1Timothy 6.1-10 from discontent to wolf

July 11, 2010 Series: 1 Timothy

Topic: New Testament Passage: 1 Timothy 6:1–6:10

1Timothy 6.1-10_from discontent to wolf

July 11, 2010

Sam Ford

 

READ - 1TIMOTHY 6.1-10

Honor & Dishonor

In chapter five, and into chapter six, Paul is concerned with upholding that which is HONORABLE and removing that which is DISHONORABLE in the church.  He spoke about what makes relationships between men and women, young and old, honorable, as well as how to honor widows in need.  Last week, we read how good pastors are to be honored, especially because they are to work hard to bring honor to Jesus through preaching/teaching, AND bad pastors are to be rebuked, not just because they mislead or hurt people.  They are to be disciplined called to repent because their bad leadership brings dishonor to the name of Jesus and His bride the church.

 

**[FIRST GOT MARRIED – You represent Us]** Similarly, anyone who confesses Jesus as Lord and Savior, everyone who is married to Jesus (as part of the bride), lives a commitment to uphold the honor of God, bringing fame, credit, and glory that is DUE His name. And how easily we forget that every moment, with every decision, we bring either honor or dishonor to God’s name by how we live—especially leaders who position themselves to be an example for others to follow.  I often wonder how different our lives might look if we lived believing that each thought, word, or deed was an act of worship, a moment of proclamation.  It’s not that we don’t worship—it’s that we are all addicted to the worshipping other gods.  AND most of us concern ourselves with the glory and worship of some form of the idol of ‘ME’.  What does ME want, what does ME need, what does ME deserve, what does ME not deserve, how should ME be served, what’s in it for ME, what about ME?  And because the god ‘ME’ doesn’t like sacrifice, because ME doesn’t value humility, because ME is always thinking about ME, everyone, even Jesus is a servant of ME.     

 

That is exactly what happened to the leadership at Ephesus, the leaders became MORE concerned with their own honor than God’s honor—with what worked versus what was right—they stopped following the Bible and they robbed God of His glory.  Honoring God demands that Jesus becomes and remains more important than anything else you might gain apart from Him.   Ascribing God honor not predicated on situation or circumstances—where you judge God’s honor—he is always worthy of honor. A true heart of worship is genuine CONTENTMENT where God has you, CONTENTMENT with what he has given you, and CONTENTMENT with the time he gives it.  Contentment is more than just joylessly making do, it is a true and fulfilling sense of satisfaction.  If satisfaction in Jesus alone is not pursued, discontentment can lead to unbelief—just like it did with the false teachers who Paul describes as making a SHIPWRECK of their FAITH.

 

V. 1-2 Masters & Slaves  Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled. 2 Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful on the ground that they are brothers; rather they must serve all the better since those who benefit by their good service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these things

 

Slavery to Unbelievers

So Paul begins this part of his letter by addressing the people in the church who would naturally experience discontentment with their situation as SLAVES.  This was a large population in Ephesus, probably a good portion of the church were slaves drawn by the truth of being “free in Jesus.”  It’s estimated that nearly half of the population of the Roman Empire was composed of slaves.  When we say slavery, our minds go into a very Western mindset.  Paul has already shared his opinion about ENSLAVERS in the first chapter, calling them sinful and lawless.  Slavery in the Roman world was a bit different that how it later developed in Europe and then America.  In the ancient world, slavery was not based on race except for what resulted from ethnic warfare.  Much of the slavery, in fact, resulted from economic necessity ranging from being a voluntary bond-servant, to working off debt, to sometimes being forced labor for punishment of a crime. And though many of the slaves lived as members of households and enjoyed significant levels of freedom, slavery was still slavery in that ONE human being owned another like property.  Paul addresses slaves who are, “UNDER THE YOKE” of oppression.  And he tells them to consider their masters worthy of honor, implying that they are tempted to do the opposite.  1Corinthians 7.20-24 20 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a slave when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.  And the motivation for working hard, even for the slave, is not to get a raise, freedom, a promotion, or some other personal benefit, rather, for two reasons: (1) God’s name is honored through the example and (2) that the teaching is protected

 

Slavery Today

Then, he addresses those with believing masters and has to remind them not to take advantage of their masters, but give them DOUBLE HONOR because they are believers who benefit from their work.  Now, by God’s grace, we don’t practice slavery in our day, many view their jobs as imprisonment and their bosses as taskmasters.  There are more people discontent with their job, whether that be as a mother or a plumber, and you have become overwhelming concerned with your own honor.  I’m not suggesting you work hard for the honor of your boss or business, for your kids or husband, but to uphold the sufficiency of Jesus—to proclaim that Jesus is enough even IF I don’t get the raise, promotion, even if my kids don’t obey every minute.  Colossians 3.23-25 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

 

Now Paul charges this young pastors to TEACH and URGE these things…so I charge you to believe this command!  BE CONTENT. WORK HEARTILY FOR THE LORD.  FORGET TEMPORAL REWARDS HERE, CONCERN YOURSELF WITH HIS REWARD.  Stop being governed by the honor you want for yourself and pursue bringing honor to God.  Where are you right now dishonoring him with an attitude of discontentment, where you believe I DESERVE __________________.  I fear that many of the Christian “workers”, today are the worst workers whether it be moms, dads, computer technicians or plumbers. Do you not realize that you are employed by the Lord?  Are you concerned about the sermon you are preaching about and to God?  

 

V. 3-5 Craving, Controversy, & Wolves  

In verse 3, Paul makes an interesting shift here, where he goes back to talking about FALSE TEACHERS.  I struggled with this passage this week because it feels somewhat disconnected at first.  But what he begins to do is to identify what is going on in the heart of the false teacher.  And what SHOULD BE scary for us all, is every false teacher’s journey away from God begins with DISCONTENTMENT.  It begins where you focus on how much you deserve, how much you’ve sacrificed, how under-appreciated you are, and making note of every way you’re dissatisfied with marriage, church, life, etc.  Then that attitude begins to direct your thoughts, decisions, conversations, and actions.  Eventually, you become a false teacher—someone who perpetuates the idea that something else outside of Jesus is what will make you and everyone else happy

 

Marks of a False Teacher

Now, it is hard to see the beginning of DISCONTENMENT in a false teacher, so we often see it after it is too late.  Like some kind of hidden disease deeply rooted, what we see are the sickly branches and problems that mark a full fledged false teacher. 

 

#1 Mark of False Teacher #1:  TEACHING (Disagree with Jesus & Godliness)

3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing.

A false teacher may actually say spiritual or biblical sounding things.  They problem is that WHAT they teach is in conflict with Jesus and the teaching that accords with godliness.  It’s noteworthy that Paul puts his own teaching on par with the words of Jesus.  In other words, you disobey what he commands, you disobey Jesus himself.  Those who have become overwhelmed with their own honor, either the leave the faith OR, worse, stay and twist bible verses to justify their sin. 

 

#2 Mark of False Teacher #2:  ATTITUDE (Craving for Controversy)

He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth  The second red flag to identify a false teacher is they have a craving for controversy.  The verb “craving” here literally means to “TO BE SICK”. A false teacher begins spend all kinds of energy on obscure passages, controversial questions, and disputes about words.  Quite frankly, I believe these are people who want to do NOTHING else but process without coming to conclusions.  Paul warns about these types of people in 2Timothy 3.1-7 “…Always learning and never able to arrive at the knowledge of truth.”  And Paul explains what this kind of person produces:

-          Envy – Coveting and resentment for what you don’t have but they do

-          Dissension – Disagreement with leadership who won’t do or treat you like you want

-          Evil Suspicions – Questioning the honesty of those who differ with them. 

-          Constant Friction Among People – hard to be around

 

#3 Mark of False Teacher #3:  MOTIVATION (Prosperity & Popularity)

imagining that godliness is a means of gain.

Finally, Paul gets to the heart of the matter explaining that the only reason they are a Christians is because they hope to gain something apart from God himself.  And people who hope to gain something miss the fact that the gospel has GIVEN them everything.  They are, at in their hearts, DISCONTENT. 

 

V. 6-8  Contentment & Godliness

In verse 6, Paul describes the problem with their pursuit—they are trying to gain in addition to Jesus. 6 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, 7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 8 But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

 

Great Gain

The pursuit of godliness is a means of gain when you are satisfied with what Jesus has and is giving you.  Our existence in this life is a journey FROM NAKEDNESS in the womb to NAKEDNESS in the grave.  We will take nothing with us and, whatever you leave behind, will have no meaning to you.  Paul says that GODLINESS is a means of gain WITH contentment.   Paul had charged Timothy in chapter 4 to train for godliness.  The goal of our training is to know God, to be more satisfied in him, to make getting any other things pale in comparison to getting God himself, and to know that AS YOU ARE WORKING HARD, God is giving you exactly what you need physically, emotionally, and spiritually. 

 

Food and Clothing

The economic situation of our nation will and is being used by God to encourage people to simplify their lives.  It has been said that, many of us know the “price of everything and the value of nothing.” Our lives are filled with luxuries that we have forgotten how to enjoy our necessities—like food and clothing—the things that Jesus says in Matthew 6, God will provide.  Matthew 6.33  33 But seek first thekingdom ofGod and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.    

 

V. 9-10 Discontentment & Ruin

Paul ends this passage with a warning for those who CHOSE to remain discontent.  In essence, their choice is to declare that Jesus is not enough, that I need ____________________.  He writes, 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

 

Being Rich

I believe that the only reason people desire to be RICH is because they believe it will make them content. All of our desires are born out of a need to feel CONTENTMENT.   The problem is when your discontentment leads you away from the gospel of Jesus toward unbelief.  It isn’t really unbelief, as much as it is belief in a functional savior that is NOT Jesus, and a false gospel that you hope will bring you meaning, joy, and purpose.  They come in many flavors – The gospel of money, the gospel of sex, the gospel of relationships, the gospel of career, the gospel of education, the gospel of __________ [enter something other than Jesus here].  

 

Paul is clear about where a discontent heart is a TEMPTATION, one that leads you into harmful desires and makes into a false teacher.  YOU HAVE STOPPED working to uphold the HONOR of God in every moment, that you might get whatever HONOR you feel you are entitled at this moment.  Inevitably, you make a shipwreck of your faith, plunging your life into the ROCKS, harming the ones you love who are on the same boat.  Verse 10 is one of the most misquoted verses in the Bible.  Money is not evil, but the LOVE OF MONEY leads of all kinds—as does anything else that become convinced is more satisfying than Jesus, anything that you believe, as Adam and Eve did, will make you happier apart from God.

 

Is Jesus enough?

Honoring God, living a life of contentment, demands that knowing Jesus, lifting Jesus up as all satisfying,  upholding the name of Jesus,  is belief.  Ask yourself, if Jesus is enough?  Take away _________...is Jesus still enough?  

  • Is it enough that Jesus loves you?
  • Is it enough that Jesus has given you what you need?
  • Is it enough that Jesus blesses you with riches?
  • Is it enough that Jesus freely gives you eternal life?
  • Is it enough that Jesus gives you strength?
  • Is it enough that Jesus brings peace?
  • Is it enough that Jesus was shamed for you?
  • Is it enough that Jesus died in your place?
  • Is it enough that Jesus rose again to give you new life?
  • Is it enough that Jesus mediates for your sin every day?
  • Is it enough that Jesus is going to return again?
  • If you don’t get what you want or think you need, if _______________ gets taken away, if you never obtain _____________, if things get worse not better, is Jesus still enough?

 

Benediction  Philippians 4.4-13 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.