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<+>Fighting the good fight of faith<+>

Pelea la buena batalla de la fe

Fighting the good fight of faith

1 Timothy 6:6-16

Last Sunday, the U.S. military attacked Afghanistan by launching our long war against terrorism. We do not know how long it will last this fight. Just know that it will be a long and difficult struggle.

This morning, Paul urged Timothy to "fight the good fight of faith" to enter the war against sin. It is interesting to note that the Greek had the idea of a continuous struggle, or that we are constantly fighting the good fight. In fact, Paul tells Timothy that our struggle will continue until "the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ" at the end of the world. But we do not know on what day is going to come back. Just know that it will be a long and difficult struggle.

Then, this morning we are going to talk about our struggle, our good fight of faith. The text for this morning, Paul tells us three major components of this good fight:

1) that "let's take the hand of eternal life,"

2) that mimic God and

3) that we are happy.

I. We miss the hand of eternal life.

Paul tells Timothy in verse 12: "Take the hand of eternal life, to which also you were called, having made good profession before many witnesses." Good profession? Many witnesses? What is Paul talking about here? It is making reference to the baptism of Timothy. Is that Timothy was baptized as an adult, and as yet it is our custom today, Timothy confessed his faith before baptism. It is interesting to note that the confessions of faith that made those early Christians in their baptism formed the basis of what is the Apostolic Creed we use today. Every time we say the Apostolic Creed, we are confessing the faith that we were baptized.

So Paul is urging Timothy and to us that we hold fast to eternal life we receive through our baptism. Through water and Word, Renaissance, that is, we who were dead in our sins, we received a new life through the sacrament of holy baptism. And now through faith that we receive at baptism, we also have eternal life. You can truly say that God is the giver of life as we see in verse 13.

But now, an important part of our constant struggle in this world is to always be clinging to that salvation to never leave it. I want to tell a story about a child of three years who lived in Minnesota. Does anyone here has been in Minnesota? Well, I say that in the winter it's very cold there. In fact, the streets and sidewalks are filled with ice and are very deslizadizas. Well, as I said, there was a boy of about three years that went for a walk with his dad. The dad asked him: "You want me to take the hand you do not fall?" The boy told him no, he was alone. Guess what happened. He fell, right? Then the boy told his dad, "Well, Daddy, I take the hand of yours." But his hands were so young that it soon fell again. At last, the boy told his dad very sorry, "Daddy, can you take my hand?" And with his hand big and strong dad grabbed the hand of his small son and never left her.

Given that we are sinners, because we are weak, we can not grab either the salvation we have received. St. Paul warned the Corinthians: "If anyone thinks that is firm, be careful not to fall." So how well agarramos salvation that God has given us? Paul told the Philippians that everything we can in Christ who strengthens us. And how do we strengthen Christ? Through his Word and Sacrament, right? At the end of the letter to the Ephesians, Paul encourages us to put our spiritual armor to fight the good fight of faith. And we said that our sword in this fight is the Word of God. I mean, God through His Word gives us strength. Through his word he protects us and gets us well to us. Keeps us in the true faith through his Word and Sacrament. They use these means of grace and God will give them the strength to be able to cling to the salvation that are even in the midst of the most ferocious battles.

And now we have received salvation in our baptism, now that we have the assurance that we are children of God and heirs of eternal life, we're going to struggle against sin to thank him. Fight against our enemies: the devil, the world and our sinful nature, which wants to remove our salvation. Quite simply, we will strive to be imitators of God.

II. We imitate God

After talking about how dangerous it is greed, Paul tells Timothy in verse 11: "But you, man of God, flee these things and continues to justice, mercy, faith, love, patience, gentleness. "They are characteristics of God. Our struggle is to be imitators of God.

We continue to justice, that is, we want to keep their perfect law. And again, we do not do it because we have to do to avoid being punished, but joyfully to thank God for the salvation that has given us. We also continue to piety. Here is not talking about compassion, but of devotion. The Greek word literally means "good worship", or that God wants us to be very devoted to him. We follow the faith. If a soldier does not eat for several days, will it have the strength to fight in battle? Obviously not, right? The Word of God is the food that feeds our spiritual faith. So how are we going to pretend to have the strength to fight the good fight of faith without being constantly in it? We still love. Love: the word that sums up the whole law of God. Our fight is to show love for God and our neighbor, even those who mistreat us. We continue patience. The Greek word literally means "staying low", or that in this long and difficult struggle, we will have patience and endurance under pressure. The burden is often heavy, disease and death always around us; walk the valley of the shadow of death. But we still patiently, knowing that it is only for a while and that heaven is waiting for us to the other side. And finally, we continue gentleness. We try to show love and understanding in everything we do.

That is our struggle. With grateful hearts for eternal life that God gives us, strive to be imitators of him.

III. We are happy.

And San Pablo here in the text focuses on a particular aspect of our spiritual struggle. He says in verse 6: "But the mercy killing is (again devotion to God) accompanied by contentment." Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Well now, while we talk about being happy, we need to clarify something important: money and property are gifts from God. They are blessings. Then, we can receive them with joy. God wants us to work hard for them and want to ask everything we want our hearts.

So what Paul speaks here? So it is really a question of attitude, a question of priorities. What is most important to you? Well, since God has given us eternal life, because he is the King of Kings and Lord of lords, he wants to be number one in our lives. But do we really have first place in our hearts? We work, therefore, focus all our energy on getting good homes, new cars, to give our kids everything we did not have. But it's a trap. Having all these things do not bring true happiness.

Let us read again verses nine and ten: "But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and tie, greed and many foolish and harmful to men who plunge into destruction and ruin, because root of all evil is the love of money, which some coveting, have wandered from the faith and were plagued with many griefs. "It's a trap. Ultimately, we can not bring those things with us. And even as we speak, we do not bring true happiness. What family does not suffer if the parents are working all the time and not spend time together as a couple or with their children? What child would not suffer if parents lose by giving it a miss everything you asked? Taking shelter and livelihood, and we are satisfied, because God always will provide everything we need. Because the truth is that we do not need the cable, a panther, a big house, the super nintendo, or a job that pays a lot of money. We do not need such things to be happy.

Let me tell a story about an American businessman who was visiting Mexico. I was on the beach in a small town on the shore when suddenly a man came into his Mexican raft, in his lanchita small. The man was a fisherman and brought some big fish in his little boat. The American asked him how he had taken in fish. The Mexican responded that not much time. The American then asked him why there was no more time to fish more. The Mexican said he had enough to meet the immediate needs of his family. Then the U.S. asked, "And what do you do with the rest of your time?" The fisherman replied, "Well, I get up late, fish a little, play with my kids, I take a nap in the afternoon with my wife and then I go to the square of my people to take a little wine and play guitar with my friends. I have a very full life, sir. "

Amazed, the American said, "I graduated from Harvard with a license in business and you can help. You should spend more time fishing and with the money you earn what catches, you can buy a bigger boat, and with the money you earn that you can possibly buy several boats. Rather than sell the fish to a buyer, you can sell yourself to the cannery, until one day you have to buy your own factory. Then, you're going to have to leave this village and move to Mexico City and then to Los Angeles and finally to New York where control of your great company. "And the fisherman asked the American:" And, how much time could achieve all that? "

"More or less 15 to 20 years," said the American.

"And then what?"

The American laughed and said, "That's the best part. At the right time to sell your company and become a rich man, a millionaire. "

"A millionaire? And then what? "

"So, you retire," the American continued, "you move to a small town on the coast where you lifted late pescarías a little, play with your children, take naps with your wife and Irías the town to take a bit of wine and playing guitar with friends. "

The point is that money and assets do not bring true happiness. They are blessings from God which he wants to enjoy, but also can become a trap, a temptation. We must therefore obsessed with the idea of being rich, arriving "at the top" in this world that we have no time for the important thing: for God and his Word. Our fight is not to enrich, but to be imitators of God. If God decides to bless our work and give blessings natural, therefore, that we should thank them. But should not be our main goal in this world.

Because as Christians, and we are richer ...

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