The two ways of achieving "great gain"

I would like to try and tackle a very difficult, yet extremely important section of God's Word dealing with godliness. Although the verses we will look at were written long ago, they could have been written this morning. What Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy chapter 6 is challenging but at the same time rewarding if the truth can be ferreted out and understood.

Please look at 1 Timothy 6:3-10 and ponder the depth of the words Paul wrote in light of the condition of Christianity today:

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;

4He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

5Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

6But godliness with contentment is great gain.

7For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

8And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

9But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

10For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

The first thing addressed is the standard by which what is taught and said should be judged. The words of our Lord Jesus Christ are wholesome (sound) and His doctrine is according to (the standard set) GODLINESS. The doctrine of Jesus Christ is in alignment with and promotes a deeper spiritual relationship with God. This standard allows us to know if what is being taught or said is from the Lord Jesus or not.

Sound doctrine must, in the end, help a person develop a stronger, richer and deeper relationship with God or it is wrong. When things are taught which draw a person away from God or promote a lifestyle that is contrary to that set forth in God's Word, it is wrong. Sound doctrine must ultimately lead a person to a deep, fulfilling and satisfying relationship with God that is opposite to religion.

Anyone who teaches words that are contrary to this standard is:

  1. Proud=puffed up with conceit
  2. Knowing nothing=understanding nothing
  3. Doting about questions=sick craving for speculations
  4. And strifes of words=word battles (fights about words)
    1. Whereof comes envy=jealous of other's success
    2. Strife=quarrels and dissension
    3. Railings=abuse, insults and slander
    4. Evil surmising=evil suspicions
    5. Perverse disputing of men of corrupt minds=constant irritations among people who have been corrupted in their mind and robbed of the truth
    6. Supposing that gain is godliness=imaging that godliness is a means of profit

[It is interesting that the words “from such withdraw thyself” , as accurate as they would be, are not in most texts. But, when looking down at verse 11, Paul tells Timothy to FLEE all these things. In light of this, it is perfectly allowable to keep the phrase “from such withdraw thyself” in verse 5.]

Any person who refuses to concur with and consent to the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ (the sound doctrine which is according to godliness), no matter how good they look or how good what they say sounds - KNOWS NOTHING. They claim to have all the answers but they have none. They claim to be a servant of the Lord but in reality they are puffed up with conceit and are sick and diseased in the mind, craving speculations and wanting to get into running word battles with others.

Ultimately, the person who falls into this state determines that it is lucrative to act and look religious with a view to acquiring worldly wealth. This is one of the sickest lies the enemy has ever come up with. The very idea of acting all good and holy for the sole purpose of getting rich is indeed morbid and indicative of a person whose mind has been corrupted and every speck of the truth stolen from him.

In opposition to this ugliness, Paul makes a simple yet profound statement. Godliness with contentment is great gain. The difference between “supposing that gain is godliness” and “godliness with contentment is great gain” is as vast as the east is from the west. Something so vast cannot be covered in this blog but must be saved for the next one.