All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered.
These same principles apply to our occupations today. When we work hard and honor our employers, it glorifies God. But when we are bad workers and disrespectful to our supervisors, it brings shame on the name of Jesus Christ.
–David Guzik (and following notes)
2 Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves.
False Teachers and the Love of Money
These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3 If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4 they are conceited and understand nothing.
There are different ways that people do not consent to the truth of God’s Word.
· Some deny God’s Word.
· Some ignore God’s Word.
· Some explain away God’s Word.
· Some twist God’s Word using it as a toy to be played with in debate and disputes.
One can be surrounded by God’s truth; one can even memorize the Bible, and not have it effect the life for eternity. Curiosity or interest in God’s Word without submission to it is a grave danger.
They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5 and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
Very commonly, Christianity is presented today on the basis of what you will gain by following Jesus: personal success and happiness, a stronger family, a more secure life. These things may be true to some degree, but we must never market the gospel as a product that will fix every life problem.
When the gospel is marketed this way, it makes for followers of Jesus who are completely unprepared for tough times. After all, if the “Jesus product” isn’t working, why not try another brand? Also, this sales approach takes the focus off Jesus Himself, and puts the focus on what He will give us. Many have their hearts set on the blessings, not the One who blesses us.
While not ignoring the blessings of following Jesus Christ, we must proclaim the need to follow Jesus because He is God, and we owe Him everything as our Creator. What is right before God, and what glorifies Him, is more important than whatever benefit we may gain. We need to see Christians who are more concerned with what glorifies God than with what benefits me.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.
8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Final Charge to Timothy
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
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. Amen.
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
Sometimes we think of the early Church as composed entirely of poor people and slaves. Here we see that even as early as this it had its wealthy members. They are not condemned for being wealthy nor told to give all their wealth away; but they are told what not to do and what to do with it.
Their riches must not make them proud. They must not think themselves better than other people because they have more money than they. Nothing in this world gives any man the right to look down on another, least of all the possession of wealth. They must not set their hopes on wealth. In the chances and the changes of life a man may be wealthy today and a pauper tomorrow; and it is folly to set one’s hopes on what can so easily be lost.
They are told that they must use their wealth to do good; that they must ever be ready to share; and that they must remember that the Christian is a member of a fellowship. And they are told that such wise use of wealth will build for them a good foundation in the world to come.
There is a famous Jewish Rabbinic story. A man had inherited great wealth, but he was a good and a generous man. In time of famine he gave away all his wealth to help the poor. His brothers came to him and said: “Your fathers laid up treasure, and added to the treasure that they had inherited from their fathers, and are you going to waste it all?” He answered: “My fathers laid up treasure below: I have laid it up above. My fathers laid up treasure of Mammon: I have laid up treasure of souls. My fathers laid up treasure for this world: I have laid up treasure for the world to come.”
Every time we could give and do not give lessens the wealth laid up for us in the world to come; every time we give increases the riches laid up for us when this life comes to an end.
The teaching of the Christian ethic is, not that wealth is a sin, but that it is a very great responsibility. If a man’s wealth ministers to nothing but his own pride and enriches no one but himself, it becomes his ruination, because it impoverishes his soul. But if he uses it to bring help and comfort to others, in becoming poorer, he really becomes richer. In time and in eternity “it is more blessed to give than to receive.”
20 Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21 which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.
Grace be with you all.
From verses 15 and 16 — God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 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.
This praise just overflows from Paul’s heart as he thinks about God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! How it must have inspired Timothy! How grateful we are to have it teach us today! We must praise God, too — click HERE to join in with Chris Tomlin’s “Our God Is Greater.”