75. I Timothy 6: “Keeping Your Testimony Fit”
Golden Nursing Center in Mannington, NJ –Evening Service on 1/21/2016
(edited May 2021)
There is physical therapy for the body and psychotherapy for the mind, but this is Spiritual Therapy that Paul is sharing with young Timothy. Therapy meant to keep the Christian Soul healthy and active and to keep a person’s Testimony for Christ bright and clear!
We’ve be saying, many times now in recent studies from the Book of I Timothy, that this young man had his hands full trying to lead the church at Ephesus. There were many spiritual battles breaking out all over the place and a little advice from the Apostle Paul at this time was needed and welcomed by Timothy. We should welcome Paul’s advice too, and be ready to apply it to our day and ourselves:
Verses 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.
Is this a reference to employment or slavery or both? If slavery, it was not necessarily the kidnapped and drug away type of slavery that is sadly found in our US history. Some people, 2000 years ago here, in what we call the country of Turkey today, were servants who had sold themselves to pay off debts or been placed into temporary servitude. Others may have been coerced, forced, or born into slavery. Many regretted their circumstances, I’m sure. But Paul says to those of them who were Christians and to all of us today who believe in Christ but are financially obligated to others to be respectful of those we owe. Then and now, though it may not be an easy thing, nothing external or economic should be allowed ruin our testimony before the world, or to divide those of us who call on Christ.
Verses 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.”
Salvation brings Freedom to the soul, but some at Ephesus were teaching that you could just walk away from all your responsibilities in this life because of your new spiritual freedom. Paul says, “No, don’t do it, that will ruin your testimony for the Lord.” Shirking legitimate responsibilities in this life will take us right back to the former lifestyle of sin and greed.
Verses 6-7: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”
If you know Christ as the Savior of your life that trumps all financial gain and every temporal pleasure. Can a believer be poor in money or lack friends? Sure, but we must remember that no matter what happens down here our souls continue to prosper with a wealth that cannot be taken away or fade. Paul’s not telling us to walk around with a fake smile plastered on our faces all the time when troubled.
It’s OK to weep, to hurt sometimes. Sometimes it’s all you can do is weep. But we need to stop looking to this world as the only way to measure our gains and losses. We need to take the time to look to the Lord and His Word for our true treasure!
Verses 8-9: “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.”
Physical gains are destined to become worthless. ALL of them are, and the process of attaining and maintaining them can sometimes be harmful to us along the way. Many older and wiser folks here can attest to that being true. Have you heard the stories of the many State Lottery winners whose lives were ultimately shattered by gaining that big jackpot? Listen to Paul:
Verse 10: “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 sorrows.”
If prosperity comes into your life, it’s not a sin in itself. You may even be able to use it to serve God. But don’t, Paul says, don’t fall in love with it! Better to never have wealth than to have that happen. Material wealth above all else is the wrong goal for a believer. There are far better things for us to seek after:
Verse 11: “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.”
There are two distinct directions you could travel in your life. They are opposites and you can’t peruse them both at the same time.
Verse 12: “ Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
“Timothy,” Paul says, “Don’t forget your testimony and spiritual birth. Covet eternal life, not this life!” Are you Born Again? And, if so, have you forgotten your testimony for the Lord? Do you need encouragement in these areas? Timothy still did. Paul tells him, “OK, let’s think about Christ’s own testimony when He was on the Earth and had HUGE problems to deal with:”
Verse 13: “ 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;”
If Jesus could maintain His spiritual focus, even at the point of a horrible and totally unjust death (see John 18:28-40), surely I can maintain my testimony in the course of my everyday life. With God’s help we all can. Paul continues:
Verses 14-16: “ 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.”
This is the outcome of Christ’s faithfulness to each of us. These are the true riches, to share in the eternal Glory of God. But can we be faithful to Him? YES, according to Paul we can, and here’s how:
Verses 17-18: “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;”
I need to hear this today. I think our county needs to hear it as well. Wealth is more than just money, much more. Your testimony for the Lord also means more than any fame and worldly accomplishments. Jesus knew that. That’s how He lived. And that is how all those who bear His name (Christians) MUST live.
Verse 19: “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
Science and knowledge, education, money…they all have their place. But that place is beneath the place that God should hold in the mind, and the heart of every true believer:
Verses 20-21: “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.”
It’s so easy for me to fall into error today. But with the Lord’s mercy and help I can, and I do, at least eventually, recover and get back to the right way of thinking and living. And I Praise God for that. Let’s pray.