This section is how I ended my last post on Timothy.
Those who have believing masters should not show them disrespect just because they are fellow believers. Instead, they should serve them even better because their masters are dear to them as fellow believers and are devoted to the welfare of their slaves. These are the things you are to teach and insist on. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions, and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. (1 Timothy 6:2-5 TNIV)
Paul admonished Timothy to teach sound doctrine and insist on it; he then goes on to tell Timothy that if anyone teaches otherwise:
- They are conceited
- And they understand nothing.
Because we have been boiling in the hot water of liberalism for many years now, we, for the most part, will go into denial and defend someone teaching our elementary age school children about anal sex as a method of birth control. Sorry, that was a little rough, but we need to wake up and take action. Why do we have to get slapped in the face to wake up?
Paul goes on to say that these people, who have put themselves in opposition to sound doctrine, have an unhealthy interest in:
- “controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions, and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth.”
Just this evening, my son-in-law, who tells us that his relationship with Jesus is private, goes on a 45-minute rant about how evil the churches are because they closed their doors in response to California Governor Newsome’s lockdown order. He went on to say he would have never closed the doors to the church. You want me to buy into that oration, especially since you make NO effort to get you, or your family, into church; and, there are opportunities. His arguments do not end there as he continues with his rants about masks and safety. He suggests that we could segregate the church by having all those who choose to wear masks to sit on one side, while the unmasked can sit on the other side. I said, you can’t do that because the end result will be the two camps glaring at each other, thinking, how evil the other is; one for not caring, the other berating those with masks for acting in fear; all this helps to create turmoil within the church body. Paul says that people that cause this strife and friction have one goal financial gain. If you extend this twisted thought out to its end, do you think that your negative babbling will get you a teaching or pastoral position at the megachurch? Why, because you think the church is a source of financial gain. The son-in-law went on about how the pastors are getting rich. He referred to one I was recently involved with.
Alright then, let me just speak about the church I recently left. The most recent pastor was brought on as the new pastor by the pastor that was leaving, and he did so under the premise of bringing on a younger man that would carry on the work that the founding pastor began. As a church, we fed the poor and built homes in Tijuana on several occasions.
End, page one.
However, when this new pastor came, he effectively said, this church body is too old, and we need more people in the twenty to forty year age range. Obviously, irritating the majority is not a good way to start a relationship, but he did. He didn’t show up driving a Mercedes Benz; he drove a beat-up Chevrolet van; and, for a time, had to live in people’s homes and travel trailers.
Now, here is the oddity. My previous pastor owned a 2400 square foot home in New Orleans, not far from the small church he pastored before returning to Southern California. The community that he lived in was devastated by the floods brought on by the hurricane; however, his home was not destroyed. While the home was up for sale, and it took a while, a church member here in California, who owned several homes in a nearby affluent neighborhood, let the pastor rent one of those homes, for a meager price, until they could afford to buy another. Well, their New Orleans home sold for an excellent price, and the pastor eventually bought the home they were living in. The New Orleans home just about paid for the new one.
Would you say he was rich?
Did he come here to get rich off of us?
I don’t think so, as it appears that he still wears the same jeans and shirts he showed up with.
Does it sound like I need to trash this pastor because he is trying to get rich off the church?
No, and not only that, I am quite sure that I would be judging the man, and therefore be subject to a judgment myself.
Is there an overabundance of greedy pastors destroying people’s trust in the church?
Absolutely, but if this will cause you to lose sleep, then walk away from that church.
So my son-in-law’s malicious talk, directed at ALL pastors and one I know a little something about, is clearly unfounded. All this sounds so negative, and it could be, but again Paul takes it to the next step.
1 Timothy 6:6 CEV And religion does make your life rich, by making you content with what you have.
If I used the NASB, it could be perceived that the pursuit of Godliness is a means to financial gain, and it is NOT. As you can see, the CEV translation makes it quite clear that your life can be richer through Christ by making you content with what you have.
Read about Paul’s take on this idea of getting rich off the church, as he went hungry on many occasions and had no permanent place to call home.
Keep something in mind if this challenges you.
1 Timothy 6:7-8 CEV We didn’t bring anything into this world, and we won’t take anything with us when we leave. (8) So we should be satisfied just to have food and clothes.
We are warned that those who want to get rich CAN fall into many temptations, snares, and destruction. To put it plainly, Dr. J. Vernon McGee says, “Riches will not bring satisfaction.”
End, page two.
1 Timothy 6:9 NASB But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.
Eugene Peterson’s Message tells us.
1 Timothy 6:9 MSG But if it’s only money these leaders are after, they’ll self-destruct in no time.
As I read this, Benny Hinn comes to mind.
I will finish this off with the infamous, only because it is so frequently misquoted, by almost everyone, as a weapon to manipulate people and justify some’s poverty, who are probably dealing with their inability to control their spending.
1 Timothy 6:10 NASB For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
There it is; it is the love of money that is the root of all sorts of evil.
Love seems like a simple word, but again, that is not the case here. The GK word is philarguria, which means – avarice, or the love of money. If you look up the word avarice in the dictionary, you find this:
Avarice means an inordinate desire of gaining and possessing wealth; covetousness; greediness or insatiable desire of gain.
An insatiable desire of and for gain. This is the kind of thing that drives people to murder.
The Cyclopedia tells us, “Avarice consists not merely in seeking after worldly wealth too eagerly, or by unjust means, but in loving it excessively, even though it be our own. Avarice is in its nature, sin, and, according to St. Paul, a kind of idolatry.” [Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature.]
Considering what we have just spoken about, it is easier to understand how “some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
I want to close this out by retelling a story that Pastor Jack Hibbs shared with us one recent Sunday morning. He said, after the first service, a man came to him and said, I was raised in the church, been there all my life, and repented multiple times, as most of us did; but after hearing your sermon this morning, I am not sure I am a Christian. How can I know? Jack told us that he took a momentary look at the Bible in the man’s hand, which looked unused, and said, You take that new Bible in your hand and read it, if it tells you to do something, then do it; that’s how you follow Jesus; and it was Jesus who said, if you love me, you will follow me.
When it comes to money, you either use it wisely, or it uses you.
Keep yourself from sin and follow Jesus.
End, page three.