Intro: How would you describe Moses of the OT? Deut 33:1 – “Now this is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death”. There words are the introduction to Moses’ last words to Israel. Chapter 34 records his death on Mt. Nebo. After it was all over Moses is described as “the man of God.” Moses was a leader, deliverer, lawgiver, and a prophet. But who would object to describing him as the man of God.
- O.T. “men of God” – At least 4 other times Moses is referred to as the “man of God”. But he was not the only OT person described as a man of God. In fact, the designation was somewhat common in the O.T.
- The angelic messenger announcing the birth of Samson in Judges 13
- The prophet who spoke for God to Eli about the divine judgment on his family
- It described Samuel in 1 Samuel 9:6
- The prophet Shemaiah who was to prophesy against Rehoboam (1 Kings 12:22)
- The prophet who spoke against Jeroboam, and then was lied to by the old prophet. (1 Kings 13)
- It described both Elijah and Elisha (1 Kings 17, 2 Kings 4)
- David was called a “man of God” in 2 Chronicles 8:14.
I. Who was the O.T. “Man of God”?
A. The sum of all these uses tells us unequivocally that it refers to a messenger or a prophet who speaks for God. Notice one other N.T. usage that confirms this – 2 Peter 1:21 – for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
1. A man with a message: What seems evident from this descriptive term is that God committed His word to individuals. He seems to be distinct from those who do not have s revelation from God. His work was defined by the message, and his special relationship to God is defined by his relationship to the words of God. He is bound by it.
2. A man on a mission: Not only did he receive the word, but he received a commission to teach it to others. He was a teacher who spoke for God. Peter’s words here are actually a definition of divine inspiration as the Bible presents it. These “men of God” were “moved” by the Holy Spirit, which means to be driven along (as a sailboat is moved by the wind).
II. The N.T. Man of God –Who is the man of God in the N.T.?I am convinced that it is, as in so many cases, the O.T. use sets up the N.T. understanding. Besides the plural use in 2 Peter, the description “man of God” is used twice in N.T.
A. 2 Timothy 3:16-17– 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. This familiar passage is another clear reference to Holy Spirit inspiration -the scriptures are “God-breathed”. The translation “inspired” may mislead us. Literally it is not the men who spoke who are inspired, but rather the words of God. The words are literally breathed by God Himself. Paul has already identified the sacred writings that Timothy knew from his youth (v. 15). These writings were that words revealed by the men of God of the O.T.
1. The profitability of the words of God are enumerated: the inspired scriptures are useful for doctrine (teaching what is right) reproof (expose error), correction (show how to make it right- on the right path) instruction in righteousness (how to stay on the right path). The value of God’s word is for the equipping of the “man of God” that he might be complete.
2. This “man of God” is certainly a reference to Timothy himself. He had learned these scriptures from his youth, and he was to hold on to them, because they would make him complete. (perfect – KJV). Thus this man of God is not restricted to the person who was initially given the words of God through inspiration, but one who would hear from another. This man of God would be perfected through the scriptures by God’s design.
B. Paul described Timothy as a man of God in His first epistle. 1 Timothy 6:11-14– 11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, I am convinced that Paul’s designation of Timothy as a “man of God” was to emphasize Timothy’s responsibility to fulfill his ministry or special service to God. He was viewing himself as a man with a message; and a man on a mission:
1. Three times in this epistle Paul warns of false teachers. Significantly, after each exposure there follows a personal charge to Timothy to resist them.
• 1 Tim. 1:3 – As I urged you when I went into Macedonia–remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.
• 1 Tim. 4:1-5“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy,..” – 1 Tim. 4:6-7; 11-16 “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed. 7 But reject profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness. ..vs. 11 These things command and teach. 12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
• 1 Tim. 6:3-10“If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, 4 he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, 5 useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.
C. How Can You Recognize the “Man of God”? The answer is in the text: The following 4 features are identified for Timothy: The Man of God is marked by:
1. What he flees from (v. 11) – the word for flee is a word from which we get the word fugitive – running from a plague or poisonous serpent. He is told to flee “these things” – what things? In the context it is found in vs. 9, 10 – The evils attached to the love of money – Greed. It is described as the sin of false teachers who teach the truth for gain & make merchandise of people. The man of God does not preach for money. He is not influenced, as Balaam was, by who is paying his salary. You cannot be God’s man if you are money’s man.
2. What He Follows After (vs. 11) – pursue is the present tense meaning a continual following. What is he to follow after?
• Righteousness – doing what is right – right behavior
• Godliness – the attitude of humility that places one under God’s authority.
• Faith – confident trust in God
• Love – self-sacrificing devotion
• Patience – ability to suffer long, endure to the end
• Gentleness – meekness, the ability treat others with kindness.
3. What He Fights For (vs. 12) – The man of God is a fighter, or contender – a soldier with a cause. He is to expect a fight with Satan and darkness. He must be willing to suffer. Need the elements of God’s armor mentioned in Eph. 6 He needs to spend His time in the words of God.
4. What He is Faithful To (vs. 13, 14) the word keep in vs. 14 literally means to “guard by observing” The man of God places a high regard on consistent obedience to God’s commands. The picture here relates back to the designation of “man of God” – He has been commissioned through the giving of God’s word. He must live up to His commission through obedience. A message and a mission.
Conclusion: Whose man are you? Who directs your life? Whose message do you promote? In the year ahead let’s commit ourselves to the mission of God. Put our trust in the words of God and equip ourselves to do His work.