Thursday, March 02, 2023

2023.03.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Timothy 6:11–16

Read 1 Timothy 6:11–16

Questions from the Scripture text: What does the apostle call Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:11? How must he respond to the things from 1 Timothy 6:3-10 (manmade doctrine, pride, contentiousness, and covetousness)? What six things should he pursue instead? How does 1 Timothy 6:12 first describe holding to the faith? Upon what is someone laying hold, if he fights the good fight of faith? How did Timothy come into this faith? What did he do with this faith once he had it? In whose presence? Before what two witnesses does the apostle now urge Timothy (1 Timothy 6:13)? What does God do, as the first Witness? What has Christ Jesus, the second Witness, done? What is Timothy to do with this multi-part commandment from 1 Timothy 6:11-12 (1 Timothy 6:14)? Until when—what will the Lord Jesus Christ do? When will He manifest this appearing (1 Timothy 6:15)? What three titles does verse 15 give Him? What does He have in Himself (1 Timothy 6:16)? In what does He dwell? Who sees Him (with respect to His divine nature)? Who even can see Him (with respect to His divine nature)? With what two things does verse 16 close by attributing to Christ in doxology?

What final commands does the apostle give to the young minister for himself? 1 Timothy 6:11–16 looks forward to the second reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these six verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that ministers (and other believers) need to be responding rightly to each of the various entities in their lives.

Flee sin. In 1 Timothy 6:3-10, we heard about the dangers of creative theology, conceitedness, contentiousness, and covetousness. The apostle tells Timothy, the young minister, not merely to resist such things but to flee them. Sin is not something to be trifled with. Yes, wherever it presents itself to us, we must reject and kill it. But, we are to live in such a way as to avoid even having it present itself to us. Avoid situations and people who present more opportunity to sin. Flee!

Follow the Spirit. Sin and godliness go in opposite directions. Fleeing from the one means pursuing the other. There’s no such thing as treading water in the Christian life. In order to not be going backward, we must be going forward. Specifically, the things that we follow are righteousness and godliness (two general terms), which is the fruit of the Spirit’s work in a Christian life. Half of the aspects of that fruit described in Galatians 5 are repeated here in 1 Timothy 6:11.

Fight for faith. “Flee” and “pursue” are action words, and now the apostle adds another: “faith.” Faith may depend upon the strength of another, but it is not passive. 1 Timothy 6:12 tells us that it is a “fight” to “lay hold on eternal life.” We were not called merely to be forgiven or to make a start in Christianity. 

When the Spirit worked in our hearts to call us to God in Christ, He was calling us to the end (eternal life) not just the beginning. And when we confess Christ as our Savior, we confess that He is our hope of perfected and eternal salvation in the future, not just a salvation that was accomplished in the past or has been applied to us in the present. 

The apostle reminds Timothy of these things. It is good for us to be reminded of what we have confessed about ourselves and about the Lord Jesus. Vows are useful to us in the way that they strengthen our obligation when our commitment is lagging.

Follow Christ. Christ also confessed the truth about Himself before Pilate (1 Timothy 6:13), and He was helped by that reminder to fulfill His mission at the cross. Both as our God and as the Captain of our salvation, He is the One Who would enable Timothy to fight for what he had confessed. And He is the One Who will do so for us as well. So, we follow Christ in depending upon Him.

We also follow Christ in obeying Him. “Keep the commandment without spot” says the apostle (1 Timothy 6:14). As an apostle of Christ, what he writes is not merely good counsel. He is writing holy Scripture. Just as we saw above in 1 Timothy 6:3, Paul knew that what he was writing were the very words of Jesus Christ by His Spirit. And Timothy knew that what the apostle wrote was a commandment of Christ.

Finally, we follow Christ by worshiping Him. We don’t obey Him the way that we obey creatures but the way that we obey the Creator. He is the immortal, unseen, unseeable One. And yet He is also the One Who died, the One Who appeared, and the One Who will appear again. So we don’t obey Him as a lesser magistrate, but as the Potentate, as the Sovereign. We don’t obey Him as a king but as the King of kings. We don’t obey Him as a lord, but as the Lord of Lords. We obey Him as God, offering our obedience as worship!

Flee sin. Follow the Spirit. Fight for your faith. Follow Christ. This is how the Christian life is lived, and this is how the Christian ministry was carried out. Whether or not you are called to the ministry of the gospel, if you are a believer, this is the charge for your life.

What are some situations or people that you should avoid in order to flee sin? For each of those what contrasting fruit of the Spirit should you be pursuing instead? How do you know that progressing in your faith won’t be easy? What will you have to do when it isn’t? How do your own vows help you? How does Christ’s identity help you?

Sample prayer:  Lord, we thank You that You confessed the good confession and followed through on the cross. Forgive us for how easily we tolerate sin instead of fleeing from it. Forgive us for being so passive about our faith instead of fighting to progress in it. Forgive us for obeying the Lord Jesus by half-measures, rather than wholeheartedly as our God. Help us by Your Spirit, we ask through Jesus’s life and in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

ARP110B “The Lord Has Spoken to My Lord” or TPH270 “At the Name of Jesus”

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