Summary: Riches and Religion can make a bad mix. Jesus, who left the treasures of heaven to walk among us in the wilderness of sin and sorrows... His example shows us the way to true treasures! Don’t let the glitter blind you from the glory of eternity! Today’s
So you want to be rich, huh?
3 If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness,
4 he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions,
5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.
What do you really think about these guys, Paul?
Think about this list. Conceited, ignoramus, morbid interest in controversy, disputes about words, envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, constant friction, depraved minds, deprived of truth… He piles up adjectives that describe these false teachers. And this is not just a name calling session. Each one of these characteristics listed is a real result of advocating a different doctrine and not agreeing with the sound words of Jesus that conform to godliness. Notice the word godliness. It occurs 4 times in verses 3- 11.
This word is found 15 times in the New Testament, 8 of them are in 1 Tim. Godliness is essential to doing the work Timothy is called to do in Ephesus. The false teachers of Ephesus have reduced godliness to a means of making money. Did you know that the work of preaching can be reduced to a profession? Talented speaking ability combined with religion can make a guy wealthy these days. That’s not a new thing it has always been a problem! It was in the Bible times and it’s a problem today. And people are often turned off from God and the faith of Jesus Christ because of it too! I remember in Honduras talking with a man who owned a resort in Roatan, one of the islands off the coast of Honduras where the TORCH team goes for the last leg of the trip. We were driving by a place where there was a new church sign and I asked him about his faith and what he thought about the Lord and church. He told me he was Catholic but not practicing. Then he said, “The Lord is fine, but everyone with a suit and a gold watch comes here to start a new church. They do it to fleece the people of this island of the little they have.” I wanted to say, “So what do you really think about these preachers?” There are plenty of scriptures that Paul wrote to say that he was not that kind of preacher and no true Christian is either. 2 Cor 2:17 For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God. 4: 2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
Proclaiming the word of God is an honor and privilege that brings out the very best in some people and the very worst in others. I know that I have several eternal friends in Christ who came to know the Lord and who grew to know the Lord better through the preaching of the word that God allowed me to do. I’ve also had some amazing reactions of resistance to me because of the message of God’s word that I have preached. Paul told Timothy, in 2 Tim. 4:1-5 (read)
I just finished two courses that required a lot of reading and writing. For a few days there I was up late trying to get all the reading, research and reviews done, written and turned in on time. During that time I wasn’t sleeping well and had a few weird dreams. Any one here ever have a weird dream? Jenny woke me up because I was talking in my sleep during one particularly hard one. I remember it very clearly, because I woke up. I was in front of a gate wearing a kind of hooded robe. In front of me behind this barred wall and gateway were demons mocking my faith in the Lord and threatening me. I stood there and repeated over and over: Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He died for sin and rose again. He is Lord. They looked vicious and terrifying. Then the Lord put on my heart his will for me to go through that gate into the darkness where all the demons were. He informed me that I was to keep confessing my faith and that he would be with me. He also told me that they would kill me, but that if I would be faithful and not deny Him, but continue to confess the faith, my death would not be for nothing. There were people in there that he wanted to save, and they would witness my commitment to Jesus and would believe because I was willing to die for him. But, I had a choice. I could refuse God’s commission and have a life of comfort, but be lost, or I could obey and be saved. In my dream I chose to obey. They were just killing me when Jenny woke me up. But you know something? As miserable as that dream felt, I was so glad that I had made that choice.