1 Timothy 6:3-21
Parents can love their children too much – or so they are sometimes tempted to think.
Here are some apostolic concerns, for Timothy, ‘my true son in the faith,’ (1:2).
1. A concern about belief
Cf. 1 Tim 1:3-11; 1 Tim 6:1 ,3,5,11,12,14,20,21.
We know that mere head-knowledge does not make a Christian. Indeed, it’s a menace. The devil is a better theologian than any of us, but still a devil.
I’d might even be willing to concede that Christian belief is less important than Christian behaviour. But I’m not sure we need to make that choice. Both are important. Paul’s letters: credenda/agenda.
We need to hear this today. ‘”Spirituality” is, of course, one of the buzz words of our time, and can be taken to mean almost anything. I was at a party recently and got talking to a woman who told me she had given up her childhood Roman Catholic faith and was now “constructing her own spirituality”, something that apparently involved having an affair with a married man.’
But Paul’s first concern is a concern about belief: that our belief should be in accord with ‘the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Let’s build on this foundation; all else is quicksand.
2. A concern about motivation
Interesting that in this letter Paul focuses more on the false teachers, than the false teaching.
Verse 4f. – they are motivated by a love of controversy, and a love of money.
Strange that these false teachers could think of the Christian religion as a way to get rich quick. Simon Magus – indulgences – TV evangelists.
See what Paul says about a Christian’s attitude to money and possessions.
- To Timothy, he says, ‘Flee from such unworthy motives,’ v11.
- To those who have little, he says, ‘Be content with the basic necessities of life,’ v8.
- To those who have much, he says, ‘Trust in God, not in money, and be prepared to share generously what you have,’ 17f.
- To us all, he gives a piece of simple spiritual arithmetic: ‘Godliness + contentment = great gain,’ v6.
To what extent does our motivation conform to this? To what extent are we driven by a desire for God, and the things of God?
The chief end of man.
Psa 73:25 ‘Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.’
3. A concern about perseverance
Having started hopefully, will you finish safely, vv 12-14?
This world affords no sight more tragic than a person who, having made a start in the Christian life, has given it up. The thought, if not the language, of such a person is, ‘I have tried the Christian faith, and I have found it to be folly.’ No person alive can bring more dishonour on Jesus Christ than the one who says, ‘Once I called him my Lord and my Saviour, but now he means nothing to me.’
One of the hardest things in the Christian life is to keep on keeping on. Some have wandered from the faith – 1 Tim 1 :19f; 1 Tim 6:21 .
How does Paul encourage Timothy? As he challenges Timothy to face the future, he urges him to remember the past.
- ‘Remember the public confession you made,’ v12.
- ‘Remember that you stand with Jesus Christ when you testify to your faith,’ v13.
- ‘Remember that Christ is coming again,’ v14.
- ‘Remember that your whole life is lived before God almighty,’ v15f.
No wonder the apostle ends this letter with the words, “Grace be with you.”