1. STUCK! BOUND! ENSLAVED. That’s the life of the man, of the woman, who is DISCONTENT! Just Plain STUCK!
a. Have you ever really thought about what a waste of time it is to chase after stuff?!
b. The treasures of this world don’t last.
c. Jesus said they rust, they get ripped off.
d. Peter said they will all burn up.
e. Paul will say this morning, you can’t take them with you.
AND YET many a Christian has been blindsided by DISCONTENTMENT. “Simply Not satisfied with today.”
2. By now we’ve seen that young Timothy was in a tough place.
a. There was a wave of false teaching floating around.
b. There were personal attacks on his abilities due to his age.
c. He struggled with sickness and fear and insecurities.
d. It appears that he even had thoughts of leaving the church altogether as we read Paul exhorting him…
1 Timothy 1.3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia--remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
BUT… Timothy was in the middle of the will of God.
• This is where God wanted him. He was in the right place!
• AND THERE are times when the will of God can be difficult.
• If anyone told you otherwise, they weren’t completely truthful with you. Times of stretching come to us all.
Wildernesses… Thorns… & Spiritual Growth… they go together!
• And it’s often the place where DISCONTENTMENT creeps in!
• But discontentment can creep in to those who have much too.
• Solomon lived a life where nothing was withheld from him.
• Look at Ecclesiastes 2:1-16
So Timothy was to steady on in that calling of God upon His life.
• He wasn’t to quit! He wasn’t to shy away.
• It was required in Him that he persevere, to hang in there.
It was Billy Sunday that great evangelist that said, “More men fail through lack of purpose than through lack of talent.”
That’s what Paul is doing… reminding Timothy to do what He’s been called to do, to fulfill the calling & purposes of God.
• Shepherd the flock, through the thick & thin!
• Teach them. Protect them. Feed & Nourish them.
APP: I believe that’s God’s heart for our fellowship. Continue on.
• Don’t be sidetracked or taken off course, but steady on as you keep your eyes on Jesus Christ… even as things might get tough.
NOW In the passage before us this morning, CONTENTMENT is the topic. Insights on the CONTENTED LIFE… both at work & at home.
I. (6:1-5) Contented at Work
3. (1-2) Servants to Masters
a. It’s estimated that there were close to 60 million slaves at the time Paul wrote this, close to HALF the population.
b. And as you can imagine, many of them were giving their lives to Jesus Christ.
c. What were these new Christians to do? Honor their masters.
d. If their masters were unbelievers, honor them for the sake of the gospel and the possibility of them getting saved!
e. V2, if they had believing masters, don’t take advantage of them.
THE APPLICATION to us today is toward the employee & employer relationship.
• Employees, treat your bosses with respect and honor.
• Don’t give them a half day’s work for a full day’s pay.
• You are to be the best worker on the site!
• Not the first to leave, I do believe that the Christian should be the last to leave… making sure he’s available to be used.
• A Christian should go the EXTRA MILE seeking to be a good witness of Jesus Christ.
• Oh that we would be productive.
NOTE: Realize that God’s name can be blasphemed if we’re not the best employee… oh those Christians, can’t depend on them, can’t ask them to do too much… always talking, never working.
AHH but my boss is a BELIEVER. He understands that I have to cut out for Bible study or I need to have my 2 hour prayer in the afternoon! Well v2 answers that.
• Don’t take advantage of the relationship. Be careful that an attitude of laziness OR lethargy doesn’t creep in.
NOTE: Christians can become very good at making excuses using spiritual terms and a spiritual vocabulary.
• “The Lord hasn’t given me a peace about picking up that trash.”
• “I don’t think the Lord wants me to do that for you.”
BE CAREFUL GUYS that your life is not made up of making up excuses!
• That instead of keeping your word, your word is an excuse!
• It’s not too late to bring back a great reputation among Christian employees & employers for the glory of God!!!
4. (3-5) Doctrinally
a. That’s why I’m here… to teach & exhort you in the Word.
b. These things are faithful… don’t let others teach otherwise.
APPARENTLY there were some coming in saying you could slack off at work, didn’t have to be a good example.
• Paul would say they are UNWHOLESOME words.
• Not healthy doctrine. They are in error Timothy!
NOTE: If he refuses to listen to sound doctrine, he’s proud and obsessed with disputes. they like to argue over words…
• Their motives are clear… envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions.
NOTE: Is there any doubt about Paul’s heart related to those that teach false doctrines of any kind?!
Notice in v5, they “Suppose that godliness is a means of gain”.
1 Timothy 6.5 (NCV) and constant quarrels from those who have evil minds and have lost the truth. They think that serving God is a way to get rich.
1 Timothy 6.5 (NLT) These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they don’t tell the truth. To them religion is just a way to get rich.
1 Timothy 6.5 (MESSAGE) Eventually there’s an epidemic of backstabbing, and truth is but a distant memory. They think religion is a way to make a fast buck.
IT WOULD TAKE A MATTER OF MOMENTS for us to find this all over Christian TV & radio. Not every single ministry, but a big majority.
• Walking with God is not a means of getting what you want.
• That’s not the message of the gospel. Sow your seeds into this ministry and you will be wealthy, healthy, and more wealthy.
RECENTLY in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch a very famous female televangelist was interviewed and she is quoted as saying:
Everything she has came from Him: the $10 million corporate jet, her husband’s $107,000 silver-gray Mercedes sedan, her $2 million home and houses worth another $2 million for her four children -- all blessings, she says, straight from the hand of God. All $100 million she will take in this year from her ministry with only $800,000 going to the work of the ministry. The rest goes to herself, & staff & radio & TV costs.
In Tampa, another TV preacher went so far as to tell his flock that if they gave to the building fund for his River at Tampa Bay church, they could expect God to give them a house in return. "For whatever he sows, it is what he will reap," he said. "People stop reaping because they quit sowing."
Another TV preacher from the other end of Florida told his congregation in September that if they were broke, they should still give to his church.
"If you don’t have anything to give, ask the person beside you to borrow $100," White said. "If they don’t have it, ask them to give you a blank check. I’m asking everyone to give."
Guys… the world sees through this! As Christians we need to see through it too! Godliness is not a means for gain!
NOW WE’LL READ THROUGH and see that it’s not sinful to be blessed financially… but it is very sinful to use the ministry as a vehicle to pad your own pockets. EZEKIEL’S WARNINGS CH34
• It’s not gained through a special prayer cloth, or special vial of oil, or a seed faith offering, or whatever trinket is out there.
NOTE: We’re surrounded by folks today that rather than teaching us to be FAITHFUL WORKERS, they are teaching people to WORK THE FAITH.
• “I’ll walk with God if He gives me my wife back. I’ll walk with God if my finances change.”
• “Here’s what I want and I won’t follow you God until you give me what I want!”
• BE CAREFUL… WITHDRAW YOURSELF from those teachers!
II. (6:6-10) Contented at Home
1. (6) Great Gain!
a. You want gain? You want growth?
b. PROSPERITY TEACHERS say in their conventions & TV shows, godliness will bring you great gain & make you content.
c. That’s Not What the Word says…
d. It’s Godliness first then comes contentment.
e. Be content with what you have today and all of a sudden you realize that you need a lot of the things you already have!
f. Let’s turn to Philippians 4:11ff
It’s THAT ATTITUDE of, “Father, whatever you send my way is fine with me because I trust in you.”
• Just enjoy the blessings and provision of God.
Let’s turn to the Psalm we read this morning, Psalm 84:11
• This is a passage key to living the contented life.
As we are walking uprightly with the Lord, then He will withhold nothing good from you or me.
• Hey… wait a minute Pastor Ed. I don’t have that nice RED SUV!
• Well, then right now it’s not good for you. Yes it is!!!
• It’s IN THAT struggle where the discontentment lies folks!
THE CONTENTED LIFE SAYS… Lord, whatever you want for me!
• I understand that you will withhold no good thing as I walk and trust in you so I will continue to live with my eyes on you!
THE DISCONTENTED LIFE SAYS… I want more and I’m not happy until I get it. Lord it is good, I know it is!
Luke 8.14 "Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
2. (7-8) Everything stays!
a. You came into this world naked, and will leave with nothing!
b. Each time I watched one of my kids being born it’s true, they came in this world with absolutely nothing!
c. Most things we have today won’t even last us for more than 10 years… or until something NEW comes along!
YOU KNOW How IT IS WITH A NEW CAR… recently we just purchased a new car, it’s used, but it’s new to us.
• And I’ll tell you… all the way back from California…
• KIDS NO EATING! Did I hear a chip crunch back there!?
• NO DAD NO CHIPS BACK HERE (with a mouthful!)
• And we made it all the way home 1000 miles with no crumbs.
• YES SUCCESS! CLEAN
• THEN a few days after being home, I took my daughters car seat from the van and put it the back seat… and kool aid spilled all over the back seat… she had a cup in her car seat!
NOTE: We think our things are going to last. They won’t! The don’t!
• Just be thankful and content with the food and clothing.
• The necessities of life, they vary from family to family, but be content with the necessities God has provided for you.
WHEN YOU LOOK AT THIS… it’s a DIVINE IMPERATIVE.
• Its’ a command not a suggestion. If you have food and clothing, then be content.
• God has been so good to us personally, corporately, as a nation.
• The poorest person in our congregation is in the top 3% of the world’s population in wealth. Thank you Lord!
3. (9-10) Now to the danger: Those who desire to be rich.
a. This isn’t directed to those that are, but those that want.
b. If you’re always living trying to get ahead, to make the next million, or next $10,000, or whatever. Watch out!
c. You’re open to all sorts of temptations & snares!
d. One of those temptations is WORRY… Look at Matt 6.25-33
INTERESTING ARTICLE I read recently.
According to ERA, the Electronic Retailing Association, gross annual sales of products generated by infomercials have grown from approximately $350 million in 1988 to well over 1.25 billion dollars in 2000.
• WHY? Primarily from this desire to get rich quick.
4. (10) The LOVE of MONEY.
a. It doesn’t say that money is the root of all evil.
b. It’s the LOVE of MONEY. It’s the PASSION to get it.
c. The POWER that comes from it. Misplaced Love.
APP: Don’t make material or financial gain the goal and passion of your life. Don’t allow it to sap your precious energy & strength.
• Because if you do love money, you will never be content!
John D. Rockefeller who founded Standard Oil loved money!!!
For the last 35 years of his life, all he could eat was milk and saltine crackers because of the serious ulcers created by his worrying over all his possessions…
How MUCH IS ENOUGH JOHN? YOU ARE A BILLIONAIRE… How MUCH IS ENOUGH… His answer? A little bit more!
CONTENTMENT. Next to that word in your Bible you can write, “satisfied, filled, gratified, contained.”
• We get a mental picture of a sheep, happy with their shepherd!
Psalm 23.1-2 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
Our Great Shepherd… He satisfies me. He’s gives me everything I need and even a few things that I want. I’m filled. I’m gratified!
Does that describe your life this morning… filled with the Lord!?
• Are you content at work? At home? With your possessions?
• Content in those areas where God has given you every good thing?
One more thing before we leave… I do believe there is a DISCONTENTMENT that is healthy, needful, and valuable to the Christian.
• It’s something I call SPIRITUAL DISCONTENTMENT.
• The desire to always be growing & progressing in the faith.
• To want more of God…
Phil 3.12-14 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
I think the Sons of Korah expressed it well in Psalm 42
Psalm 42.1-2 As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
In his powerful book “The Pursuit of God”, A.W. Tozer writes:
“The roots of our hearts have grown down into things and we dare not pull up our rootlet lest we die. THINGS have become necessary to us, as development never originally intended. God’s gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by this monstrous substitution.”
Is the Lord calling you back to a radical discipleship this morning?
Is he confirming to you that the decisions you’ve made to live simpler and become stronger in the Spirit ringing true?
• Let’s close with Matthew 16:24-26