Nurturing/ Teaching Courses
Choices of a Man/Woman of God
Text: 1 Timothy 6:11-16
Dr. Alex Tang
11 But you, man of God,
flee from all this,
and pursue righteousness,
12 Fight the good fight of the faith.
Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called
when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of
Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,
I charge you
14 to keep this command without spot or blame
until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—
God, the blessed and
only Ruler, the King of kings and
Lord of lords,
16 who alone is immortal and
who lives in unapproachable light,
whom no one has seen or can see.
To him be honor and might forever.
Spider- Man 2, the movie may prove to be the summer blockbuster of 2004. In a way, spider-man, conceived by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1961 is the antithesis of a hero. He is Peter Parker, a teenager who was bitten by a radioactive spider gain fantastic powers like ability to climb to walls, strong webbing's that shot out of his wrists, agility and strength of 10 men. Yet Spider-man/Peter Parker is driven by guilt and self-doubt. He blames himself for the death of his Uncle Ben because he failed to stop the robber who shot him. He wants to do the right thing, but is not always sure what that is. He is constantly forced to choose between helping others and helping himself. In Spider-man 2, Peter Parker is struggling to make a choice – to remain as spider-man and reject the love of his childhood sweetheart, Mary Jane because as spider-man, he will have many enemies and will put Mary Jane’s life in danger or to give up being spider-man and live life as a ‘normal’ man with the woman he loves. The movies poster shows spider-man/Peter Parker at the top of the city looking down and holding his mask. It was titled ‘choice’. Spider-man reminds me of the Christian life. Out of the blue, he was given superpowers when he was accidentally bitten by a radioactive spider-man. We too are given ‘super power’ when we are born again and receive the Holy Spirit. Like Peter Parker, we too have to make a choice- to live a new life in Christ who means we have to sacrifice some things or to live life as ‘normal’ not using the gifts God has bestowed on us.
In 1 Timothy is a personal letter from Paul to Timothy and is not meant to be read from the pulpit. The structure of the letter is such that it has Paul pointing out and explaining the problem with the church followed by Paul's instruction and encouragement to Timothy. (1:3-7; 4:1-5 cf 1:18-20; 4:6-16). In Chapter 6 Paul is following the same pattern. (6:1-10 cf 6:11-16). Paul is reminding Timothy of his choices: the choices all man and woman of God have to make. What are these choices?
2. Choices of a Man or Woman of God
2.1 Flee from temptations
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this (v.11a)
1 Cor 10:13
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
What temptations was Paul talking about? In the first part of this chapter, Paul talks about the false teachers who gain power, respect and riches from the Ephesian church. Paul talks about the temptation of not being contented. Of wanting more. And he uses the example of money. The root of all evils is the love of money.
So how is a man or woman of God responding to temptation? Flee from it. Run away. Don't try to stand and see how strong you are. Run, run away. As fast and as far as you can. That's a story about Mahatma Gandhi testing himself against sexual temptation by sleeping between two naked young ladies every night. Well, man of God; do not get into such a situation. Run, run away.
2.2 Pursue Christlikeness
and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. (v.11b.)
The virtues described are similar to the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 2:20) and those for the qualification of the elders. Note the descending order from the virtues that define our relationship with God to that of our relationship with man.
2.3 Fight the good fight
12 Fight the good fight of the faith. (v.12a)
2 Tim 4:7
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
The fight of the faith is our struggles in living a Christian life. Living a Christian life is not easy and is not meant to be easy. That is why Paul uses the word 'fight'. And in 2 Tim.4:7, Paul said that he has fought the fight and struggle to the end.
We fight against
q Our flesh (Phil. 3:3) 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh--
q Satan (Eph 6:12) 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
q The World (James 4:4) JAS 4:4 You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
q Other Christians (1 Corinthians 1:10-12) 1CO 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11 My brothers, some from Chloe's household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12 What I mean is this: One of you says, "I follow Paul"; another, "I follow Apollos"; another, "I follow Cephas"; still another, "I follow Christ."
2.4 Claim your inheritance
Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession (v.12b, 13a)
8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness,
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
There is a company slogan 'No Fear' and I see people walking around with this slogan on their tee shirts. Christian life should also be 'no fear'. We have eternal life and we are in the hands of the living God. What is there to be fearful about?
2.5 Complete obedience to the Truth: Make the right choices
I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen. (v.13b-16)
2 Tim 4:7b,8
I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
In the book, 'Spiritual Secret of Hudson Taylor' by his son, Howard Taylor, Hudson Taylor wrote in his journal, "Fruit bearing involves cross-bearing…We know how the Lord Jesus became fruitful- not by bearing His Cross merely, but by dying on it…There are not two Christs- an easygoing one for easygoing Christians, and a suffering toiling one for exception believers. There is only one Christ. Are you willing to abide in Him, and thus bear much fruit?"
Doxology 1 Tim. 6:15b-16 was Paul bursting into a hymn of the transcendent God. This is in parallel to 2 Tim. 6:15-16. Not only is it a hymn to the One God, it is also a reminder to Timothy against emperor worship, which was prevalent at that time.
3. Lessons for Us
It’s the choices we make that make us who we are
It’s what we run from that keep us pure.
It’s what we seek after that helps us to mature.
It’s the struggle of the faith that makes us grow.
It’s what we claimed that makes us fearless.
It’s Whom we worship that helps us to obey.
4. Closing Remarks
Paul is saying to Timothy, “With great power comes great responsibility”. You are to lead a young church, which had gone astray. People will be looking to you for direction. You will be their role model. You will be the reflection of ‘Christ’ to them. Make the right choices. Keep your spiritual life in good shape. Keep your spiritual life healthy. Be careful. Be aware.
5. Closing Hymn: Come, Thou Fount
Soli Deo Gloria
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