Tuesday, April 12, 2011

These teachings promote a godly life

1Tim. 6:3-11 NLT 
   3Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. 4 Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. 5 These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy. 
   6 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. 
   9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. 
   11 But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. 

Chapters 5 and 6 contain some very unusual teachings that seem culturally abrasive to our western politically correct culture traditions today. There are discussions about the church providing for widows, but only those widows who do not have believing children to care for them. There are words condemning believing children who refuse to care for their widow parents and force the burden on to the church (that was a neat trick of the Pharasees and Sadducees in Jesus' day.  There are words about Christians who are lazy and how the church should not be burdened with supporting them. But then the church should support the needy. There are words of caution about sins that we cover up and are not discovered until the end-- they lead to certain judgment and condemnation.

Then we move to chapter six and discuss proper conduct by Christians who are slaves. Slavery has, itself, become a sin in today's culture though some say we merely have a different form of it in our fiscal credit obligations. But that's another discussion.

In 6:3, Paul picks up the discussion reflecting back on the teaching themes of Chapter 5.Paul cautions Pastor Tim that there will be those who Contradict sound teaching from the Lord. He cautions that those who oppose them do so out of ignorance and even arrogance, seeking only to stir up controversies and trouble and appear to elevate themselves-- if only in their own eyes. He speaks of believers in the church. Notice he says in verse 5 that 'their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth" and now only use the faith community as access to wealth. To do this means they once embraced the truth but then turned again toward darkness.  Those clinging to a distance altar experience to save them, but who are not continuing in obedience do so at great risk according to this passage. The desirable alternative is Godliness (v 6) which is more valuable than wealth.

Paul warns us all that wealth is a dangerous element to the believer because it brings temptations and traps to stop trusting in God and trust, instead, in the wealth and its sources. Again we see the caution against turning away, in verses 9-10 where longing for money has caused people to have "wandered from the true faith. . ."

Your servant in Christ

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