True Contentment – 1 Timothy 6:3-21 – Sermon Notes

If there is false teaching, people will long for things that are temporary. Proclaiming the gospel results in people pursuing the truth. Good church leaders have a good character and don’t love money. False teachers have a corrupt character and love money.

The idea of contentment is the idea of sufficiency. You have what you need. Paul doesn’t link godliness with financial gain. Don’t get caught up in the temporary. Godliness with contentment is great gain.

The trap of the temporary

Fall, trap, plunge (v9). You don’t realise you’re in a trap until it’s too late. That’s the point of a trap. A modern trap – rectangular objects that we are to desire. The Bible radiates with the glory of the permanent. The trap is the root of all kinds of evil. The love of money causes you to walk away from Jesus. You pierce yourself with many griefs. Do you love money? It’s a trap. We love it more than we realise. You probably don’t even notice it. How do we avoid the trap?

The pursuit of the permanent

Paul says to run from it. Pursue righteousness. Fight the good fight. What is it that will last forever? It’s our character. Pursue our salvation. Take hold of the eternal life. We do it in the sight of God with Jesus as our example. Jesus gives no appeal because he’s focused on the permanent rather than the temporary. He endures the temporary pain of crucifixion to secure the permanent and to take hold of the eternal life. He’s pierced for our transgressions. It’s by his wounds that we’re healed.

Generous giving

Two commands (v17-18). You might not feel rich if you’re living beyond your means. Being arrogant with money means you’re providing for yourself to live an enjoyable life. God richly provides everything for our enjoyment. When you make a financial decision consider whether it’ll allow you to be generous or not. The church is to be the household of the living God.

Flee the trap of the temporary. Pursue the permanent.

Drink Wine – 1 Timothy 5:1-6:2 – Sermon Notes

If Jesus really died everything about hiding shame is different. If there’s one God and one way to get to him that makes what we do here totally different. This is the way God holds up the truth to the world. It changes everything. What we do here matters.

A family

Church relationships are family relationships. Like all families there will be some awkward moments. It’s a family that looks after the really needy. This family has careless members. Paul could’ve been saying there are some people who need to be looked after and the church becomes their actual family. He says only older widows should do this. The other option is younger widows should only marry Christians. The church is made up of other families. God makes our physical life spiritual. Beware of any church who says you should cut off your own family if they’re not Christians.

The church is not a social service. Our first priority as a church is to hold up the gospel, to be a pillar of church. Our main job is to love this community. When we really help those who really need it, it’s self sacrificial that means not having the things you like. That is holding up the gospel. Don’t embarrass the church. If you’re part of the church you say something very loudly about what that church believes.

A family business

We are a business in that we have a mission to get on with and have to fund it. If the church is about holding up the truth, how the people who are treated who are teaching the Word displays what you think about the Word being preached. The leader is due double honour. A little wine can help.

A controversial family business

Paul has to advise people to live as Christians in the situation they’re in. Why are slaves to obey their masters? So that God’s word won’t be slandered. Christ died for the worst of sinners. That’s worth obeying the master if you’re a slave to get that truth out.

Giving Up or Keeping Going – 1 Timothy 4 – Sermon Notes

The good news of Christianity is life saving news. The gospel is about the physical world and the spiritual reality that we can’t. It tells us that God is gracious. It enables us to live now as friends of God. It’s the only way we can be free of God’s punishment.

False teachers are hypocritical liars. Paul wants us to know how serious false teaching is. Pointing out false teaching makes a good minister. We are free as Christians. We are free to marry, we are free not to. It’s a matter of wisdom. We are not free to create rules for ourselves or other Christians. As soon as we start adding laws we no longer have the gospel of grace. No one can tell you that anything God created isn’t good. Do we receive gifts with thanksgiving and prayer? We know every good thing comes from God. Nothing is to be rejected if it’s received with thanksgiving.

Train yourself to be godly. Godliness won’t happen by accident. Physical training is of some value. If we know it has some value how much more should we train in godliness? It’s not just a value now, it’s a value in the life to come. It enables us to delight in all the good things God has given us. It’s evidence that we’re trusting the gospel. We must hold close to the gospel every day.

Leaders need to set an example. To be a church leader doesn’t depend on how old you are but it does depend on the example that’s set. Is that the case for all the elders? We should do what they say but only if they model godliness. Do we see them growing in godliness? Age doesn’t equal maturity. Elders care about the members and want to encourage the church family to look out for each other. Follow their example as they follow Christ.

Godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Leadership Tests – 1 Timothy 3 – Sermon Notes

It isn’t just a list. It’s what leads to the character traits that matters.

True godliness comes from knowing Jesus (v16)

The mystery from which godliness springs is the gospel. What Paul says isn’t a common summary of the gospel (such as Mark 10:45, Romans 5:8 or 1 John 4:10). Paul is talking about the life of Jesus but he wants Timothy to know something particular about the gospel. True godliness is both spiritual and physical. People become Christians because the gospel matters now. The Holy Spirit proved that Jesus wasn’t just a man. We need to get both sides of the gospel. It matters for our eternal destiny. It matters for heaven. As we grasp that we’ll grow as Christians. If godliness was just physical we’d just think Jesus was an example of how to be a good person. What good news would there be? If Christianity was only spiritual Jesus would just be a ticket to get into heaven. We might separate ourselves from everyone else. We wouldn’t have enjoyment in anything else.

True godliness is how the church displays the gospel to the world (v14-15)

The whole book is about how to conduct ourselves. Paul is talking to a local church. We are the church of the living God. It is the local church that’s God’s household. It’s as we hold onto the gospel that we grow in true godliness. We wouldn’t be a pillar if we just held onto the physical gospel. If we just had the spiritual gospel we’d care about praying and theology. We’d spend time gathered together to avoid the outside. We wouldn’t be a pillar because if a colleague was suffering we probably wouldn’t even know.

True godliness is modelled by Christian leaders (v1-13)

The root of these characteristics is the gospel. Everything is a characteristic apart from one which is the gift of teaching. We shouldn’t just look at someone’s gifts. We need to be looking at the root from which they spring. When a Christian leader is discredited the teaching is often discredited too. People aren’t sure about the others. Being an elder is a serious task. There is a real privilege to leading a church.

Church members have a responsibility too. We should care about the requirements for an elder. Paul also talks about deacons. These are character requirements, not gifts. We’re not told what a deacon does. The elders are responsible for the church family’s spiritual wellbeing, the deacons are responsible for the church family’s physical wellbeing. There are many ways in which people serve. The deacons are those who are relied upon for a particular practical need. There is blessing in being a deacon. God will confirm the truth of the gospel more and more. What should deacons look like?

The root of Christian leadership isn’t the same as in a company. True Christian leadership is built on the spiritual reality of eternity with Christ. We should be concerned with the characters of the people in our church.

Gender Wars – 1 Timothy 2 – Sermon Notes

Something amazing happens at church each Sunday. God lives here. His presence is made tangible. His truth is embodied and held up for the world to see. This depends on how people decide to behave when they’re together. This team can do that. This won’t happen if everyone turns up and does what they want.

The church is Plan A

The most effective thing we’ve done is start new churches or revitalise existing ones. Something spiritual happens with churches. God desires everyone to come to the knowledge of the truth. How is God’s will put into practice? His plan is to use local churches. If you think this is God’s plan A, you’ll do everything you can do make the church as loving as can be. Perhaps it’s the greatest thing to join in with. Become that team. The team that expresses God’s heart to the world.

Pray we are allowed to be a church

It’s hard to imagine a less controversial group of people. There are people disliking Christians. Circumstances show we need to pray this. We forget that because of the controversy to come, we ignore this simple instruction. Stop the fighting and arguing and pray for this to happen.

Men: stop arguing, start praying

Things become stereotypes because they’re largely true. If you want the church to be a team manifesting the truth you need to stop arguing and start praying. Men usually care about being right. Men need to pray instead of just debating. There’s always plenty to pray for.

Women: stop chatting, start learning

Fashion and gossip makes money. This was radical in the first century. The role of women was window dressing. They talked to each other as they were excluded from learning. In this new community women have as much responsibility to spiritually grow as men. How women look matters much less than the type of person they are. It’s not a factor. It’s by what we know about God that this place becomes a beacon. Jesus is the only way to God. We need everybody to be on board and learning that.

Men and women are created equal (Genesis 1). They’re created differently (Genesis 2) – Adam as a leader, Eve as a helper. The order was reversed in the Fall. Eve led and Adam followed. Paul is saying there’s still a difference. There’s still equality too. Imagine men who led not with domineering authority but with prayerful dependence on God. Imagine a church family where no one is valued by what they can do but everyone is made in God’s image and wants to hold that image up to the world. A pillar of the truth. That is what we can be if we’re ready.

What we can’t say:

“Paul was just a misogynist.”

“The Bible is clear, but we can ignore it.”

“That was then, this is now.”

We must try to be faithful to equality and diversity. Lots of churches have only done the diversity bit. It doesn’t honour the Genesis 1 principle. Our culture today wants to ditch the diversity thing. There is something unique that both men and women display God’s image to the world. Here, male elders teach but we use everyone’s gifts as best we can.

What we don’t think:

Absolute silence (1 Corinthians 11).

Women aren’t able to teach. There are plenty of women who are really able to teach. It’s not about ability, it’s about order.

All women submit to all men.

Women should stay at home and have babies.

Women should never speak publicly about Christianity in any forum.

Anyone is valued by what they do.

Other churches who take a different view cannot be blessed by God.

Fight the Good Fight – 1 Timothy 1:1-20 – Sermon Notes

Ephesus wasn’t an easy place to get a church started in. Paul’s concern is that they’re going to be attacked by wolves. He writes to Timothy. Paul wants the people to be faithful to the gospel. We need to be concerned with whether we are a pillar of this truth.

Vanquish the wolves

Wolves refute what is true and rejoice in what is false. Church leaders were deceiving people. Paul charges Timothy with a responsibility to stand up to them. It seems they were teaching that the law has the power to transform you. In the history of the world no kind of law has had the power to transform anyone. The thing that transforms you is the gospel message. We need sound doctrine. We need to guard our own hearts.

Raise up joyful plumbers

Joyful plumbers refute what is false and rejoice in what is true. The gospel is the announcement that Jesus Christ came to save sinners. As he died all of his righteousness was taken and given to us. Paul is reflecting on this truth and asks ‘why save me?’ If God can save Paul he can save you.

Shipwrecks are looming

A powerful image. Almost certain death. Paul instructs Timothy and says we must fight the good fight now. He instructs him to look backwards. Don’t look for something new. Look behind you. Look at something that is true. Cling to it and hold it. We must remain faithful stewards of the gospel that Jesus Christ came to save sinners. That is the gospel that will ensure the church will be here for generations.

Money – 1 Timothy 6:6-19 – Sermon Notes

Christian teaching on money is generally negative. Money can be used for good and it can be used for harm. It’s neither good nor bad. Money is a bad master but a good servant.

Money is a bad master so set your hope in God

Money isn’t something to be treasured but Christ should be treasured above all things. Verse 10 is often misquoted. Money isn’t the root of evil. It’s the love of money. What you treasure becomes your master. Only Christ can handle being our treasure and master. Trusting in money won’t bring you anything. It’s so uncertain. It’s not money that provides, but God. With Christ as your master, heaven is yours. Money can corrupt and destroy you. It was never meant to be a master.

Money is a good servant so use it open-handedly

If money is our servant we won’t be tight fisted or overly lavish. We should receive thankfully. If we don’t we’re arrogant. Christ is our greatest treasure because he took the wages we did deserve. His death paid our debt. God has given us everything. The things we enjoy are just an extension of the greatest gift he’s given us in Christ. We should be spending wisely. We are free to save and are free to spend. We need to think about how we’ll use it. Give it away freely to other people.