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Monday, February 23, 2015

In the Service of the Believer

His Yoke is Easy
1 Timothy 6

A continued look through of Paul's first letter to Timothy will take us to Chapter 6, which speaks again of service, but this time it will deal with the differences between slaves and masters. 

Chapter 5 gave us through Paul to Timothy on his actions concerning the members of his church. It covered all members from how to speak and treat the elders, where the widows fall in work and behavior, and it spoke of the younger members.

This next chapter will begin with members of his congregation, who at that time were not free citizens, but slaves. It will give them the instruction needed in their Christian walk. The culture at the time was somewhat different from today.

Paul's Instruction To Servants

1 Timothy 6:1-2

Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.
During this time, slavery was a common practice. In these verses, Paul is speaking to Timothy about to the slaves who were under the authority of a master. The difference here though is that, these slaves were believers in Christ. Paul is letting them know that although they were saved by grace, they were still under the rule of a human master. This master deserves the honor and respect due him.
Titus 2:9-10 says ”Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything, to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.”

As Christians, we should be also showing the same attitude as Paul was talking about to the slaves. We aren't slaves in today’s society, but we do have bosses over us; we  still need to show the proper honor and respect that is required of us. Taking a half-hour break when you only have a fifteen minute is showing dis-honesty. (Even if all the others are doing the same thing.) And if your co-workers and your boss know that your a christian, how is this being a good steward of God? By these actions, and attitudes, we cause the name of Jesus to be blasphemed. We are showing our irreverence.
Paul speaks of blaspheming God and his doctrine. The word 'Blaspheme' means: To talk about God or religion in a way that does not show respect. Words might not be spoken, but attitude, behavior, or actions are other ways that don't show respect. And God does not take blaspheme lightly. Romans 2:24 says, “As it is written: “God's name is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you”.
Paul continues in verse 2, that some of these masters were believers themselves. The slaves are still required to show the same respect and honor.
Paul also left out the word 'yoke'. One of the definitions of yoke is: an oppressive agency. 
Being in the service of a believer is not a yoke
Or it shouldn't be.
 It shouldn't be any different serving a unbelieving boss or one who is a brother in Christ. Paul doesn't want the slaves to think that he is exempt from doing a job well. Most of the bosses I've had were unbelievers. A few were Christians. That is a joy, because I can speak freely of my faith in Jesus, but I also am aware that my job is still required to be completed and done with the best of my ability.
This is what Paul was talking about.
In this chapter, Timothy is showing he probably had slaves who attended his church. Timothy was to teach them and exhort these examples of proper christian behavior, despite being despite someone else rule.

Reject False Doctrines

1 Timothy 6:3-5

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

There were during this time, false teachers that were out and about teaching things contrary to the truth of the gospel. Just as there are today. These teachers despised any government agency, and any type dominion. Speaking evil of all forms of authority. These included: magistrates, rulers, pastors and church officials. These false teachers encouraged disobedience to all in authority.
2 Peter 2:10 says “and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries,”

Jude 1:8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities”.
I think of today, and how many false teachers are out there teaching in our grade schools, and universities, and even our churches. And filling the minds with false doctrine.
The true gospel is milk for the babes, and meat for the strong. A sweet savory food for us. Nourishing and gives spiritual growth. I love that. And so true. The Bible is not tainted, has no corruption, and has no poison. I still remember a co-worker saying that the Bible was JUST a book. I couldn't really even say much at that point. Her mind was pretty much closed. It's still sad to think about that even now.
Paul tells Timothy that these false teachers are proud. The doctrine of Grace is a humbling nature, especially if spiritually understood and received. The Doctrines of men, fills the mind with pride and vanity. This is because nothing is there. It's empty knowledge. We probably have all come across someone who says a whole lot of big words, but really says nothing at all.
These men Paul (the false teachers) is speaking of, have no truth in them. Just serving their own selfish needs. Paul warns Timothy and us to have nothing to do with them. Don't allow them into the ministry. Don't let them preach. Avoid all conversation with them. Sounds harsh, but think of all who can be lead astray from their teachings. How many are doing that today?!
Contentment in Godliness
1 Timothy 6: 6-10
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many
Godliness is: 'believing in God and in the importance of living a moral life'. That being; with faith, hope, love, and a fear of God that shows in outward worship, and conversation. This is great gain.
It's the contentment and the possession of the true, solid, satisfying, durable, and unsearchable riches of grace. That I think would be better than all the wealth in the world.
This brings us directly to verse 7. We came into the world naked and with nothing. Even the richest mother-to-be has to bring her baby into the world just like everyone else. Naked.
There's that old saying ' born with a silver spoon in their mouth'. This was generally said of children born into aristocratic families in England. But it first in print in 1801. But just like it says in Job :1:21 “And said, naked I came out of my mothers womb, and naked I shall return thither: The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away; Blessed be the name of the Lord”. Ecclesiastes 5:15 also says,
Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.
Reminds me of how the Egyptians pharaohs used to do things. Putting all there wealth and goods into the tombs when they died so it would be there in the next life. Where's that wealth now? In other peoples hands. You can't take it with you.
As for this life we live now, God wants us to be content with what He gave us. He ALWAYS will provide us with enough to eat. Clothes to wear, and a place over our heads. I think this world unfortunately has a given people the since that more is better. Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus”. That's pretty awesome.
We come back again to the rich in verse 9. Being rich isn't the problem Paul is talking about. There are people who are rich who are able to be content with what they have. But others who are rich and want more riches. Donald Trump is someone who will never be satisfied with what he has. Actors, Musicians, and athlete fall snare to the higher dollar amount. And it leads them right into destruction. What does it say in verse 10 again? “ For the love of money is the root of all evil:
The key word here is 'the LOVE of money'. Money itself isn't the root of evil. It's the 'love' of it. If someone loves money that much, this is a form of idolatry. Idolatry which means: immoderate attachment or devotion to something. The Bible has much to say about idolatry. As a matter of fact, there are about 100 verses about idolatry. The first is in Exodus 20:3-4 that gives us the law from the ten commandments.
Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
This verse sums it up the best.
Fight the Good Fight
1 Timothy 6: 11-16
But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, thereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
In the verse 11, where Paul calls Timothy 'O man of God, I wanted to see who else was considered a 'man of God' in the Bible. I found 5 men who were called 'man of God'. One was Moses: Deuteronomy 33:1
Samuel: 1 Samuel 9:6,7,8, & 10
David: 2 Chronicles 8:14
Elijah: 1 Kings 17:17
and Elisha: 2 Kings 5:8
I know there were many men of the Bible who were 'men of God', these here were the ones I found and now we add Timothy. An awesome blessing.
To continue though, Paul is reminding him that as a minister to flee from the lure of money. Follow righteousness and Godliness. Have patience through the trails and afflictions. And have meekness to bear up under adversaries.
Paul wants Timothy to Live the gospel, expose the hypocrites, and build up the Church. Timothy, as we are as well, are in a battle to fortify ourselves where our honor, our life, and our soul are at stake. We are striving for the prize God has for us; the crown of eternal life.
I was able to glean that this verse with the word; 'charge' is used as a means for Timothy that he has a duty before the God who created all. To not entangle himself with earthly things. To live for God. For the Christ Jesus, who confessed before Pontius Pilate.
I did some searching on the time line here, since Paul makes reference to Jesus' being before Pontius Pilate. I found that Paul would have been about 24 years old during this time and Timothy around 16. Paul may have been in Jerusalem when Jesus went before Pilate and was crucified. But, as we know, he didn't come to know Jesus till they met on the road to Damascus. (Acts 9:1-19)
And Paul makes mention about keeping God's commandment. Making God the center of our life's. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 
And to keep this commandment till His return. Which only God knows of. It's in His perfect timing.

A Charge to the Rich
1 Timothy 6:17-19
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. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

Just like we read in 1Timothy 6:9-10, Paul is again emphasizing the folly of obtaining riches. Now he goes further into his lesson about not being high-minded. The wealth they have adds nothing to your inner worth. These riches can be fleeting. I think of those who bye lottery tickets. If someone wins, are they very happy? If they are, for how long? And how long does the wealth last? Most are usually broke within a couple years. Only God can give us the comforts of life needed. And the things we need. He gives to us liberally. Man divides it badly. 
He asks that the rich who have the wealth, for them to do good with it. To help out their brothers who are in need. And willing to communicate. Or as one of my Bibles says; sociable. Bring them together into fellowship.
And we should be storing up treasure in heaven. Nothing we have is going with us. Gold is already used to paved the streets. It says in Matthew 6:19-21
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Final Guidance
1 Timothy 6:20-21

O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babbling, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. 

Paul gave wrote this book to Timothy, and placed it with his trust. He was to be mindful of the secular words being said. The vain chatter of others. And oppositions of false science. In other words; The theory of Evolution. Paul says; stay away from them!
Some of the ministers out there were misusing the knowledge. Were in fact in opposition of the gospel. Paul asks that grace be with him. And ends with an Amen. Just like a prayer. A great way to end.

In conclusion, In this first book of Timothy, Paul shepherds Timothy as a young pastor. The authority that was given to him by God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ. Speaking also of the seriousness of the ministry. Allowing no fables, or genealogies to be heeded to. To have a pure heart, and faith. Praying for all men, even those in authority. We were taught the mysteries of Godliness. That He was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, preached to the gentiles, and was received up in glory. Paul also gives Timothy instruction for church leadership. And he teaches Timothy about relationships within the church. And the helping of widows. And lastly, we learned that slaves needed to show honor and respect to whatever master they had. Riches and wealth are fleeting, and that we should be fighting the good fight of faith, and looking towards eternal life.

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