If a pot of gold is found at the end of a rainbow, contentment is only found there if you bring it with you. And that’s the trick—to possess it, regardless of your possessions. To find contentment, let’s take into account some of Paul’s warnings on how we might miss contentment.
Submitting to authority was just as difficult in the first century as in the 21st century, which makes 1 Timothy such a practical letter. So, let’s hear and heed Paul’s teaching on how to respond correctly to authority.
It’s true that the Bible is filled with thou shalts and thou shalt nots, which serve as a sort of preventative checkup. But it’s also a book of “hints” rather than commands, kind of like when our mothers tell us when us when we have a cold to get plenty of rest and to eat your chicken noodle soup.
Just when we think Paul has exhausted all important topics, he comes up with one more—how the church ought to treat widows (1 Timothy 5:3-16). What he said might surprise us.
How do we go about respecting and rebuking the saints? What is appropriate and what isn’t? Thank God He gave us 1 Timothy to answer these questions and serve as our guide.
Beginning in 1 Timothy 4:6 and continuing through the rest of the letter, Paul turns our attention to the one who seeks to be “a good servant of Christ Jesus,” namely, the minister. Paul starts off by outlining a list of dos and don’ts for effective ministry, focusing first on the pastor’s personal ministry and then on the pastor’s public ministry.
Today, we live and minister amidst the crazies. And if you doubt it, just look around. This isn’t your father’s world anymore. So what are we to do? Bunch tightly in our holy huddles, hoping to keep the world at bay? Not on your life!
We could consider 1 Timothy the handbook on biblical ministry within the church. The first half focuses on the work of ministry—the service. The second half focuses on the workman who performs ministry—the servant. The interlude between these two halves (1 Timothy 3:14-16) focuses on the why of ministry—the soul. The ministry may be theologically and biblically correct, but it’s all head and no heart.
An honoured and respected reputation is worth more than “silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1). In fact, we could write in bold letters this very proverb across the last couple of sermons—the one’s dealing with the necessary qualities for the office of overseer or elder (1 Timothy 3:1-7). We could do the same over this sermon because a sterling reputation for those serve as deacons in God’s church is just as essential (3:8-13).
You can’t escape it: a Christian’s conduct matters…greatly. Christ’s reputation is on the line, and nonbelievers are watching. Is it any wonder then that He decrees that His leaders be above reproach? Not at all. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul continued to set forth in plain, uncomplicated language the non-adjustable, non-alterable essentials of God’s standard for church leadership.