THE BOOK OF 2 TIMOTHY
Keeping Your Spiritual Act Together
1 Timothy 6:11-16 SCC 1/27/13
In contrast to the pursuit and acquisition of wealth, that is, wanting to get rich, due to the love of money, nobler attainments should be our aim. The world will always drift in the direction of temporal security and significance. The Word of God will always direct us toward the eternal and heavenly values. So, in the midst of the struggle of the flesh and with the wisdom of the world, we must do something drastic in order to counter this drift and maximize God’s view of significance. Paul is going to lay out a plan for Timothy to keep his spiritual act together while living out his life in the temporal world. That plan unfolds near the very end of the book with an emphatic message designed to keep our noses facing the correct direction. This involves two major directives. One negative and the other positive. One prescriptive and the other proactive.
KEEPING OUR SPIRITUAL ACT TOGETHER REQUIRES FLEEING FALSE TEACHING AND A LOVE FOR MONEY 11a
de ‘But’ brings a pointed contrast to what was previously said. "But flee from these things" Timothy is commanded (present active imperative, cf. 2 Tim. 2:22) to flee from the things discussed in vv. 3-10 (i.e., endless controversies and/or love of money). This is in contrast to the things he was to preach and teach (cf. v. 2b), which are listed in 5:1-6:2a. Christianity involves initial and continuing choices!
Flee: from these things
So we are not to negotiate false teaching, tolerate false teaching, or even compete with it. This is fleeing in a moral sense of avoiding or shunning. And this is commanded of us. This is one of those basic premises of the spiritual life to watch out for false teaching. Buy another potential landmine is greed dominated by a love for money. The love of money is basically the pursuit of security and independence. God wants us dependent and the world says you are independent. But God says to flee this. Don’t negotiate. Do not assume that you can have security apart from dependence upon God.
You man of God
In contrast to the ‘some’ longing for getting rich, the one spiritually directed will do just the opposite. Chasing after wealth and riches is not a characteristic of one spiritually focused. One who belongs to God wants to think like God and so will avoid and shun this tendency.
KEEPING OUR SPIRITUAL ACT TOGETHER REQUIRES PURSUING THE RIGHTEOUS LIFE 11b-16
There are a number of directives that demand positive energy from us that encompass our spiritual walk:
We must pursue it v 11
This means to go on the hunt. Instead of chasing after wealth, the man of God must chase after personal virtues of eternal value. Wealth is only of temporal value and cuts into what spiritually and eternally benefits us. What are these eternal virtues?
Righteousness: This is what makes our lives useful to God. We are on the same page he is in terms of our priorities, lifestyle, ambitions, perceptions, motives, and understanding. This results in a life characterized by right living in accordance with God’s kingdom. Pursue that!
Godliness: This is a major theme in 1 Timothy (2:2; 3:16; 4:7-8; 6:3; 6:5-6 and 6:11). Here it may have to do more with character than action like righteousness. In other words a devout follower of Christ is the basis of living a righteous life. So this goes deeper into what we are passionate about—being godly or Christlike.
Faith and love: Basic components and outcomes of one fleeing the wisdom of the world—temporal riches and wealth—for what has eternal and heavenly value—the wisdom of heaven. So much of our choices depends upon how much faith we have. When you face trials they are either become tests or temptations dependent on how much faith you have. The reason the disciples could not cast the demon out of the boy in Matt 17 was because they had little faith. The disease of the disciple is trusting God for some things some of the time. Jesus said if you have the faith of a mustard seed, one small but not little, you could move a mountain with it.
Patience and Gentleness: The fruit of the Spirit essentially.
We must fight for it v 12
Here we are commanded to fight (to strive or struggle in a contest) the good fight (a fight worthy of our very best effort) of faith (or the faith—possibly contending for the body of Christian truth possibly against the false teaching and teachers). So keeping our spiritual act together includes a good fight striving against false teaching and shunning the pursuit of wealth.
We must take hold of it v 12
It is the dimension of our eternal life that we are to have a good grip on while living in the temporal. It is our new life in Christ. We take hold of that reality now and it measures all of our decision-making. He mentions two aspects of this eternal life:
First, an eternal life to which you were called. So it is something God called us to while at the same time something we must lay hold of. Both Sovereignty and free will play a role.
Second, an eternal life you made the good confession of in the presence of many witnesses. This good confession may refer to his ordination (cf. 5:14; 2 Tim. 1:6), his public profession before the church (cf. Acts 16:1-2), or his baptism. Many people could verify Timothy’s faith and testimony
The idea is that while our eternal life is yet future in the sense that we are not there yet, we are to live as of we already are since this is our destiny to be with Christ.
Then, Paul gives a solemn charge to Timothy in v 13. Previous charges were given in 1:3; 4:11; and 5:7. The charge is based on the presence of God the Father and Christ Jesus. Their names are involved as witnesses to this charge. He further describes God as the one who gives life to all things. God is the origin and source of all life (cf. v. 16; 1:17; 2 Tim. 1:10). There is no life apart from Him. God is the only one who can give and sustain physical and eternal life. The Bible always says God is creator and never says it was by evolution. Christ Jesus is described as who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate. This could refer to Jesus' entire life of witness or specifically of His trials. Jesus never lost that confession throughout His ministry. He was true to it to the end. This is the third ‘good’ all emphasizing the quality of the subject—from Gods vantage point it is good.
We must keep it v 14
Now the final directive is to keep the commandment. So the charge is to keep most likely the entire body of sound teaching he has heard and believed and confessed Paul described throughout this letter. Keep your eye on that. First, he is to keep it without spot or stain. In other words keep it from contamination. Second, keep it irreproachable; no blame or shame. This is being said with one eye on those false teachers. The truth is the major concern of the apostle. Keeping our spiritual act together entails a pure truth not watered down, filtered through, or compromised. The Christian faith is the faith of the apostles written down for us in the New Testament. Don’t let it get diluted.
The Second Coming has always been a strong incentive to live the Christian life. Of course, there is to be a rapture of the church that precedes that coming but the second coming itself is a universal coming when the entire world will be brought under the rule of Christ. So look to that as the ultimate hope of mankind. Keep that in your sites and let it govern your life on earth.
Then we go into a doxology of praise to God our Father v 15-16. Let’s do some praising together:
1. The "He" describes God the Father's knowledge and control over the first and second comings of the Messiah including the exact timetable v 15. It seems Paul is aware Christ may not return in his lifetime.
2. This prayer is similar to 1:17 v 15. These descriptive phrases initially and contextually refer to God the Father:
o "blessed" (1:1)
o "only Sovereign" (1:17;)
3. ‘Immortality’ this seems to be the basic meaning of the OT title "YHWH," the ever-living, only-living One v 16. YHWH is the origin and source of life and there is no other! This is the name for God passed down through the line of Shem to Abe to Moses. God was designated YHWH (Jehovah).
4. ‘Dwells in unapproachable Light’ v 16. The rabbis called the "cloud of glory" the Shekinah, which is from the Hebrew term "to dwell"
5. ‘Whom no man has seen or could see’ v 16. In the OT God's holiness was so awesome that no sinful human could see God and live. In the NT believers have seen Him truly revealed in Jesus and will see Him personally one day.
6. The Son is the Father's instrument of creation, revelation, redemption, and judgment v 16. However, the eternal kingdom belongs to the Father through the Son
"Amen" This is a Hebrew idiom of affirmation.
1. Our spiritual lives include both fleeing and pursuing simultaneously. This means we are both under attack and on the offensive. This will be the case until we get to heaven. This is not heaven yet. We are never called to turn it into heaven, say, by eradicating aids or feeding the poor or having a Christian president. The real battle is a spiritual and moral one not a social and political one. It is a battle against sin. It is a battle for the truth.
2. You will never become spiritual mature without pursuing that. You do not get it hanging around the church or attending a Bible study. You must want it. You must pursue it. It will not come to you; you must go after it. If you do, you will have a good confession, like Timothy, and Jesus Christ.