Our passage for today is 1 Timothy 6:11-21
These are the last words of Paul in his letter to Timothy. And after giving quite a few instructions on various church matters he is now concluding his letter with some wise advice.
Before we look into the passage I must mention how impressed I am with this man and his wisdom and insight. I see a man who has truly understood the meaning of life as a follower of Jesus, a man who has his heart set on the right things, a man who is so deeply in love with Jesus and his teachings that he just cant keep it to himself but expresses it every time he talks to people and even when he is writing letters.
His words are truly an overflow of his heart, belief & love for Jesus. They are impressive and at the same time contagious. Instead of chasing hundred gurus or wise men of this world who claim to have the knowledge God & the spiritual world, if we can understand the heart of this simple yet godly man through his words in these letters we will truly be able to see God for who is he and live the life that will give true meaning and satisfaction as long as we live on this earth.
With these thoughts about the man who wrote the letter lets look at this piece of the passage and understand what he is trying to communicate and what we need to understand about true Christian living.
There are two foundational things I want all of us grab hold of which is also seen clearly through these initial verses before we get into the practical applications later on.
You see, If we are a follower of Jesus and want to learn what it means to live a Godly life then the first foundational statement we need to grab hold of as a Christian is that “Our Life is not meant to chase the world and the things in it”
In verse 11 Paul is saying “O man of God, flee from these things”, he is saying in connection to his previous statements in 1 Timothy 6:6-11.
Let me also support my argument with another verse from 1 John 2:15-17 which says
Do not love the world or the things in the world (which includes money and possessions Paul talks about in 1 Timothy 6:6-11). If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[a]—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
This verse has one clear commandment and three viable explanation. The commandment is “Do not love the world”
We live in a culture where we are taught by our parents, our teachers, our friends that the goal of life is to attain materials things & earthly possessions. A child is told that he needs to study well so that he can pass this school, get into a good college and complete his graduation so that he can get a good paying job that will help him save money so that he can get married, raise children, live a comfortable life and fulfill his responsibilities by leaving wealth and earthy possessions for his next generation.
The world is a crazy place where people are crazy after money and possessions.
If you want to know how crazy and world is then you should read the tweet by President Donald Trump 2 days back which revealed a secret money making trading tool that gaurentees 99.9% accuracy and he said in his tweet that anyone not using this is a dumb. People who do not chase the world and the wealth of this world is considered as dumb.
Beloved, It is a universal truth that people eventually end up suffering because they lead a worldly life in this material world. I’m quoting this from the Hindu vedas. The vedas assert that life is not meant to seek worldly wealth and possessions but for tapasya, which means devotion to God. Even though the teachings of the vedas lead people into a wrong understanding of God but the statement about people chasing after wealth and afflicting themselves with suffering has been a real problem from ages.
Here’s what the bible says in 1 John 2:15-17 The first explanation to why “Do not love the world” is because “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him”. The Love for the world pushes out love for the Father.
The second explanation in the same verses to why “Do not love the world” is because “the world and all that in it, the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life – is not from the Father”.
The third explanation to why “Do not love the world” is because “the world is passing away along with its desires”
And finally the verse ends with an encouragement saying “whoever does the will of God abides forever”
What does doing the will of God looks like?
It is a life that pursues God and Godly things. 1 Timothy 6:11 says it is the pursuit of righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness & gentleness.
Which leads us to my second foundational statement that is as a Christian “Our pursuit is a heavenly pursuit”. In verse 12 Paul says “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses”
I don’t know whether what I’m saying is too deep for you to understand. I cant think of any other easy way to explain this at the moment.
Here’s what I want to say – We will never ever discover true happiness and fulfillment if our pursuit is not a heavenly pursuit.
I hope thats a simple and easy statement to remember. My son Jairus was sitting next to me while I was writing that statement and suddenly stopped me to say Dad you know what I love that line you wrote. It is so true and I truly believe it with my heart.
In the next few verses from 1 Timothy 6:13-21 I believe Paul goes on to share three key things to keep in mind as we continue to pursue the things of God.
The first key is found in verse 14 where he says “Keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ”. What Paul is saying is that we should be careful and ensure that the commandments of Jesus is unstained and free from reproach by our act of consistent obedience to them.
The commandments of the one who is blessed and sovereign, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in the unapproachable light, whom no one has even seen or can see, to the one to whom belongs the honor and eternal dominion. Jesus Christ.
Our obedience to Jesus’ words is what shows whether we truly love him and that his words are Life changing. Merely calling ourselves as a follower of Jesus and living a completely ungodly lives stains the words of Jesus and makes people disapprove and show disappointment in their actions towards Christians.
Jesus himself said in John 14:23 “Anyone who loves me will obey my words”. Our obedience to Jesus is the proof that we truly love him, cherish him and treasure him above everything else of this world.
Have you noticed in fact when we end up failing to walk in obedience to Jesus’ words our hearts stops pursuing God and starts pursuing the things of the world. I’ve noticed that happening to me. There are times when I feel the peace of God rest in my heart, free from worry, free from fear. And then suddenly I end up disobeying God in some way and the peace suddenly vanishes and I end up worrying about the same things of the world that never bothered me before.
It shows that there is definitely a connection between pursuing god & godly things and keeping the commandments of Jesus.
“We pursue Godly things by keeping his commandments and keeping his commandments helps us pursue Godly things.”
The second key is found in verses 18-19 where Paul is saying “Store up treasures by doing good, by being rich in good works & by being generous and ready to share”. Even though these verses are addressed specifically to the rich people in this present age I believe they are equally applicable to every Christian who wants to enjoy life.
First and foremost we ought to treasure the Lord Jesus above everything else. When Jesus is our treasure, we will commit our resources—our money, our time, our talents—to His work in this world. Our motivation for what we do needs to be right. Jesus should be our motivation.
In verse 17 Paul is says “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.” verse 18-19 – They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
The reason this key is important is because Jesus says in Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”
It doesn’t mean that being rich is ungodly, but been rich to the extend where your heart is completely captured by the treasure you have accumulated for yourself is ungodly. Rather we should hold our possessions loosely and willing to generously share by doing good to others.
Doing good also means in a spiritual sense to be willing to do good to others by sharing the good news of Jesus every time when an opportunity comes your way.
Even when we live sacrificially for Jesus’ sake or serve Him by serving the body of Christ, we store up treasure in heaven. Even seemingly small acts of service do not go unnoticed by God.
“If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward” (Matthew 10:42).
Our pursuit of godliness should lead us to store treasures in heaven that neither moth nor rust can destroy. verse 19 say We need to lay it down as a good foundation for the future, so that you make take hold of that which is truly life.
The third statement in these passages that has a connection with our pursuit of God is verse 20 where Paul writes “Guard the deposit entrusted to you”.
The deposit Paul is talking about is the deposit of the Gospel truths, the teachings of and about Christ that needs to be guarded from irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called ‘knowledge“.
After so many years of being a Christian I am so glad that I am here today with the deposits of the right biblically doctrines which is in accordance to the Gospel. Thanks to my mentors and friends who’ve contributed to this growth.
Starting from a very legalistic church environment to a more liberal church culture where Gods grace was taken for granted mixed with the prosperity teachings.
When I look back and think of how God has led me through all of that to a place now where I’ve come to treasure the Gospel is such precious and I want to guard this with all my strength and life.
That is exactly what Paul is urging Timothy to do.
Our ongoing pursuit of heavenly things should include guarding the deposit of the Gospel truths entrusted to us by God through his servants.
The word ‘irreverent babble’ reminds of people who have so much to say that they don’t even think of whom that are speaking and what the outcome of that conversation will lead to. These kind of talks have always led people astray and sadly they call it ‘knowledge‘.
The saddest part is when people are swerved away from their belief and the gospel as Paul writes in verse 21.
Brothers & Sisters, these truths that you hear today has been entrusted to us by God as a good deposit and we need to guard it with our life. As parents, as elders, as teachers, as friends.
Our attempts to guard the Gospel reveals a heart that is constantly pursuing God and the things of God.
I hope this passage has given us a Godly perspective of what it means to Pursue God and that you will remember and remind yourself these truths.
God bless you.