2015 Sermon Series
- February 28, 2016
Contending for the Truth of the Word.
Anyone familiar with organizing groups of children knows that success depends on keeping them on schedule. Whether the setting is school or summer camp, the bell is the key to keeping everyone on track. Paul continues to call Timothy and the believers under his care back to one clear message: We don't live for the temporal world but eternal purposes.
In 1 Timothy 6, Pastor Timothy is called to take action. As he lives out godliness, the churches will follow and mimic his example. Timothy is to separate from worldly influences and pursue biblical virtue (verse 11). In verse 12, he is told to contend for the truth of God's Word.
Timothy is called back to focus on the truth of God's Word, which falsehood has distracted him from. Not just the pastor, but every believer should be engaged in the fight of faith. God asks us to do so as a matter of obedience.
The Greek word for "fight" means to agonize. The wording tells us that this is a tangible battle for something that's worth contending for. The object of the fight is good, noble, and valuable. "Faith" in this verse refers to the whole body of Christian truth.
Paul gives two ways to fight. The first can be hard to understand: "Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called." In light of the context, this means to tightly grasp the reality of the life you have in Christ, so firmly that you govern your life by eternal purposes. Our purpose on this earth is not to live for what we can see. Make sure that you are patterning the whole of your life to count for eternity.
"Called" references Timothy's conversion. When he was born again, everyone knew that he had been miraculously transformed. Many people in his community and region knew of his salvation. He must continue to let his testimony be known in the churches and city of Ephesus.
Contending for the faith is not a matter of acquiring more knowledge, but working to see God save souls. Each believer can protect the faith by making disciples. Each salvation story is a miracle proving that the Gospel is real. New birth encourages our hearts that the struggle is worth it.
- How are you preparing, as an individual or a family, to make sure your life counts for eternity? It takes time and effort and may be agonizing – but it is worth it. Finding time to do this will take a process of rearranging your schedule. God will give His grace and help to support you in living a life centered around His eternal purposes.
- Do people know your story of life before and after Christ? Do you have friends outside of church who have seen your changed life? God gives you opportunities. Be praying for them.
- Our pastors must lead by example in contending for the faith and having a visible testimony in the community. Pray for them to do both intentionally.
Tools for Further Study
Cross References to Explore
- Jude 3 – Believers are urged to contend for the faith.
- Deuteronomy 6:5 – Love God with all that you have.
- Colossians 3:2 – Living for eternal purposes.
- Revelation 2:4-5 – Calling a church back to her primary focus.
- 2 Timothy 4:5 – The pastor is to have a testimony in the community.
- Luke 15 – One lost soul matters to God.
A Hymn to Encourage: "My Faith Has Found a Resting Place"
My faith has found a resting place, not in device nor creed;
I trust the Ever-living One; His wounds for me shall plead.
I need no other argument, I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me.
Enough for me that Jesus saves; This ends my fear and doubt.
A sinful soul I come to Him; He’ll never cast me out.
My heart is leaning on the Word, the written Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s name, Salvation through His blood.
My great Physician heals the sick; the lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed; For me His life He gave.