WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH
(True life is in GOD, not in the world)
(1 Timothy 6)
In the New Testament Greek, the word used for “godliness” is “eusebeia” (you-seb-i-ah), and it can only be found in the “pastoral letters” of the Apostle Paul, and, in 2 Peter. It is a term that describes “a reverent faith that expresses an awe of GOD”, that is coupled with “a desire to be obedient to GOD at all times”.
Here in First Timothy 6, after reminding Christian servants that they should always show respect for their superiors in the workplace (whether their superiors are believers or non-believers), and always work hard and put forth their best effort on the job (Vs.1-3), Paul moves on to give young pastor Timothy a final warning concerning the ever-present threat and reality of false doctrine, that had indeed, already infiltrated the newly founded Christian network of believers.
The Greeks of the first century, just as we are here in the twenty-first century, were fascinated by fancy speech from entertaining preachers and speakers. They loved to hear expertly trained motivational speakers, who, could deliver on a good topic, or word that could make them feel good about the sinful life that they were living, and not put pressure on them to change. And it was against this backdrop of selfishness that false teachers came preaching their own religious ideology to the Church in Ephesus, where Timothy was now residing as pastor.
The Christian Church, both wittingly and unwittingly, gave these savvy speakers a new forum in which they could work their magic charm, while, at one and the same time, making themselves rich and famous. They cared nothing about, and knew nothing or very little, about the sound doctrine of CHRIST JESUS that Paul had birthed the Church with. They were simply there to promote and glorify themselves, while under the guise of being “Holy men GOD”.
Paul warned Timothy that, anybody who taught anything different than what he had already been taught by him, was both, conceited, and, ignorant. Such people possess an unhealthy desire to argue over words that would lead to jealousy, slander, and evil suspicions. Their minds were corrupt, and they were only looking for power and prestige in the Christian Church. To them, religion is just another way to get rich, and, to increase their selfish evil influence.
Paul tells us in verse 6 that true religion with contentment is great wealth. We didn’t bring anything into this world, and it is a certainty that we can’t take anything of a material nature out of this world when we die. We have to allow ourselves to be content with having enough for our daily needs. This must be the attitude of the true Christian, as having any other mindset puts us at a greater risk of being tempted by satan into abandoning GOD’s plan. And if we move away from GOD’s plan, we can be sure that we will be pierced with many sorrows as a result (Vs.6-10).
The Christian who is willing to leave material things behind, in their pursuit of an experiential relationship with GOD, stands to gain far greater treasures than the earthly perishables that he or she has long become accustomed to valuing and desiring. When we choose to go the way of CHRIST JESUS, we obtain insurmountable spiritual gains, such as the following;
· We gain a personality that begins to exhibit GOD’s transforming works in our lives to others.
· We begin to share the mind of CHRIST in our thinking, as we are, more and more, attuned to the things of GOD.
· We gain a heart that beats more and more in sync with GOD’s OWN heart.
· We gain a will that shapes all of our choices, so that we may glorify GOD more, and glorify ourselves less.
· We store up spiritual gains that are waiting for us, when we are forced to part from this world of material lures, and the evil influences from the people of this world.
In verses 11-16, Paul urges young Timothy to shun, or, turn his back to the evil influences of the world because he belongs to GOD. People who truly belong to GOD are interested only in pursuing GODly lifestyles that include love, faith, perseverance, and gentleness. We have to “fight the good fight“, for what we believe in, and begin to defend the Gospel of CHRIST with our whole life. Then, at the right time, CHRIST will be revealed to us by GOD the FATHER, as being the KING of all kings, and, the LORD of all lords.
In verses 17-21, Paul closes this pastoral letter with a warning to the rich people of this world. Here he instructs Timothy to tell all who are rich, not to be proud, and not to trust in their wealth, which might soon enough be gone. The rich should instead, put their trust in the LIVING GOD, WHO, is richly willing to give to, even the poorest of men, everything that he daily needs.
The apostle goes on to say that, the rich should use their money to do good works, and to always show a willingness to give generously to those in need. That way, they will not only be “storing up treasures in Heaven”, but they will also be establishing a solid foundation for themselves and their children’s children, here on earth.
And finally, Paul urges Timothy to guard what GOD has entrusted to him, and to avoid GOD-less, foolish discussions with people who oppose the LORD with their so-called knowledge. For some people have actually wandered away from the faith, and instead, chose to follow their own foolishness, all the way to the grave.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander