God would have us learn to run away from things that would destroy our fellowship with Him.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing all right today? Oh, I trust so, bless your heart. I’m fine, thank you. This is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m back with you. Thank God for the privilege of sharing from God’s Word. We’re finishing up our consideration of 1 Timothy, sort of hitting the high spots here and there, recapping some of the precious thoughts that are there in God’s Word, before we go on to some other passage of Scripture.
By the way, preachers, I know a number of pastors and other full-time Christian workers listen to this broadcast. Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:2, “These things teach and exhort.” It isn’t enough to lay the truth out neatly there in a nice outline and then put it through your Xerox machine so you can have a handout for everybody and let them take that outline home and say you taught them. You don’t really teach a person until he or she is motivated to action based on God’s inherent, infallible Word, the Bible. And teach and exhort, that means move to action. Always teach and preach for a verdict, will you? Don’t be content just to lay the truth out and then pronounce the benediction and go home. Always teach and preach for a verdict. That gives you a dynamic ministry. You’ll last a lot longer, believe me.
Well, Paul spends a lot of time talking about people who are rich or who want to be rich or who have love for money. And then in the middle of that sixth chapter, he said something that struck my attention and held it, and I began to dig a little bit. And I want to talk about that today. He says in verse 11, “Thou, O man of God, flee these things.” Now, you have to go back into the chapter to find out what the “these things” is. Well, you have “pride”, verse 4. You have “empty arguments”, verse 4 also. You have “corrupted minds,” verse 5. “Equating Godliness with gain” has a strangely familiar ring about it even in today’s culture, doesn’t it? A lot of people who are preaching that if you’re a good enough Christian, you’ll be rich. The Bible never says that. No, it doesn’t. It says, be faithful, it doesn’t say be rich. But that’s one of the things that is under the heading of “these things.”
And then he says “the love of money.” As a result of it you have “error.” Some, it says, have erred from the faith. And then you have “heartache,” pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But he says, “Thou, O man of God, flee these things.” The whole bit there: Argument, pride, love of money, dirty mind, shallow religious philosophy, equating Godliness with making money. He says, “You run away from that.” Well, I thought, “Now, here, he’s telling me to run away. There must be some other passages that say the same thing.” And I began to look them up and these then are the verses and passages that I want to share with you as we think about this verb “to flee,” to run away. There is a time to run away. There is a time to run away, know when to run and remove yourself physically from the location of the temptation.
Over in 1 Corinthians 6:18, we’re very familiar with 6:19. “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which ye have of God, and you’re not your own. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which belong to God,” 6:19 and 20. But we don’t often quote 6:18. The reason being that it’s a little embarrassing. It’s a lot easier to quote, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost,” than it is to quote 6:18. What does it say? I’m turning the pages of my big Bible where you can hear it. He says, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without,” that means outside of his body, “But he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost,” he goes on to say. Run away.
Oh, I suppose most people think, “Well, that’s for young people in whom the desires of physical life are so strong.” And of course that’s true. But I think you have to remember that the older you get, the more you need a great Savior. And God would have us learn to run away from things that would destroy our fellowship with Him and the effectiveness of our ministry. There’s two reasons he tells you that you should run away from immorality. One is, you sin against your own body, you’re sinning against yourself as well as against others. And as Joseph said when he was under the pressure of the hussy who was trying to seduce him there in Egypt, Joseph said, “How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” And David, when he was repenting, he said, “Against Thee, even Thee have I sinned.” So yes, you’re sinning against God. But Paul says, “Look, you’re actually sinning against your own body.” You’re making it impossible for yourself to reach out in faith to God or to reach out in help to other people. It’s a sobering, awesome truth there.
And then he says you’re also sinning against the Holy Spirit that lives in you. You belong to God and the Holy Spirit of God dwells within you and you’re sinning against Him. This holy, holy God living in you since you trusted Christ to save you, says, run away from anything that would grieve Him. “Grieve not the Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed unto the day of redemption,” he says. Well, I thought, “What else is there that we have to run away from?” And I found in 1 Corinthians 10:14 a verse that says, “Run away from idolatry.” “Wherefore,” he said, “My dearly beloved, run away from idolatry.” Now, this is a capstone verse that comes at the close of a whole group of verses.
He says “these things,” he’s talking about what happened to the children of Israel in their wilderness wanderings. “These things were our examples,” this is 1 Corinthians 10:6 I’m reading. “To the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted,” that word “lusted,” is our word “desire,” “To the intent that we should not strongly desire evil things even as they also strongly desired them. Neither be ye idolaters as were some of them. Neither let us commit fornication as some of them committed and died, 23,000 of them in one day. Neither let us tempt Christ as some of them tempted and were destroyed by serpents. Neither murmur as some of them also murmured and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now, these things happened to them for examples and written for our admonition. We, upon whom the ends of the earth are come. Therefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man.”
What are the temptations? Desires, verse 6. Idolatry, verse 7. Immorality, verse 8. The kind of boldness that dares God to do something, neither let us tempt Christ. Presumptuous sins, in other words. Complaining, verse 10. He said, “No temptation taken you but such as is common to man.” “We all have temptations in these areas,” said he. “But God is faithful Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you’re able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape.” There’s your concept of running away again. “That ye may be able to bear it. Wherefore”, he says, “Flee from idolatry.”
Why? Because every one of these things that were listed above, which I just read for you, is a kind of idolatry. If you want something more than you want God, that’s idolatry. If you place your body in an immoral situation, that is idolatry. If you are guilty of presumptuous sins and just daring God to do something, that’s idolatry. If you grumble, that means you’re placing your own feelings and desires and complaints above God’s Will, and that’s idolatry. That’s what he’s saying. So he says, “Run away from idolatry.”
Now, the key in that, of course, is 1 Corinthians 10:13. “God made a way of escape that ye may be able to bear it.” You run away to God. The Psalmist says in Psalm 143:9, “I flee unto Thee to hide me.”
I wanna tell you something: any time you’re under any kind of pressure of temptation and testing, if you’ll seek God, you’ll find it. There’s a hiding place there and the pressure is eased and the victory is given and God takes care of you. I want you to know that, beloved, if you don’t know it already. Many of you are saying, “Yes, Bob Cook, we know it.” But some of you may not have discovered that that’s true. When you’re under pressure, when you’re tempted, when you’re tried, when you’re tested, you can run to God. “I flee unto Thee.” Don’t just run away, like some person wildly dashing out into the streets of life. Don’t just run away, run to God.
Well, then we come to the passage that we were dealing with in the study of 1 Timothy, “Flee these things.” Chiefly, money and the things that it will buy. Run away from depending upon things and the ability to argue and the ability to finagle your way through life, politic your way through situations, and specifically run away from the love of money.
Run away from, what does that mean? That you’re not supposed to save anything, that you’re not supposed to make a good salary or make a profit in your business? Of course not. God is in favor of the profit motive. Read your Bible and find out. God is in favor of being a good steward, and that means saving and preparing for the days that lie ahead. “The prudent man foreseeth the evil and hideth himself. The simple pass on and are punished,” said Solomon. So God is in favor of prudent business procedures. And when you begin to make money your god, that’s idolatry. “It is an insult to the Lord who bought you, not with silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.” So you run away.
Then finally he says, “Flee also youthful lusts.” And this word that is translated “youthful lust” is only used here in your Greek New Testament. He said, “This is something special.” Desires that are youthful desires. And that doesn’t simply mean sexual desires. That means the whole drive of youthful desire. The desire to be accepted. The desire to be the most of something or other. The desire to be the head. The desire to be eminently successful and popular. And of course, the desire to love and be loved. He said, “You run away from those. Don’t let your desires run your life. You run them instead.” That’s what the Bible means when it says that we are more than conquerors. Your desires don’t have to run you, you can run them instead.
Father God today, help us to know when to run away and help us to run to Thee, Thou great hiding place for our souls. Amen.
Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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