2018-02-21 / Religion

The good fight of faith

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

1 Timothy 6:11-21

The blight of “political correctness” has touched many areas of life. Some writers have attempted to re-write holy scriptures to remove any words that are considered “offensive” in present-day society. This diabolical scheme might satisfy some self-centered readers, but the divine message to our lost human race has been greatly twisted, or even lost.

The Holy Spirit is the author of the revealed word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21. Sinful man can tamper with divine revelation, but he does it to his own destruction. That fate is a very high price to pay for momentary personal satisfaction.

One of the popular teachings of our day indicates that if one has enough faith, life will be without difficulties. This distorted teaching opposes the teachings of our Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Our Lord declared to the Eleven, “In the world ye shall have tribulation (anything that burdens the spirit)…” John 16:33b. However, he gave assurance to these men, “but be of good cheer (courage); I have overcome the world.” John 16:33c.

The Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus, was stopped on his mission of destruction, as he came near the city of Damascus. Acts 9:1-18. This hater of the followers of Jesus Christ was completely changed at that time. During his lifetime, he became the most powerful preacher of this message of the gospel.

After Saul — known as Paul — became a faithful follower of the teachings of our Lord, he made three missionary journeys. On one of these journeys (Acts 16:1-4), he met a young man, Timothy, who became a student and close friend to the apostle. Over time, Timothy was assigned as pastor for the church at Ephesus. 1 Timothy 1:3.

Problems of doctrine developed in the Ephesian church, and other churches in that area. As a caring teacher, Paul wrote letters to the churches, attempting to remind them of correct doctrine. He, also, wrote letters to their pastor.

Timothy was younger than many members of his church. This fact seemed to have been a problem for some of the older members of the congregation. Paul instructed the young preacher, “Let no man (one) despise (to think down upon) thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation (manner of life), in charity (love), in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12.

The apostle saw our spiritual walk as a battle. In his letter to the church, he said, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:11. Acceptance of the military concept was not hard for these subjects of Rome to understand.

Many things — especially money were present to hinder the young preacher. Paul wrote, “But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness (controlled strength).” 1 Timothy 6:11.

Since the battle was spiritual — not physical — the instruction was for endurance. “Fight the good faith of faith, lay hold on (grasp with a purpose) eternal life…” 1 Timothy 6:12a. Many people use all of their energies to “grasp” for many things. One might ask, regarding these actions, “Are the rewards worth the effort?” He reminded Timothy of his divine call “(1) whereunto thou art also called, and (2) hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12b.

Thea teacher gave a “charge” to the student, using a divine example — “I give thee charge (command) in the sight of God who quickeneth (makes alive) all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession, That thou keep this commandment (1) without spot (spotless; unstained), (2) unrebukable (not open to censure)…” 1 Timothy 6:13, 14a, b. Paul gave Timothy a picture of the timeframe of the nature of his divine charge — “until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Timothy 6:14c.

There is no indication in scripture of the exact time of this “appearing” that was — and is — such an important part of the life of all true believers — “Which in his [proper set] times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords…” 1 Timothy 6:15.

There are those on earth who — by humans — are assigned the title, “potentate” or ruler. This human title is not lasting. When this term is applied Jesus Christ of Nazareth, he is the one “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see…” 1 Timothy 6:16a, b. The apostle gave the young preacher a word picture of the eternal nature of the one that he served — “to whom be honour and power everlasting (eternally). Amen (so be it).” 1 Timothy 6:16c.

In the church at Ephesus, there were people of all financial positions. Some of them saw their wealth as a sign of great blessings of God — they were correct. However, these people needed a warning. Timothy was to “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy…” 1 Timothy 6:17. The focus of all believers was/is to be on the kingdom of God — “That they [the rich, as all others] do good, that they may be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate…” 1 Timothy 6:18. There are eternal results for those who listen to the words of faithful ministers — “Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:19.

Paul gave the young preacher a personal challenge. “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding (1) profane and vain babblings, and (2) oppositions of science (knowledge) falsely so called…” 1 Timothy 6:20. For one who attempts to “blend” the teachings of the world order with the teachings of scripture, the result is never good — “Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.” 1 Timothy 6:21a. Remaining true to the teaching of grace produced the desired eternal result — “Grace to with thee. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:21b.

Each of us needs to examine our walk of faith. 1 Corinthians 11:28. With the Word of God as our standard, our personal assessment will be correct.

Rev. James C. Temples’ Sunday School Lesson has appeared in the Early County News each week since 1967. A native of Early County, Rev. Temples taught in public schools 32 years and 10 years at Southeastern College of Assemblies of God, in Lakeland, Fla. He also served as pastor and evangelist during those years. He can be contacted at P. O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478- 299- 2068. Email: temples_ james@ yahoo. c om

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