1 Timothy 6:6-19

Are
you living the “good life”? In your more reflective times, are you happy
with the lifestyle you’ve chosen? Throughout the centuries the educated and uneducated
alike have asked themselves, “What is the good life?” Is it the examined
life? Is it the life of pleasure? Is it the “high life” promoted by
a beer company? In 1 Timothy 6:6-19 Paul describes the “good life” for
us from God’s perspective.

1.
Fighting the Good Fight (1 Tim 6:11-12a)

To
describe this good life, Paul uses the word picture of a fight. This “good
fight” is one that’s fought with faith, not with guns or grenades. It is
a life that pursues righteousness, godliness, faith, love and endurance. This
cluster of character qualities brings a sense of contentment far beyond what worldly
wealth can bring. Paul’s point here is that we live the good life by focusing
our energy on our spiritual progress.

The
word picture of a fight is an apt metaphor, for this spiritual progress often
comes with intense effort and against opposition. We only have so much energy
each day. At the end of the day, we’re tired, drained from all the energy we’ve
poured out. Yet how much energy have we investing in our faith? We’re fighting
the fight of success, fighting the fight of upward mobility, fighting the fight
of raising our kids, but are we fighting the good fight of our faith? It’s like
having a big bucket and several rocks and a pile of gravel. You want to put both
the rocks and the gravel into the bucket. If you put the gravel in first, you
don’t have any room left for the rocks. But if you start with the rocks, then
you can pour the gravel in and there’s room for it. The rocks are the big things,
the important things in our lives, while the gravel are the less important things.
Start with the rocks each day, and you’ll find that you’ll have room for the gravel.

2.
Giving the Good Confession (1 Tim 6:12b-16)

Paul’s
second way of thinking about the good life is that of a good confession. Paul
reminds Timothy of his own confession of faith, perhaps reminding him of his baptism
or some other spiritually significant experience. Then Paul helps Timothy look
back at Jesus’ confession before Pontius Pilate. Christ’s confession cost him
dearly. Following Jesus means making our own confession, just as Jesus did. Here
we find that we live the good life by swearing our allegiance to Jesus no matter
what the cost.

How
can you give your own confession to those around you? Have you identified yourself
as a Christian to your coworkers? Have you shared your convictions with your friends?
Confessing your faith in Jesus is the path to the good life.

3.
Laying a Good Foundation (1 Tim 6:17-19)

Earlier
in the chapter Paul directed his attention to people who wanted to be wealthy
(vv. 6-10), warning them of the dangers of greed. However, here in vv. 17-19 he
focuses on those who are already wealthy. This section applies to all of us who
hear these words, because by global standards we are among the world’s most wealthy.

People
who are well off financially are commanded to engage in three actions. First we’re
told not to be arrogant. Some people believe that wealth is a sign of God’s favor
and poverty a sign of God’s curse, so they think God likes them better than he
likes people with less. But the Bible tells us to be humble instead of arrogant.
Second we’re told to not find our sense of security in our possessions. Instead
of finding our security in what we have, we’re told to remember that God is the
one who gave us what we have. Finally, we’re told to share what we have with others.
The command in v. 18 to “do good” is pretty vague, so Paul explains
it with the command to be generous and to share. In other words, doing good in
this context is using our money and our possessions to bring blessing to other
people. It’s investing our money in what God is doing. The result of this will
be laying up treasure for ourselves. This echoes the words of Jesus Christ in
his sermon on the mount, when he told his followers to lay up treasures in heaven
by giving away what we have to bless others.

We
live the good life by investing our resources generously in God’s work.

On
January 1, 2002 twelve European countries officially switched their currency over
to the Euro. No longer do these countries use the lira, the franc, the mark, and
so forth, but all twelve nations now conduct their business with the Euro. The
German government used shredding machines to destroy its old banknotes. The Austrians
turned their schillings into 560 pounds of compost. We too will face a currency
switch one day. When Christ returns again, our currency will switch from our earthly
currency to heavenly currency. And heavenly currency isn’t the Euro or the dollar,
but it’s what we’ve invested in God’s work. Those who are rich in this world who
don’t begin exchanging currency now will find themselves poor in heaven. This
is not to say our giving earns us our salvation, but it is to say that God calls
us to live a life of giving here on earth, especially if we’re well off.

Living
the good life has nothing to do with how much money one makes. It’s about fighting
the good fight, giving the good confession, and laying a good foundation. This
is a life that’s available to anyone, no matter what their net worth.

_________________

Sermon
brief provided by:  Timothy Peck,
Pastor, Life Bible Fellowship Church, Upland, CA

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