Saturday, March 2, 2013

T.R.U.E Love that waits and succeeds - P3

1 Timothy 6:11 But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.

Yesterday we featured details about the message behind a very important movement called "True Love Waits".  As a pastor I plan on preaching on this subject at our church this Sunday in lieu of what will be our youth pledging themselves publically to abstinence until marriage.  The message, based out of 1 Timothy 6:6-16, will  propose that: true love that waits and is faithful succeeds when you and I are a t.r.u.e man / woman of God. I would urge the reader to look back over the past couple of posts to review how we have defined the term "man of God", as well as gain an understanding of the message of "true love waits". 

Today I want us to interract with 1 Timothy 6:6-16 to understand Paul's message to young Pastor Timothy, urging him to be the man of God to that flock.  The principles we glean from this text can be used in gaining victory in the realm of moral/spiritual purity.  Thus in regards to "True Love Waits", we can be spiritually/morally and physically pure when as t.r.u.e men and women of God we consider the following four truths...

Trust in the Lord.  1 Timothy 6:6-11a
Paul writes beginning at 1 Timothy 6:6 "But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment."  Godliness in this passage simply means a man or woman of God who is trusting in God.  The last word in that passage - "contentment", is the motive that plays a major role in moral decisions.  Often whenever people are seeking fulfillment or contentment, they will attempt to attain it at whatever price. 

Scripture is very clear - there is only one way to be content - through Jesus Christ. Paul writes in Philippians 4:12-13 "know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."  People will spend hundreds and thousands of dollars to achieve lasting contentment - only to find that the the pleasure of the moment dwindles, requiring "more stuff" or "more excitement".  As the middle verse of the Bible tells us in Psalm 118:8 - "it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man." 

As you go down through 1 Timothy 6:7-11, Paul warns Timothy about what happens when people try to find contentment outside of trusting the Lord: "ruin and destruction". (verse 10)  The godliness spoken of in 1 Timothy 6:6 is repeated in 6:11. A man or woman of God who is true to God and entrusts their future or current circumstances to Him are those who are trusting the Lord.  But notice secondly what we find in these verses, namely the man/woman of God also must....

Run faith's race.  1 Timothy 6:11b-12
Paul gives Timothy the command: "pursue!".  The Greek word translated "pursue" refers to "run or aggressively chasing after" and could be translated - "keep on aggressively chasing after righteousness, faith, love, perserverance and gentleness."  A man or woman of God who is operating in true love will not only wait but succeed in their relationships and life because of the fact they are running the race of faith.  Success here is measured not by immunity from trouble in so much as it is marked by persistent faithfulness and reliance on the power of the Lord. (Proverbs 3:5-6) Passages such as Philippians 3:12-14 and Hebrews 12:1-2 urges Christians to run the race of faith.  As we run, we are also to "fight the good fight of faith" and hold onto our place in the race, not retreating back or losing our spot.  Moral and spiritual purity is not sprint but a marathon.  Like any good marathon runner, you need to be replenished with water.  Truly the water of the word, which communicates all of the qualities explained by Paul in 1 Timothy 6:11 is what you daily need if you aim to succeed as a t.r.u.e man or woman of God. (Ephesians 5:26; 2 Timothy 3:17)  So a true man or woman of God, in order to both wait and be faithful before and after marriage and in life, must trust God, run faith's race and thirdly.....

Understand God's Word.  1 Timothy 6:13-14a
Paul's kicks his words to Timothy up a whole bunch of notches when he reminds the young pastor that everything he is writing is done in the presence of God and of Jesus Christ.  In verse 14 he tells Timothy, the man of God, to "keep the command without stain or reproach until Christ's appearance."  The more you study and apply God's Word to your life, the more you will understand who you are and whose you are. (Joshua 1:18; Psalm 119:11) 

Is Paul saying here to understand and obey God's word without sin?  Hardly.  Only Jesus did that.  Frankly, who of us can say we have kept every word of scripture perfectly?  It is important to understand that Paul is not advocating obedience to God's Word in sinless perfection, rather he is advocating what the Bible calls "blamelessness".  A blameless person is someone who lives their life in such a way as to not be subject to accusation.  Blamelessness has to do with my conduct or behavior, which can be pure before men and the Lord.    Psalm 101:3 explains how to be "blameless" - "I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me."  In a commitment like true love waits, what you allow your eyes to see or not to see can make all the difference in what you do. (Matthew 6:22)

Can we keep the commands of scripture in such a way as to build a testimony of faithfulness over time?  Absolutely!  God's grace is available for every command He gives us.  1 Corinthians 10:13 reminds us -  "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." Moral and spiritual purity in the realm of our physical relationships is perhaps the greatest test of how much we view ourselves to be in the eternal presence of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.   In understanding God's word, we aim to read it, memorize it and meditate upon its words so as to have correct thinking. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)  With the above points about what it means to be a t.r.u.e man/woman of God who aims to succeed in true moral/spiritual purity, lets consider one final thought...

Endure till Jesus Comes.  1 Timothy 6:14b-16
Unless we understand that all of our efforts in godliness have an eternal significance, we will become quickly discouraged.  Jesus Christ's second coming is the main motivation used in the New Testament for encouraging Christians to live holy and moral upright lives. (1 Thessalonians 4:18; 1 Peter 1:5; 1 John 3:1-3)  A man or woman of God is someone who trusts in the Lord, runs faith's race, understands God's word and endures untill Jesus returns.  His second coming signals the end of this age of grace and the finish line for every child of God. (Titus 2:13)  Christians we will be rewarded and judged based upon their level of faithfulness before Christ's throne. Such a realization should motivate us to carry out such commitments as "true love waits". (Matthew 12:36; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11)  

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