CSB)
He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth.
Like a lamb led to the slaughter
and like a sheep silent before her shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
And yet, because Christ was innocently slain for our sin, Paul will go on to say:
Romans 8:36-37 (CSB) As it is written: Because of you
we are being put to death all day long;
we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered.
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
But Paul exhorts Timothy to “keep this commend without fault or failure.” How do we this?
Truth in the Lord Jesus. By doing so, you have gained his perfect righteousness for your own.
Easier said than done. I know. But guess what? You trusting God and you believing in God and you placing your faith in God and you obeying God is completely supernatural. Here’s what I mean by that: before you can do any of that, the Triune God must dwell in you. God does this by exchanging your wicked sin-filled heart. (Ezekiel 36) He must open your eyes, open your ears, exchanges your heart, renew your mind, and your open your mind so that you can know and believe that he is the Savior of the world.(Mark 8) He is not finished. He gifts you salvation, grace, and faith so that you would be saved!
Christians believe and take hold of God. They have put their hope in this God (Romans 8:25-27). And this is where Paul makes a hard pivot to remind us that Christ is coming again:
God will bring this about in his own time
We don’t know but we trust God that he will send Christ once more (Acts 1:7):
Acts 1:7 (CSB) He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.
What is ours to do? You know the answer:
Acts 1:8 (CSB) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
You and I have been commissioned to go and preach to everyone about this amazingly good news:
He is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see, to him be honor and eternal power–Amen
You have said it in your word that you have shown us the path of life in your presence is the fullness of joy and at your right hand are pleasures forevermore and that when we see you face to face we will be perfectly satisfied. It is in this hope we are saved. Keep our face towards your shining face and preserve us to the end. Amen.