1 Timothy chapter 6 - Fight Flight and Getting it Right - Discouragement and Distractions in the Christian Life - JS Gillespie 

Thought of the: 

Unique opportunities of the Christian Life 

Unique potential of the Christian Life 

Unique problems of the Christian Life 

Each Christian life is a unique set of 

Open doors 

There is a huge potential for God in the Christian Life!!! 

Not just for the Billy Grahams of this world! 

We are not restricted in our life for Christ not in our service for God by: 

Duplicating the service of others 

nor by 

Duplicating the life of others 


Plan and purpose 

Is not limited in your life by what he did in the past with others. 

You do not need to make your circumstances fit a mould or a pattern. 

There are few things less authentic in the Christian life and possibly less effective than mimicking or copying the service of another! 

There are few things less authentic than duplication!! 

Few things come across worse in preaching apart from aggression, prejudice and arrogance than a person who sounds like they have been thrown out of a previous generation for bad behaviour! 

You serve your day and generation as David did, as Esther did. 

Each life has a unique set of gifts, abilities, opportunities, and open doors. 

An omnipotent god is not constrained by circumstances! 

One of the greatest works of consecration God ever performed was inside a fish at the bottom of the sea for any favour. 

It was not a problem for God. 

You feel that your circumstances are constrained? 

When there was only five loaves and two fishes Christ fed 5000, not a problem! 

The greatest physical redemption/ liberation/ emancipation of slaves ever carried out was undertaken without a shot fired, by the power of  a dead lamb. 

A dead lamb, I appreciate that there is much significance in the sacrificial lamb but surely there is a bit of irony too! 

Pharaohs armies defeated by a dead lamb! 

What did God need to defeat the world super power of the day? 

A lamb 


That's fine! 

That's all God needed to use!! 

Unarmed defenceless and ill equipped this was not a problem for God!! 

The liberation/ blessing/ the of the Jews in the Persian Empire came in the days of Ahasueres not primarily because of congenial circumstances but within the context of an edict ordering the total annihilation. 

Some look at their circumstances and concluded but I am constrained by my circumstances (6 vs 1 to 2) 

I am under the yoke: That is depressing that is restrictive. 

I want to be: 

Dividing seas 
Converting Nineveh 
Down fire from heaven 

Christian life is about: 

Fire and flames 
Fending off Lions 
Defeating Empires 

Because God is 


The circumstances of your life even your adverse circumstances are  perfectly ordained for you to live out your Christian life. 

You will live out the Christian life by living out your life as a Christian, yes even as a servant under the yolk. 

But is this possible?? 

If God Is sovereign supreme omnipotent then 

'All things work together for good' 

'No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly' (Ps 84:11) 

Rom 12:2 'good and acceptable and perfect will of God' is provable in my life 

Circumstances even adverse ones are the perfect circumstances for me to live out the Christian Life. It is not just a case of me making the best of a bad lot 

It may not only be POSSIBLE but rather PREFERRABLE to live out the Christian life in these circumstances. 

Difficult circumstances were the perfect circumstances for Nehemiah as the Kings cup bearer, Esther, Naamans servant girl, the persecution of the Jerusalem church. 

These can be PRODUCTIVE circumstances; productive for Christian character. How do we learn to love? We can love by serving (6:2). It is selfless service which draws from the well of long suffering, not seeking our own things, selflessly devoted service can only flow when it draws from the ink well of love (1 Co 13); cf David's mighty men and the well of Bethlehem (2Sam 23:16ff), service from devotion, sacrifice from love! 

David knew that God was no less present with him in the field than he was in the valley of Elah, as he faced Goliath. Surely the Valley of Elah shaped the Kingdom? Certainly, but Gods presence in the pasture had shaped the King! 

Saul attempted or failed even to attempt because he lacked the pasture experience of God. 

Daniel knew that there was as much of God to be found in the quietness, in the peace and solitude of the upper room as they was in any Palace of Nebuchadnezzar or court of Darius. 

Daniel knew and experienced that it was every bit as possible to glorify God in the lion's den then as it was to exalt his name at Belshazzar's feast. 

Isaac new the presence of God on the top of Mount Moriah but also the same God at the well Beer La hai roi. 

God of the altar where the soul surrenders and He is the God of the well that supplies. 

With hindsight Joseph could see the hand of God in the 



Such difficult and constrained circumstances, the perfect piece of the jigsaw puzzle. 

Namaan's little maid - difficult circumstances but the perfect piece of the jigsaw puzzle 

Having been discouraged by circumstances, it is possible to be deceived by material gain. 

Isaac was contented with a tent 

Elijah with a cave 

Daniel with a place of service 

Nehemiah with being the cup bearer to the king 

David with shepherding the sheep 

Joshua as Moses servant 

John baptist as a voice, a signpost in the wilderness to Jesus 

Deceived by materialism (6:3ff) 

The psychology of the disruptors 

v4 – their character 

Strife and disruption finds its origin often not in the circumstances that trigger the dispute but in the character of the people involved. 

We start with the character of the person, not the problem, the person. 

'He is' – 'He is proud' (v4) 

His object is not to know the truth but to defend his position! 

Ego and status and reputation and personal gain is what is at stake. 

It becomes a matter of winning an argument! 

Making myself great by holding the strongest position. 

Do we then abandon teaching the truth? 

Do we avoid all contentious issues? 

Do we just compromise and agree on everything to avoid inflated egos? 

I did have this suggested by a Buddhist in reply to where did we come from; that's just a question about egos, your argument against mine. That would mean I could never know the truth in case it makes me proud! 

We can be both humble and know the truth by humbling ourselves to know the truth, that is bowing to the truth, receiving the truth, consenting to the absolute truth which is in Christ (6:3). Truth then comes by humility and not by pride! 

The distinction between those who taught the truth and those who taught error lay in: 

where the truth came from – Christ (v3) 'corrupt minds' (v5) 

what the truth is – 'wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ' or 'perverse disputings … destitute of the truth.' 

why they defended the truth – confidence in the truth, bowing to the truth of Christ (v3)  / confidence in self; 'pride' (v4). PRIDE – lies in wining the argument, it is personal, a personal battle about place and position, reputation and ego. GODLINESS – about being conformed to the truth, moulded to the truth. 

PRIDE – conforms, subjects the truth to me 

GODLINESS – I conform to the truth, I become subject to the truth. 

PRIDE – I take centre stage 

GODLINESS – Christ takes centre stage. 

It was difficult to deal with these people because it was not really about the truth for them, it was really about themselves. 

Potent combination of pride and ignorance (v4) 'proud, knowing nothing' 

How they think 'corrupt minds' (v5) 
What they think 'destitute of the truth' (v5) 

Satan attacks both areas today! 

Knowing the truth will not make you proud therefore! 

'gain is godliness' (v5) 

assessing spiritual prosperity in terms of the material 

assessing the spiritual by the temporal 

gain as the highest good 

they themselves are unregenerate and have unregenerate goals 

cf. Judas, Gehazi 

Illust: d/w charismatic pastor heading towards biblical preaching 

Contentment isn't lack of ambition 

Contentment is the ambition to be satisfied with Christ. 

Contentment is the ambition never to have any less than I have in Christ. 

Contentment is knowing that we will never be any closer to God than in the place where he has put us. 

Contentment is knowing that we will never be any more like Christ than when I am obedient to his will. This can happen now. 

Contentment is not the absence of ambition but the ambition to be satisfied with Christ. The ambition to never have any less than we have in Christ. This is Godliness. What I am in Christ. 

The gain of contentment. 

This is a hungry contentment 

This is contentment with an appetite 

'that I might know him' 

'I press on' 

Greedy contentment 
Contentment with a passion 
Contentment is not ambition surrendered 
Contentment is ambition satisfied 
Contentment is the ambition never to have any less than I have in Christ. 
Contentment has insight into what drives ambition. 

Fear and inadequacy like Saul 

Greed and materialism of Judas 

Angered revenge betrayal Samson 

Contentment is ambition satisfied 

Contentment refuses to be satisfied with ambition 

Contentment refuses to permit 

Natural desires 

To distract us from our satisfaction with Christ 

'godliness' must be the companion of 'contentment' otherwise we have a contentment yet nothing much to be contented with! A satisfaction without substance! We are left with mere complacency and fatalism, feeding a kind of stoicism; that's the way things are, not much we can do. 

How is money so powerful? 

It is a confidence trick 

We endow it with the ability and the expectation which it can never deliver on 

The material is limited 

Verse 7 – Limited by duration - in time - temporal 

Verse 8 – Limited by scope, by space, the material 

Verse 9 temptation and a snare 

Destruction by Design: 

Compare 3:7 and 4:1 

Satan has a special disaster designed with you in mind 


Mice in woodshed 2 dead and two mice in the mouse trap 2 dead. 

For the mice the difference is academic but there is a difference; it lay in their death certificates. 

Two mice dead by natural causes hypothermia pneumonia 

Two mice brought down by a superior intelligence murdered 

Everything compromised for money 

Judas is soul and his saviour 
Achan his life 
Gehazi his health 
Judah his brother 
Delilah her lover 
Nabal his wife 
Rich farmer his soul 
Rich young ruler his salvation 
Balaam his reputation 

Judas give him silver 

Gehazi give him name as wealth 

Achan give him goodly Babylonish garments, the latest designer gear 

Demas loved this present world and he got it 

Do you want: 

The world 

The devil will stuff you full of it 

What are generous individual he is! 

Got our best intentions at heart! 

The oldest deception in the book! 

Trust me I'm the Serpent! 

The devil is for us 
God is against us 
It's a snare 

As Gehazi takes Namaan's wealth he takes Namaan's leprosy 

As Achan buries the designer gear in his tent he digs his own grave 

Demas may have gained the whole world but he has lost his soul 

30 pieces of silver was the down payment on Judas's burial place 

Snare: disaster by design 

Don't get distracted verse 11: 

'but thou O man of God' (v11) 

12 disciples, 1 failed, was removed and was replaced by Matthias in Acts 1:25. 

Men of God – 12 in the OT: 

Moses – a man who gave the law of God (Ezra 3:2; 2 Chron 30:16), who blessed the people of God, in fact he left them with blessing (Deut 33:1). 
Angel of God appearing to Manoah, whose name is 'Wonderful,' (Judges 13:6,8) – a possible Christophany. 
Unnamed Man of God who brings a prophetic word of judgment and condemnation to Eli (1 Sam2:27) 
Samuel (1 Sam 9:6-10) – a man of God with a prophetic Word. 
Shemaiah who brought 'the Word of God' (1 King 12:22; 2 Chron 11:2) 
Man of God who prophesied against Jeroboam and his altar (1 Kings 13:1ff; 2 Kings 12:16), who was ultimately disobedient and was judged for his disobedience slain by a liion. 
Elijah (1Kings 17:18,24; 2Kings 1:9 -13) 
Unnamed man of God 1 Kings 20:28 
Elisha (2 Kings 4:7ff; 5:8ff; 6:6; 6:9ff; 8:2ff) 
David (2 Chron 8:14; Neh 12:24, 36) 
Unnamed man of God 2 Chron 25:7,9 
Igdaliah (Jer 35:4) 

Of these 12 OT men of God – one had been judged and slain. 

A place remained – Timothy, like Matthias becomes the 13th and yet the 12th. 

Destiny awaits Timothy to take his place as the man of God, with all of his weaknesses, all of his failings, yet with an all sufficient Christ! 

Perhaps one of the most surprising occurrences in the scriptures! 

One of the most unexpected pronouncements in the Word of God. 

Timothy is to be the replacement 


Fitted by God 

Marked out by God 

He is to be the Man of God 

No endorsement of Timothy's greatness 

It is an endorsement of Gods grace. 


Living by gods standards not by the relativism of the age. 

In the light of divine standards 


Living in the power of the Sanctuary 

In the enjoyment of Christ 

Anchored in heaven in the sanctuary 


The Unseen future founded on the certainty of past experience and living reality of a relationship with God 


Not just love like Christ but they love which comes from the indwelling of Christ. Love is indefinable and cannot be duplicated.


Outline notes from a Bible teaching message in our series of systematic bible studies in 1 Timothy, available for free audio download or to listen online, 

Yours by God's grace in Christ 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie