Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Impossible Jobs

1 Timothy 6:1-10

I. Always Live and Teach the Truth

A. Even when life is entirely out of control, a believer can communicate truth through integrity; people study people they observe facing overwhelming adversity. “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.” (1 Timothy 6:1) “Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.” (1 Corinthians 7:21-22)

1. A small slave girl stolen from her home in the time of Elisha changed the world in part because her behavior made her believable to her captors; Naaman was prepared by a nameless girl to trust God. “Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper. And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.” (2 Kings 5:1-3)

2. The gospel faith of that nameless slave girl is the only variable in the story. “And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus [Elisha] the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.” (Luke 4:27)

B. Seize the opportunity Providence provides; it is both easy to complain and sinful to do so. “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.” (1 Timothy 6:2)

C. The gospel displays a reality superior to the presumptions of unredeemed people; teacup tyrants misunderstand how the world works. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26-29)

D. Stay out of God’s way; Christians are secret agents working enemy territory. “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:19) Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.” (Romans 12:17)

II. Always Teach Right Doctrine

A. Identify anyone in the believing community who differs from the faithful heritage. 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.” (1 Timothy 6:3) “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Romans 16:17-18)

B. People who depart the historic faith yield bad behavior; doctrine and behavior are related processes. “He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings.” (1 Timothy 6:4)

C. Heresy has a way of working back to money; bad doctrine often originates in unsanctified self-interest. Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. (1 Timothy 6:5) “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:17-20)

III. The Rewards Are Worth the Effort

A. Christian contentment is actually incredibly valuable. “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6) A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. (Psalm 37:16)

B. Be realistic—the treasures of this world are temporary. “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. (1 Timothy 6:7)

C. All believers really need from the world is enough resources to be faithful to God. “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (1 Timothy 6:8)

D. One wrong path leads to many more wrong paths; bad choices cultivate bad choices. “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.” (1 Timothy 6:9)

E. When self-interest becomes more important than faithfulness to God, only bad things follow. “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. (1 Timothy 6:10)

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