Sermon – The Fight of Your Life (1 Timothy 6:11 – 6:16) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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1 Timothy 2023

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Sermon 17 of 18

The Fight of Your Life

Tom Sweatman, 1 Timothy 6:11 - 6:16, 4 June 2023

Continuing our series Tom speaks on Paul's words to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:11-16. In this passage Paul shows us the importance of fighting the good fight. What does this mean for us in our everyday lives and how can we apply Paul's words to our situations?

1 Timothy 6:11 - 6:16

11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. 12 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. 13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.


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This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Father, we acknowledge you as the blessed and only ruler, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, who no 1 has seen or can see and who is worthy of honour and might forever and ever. And Father given that that is what you are like, we we are amazed that we can talk to you. We are amazed that you would be so kind as to speak to us.

And that even in the face of our rebellion against you, you would send grace upon grace to us in the person of your son and week by week as we gather together And as we come towards the conclusion of this letter this morning, we pray that you would speak to us, help us to see you, Lord, to love you to fight the good fight, and we pray in in Jesus' name. Our men. Well, you will know that our language, the language that we use and the words that we use are so full of images and metaphors. We use them all the time. And I guess that's true of of every language that pictures are a big part of how we communicate to people.

And so I would guess, even in the conversations that have been had this morning, you have used pictures to describe yourself or the situation that you're in or you have heard other people describe themselves of the situations that they're in with pictures. So people might say something like I'm really struggling at work at the moment. There's a picture there, isn't there? Work is a struggle for me. It's hard.

I feel like I'm in a battle situation when it comes to my work. Or someone might say, how are you how are you getting on this morning? How are you doing? And you might say, I also get, you know, I'm just ticking on, you know, which means my life is a bit like a clock. You know, it's just regular and it's steady and it's just ticking on and nothing particularly surprising is happening, but nothing particularly unpleasant is happening either.

I'm just I'm just ticking on. Or if something really good has happened, you might say, I'm over the moon. You know, I'm you know, which I don't really know what it means, to be honest. And most British people never talk so positively about their lives. But, you know, I'm I'm over the moon.

Things are things are great for me at the moment. Or somebody might say, look, you know, life is this week's been a bit of a roller coaster for me. You know, sometimes I felt up and sometimes I felt down, and I haven't really known where I am from 1 moment to the next. And so our language is just full of images, and they're good. It's important really, because those kind of metaphors They communicate to people, something about both the situation that we're in and how we're responding to it, don't they?

So if I was to say to you my life is a bit of a roller coaster, it describes what it's been like, it's unpredictable, it's up and down, it's surprising, and how I'm responding to it, which in that case would be out of control. You know, I don't really know what's happening from 1 minute to the next. Then I just it's just wild and all over the place. If somebody says to you, yeah, I'm having a real struggle at work, it tells you something about their situation and how they're responding to it. They feel like they are in a struggle.

They're having to battle for something or put up with something that they don't like. And and it's just difficult. And so this this is all written into our into our language. And of course, the bible is is full of them as well, and this letter we've seen has metaphors and imagery in it. So you remember, Paul has described the church as the pillar and foundation of the truth.

Now not all churches will have pillars, but we know what he means. It's picture language. It's the pillar and the foundation of the truth. We are those who uphold the truth in the world and and preach it and proclaim it and believe it. It's it's a it's a metaphor.

And similarly here in verse 11, if you look at verse 11, you know, and I was to ask you how how would you illustrate the Christian life? If I was to say to you now just get out your phone, open up a scribble document, and just put down 5 images, 5 ways of describing the Christian life in your experience. I wonder what you would what you would say. Well look how Paul describes it here in verse in verse 11. But you o man of God flee from all this.

So we're supposed to imagine a a fleeing person. And pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness, fight. The good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life. You see, the language he's using.

Flee, pursue, fight, take hold. These are not soft toy images. Are they? They're not cuddly toy images. And often, they may not be ideas that we relish.

I mean, not many people relish the opportunity to have a good fight with somebody. Not many people look forward to a time when they will be fleeing from something. In fact, I don't want to do much fleeing at all in my life. Because that would mean that my life was under threat, although it was something I had to get away from or someone who was after me. And yet, this is how our God is describing the Christian life to us.

These are the images that he's giving us. A fleeing person, somebody in the ring, fighting. These are the metaphors he wants us to process and to think about. And again, they tell us something about what the Christian life is and how we should respond to it. So if it's a fight, that tells me something about what it's going to mean to be a Christian.

It tells me that there's going to be an opponent. It tells me that I've got a train. It tells me that I better be alert It tells me that I better not put my guard down. It tells me that I might be have to ready to go 12 rounds and not just 1. All of that is tied up in the language.

It explains what it's like and how and how we are to to respond. And so we're in this little bit of the letter and their Paul is about to sign off to Timothy. And as he leaves him, he gives him these metaphors to help him to understand his ministry, And what his Christian life is to look like and what it's going to mean for him to follow Jesus. And the way we're going to break this down is we're going to look at we're going to look at the fighting and the fleeing And then at the end, we'll think about how we actually do it. So this fighting, and this fleeing, what is it about, and then we'll see how do we actually find the strength to to do that and to live that way as as Christians.

So let's look at the fight and the flight then. Here's verse 11. But you, man of God flee from all this and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.

When you made your your good confession. So he begins with this word, but you o man of God flee. Now, many of you will know the story of of Joseph from Genesis chapter 39, Joseph was the apart from Benjamin, he was the youngest son who was born to Jacob and Rachel. And his life, his upbringing, I think would have been emotionally confusing for him. Because on the 1 hand, he was cherished and loved by his father, but he was sold into slavery and despised by his brothers.

So it would have been emotionally complex for him growing up. And those brothers who really hated him, at the first opportunity they got, they sold him into slavery, had him thrown into the back of a wagon where he was taken down into Egypt into a land that was not his home, But there in the providence of God and amazing that it happened, potiphar who was 1 of Faro's chief guards, who's a senior man in Egypt happened to be at the slave market that day, and they're saw Joseph and like the look of him, we guess and paid for him and took him home. And we're told that there, even though Joseph was a slave and he was far from home, that the Lord prospered him, and that really everything he turned his hand to went very well. And so although he wasn't with his dad and he wasn't at home, if you're going to be a slave in a foreign land, that's about as good as it could have got, I I would think. Until We get to Genesis chapter 39 and and verse 7, and this famous part of the story.

And if you've got Genesis 39 accessible to you, you can either scroll to it or turn to it in your vivables. Here's Genesis 39 and and verse 6. End of verse 6. Now Joseph was well built and handsome. And after a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, come to bed with me.

And so from then on, we're told that after she got an interest in him, she started talking to him every day. She started trying to seduce him. She wanted to have sex with him, basically. She was going on about him every day, come to bed with me, come to bed with me, and she wouldn't leave him alone. And every time we're told that he he refused her her approaches.

Until you get to verse verse 11. Have a look at verse 11 when she kind of up ups it a bit. Verse 10, and and though she spoke to Joseph, day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even to be with her. 1 day, he went into the house to attend to his duties and none of the household servants were inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, come to bed with me.

And so this is gonna be a moment, a real temptation for him. Because here he is, he's alone. He's in the house. There's no CCTV. All the other attendants are out.

There's no it's just her and him. And there she is, she's been trying to approach him in this way for a long time. It's just the 2 of them. No 1 no 1 would have to know about it. No 1 need no.

They could probably have his fling, begin an affair with her, and and they they could probably get away with it. But you see what he does at the end of that verse, but he left his cloak in her hand and ran or literally fled. He fled out of the house. So that was his strategy. In the moment of temptation, when life is really difficult for him, he found the nearest exit and he went for it And he didn't look back.

He fled, he was out the door, gone without a second thought. His strategy wasn't I wonder how far I can get to sin before it's too late. I wonder how long I could stay in this room and cope with it in my own strength. Let's test my threshold here. How far can I go before it's too far?

That'd be a foolish strategy, wouldn't it? That's like the antelope, you know, who's grazing on the grass with the herd in the peaceful morning sun. And then the antelope gets the first sight or sniff of the lion. And the antelope thinks, I wonder how close I can get to the salivating jaws of that lion before it's too close. Or it's like the captain of the ship who spots the jagged iceberg off in the distance and thinks, Well, I got a hundreds of passengers on board but be interesting, wouldn't it?

To find out how close I could get before it would be too close. How how how close could I get I get before I need to steer away? We know that would be a foolish strategy given the risk and the danger. Joseph finds the nearest exit. He doesn't say I wonder how long I can put up.

He finds the nearest exit and he flee and he runs out the door. Why? Because he recognizes that the threat is so serious and that his God has been so kind. He doesn't wanna go anywhere near it. And with that image of fleeing Joseph in your mind.

You can see the sort of thing that Paul is saying to Timothy here in verse 11 but you but you Oh, man of God, you flee from all this. Now, he may not have exactly had Joseph in mind there, but that's certainly what Joseph did, and that's what we are to do. Timothy was called to that with his own temptations. Now we'll have a look at what those were in just a minute. But you see can you see the image, the first image of a fleeing man.

A fleeing man. Secondly, there's the fight. See that but you o man have God flee and then verse 12, fight, fight the good fight of the faith. And in some ways, that's it's kind of the opposite picture, isn't it? You know, if fleeing is running away from something, fighting is entering into something.

Isn't it? You know, a fighter walks down to the boxing ring. They don't run away from it. They walk down to it and they put their legs 1 after the other through the ropes and they lift up their hand and they wait for the bell and they're ready to engage. They're not running from anything, they're alert.

They're looking for their opponent. What are they going to do? How have they prepared? How do I need how do I need to win this thing? So in some ways, it's an opposite image, isn't it?

And Paul actually describes his whole life like this, his whole ministry as a as a fight. So if you just flick over in your bibles to 2 Timothy chapter 4 and these are these are quite moving words really because he's coming to the end of his his life. This is 1 of the last letters, if not the last letter he wrote. And he says, this is 2 Timothy 4. For I am already being poured out like a drink offering and the time for my departure is near.

I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. And now there is in store for me, the crown of righteousness. Do you see how he combines the metaphors in verse 7, fought the good fight, that's the fighter, Finish the race, that's the running person, kept the faith, take hold of eternal life.

That's the that's the act. He combines all of those images. And so Paul saw all of his ministry and all of his Christian life as both fighting and fleeing. From the moment he was converted, he entered into a battle. There would be false teachers he would have to deal with in almost every city he visited.

He would have to write in order to correct the gospel and keep proclaiming the true gospel. He would have to face physical persecutions, shipwreck, imprisonment, beatings, being stoned to the point of death. He would have to face the fight against his own soul. You know, his temptations to to sin and to go back to being the old man again. He had all of the same kinds of battles that we have.

And as the moment of his departure approaches, and he can almost see the crown of righteousness shining in heaven, which is soon to be put on his head. He describes the whole thing as I have been a fleeing man and fighting man all of my life. And I've kept the faith, but now the crown is the crown is coming. And those are the images that he uses for Timothy. This is what he wants Timothy to know that your ministry in your life is going to be a fight and a flight.

You know, these these are metaphors that are that are full of energy, aren't they? This is not slobbing on the sofa with a can of beer type Christianity. These aren't lazy images. These aren't comfortable images. They are fight and flight.

Keep and pursue. Take hold and run and look. It's that kind of language. That Paul knew for himself and which he says to Timothy here for for his ministry. Okay.

So what what would this have meant for Timothy in particular. If you look at verse 11 again, but you, o man of God flee from all this. Now what is the all this? What is the all this that Timothy was facing? When it's that false teaching we've been looking at, isn't it?

You know, we saw it last last week in verses 2 to 10 you know, the false teaching, they were conceded, understanding nothing, unhealthy interest in controversies and envy and strife and false doctrines, Timothy's got to flee from that. You know, he he's a minister and so he has to he has to engage with the teaching but when it comes to the sins of those false teachers, he is to go as far away and as fast as he can. He's got to show them a clean heel. As you say, show them the back of his feet, run away from their sins. But then there's also the temptations of his own heart.

Do you remember verse 10? For the love of money, It's a root of all kinds of evil. Some people eager for money. That's a sort of that's a heart issue, isn't it? That he's gonna have to fight against.

And it's 1 that creeps up on us so easily, isn't it? We start to daydream about more more money and better extensions, and bigger kitchens, and faster cars, and nicer holidays. And these things were just fantasize about them, and they begin to grip the heart and they filtered down into the heart, the love of money, the love of money, and the desire for more than what we've got better than what we have already been given. He's got to fight and flee on all sides. He's got the sins of the false teachers.

Well, that's attractive because it will give me authority, it will make me someone. He's got the sins of his own heart, that he's got a battle against. With all of it, it's going to be a fight and and a flight. You might have seen in the news this week. There was a a terrible train accident in India.

Number of trains derailed and lots of people lots of people were killed just just on on Friday, I think or Thursday. And it reminded me about a train accident that happened in this country back in 20 20 16. You might remember there was a Accroydon tram that was derailed back in 20 16 on the on the tram link between Croydon and Wimbledon. And it was 6 o'clock in the morning and the weather conditions were bad and the driver took a took a tight bend in sort of new Addington type way. At 20 miles an hour quicker than he should have.

So it's about a 20 mile an hour bend and he took it at 40 miles an hour and the train was derailed and 7 people died, 50 of them injured, 19 very seriously. And that was the worst I think it was the worst train disaster in this country since since the fifties. And I was reading about that this week, and what I didn't know is that just a few months later are, on the same on the same line between Wimbledon and Croydon, some passengers were were filming 1 of the drivers of of the tram because he had fallen asleep at the controls. And this was this was in rush hour apparently in sort of downtown Croydon area and the passengers wondered why the train wasn't wasn't moving and they they sort of went around and and filmed him and he was fast asleep at the controls. And they had to wake him up in order to prevent another disaster.

And Sudik Khan wrote about that saying, how he just couldn't believe that after just a matter of months, again. And what did that look like to the families who were still grieving the loss of those who were in the first incident, to see another driver asleep at the wheel. Have we not learned our lesson? Have we not seen what can go wrong if we don't pay attention in these type of things. And you know, as I was thinking, as we've read through this letter, we we have witnessed derailments in this letter.

You think about chapter 1 where Paul talks about Jaimeius and Alexander. Do you remember them? They made shipwreck of their faith. They were derailed. Their faith was derailed.

They crashed. They came off the tracks. It was devastating. And the question is so soon after knowing about that, would we ourselves fall asleep at the controls? We only read it a few months ago, a few weeks ago.

We know what happens. We know the destructive power of sin to derail and wreck a ministry and wreck a life. Will we now fall asleep at the wheel knowing all of that? And this is what Paul is saying. You know, the the more that we appreciate the danger, the more space we will want to put between ourselves and sin.

The more we appreciate the danger the more space we will want to put between ourselves and sin. And we will want to do that as well because it's offensive to God. You remember what Joseph said? We didn't we didn't read it actually, but what he says to Potafar's wife is, you're basically, your master has been so good to me How could I do this to him and do such an immense evil to my God? You know, I couldn't do that.

I want to flee from that and fight against that. And the more we recognize that, that's what we'll want to do as well by the grace of God, we'll wanna do all that we can to cut out and put to death and crucify and fight and flee from anything that could derail and wreck our Christian lives. By the grace of God, that's what we'll we'll wanna do. So that's the fighting and the fleeing. I don't know where it is for you.

We'll all have our own different temptations. You will probably know them and have them in your mind. How do we fight? How do we flee as we're called to here? That's the fight in the flee.

Okay. So let's have a think about now how we actually how we do this in our lives. Because intellectually, I am completely persuaded that that is what I need to do with my sin. But I also know that if my salvation depends on my perfect fighting and my perfect fleeing, I'm gonna be in hell in in just a few years time. How how do I how do I how do we do this?

Where does the strength come from to keep this up day after day after day and what am I supposed to do when I fail? Well, look at the motivations that Paul gives to Timothy here. There's there's 3 short ones I want to look at and the first is in verse 12. And it's the good confession he made. His good confession in the past is going to give him strength for the future.

Verse 12, fight the good fight of the faith, Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. Now writers wonder about what this what this actually was that he's referring to here, this good confession in the presence of many witness and some people think it may have been his conversion when he actually became a Christian and gave testimony. Others wonder if it was his baptism, a time when he publicly declared his faith in the church being baptized or or some people think it was more likely to be his ordination. You know, when he was ordained or appointed as a minister in the local congregation. That was the time when he made a good confession in the presence of of many witnesses.

And that would sort of fit with what we see in 1 Timothy 4, if you just turn back with me to 1 Timothy 4 and verse 14. Seems to imply some kind of public recognition by the elders. Do not neglect your gift which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. So that seems to be the most likely thing he's referring to. But whatever it is, it's a time in Timothy's life of of public ownership, where he stood up And in the presence of many witnesses, made a good confession, he laid hold of the eternal life.

He said, I am a Christian, and I am Christ's and I'm gonna follow Christ and serve this church. He said something like that in front of people. And you know, all Christians are almost Christians will have moments like this in their in their lives. It might be when they are converted and they stand up in a group of family or friends or in front of a church, and they give testimony to the grace of God. Or it might be a baptism, many in this room, perhaps most in this room will have been baptized.

They will have at 1 time in their life stood on a stage, not dissimilar from this. And said, here's what I was, here's what I am, and the change is owed to the grace of God. I'm following and it's a good confession before people. Or we might think of a a marriage. You know, when 2 people get together at the front of a church or front of a building and they say, for better or worse for sickness in health, By God's grace, I will.

I will. It's a good confession. It's a good confession in front of many witnesses. With God's help, I will. Many of us here will be will have gone through the membership process and will have said either in your home groups or at a prayer meeting.

I I will devote myself. I will devote myself to the apostles teaching, to prayer, and to the cornerstone fellowship. Yeah. Many of us have said that, you know, we've stood up and we've made a good confession in front of many witnesses. We've said public things about Jesus.

We've made promises. And you know, those moments aren't just ceremony or tradition. Those are moments of creation. Those are moments when we come into being, when we are formed, and when we set the trajectory for our lives. These are words that we say which are meant to transcend the ups and downs of normal life, and are meant to hold us and establish us for for life.

So that when in my Christian life, I'm weary of fighting sin, and I have failed yet again to be consistent in my Christian life. 1 of the things I can do is I can look back in my past, and I can say, do you know But even though it looks rubbish now, there was a time in your life when you were covered in water. In front of a lot of people, And someone said to you, will you follow Jesus Christ as Lord? And you said Jesus Christ is Lord. And I and I said it.

And I meant it, and I knew it, and it was a good confession. It was a good confession. And I'm supposed to remember it because in remembering it, it's going to give me strength to keep battling. The same would be true in marriage, you know, if you're tempted to look away from, your spouse to someone else or to a life without them. 1 of the things you can do is to remember your good confession.

To go back and say, now I said, for better or for worse, by the grace of God, I will. I said that in front of many witnesses. And that good confession in my past will hold me in the present. It's going to help me to fight. Or when you're tempted to look away from church, You know, you just think I've just I've just done with it.

You know, I can't I'm gonna I I don't want to assemble with God's people anymore. You can say, no, come on, Tom. You said at 1 time, I would devote myself to the apostles teaching to fellowship and to prayer. You made a good confession in your past, and the memory of it is going to give you strength in the present. See what he's saying?

That that good confession Timothy is to be like those ice boots with the crampons. You know, they dig you in to the ice, and they hold you. They hold you there. These confessions that you have made. And so when you're weary with your own sin and when you're tempted by the lies of false teachers, Timothy, you remember that good confession.

You remember when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Don't neglect that gift you. Keep going. Remember that moment and it will help you fight. So that's 1 that's 1 way that we can get motivation and strength.

I don't know how often you do. But perhaps we should think more upon the good confessions that we have made in our lives in the presence of many witnesses because I think Paul is saying Timothy, those are gonna help you. To to keep going. So there's his calling. Second motivation is his confession rather.

Second motivation is his calling and that that's in there that's in verse 12 as well. He says, fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called. The eternal life to which you were called. In other words, more important than what we say is what God has done for us.

The eternal life to which you have been called. Now that eternal life When you read through the bible, you discover that that is more than just a future hope to look forward to. Internal life is a present reality for us to enjoy. So the Lord Jesus says, this is eternal life, that they know you father and they know the only son that you have sent. That is eternal life.

It is to know God and to enjoy the life of God and to experience the forgiveness of God in the present. It's not just a future thing. Now how does Timothy and how do any of us ever ever get that? Well, it's something that we are called into by grace alone. We get that by grace.

That's a gracious gift from God. If you turn over to 2 Timothy 1, you see this language of calling again, 2 Timothy 1 verse 9. He says God has saved us and called us to a holy life. Not because of anything that we have done, but because of his own purpose and grace. Isn't that wonderful?

He's called us not I like the way he puts the negative and the positive. He doesn't say called us by his own purpose and grace, that'd be good enough. He says he's called us, here's the negative. Not because of anything you have done, just to rub that in, but by his own purpose and grace. And in some ways I think for Christians, this is where the fight is the fiercest.

Just to keep believing this message of the gospel. Because we can start to believe And we can start to believe it so easily, can't we? That our assurance is not based on what God has called me to. It's based on how I've performed this week. Isn't that how lots of us just live from week to week?

Not on what God has given me in the gospel. But on how well I've done in fighting or fleeing. We so easily tie up our assurance with our own performance. Yeah, we might start believing this. Yeah, at the start of my Christian life.

Yeah. God saved me. It was all by his grace. You know, nothing I've done. But then at some point in the Christian life, we substitute that for a false doctrine.

And we start to believe although I was saved that way, The way I've really got to live as a Christian is just by my own performance. It's now it's now nothing to do with God's purpose and grace. But you know if I fall into that, there is no there is no way that I can live this life of fighting and fleeing if that's my gospel. Because when I fail And when I give in yet again, I'm either gonna be so completely crushed. I'm just gonna throw the towel in.

And just wait for myself to be knocked out lying on the canvas looking up at the lights. I'm just gonna give up or I'm gonna come proud like these false teachers because I can do it. And look at me and you can't and I can. The only way that we can live this this is true for Timothy and it's true for only way we could live this life of fighting and fleeing is if we remember that it was never about our performance in the first place. God called us not because of how well we would flee and fight.

Not because of anything we have done. But by his own purpose and grace, we were called to it. And Timothy, the only way you're gonna keep going is if you remember the gracious calling of God in your life. There's no other way. So firstly, he's got to remember that good confession.

Secondly, he's calling. Thirdly, he's got to draw strength from Christ, his Savior. If you look at verse 13, in the sight of God who gives life to everything and of Christ Jesus who while testifying before pontius pilate made the good confession. I charge you. And charging Timothy is definitely 1 of Paul's hobbies.

I mean, he charges him all the time in this letter. You know, he when he wants to really underline something for him, he thinks, who can I recruit here? I'm gonna recruit the name of God, and the name of Christ, and the elect angels, and all that is good and holy in the world, I'm gonna call behind me, and I'm gonna lay them I'm gonna lay it as a charge for you. I charge you Timothy to keep going with this. And the interesting thing is this cameo appearance from Tyler, isn't it?

You know, he you know, Christ Jesus who while testifying before pontius pilate. You know, he doesn't come up very often outside the God. Sports, pontius pilot. So why is he suddenly made his way into the end of Paul's letter? Well, because he wants him to remember that moment.

When Jesus Christ was on trial before pilate, when he was in the thick of his most fierce temptation, what did he do? He stood with the truth. He testified. He made a good confession. It is, as you say, I am a king, all who are on the side of truth.

Listen to me, said Jesus, He made that confession in the thick of his deepest temptation. And so Paul is saying, Timothy, remember Christ Remember his good confession, and in your moment of difficulty, you stand with the truth like him. You testify. And then he says, look, to keep this command verse 14 without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time. Until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Now what's the comfort there? Would you see what that tells us? Until the appearing, what that tells us is that we will not have to fight and flee forever. That 1 day Jesus is coming again, and when he does, it'll be the end of fleeing and it will be the end of fighting and it will be the end of pursuing. And all of those years of difficulty will give way to an infinity of rest and peace.

And so Paul is saying to Timothy, look, it won't be long. You know, Jesus is gonna come and when he does, this is all this will all be over. So you keep going. It's only a few more years, and yet you will be with the Savior. And with that hope, fresh in his mind, He finishes with this wonderful song, you know, verse 15, which God will bring about in his own time God, the blessed and only ruler, the king of kings and the lord of lords, who alone is immortal or mortal, and who lives in unapproachable light who no 1 has ever seen or can see to him be glory forever and ever.

Now each 1 of those words deserves its own sermon. That's like the doctrine of God condensed down into a couple of sentences. And most commentators call this a doxology, It's a moment when an argument turns into a song, or when a pen becomes an instrument. You know, it's that sort of thing. When when someone is writing about God and they get so caught up and so excited and so taken up with what they're saying, they just have to burst out into a declaration of praise, the argument becomes a hymn to God.

And that is what is happening here. And you see, of course, every 1 of these words is is sobering, sobering to live in the sight of a God who is immortal, who lives in unapproachable light. Those are words that rightly make tremble, but if this is here just to intimidate Timothy, it really makes no sense, does it? Because normally, things that paralyze us with fear don't make us sing. This is truth about God, which makes us sing.

This is a description of God which is meant to encourage Timothy in his battle with the false teachers. At home, we've got lots of books about dinosaurs and lots of them are mine. And they're ones that we read often. And if you've got if you've if you've got a book on dinosaurs or anything like this, You'll know 1 of the things that the illustrators often do to help you understand what they were like, is these scale diagrams. You know, so they'll draw a hulking great Diplodocus or whatever, and then they'll draw the size of a man next to it.

And they're normally sort of shadowy, and so you can see. And the man is normally up to sort of halfway up his shinbone or something, and then you've got this enormous great dinosaur. And the the point of it is that as you look at the scale, you think, man, these things were these things were massive What would it have been like to to stand next to this thing when it was walking around, it was walking around the earth. And I think Paul is is trying to just say to Timothy, get the scale of things here, Timothy. This is the God that you worship.

How small do your opponents look in comparison to him? How think of the scale For all their false teaching and all their clever arguments and all that they forbid, they are only they're like ants trying to topple the shard. They they're tiny. The sketch is not even worth comparing when you've got this matte sovereign immortal unapproachable, life giving, life sustaining, sinner saving God in your corner behind your ministry, what your fiercest enemy is just is just an ant on the shard. It doesn't even compare.

And then your own sin, Timothy, you know, for all the for all the hollow pleasures that sin can offer you. What what think of the scale? What can it offer you compared? To the life giving, life sustaining, immortal, unapproachable yet coming near God who loves you. What can the love of money compare?

With this 1 who is in your is in your corner. He's trying to get him to see the scale. Timothy, you've got a great God and he loves you. And he's gonna power your ministry for all of your life. And just so do you see how it works?

We've got to fight and we've gotta flee, and you've gotta do that. And I've gotta do that. We gotta fight, and we gotta flee, and we gotta put to death, and we gotta cut off, and we gotta pursue, and we gotta take hold. It's on us. We've got to do it.

But how do we do it? How do we do it? Where does the strength come from? It comes from all all of those reasons, those good confessions, that calling to eternal life, and that awesome God and Christ. In our corner.

The more we meditate on those things, the faster we'll be able to flee and the harder we'll be able to fight. Let's pray together. In just a moment, we're going to take the Lord's supper and the bread and the juice is going to be passed around And as the stewards get ready to bring the bread and the juice round, why not just use this time of quiet to think about The sins in your life that you need to confess, the things that you want help to fight and to fly from. And then to remember that as we come to this meal, we remember Jesus. Who gave his life for our sins, who has called us to eternal life.

And that even as we take this meal, we proclaim the Lord's death until he comes He will appear soon and our battles will be over. So just a few more moments of quiet as we prepare to take the Lord's supper, sins to fight and grace to grace to remember. We thank you father for the precious sacrifice of Jesus. For the eternal life to which you have called us. And we pray that we would continue to reflect on your great graciousness so that we might have the power to put to death sin in our own lives and we pray these things for Jesus glory.


Preached by Tom Sweatman
Tom Sweatman photo

Tom is an Assistant Pastor at Cornerstone and lives in Kingston with his wife Laura and their two children.

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