Summary: The Christian must flee from sin and temptation, follow after righteousness and fight the good fight of the faith.
Flee, Follow, Fight I Tim. 6:11, 12
INTRO.: You may remember the classic movie and TV series "The Fugitive." Dr. Richard Kimball, played by David Jannsen, falsely accused of murdering his wife, is forced to flee capture by a relentless police lieutenant as he follows lead after lead in pursuit of the one-armed man who is the real murderer. At every turn, he is called upon to fight some desperate battle for truth and justice.
The Christian is also a fugitive, in a sense. He has an enemy who goes around like a roaring lion seeking to devour him. He has goals to pursue. He has a battle to fight. Our text calls upon us to flee, follow, and fight.
The Apostle Paul is writing to a young preacher, Timothy, giving him advice on living the Christian life. This is a very succinct statement of the Christian’s obligations. Let’s examine it more closely.
I. "Flee from all this"
A. Previous verses contain a list of potent temptations:
1. False teaching. Conceit and ignorance may lead one to invent teachings not Biblical.
2. This leads to controversies, quarrels. Some people love to argue.
3. Envy strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions. Flee from these things.
4. Exploiting religion for financial gain.
B. The immediate context points to the sin of greed. The desire to get rich is seen in three powerful figures:
1. A snare or trap. Desire for wealth may be Satan’s bait to trap us.
2. Drowning. The picture brought up by the term "plunge men into ruin and destruction." The spirit is suffocated.
3. A root. Like St. Augustine grass in your garden. All kinds of evil spring up from the wandering roots.
C. There are other things from which the Christian must flee: II Tim. 2:22
1. Temptations are especially strong for the young because of their boundless energy, confidence, and lack of experience.
2. Young people want to get rich and powerful. They want to have all the sex they can get. They want to have lots of fun. Avoid being overcome with these.
3. Youth need to know what’s important is to know God and to leave the world better than they find it.
II. "Follow after . . ."
A. To follow these things is what is meant by following Jesus. It means to live and do as He wills, not as we will. Peter presents a good illustration: John. 21:19ff
1. Too often we are concerned about what the other person may do or how he may serve.
2. Jesus says, "follow me no matter what others may do."
3. He has His plans for others as well as for us. Each has a task to do in the Kingdom of God.
B. There is a short list of character traits we should cultivate in our efforts to follow Jesus:
1. Righteousness: treating God and man justly, honestly.
2. Godliness: being as like God as we can be.
3. Faith: a loving trust without which righteousness and godliness are impossible.
4. Love: expressed toward God and those God loves.
5. Endurance: faithfulness in the Christian life in the face of tribulation.
6. Meekness: the willingness to let God lead us and surrender our wills to His.
C. Illus.: My wife and I were hiking in the hill country of Texas and became very tired about halfway up a hill we were climbing. Happily, we came on to a rest area where we could refresh our bodies and look back at the beautiful scenic valley from which we came. Then we pressed on afresh toward to top.
1. The Christian life requires a consistent effort. Bur, we can be thankful there are times of rest along the way.
2. Occasionally we need to stop and "rest in the Lord." We are not completely dependent upon our own efforts.
III. Fight the good fight of the faith.
A. We are involved in a spiritual struggle between good and evil. And we have real enemies:
1. Satan wants to devour God’s people. I Pet. 5:8
2. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy: Rom. 7:18-23
3. Our enemy is unseen and unpredictable, but powerful: Eph. 6:12
B. God has equipped us for the fight: Eph. 6:13
1. This is spiritual armor for a spiritual struggle.
2. Because the main battle front is within our hearts.
3. God has equipped us well because much is at stake. Our peace and happiness, our families and children, our eternal souls.
C. Our objective is clear: II Tim. 4:7, 8
1. The Apostle Paul is facing death and he can look back on his life with confidence. He knows a crown of life awaits him. God will crown his efforts with life eternal.
2. It is also promised to us who have longed for His appearing.