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The Fight of Faith

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice
The Truth Network Radio
February 21, 2021 7:00 am

The Fight of Faith

The Bible Study Hour / James Boice

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February 21, 2021 7:00 am

What does warfare have in common with godliness? Aren’t believers called to be peacemakers who love their enemies and turn the other cheek? Find answers today on The Bible Study Hour as Dr. James Boice concludes his study of Paul’s first letter to Timothy.

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King Solomon once said, there is a time for war and a time for peace. But doesn't the New Testament teach us. We are to love our enemies and pray for those who despitefully use us to aggression and warfare have any place in the life of a believer. Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet broadcast with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act likely imposed conclusion of his first letter to Timothy, the apostle reminds his charge that he's a soldier in a battle. Paul instructs Timothy to fight the good fight of the faith, and in doing so sets a pattern for the church to follow but who is our enemy and water whom are we to fight. Listen as Dr. Boyce concludes a study in first Timothy and explores the subject of Christian warfare. The last chapter of first Timothy week, to a new theme in our study of this book is the theme of Christian warfare.

It's an important one is because Paul has let it go to this last chapter doesn't mean that he doesn't think it's important in a certain sense. Perhaps he thinks it's even more important, since he holds it. This point of emphasis something that occurs elsewhere in his writings as we know. Ephesians 6 for example, the very last chapter of that book, he talks about being strong and guarding ourselves with the armor that God has provided an order he says we might be able to stand against the devil's schemes. Rights along the same lines here to Timothy in this theme of warfare and standing fast as a soldier and holding to eternal life, and all those things is going to be picked up in second Timothy matter-of-fact looked down at first Timothy 620 Timothy guard what has been entrusted to your care, then glance across the page and I'm assuming in your Bibles.

It is across the page. The second Timothy 114 you'll find virtually the same thing guard the good deposit was entrusted to you this theme it ends. First Timothy is going to be one of these going to pick up and develop in a fuller way in the second letter to his young master who was working under him while before we go on to look at these verses let me put it in the context of the book studied a number of important themes in first Timothy, looking back to the early chapters. I'm sure you remember what the first one was it was the matter of sound doctrine is writing to a preacher.

After all, one who is responsible for this. And as I read this and sense the role the Timothy pad. He was one so it seems to me who was not only responsible but for his own preaching, but also for the preaching of others, something like an overseer of the overseers we were Episcopalians we would say was a bishop. I don't use the word in that way because that word bishop's use of all overseers and therefore pastors and elders in the local church there bishops of God and not in the ecclesiastical sense, but in the special ecclesiastical sense of bishop being one who has oversight of other pastors. This is certainly what Timothy was whether the word is rightly used or not.

And so when he begins as he does the start of the letter to talk about sound doctrine. Being on guard against false doctrine is obviously dealing with something that was an important matter. Or Timothy or anybody else with his responsibility as concern.

He talks on the second area of godliness but is piety actually living it out because the new is we ourselves also know that it's quite possible to be very orthodox in theology and yet live in utterly sinful or wicked life. The devils would be an example. At this point they have good theology they been around a long time. They read Calvin and Luther and all of the others and they are well aware what sound theology, as I suppose over the years and pondering on these things even understand the weaknesses in the theology of the great theologians certainly hasn't affected the way they think the way they act, and Paul would say look doctrine if it's to have its proper effect has to sink down into the soul and produce godliness gone like this. So the second theme he develops with his young pastor Timothy is this Christian way of life, I would notice that he moves on to the area of Christian relationships and that follows nicely. I think the theme of the chapter emerges in verse 12 fight the good fight of faith take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses in the sight of God, who gives life everything and of Christ Jesus who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made a good confession. I charge you to keep this commandment without spot or blame and the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. One thing about warfare.

I don't think you could ever have a successful battle without this element is that you got to know your enemy. You think your enemy is country day and your real enemy is country B and you're marshaling all your forces against country a country B is going to get you in the back only way to wage a successful battle is know who your enemy is. Though your allies are so so surprises. Paul begins to develop this theme that he turns to that, against which Timothy is to wage this warfare or against which he is to stand interesting as he begins the development verses three through 10, but is not talking as I see it primarily about the world of the people is talking about are nonbelievers so there's a certain sense, they are of the world, but what I mean by that is that is not talking about that great secular ungodly unchurched world out there that is more or less the mission field. Paul is not saying to Timothy, I want you to go out there like a soldier and really lay it to put the sword on your hand and say come on now you gotta believe this or off when your head is talking about that at all warfare is talking about the enemies that he has in mind are those who, while they are nonbelievers nevertheless function under the umbrella of the parents church so they come along, pretending to be teachers of Christian doctrine, while actually they are undermining the doctrine pretending to be those that are there to help the church will actually there in it for their own advantage. He speaks of three different kinds of enemies.

In verses 3 to 10.

The false teachers. First of all of anyone teaches false doctrine does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the godly teaching conceded understands nothing as those in mind Paul dealt with them all the time is with the super apostles but we were thinking of earlier, those who came and pretended to be great teachers and actually they were teaching that which was not Christianity at all Paul would say of people like that. Let them be accursed because they're destroying the souls of men. Secondly, there are people I suppose we would just call trouble makers may be that there Christians.

He's not entirely clear. And even if he was clear he also those who are troublemakers, but I think that's what he's talking about when he goes on to say he has an unhealthy interest in controversies I was tying it to the first one but it's a special category. Anyway, he has an unhealthy interest in controversies and arguments that resulted in being quarreling, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind. Paul talks about 1/3 kind of enemy here. Somebody that Timothy is to be on guard against this is what comes out of that very last phrase these men who think that godliness is the means to financial gain begins to pick up on its in a fuller way in verse six saying godliness with contentment is great gain and he goes on to show some things about it.

We've brought nothing into the world, we can take nothing out, but if we have food and clothing will be content with that. People want to get rich while into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. We don't know situations that Paul must've had in his mind as he wrote this, but I would imagine that he was thinking back were people he had known, and perhaps even people that he had known in the churches which Timothy was responsible who seems as she looked at things to be most interested in getting money that is they weren't merely rich people that were trying to get richer, but people were trying to use Christianity as a means to greater gain is working Timothy to be on guard against such an as he thinks about it just expands in a little bit to talk about the danger of riches in general. Certainly when we look at Scripture we have any examples of the dangers of wealth. This is not the saiga say that money can't be properly used in the God doesn't give great wealth oftentimes to Christians to be used in a proper way. Certainly a danger and well that's what he's talking about here.

I think you have an example in second Timothy, that is the next book were going to study because when you pass right on to the fourth chapter of second Timothy verse 10, you find a reference to Dimas, who Paul says is left me because he loved the present world. Well, it seems to be the same kind of thing Paul is saying you say there's a great great danger and wealth, because wealth tends to get a hold of you and control you rather than you controlling at a very asked the question why it seems that as you look out across the Christian churches are so few rich Christians might be that it's hard to become a Christian. If you're wealthy Lord said that it's hard for a rich man. The comments I going through the eye of a needle, but it might be also the God really can't trust most Christians with much money is not possible.

Suppose you inherited 1/4 of $1 million tomorrow that enhance your godliness when you begin to say what can I buy with 1/4 million dollars and take a trip to Europe on the buy a house on Monroe see how that works. Is it possible that for most of us, that would be our first thought we wouldn't say well here's a great sum of money the God is entrusted to be. How can I best use that for the extension of his kingdom, our Lord, and an interesting saying you know you find in the sermon on the Mount Matthew six, he said you can't serve God and money in the old version is that you can't serve God and Mammon. Well, Mammon is one of those words that is been Tran's letter rated in that early text.

It's just a Hebrew word and it probably does refer to money. Certainly it has worldly possessions in view but has an interesting history in the early days the word Mammon meant that which you entrust to somebody else.

For safekeeping I get that that's that which you in trust so you had a sum of money or if you had property and you took that and you gave it to a banker to keep in his hands. You are entrusting that to him and that was your Mammon, but you were giving.

And in that sense, it could be both good or bad, because it could be on holy things that you got by dishonest gain or could be quite honest, things that you are investing so the word Mammon was absolutely neutral so far as any moral thing was concerned what happened is that the meaning of the word shifted in the same direction that we often shift when we talk about money. First of all, here we have it that that's what we entrust our broker are banker but they word shifted from the idea of that which you entrust to that which you trust. Get the difference here. I have met and I entrusted to somebody else. But now beginning to get such a hold on me that is not what I entrust but is rather what I trust. So I'm very glad to have it. I depend upon it. I wonder how in the world I could do without it, because after all my future my security, all of those things depend upon that amount of money that I've entrusted to the banker and at that point you say would Mammon cease to be that which is entrusted to another, but rather to be that which you trust and they began to put adjectives with the word to explain what kind of thing you were talking about when you were talking about Mammon and Jesus. For example, referred to the mammon of unrighteousness or unrighteous Mammon is the event point is becoming a bad thing then eventually comes to the point where the word Mammon spoke with a small M MA MML land becomes Mammon with a capital M now you see is functioning as a God. And when Jesus says you can't serve God and Mammon.

Mammon is capitalized at that point, the new international version which says you can't serve God and money. Capitalizes money is in the pattern that which is entrusted to me and that I entrust others that which I trust and finally by God letting Paulo, he doesn't spell out that way here was say virtually the same thing. He'd say that's the danger is nothing wrong with wealth itself of God gives it to you by all means rejoice in him, and use it better stay close to God to make sure use it in the right way is a great danger and he wants us to be careful somehow just the way it is. God tends to lose out now.

He picks over that point he begins to talk about the fight of faith and he doesn't two ways first of all about fleeting and then he talks about the things that we are to do what you owe man of God. Verse 11. Flee from all this. Then he says and the positive side pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Notice that those two are necessary as a turning from one thing that is everything that is mentioned before hand's false teaching and the troublemaking and the desire for gay nieces flee all this on the one hand and on the other hand turn to and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endorsing gentleness to see what he's talking about.

There is a choice and the need to make choices, your soldier, it is don't drift along the very fact that your soldier means that you signed up to be in the battle things for you to do it.

You can do everything to be effective in this warfare you have to reject one thing in order to do something else while I am sure would say that in our day. One of the problems of so many Christians and they never make any choices they just drift along. I don't know maybe a bang away at this a little bit and talk about it some more is one problem with the young people I just drift along, they hear it. I know the gospel but not especially rejecting it.

On the other hand, are not affirming it very much.

Either that is going from experiences variance in one try this and want to try that you want to walk in a narrow way because of they make a commitment to Christ in any serious way. They realized that by following him are going to be other things are not going to be able to do so they don't make the commitment they just stand there there neutral there like an unaligned nation are not at war with this nation that war with this nation. I just want to be happy. They want to serve all the only difficulty is the donations were at war with one another to get caught in the middle. Yet that's the problem many, many do that Paul is saying to Tim with a look. You gotta make a choice. Gotta reject the one you got to say this is not the way that I'm going to go.

I only have one life. I like to be neutral and Michael walked down the middle of the round I wanted to come for something and if it's going to come for something I have to reject that which is not worth counting so he comes to the end of the book. I would say if there was any message that Paul would press honed our hearts. It's is neat you put Jesus Christ first and you say I'm going to serve him regardless that's where I'm going to stand then you turn your back on other things is that's necessary you go in his way. He says pursue righteousness. I'm sure he means righteous conduct church needs men and women will stand up and will do what is right even to their own heart.

You know we get into situations where it really hurts us to do what's right.

It's costly to do what's right. When the people stand up and do it anyway and pay the cost because it's the right thing to do as Christians won't do it or those who are in the company of God's people within the Fellowship of the church will do it how the work we expect the world to do it. We read in the newspaper somebodies indicted in the great scandal in the city are in the nation, or some such thing. All in that terrible why don't they stand for righteousness only mean hypocritically calling upon the world to stand for righteousness were so unwilling to stand for righteousness ourselves.

Bosses will pursue this work out and it's not easy when a moral situation calms are always ambiguities involved are always reasons why. Perhaps we should take the stand just now. We should do it that way. Bosses will pursue this. You turn your back on the other you pursue righteousness with a bigger be known as men and women of integrity pursue godliness.

He says godliness is a broad term.

We talked about it means God like nests. All of these things are godlike qualities or Paul wouldn't be urging them upon us, but he means it in the broadest of ways have you any question in any situation you stop and say what is God like then you make your choice of the basis of what you know of God's character, faith means faithfulness. That is, men and women who can be trusted you know any talks as he does. Along the same lines in Galatians 5 listing the fruit of the Spirit the word faith appears there fruit of the spirit is this love, joy, faith, the means faithfulness. We men and women were faithful, who can be given the task began counted on to do it. Faithful. Well he says that's what you should pursue.

While which is the greatest of all the virtues endurance because sometimes you have to hang in there, month after month, year after year doing what has to be done and then, finally, is it interesting that he frozen gentleness, even soldiers. You see can be gentle and he says why you're pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith, love and endurance.

Don't forget to be gentle with other people because that's a godlike characteristic as well. I am sure that in the history of the bottles of this world, there have been many battles. One, because the soldiers although they were wary although they doubted that they could go another step or fight for another moment, nevertheless, believe that their commander was going to win. Therefore, they knew he was going to win and they wanted to be there at the time of the victory and so they identified themselves with him and pressed on. We are in the greatest battle of all time. Battle of good and evil the forces of God against the force of evil and the force of God is trying to put Jesus Christ is one Jesus is coming again. Well, says Paul, look in that kind of an army with that kind of a commander, I piggybacked down. How can you feel to endure but rather he says press on press on press on to get verse 17 he talks to the rich again and we get verse 20 talks to Timothy again. When you ask yourself why is he doing it again already said it once what's new about these verses we sum up by saying that I think what's new is this earlier. He was warning against wealth, the dangers of wealth now is talking to those who already are wealthy and the same look of your wealthier already in this thing. Be careful what you do with it.

Use your money wisely the same way many talks to Timothy again although he is already said lay hold of eternal life. Fight the good fight of faith that is repeating himself in a sense, when he says guard with minute entrusted to your care in the same way it seems to me is reminding Timothy to Timothy is already in the battle. See the points is not saying you say here's a situation where you can look at the fight out there and you can say well so I get in it or shouldn't I try stand back here so I get out there and fighting single you're already there. You have money already have the money. So the question now whether you're going to have it or not going to have it. How are you going to use it. Timothy is on the question of whether you're going to find what you're not going to find you're in the battle to fight so he says will be aware of that fight faithfully your Christian you're already in the battle may not like they sat on the beer you may say that's what election is all about. I don't like it because I didn't ask to be in this flight God has put me here that's true, he did but he wants you. You say he wants to use you in your there so you can escape you to be a faithful soldier being unfaithful soldier going to be a victor. You may failure can do it on your own with the Lord Jesus Christ to give you the strength to be the victor you asked him to do it. You fight on the battle that he's given you fight that's probably our father, bless these words to our hearts again encourage us by what we read, we confess the face with a warfare.

We would far rather fight with swords or guns and fight this moral battlements around us every day where the ground is so slippery and treacherous and the issues are so blurred by our culture so hard to fight you help us, we pray, grant us grace to stand and so having stood the ground to be victorious in Jesus Christ our commander-in-chief. We pray in his name, listening to the Bible study hours featuring the teaching of Dr. James Boyce. What's the use of moving twice as fast.

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We are indeed so grateful you listen to the Bible study our as you reach out to us. Be sure to mention the call letters work dial position of the radio station your hearing or if you listen online.

Take note of the website address. Knowing how you connect with the Bible study our will help us serve you better by Mark Daniels thank you for joining us today is Paul pins his last letter to Timothy knowing his time on earth is ending the repeats of vital request of his spiritual son guard what is given to your care guard the gospel Timothy and preach the truth.

Join Dr. James Boyce next time of the Bible study our as he begins his study of second Timothy the last letter from a guardian of the faith's about to meet his best next time one Bible study our hearing you to think and act biblically

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