Fight the Good Fight of the Faith

1 Timothy 6:3-5 ESV

“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.”

There are many “different doctrines” being taught today, some of which are just differences of opinion as to what the Scriptures actually are saying in particular places, but which are not opposed to the sound words of Jesus Christ and of his apostles. They agree on the essentials of the faith.

But then there are “different doctrines” which are opposed to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and to those of his New Testament apostles. And they are opposed to teachings on holiness and that are in accord with godliness. For these “different doctrines” originate in the minds of those who are of depraved mind and who are absent (in practice) of the truth.

For, those of depraved mind are immoral, corrupt, evil, wicked, malicious, dishonest, and they are liars and manipulators who twist the Scriptures to their advantage to make them say what will appeal to human flesh and to sinful passions. It isn’t that they don’t know the truth, but that they manipulate the truth in order to tickle itching ears.

And these “itching ears” don’t want the truth because the truth is going to command that they turn away from their sinful practices to submit to Christ as Lord and to follow him in obedience to his commands. The truth is going to insist on holy and godly living which is pleasing to God. Thus, they will reject it because they want to continue in their sinful practices.

Those who are promoting, encouraging, and teaching the “different doctrines” coming from these of depraved minds are also among those who will try to manipulate or twist words so that they can argue against the truth of the Scriptures and talk people down from sharing the truth or to try to discredit them in an effort to discredit the truth.

And they will try to discredit godly living, calling it “works-based salvation,” as though to be godly means one is trying to earn his own way into heaven. But we can’t be godly in our own effort, or it is not “godliness” we are producing. We can only be godly because Jesus Christ is living within us in the person of the Holy Spirit empowering us to live godly and holy lives.

1 Timothy 6:6-10 ESV

“But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

But the truth of the matter is that godliness with contentment is great gain, but it is not us earning our own salvation, but it is us living out the salvation that is already ours by faith in Jesus Christ. But if we don’t live it out, that is evidence that stands against us which says our faith is not genuine.

But it is godliness with contentment, meaning that we aren’t living for the pleasures or the passions of this sinful world. We aren’t living to make tons of money to spend on our own pleasures. We aren’t looking to gain fame and fortune or notoriety of any kind. We are looking to please our Lord and to minister his love and grace and his gospel of salvation to others.

When our focus is on this world and on the pleasures of this world instead of on Christ and following him and living godly and holy lives, pleasing to him, we will be vulnerable to fall into temptation to pursue many harmful and senseless desires which plunge people into ruin and destruction. I believe the most destructive today is in the area of sexual immorality.

But money is not the true issue. Having money so we can eat and pay our bills and help other people is not wrong. But when we crave and hunger and thirst after physical wealth so that we can engage in the pleasures this world has to offer us, then that is sinful. When money becomes our god, that is when it begins to go downhill from there.

But again, it isn’t just money. If we make anyone or anything our god other than the one true God – Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit – and we worship the created rather than the creator, and we lust after the pleasures of this world rather than to hunger after God and his righteousness, this is where we fall, and we wander from the faith.

1 Timothy 6:11-12 (read through to v. 16) ESV

“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

So, what’s the main lesson here that we can gain from all of this? We need to watch out for “different doctrines” which may lead us away from the truth of the Scriptures, and away from holiness and godliness, and away from unadulterated faith in Jesus Christ. We need to be discerning about what we read and hear and watch so that we aren’t led astray.

And we must be students of the Word of God, studying it in context, trusting the Holy Spirit to lead us to all truth. We must test everything we hear or read coming from other people, and we must not just “jump on the bandwagon” of whatever doctrine sounds good to our ears. For, just because it sounds good doesn’t mean it is good.

If we are testing what we hear against the Scriptures (in context), comparing Scripture with Scripture, and interpreting Scripture in light of all the teachings under the New Covenant, we are going to get to know the truth and we will also learn to recognize the lies and the deceptions of the enemy and of these “different gospels,” too.

Then we can separate truth from lies, and we can follow after the truth and not after the lies. But our heart has to be in the right place. This can’t be just an intellectual exercise. We have to want to live for our Lord and to know the truth and to obey the truth and to follow Jesus in obedience to his commands. If we don’t, we will most assuredly fall.

Therefore, we must flee from all that junk. We must flee from the lies and the twisting of truth to pursue truth and righteousness. We must flee from wanting to follow the passions of our flesh to now desiring to please our Lord in all that we do and are and say. Instead of pursuing the things of the world, we are to pursue righteousness, godliness, and love, etc.

And we must fight the good fight of faith, which means we put on that armor of God every day and we say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and we live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the power of God. We don’t play with sin, but we flee from it. Daily by the Spirit we are putting to death the misdeeds of the flesh and we are walking in holiness by God’s Spirit.

For, if we don’t, and we continue living in sin, doing what we know is wrong, as a matter of practice, and so we adopt the cheap grace gospel because it gives us permission to keep on in our sin, if we don’t repent and turn to follow our Lord in obedience, we will not inherit eternal life with God, but we will die in our sins.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10]

All I Ask of You

by Andrew Lloyd Webber

No more talk of darkness,
Forget these wide-eyed fears;
I’m here, nothing can harm you,
My words will warm and calm you.
Let me be your freedom,
Let daylight dry your tears;
I’m here, with you, beside you,
To guard you and to guide you.

Let me be your shelter,
Let me be your light…

Love me, that’s all I ask of you

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