This concludes the series on 1 Timothy.
Bruce Larson tells the story of a man and wife and their two children who were biking in Florida. The parents taught their children the importance of bicycle safety, especially safety helmets and riding with traffic. They were biking along one beautiful weekend and saw a sign, “Naturalist Camp.” Without thinking, the dad thought, “I like nature. We should check this out for future camping sights.” Within five minutes of riding into the Naturalist’s Camp, five bare naked people were riding in the opposite direction on their bikes. The father was a “little” surprised. Then little Johnny said, “Uuuhhh Dad, oohh no, they’re not wearing their safety helmets.”
Sometimes we have different perspectives and miss out on important things! Have you ever missed out on something important? What is important in life?
1) Trust in the Lord Jesus and do good works 6:17-19
The last two concepts in this letter have to do with the responsibility of the pastor to warn against the dangers of wealth and warn God’s people to guard the truth. The hardest test in life is the test of prosperity and relative peace. Why? That is the easiest time in which we can be independent of God because we live like we don’t need God. Just as God allowed Satan to take away everything from Job, except his life and his wife, so also God can bless or allow Satan to promote or prosper to see if the person will be depend on God like an iron lung in that prosperity and use it for self or the kingdom. Paul wrote to Timothy,
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. (1 Tim. 6:17 NKJ)
The word “command” (pav paraggello) means literally “to announce along side,” or “to charge” and it is to the advantage of the rich, even though they may not appreciate it at the time. Then Paul gives two warnings and one positive command.
The first warning is “not to be haughty” (pai hupselophroneo-), which is prideful thinking. You see this all the time in sports, politics and Hollywood. People often act separate from the “commoners,” because of talent, or looks or money. Where did they get the talent? God gave the talent, although people foolishly give the money. The danger is thinking that their riches mean divine favor. Now, wealth plus humility combined are instruments God can use to bless others. But without humility, the person resorts to selfishness and further pride.
The second warning is “nor trust in riches” (pfai elpizo-), which means “nor fix your hope,” or “not to have confidence in” something. The verb pictures trust in something. I caught 15 minutes of 60 Minutes last Sunday and the clip was about the miles and miles of homes, apartments and condos that sit as empty cities scattered around the country. The Chinese middle class invested in the homes, which have gone up in price because of the demand, but because they sit empty, all over the country, it is a huge bubble, which could burst at any time and the investors will lose everything. Riches are great when used properly, but they are uncertain; only God can be trusted for happiness and security.
Here’s the positive command. Trust only “in God “ Why on God? He richly supplies us with all things (Phil. 4:19). We read last time in 1 Tim. 6:6-8:
6 Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. (1 Tim. 6:6-8 NKJ)
Paul makes it clear that if we have food and covering, we shall be content.. If we have all that we need to be content, then we have all that we need to enjoy life. What are they supposed to do with what they have? Paul directs Timothy to teach God’s people to focus on these four tasks. He wrote,
Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, (1 Tim. 6:18 NKJ)
First, do good. The verb means to produce under the filling of the HS. Self power works do not qualify and there is no fruit of the Spirit without a root in doctrine.
Secondly, be rich in good works. The word means to abound in godly production. If the works are not related to grace they aren’t godly and don’t count for eternity.
Thirdly, be ready to give. Be liberal in giving money to help. Why? Because God gave to you, so He wants you to be good stewards and give to others without strings attached. This may be a continuous flow.
Fourthly, be willing to share. This is like God pouring into a funnel with hose attached that pours into the lives of others. You are not to be a stagnant pond. You are to be like the Sea of Galilee not the Dead Sea. Instead of trusting in the riches of time, talents and treasures, use them to do good works and build a foundation for the future. Paul wrote,
…storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Tim. 6:19 NKJ)
You can either use whatever God has given you and store up for a foundation for the future – or waste your life today. Jonathan Edwards was born in 1703 and died at 54, from a failed smallpox vaccination. He made many resolutions. Here’s four:
- Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can
- Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live
- Resolved, that I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.
- Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of. [The violence was what Jesus said, “Better to gouge out your eye to kill lust than to make peace with sin. Delighting in God was not a preference, but his single passion.]
The first important issue in life is trusting in the Lord, not the world, and to do good works for the Lord Jesus. The second important issue in life is to guard what you have been given. What does that mean and how does that work?
2) Guard what is entrusted to you to bless others 6:20-21
O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge– (1 Tim. 6:20 NKJ)
Notice this positive command. The word guard (aav phulasso), means “to stand watch,” or “to secure,” or “to protect” the deposits or what was committed to you. How many of you have a safety deposit box? That’s where you keep important papers or valuables that you wouldn’t want to store in your home. Paul commands Timothy to guard the deposit of Truth he has given to Timothy. How? Review, meditate, recall, study and discuss with others, like at a home group. Messages or sermons are not to tickle ears, but to be passed on to followers of Christ. We will guard it or we will not be effective in the spiritual warfare. It makes no difference how old we are, we will battle in the spiritual warfare until God takes us home. Unless we continually recall and guard what has been entrusted to us, we will fail in being good witnesses in the angelic conflict.
Paul adds several things to avoid. Keep on avoiding profane or “common” and idle or better “empty” babblings and contradictions or discussions that are against the Truth. This is a theme through this entire letter. Why? It is what the enemy, even Satan always, always, attempts to do. Notice this in verse 21.
…by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen. (1Ti 6:21 NKJ)
They have made deliberate strides away from the truth. They would rather go to systems of teaching that line up with their system of thinking, rather than working with Truth. Let’s recall how often Paul has mentioned it:
- 1:6 straying from these things
- 1:19 suffered shipwreck
- 4:1 some will fall away from doctrine that which is believed.
- 6:3 anyone advocates a different doctrine.
- 6:21 some have gone astray.
Andover seminary. In the early 1800s, there was a divide between liberal and conservative theologians and after Harvard appointed a liberal to the Hollis Chair, the conservatives withdrew and established Andover Seminary as a bulwark against the rising tide of compromising liberalism. Andover required every professor to sign the statement of faith every year as some theological seminaries require today. The enemy was not happy with that and within 60 years, liberal professors had infiltrated the ranks and pulled conservative Andover to shift its focus and abandon its cause so that by 1913 the library was given over to the liberal Harvard Divinity School. The enemy does not like the Truth. When people are comfortable they relax and that is when the enemy attacks and pulls people from the Lord. When people are comfortable, they become independent of God. What does Paul say is important in life?
Trust in the Lord not riches for blessing and do good for others!
- Your calling in life is to bless others. Consider the call God gave to Abram when He promised a land, seed and blessing. What is your calling in life? We can narrow it down to one word – “bless.” You are called to bless others, because of how much He has blessed you.
8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Pet. 3:8-9 NKJ)
- You can do it by giving away what God has given you: whether it is time, talents or treasure. God has given you so that you can bless others. You may have treasures to bless others, then do that. If you have time, like many retired people, then bless others by coming alongside them and demonstrate care for them. If you have talents that can be used for others, then bless others with what you can do for them.
- Passion for the enjoyment of the Lord Jesus is the Important Point. If someone looked at your life, what would they say was important to you? Do you watch more than two or three hours of television every day? Then that is what is important to you. Do you spend time in the Word and disciple others regularly, then that is what is important to you. I love what David wrote, “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.” (Ps. 63:3 NKJ)
Let me close with this prayer, which was written out, and bears the importance of what life is about. Let me pray it and as you hear words that engage your heart vision, agree along with me. If there is affirmation around you, join in with them as the prayer of your heart. It’s quite long:
How then shall Christ not be my only boast! Not only that He paid You for me, oh God, but is Himself Your perfect image and the blazing center of your radiance. What do I have that does not come from Him? What gift of life breath? What promise ever made did not receive it’s yes in Him? What one sweet thing – or hard thing You will soon make sweet – did I receive except that it was purchased by His blood? Not one thing I deserve, but hell. Yet everything is mine in Him, and by His sacrifice alone. Oh God, forbid that I should ever boast save in the cross of Christ, my Lord.
And now shall w we who treasure Christ and know Your love is better far than life lay up, like all the world, our treasures on this earth? Would not we hear You say, as You once said, “Fool, will not the same night your soul be taken back?
And then whose will these barns of bounty be?” For bid, oh Lord, that while the world is filled with need we should sit down and say, “Soul, you have ample goods laid out for many years; relax, eat, drink, and be merry.”
A terrible reversal awaits such lovelessness. “Woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.” We tremble at the words you spoke once to the heartless rich: “Remember in your lifetime you received good things, and that poor man, beside your door, received the pain; but now the great reversal comes, and he has comfort here, while you lie there in anguish.”
Oh God, such riches are a wasted life. Protect us, Lord. Grant us to hear and heed another call: “Lay up your treasure not on earth, but in the place where moth and thief will never come. Make treasures for yourself that cannot fail.” But then we ask, “What treasures, Lord?”
Ahhh, we see you smile, “I am your treasure and your great reward. I am your food, your drink, your festal garments and your everlasting gain. I am your life and your all satisfying joy.”
The answer is that in this life we may begin to treasure Christ, and here gain, as it were, an aptitude for joy in him. A greater weight of glory waits to be enjoyed for those who grow and love to Christ. And what is love to Christ? It is the cherishing of all you are for us in Him. It is the treasuring of His perfection over all the treasures of the world. It is the delighting in His fellowship beyond all family and friends. It is embracing all His promises that there will be more pleasure in His presence than from all the lying promises of sin.
It is a gladness in the present taste of glory and the hope of future fullness when we see him face-to-face. It is a quiet piece along the path He chooses for us with its pain. It is a being satisfied that nothing comes to us in vain.
Forbid it Lord that anyone would ever say I’ve wasted my life but grant your Holy Spirit and your piercing Word that we who name Christ as Lord would treasure Him above our lives. May we display in our lives that Christ is life and death is gain. May the Lord Jesus be our joy and the world see our joy in Him.1
1Adapted from John Piper’s book, “Don’t Waste Your Life,” pp. 187-189.
Message Based Discussion Questions
1) If you could receive 10 million dollars, what would you do with it?
2) What are different types of tests in life? ____________________ Why is the prosperity test more difficult to handle than a suffering test or poverty test? What Scripture would you use to explain your answer?
3) Was Job very prosperous? In what ways (Job 1)? ______________________ What do you know from Job’s life that demonstrated that he handled the test better than how his friends handled Job’s tests?
4) Are there tests in a marriage? __________________ How does time, talents and treasures become tests in marriage? How would you use this passage to help a couple see how to apply the principles to their marriage?
Making application from the message to life:
5) How would you disciple a young person who has not entered the work force to apply these principle with practical life principles to his/her culture?
6) How do you know the Lord Jesus is a person’s focus in his life? What are several things that will be true?
7) If you were going to make a prayer of commitment, maybe even write it out, what would you write so that the Lord Jesus is the priority of your life?
Teaching on Deposits
- The unbeliever must entrust his soul to God 2 Tim. 1:12
- God makes a deposit of truth to every believer 2 Tim. 1:14
- that deposit is protected through the Power of HS 2 Tim. 1:14
- The deposit is made through the teaching of the shepherd 1 Tim. 6:20.
- In suffering entrust yourself to the Lord Jesus 1 Pet. 4:19
- The pastor must entrust, deposit to faithful teachers 2 Tim. 2:1,2
Teaching on Foundation
- The foundation provides the basis for stability of a structure Luke 6:48-49.
- The foundation is our understanding of the word 1 Cor. 3:10.
- The true foundation is Jesus Christ 1 Cor. 3:11; cf. 1 Cor. 2:16.
- Spiritual production is the structure above the foundation 1 Cor. 3:12
- The apostles wrote and taught the Church Age foundation Eph. 2:20.
- Our foundation must be grounded in love Eph. 3:17
- The foundation built on God is firm 2 Tim. 2:19