Sunday School Lesson – February 25, 2018 The Good Fight of Faith
To follow along, visit your local Christian bookstore, and ask for the Bible Expositor and Illuminator
Time: A.D. 62 Place: Unknown
Golden Text: Fight the good fight of faith. lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses (1st Timothy 6:12).
Timothy was ministering in the church at Ephesus, Apostle Paul was his mentor and spiritual father. The reason why the Apostle Paul writing the first letter to Timothy, he wanted to instruct Timothy on establishing and maintaining a Biblically based church and address some specific concerns Timothy had regarding his personal ability to manage a church at his age. Another concern could have been his insecurity with his position as the leader of the Ephesian congregation. Paul directed his epistle to Timothy in order to encourage him and motivate him to endure the hardships of ministry.
Lesson Outline: Helpful Instructions I. – 1st Timothy 6:11-16
1st Timothy 6:11 – But thou, O man of God. flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love patience, meekness. Timothy was a young minister, appointed to lead the apparently contentious church at Ephesus. He had already learned the essentials of the gospel, now he had to learn how to lead in this letter. The Apostle Paul was passing on all the wisdom he had accumulated in his years of ministry. Apostle Paul addresses Timothy as a man of God then he admonishes him to flee things meaning to shun the love of money. The goal of wealth and material accumulation was to be replaced by the pursuit of these godly characteristics: righteousness, godliness, faith, love patience and meekness are the qualities of the Holy Spirit and His fruit He desires to build into every believer. Our attitudes and actions should be righteous, that is, being agreement with what God sees as right. Our character should be godly instead of worldly. Our faith should be that we will learn how to trust God no matter what is going on in our lives. As children of God, we should imitate the way He loves, that is, unconditional, and have patience not only towards others but patiently persevere through both the good and bad times. Our attitude of meekness will cause us to be gentle and tender toward others at all times. It was essential for Timothy as being a church leader to flee things that were foolish and hurtful lusts that tempt those who pursue riches. Greed is powerful and a destructive sin for both leaders and the congregation. Spiritual warfare involves both negative and positives; there are things the believer is instructed not to do, while there are many things he or she is commanded to do. As a believer, we are citizens of two worlds; the world we live in now, and the kingdom of God. We live in the world, but we should not be a part of this worlds actions. Men and women of God should pursue godliness, not materialism, with all of their beings.
1st Timothy 6:12 – Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou are also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. “Lay hold on eternal life”, is viewed as a free gift, a present experience, and a reward. This Scripture is not speaking of Timothy’s salvation, but instead of his fruitfulness in this life and his reward in the next. We can’t be passive about our Christian life, we are to fight, the Greek word for fight is agonizomai meaning to struggle; this is where we get our English word “agonize”. The exhortation to fight the good fight of faith does not refer to the defense of the gospel but refers to Timothy’s personal battles to live consistently by faith. As Christians, we are in a spiritual war, a war we can’t see with the natural eyes. We are consistently being influenced by God or Satan. This is why it is so important as Christians to know the Word of God, then they will know who is influencing them. “Fight the good fight of faith”, is making every effort to follow the Lord and live by faith. This meant avoiding the things of this world and seeking the things that matter most to God. The salvation we have in Jesus is not simply going home to heaven after we are deceased; we have salvation now, but we must also work out that salvation in practicing the discipline of our faith. As being Christians, we should have the attributes of our Father: love, joy, peace. long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. These are the fruit of the Spirit which comes by the person’s regenerated human spirit and the works done by the Holy Spirit Himself in the believer life when they allow Him. Timothy was called to minister the Word of God and to reflect himself as a godly man. Everyone professes to be a Christian should be living a life of godliness (According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto this life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue – 2nd Peter 1:3). Too many Christians are trying to live in both realms, the worldly and the spiritual. Either we are going to serve God as He has instructed us or we will live according to the world, and Satan is the god of this world. Apostle Paul was admonishing Timothy to resist teaching that contradicted sound doctrine and was warned against using the ministry for financial gain.
1st Timothy 6:13 – I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession. Apostle Paul concludes with a charge to Timothy to keep this commandment referring to the command Christ has given to his church or to Timothy’s promise to serve Christ. Timothy ‘s own confession of faith is compared with Christ’s before Pilate. Paul said he needed to give Timothy a special message in the sight of God who quickeneth all things and before Christ Jesus. Apostle Paul added that this was the same Jesus who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession which meant that He gave strong witness of the truth without backing down from anything He said and claimed. Sadly, to say many professing Christians are professing to be Christians on Sunday and live as unbelievers Monday through Saturday. They don’t profess to be a Christian at their place of employment, school or business. As a professing Christian, we must not take down in what we believe in neither do we bagger people to become Christians. The Holy Spirit within us will draw them if we’re allowing Him to rule in our lives.
1st Timothy 6:14 – That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. Apostle Paul was exhorting Timothy to avoid empty religious argumentation and the greed of materialism. Timothy was to remain faithful to Jesus Christ until He appeared again. In other words, he was telling him to stay focus on Jesus’ return, not on the temporal gain. There is nothing wrong with wanting to excel academically or financially but when we make them our main focus, we have lost focus on the Word of God and the return of Jesus. Apostle Paul recognized that it is God who breathes life into all things. God is our breath of life, and we must always honor and appreciate the gift He has given us, and know our life is not our own, but it belongs to God. He’s admonishing Timothy, to live as though Jesus was coming right now, and we should live the same way.
1st Timothy 6:15 – Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords. “Potentate” carries the notion of a prince with unlimited power. Jesus Christ possesses all power, He only is the King of kings and Lord of lords.
1st Timothy 6:16 – Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. He is immortal and in the fullness of His glory, unseen by any human. God is the only One who possesses immortality in Himself. That is, He is not subjected to death. Although Jesus died in His humanity, He could not be held by death permanently. God is also said to dwell in a light that no man can ever approach. He has never nor will be seen by man in the fullness of His glory. Even now, when we come into the presence of God, our bodies shake, our bodies couldn’t tolerate His fullness, this is why we will be changed when we arise from our sleep to meet Him (Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkle of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality – 1st Corinthians 15:51-53). We can’t approach Him in our natural state, but when we are changed we shall be as He is.
Lesson Outline: II. Important Commands – 1st Timothy 6:17-21
1st Timothy 6:17 – Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches. but in the living God who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. Ephesus was a wealthy city and the Ephesian church probably had many wealthy members. Apostle Paul advised Timothy to deal with the potential problem by teaching that having riches also comes with a great responsibility. He’s to teach the people not be highminded that is to be conceited, they were to trust in the living God rather than riches. There is a difference between making an honest living that will result in becoming rich rather than seeking solely after earthly riches. God wants us to have money to live a comfortable lifestyle, but when we love money, the money has become our god. Sometimes when people are rich they look-down on others that aren’t as fortunate as they are. It is God who allows those to be rich to be rich and they shouldn’t consider themselves greater than others; all things belong to God whether one believes it or not.
1st Timothy 6:18 – That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate. Unbelievers have taken this Scripture and applied it but then they don’ t submit to the other Scriptures that will give them an inheritance to heaven. We must believe that Jesus is the Son of God and through Him only can we receive salvation. But once we receive salvation, we must submit ourselves to the written Word of God. Those with wealth are commanded to recognize God as the true source of their wealth and to be generous with their riches. The material blessings of God are to be enjoyed and used for the advancement of His Kingdom, not for self-centered living. There is no contentment for anyone who would rather be wealthy than to please God.
1st Timothy 6:19 – Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. “Storing up” may also be translated “treasuring up” (Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal – But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasurer is, there will your heart be also – Matthew 6:19-21). This was the instructions of Jesus to the listeners of that time as well as for the believer today. When a ministry is being supported financially then they can reach others with the Word of God as well as provide other essential needs of individuals. Christians should give their tithes and offerings, this enables the ministry to function properly as well bless those in need.
1st Timothy 6:20 – O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called. What the Apostle Paul is admonishing Timothy to do is keep and to guard was the truth revealed in this letter. “Knowledge” is the Greek word gnosis, from which the word Gnosticism had infiltrated the Ephesian church. This heresy taught that salvation came through the “knowledge” of spiritual mysteries, in others words Apostle Paul was warning Timothy not to be caught up in this false teaching. Gnosticism was a distortion of Christian doctrine. Gnostics felt the need to supplement commonly established Christian orthodoxy with components of Judaism, oriental mysticism, and philosophy. Claiming that salvation could be gained through secret knowledge. There is no secret knowledge, the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth of the Word of God if we take the time to read and study the Word of God. This is why many have and will be misled because rather than taking the time to read and study Scripture for themselves they wait for others to teach them. If we don’t know Scripture or the meaning of Scripture, we will not know if someone is teaching the truth of God’s Word.
1st Timothy 6:21 – Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen. Many professing Christian’s and leaders have erred concerning the faith because of their lack of knowledge of the Word of God. Each Christian is held responsible for studying and knowing the Scripture. The Holy Spirit will teach and give a revelation of Scripture when we apply ourselves to learn. As believers, we may not stand behind a pulpit, but we minister through our love and kindness to others. Our lifestyle is always on display to the unbeliever as well as the believer. We are the ambassadors of Christ, and we should live the role daily whether are around others or not, our life is a ministry