October 26

1 Timothy 6

Pastors are responsible for the congregation that has been given to them by God, and they will give an account for how they cared for the people. In chapter 6, Paul continues to give Timothy advice on how to care for people and how to guide people in their living for Christ. He wants them to be encouraged to honor those who employ them, both saved and unsaved, as representatives of Jesus.

Paul instructs this young pastor to withdrawal from anyone coming into his church that teaches in opposition to their Gospel message on godliness. There were those who were in rebellion to spiritual authority and their doctrine. They were starting debates and arguments, causing envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, friction. The motive of these troublemakers to be part of the church was to way to connect and do business, not to pursue Christ and His righteousness. Greed was their motive.

We can see here that pride was behind their agenda, to increase their wealth, strength and control over their lives, a means to self-sufficiency. Paul says the love of money is the root of all evil, because the love was a desire to control and be self-sufficient. Greed is never satisfied, and it robs people of their focus on God and His kingdom. It’s a snare and always wants more. Paul instructs Timothy to teach the people to be content with what they have, to avoid the trap of never-enough. Once in this snare, one may never fulfill God’s plan and purpose for his or her life.

Then Paul speaks directly to Timothy to stay far away from greed, but to focus on pursuing the things of God, fighting the good fight of faith, reminding Timothy of the weighty value of eternal matters. Paul encourages Timothy to put his trust in God, not in money.

Then he tells Timothy to instruct the rich not to be haughty, or proud and self-sufficient. Let’s remember that Jesus said concerning the rich, young ruler, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom.” Money isn’t the issue; self-sufficiency is the issue. Instead, the rich can do good, ready to give that money, ready to share it to help others.

Lastly, Paul advises Timothy to guard what was committed to his trust, the congregation at Ephesus. Today we know that many churches have risen and fallen through the last 2,000 years. When a church fails, it is often because a spiritual authority has allowed error, false doctrine, control, greed, or immorality into the church. It is a pastor’s role to guard the church and individual members. Don’t be surprised if a pastor gets protective, because a true shepherd will guard the congregation. Don’t be shocked if a pastor offers correction, warning you a church member of something harmful that could cause the person to stray from the Lord or the church. A pastor may even need to ask an unrepentant person to leave the church. A true shepherd can be trusted to speak truth and keep the church family from wrongful influence. Thank God for pastors!

Jeremiah 17-19

Jeremiah continues to give words from God to the people, and they continue to reject them. Not only do they reject God; but they also attack Jeremiah- and they do so with their words. Most ministers have experienced some sort of verbal attack from people who are really angry with God or in rebellion to the Lord. Jeremiah certainly did not have an easy ministry, which we see another glimpse of at the end of chapter 18.

Today I want to highlight the prophecy about the potter. The Lord instructed Jeremiah to go to a potter’s house, and there God used the illustration to share His heart. The potter was working on a pot, and as he worked on it, the walls of the clay pot fell in on itself. What did the potter do? He reformed a pot with the same clay, something Jeremiah said, “it seemed good to the potter to make.”

The word of the Lord compared the clay to His people. God was willing to continue to work with the Jews, like the potter made a second attempt with the clay; but the people were not yielded in God’s hand. The lesson for us is to be pliable and surrendered to the Lord, so He can do what He wants to do in our lives. As a vessel, we don’t control the Potter and we don’t control what we carry; but the Holy Spirit flows through us as He wills. In 2 Corinthians 4:7 we see that within our earthen bodies, we carry the precious anointing, or power, of God. It is the Holy Spirit that will cause that anointing to flow when there is a recipient positioned in faith to receive it.

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