Godliness with Contentment
1 Timothy 6:6-8
1. We live in a world of discontented people. As Christians, we must not be conformed, but be transformed to a state of contentment (cf. Romans 12:2).
2. Discontentment inevitably leads down a road of spiritual trouble, and heartache.
3. We need to be able to say what Paul said – “as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Corinthians 6:10).
I. The Relationship Between Godliness and Contentment
A. Feigned Godliness
a. The godliness of verse 6 is in contrast to the supposed godliness of verse 5.
i. Verse 6 is TRUE godliness, while verse 5 is FALSE godliness.
ii. The false teachers to which Paul alluded were guilty of projecting a form of godliness for the sake of dishonest gain.
b. 1 Timothy 6:3-5 – They teach that which is contrary to sound doctrine purposefully with the intention of “gain.”
i. (v. 3) – They don’t consent, meaning they stand knowingly in opposition to it – the doctrine they reject is actually according to godliness. (cf. 1 Timothy 3:16 – mystery of godliness.)
ii. (vv. 4-5a) – Rather speaks about things which are useless, having nothing to do with the truth, and this in willful rejection of the truth.
iii. (v. 5b) – They view the whole idea of godliness as a tool for gain – the godliness they possess is not real.
1. They consider godliness as a means to gain, but do not become godly to take advantage of such.
2. Their godliness is a false projection in pretense for gain.
c. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 – These verses describe individuals completely self-absorbed and living for pleasure and gain – this under the guise of godliness.
i. Form – appearance – implication is that they are not actually godly.
ii. Denying its power – their inward man is not actually transformed.
d. THE GOSPEL OF HEALTH AND WEALTH IS A PRIME MODERN-DAY EXAMPLE OF SUCH A FEIGNED GODLINESS FOR GAIN – IF YOU ARE GODLY, GOD WILL BLESS YOU MATERIALLY.
e. Example and contrast:
i. This is what the Pharisees were guilty of – Luke 16:13-14 – lovers of money; Mark 12:38-40 – devour in the sense of consuming their possessions.
ii. False teachers – 2 Corinthians 2:17; 2 Peter 2:3
iii. CONTRAST WITH PAUL – he was extra careful so as to not be charged with such disgusting conduct – cf. 1 Corinthians 9:11-15 – TRUE GODLINESS – DOES NOT WISH TO HINDER THE GOSPEL
a. 1 Timothy 6:6-8 – In contrast to verse 5, TRUE godliness is brought to the forefront, and its value is shown.
i. (v. 6) – Not suggesting the godliness of the previous verses was godliness at all, but showing what TRUE godliness is.
1. Godliness and contentment go hand in hand.
2. The godly person will be content with the things they have.
ii. Godliness – “denotes that piety which, characterized by a Godward attitude, does that which is well-pleasing to Him.” (VINE) (Godward piety)
1. It is an inherently spiritual mindset which values pleasing God above all else.
iii. (v. 7) – The reality of how we came into the world, and how we will leave it shows that material things are not what’s important.
iv. (v. 8) – the bare necessities will be sufficient for us if we are truly godly.
b. Matthew 6:19-21, 31-34 – The godly man is content because his real treasures are spiritual, and he realizes them to be sure and eternal.
c. Philippians 4:10-13 – This was Paul’s mindset. It didn’t matter if he had a lot, or very little, his sufficiency/contentment was in Christ.
d. Great gain?
i. 1 Timothy 4:8 – it is profitable in both sides of life – temporal and eternal. (Makes life easier on earth, and ensures treasures in heaven.)
ii. 1 Timothy 6:9-10 – when one is not content, they do what it takes to gain more – such is a dissolute immoral life directed by Satan – the godly content one AVOIDS SUCH UNNECESSARY TEMPTATION.
1. IN GENERAL – this really regards more than simply money. Any time we choose to yield to temptation and sin it is out of discontentment.
2. Cf. Psalm 73:2-3 – Almost faltered because of envying the wicked in their prosperity.
iii. Philippians 4:4 – There is constant cause for rejoicing. (Contrasted to the many sorrows which comes from the love of money.)
II. Godliness with Contentment
A. Concerning Physical Matters
a. Possessions – Proverbs 15:16; 1 Timothy 6:9-10, 17-19 – This is the context of our text.
i. We must not be materialistic as Christians.
ii. The trust and contentment we have should be in God, and the heavenly treasure we have stored up through Him.
iii. Colossians 3:1-2 – We should seek things that are above.
i. As brethren – Philippians 2:1-4 – As the unified body of Christ we are to assist each other.
1. This requires individual contentment and godliness.
2. If one is not content himself, he will not have the presence of mind to look out for the interests of his brethren – which is what God’s requires us to do.
ii. Finding a spouse – It can be easy to find ourselves discontented while single. We must make sure we find our contentment in Christ and remain patient.
1. 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 – Especially in the context of the “present distress” (v. 26), but also in the general sense.
a. Instead of being sorrowed we should recognize the good that can be done in our present state.
2. Psalm 27:14 – Those who are single should be patient, and wait on the Lord.
3. NOTE: Discontentment can lead to relationships that are dangerous to your spiritual growth.
c. Health – 2 Corinthians 4:7-9, 16-18 – Even in their affliction the apostles were content in Christ, knowing that what was occurring with their inward man was far greater, as well as having the confidence of the spiritual body of the resurrection. (cf. Job 1:21; 2:10 – We should work toward the attitude of Job even in the worst circumstances.)
B. Concerning Spiritual Matters
i. 1 John 5:3 – some have the idea that Jesus’ commands are a burden.
1. They think of them in this way because they truly wish to lead an immoral life.
2. However, the commands of God actually keep us from spiritual destruction.
ii. Instead, we should learn to delight in the law of God, and not wish to fulfill fleshly lusts.
iii. Philippians 3:18-4:1 – Those living immoral lifestyles do so because God is not enough for them, and neither is the prospect of heaven.
1. God is belly – they serve their fleshly appetite instead of God. (Really the opposite of godliness.)
2. They aren’t content with spiritual values and citizenship, but want the things of this world.
iv. This life which desires immoral living will lead to a desire to twist the doctrine of Christ to suit such a lifestyle.
i. Jude 3-4 – The false teachers of Jude’s epistle were those who turned the grace of God into that which permits lewdness. (cf. Romans 6:1 – that grace may abound?)
ii. The reason for false doctrine is the discontentment some have with the parameters implemented by Christ. So they seek to stretch them.
iii. 2 Peter 2:18-19 – They promise liberty – THEY ARE DISCONTENT WITH THE YOKE OF CHRIST.
1. Matthew 11:28-30 – Must understand His yoke is easy, and burden light.
2. When there is a discontentment in this way, the inevitable end is slavery to sin.
iv. False doctrine is always that which appeals to the flesh, not the spirit. It always stems from a discontentment with Christ’s boundaries. But godliness with contentment keeps false doctrine out.
1. We are called to godliness, and godliness is always accompanied by contentment.
2. If we truly are focused on the things of God, i.e. with the frame of mind to please Him, then His matters are enough for us.
3. True sufficiency is found in Christ. As we allow Him to live through us by faith, and as such we lay up heavenly treasure, contentment is bound to follow – the end of such being great gain.
By Jeremiah Cox
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