Study Notes

1Timothy 6:1-21

6:1-2 Masters And Slaves

At this time in history, there were tens of millions of slaves in the Roman Empire. Although it is difficult in our culture to imagine owning - or being owned by - another human being, it was such an accepted part of life that many wealthy Christians owned slaves and never gave it a second thought.

There were many people in Ephesus that had come to Christ that were slaves. Paul is telling Timothy how to address their situations. He tells them to honor their masters. If they were rebellious, then their owners would believe that this Christianity that the slave subscribed to was at best another worthless religion, and at worst teaching a doctrine of insurrection.

For us in the United States, this is merely academic, until we apply it to our own situations. Although we are not slaves, most of us are employed by another person. Ask yourself with all honesty, "Do I honor my boss, my manager, my supervisor? Have I given him or a her any reason to speak against Christianity?" Peter wrote,

1Pet. 2:12-15 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe {them,} glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.

There is another situation that some of us have found ourselves in, the situation that Paul addresses in verse two. That is having a boss that is a Christian. There are many Christian employees that have a wrong attitude about their Christian bosses. They do not show them the proper respect, because, "Hey, we're just brothers, aren't we?" They don't devote themselves to the proper diligence because, "It's no problem, my boss goes to my church." They don't honor their work commitment, thinking, "It's no big deal if I'm late - my boss has to forgive me."

It has grieved me so much to hear from Christian business owners and managers that they will no longer hire Christians because of their bad experiences in these areas.

In reality, we should be serving Christian bosses even greater than non-Christians.

6:3-5 Sound Words: Jesus' and Godliness

The Bible is full of warnings regarding sound doctrine.

Paul warned,

Gal. 1:8 But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

1Tim. 1:3 ...instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines,

1Tim. 4:1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

2Tim. 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but {wanting} to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires;

Jesus said to the Pharisees and scribes,

Mark 7:7-9 ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.' Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." He was also saying to them, "You nicely set aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.

Having sound doctrine is essential, but there is a lot of disagreement between churches, denominations, and Christians regarding it. How can we tell which is right and which is wrong? Truly, there are some issues that will never be resolved this side of heaven, but the majority of them can be determined just by putting them to this simple test: "Does it conform to the sound words of Jesus Christ? And does it conform to the doctrine of godliness?"

So many false doctrines are easily recognized as such if you just hold them up to the light of the Word of Jesus, the Scriptures, the whole counsel of God. And the ones that are still questionable can be extinguished by holding them up to godliness. Let me give you an example.

The Bible teaches clearly that we are saved by grace. That is God's unmerited favor. There was nothing that you did to earn it. You are saved because of what Christ did, your sins - past, present, and future - are all forgiven. You have been justified - it is just as if you'd never sinned.

Now, because the guilt of sin is done away with, some in the church teach that you can do whatever you want. They quote many Scriptures to back this up. They feel that they can keep on sinning because it is all paid for. But this does not conform to the doctrine of godliness!

When Paul taught that grace increased with sin, he also said,

Rom. 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

Yes, all your sins are forgiven. But that does not give you the right to continue on in sin. The doctrine that you hold to must be in accordance with godliness. If not, the Bible says you are conceited and understand nothing, having a depraved mind and deprived of the truth!

6:6-10 Gain And Contentment

While some people think that they can profit from teaching their doctrines, Paul points out that godliness is actually a means of great gain if it is accompanied by contentment.

But this great gain is not a financial gain. It is a gain in the quality of your life and happiness. There is no better lesson you can learn to increase your happiness than this: be content with what you have.

When you're not content, it leads to all kinds of evil. John the Baptist warned the Roman soldiers,

Luke 3:14 ..."Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse {anyone} falsely, and be content with your wages."

Why would contentment keep them from violence and false accusation? Because, as James said,

James 4:1-2 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? You lust and do not have; {so} you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; {so} you fight and quarrel.

Contentment is such a great gain for happiness in this life. Paul said,

Phil. 4:11-12 ...I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

Have you learned that secret yet? Your happiness will increase exponentially when you do.

If, however, you continue to love money, you are in danger of wandering away from the faith. This is what happened to Judas. When he saw Mary pour out a bottle of perfume that today would cost $30,000, he got angry. He demanded, "Why wasn't this sold so we could give the money to the poor?" Of course, he had been stealing from the money box, so he was really angry about all the money he'd been denied. He forsook Jesus at that point and went off to the chief priests in order to betray Him.

The prophet Samuel was a godly man that raised two sons to be priests, Yo-ALE and Ab-ee-YAW. They were men of godly character who ended up turning away from God. Why? The Scripture says that they...

1Sam. 8:3 ...turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice.

The love of money will corrupt an apostle, a priest, or a pastor. And it will corrupt any of us as well.

6:11-19 Flee And Pursue

Paul encourages Timothy to flee from the material desires of life and pursue spiritual things: righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. What are you chasing after today? A new car, a bigger house, more toys for the weekend? Or are you pursuing things that will affect you for all eternity: a righteous life, godly behavior, and a gentle spirit? Peter warned,

2Pet. 3:10-11 ...The day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness

When this world burns, all of our toys, cars, and houses will burn with it. Only what you carry in your character will survive.

6:20-21 Guard

A final word of exhortation to young Pastor Timothy. Keep away from the pseudo-intellectual arguments of unbelievers, from small talk and time-wasting conversations. Focus on what really matters today.

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