I Timothy 6:6-12—Dr. Denny—DBC—September 29, 2019
Introduction: George C. Parker was a con man plain and simple. Of course, he had many other con names he used such as James J. O’Brien, Warden Kennedy, Mr. Roberts, and Mr. Taylor. But he was George C. Parker. He was born in NYC to Irish parents. He had four brothers and three sisters and was a high school graduate. (I wonder how many teachers he drove crazy). George C. Parker believed in getting rich quick. No long days toiling in a factory for him.
One day he had a brilliant idea: I will sell the Brooklyn Bridge. He tried to play devil’s advocate: ‘You can’t do that. You don’t own it!’. But none of that slowed him down. So he put it up for sale. His suckers were often immigrants who had a little money and knew nothing of the rule of law or the American system. He was very convincing. He made up fake documents that looked real. He didn’t just sell the bridge once. He sold over and over. The police came once and arrested the victims who thought the bridge was theirs and were setting up toll booths.
Background: Paul made it clear to young Timothy. ‘Just forget George C. Parker. Forget the Brooklyn Bridge. Give up this love of money and riches. Just learn to live simply with what you have’.
But make no mistake. Paul wants you to be rich—filthy rich. And he has a formula that you can follow. It’s just like baking a cake—do this and this and this. Paul has a formula for a life rich in contentment and happiness. I am going to share that formula with you this morning.
- Quickly Flee (v11). There are times in our lives when we have to get up and run for all we can. When you’re lounging on the beach and you see a tsunami coming you can’t finish the chapter in your novel. You have to get up and run. And Paul says if you want to be truly rich you have to have times of flight. Since Paul is talking about money in the previous verses this is clearly one thing wants you to know. Flee the money trap, he says. Don’t get caught in its snare. It will ruin your life. The love of money is the root of all evil, he says and the sooner you get running from it the happier you will be.
*Lao Tzu, a Chinese philosopher of the 6th century BC said this: “He who is contented is rich. Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
Paul said the same thing in verses 6-8. READ.
*Lucius Cincinnatus was a hero of ancient Rome. He was a simple farmer who loved nothing better than the simple life beneath the sun out in his fields, breathing the country air. But one day when Rome was about to attacked and the citizens didn’t know what to do. They ran out to his farm and begged for his help. They made him dictator for 6 months –all-powerful. He put his plow down. Raced into the city and ordered every able-bodied man to come with weapons to the forum. Within 15 days he put down the insurrection, defeated the enemy and then—well what did he do next? He was all-powerful. He could do anything he wanted. He was dictator for 6 months. What did he do? He tossed all of that to the ground and went home to his farm and his plow and his chickens and fresh air. He didn’t want anything more. He was contented with the simple life. *(George Washington called Cincinnatus when the Revolutionary war was over).
- Urgently Pursue: Paul’s formula for riches included a paradox. He said I want you to flee but I also want you to pursue. Flee the trap of money but pursue the six pillars of happiness and success. He lists them in verse 11—READ TEXT. ———–
Can we do both at the same? Can we flee but pursue? Yes. We flee from something but run toward something. If you want to be truly rich as God defines wealth, then you have to spend your life pursuing the six pillars of happiness: righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.
This is a diet rich in all the essential nutrients for robust health and riches. There are at least six sermons in this one verse. Pursuing these pillars is like losing weight. You don’t have to lose it all in one day and you can pursue these six goals over your lifetime.
Pick one a day. On Monday focus on gentleness—Tuesday select godliness—Wednesday think often about love– and pursue faith on Thursday. Slip into righteousness on Friday and for the weekend pursue perseverance.
Paul’s message here is simple: Life without pursuit is empty and meaningless. You must pursue—Just don’t pursue money and Brooklyn Bridge deals and get rich quick schemes. Pursue the pillars of happiness.
- Continuously Fight (v12)— There is a time to stop running and fight. Paul says, “Fight the good fight of faith.” There is a time to fight.
*When I was in second grade just before my family moved to Japan, I lived in Sumpter SC. Each day I loved to go out on the playground at recess. There were woods off in the distance and I loved to run through the woods. But there was a bully out there always waiting for me. I got to where I hated going on the play-ground. I didn’t know how to fight so I was afraid. But one day Big Becky came to my defense. She was a huge 5th grader with biceps. She was tough. And when she heard my story she set out after the bully and sent him flying.
In Eph 6:11 Paul said, Put on the full armor of God so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil…
In other words, there is a time to fight.
So we started off this morning with George C. Parker selling the Brooklyn Bridge because he wasn’t content with his life. He wanted to get rich quick. It resulted in him spending his life in Sing Sing Prison in NY.
Let’s do better than that. Let’s find the true riches that God offers. Let’s flee the love of money and learn to live with contentment. Let’s Pursue the pillars of happiness and let’s fight the true fight of faith resisting the devil’s snares that will only bring us down.