Summary: Flee, follow, fight, lay hold, and obey. The makings of the man of God.
FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF THE FAITH
The title “man of God” (1 Timothy 6:11) is addressed to Timothy in contradistinction to ‘any man who teaches otherwise’ (1 Timothy 6:3). The expression is occasionally used of prophets in the Old Testament. In the New Testament it will come to signify the ‘everyman’ of thorough-going Christianity (2 Timothy 3:17).
ORDERS OF THE DAY
I. “As for you, man of God, FLEE all these” (1 Timothy 6:11):
and the inordinate love of money (1 Timothy 6:10).
Our passage excerpt is flanked by specific instructions concerning Christian contentment on the one hand (1 Timothy 6:6-10), and Christian generosity on the other (1 Timothy 6:17-19). The wise man desires neither poverty nor riches, and that with good reason (Proverbs 30:8-9).
Money itself is not evil, but covetousness is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). It is not money itself, but “the love of money” which is “a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). Such unrestrained attachment to wealth, or to the pursuit of wealth, causes some to err from the true faith - which itself constitutes idolatry.
II. “Flee these, but PURSUE…” (1 Timothy 6:11).
1. Pursue righteousness. Being made right with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, do right by Him. Exercise personal integrity, justice, and fair-dealing with other people.
2. Pursue godliness. You cannot serve both God and Mammon (Matthew 6:24).
3. Pursue faith. There is a need for faithfulness, and personal integrity.
4. Pursue love. “Agape” is the highest form of love. It speaks of a love of God which is also charitable towards our fellow human beings.
5. Pursue patient endurance in adverse circumstances.
6. Pursue gentleness in relation to other people.
III. “FIGHT the good fight of The Faith” (1 Timothy 6:12).
The false teachers stood accused of being ‘seduced from the Faith’ (1 Timothy 6:10); and ‘in reference to the Faith missing the mark’ (1 Timothy 6:21). There is a time to run, to flee, or to pursue: but there is also a time to make our stand for the “good” deposit. This battle is for the truth of Apostolic Christianity: in defence or on the offensive, we are on the victory side!
IV. “LAY HOLD on eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:12).
To this you were called: grasp it, seize it, own it as your own. It is a present possession which is already yours, not just something tagged on to the end of this life.
“The confession of faith which you professed” (1 Timothy 6:12) is often taken to refer to the occasion of Timothy’s ordination. It is also possible that it refers to his baptism, as candidates would be expected to give some testimony of God’s work in their lives prior to the administration of this sacrament. This would fit in with the idea that the “man of God” here, as I suggested earlier, is the ‘everyman’ of thorough-going Christianity.
V. “KEEP this command” (1 Timothy 6:13-14).
As a minister, Timothy was to obey his orders “without fault or failure.” Similarly, the ‘everyman’ of Christianity is to fulfil his or her own calling, in obedience to the commandment of God (1 John 3:23).