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My wife and I were looking for a church home after moving to a new community. We looked in the yellow pages and tried a number of churches.
After a time, I found it more profitable to call and talk to the pastors of the prospective churches to see what I could find out. At times this saved us a distasteful visit.
I called a church that was a member of a fairly sound association that had the phrase "theologically conservative" in its description of itself. I called the pastor and was very excited with what I heard.
We arrived enthusiastic at the prospects and found the adult Sunday school class and settled in.
The discussion before the class began centered around everything but the Lord, but that isn’t all that abnormal.
The class began and degenerated quickly into a discussion of whether Paul really was right when he called for male elders.
Before the class was over it was evident that the teacher and others felt Paul was in error at times in the word, and most were really rejecting the inspiration and inerrancy of the Word.
Shocked, we entered into the church service and settled into a service that was right on. In fact the pastor was one of the best I’ve heard.
Later that day I called the pastor and told him of my confusion over his messages conservativeness and the Sunday school’s liberal bent.
He asked what class we had gone to. After a description of where it met he said, "well in that class you are probably right. They don’t have a high regard for the inspiration of the Scripture. He explained that the class was a split off of another, more liberal, church in town that had decided to settle with his church. He mentioned that the other adult class would be more to our liking.
A fundamental church allowing false teachers to occupy their classrooms and foster the spreading of their false doctrine!
We want to look at ACCEPTING FALSEHOOD in verse one, PRACTICING FALSEHOOD in verse two and three, and REJECTING FALSEHOOD in verses four and five.
I. ACCEPTING FALSEHOOD
1 Timothy 4:1. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
Off hand I personally can’t think of many people that I have known that have departed from the faith. Most have continued on in the Word and followed the Lord to His benefit.
Indeed, however we seem to be in the last days from all indications. Those leaving the faith are becoming more and more prominent. They are leaving the truth for the half-truth of Satan.
We have seen some of the prominent TV evangelists fall into immorality and financial ruin as well as criminal acts.
We have Christians that have been brought up in the church that are turning to the cults and joining into the false doctrine.
We have believers reading the daily astrological listings in the newspaper.
We have believers reading devotionals from liberal denominations.
We have believers calling the Psychic hot lines.
We have television evangelists that are having visions of dead people that introduce them to Jesus and to the Holy Spirit.
We are seeing men trained in our better institutions turning from their Biblical training and going into or starting fringe area groups.
I think one of the worst examples of people going off into all sorts of things is within some of the fringe radical charismatic groups. We have the prosperity gospel that tells us that God wants all to be rich - the fact that only the church leadership is getting rich should tell us something.
My brother spoke of one in Seattle. They took up offerings in five-gallon buckets. The pastor and his wife both drive Mercedes Benz automobiles.
Most of the congregation was poor to middle class and giving like crazy so they can be rich.
There are the Holy Laughter and Holy barking folks that tell us we just aren’t with it unless we are barking or laughing in the Spirit.
We have leaders in all of the denominations turning to embezzlement, to sex crimes and even murder. We have men that have served in fundamental ministries that are going off into money making ministries.
I recently received an email from a graduate of one of the main fundamentalist schools that was seeking ten dollars a month for the privilege of advertising his page on mine. He was setting up a prayer site - ten bucks to allow him to pray for people - hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Paul’s use of the phrase "in the latter times" is of interest. Is Paul here admitting that the age might go on after his death? (He was a firm believer in the imminent return of Christ.)
I think that this may have been one of his realizations. He was getting older and realizing he might not live long enough to see the Lord come. The disciples looked for Christ to return almost immediately.
We do not know the time of the end! I trust that you will never predict the end, nor subscribe to someone else’s predictions.
I hear almost yearly someone say from a pulpit that we see the end coming to pass in the middle east. Hog wash! Christ told us that it will come as a thief in the night. We won’t see the unfolding of prophecy in this life, but probably from our heavenly view.
The prophets call for peace and unwalled cities in Israel before the end is come. The land of Israel is far from this today!
"depart from the faith" This seems to be one that has just up and changed his doctrine and walked away from a proper belief in the Word. From the faith would indicate more than just a doctrinal shift, but more to the thought that the person has left the faith or more to the point, left the church.
I would be quick to state that there are two areas in our day in which leaving the church can occur.
a. The type of shift in thinking that Paul is mentioning - the walking away from the faith.
b. The person that gets so fed up with the hypocrisy and sin of the church and leaves in total disgust. These people often just stagnate because they have no real spiritual growth, feeding or fellowship.
This type of person is becoming very common in our own day. Many in my own area are in this situation. I might mention that many are not stagnating, but living relatively normal Christian lives.
Some suggest that the person that does not attend church regularly cannot be spiritual. They normally mention the passage Hebrews 10:25 "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching."
The item of interest in my mind is that the church is to give to the believer opportunity to fellowship, pray, and serve. Many churches you can attend for years and never see the fellowship or service. If the church is not fulfilling its end of responsibilities then attendance is not relevant. The church is also to feed and nurture but few are succeeding.
"giving heed to seducing spirits" The idea seems to extend to giving assent to the seducing spirits.
The term seducing indicates leading astray or misleading if you will with spirits that entice. This term appears four other times in the New Testament and is always translated with the idea of deceiver. (Matthew 27:63 - deceive; 2 Corinthians 6:8 - deceivers; 2 John 1:7 - deceivers and deceiver
The term “spirits” is the term that is used of man’s spirit as well as the Holy Spirit. Indeed, this is the same term that is translated Spirit in the first of the verse. The term is used in relation to the mind in Romans 8:6 which states, "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."
It would seem that Paul is using the word to give warning to any misleading thought of the mind or in short again the thought of false doctrine.
Doctrines of Devils or deceptive thoughts and/or doctrines might be the thought of the phrase.
Again there are batches of them out there. They even sound good when presented. They even may sound scriptural - unless you look at the WHOLE OF SCRIPTURE.
This is not doctrines about demons, but doctrines fostered by them. What doctrines the demons might foster is wide open - most anything that will mislead and cause you to deviate from truth.
The interlinear translates this as "spirits misleading and teachings of demons,"
"doctrines" is the word "didaskalia" It is translated teaching once and learning once and all other occurrences are translated doctrine. It is the same term that is used of sound doctrine (2 Timothy 3:16).
"devils" is a term that is normally translated devils and it is indicating the demons. It is the term used when Christ was casting out demons in the Gospels.
It would seem that the teachings are the teachings of the god of this world rather than the God of creation. These are doctrines that the devil has propagated via his emissaries the demons.
Don’t ask me to give you an example, for any false doctrine is of the Devil ultimately. Any teaching that is contrary to the Word of God is false doctrine and doctrine of the devil.
Matthew 7:15-16 a gives a description of the type of men we might be looking at.
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheeps’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits...."
One question that often comes up relating to this text is this. Are these people Christians that fall into false doctrine or are they professors that never really grasped the truth?
LET’S LOOK AT SOME FACTS:
1. In verse one "depart from the faith" is a term that is used usually of Christians 1 Timothy 1:19; 1 Timothy 3:9.
2. It is mentioned that their conscience is seared. This usually is connected with a long time of wrong doing or thought.
3. They forbid, what those that believe and know the truth, are to be enjoying.
Professors or departing Christians? First of all salvation is not an issue in this text. As to them being Christians - I would think from the text they are believers that just take a right turn out and away from their faith.
II. PRACTICING FALSEHOOD
1 Timothy 4:2 "Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;"
How would you describe "lies in hypocrisy?” Can you think of an example? Maybe speaking lies with a smile on their face? Maybe speaking lies from the lectern? Maybe speaking lies from the pulpit? Maybe speaking lies from the microphone on radio and TV?
Anyone that puts forth a, known to them, lie as truth - he is guilty of Paul’s thought at this point in the text.
If I know that something is false and teach you folks that lie then I am speaking lies in hypocrisy.
"conscience seared with a hot iron" My Father years ago had very bad nose bleeds. He went to the doctor and they burned the inside of his nose on both sides to cauterize the area so that the nose bleeds would stop. He had no more nose bleeds, but he no longer could smell the great smell of a roast in the oven or the smell of a flower, or the smell of smoke, or anything else. With the benefit he had a real loss.
Indeed, the loss was the sense of danger if burning odors had ever floated his ways. He could have been in serious trouble had a fire started when he was alone.
So, the person with a seared conscience is in deep danger of the things that they might get into because they do not have the proper input from the Holy Spirit into their lives.
Nothing further can move their conscience - it has no feeling left.
I do know of people that have sidestepped God’s command one time, then another time, then they find other commands that they can sidestep and another, until they are sidestepping everything that they know to be right and calling their error truth to justify their life style and actions.
1 Timothy 4:3 Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
Well we know that Dr. Adkins isn’t a false prophet - he would never tell anyone to abstain from meats! (Dr. Adkins has set forth the high protein, low carbohydrate diet which involves eating lots of meat.)
Why might someone forbid people to marry?
a. Personal power struggle with the person.
b. Trying to run another person’s life.
c. Perpetrate wrong, or falsehood.
d. Try to get someone to agree with your idea of not marrying.
e. Doing it for spiritual gain.
f. Trying to make them emotionally reliant on the leader.
"forbidding to marry" There are some of the cults that forbid marriage until the leader has chosen the mate and then the couple can be married. The followers readily submit to this activity.
This type of forbidding of meat is refuted in Colossians 2:16, "Let no man therfore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:"
Paul chose two topics, marriage and meats, probably because they were problems at the time in Ephesus.
He did not mean to limit seducing spirits to only spreading two false teachings. There are many false teachings around today including these relating to marriage and meat.
It is of interest to me that these terrible nasty doctrines of devils are what I would call today some minor false teaching in relation to what we have going on today. Forbidding to marry or worrying about what meats to eat or not eat seems small potatoes in light of the ordination of women, homosexual churches and pastors, abortion, euthanasia etc. Not to mention the deity of Christ, inspiration, inerrancy, and the Trinity.
Do you suppose that this is in of itself a monstrous rebuke of our own times and church? We have not addressed those smaller problems that Paul term large problems and we have progressed so far down the road that we are dealing with things that Paul never even imagined were possible in the church!
A missionary to Venezuela mentioned of the numerous churches that had been planted in his tribe, and how the elders come together from all churches once a year to work on problems and have Bible teaching. If the elder or pastor does not settle the problems in his own church the pastors of the other churches will go to that church and take care of things. This is probably not best in that all churches should be independent, yet it points up the fact that the Indians are doing great work for God because they do not allow problems to strangle them.
Anything which is against Scripture would fit into this verse.
"commanding to abstain from foods"
Catholics have been guilty of both of these until recent years when they lifted the meat restrictions. They still forbid the priests and nun’s to marry though this teaching is also under heavy fire within the Roman church. Married priests and nun’s are serving up the mass and holding services in liberal renegade churches in our country.
Concerning marriage, I believe we have some real fallacies in our teaching on the subject. We need to concentrate on marriage in the children to youth years so that they understand it before they enter into it, find trouble and walk away from it!
Let’s chase a rabbit for a moment and talk about singles in the church. By singles I mean someone that has not been married before. If you have singles, keep your nose out of their marriage business. Don’t push them about marriage. Don’t "fix them up - THEY AREN’T BROKEN!" Don’t pester them. They are single because they desire to be or just haven’t found the right person. Just because you are married, it does not require everyone to be married.
Feel free to ask if they are interested in meeting singles of the opposite sex, but don’t force or push them.
Singleness is not a plague. It is at times a choice.
A professor at one of the colleges I attended was single by choice and felt this is what God wanted for him. He had much more time for study and preparation.
He mentioned in class one day that there was one thing in the church that really bothered him and that was the fact that every little old lady had a nice young lady for him to meet.
He had no desire for marriage.
Another item that is off the subject but seems to fit here. Single missionaries. One of the things you can pray for when praying for singles workers is that they will be able to cope with their singleness. In many cases the single missionary is single because of circumstance not by desire.
Missions have found that if a single person returns for a third term on the field that they will normally remain single for life.
Can you feature the commitment it would take to return for that third term single?
I have had good discussions on the internet with single believers of all ages, and they strongly agree with what I have set forth above. Many of them add the great need for fellowship and nurturing within this group of people.
7th Day Adventists often hold to the Law’s stipulations on the eating of meats, while others abstain from all meat.
Both meats and marriage can be gratefully shared in if we believe in God and know the truth. The unsaved world as a whole today is not "grateful" for marriage. Some are rejecting it, many are trying to get out of it and many are just unhappy in it.
The Christians of this country are prone to this same thinking. We had a missionary in our home that we have known for many years and we were talking of the many friends that we had in common. We were appalled at how many had fallen into divorce.
I counted in one of our year books 117 students. Of those students we could only name 17 that had entered ministries, and some of them were now out of the ministry due to family problems.
Marriage and meat can be good to some people, but are not required. For example - pastors would have much more time for their ministry if they did not have family responsibilities.
1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us everything is to glorify God.
Romans 14:4-5 shows what God thinks of forcing this type of abstinence upon people. If you continue in Romans 14, you will see that this area is an area of judging others and Paul says this is not right. We all will be judged, so why do it? ("Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."
III. REJECTING FALSEHOOD
1 Timothy 4:4 For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
Is every creature of God really good for food? "every creature of God is good" - EVERY - !
Nothing is to be refuse IF "it is received with thanksgiving." This indicates our food should be accepted after thanks has been given.
Another rabbit trail. Do we say a prayer over those snacks that we put together for guests, you know, those desserts, coffees, cheeses etc.? Do we bless those things we know we shouldn’t be eating? Maybe we ought to consider this in the quiet of the refrigerator light some late night.
One more point then about "every creature" - A missionary in chapel was mentioning that they eat roast tarantulas with their Indian people in Venezuela. Does every creature mean every creature? YES. Even the horsemeat that is eaten in Europe today.
Our American tastes may not measure up to the spiders and the snakes that are eaten in the world. We might attribute this to our overabundant economy!
1 Timothy 4:5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
The term sanctified has the idea of something that has been set apart. How can food be set apart as this verse indicates? What was Paul trying to say here?
"it is sanctified" - set aside for God’s use. God uses it to prepare us to be able to do the things that He wants us to do. Food is required for us to continue daily tasks and that is what we are all about.
Notice it is sanctified by the Word as well as prayer. This is not meaning that you must read the word, pray and then eat, though that might not be a bad idea.
The Word states that all creatures are good for eating, thus all things are set apart for us. We then pray and recognize that God has set the food aside for our use and His use in us.
"prayer" In prayer we are putting ourselves and our food under God’s eyes and direction.
So, how do we apply this truth?
1. If it is separated to God then can you throw it away and waste it with a clear conscience? We need to consider our stewardship of what God has given us.
2. By praying before every meal then we are committing that much more of our life to Him.
3. If we know it’s been made holy then it won’t be so bad that it’s only a casserole that we’ve had six times before this week.
Some have wondered due to the Old Testament restrictions of diet whether believers are free to eat meat?
After the flood Noah was given permission to eat meat. The Jewish law limited the types of meat to the clean animals, but again in the New Testament all meats are considered okay for mankind. I Timothy contains one of the best texts to show this. "For every creature of God is good...if it is received with thanksgiving." There are no qualifying statements to change this straight forward statement of fact.
Acts 10:9 ff indicates that we are free to eat of all sorts as well.
Why should we pray for our bread?
"Back of the bread is the snowy flour,
and back of the flour the mill.
Back of the mill is the field of wheat,
the rain and the Father’s will." Anonymous
Just why is the topic of meats such a federal case to Paul? Is this not the typical tactic of the Devil? Getting one to believe that what God says is false. Eve bought it as have millions others through the years and the term meat can be translated victual or food - seems he is still alive and well.
The main point to this passage in my mind is allowing God to be a part of the most mundane part of our life - that of eating. Taking time to recognize that He is the provider of all that we have.
We looked at Francis Schaeffer’s comment last study about how man can change the course of history. "The greatest creativity ever given is the ability of men, by their choices, to change the course of history."
The truth is a two-edged sword. Good choices change history for the good, while bad choices change history for the worse.
Those we have studied in this passage have changed things for the worse over the years. We have some isms today that are misleading millions of people. These men that turned away from truth to follow their own thinking have produced some of the largest cults in history.
We on the other hand may be those that God is going to use to do great things for mankind - I would encourage you once again to consider carefully the decisions and choices you make. Make them based on God and His leading.
In closing I would like to challenge you with a thought. Many young people are coming under the influence of the isms and thinking of the world. I ran across something on the net recently that brought me up short - is this maybe one of the reasons the young are going astray. Is this something our generation has failed in miserably - in educating the newer generations in the history of things both secular and spiritual?
Just think about it - can these young people really relate to what we are saying to them? This relates to the secular but the same is true of spiritual knowledge.
This list is related to the year 2000 but the thought of it relates to each new generation.
"Each year the staff at Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a list to try to give the faculty a sense of the mindset of that years incoming freshmen.”
Here is the list for 2000:
"The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1982.
"They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan Era and probably did not know he had ever been shot.
"Black Monday, 1987 is as significant to them as the Great Depression.
"There has been only one Pope.
"They were 11 when the Soviet Union broke apart and do not remember the Cold War.
"They have never feared a nuclear war.
"They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up.
"Tianamen Square means nothing to them
"Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic.
"Atari predates them, as do vinyl albums.
"The expression you sound like a broken record means nothing to them.
"They have never owned a record player.
"They have likely never played Pac Man and have never heard of Ping-Pong.
"They may have never heard of an 8 track. The Compact Disc was introduced when they were 1 year old.
"As far as they know, stamps have always cost about 33 cents.
"They have always had an answering machine.
"Most have never seen a TV set with only 13 channels, nor have they seen a black-and-white TV.
"They have always had cable.
"There has always been VCRs, but they have no idea what BETA is.
"They cannot fathom not having a remote control.
"They were born the year that Walkman were introduced by Sony.
"Roller-skating has always meant inline for them.
"Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show.
"They have no idea when or why Jordache jeans were cool.
"Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.
"They have never seen Larry Bird play.
"They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.
"The Vietnam War is as ancient history to them as WWI, WWII and the Civil War.
"They have no idea that Americans were ever held hostage in Iran.
"They can’t imagine what hard contact lenses are.
"They don’t know who Mork was or where he was from.
"They never heard: Where’s the beef?, I’d walked a mile for a Camel, or ’de plane, de plane.’
"They do not care who shot J. R. and have no idea who J. R. is.
"The Titanic was found? They thought we always knew where it was.
"Michael Jackson has always been white.
"Kansas, Chicago, Boston, America, and Alabama are places, not groups.
"McDonalds never came in Styrofoam containers.
"There has always been MTV.
"They don’t have a clue how to use a typewriter."
May we make our message relevant to those that we meet. May we also be assured our message is true and Biblical.
Someone related that they were at a high school basketball game that went into overtime. The first overtime was so exciting. The crowd was literally on the edge of their seats in anticipation of the outcome. Then, the game went into double overtime. What excitement! Now the cheering was deafening as the crowd expressed their encouragement to the home team. Then, the game went into TRIPLE overtime! Now the crowd was in a frenzy. Everyone was focused on the events on the court. Everyone was cheering, and everyone anxious to know how the game would turn out.
Now, let us consider this illustration as it relates to the pastoral overtimes. If the preacher happens to go a minute or two over the sacred hour, it is HIGH NOON for him. And should he dare to go into triple overtime, watch out!
We want to look at Godliness in this section. The TEACHING OF GODLINESS in verse six, the EXCERCISING UNTO GODLINESS in verse seven, PROFITING FROM GODLINESS in verses eight and nine and REASON FOR GODLINESS in verse ten.
1 Timothy 4:6-10 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself [rather] unto godliness. 8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. 9 This [is] a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. 10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
I. TEACHING OF GODLINESS
We want to look at GODLINESS in this study. We want to look first at the teaching of godliness.
1 Timothy 4:6. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
Paul tells Timothy he is a good minister if he tells the brethren the preceding
Since the preceding is good doctrine and truth, then by application a "good minister" is one that tells his people of good doctrine and truth. A "good minister" or the evaluation of a "good minister" should be at least in part based on the doctrine or the content that he teaches.
If he is not teaching good doctrine, then steps should be taken to correct it. Steps might include counsel by the board or it may mean more education or moving on.
The term "minister" is the same word rendered deacon in 1 Timothy 3:8. Thus not minister as we know minister.
One that serves the people, one that teaches the people, one that ministers to the people. Again we don’t see the thought of a fantastic preacher, but that of a man that plods along doing the work of a shepherd.
"Remembrance of these things" truth is always the antidote for error. You don’t suppose Paul knew that we tend to be forgetful about spiritual things?
What are "these things?" The previous five verses.
Timothy is to be nourished by this ministry.
Indeed, I don’t know how a person could teach the Word of God and not come away nourished. Yet I hear of people that are teaching and preaching declare that they just can’t go on any more because they just aren’t being fed.
To be quite honest, from what I see in the Word I would say that they are not doing their preparation properly for their ministry else they would be feeding themselves.
Just a little side road - Paul likens spiritual teaching to milk and meat. The milk is for the child, the meat for the adult, but isn’t the other side of that illustration true also? Shouldn’t there be some point in life when you start feeding yourself just as in real life? I can’t imagine that not being the end result of Paul’s thought - anyone that needs fed is not feeding themselves!
To be quite honest, I’m not sure I wouldn’t go nuts if I had to sit in a church service week after week without ministering. My food and meat spiritually come from my own study and ministry. If I had to exist spiritually on what I am fed in most churches that we have gone too "just for church", I would literally dry up and stay home Sundays and watch TV.
All teachers and preachers are blessed as they prepare their lessons.
We know we are to have the teaching of godliness in the church, but it is not wise to teach it if we aren’t willing to use it.
II. EXCERCISING UNTO GODLINESS
1 Timothy 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself [rather] unto godliness.
"refuse profane and old wives’ fables" Two separate types of fables
This may be in reference with what Paul spoke of in 1 Timothy 1:4. Don’t even give them serious discussion. Just don’t deal with them except to refute them with Scripture.
One might find many profane fables to illustrate Paul’s thoughts. The Jewish fables of the Pharisees and their Talmud might well come to mind.
The many legends of St. Patrick might also illustrate his thought. One comes to mind. The reason Ireland has no snakes is that he ran them all into the sea!
"Different tales tell of his standing upon a hill, using a wooden staff to drive the serpents into the sea, banishing them
forever from the shores of Ireland. One legend says that one old serpent resisted, but the saint overcame it by cunning. He is said to have made a box and invited the reptile to enter. The snake insisted the box was too small and the discussion became very heated. Finally the snake entered the box to prove he was right, whereupon St. Patrick slammed the lid and cast the box into the sea." (From http://www.st-patricks-day.com/legpat.html 3-12-00)
REFUSE them - don’t soft-soap them, don’t allow them to be taught, don’t allow them to be spread in the church.
Lenski offered some good advice for those that hold to these profane fables.
"People who are fanatical in regard to some silly religious matter desire nothing more than to have you argue with them. To do so is to leave the wrong impression as though the matter is worth discussion and argument. That encourages their folly; they think they really have something. For that very reason they will cling to their infatuation more obstinately than ever when one makes the mistake of treating them seriously."
From (THE INTERPRETATION OF ST. PAUL’S EPISTLES TO THE COLOSSIANS, TO THE THESSALONIANS, TO TIMOTHY, TO TITUS AND TO PHILEMON; R. C. H. Lenski; Augsburg Publishing House; Minneapolis; 1937; p. 628)
"...exercise thyself rather unto godliness." Prepare for it as an athlete prepares for the Olympics.
Part of that exercise is leaving the profane and the wives’ fables alone.
Let’s think about the profane fables and old wives’ fables.
What are some other PROFANE FABLES:
Greek mythology for one. Yes, it is interesting and it is okay to read it, but don’t spend a lot of time in it.
The thought of any fable, myth, fiction etc. is called into question by this text. The emphasis is on the exercise unto godliness, not reading the mentioned items for the majority of your time. If you spend hours in the realm of the non-real, you will tend to begin to find that your emotions are swayed by the non-real to the point that you respond to the fiction rather than the reality.
This is true of friends as well - you will hang in their area - if Godly it is okay, but if ungodly you will be hanging away from God.
If you are centered in godly things then you will center your emotions and thought life on the Lord and His things.
What are some OLD WIVES’ FABLES:
Swing a ring suspended on a thread over the stomach of a pregnant woman and determine what the sex of the child is. Or doing the same over a grave to determine the sex of the occupant. Reading the tombstone might be quicker!
Pregnant woman spitting in Ajax. If it turns one color it is a boy etc.
Many others that I’m sure we could dig up and list.
Ray Stedman illustrated this portion with the following paragraph.
"Another widespread myth in our day, one that is winning increasing status on every side, is the doctrines of Mormonism. Mormonism is based upon foolish myths about early American history that do not have a semblance, a shred of evidence from archaeology, to support them. Archaeologists have tried to find any evidence whatsoever for the strange story the Book of Mormon tells, about an early American civilization that flourished here before Columbus came. They can find nothing that confirms it in any degree. Instead, everything they find is absolutely contrary to the picture drawn in the Book of Mormon. But how many believe this nonsense, and how widely it is being accepted and even gaining a position of prominence among us! I am not talking about Mormons. Many of them are wonderful, dear people. Merely because people are lost is no sign they are worthless. Mormons are often marvelous people, but their teachings are in error. We ought to understand that and not give ourselves to godless and silly myths." (from http://www.pbc.org/dp/stedman/timothy/3775.html; 3-12-00; a sermon)
When we teach godliness in our churches and exercise ourselves unto godliness, then we will also see profit in godliness.
III. PROFITING FROM GODLINESS
We come now to one of my favorite Scripture verses. This is one of my life verses!
1 Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
"bodily exercise profiteth little" - bodily discipline isn’t totally rejected, but is completely subjected to spiritual exercise.
Let me put that through your mind one more time. Bodily discipline isn’t totally rejected, but is completely subjected to spiritual exercise.
Paul may have been thinking of the discipline of no marriage and no meats of 1 Timothy 4:3 when he mentions profane fables.
When he subjects physical exercise this way he is not saying that it is of no value, nor is he saying that we shouldn’t worry about the physical. We need to remember that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that we need to keep our building in good repair.
"godliness is profitable unto all things" this passage speaks of looking to the future as well as the present. Godliness is good for this life as well as for the future life. The thought of the New Testament is that we should prepare for the next life rather than for this life.
Our efforts, our investments, our work, our everything ought to be centered on the next life with little attempt to work, invest, or earn for this life. Paul approached this subject in Colossians as well. Colossians 3:1-4 mentions, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Christ who is our life...." That is the principle that we are operating on in this life if we are living for God. "I am my life...." is where many American Christians are this day and age. All they do and think is aimed at what they can do in this life."
William Burkitt mentions three areas in which we may profit from Godliness. He basically would submit that what we leave in this life to gain Godliness - we will most likely gain in this life from that pursuit of Godliness.
"1. It is profitable to make a man rich, to help him to get and increase an estate; because it makes a man wise and prudent, diligent and industrious, thrifty and frugal.
"2. It is profitable to make a man renowned as well as rich; it is the only way to attain a good name and reputation: the godly man is a worthy and excellent man, and he is an useful and servicable man, and such do seldom miss of a good reputation in the world; those that want goodness themselves, will yet commend it in others.
"3. It is profitable for pleasure, as well as for riches and honour; for a life of religion doth increase the relish and sweetness of all our sensible enjoyments, so far is it from abridging us of any earthly delights: and besides, it adds to us a world of pleasures of its own; thus godliness is profitable unto men in all things, having the promise of happiness both in this life, and that which is to come, annexed to it." (Burkitt, William M.A.; William Burkitt’s Notes on the New Testament; 40th edition, 1807, Public Domain.)
1 Timothy 4:9 This [is] a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
"this is a faithful saying" This text seems to refer back to the preceding
"worthy of all acceptation" In short all of us should accept verses 7 & 8 and then do something about it. Not only should we accept them, so should the entire church.
How do we exercise unto godliness?
This is in contrast to physical exercise. Let’s look at physical exercise first.
1. You do more than just natural everyday things. If you walk around the block every evening then when you start exercising you walk around the block several times.
2. You do your exercise until you’re tired, then a little bit more.
3. You do it on a regular basis or it is worthless.
4. You discipline yourself to it. You force yourself to do it even when you don’t want to.
5. You look for and get results.
Quite often after months of forcing yourself you find that you enjoy it and look forward to it and promise yourself that you won’t miss it.
Now, Godly exercise is the same. We have to work at it - on a regular basis and we must discipline ourselves to it. We then see results.
We may even see the day that we enjoy it and look forward to improving our relationship to the Lord.
When is the last time you were physically exhausted from studying the Bible and prayer?
The above 5 should be true of each one of us every day.
Not only should we be profiting from godliness, we have good reason to seek it.
IIII. REASON FOR GODLINESS
1 Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
Because of these 2 verses Paul and Timothy labor. Toiling to the point of exhaustion.
That is the result of seeking God in an exhaustive manner. We strive to labor for Him for we realize what He has done for us.
When I was in the Navy, we were getting ready for a very important operation. Electronically the ship was a mess. I was the only experienced technician - 18 new ones that couldn’t do anything came aboard. What they did do was wrong or caused more trouble than was present before they attempted to fix it. I worked for several weeks yery hard, long hours and then for 48 hours I worked with only eating breaks and a couple very, very short naps. I was exhausted. I fell asleep before my work was done. It took them literally 15 minutes to wake me up to finish. I could hear them, but couldn’t move or make a sound. My mind was functioning somewhat, but it could not or would not cause my body to function. (I had labored.)
"suffer reproach" This is suffering criticism or condemnation for things you are not guilty of. It is false accusation, it is suffering wrongly - not a pleasant experience, but Paul says that he and Timothy did this because they trust in God.
In this verse we have the picture of an athlete putting the last ounce of his energy into the race in order to be victor.
In races, especially long distance ones, as the runners near the finish line you can see them give that last spurt - you can see the anguish on their faces and the sweat on their foreheads.
This is what Paul did. His every fiber worked for his Lord and Savior.
When is the last time you worked that hard for God? Paul lived this way much of his life.
"because we trust in the living God" This is the reason for Paul’s labors and is the reason that we should, to put it bluntly, be working our fool heads off for God.
Christians are a lazy lot these days. Few will get involved in more than one service a week. Few will get involved in work days. Few get involved at all these days.
The thought of hard work is foreign to most of our teenagers today. I’m speaking of Christian teens. Some of our students where I taught felt that they had overworked if they got up in time for breakfast.
"who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe" Savior of all men seems to speak of the desire on Christ’s part for and preparation to save man.
1 John 2:2 says he died for all.
"specially of those that believe"
The "specially" groups are those which accept his work on Calvary.
There are a number of explanations for this verse.
Kent lists four and I would add a fifth.
1. Universalist Interpretation: All mankind will ultimately be saved.
2. Providential Interpretation: This thought takes a lesser view of the term Saviour and suggests that all mankind is saved via the rain and sun that God provides and that the believer receives even more blessing from this grace from God.
3. Potential-actual Interpretation: This is one of the more popular thoughts that says that the potential for salvation was provided by Christ, but that only those that believe receive the benefit thereof.
4. Temporal-eternal Interpretation: God gives preservation and deliverance in this life, but for those that believe this preservation carries forward into eternity.
He quotes Purdy on this position. "God is the Saviour of all men in that on a temporal basis he gives them life and strength, awakens within them high ideals, provides for their pleasure and sustenance, and graciously allows them to live for a time in the light of His countenance.
"God is specially the Savior of believers in that he has a special call for them, answers their prayers, and provides for their well-being, not only in this life, but also in the life which is to come." (Purdy, Warren E.; THE MEANING OF THE PHRASE ’SAVIOR OF ALL MEN’ IN 1 Timothy 4:10; Unpublished critical monograph, Grace Theological Seminary; 1954, p. 48.)
A fifth option might run along the line that Christ paid for all sin as in ALL sin. Every man, woman and child, was purchased and placed in a position equal to that of Adam before he sinned.
Those that believe and accept that work then become believers and share in the full benefits of salvation.
Kent and MacArthur suggest that the adverb "specially" demands that the believer must enjoy the highest degree of what all enjoy. MacArthur adds a phrase of interest "All men will enjoy to some extent the same kind of salvation as believers enjoy.... The difference is one of degree, not kind." (THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY I TIMOTHY; John MacArthur; Moody Press; Chicago; 1995; p 168)
Kent’s number four is his choice, but this does not really fit within the qualification of "The difference is one of degree, not kind." You can’t say that physical benefitting is the same as spiritual benefitting.
I personally view degree and kind both as necessary.
The lost must enjoy a lesser "degree" of the same kind of salvation. To say that the lost enjoy something physically, and the believer something physically but added spiritual does not seem to fit their own criteria.
I might point out that my fifth choice fits their stipulation for the adverb as well as fitting both degree and kind.
Now that we have that cleared up, let’s take a quick look at some application.
Phillips Brooks once said "The great purpose of life -- the shaping of character by truth."
Is this not what Paul is attempting to do in Timothy’s life? In the believers at Ephesus? In the believers at your church?
The truth of the Word ought to be shaping our character - our Christian life - if not then we are not allowing it to, or we are not close enough to it.
A Very Special Lord’s Prayer From Ray Heistand
If God Should Speak . . . A different look at The Lord’s Prayer
"Our Father which art in heaven....."
Don’t interrupt me. I’m praying.
---But you called me.
Called you? I didn’t call you. I’m praying. "Our Father which art in heaven....."
---There you did it again.
---Called me. You said, "Our Father which art in heaven." Here I am.....What’s on your mind?
But I didn’t mean anything by it. I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day. I always say the Lord’s Prayer. It makes me feel good, kind of like getting a duty done.
---All right. Go on.
"Hallowed be thy name....."
---Hold it. What do you mean by that?
---By "hallowed be thy name"?
It means.....it means.....Good grief, I don’t know what it means. How should I know? It’s just a part of the prayer. By the way, what does it mean?
---It means honored, holy, wonderful.
Hey, that makes sense. I never thought about what "hallowed" meant before. "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."
--Do you really mean that?
Sure, why not?
---What are you doing about it?
Doing? Nothing, I guess. I just think it would be kind of neat if you got control of everything down here like you have up there.
---Have I got control of you?
Well, I go to church.
---That isn’t what I asked you. What about your bad temper? You’ve really got a problem there, you know. And then there’s the way you spend your money---all on yourself. And what about the kind of books you read?
Stop picking on me! I’m just as good as some of the rest of those people at the church.
---Excuse me. I thought you were praying for my will to be done. If that is to happen, it will have to start with the ones who are praying for it. Like you, for example.
Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups. Now that you mention it, I could probably name some others.
---So could I.
I haven’t thought about it very much until now, but I really would like to cut out some of those things. I would like to, you know, be really free.
---Good. Now we’re getting somewhere. We’ll work together, you and I. Some victories can truly be won. I’m proud of you.
Look, Lord, I need to finish up here. This is taking a lot longer than it usually does. "Give us this day, our daily bread."
---You need to cut out the bread. You’re overweight as it is.
Hey, wait a minute! What is this, "Criticize me day"? Here I was doing my religious duty, and all of a sudden you break in and remind me of all my hang-ups.
---Praying is a dangerous thing. You could wind up changed, you know.
That’s what I’m trying to get across to you. You called me, and here I am. It’s too late to stop now. Keep praying, I’m interested in the next part of your prayer.....(pause). Well, go on.
I’m scared to.
---Scared? Of what?
I know what you’ll say.
---Try me and see.
"Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us."
---What about Ann?
See? I knew it! I knew you would bring her up! Why Lord, she’s told lies about me, spread stories about my family. She never paid back the debt she owes me. I’ve sworn to get even with her!
---But your prayer? What about your prayer?
I didn’t mean it.
---Well, at least you’re honest. But it’s not much fun carrying that load of bitterness around inside, is it?
No. But I’ll feel better as soon as I get even. Boy, have I got some plans for that neighbor. She’ll wish she had never moved into this neighborhood.
---You won’t feel any better. You’ll feel worse. Revenge isn’t sweet. Think of how unhappy you already are. But I can change all that.
You can? How?
---Forgive Ann. Then I’ll forgive you. Then the hate and sin will be Ann’s problem and not yours. You will have settled your heart.
Oh, you’re right. You always are. And more than I want to revenge Ann, I want to be right with you. Ann, I want to be right with you ..... (pause) ..... (sigh). All right. All right. I forgive her. Help her to find the right road in life, Lord. She’s bound to be awfully miserable now that I think about it. Anybody who goes around doing the things she does to others has to be out of it. Someway, somehow, show her the right way.
---There now! Wonderful! How do you feel?
Hmmmmmm. Well, not bad. Not bad at all. In fact, I feel pretty great! You know, I don’t think I’ll have to go to bed uptight tonight for the first time since I can remember. Maybe I won’t be so tired from now on because I’m not getting enough rest.
---You’re not through with your prayer. Go on.
Oh, all right. "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."
---Good! Good! I’ll do that. Just don’t put yourself in a place where you can be tempted.
What do you mean by that?
---Don’t turn on the TV when you know the laundry needs to be done and the house needs to be picked up. Also, about the time you spend coffeeing with your friends, if you can’t influence the conversation to positive things, perhaps you should re-think the value of those friendships. Another thing, your neighbors and friends shouldn’t be your standard for "keeping up". And please don’t use me for an escape hatch.
I don’t understand the last part.
---Sure you do. You’ve done it a lot of times. You get caught in a bad situation. You get into trouble and then you come running to me, "Lord, help me out of this mess, and I promise you I’ll never do it again." You remember some of those bargains you tried to make with me?
Yes and I’m ashamed, Lord. I really am.
---Which bargain are you remembering?
Well, there was the night that Bill was gone and the children and I were home alone. The wind was blowing so hard I thought the roof would go any minute and tornado warnings were out. I remember praying, "Oh God, if you spare us, I’ll never skip my devotions again."
---I protected you, but you didn’t keep your promise, did you?
I’m sorry, Lord, I really am. Up until now I thought that if I just prayed the Lord’s Prayer every day, then I could do what I liked. I didn’t expect anything to happen like it did.
---Go ahead and finish your prayer.
"For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever."
---Do you know what would bring me glory? What would really make me happy?
No, but I’d like to know. I want now to please you. I can see what a mess I’ve made of my life. And I can see how great it would be to really be one of your followers.
---You just answered the question.
---Yes. The thing that would bring me glory is to have people like you truly love me. And I see that happening between us. Now that some of these old sins are exposed and out of the way, well, there is no telling what we can do together.
Lord, let’s see what we can make of me, O.K.?
---Yes, let’s see....
I would like to close with a couple paragraphs from MacArthur.
"Pastors [I would include all believers personally] are often evaluated on the basis of the wrong criteria. Their effectiveness is frequently gauged by the size of their church, their building program, their popularity, their educational background, the number of books they have written, or their radio or TV exposure.
"While such things may have some significance, none of them are biblically valid criteria for assessing a man of god. The Puritan genius John Owen wrote, "A minister may fill his pews, his communion roll, the mouths of the public, but what that minister is on his knees in secret before God Almighty, that he is and no more’ (cited in I.D.E. Thomas, A PURITAN GOLDEN TREASURY [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1977],192). (THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY I TIMOTHY; John MacArthur; Moody Press; Chicago; 1995; pp. 157-158)
Godliness. The only way to find it is one step at a time as the somewhat lengthy illustration indicates. You free up a little of yourself, and He will fill it with a little of Himself! Sounds like a great deal to me.
One of the great preachers of the past is Bishop of Constantinople John Chrysostom. Some called him Golden-mouthed. MacArthur quotes Stott:
’He is generally and justly regarded as the greatest pulpit orator of the Greek church. Nor has he any superior or equal among the Latin Fathers. He remains to this day a model for preachers in large cities.
"Four chief characteristics of his preaching may be mentioned. First, he was biblical. Not only did he preach systematically through several books, but his sermons are full of biblical quotations and allusions. Secondly, his interpretation of the Scriptures was simple and straightforward. He followed the Antiochene school of "literal" exegesis, in contrast to fanciful Alexandrian allegorizations. Thirdly, his moral applications were down to earth. Reading his sermons today, one can imagine without difficulty the pomp of the imperial court, the luxuries of the aristocracy, the wild races of the hippodrome, in fact the whole life of an oriental city at the end of the fourth century. Fourthly, he was fearless in his condemnations. In fact, "he was a martyr of the pulpit, for it was chiefly his faithful preaching that caused his exile."" Stott. John R. W.; Between Two Worlds; Grand Rapids; Eerdmans; 1982; 21
Infopedia encyclopedia mentions: "Chrysostom, John c.347-407. Syrian prelate. Called soon after his death Chrysostom, i.e. Golden-mouthed. Became hermit monk; returned to Antioch, gained great reputation as preacher; ordained priest (386); archbishops of Constantinople (398-404); gained popular following by eloquent criticisms of wealthy and powerful; deposed at a synod near Constantinople and banished at an instance of Empress Ataxia and patriarch of Alexandria (403); recalled because of wrath of people, but banished again (404), to Armenia. Authors of homilies, commentaries, and letters that had great influence. Later recognized as Doctor of the Church."
Interesting to me that a man that interpreted the Word literally, was a Biblicist and preached against the ills of his society was banished! Maybe there is hope for me and my desire for a mountaintop cabin away from all mankind.
Riddle mentions "THE pre-eminence of Chrysostom as a preacher remains undisputed, despite the many reversals of judgment that have resulted from modern historical investigations; no voice has been raised against the popular verdict, repeated in every age, that awards to him the first place among pulpit orators in the Eastern Church.
"Nor has there been any serious difference of opinion in regard to his personal character. His intense moral earnestness has always been recognized, and the man has been honored because it was distinctly felt that the man gave power to the oration. "Golden mouth" avails little, unless it belongs to a golden man." From an INTRODUCTORY ESSAY "ST. CHRYSOSTOM AS AN EXEGETE" BY M. B. RIDDLE, D.D.; found in a book of Chrysostom’s homilies.
Verse 11 These things command and teach.
Aaahhh, you didn’t know that word was allowed in the Bible did you! COMMAND - one of those words that seems to be left out of most of our current world vocabulary.
"Command and teach" Note command and teach - not command and then teach at a later date. Command seems to give the thought of laying out what is to be done and then teaching would indicate a need to show how to do what is commanded.
Recently at work I told one of the new associates to do something. Normally the job would take about an hour and a half at most. I noticed about two hours into the day she was only about a third of the way through the project. I inquired as to what was going on and was informed that when I told her what to do, she didn’t know how to do it. I had assumed that she had been trained in that area, but not so. I HAD COMMANDED, BUT HAD NOT TAUGHT!
Someone gave me a pin sometime back that states that the ten commandments aren’t multiple choice. Paul tells Timothy to command and teach these things. They are not optional, they are not multiple choice, and they are not for only the pastors, teachers, and missionaries.
I hope I’m not bursting any bubbles in this study but every single one of us have received this command and it is our responsibility to do it from this point on until we meet the Lord.
We will be looking at PERSONAL EXAMPLE in verse twelve, PERSONAL MINISTRY in verses thirteen and fourteen, and PERSONAL PREPARATION in verse fifteen and sixteen.
I. PERSONAL EXAMPLE
1 Timothy 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
"Let no man despise thy youth," Now that is one I can forget about very quickly - been there can’t do that no more! Timothy was probably thirty-five to forty by now according to some writers.
Many years ago we were attending a little Baptist church with a wonderful preacher. He asked me to take a senior citizen class which I did. One day the folks voiced their concern that they weren’t helping in the church. I asked them what in the world they thought a bunch of old people could do (they knew my humor).
Before the class was over, they had filled a large blackboard with jobs they felt they could do. I took the list to the pastor and he went straight through the roof. He accused me of all sorts of things and indicated just how ignorant I was to believe that those old folks would ever do anything.
I left and prayed for a couple days and decided to call one of the deacons and talk to him. I had barely told him who I was when he started telling me off for being a young know-it-all etc. I finally hung up without talking to him - just listened a lot.
We left the class/church. We later found out that I was the third in a line of teachers he had run off. We also heard later I was not the last. He could not stand to have anyone in his church that was young and that ministered to the congregation.
It is not uncommon for older men to try and run a younger man’s ministry. It is not uncommon for the older men to have knowledge and wisdom which far surpass that of the young man. True, they know much and are wiser, but young men have been alive for several years and have learned many things also. The proper attitude is one of co-learning and co-teaching. Many older pastors could benefit from advice from younger men if they weren’t too proud and obstinate to take it.
Likewise the younger pastor can benefit greatly from having the wisdom of the older if he isn’t too proud and obstinate to take it.
Be an example to the believers that you minister to in, word, or might we say in speech, teaching and preaching.
Being an example was important for Timothy in that he was one of the leaders - one of the shepherds. Adam Clarke listed a little poem of note concerning a wondering pastor.
"Himself a wanderer from the narrow way,
His silly sheep, no wonder if they stray."
Stedman expands on this thought somewhat "Charles Spurgeon, in a lecture to his students in London in the last century said, "Beware of being like some, who go about with theological revolvers in their ecclesiastical trousers." Stedman continues "Some young men have a tendency to shoot from the lip. Modern-day jet fighters, however, give us a better picture of how the battle in the public Christian ministry is fought: Today the whole plane has to be aimed in order to bear upon the target. Here the apostle tells Timothy that his whole life has to be aimed at his objective. " From a sermon at http://www.pbc.org/dp/stedman/timothy/3776.html
Be an example by your conduct or manner of life. Be careful of where you go and what you do. Don’t give anyone the chance to attack you because of your conduct.
Be an example by your love. If a leader doesn’t show love then he will not be well accepted. There must be a concern and compassion for those around them.
Be an example by your spirit. The term spirit is not in most manuscripts though Young lists it in his literal translation. It would have the idea of your spiritual life being above board and in order. Your attitude and spirit must also be in proper order.
Be an example by your faith. How can a man of little faith lead a group to great spiritual heights? He can’t.
Be an example by your purity. He must have sin under control in his life. If sin enters, he must confess it on the spot. No one is going to follow a man that is living in sin.
Purity may well relate to Timothy’s age and young women. This is a very serious area of concern for young single men in the ministry.
IN SHORT IF YOU ARE DOING ALL OF THESE THINGS THEN YOU WILL NOT HAVE MANY WONDERING ABOUT YOUR YOUTH!
Once you have your personal example down, you can begin to concentrate on your ministry.
II. PERSONAL MINISTRY
1 Timothy 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
"Give attendance to" or pay attention to your reading etc. Give the time required to this part of your life.
The New American Standard and New International Version insert public before reading indicating that this speaks to reading in the public services. This is most likely a part of Paul’s thought, but since the previous verse speaks to Timothy and his example, I would assume that it also relates to his own personal reading.
"Reading" This is to be an integrated part of the believers life as well as a part of the church.
Acts 13:15 mentions the reading of the Law, and here we have reading again mentioned as important. Just what was Paul encouraging Timothy to read? We don’t know for sure, but it would be my assumption that it would be the Old Testament that he might have had as well as any copies of any of the epistles that had been around.
Personal reading is a must for our increased knowledge. My father was not well educated formally, but over many years of reading the Omaha World Herald, he became quite knowledgeable about a large number of subjects. Seldom did anyone ask him a question that he did not have an answer for them.
In personal readings of the Christian world, today you might wonder why they read. Most of what is on the market is of the self help vintage or fiction. There is little interest in good Bible study or commentaries these days.
Many asked why Dallas Seminary didn’t republish Lewis Chafer’s seven volume Systematic Theology and the reported answer was that there just weren’t enough people interested - it would not be cost effective.
There is also the possibility that Paul wanted him to acquaint himself with the teaching of the world at that time. There were writers and philosophers in this time that would have been read by some that he might minister to.
It is difficult to relate well to lost people if you don’t know what they are being taught, what they are reading, and today what they are viewing.
Reading also relates to public church gatherings.
Many of our churches are getting away from reading of the Scriptures. There are many reasons for this.
a. While interim pastor at a church in the Midwest I noticed that they stopped having Scripture reading and it occurred to me that it was probably due to my not having my sermon together early enough in the week to call them with an appropriate text. In such a case, give your interim a hint or two to get his act together.
b. The proliferation of so many different translations has been a real hindrance to the Scripture reading. When someone reads from a different translation from mine, I spend more time trying to figure out where they are, or why the translator used that particular word, than I do listening to the Word and allowing it to sink into my mind for consideration.
Possibly an answer to this would be to request that the congregation just listen to the Word being read or possibly have them read silently.
c. Boredom with the Word. Many believers have little interest in what the Word says so as a result they become very bored with listening to it.
d. Our society says that we can only give one hour to God and we have to get four songs in plus the offering, and announcements and the pastor needs 35 minutes and something just has to be left out.
e. There is also the probability that in our MTV society that we can’t get interested in anything unless it comes in a forty-five-inch model.
The term translated "exhortation" is a term that is related to one of the terms used of the Holy Spirit - one called along side for comfort and encouragement. Many take this to be preaching, but that is not the thought, though sharing of the word is not inappropriate in the Biblical exhortation.
2 Corinthians 1:3 mentions the term as comfort. "Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;"
Verse four also uses the term and is of note to our context. "Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
This pictures one of the important ministries of the elders of a church. One of comforting those in hardship or loss.
Lets take a moment and consider what we have learned concerning public worship so far in our study of Timothy?
1. Chapter one, we are not to have false teachers.
2. Chapter two, if it is speaking of public worship tells us to have men praying for leaders and those in authority. Women are to dress modestly and be in subjection in the worship service.
We might think about "public worship" for a moment or two.
a. There was no such thing as "public worship" in the early church except that which took place at the temple. The worship that the New Testament speaks of was mainly on a personal level and during those times when the believers gathered in homes.
b. Public worship as we view it today, that is in a church or public building where many people gather together, is not what we see in the New Testament.
c. We should understand I Timothy in that light rather than a complete guide for worship and practice for our churches.
3. Chapter three, We find the qualifications for those leading the church and services.
4. Chapter four speaks to the minister’s example as well as public reading of Scripture, exhortation and doctrine.
Paul tells him to pay attention to what is read and taught in the public services.
Why was Timothy to pay attention to what was read and taught in the services?
To see that no false teachers get in and start teaching.
That my friend is one of the things that your church leaders should be doing. When you have speakers of any kind the leaders should be seeing if the teaching is correct. If it is not then they have the responsibility to correct that teaching, SOON! I would personally recommend the very next service. Stop false teaching in its tracks. I would also attempt to be sure that all people attending the error were personally contacted if they weren’t in the service when the error was refuted.
This also can include the responsibility of checking out guest speakers beforehand to see to it that they are sound teachers.
This includes music as well as speakers. Our home pastor many years ago invited the son of another pastor in the fellowship to present a music concert. The son brought a bunch of young people with him, unannounced as I remember, and the music was getting quite lively, when the youth that had arrived with him began bopping up and down the aisles while they sang. The pastor had to stand up and stop the program. Both the musician and the pastor were embarrassed.
Don’t feel bad about asking for a tape of THE program that will be presented and tell them to stick to the program.
Many churches are doing this. Indeed, many churches are instituting music policies to protect against music that is inappropriate from getting into their churches.
1 Timothy 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
"Neglect not the gift" Paul spoke of a gift given to Timothy. This gift is seemingly different from spiritual gifts, but probably very similar in nature and operation. I would assume that he would have mentioned it as a spiritual gift if that was what it was.
Paul states this as a command and it is for us today. Do not neglect the gift you have - use it so that God can be glorified. Every believer has a gift, and if he is not using that gift then he is hindering the smooth workings of the church.
"Which was given thee by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery" Evidently a gift was given by prophecy from God. How, we aren’t told. In the context we can expect the gift to relate to the fact that Timothy was an apostolic representative - indeed, this may be what the gift was - the appointment to that position and/or authority.
Today we do not have the gift of prophecy unless you view preaching as prophecy, which some do hold. Prophecy in the early church seemed to have a dual function. That of future telling as in the case of Agabus and Paul before Paul went to Jerusalem and then the forthtelling or idea of continuing revelation in the early part of the book of Acts.
The gift was bestowed upon Timothy by the presbytery or elders. I suspect it may have been the elders at Ephesus that were involved, though we aren’t told specifically. 2 Timothy 1:6 includes Paul’s own hands within this context as well.
It would be of note to the church leaders in Ephesus, if this be true, to hear what Paul stated in the context of let no man despise thy youth. These men had started him into the ministry, so they should have no problem with him doing that ministry in their church.
III. PERSONAL PREPARATION
1 Timothy 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
"Meditate upon these things;" When is the last time you took a verse much less the thoughts of an entire book and just thought about it, about what it said, what it meant and how it applied to you? The best part of my study comes when I just look through the Scripture passage and the notes and let the Holy Spirit teach me.
Meditate evoked an interesting comment from Robertson in his Word Pictures. "It is like our "up to his ears" in work and sticking to his task." Paying close attention to what you are doing. When in the Word we need to really pay close attention to what we are doing - we need to be up to our ears in the Word!
Barnes mentions another area of meditate upon these things: "Meditate upon these things. Upon the train of events by which you have been led into the ministry, and upon the responsibilities and duties of the office. Let your mind be deeply impressed with these things; make them the subject of profound and serious thought."
"Give thyself wholly to them," would relate to the entire passage - example, reading, doctrine, gift and laying on of hands.
"That thy profiting may appear to all." has the idea of blazing a trail through a wilderness. In short, leave a trail easily followed by your students and congregation.
1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
"Take heed" may mean personal appearance, but more in keeping with the context I would say it means be watchful how you live and teach.
"Thyself" personal upkeep possibly but more than likely spiritual upkeep. Don’t be a slouch physically or spiritually.
"The doctrine" Any teaching is doctrine. This passage certainly flies in the face of much of the modern contempt for doctrine and theology.
"Continue in them" Don’t stray into false doctrine - don’t leave it.
"For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee."
This is a difficult text. Just what is Paul getting at here? A number of explanations have been set forth over the years.
1. You insure salvation in that they and yourself know the way of salvation. Since Timothy and his listeners were already believers this does not fit all that well.
2. You insure by works that you will be saved. This is held by those that have a works based salvation, but not most of those in the fundamental/evangelical circles. A problem with this is that Timothy’s works can’t save others nor can listening to sermons save a listener.
3. You save yourself and your listeners from something else, is another possibility.
1. Salvation is not in the context. Church order and the actions of the man Timothy are in view. The context dwells on the personal and public life of the man, Timothy. The following context is a continuation of Chapter 4
The term save is not used exclusively of spiritual salvation. Literally it means deliver or protect. It is also translated make whole and heal. The term is usable in several contexts.
2. The fortifying Timothy is to do is against heresy. Vss. 1 Timothy 4:1-2; 1 Timothy 4:7. He is to save from these things by proper doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16) and exhortation (1 Timothy 4:13).
A Derickson paraphrase -
"For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee" (paraphrase) from "seducing spirits, doctrines of demons and "old wives’ fables."
We must be founded in the Word and the Lord.
I read an illustration years ago of the buoys that are still used to mark ocean traffic lanes. They are anchored to the rock below the surface of the sea. No matter how hard the storms and seas pound the buoy, it always is in its place guiding the seafarer. The writer then described how the Devil has attached the church from within and from without, but yet it is still there to point the seeker to the rock upon which it is founded - Jesus Christ.
If you are anchored anywhere other than the Word of God then you are in line for a sinking.
Paul is not speaking of spiritual salvation in this text, but of the saving of men from false doctrine. In the case of a lost person being within the ministry of Timothy, it would be fitting that the person would be saved, yet salvation comes from God and not men. The text speaks of keeping from false teachings.
Many commentators dance on their tippy toes trying to get around the words to show that this is speaking of eternal salvation, but it is illogical in my mind. Timothy can’t save himself by his teaching, thus he can’t be speaking of salvation of the eternal nature.
Weirsbe follows my line of thinking, or I his. He relates this to a warning from Paul to Timothy to watch how he lives so that he will not mess up his ministry. He mentions ministers that have not "kept up with their profession. Moral problems, divorces, and other kinds of shameful conduct have destroyed many of god’s servants." THE BIBLE EXPOSITION COMMENTARY; Warren Wiersbe; Victor Books; Wheaton; 1989; P. 228.
MacArthur takes this to be a security of the believer issue. He believes that Timothy can save himself if he persevers in the faith. In my mind this however is inconsistent in that his perseverance can’t save others!
"The benefit of so doing is twofold: it will insure salvation both for the minister himself, and for those who hear him. It will bring about salvation for him in the sense that final salvation, deliverance from sin and entrance into eternal glory, demands perseverance. It is a mark of genuine salvation." THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY I TIMOTHY; John MacArthur; Moody Press; Chicago; 1995; P. 181. (I think this is a quote that should set a believer’s teeth on edge. This is an example of why many fundamental people are questioning MacArthur’s teaching.)
It seems that the whole concept of keeping on top of truth is the key to keeping down false doctrine and trouble for the believer.
The pastor, teacher or missionary that does not keep up on all that is going on and compare it with truth is going to have an uninformed congregation that is in danger of falling into real problems.
False doctrine always comes in nice wrapping with a large bow on top. Run it through the X-ray machine before you ship it to your brain!
I am sure that many tire of my constant warning of the isms and falsehoods of our day, but to my mind it is my responsibility to proclaim truth and point out falsehood.
I would guess that my children, grown and with their own children, may even tire of my continued watchfulness over them. I have no way to stop them from entering into falsehood but I can surely warn them of what dear old dad thinks. My systematic theology originated from my desire for them to have what the old heretic believed on as wide a group of topics as possible.
I may not be able to stop them from making mistakes, but I certainly can keep my "I TOLD YOU SO" rights current and in order!
Any minister of the Lord that does not watch for wolves is not protecting his sheep. A shepherd watches over as well as leads to truth.
Copyright 2008. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. Do feel free to make copies for friends that might be interested as long as you do not make profit from the copies. This is God's work and I don't want anyone to profit from it in a material way.
Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4". "Derickson's Notes on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20