Dear Leader, part 9 (Sound Doctrine, Nitpicking Words)

This exercise is a continuation of a series we started at Grace with our leadership while I served as interim there. For those who are not pastors or deacons, but who lead in some capacity in any arena of life, these books are a tremendous resource in Scripture. I encourage all of those who would be called leaders or who oversee to take advantage of these notes geared specifically toward leadership or roles with much responsibility.

1 Timothy 6

v. 1-2

These verses are not a condoning of slavery. Nor are they a condemnation of the act of slavery. There is one king and His name is Jesus. We, being followers of Jesus, are to serve all people unconditionally. This principle is applied to the lives of those who serve as slaves. They are representatives of Christ to their masters. Whether or not slavery is morally wrong (I do believe the owning of another person is morally wrong), which isn’t addressed in this verse, people in every circumstance are to be servants to those around them, especially so as they serve brothers or sisters in Christ. We are to seek what benefits others and resolve to be living sacrifices before Christ, for the good of our brothers and sisters in Christ, and as a testimony of Christ to the whole world.

v. 3-5

Sound teaching promotes Godliness. Those who teach or desire to hear false doctrine are conceited (they care only about themselves and their own image) and they keep themselves from genuine understanding. Evidence that someone is conceited and has no interest in genuine understanding includes an interest in disputes and arguments over words. They cause envy, quarrels, slander, evil suspicions, and constant disagreements.

I have met many people who are like this in the organized church. In fact, it is tempting for any of us to be this sort of person (and I was once this person). This is why it is so important for us to be constant learners, to be teachable. The truth is that we can never pretend to be more intelligent than everyone else, for we can learn from everyone. Iron sharpens iron. I can listen to someone, anyone, with intent to respond or try to make myself out to be more intelligent than the person speaking, and the only thing I accomplish is that I create an environment of envy, quarrels, slander, evil suspicions, and constant disagreements. On the other hand, I can listen with the intent to understand and empathize and ask questions to increase my own understanding. Good leaders will seek first understanding. They will, and we must, ask the questions of a student as we lead instead of pretending that we have all the answers. Godliness is the result.

v. 6-10

The Lord is our love. What we do, we do for Him. We do not work for money, and any compensation received should be considered a gift from God. We are not compelled by material gain. We do what we do because we love our Lord. We cannot lead out of compulsion. It is an impossible feat. For, if we lead (and by lead I mean serve) out of compulsion, we have not genuinely cared for anything other than personal gain. Seeking personal gain by works is contrary to service in Christ by faith.

v. 11-16

Fellow servants, we must persevere in the work that Christ has called us to. For, Christ has not yet returned. He will do so in His own good timing. If He has not yet returned, then there is still work to be done on this wretched earth. We must stay the course. We are as lambs among wolves. We serve the sovereign King.

v. 17-21

We should be on our guard, not finding our identity in the temporary wealth of the world but trusting in God who supplies not only our needs but also all things to enjoy. Our treasure is in Heaven. Servants, let us avoid irreverent things and empty speech. Let us avoid those contradictions that come from what is falsely called knowledge. There is much that many professing Christians have accepted that did not come from God, but was invented. Even though it may sound good, we must work to guard ourselves and our brothers and sisters from it because it has not come from God. Those things cause many people to reject genuine faith and settle for cheap substitutes, which make promises that will never truly be fulfilled. They have not actually known Christ.

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