Thursday, May 23, 2013

Man of God – 1 Tim 6:11-12

But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (NASU)
Flee
Flee is a great biblical word to describe how we should deal with sin. We are to flee from sexual sins (1 Cor 6:18), idolatry (1 Cor 10:14), all the things Paul listed in First Timothy (1 Tim 6:11), and youthful lusts (2 Tim 2:22). The same Greek word used in all of these verses is also used to describe the Jesus’ escape to Egypt (Matt 2:13), Jesus’ advice to escape from the destruction of Jerusalem (Matt 24:16), and sheep that run from a stranger (John 10:5).

All of these have the same thing in common, physical activity that is done immediately and without the need for a lot of thought. Anyone who stops to contemplate if he should flee from sexual sin  or not has already contemplated it in his heart which is sin; the physical consummation is very likely to follow. We need to be absorbed in our desire to follow Jesus so that we instinctively turn our back on the possibility of committing these sins.
It may be easier to flee from some sins than others because they are much more recognizable. When a man or woman is asked to engage in sex outside of marriage, it’s easy to recognize and physically flee. If someone ask you to worship an idol, that is a no-brainer also. There are many other temptations that are harder to identify and understand how to flee like gossip or little white lies.
How do you flee from financial lusts that lead you into traps and foolish temptations? Usually, you can’t get out of your chair and suddenly run in the other direction. The traps are much more involved. This describes the person who has persisted in yielding to the love of money. The same could be argued for someone who has already fallen into sexual sin. How do you flee when the emotions and relationships become so entangled that doing wrong seems like the right thing to do?
Pursue
Paul tells Timothy to pursue the qualities of a godly man. Fleeing from sin must be followed up by pursuing those things that will replace the sinful habit and opportunities for temptation.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph 4:22-24 NIV)
This is the formula for getting out of the sins that we should have fled from in the first place. We need to acknowledge that we’re wrong and repent from the old sinful habit. That starts by renewing our minds. We need to start thinking the way God wants us to think. Then we need to put on or start doing the right things, the things that God created us to do. Those things are done in righteousness and holiness.
You can take any sin and plug it into this formula. In Eph 4:25-32Paul followed up by giving us some examples of sins, the new attitude and what to put on.
Put Off
New Attitude
Put On
Lying
We are all members one of another. We are all part of the family of God. Lying to each other is the same as lying to God. We lie because there is something we want or fear that is greater than our desire to please God and obey Him. We need to identify it, admit it is sin, and repent. Repentance is demonstrated in speaking the truth.
Speak the Truth
Anger
We aren’t talking about righteous anger were we see sin and are outraged that it has occurred. Even this anger can lead to sin when we try to right the wrong in ungodly ways. This verse does not give us permission to be angry as some claim, it simply acknowledges that we do become angry but warns us not let it turn into more sin. Proverbs 29:11 explains that we need to control our emotions. What is the root of the anger? It is usually because we didn’t get what we wanted. We had missed expectations and usually inappropriate expectations. It is all about me and not thinking first of the other person. Selfishness and the resulting anger open the door for Satan.
Don’t Sin
Stealing
It is the same as the other problems. There is something we perceive we need so badly that it causes us to take what isn’t ours. We don’t consider what it does to the person who then doesn’t have it anymore. Practicing honest work and giving to others helps us develop an attitude of looking out for others’ interests and kills off our selfishness.
Honest Work and Give
Unwholesome Talk
Notice how each of the solutions that we are to put on removes the focus from our desires and ourselves and direct them to needs of other people? Unwholesome talk could fit in the categories of slander, put-downs, sarcasm, gossip, or other sins of the tongue. In each case, we do it because there is something we will gain, whether it is trying to feel better about ourselves or manipulate someone into doing something for us. As with the others, we need to identify the root of sin in our hearts.
Build Other Up
List of Sins
Paul sums up the examples with this list of sins. If we have been paying attention to the previous examples, it will become evident by repetition that the problem we need to resolve is within our own hearts. We need to find out why we are putting ourselves before others. When we are kind, tender-hearted and forgiving, then we no longer have our selfish desires on the throne of our lives.
Kind Tender and Forgiving

Grieving the Holy Spirit
All these sins grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30). To help us flee from sin, we need to consider what sin does to our relationship with the Lord. If we care nothing about grieving Him, then we have a problem that needs attention before we can flee. If we don’t care about God and His feelings then we won’t flee. Since we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, then blatant sin is a demonstration that we may not yet be redeemed in the first place.
Perhaps we have confessed Jesus as our Savior simply to escape the punishment of hell, but have never committed our lives to Him as our Lord. We want to be saved but have no intention of obeying Him. Another possibility is that we simply don’t love Him. He isn’t our treasure. We can obey out of fear of punishment but there is no relationship with God. 1 John 4:18 says that love casts out fear because fear has to do with punishment. In other words, if our relationship with God is to obey Him out of fear of punishment or a false concept that lip service to Jesus will keep us from hell, then we don’t really love God. If we don’t love Him, then it is proof of no relationship.
1 John 4:19 tells us that we love God because He first loved us. We must respond to His love in order to have a relationship. If we are trying to flee from sin because we are trying to earn His love, then we must remember that while we were still sinners – while we had never done anything deserving His love – He loved us (Rom 5:8). There is nothing we can do that will change His love toward us. Instead, we need to respond to His love when we come to Jesus for our salvation. Fear may be a first step to wake us up but it must become a relationship with Jesus. If it doesn’t then there is a major concern that there hasn’t been a conversion resulting in salvation.
Take Hold of Eternal Life
We aren’t given eternal life and instantaneously arrive at perfection. It isn’t a smooth uneventful trip on a cruise ship with every need and want met. It is more like riding a Brahma bull in a rodeo. We grab hold and get ready for an exciting and sometimes painful ride. Pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness is pursuing the qualities and character of God and they don’t come easily. But the reward, godliness with contentment is great gain.
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. (1 Cor 9:25 RSV)
Paul describes taking hold of eternal life as a fight, the good fight of faith. The fight requires self-control just as an athlete must train and discipline himself for a race. The result, however, is much more important than a physical fight or race. Paul says that he has used the weapons of righteousness in both hands when he had to persevere through all kinds of trial (2 Cor 6:7). We are engaged in a war that requires us to use divine weapons as we take thoughts captive for Christ and punish disobedience (2 Cor 10:3-5). The fight to hold on is a daily fight where we should be putting on the armor of God (Eph 6:10-18).[1] He has already told Timothy to hold on to faith and a good conscience in this warfare (1 Tim 1:18). When he writes Timothy for the last time, Paul will be looking forward to the finish of the race and the rewards of completing the battle (2 Tim 4:7-8).
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess 5:8-9 KJV)
All this talk about fighting a battle and taking hold of eternal life might lead someone to believe that if they stumble or fall in the battle, that they will lose eternal life. However this description of the battle assures us that this battle isn’t for our salvation. That has already been obtained for us by Jesus. We are now in the battle because we belong to the King of kings, we are in His army and it will not fail. You can read about the final battle in Rev 19:11-16.
Called
We are all called to eternal life. Anyone who thinks that he or she chose God, really needs to think about verses where God says that He chose us (Eph 1:4, Rom 8:28-30, Rom 9:24, Rom 11:5, 1 Peter 1:2, 1 Peter 2:9). In one sense everyone is called but not everyone answers the call. What is important is that when we hear the call, we must respond if we want to have eternal life. That is in essence taking hold of eternal life.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10 KJV)
God has a purpose for each of us when He calls us. We are called to do good things that He planned for us even before we were born. We take hold of eternal life when we start doing those things.
Good Confession
Today you have proclaimed the Lord to be your God, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments, and that you will obey His voice. (Deut 26:17-18 NKJV)
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Rom 10:9 KJV)
There is little difference between a good confession in the Old Testament and the New. In the New, we have clarification of the Trinity and Jesus’ role in our salvation by His death, burial, and resurrection. Too many people don’t understand that confessing the Lord Jesus is agreeing to walk in His ways, keep His commandments, and to obey His voice. Sometimes our inability to communicate clearly to a new generation or people of other cultures confuses the issue.
I remember going door to door sharing the Gospel. At one door, a young Asian man answered. He was very polite and listened to us. When it came to the end and we asked him if he would like to accept Jesus as his Savior and have His sins forgiven, he immediately responded in the affirmative. It was just too fast. I wondered if he misunderstood or perhaps was just being polite. I asked again but explained that it meant he was willing to give Jesus control of his life. I could see his countenance change as he realized the need to surrender to Jesus. He said no and closed the door.
A good confession is more than repeating words. A good confession of Jesus is life changing.
Witnesses
A good confession results in witnesses. I’ve read stories of people in closed countries who are secret believers. They live their lives in fear of death if they are found out. Some are killed when their families discover them. Others discover that other members of their families are also secret believers. Sooner or later, the truth will come out because Jesus doesn’t want us to hide our confession.
Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God. (Luke 12:8-9 KJV)
There is something very important about telling others what Jesus has done for us. Sharing our faith confirms that we know Jesus and it increases our knowledge of the good that is now in us because of Jesus (Philem 6). When we believe, we receive the Holy Spirit and He gives us the power to be witnesses. Jesus said that we will be His witnesses (Acts 1:8). We will be either good or bad witnesses.
What kind of witness do you want to be? The secret ones seldom if ever affect the lives of others for the kingdom of God. They are bad witnesses. The ones that live good lives and give the reason for the hope they have (1 Peter 3:15) are much better but they only wait for someone to ask. The best witnesses are those that tell others the good news in the process of living those great lives doing what Jesus wants (Isa 52:7). Where are you on this scale of bad to best? I hope we are all moving to be better.

[1] To get a free eBook or PDF of Battling Satan with the Armor of God, go to http://www.rayruppert.com/free-ebook-battling-satan.html.

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