1 Timothy

1 Timothy 6

 

Heigh-ho

  •   1 All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2 Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves.

In our culture today many look at their work as evil but necessary.  There is not a high value place on work.  Most Americans do not like their jobs, for them the dreaded Monday mornings come way too quickly.  We see work as a means to an end - it provides me with the money to finance my real life - the pursuit of comfort, pleasure and material possessions.  "Thank God it's Friday" and "I owe, I owe, so off to work I go" are the sad slogans of our lives. 

Paul is having none of this attitude as he speaks to Timothy on how Tim should be teaching the Christ-followers under his care.  Work needs to be worship.  Work is to be done unto the Lord in a way that brings honor and glory to Him.  From the beginning God was the One who created work - instructing Adam to take care of the garden.  Work is not a curse...it is part of God's plan and purpose for mankind.

Whether our bosses are the best in the world or the biggest jerks, our responsibility as children of God is to worship while we work and in so doing honor our Father in heaven.  It provides a living testimony to everyone around us.  We become a light in the darkness.  As Christ-followers we should be showing those at our jobs what a life transformed by Christ looks like. Paul is not condoning slavery here but he insists that even slaves are to do their best to glorify God by faithfully fulfilling their duties.

How is your work ethic?  Does it glorify God?  
What is your theology of work?  Do you recognize that it is worship? 


1 Timothy 6

1 Timothy 6:3 (ETRV) Some people will teach what is false and will not agree with the true teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ. They will not accept the teaching that produces a life of devotion to God.

I understand that I am about to go down a rabbit trail because the bigger understanding of the passage is Paul exhorting Timothy about how to recognize and handle false teachers.  He talks about the dangers of chasing riches instead of Christ.  Yet as I was reading I was struck by this particular translation of verse 3.  The goal of every disciple is that we should live a life of devotion to God.
In Acts when the people repented and believed in Jesus, Peter and the disciples put them into training for righteousness.  They asked them to "devote themselves" to the apostles teaching, to fellowship, to breaking of bread and to prayer.  Those things produced a life of devotion to God.  A life where they went from hearing to understanding to living it out and then walking it out in the world around them.  This led to more people being added to the family of God.

Are we living a life of devotion to God?

You say I don't know how to!  That's okay because that is why God put you in a church family - to help you get to a life of devotion to Him.  You are to allow the spiritual leaders to teach you the truths of the Bible, you are to let God's family help you as you put these truths into practice in your life and then you should be living out these truths in a way that points others to Christ. 
Another way we can say it is that a life of devotion to God involves reaching UP to God, IN towards God's family and OUT towards the world.  We are to seek God and choose to give Him our whole lives.  We are to meet regularly with God's people and serve together as we on a mission of making disciples.  We need to serve the world around us giving of our time and resources in order to gain the opportunity to share the good news with them.

1 Timothy 5

The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor

It is November and the month we have set aside for thanksgiving and honor.  What better way to start the month than to give honor to those who are the elders of the church.  The word elder here refers to those who had been chosen to serve the church in spiritual leadership.  There were different roles of elders, as Paul points out those who preach and teach, but there were others who were leading in different roles as well.  In our church we refer to elders as the pastors and the elders and this morning I want to give honor to these men.

Pastor Warren is such a gentle and wise man of God whose life exemplifies what it means to love and serve God with all of his heart. 

Pastor Gary Parker is an elder whose wisdom and passion in teaching the Word of God is evident to all.  We have all been blessed by it.

Pastor Levi lives out what it means to be passionate about God and about seeking Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.

Frank Alfonso has faithfully served as a spiritual leader in the church for many years, through good and hard times.  His commitment to this church family is without question.

Moses Gaddi has demonstrated what it means to be a leader by being a servant.  He may be quiet but his spiritual leadership is evident to all who know him.

Ulises Orozco is another elder who exemplifies that being great in God’s kingdom means we must be the servant of all.  His willingness to challenge and encourage others is a blessing to this church family.

To our elders, I want to honor you and thank you for your faithfulness and service to our church family.  I certainly appreciate and love you all.


1 Timothy 4

Paul has been admonishing Timothy in how to live as a spiritual leader.
In this final chapter he continues to give advice but moves to a more personal piece of advice.  "Timothy," he says, "train yourself in godliness so that you can be an effective spiritual leader."

Paul tells Timothy that spiritual growth is not automatic - he must go into training to grow.
Spiritual maturity does not correspond with age.  Some people have been Christians for 20 years and are still spiritually immature while others have been Christians for a few years and are very mature. 
Maturity shows itself in the outward actions like our speech, our conduct, our love, faith and purity.
Everyone should be able to attest to our spiritual maturity.
Spiritual maturity is personal in that we must choose to pursue it, but then spiritual maturity is relational as it happens in the context of fellowship where those around us can help us grow and can see our progress.

Are you maturing?  Can others see your progress? 
Where are you in the spiritual maturity scale? Infant, child, young adult or parent? 
How can you get to the next stage of discipleship?

1 Timothy 3

  • 1 Timothy 3:15 (NIV)  if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.
Paul in instructing Timothy gives us three pictures of the church and in so doing gives us an idea of how then we must act as the church.

Paul calls the church the household of God.
When we believe in Jesus as Savior we are immediately born into the family of God.  The family of all believers and we are placed in a local family of believers.  The local family is led by shepherds (pastors) and is for the purpose of nourishing believers, disciplining them, encouraging them and training them in righteousness so that they can accomplish the mission and purposes of God. 

Paul says that the household of God is the church of the living God. 
The word for church is ekklesia which means assembly.  So the church has the understanding of assembling together of those who belong to the family and household of Christ.  What is the assembly for?  Fellowship, accountability, encouraging one another and spurring one another on towards love and good deeds; to name a few. 

The pillar and ground of the truth.
We are a pillar of truth in that we hold up the truth of God, displaying it in our lives so that all can see it.  The ground or foundation of truth is the understanding of protecting the truth and making sure it is firmly established.

We are to establish (speak out) and hold up (live it out) truth.  What truth?  Jesus.  God in the flesh.  Sinless sacrifice so that we can be redeemed from sin.  Jesus, ascended to the Father and coming back again for His church.

Are you being the church or are you doing your own thing and calling it Christ following? 
Paul tells us that there is a proper way to function as the church.  Are we choosing to be fed, disciplined, encouraged and trained by the spiritual leaders in the church by submitting ourselves to their care?
Are we choosing to assemble together with the rest of believers for fellowship, accountability, encouragement, etc?
Are we living and speaking out THE TRUTH to a world who is looking for the real thing?

Are we disciples?

1 Timothy 2

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

Calling men to be spiritual leaders!
As Paul continues to instruct Timothy in leading the church he speaks about the roles of men and women in the church.  It is easy to focus on the role of the women because it seems so out of line with what we practice today, but I really think that what we practice today is the result of the men in the church not taking the lead and so by default women have stepped into the roles.

Paul states that prayer in the church is important.  Prayer for leaders and all who are in authority, and prayer for all men - saved and unsaved, good people and bad people.  He goes on to say that men should be the ones leading the charge in praying.  Men, rise up and take your spiritual leadership role!  The man's role does not make him superior, it is a role that God has entrusted him to and too many men have relinquished that role.  We must get back to being the spiritual leaders, and one such way we lead is by being present, front and center in the assembly to pray.

Then Paul gives three essentials to effective prayer.
Lifting holy hands - my thoughts are that it refers less to a physical posture and more symbolic of a life that is blameless before God.  The understanding of clean hands - pursuing holiness and purity in our life with Christ. So when we come to pray we must make sure that that our lives are clean before God.  We prepare to pray by asking God to create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us.  We ask Him to point out areas of disobedience that need to be taken care of, so that when we come with our intercessions, petitions, entreaties and prayers we will have holy hands.

Without wrath - is the understanding of being in right relationship with one another.  Having no anger or unforgiveness towards those in the family of God.

Without dissension - When we are angry with people in the family of God it usually leads to arguments, backbiting, gossip and disunity.  We are not to draw lines in the sand and create disunity in the family of God.

Kind of interesting that we see the marks of a disciple showing up in this.  As you pray for those who are unbelievers (Reaching OUT) you are only effective as you pursue holiness (Reaching UP) and unity in the fellowship (Reaching IN).


1 Timothy 1

As I usually do when I read a book of the Bible I will take some time to read the background of the book.  Who wrote and why did he write it?  What issues or problems are they specifically addressing?  This helps me to get a better idea of what is really being said so that I can glean the principles that can be applied to my life today.

Paul is writing to Timothy.  This is a different letter than the letters he wrote to the Ephesians, Corinthians, Galatians, etc.  In those, he is writing to correct, rebuke and teach.  It is written to new believers who are still being grounded in their faith and beliefs.  The letter to Timothy is different.  It is a father writing to a son to give him advice.  Paul has spent many years with Timothy so we can assume that Timothy is more mature and versed in the basics of the faith, instead Paul speaks more to Timothy as a leader of the church - one whose responsibility is to make and mature disciples. 

It got me to thinking about making disciples.  It is the role of the church and every maturing believer to make more disciples.  EVERY believer is a disciple maker and the role of the church leader is to help equip every believer to make disciples.  So the question is what then is the definition of a disciple?

I would say that a disciple of Christ is a disciplined student of Jesus.  One who makes it his/her priority to learn about the nature, ways and commands of Jesus and then conscientiously follows the Master.  In a very simplistic way I would say that every disciple of Christ is always reaching UP, IN and OUT. 
They are drawing near to God, pursuing Him to know Him and to become like Him. (UP) 
A disciple of Christ is committed to being a part of the family of God which is one of the primary avenues that God uses to make us in His image. (IN) 
And a disciple of Christ is committed to going into all the world and making more disciples. (OUT) 
Every disciple must be doing all three.

Of course I would say that there are varying stages of being a disciple (infant all to way to mature) and I would also say that there is a difference between being a follower of Christ, a believer in Christ and a disciple of Christ.  But that is another story for another day.

Question for you:  Are you a disciple?  Are you a balanced and maturing disciple?  Are you reaching UP, IN and OUT or are you stuck in, or neglecting one or more of those areas?

Day 10

1 Timothy 4:8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Paul, talking to Timothy about spiritual fitness, uses physical training as the example.  In the Greek life physical training was common as athletes trained in gymnasiums that were really the center of civic life.  Now Paul says that what is more important is spiritual fitness but he does not in any way say we should not do any physical training.  Physical training is temporary but spiritual training has eternal implications.  We should be spiritually fit but as we have been reading in the last couple of days, training the body, keeping fit and healthy is also a necessary part of being a Christ-follower.  Just remember that we must keep things in their right priority...spiritual fitness before physical fitness.

DRAWING NEAR TO GOD
Take a moment to meditate on God and who He is each day.  Here is an attribute to meditate on.  Write down what God would reveal to you about this.

God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) is Omniscient - (All-Knowing) - When God's all-knowing-ness is combined with His omnipotence, God is surely and completely Sovereign and Supreme; nothing happens in His creation by accident, by mistake, or outside of His knowledge and ultimate control; His way is always sure, always right and correct, always wise, and always dependable; even when things look like terrible accidents or mistakes to us, they are securely within the scope and bounds of His omniscience, omnipotence and love.

Ask yourself these questions...

(1) What does this attribute mean about us and our attitudes? 

(2) Where would we be if God/Christ did not have this attribute? 

(3) What is our proper and reasonable response to this attribute of God? 

(4) What things is the Holy Spirit revealing to us as we meditate on this attribute of God? 

(5) How can we relate this attribute of God to the righteous life, atoning death and life-giving resurrection of Jesus Christ?

 


1 Timothy 6

  1 All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered. 2 Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves.

In our culture today many look at their work as evil but necessary.  There is not a high value place on work.  Most Americans do not like their jobs, for them the dreaded Monday mornings come way too quickly.  We see work as a means to an end - it provides me with the money to finance my real life - the pursuit of comfort, pleasure and material possessions.  "Thank God it's Friday" and "I owe, I owe, so off to work I go" are the sad slogans of our lives. 

Paul is having none of this attitude as he speaks to Timothy on how Tim should be teaching the Christ-followers under his care.  Work needs to be worship.  Work is to be done unto the Lord in a way that brings honor and glory to Him.  From the beginning God was the One who created work - instructing Adam to take care of the garden.  Work is not a curse...it is part of God's plan and purpose for mankind.

Whether our bosses are the best in the world or the biggest jerks, our responsibility as children of God is to worship while we work and in so doing honor our Father in heaven.  It provides a living testimony to everyone around us.  We become a light in the darkness.  As Christ-followers we should be showing those at our jobs what a life transformed by Christ looks like. Paul is not condoning slavery here but he insists that even slaves are to do their best to glorify God by faithfully fulfilling their duties.

How is your work ethic?  Does it glorify God? 
What is your theology of work?  Do you recognize that it is worship? 

Let us really affect our world with the power of Christ as we work this week.


1 Timothy 5

1 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

The church is described in the New Testament by many metaphors and analogies.

  • A holy nation, (1 Peter 2:9) emphasizing that we are all citizens of heaven.
  • Revelation 5:10 calls the church a kingdom, reminding us that we must all bow and worship Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
  • And it goes on...a priesthood, a temple, a body, an assembly, a flock. 

The church has also been referred to as a family, and Paul has this thought in mind as he writes to Timothy. 
Family carries the understanding of intimacy, care, openness and love for one another (at least in functional families).  Love is truly the backbone of the church family.  We have come to think of love in the context of this gushy, give them everything they want, kind of mentality, but real love also shows itself in the confrontation of sin.  A family that loves one another understands that disobedience must be dealt with because true love cares that others enjoy the blessings of God that comes with obedience.

Paul loves the family and exhorts Timothy to show love through confrontation as a good leader of the spiritual family.  Members of the Ephesian family of believers...

  • Had abandoned truth and godliness (1:5-6). 
  • Some women were trying to take the spotlight by the way they were dressing (2:9-15). 
  • Some men wanted to be leaders without the proper qualifications (chaps 3 and 5). 
  • Some people were teaching false doctrines (4:1-5) and as we read today,
  • Some widows were living impure lives. 

There was some sin that needed confrontation - sin not dealt with destroys intimacy with God, just ask Adam and Eve.  A little sin in the family will affect the whole family and can spread like a disease.

It was part of Timothy’s role as a leader in the church to confront sin, so Paul gives him advice on how to confront in love and tenderness.  But keep in mind that just as Timothy was responsible to confront lovingly and without hesitation the person being confronted needed to accept the rebuke and choose to let the Holy Spirit go to work in them.  Too often when people are confronted they choose the get angry and walk away instead of letting God go to work in them drawing them to Him. 

Let us choose, as the family at DSC, to love deeply enough to confront lovingly and to also be open to rebuke, allowing God to use it to make us in His image and likeness.