As For You

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Please turn with me in your Bibles to 1 Timothy chapter six.

Opening: I came across another sad notice the other day as a professor in Christ, a beloved Pastor, took his own life. His name was Quinnzhahn Barnes (Selah Fellowship Temple, Houston, Texas), known to many as “Rodney Barnes”. He died from a self inflicted gunshot wound to his head. Rodney was 45 years old.

It is heartbreaking when someone takes their own life, and particularly heartbreaking when it is a Pastor or a leader in a local Church. In 2013 Pastor Teddy Parker, Jr (Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church, Macon, Georgia) was found in the driveway of his home with a self inflicted gunshot wound. When something like this happens, it causes every member of the Church effected to question their faith. This person led people to the Lord, spoke of faith weekly, and then kills themselves. It’s tragedy on a massive scale.

And not just when suicide strikes. I have known of Pastors and Church leaders found guilty of molesting children, or taking advantage of women in their flock. The latter is causing quite a stir among the Southern Baptists. I know of several Pastors who allowed themselves to be drawn into fistfights. Again, this causes all types of problems in the Church. At one Church I knew years ago the Youth Minister’s wife began a sexual affair with a well respected Deacon in the Church. It destroyed the Youth Minister’s effectiveness at that Church, and hurt the Church for years by scandal.

The possibility of these things occurring at any Church is very real. This is why the Apostle Paul addressed the young Pastor Timothy. Read with me:

1 Timothy 6:11-12 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 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.

But thou”, or literally “as for YOU”. If you are a Christian, there are standards that Jesus not only EXPECTS, but DEMANDS. We are not to follow darkness!

Christians are to walk in the light with Jesus by their sides. And yet from the beginning, too often professors of Christ are those who(se):

Faith becomes shipwrecked” (1 Timothy 1:19)
Departed from the faith” (1 Timothy 4:1)
Cast off their first faith” (1 Timothy 5:12)
Erred from the faith” (1 Timothy 6:10)
Are not standing the test concerning faith” (2 Timothy 3:8)

In our text today Paul gives four actions that every believer in Christ needs to commit to if they want a powerful, victorious faith in Christ:

1 Timothy 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things

#1: FLEE The Love Of The World

Do not play with the evils of this world. So many Christians today are becoming entrapped by Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, Instagram, Parler, et al), and are guilty of dragging the name of Christ through the mud. Jesus expects His followers to use …

1 Timothy 6:3 … wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness

Word Study: That which is translated wholesome is the Greek ὑγιαίνω hugiainō, [pronounced hoog-ee-ah’-ee-no], which means “HEALTHY or SOUND” words. Jesus spoke “healthy words”. He did not spend His time tearing people apart, but instead encouraged others to follow the way of life. We as believers are to run away from the word of the world and run toward the Word of God. What God has said is true, though all the world consider it a lie. God in His Word always knows what is best. God’s Word is timeless, and applicable to every generation – even ours! God’s standard for us is that we …

Ephesians 4:14-15 … henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into {Christ} in all things, which is the head, even Christ

The believer’s target is to hear the Word of God, to apply the Word of God, to feed our souls on the Word of God, until we develop a Christlike worldview.

Our target is to, as sons of God, to be like THE Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord. We are to flee the doctrines of man, and embrace the truths of Scripture.

We are to flee the love of money and prosperity. Some preachers today are so called “Prosperity Preachers”. They teach that – since God loves you – God wants you to be wealthy. This is patently untrue. False teachers are guilty of …

1 Timothy 6:5-10 {these are} supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 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. 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.

God does not want every Christian to be rich. In fact, very few Christians can handle being rich. Of the original 12 Disciples, which one fell miserably into sin? It was Judas Iscariot. The Bible says:

John 12:6 (ESV) {Judas Iscariot} was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.

Judas allowed his love of money to get between himself and the Lord Jesus Christ. Judas had all the benefits that the other eleven disciples had. And yet, loving money above all else, Jesus considered Judas “a devil” (John 6:70). In time, Judas would betray the Master to His death. Going to Jesus’ enemies, Judas asks:

Matthew 25:15 (ESV) “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.

The faith of Christ is not meant to be greedy, nor sneaky and conspiring. The faith of Christ is meant to be loving and caring, nurturing and sharing. We are called to “love one another, as Jesus loved us” (John 13:34; 15:12), not to betray one another. Poor Judas ended up hanging himself (Matthew 27:5). Peter said, “falling headlong {Judas} burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out” (ESV – Acts 1:18). What a horrible death!

Flee worldliness! As Joseph ran away when Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him (Genesis 39:12), run away from worldly thoughts and practices. Keep viewing your life through the lens of God’s Word.

#2: Follow The Lord Who Loves You

1 Timothy 6:11 .. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

We are to follow after “righteousness. Righteousness is what God has said is right, not what man has said is right. The Bible says:

Deuteronomy 6:25 And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the Lord our God, as he hath commanded us.

It is “the righteous God Who will judge our hearts and emotions” (Psalm 7:9). God knows what is right. From the beginning of our creation, humanity has tried to define what we think is right and wrong. It didn’t work in the Garden of Eden, and won’t work now.

God loves righteousness, and hated wickedness (Psalm 45:7), because of what sin does to people.

Psalm 50:6 … the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.

It is sin that is tearing families apart. It is sin that addicts people, and turns people into murderers and rapists. God calls His people to pursue righteousness. Not self righteousness, but God’s righteousness. If you want a great living example of righteousness, seek out and study the life of Christ. The Apostle said:

Philippians 3:8-10 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

We are called to live our lives “in Christ Jesus”, following His “way, truth, and life” (John 14:6).

We are to follow after “godliness. We are to imitate God.

Ephesians 5:1-4 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

We are called to walk in the light, as {God} is in the light, {and} have fellowship one with another” (1 John 1:7).

We are to follow after “faith”, not our feelings.

Our feelings cannot be trusted – but God can be trusted! I remember when I first learned to ride a bike. I had no training wheels, but had a daddy that ran behind me telling me to peddle and steer. I trusted that daddy wouldn’t let me fall, though I felt like there was no way that two wheels were going to hold me up. Then daddy let go – and I rode. I soared! Had I listened to my feelings, I would have never rode a bike, or learned to swim, or learned to weld and operate bindery equipment. The Bible says:

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

We are to follow after “love”.

Romans 13:8-10 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

When you love others as Christ commands, then you are doing the main thing. Jesus emphasized this when He said:

Matthew 22:37-40 … Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

We are to follow after “patience”.

Pastor Marshall Segal of Desiring God ministries writes:

Impatience is a dark and prevalent sin that we love to explain away. We were worn out. We were busy. We were distracted. The kids were being difficult. We were carrying too much at work. Our spouse was short or cold or harsh again. We didn’t sleep well last night. What excuses do you reach for when your patience runs low? … Impatience is a child of our pride and unbelief. It rises out of our frustration that we do not control what happens and when in our lives. ..”

God’s ways are not our ways. We love things quickly – but God, Who is eternal, only answers our prayers when the timing is right. The Stepbrother of Christ, James, writes:

James 1:2-4 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

If we will not be impatient as we go through the valleys, and wait upon the Lord, He will use our patient waiting to make us mature believers in Christ, entire, wanting nothing. Along with pursuing patience, we are to:

Follow after “meekness” (πραότης praotēs),
which is humility

When the valleys come, use them as an opportunity to humble yourselves before God, trusting in His provisions. We would do well to remember that Israel murmured and grumbled herself out of the blessings of the Promised Land. God says:

1 Peter 5:5 …. all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

We are not just to FLEE worldliness and FOLLOW our God, but we are to:

#3: Fight The Fight Of Faith

1 Timothy 6:12 … Fight the good fight of faith

The Apostle Paul taught that salvation is a “free gift” and a “gift by Grace”:

Romans 5:16-17 (ESV) … the free gift is not like the result of {Adam’s} sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.

Salvation is a free gift from God. It is free in the sense that you cannot earn it nor deserve it. But ..

Salvation, though free, comes with a cost.
Salvation is

Jesus laid His life down for you. When you receive Him as Lord and Savior, you lay your life down at His feet. Jesus takes our punishment, and we take Jesus’ Lordship. From the point of salvation we are NOT OUR OWN – we are BOUGHT WITH A PRICE” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 7:23). When you are saved, you are transferred from Satan’s kingdom of darkness, and into the kingdom of Christ” (Colossians 1:13).

But the devil doesn’t like this. The devil will do anything he can to draw you back into his kingdom. Faith is a fight! Faith is a race, a marathon, not a sprint. The Bible says:

Hebrews 12:1-2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Saving faith is often painful. Jesus said:

Luke 9:23 … If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

To take up his cross daily means to be willing, just as Jesus was, to stand up for God even though all the world mock you. The cross is not comfortable. The cross is harsh, painful to bear as Jesus did, heavy. It is much easier to drop the cross and meld into the crowd. But this is not what God has called us to do. We are to fight the devil. We are to cast the talking snake out of Eden. We are to stand should to shoulder with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, and stand firm on what God has said. Finally, believers are to:

#4: FIX Our Minds On Eternity

1 Timothy 6:11-12 But thou, O man of God … 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called

Word Study: The words lay hold is a long Greek word, ἐπιλαμβάνομαι epilambánomai, [pronounced ep-ee-lam-ban’-om-ahee]. It means “to take possession of, to seize upon and draw something to yourselves”. As believers in Christ we are to always fix our minds on Heaven, remembering that all we are currently experiencing is just temporary duty.

Illustrate: When I was in the Air Force, there were times I had to go TDY, or “On Temporary Duty Assignment”. I had to leave my wife and children, the Church and community I loved, and go to strange places to serve our nation. While on assignment in Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Egypt, and Germany I was a “stranger in a strange land”. Where I was was not my home. But I honored the nation that owned me. I did my duty, then returned home. The longest tour of duty I had was fourteen months in Korea. That is a long time to be away from your family and friends. The way I got through that tour was to daily fix my mind on my home. Every day I would pray for my wife and kids, and ask God to protect them and bless them. Every day I focused on getting to my final destination – home!

Christian, this world is not your home. Your home is with Jesus in Heaven. Right now you are on Temporary Duty Assignment for the Lord. Never forget that.

This world is not my home I’m just a-passing through
My treasures are laid up Somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me From heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home In this world anymore.
Oh Lord, you know I have no friend like you
If heaven’s not my home Then Lord what will I do?
The angels beckon me From heaven’s open door
And I can’t feel at home In this world anymore.

Do not be like the world – you are children of the Most High. As for you, live for Jesus! May God touch your hearts through His Word and His blessed Spirit. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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