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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Conclusion: Guard the Gospel-Deposit! (1 Tim. 6:20-21)

OutlineGuard the Gospel-deposit (1 Tim. 6:20-21): 
  1. What is the deposit? (v.20a; cf. 2 Tim. 1:8-14)
  2. Who is commanded to guard the deposit? (v.20a; cf. v.21b; 4:12)
  3. How can we faithfully guard the deposit? (v.20b-21b)
Summary:  In many ways the whole Book of 1 Timothy has been about guarding the gospel by lifting it up (1 Tim. 3:14-16). Thus it is no surprise that we find in the final two verses Paul's solemn and climactic command to guard the deposit, that is, to guard the gospel as a most precious and sacred trust. At very least, the gospel is guarded by not giving an inch to the false "knowledge" that is peddled by false teachers in opposition to God's word and ways.  Some have embraced such "knowledge" and have swerved from the true faith.  To keep the faith one must continually protect the good news.  And to protect the good news one must continually look to Christ for fresh grace and reassurance.  It is only by God's grace that we can guard the gospel of grace.

Main Point: Christians must guard the gospel by drawing strength from the grace of the gospel

Discussion Questions:
  • What is the deposit? (v.20a; cf. 2 Tim. 1:8-14)
  • How do we know that the command to guard the gospel applies to us and not just to Timothy? (cf. v.21b "you" plural; 4:12)
  • When we repent and believe in Jesus, how does the gospel protect us?  What do we need to be protected from?
  • What does it look like for the church and individual Christians to protect the gospel? Answer this question first from 6:20-21and then from the whole book of 1 Timothy. 
  • How are the words "Grace be with y'all" both encouraging and instructive?  
Application Questions:
  • How has the gospel protected eternally me? How should I respond to such protection?
  • How can I more faithfully protect the gospel in my spheres of influence this week?
  • How can I be rightly sobered yet not crushed by the weight of the sacred responsibility to guard the gospel?
Prayer Points:
  • Praise God for protecting us from Himself through the grace He extends to us in the gospel 
  • Praise Jesus for being the good man who brought good news so that we can live the good life
  • Confess any ways you have failed to protect the gospel and live in light of its worth
  • Ask God to strengthen you by His grace so that you can guard the gospel of grace
  • Ask God to strengthen us by His grace so that, as a church family, we can protect the gospel
  • Ask God to help us faithfully entrust the gospel to others who will go and do likewise

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Charge to the Rich (1 Tim. 6:17-19)

OutlineA Charge to the Rich (1 Tim. 6:17-19): 
  1. The dangers that come with being rich (v.17a)
  2. The responsibilities that come with being rich (vv.17b-18)
  3. The eternal perspective that defines what it means to be truly rich (v.19)
Summary:  We have learned about how contentment is cultivated when we humbly agree with God about what our real needs actually are, about the temporary and fleeting nature of money and possessions, and about the genuine gain that comes from living a godly life protected and purified by contentment (6:6-8).  But one thing is painfully obvious (especially in on our intensely materialistic culture): contentment will not be attained without a fight.  Therefore, Christians must engage in a life-long fight for contentment, a fight which calls for both offensive and defensive strategies (6:11-12).  And where shall we find such strategies? We find them in the very next passage, that is, in the charge to the rich in 6:17-19.  Here we are given an eternal perspective defining what it means to be truly rich.  This perspective warns us of the dangers and inspires us with the responsibilities that come with being rich. When the dangers are heeded and the responsibilities embraced, we are those who find real gain and a firm grip on what is truly life.

Main Point: Rich Christians must set their hope on God by imitating God's generosity.

Discussion Questions:
  • What is the relationship between contentment (6:6-8), the fight of faith (6:11-12) and the charge to the rich (6:17-19)?
  • What dangers come with being rich (v.17)? Why must we be on guard against such dangers?
  • God is described as one "who richly provides us everything to enjoy."  What does this say about God?  How should this fact about God shape how we use our wealth?  
  • Practically speaking, what might it look like to be ready to share?
  • If rich Christians are not imitating God's generosity, what does that say about their hope?
  • How does v.19 give us an eternal perspective on what it means to be truly rich? How should that perspective shape how we heed the dangers and embrace the responsibilities that come with being wealthy Christians?
Application Questions:
  • How am I practically imitating God's generosity in the use of my wealth?
  • What practical steps can I take to be more ready to share generously with others?
Prayer Points:
  • Praise God for the greatest display of His generosity--the gift of His own dear Son
  • Praise Jesus for making an eternal investment by shedding His blood for us
  • Ask God to help us flee the dangers of pride and false security that come with being rich 
  • Ask God to help us imitate His generosity by being rich in good works and ready to share our wealth for the good of others

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Fight the Good Fight of Faith (1 Tim. 6:11-16)

OutlineFight the Good Fight of Faith (1 Tim. 6:11-16): 
  1. The command to fight (vv.11-12)
  2. The motivation to fight (vv.13-16)
Summary:  God has called us into a fight, a life-long fight of faith.  By God's grace we have been called through the gospel and the powerful working of the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, we must take hold of the eternal life that first took hold of us.  We made a public confession of our faith and now we are called to continue in our confession by fighting the fight of faith.  Like a boxing match, the fight of faith will include strategies of both defense ("flee") and offense ("pursue").  We are commanded to engage in such a fight.  And our motivation for heeding the command comes from the fact that the fight takes place in the presence of God the Father and God the Son.  Both God's intimate presence with us and Jesus' example of making and continuing in His confession are meant to motivate us to fight hard until the bell rings at Jesus' return.   

Main Point: We must persevere in the faith by engaging in a disciplined fight to trust God and keep His word until Jesus returns.

Discussion Questions:
  • How should Jesus' good confession made before Pontius Pilate (v.13; cf. John 18:28-19:16) motivate us to continue and persevere in our good confession (v.12)?
  • The fight of faith is like a boxing match that includes the need for both defense ("flee") and offense ("pursue").  From v.12 and your own experience, how might a christian "fly like a butterfly" and "sting like a bee" in his fight of faith?
  • How should the majestic description of God in this passage (esp. vv.15-16) motivate us to engage in a disciplined fight to trust God and keep his word?
  • How long must we engage in the fight of faith? 
Application Questions:
  • Do I live like I understand that the normal Christian life is a fight to trust God and keep His word until Jesus' returns?  In other words, do I expect my life to be a fight?
  • How am I currently fighting the good fight? What situations in my life are calling for greater defense and what situations are calling for greater offense?
Prayer Points:
  • Praise God for calling us though the gospel and the powerful working of the Holy Spirit
  • Praise Jesus for making and persevering in His good confession even in the face of the cross
  • Praise God for His intimate presence with us as we fight to persevere in the faith
  • Ask God to help us discipline ourselves to "fly like a butterfly" as we flee sin and temptation
  • Ask God to help us discipline ourselves to "sting like a bee" as we pursue righteousness 
  • Ask God to encourage and empower someone you know who is struggling in the fight of faith 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Heart Check on Christian Contentment:

Diagnostic questions designed to help detect a love of money in my heart*
  • Do I think more about how much money I make or the quality of my service?
  • Am I ungrateful for the basic necessities of life and feel entitled to more than the basics?
  • Am I generally dissatisfied with what I do have and find myself craving what don’t have?  
  • Do I desire to get more money so that I can buy things in order to flaunt them? 
  • Do I let an eternal perspective shape the way I view my money?
  • Do I resent giving money?
  • Am I willing to sin to get money? 
  • In what current circumstances am I most temped to be discontent?
  • What do I do when I sense discontentment in my heart?
  • Have I redefined what is entailed in God's goodness?
  • Am I believing that God is not being generous to me?
  • How aware am I that God's provisions are meant to fuel God's mission (His glory, His kingdom, His will)?
  • What are things that I seem to be trying to find security in above and beyond basic necessities mentioned in 1 Tim. 6:8?

Truths about God to help me fight for contentment: 
  • Remember that God promised to give you all you need to honor His name, advance His kingdom, and do His will (Matt. 6:9-11)
  • Remember that God knows best and is keenly aware of your real needs (Matt. 6:8; 32)
  • Remember that God is an attentive and generous Father (Matt. 7:7-11)
  • Remember that God will supply all your needs as you live on mission (Phil. 4:19)
  • Remember that God did not spare his own Son (Rom. 8:32)
  • Remember that God will never leave you or forsake you (Heb. 13:5)
  • Remember that you have the Spirit of the content one inside you  (2 Tim. 1:7)

*Note: A few of the these questions were adapted from John McArthur's questions mentioned in his sermon on this text.