Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 4 * BOOK 45
I Timothy 2:8 – 6:20 – Part 2
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all your kind letters and it just thrills our heart when we can read how the Lord is touching lives. Because we realize that we are just common ordinary cattle ranchers and yet the Lord has seen fit to use us.
We are starting this lesson with I Timothy chapter 6 verse 1 and a lot of you are going to say, “Why did you skip chapter 5?” Well, chapter 5 deals with a lot of things that were paramount in Paul’s day but are not that pertinent for us today, because it deals primarily with widows. I guess Iris and I got a glimpse of what this chapter is talking about when we were in Haiti. You have to realize that in these cultures where there is no welfare program, and no social security program, then the family is totally responsible for taking care of those who are unable to work. Those who can’t work or don’t have jobs or widows.
So the gentleman we went to minister with for that week or ten days had what he called, a Widow’s House. To be honest with you, most of you wouldn’t let your dog stay where those widows lived. It was pitiful and yet they were thrilled to death to at least have a roof over their heads, because they had no family. They had no one to take care of them and rather than just be out on the street, this pastor and his group brought them in and gave them just enough food, you might say, to exist.
It was pitiful and heartbreaking. Well, you see, that was the situation in Paul’s day. They had no safety net and when these people would end up with no family, they would be destitute. So, the Church had the responsibility to take care of these women who were left as legitimate widows. But, human nature being what it is, what was the danger? Somebody was going to milk the system. So there had to be some guidelines to prevent that and to make sure that widows who were genuinely, as he says, widows indeed, would be taken care of.
You can read this chapter, all of you, at your leisure, where again Paul just simply lays down some guidelines for Timothy as to how to handle these women who would need the help of the local Church. Now today, it’s not that paramount, because we have all these other safety nets, as we call them. Now, let’s just go in to I Timothy chapter 6 and I am also looking at trying to finish the pastoral letters in this book number 45, so that when we start with book 46 soon, I’ll be ready for the Book of Hebrews. A lot of folks are looking forward to that and I am as well.
I Timothy 6:1a
“Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour,…”
Here again, this is something that we have nothing to do with because slavery was part and parcel of the ancient world. As hard as it is to believe, Christianity did not abolish it as quickly as we think they should have. So, slavery was still part and parcel of their economy. But, again Paul admonishes masters as well as the servants to adhere to their Christian principles. So, he wrote, servants if you are under the yoke count your masters worthy of all honour:
I Timothy 6:1b-6:2a
“…that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are (what?) brethren;…”
Now, the perfect example is, of course, the little letter to Philemon. Because Philemon was a slave master and Onesimus was one of the slaves that had run away. We will probably touch on that in our next few lessons, but all of these various levels of society were still one in Christ. Now reading on in verse 2.
I Timothy 6:2b
“…but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.”
I have made comment about this before. Why did God sanction slavery in the first place? You want to remember, we are so programmed to our Western culture, that unless you are a student of history you are prone to not realize that all the way up through antiquity, the masses had no education. They had no technical prowess, or anything like that. So the only place they could function would be under the control of peers that were craftsmen and so forth. They couldn’t handle it on their own.
But, in everything that God ever introduced even though it was good, as He intended it, what did sinful men do with it? Well, they adulterated it. And, instead of masters being benevolent and taking care of their servants, what did they do? They took advantage of them and they abused them and they tortured them, and all these things. That is not God’s fault. That’s sinful men.
Had it worked as God intended it, you see, those uneducated masses would have had it far better under the control of those who had the where with all to read and write and transact business. So, always take those things into consideration and don’t just give it a blanket condemnation by thinking, why in the world did God every permit slavery? Had it been done the way God would have done it and had been done benevolently, it would have been not so bad. We are, of course, not used to it whatsoever, so we don’t see anything good in it. Now verse 3.
I Timothy 6:3
“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;”
I imagine when it comes to our relationship with our fellow human beings, if you were to go back to the words of the Lord Jesus, and in a nutshell, what one statement did Jesus give that would have taken care of all these abuses of mankind? Yes! The Golden Rule. Jesus spoke it. He said “the greatest of the commandments was love your neighbor as your self.” That’s what we call the Golden Rule. Do unto your neighbor as you would have him do unto us!
You see, if that were done, everything would go along fairly smooth. But, mankind doesn’t do it so Paul is thinking here that if they would listen to the words of the Lord Jesus and to the doctrine which was His according to godliness, then the human race wouldn’t have all of these problems.
He’s talking about someone who would teach otherwise. False teachers again. So, now he describes the false teachers, here in verse 4, and it’s quite a description. Do you realize how much of the New Testament denounces false teaching? The whole letter of Jude. The whole chapter of II Peter chapter 3, II Timothy chapter 3 all denounce false teaching. On top of that, it is sprinkled throughout all of Paul’s letters; Romans, Corinthians and all the rest of them. So a good portion of our New Testament is a denunciation of false teachings. We are supposed to be aware of it. Alright, here is another one, these false teachers are proud, as we see in verse 4.
I Timothy 6:4-5a
“He is proud, knowing nothing, (ring a bell?) but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railing, evil surmisings, 5. Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds,…”
I don’t get involved in politics and I don’t use this as a bully pulpit for politics, but my goodness can’t you see it in here? How they can twist and attack the truth and make it sound as though this is what’s good for the country? Well, it’s the way the human race has always been and Paul is warning us to not be taken in by these kinds of men.
I Timothy 6:5b
“… and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness;…” Boy, does that ring a bell? A sign of your spirituality is your checking account? That’s not God’s way, but it’s the way of the false teachers. Then:
I Timothy 6:5c
“…from such withdraw thyself.”
When people call and tell me about some of these things or what they may be hearing from their pulpit, I will be honest with you. Do you know what I tell them? I said, “Run! Run from it. Don’t even sit there and contemplate it when it is so far afield from the Word of God. Don’t try to rationalize that maybe it’s alright if you go back there. No, you run from it because that is what Paul tells us! He says, don’t be taken in by these false teachers.” Reading on, verse 6.
I Timothy 6:6
“But godliness (that which pertains to a true Christian experience) with contentment is great gain.”
Do you know what is part and parcel of our whole Western culture today? That you are never to be satisfied unless you can get more and more and more. The whole idea of Madison Avenue advertising, is to make us think that we just have to have “that.” I can’t live until I get “that.” But see, Paul teaches us the opposite. We are to be content with such as we have because that, if it is with godliness, is of great gain. Now, verse 7.
I Timothy 6:7
“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”
That’s true isn’t it? We brought nothing into this world, not even a suit of clothes. And it is a settled fact that we are going to take nothing out. Let’s remember that. All that we accumulate is going to be left behind.
I am always reminded of a gentleman when we were still farming in Iowa. He had an abstract office in the same office where my insurance man was located. I was in one day dealing with some insurance and we got to talking about some of the wealthy families in the community. This old fellow in the abstract office said, “You know, I have been in this business now for sixty some years. And, I know just about everybody for miles around. Do you know that I cannot name one family that settled their estate without a knock down, drag out fight?”
Quite a statement. And, you know, it’s so true. Very seldom can a family settle a large estate and have everybody on speaking terms when it is all done. Just think about it. This is what Paul is dealing with. Don’t get so hung up with wealth. There is nothing wrong with wealth. We know a lot of wealthy people. Iris and I stay with people, all the way from the top of the heap to the mundane. There is nothing wrong with wealth. But, it’s our attitude toward it. See? That’s what we are going to see a few verses later. Now verse 9.
I Timothy 6:9
“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, (or desire) which drown men in destruction and perdition.
We know some wealthy people that have beautiful families. They haven’t been usurped with what wealth can do. In fact, one family closer than you like to think, we have admonished their kids that we are so proud of them, that their Dad’s wealth hasn’t affected them. But you know, many times it does affect them.
Iris and I can just rehearse family after family who came into all kinds of wealth and their kids end up in the drug culture. They end up marrying the most ungodly people. And we often think, if they wouldn’t have had all that wealth, it probably wouldn’t have happened.
But, there is nothing wrong with wealth in itself. It’s how we handle it. Alright, then come on down to verse 10, the verse that everybody misquotes. “For money is the root of all evil.” No, that is not what it says. What does it say? The LOVE of money. There is a big difference. When money takes us over and it becomes our first love, yes, it is going to be the root of a lot of evil. Money in itself can be used to glorify God and to enhance God’s kingdom. But, it can so easily take someone the other direction.
I Timothy 6:10a
“For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted….”
Now why do you suppose the Spirit prompted Paul to use the word covet? Let’s go back to see what the Scripture says. Let’s go all the way back to Romans chapter 7 verse 7.
“What shall we say then? Is the law (the Ten Commandments) sin? (Is it wrong? Is it evil?) God forbid. Nay, I have not known sin, (in other words, that was the purpose of the Law, to define sin for what it really is.) but by the law: for I had not known lust, (here it is, what he is dealing with in Timothy – desire for earthly things) except the law had said, Thou shalt not (what?) covet.”
When we were teaching this chapter verse by verse, if you have a real good sharp memory, do you remember the statement that I made? Do you know that you cannot break a single commandment, unless you do what first? Lust. Now I won’t explain it in this lesson, but you think about it for the next 24 hours. What law of God can you break without lusting first? And, that is why I think he uses it back here in Timothy, this whole idea of coveting just opens up a can of worms.
When you begin to covet this, you covet that and covet, covet, covet! And, it just overwhelms people. They can’t control it. We are living in that kind of society today so, it is a constant admonition from Scriptures to look out, be careful. Now back to I Timothy chapter 6 verse 10.
I Timothy 6:10
“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.”
Not because of the wealth itself, but it was because of the love of it and they are coveting things whereby they could use their wealth. Now verse 11.
I Timothy 6:11
“But thou, O man of God, (what’s the admonition? Run! Run from these things) flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, (there’s those two out of the three again. Faith, hope and charity. See here’s two of them again.) patience, meekness”
Now verse 12. I don’t know if people even know what I’m talking about any more, but I will use the term “milk toast.” We are not be a “milk toast.” Well, what is milk toast.? It’s something that is just squishy. It just doesn’t have any substance. We are not to be that! We are not to just be milk toast! We are to have stamina.
And, the very first word of the next verse is what? Fight! You don’t fight if you are letting everybody walk on you. So we stand up and let the world know where we are. So, we are to:
I Timothy 6:12a
“Fight the good fight of faith,…”
That takes some doing! That is not something that comes to you sitting in your easy chair. To fight means that you are out there expending some energy and all that is within you. We are to do all of this for the sake of the Gospel.
“… lay hold on eternal life, (not the things of this world, but the things that are eternal) whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
In other words, Timothy having now known Paul for 20 or 22 years, had evidently never failed the apostle. There had been all kinds of opportunity. You want to remember that everywhere Paul went, he was a marked man. And if Paul was a marked man, who also was? The men with him! That is why he says in II Timothy that all have forsaken him, except Luke. Why? Because they feared for their life.
Paul was a marked man everywhere he went. It was not a bed of roses. So Timothy evidently held true, in spite of all of the pressures to have said that he didn’t want to be seen with this guy because I don’t want to end up in prison because I was with Paul. But, Paul never gives a word of condemnation about this young man Timothy. Now verse 13.
I Timothy 6:13a
“I give thee charge…”
That word “charge” again, is loaded. Do you know what that really means? Timothy, I am passing over all the responsibility that has been on my shoulders and I am giving it to you. Young man Timothy, that is how much I respect your faith. I give thee charge :
I Timothy 6;13b
“…in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;”
It is interesting, isn’t it, that very seldom does Paul repeat things that part and parcel are in the four gospels. Paul never alludes to Bethlehem as such. He never alludes to Christ’s time before Pilate and all of these things, but here is one where he does. Here is where he makes it known that he knew all about that which was written back there in the four gospels. And, so this Christ Jesus who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession:
I Timothy 6:14
“That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until (when) the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:”
Which again indicates, when did Paul think the Lord would come for the Church? For a long time he thought it was in his lifetime. Now, I think he is beginning to see that it may go a little beyond that but he certainly thought it would be in Timothy’s lifetime. Isn’t that something? He honestly thought that the Lord would be coming back in Timothy’s lifetime, if not in his own. Remember, that would have been very plausible. He is only 40 and in the next 30 years, Paul honestly thought that the Lord would return.
Alright, so he says maintain all of this until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now verse 15. Here we see Paul use some Sovereign titles for the Lord Jesus that he does not teach throughout all of his writings. But, nevertheless they are so appropriate in showing again who Christ really is.
I Timothy 6:15
“Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, (the Supreme supreme) the King of kings, (which you only see in one other place that I am aware of – Revelation 19) and Lord of lords:”
Paul puts that same title on Him. But, other than that, he never uses it. He is not the King of kings to the Church per se. He is the King of kings to the world in general and the end time setting up of the Kingdom. And, as Revelation puts it, he is Lord of lords. So he is in full accord with what John writes in the Book of Revelation. Now verse 16, again, a further description of who Christ really is!
I Timothy 6:16
“Who only (as the eternal Creator God) hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, (I will cover this in detail when we get to Hebrews chapter 1, this God that no man has seen. Then we say that I thought Christ was God and people saw Him. Well, we are going to explain that when we get to Hebrews.) nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.”
Oh, the pre-eternal, the future-eternal God of Glory epitomized in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. Now verse 17, again he comes back and says:
I Timothy 6:17a
“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches,…”
Now we all know that from the Depression of 29 and the 30’s that a lot of wealthy people lost it all. They jumped out of the 10th and 12th floor windows. But we can never trust the things of this world. We can trust:
I Timothy 6:17b
“…but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;”
Now, that doesn’t mean that we are going to have everything we would like to have, does it? But listen, we are going to have all we need. See that is why I maintain that God isn’t duty bound to give us everything we ask for. Don’t ever send me $100.00 with the idea you will get $1,000.00 back. I will never tell you that. Never. Because that is putting God in debt. That is putting God in a box, and I will never be a part of that. But I can tell you the promises that God will give unto you richly everything that you need for your daily life. Then he says:
I Timothy 6:18-20
“That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19. Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. 20. O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust,…”
Do you see the admonition, and the pleading?