THE BOOK OF 1 TIMOTHY
Stay Focused on Living Out the Truth
1 Timothy 4:6-16 SCC 12/9/12
The governing phrase in this passage is inverse 6, "You will be a good servant of Christ Jesus." The issue here is giving Timothy the qualifications or qualities of a good servant of Jesus Christ. That is, good in the sense possessing what God calls goodness or the essence of goodness.
A GOOD SERVANT OF CHRIST JESUS warns his people of error v 6. The phrase "these things" has reference to all of the doctrines of demons, seducing spirits, lying hypocrites, false teachers, those who oppose the truth who are referred to in the first five verses of the chapter. The Lord wants His servant to be warning the people, the brethren, about such error.
A GOOD SERVANT OF CHRIST JESUS is fed and nourished on scripture v 6. He is to being kept nourished up in the words of the faith, that's Scripture, and of the good doctrine, that's what Scripture affirms, to that which you have been following. In other words, you've already had a good start, Timothy, founded in your mother and grandmother, Lois and Eunice, who taught you the Scriptures from your childhood, you know what has been added to that by me and others like me and you have had a good beginning. Now continue to be constantly self-fed on the Word and that which the Word affirms.
A GOOD SERVANT OF CHRIST JESUS avoids the influence of false and foolish teaching v 7. One avoids the influence of unfounded teaching. Not at all anxious to get involved, with fables, endless genealogies, and old wives tales, that serve only to cause questions rather than godly edifying, which is in faith. Not interested in anything that's going to distract, create doubts, take away his conviction, take away his power, and confuse.
A GOOD SERVANT OF CHRIST JESUS is disciplined in personal godliness v 7-9. Here is character and life as a pursuit of godliness, not fame, popularity, or money. Not only refusing old women's tales, but exercise yourself unto godliness. Physical exercise profits for a little time and effect, but godliness is profitable unto all things because it has promise of the life that now is and of that, which is to come v 8. And this is a true saying and worthy of all acceptance v 9. This is basic that spiritual exercise to godliness is far more important than physical exercise. Therefore, exercise yourself unto godliness.
A GOOD SERVANT OF CHRIST JESUS is committed to hard work v 10. One labors and strives working hard because we are serving the living God in eternal matters. We are serving an eternally living God who offers an eternal salvation. And so eternal destiny is the issue. That's why we work so hard, that's why we endure pain and difficulty because we understand the consequences are eternal for people. Because of God's saving work, because it is an eternally impactful work, we work with eternity in view and with eternity in view we work hard understanding there are eternal consequences.
GOOD SERVANT OF CHRIST JESUS teaches with practical authority v 11. ‘These
things’ command and teach. There is a place for teaching but it is in a command
mode; an aggressive commanding of people to obey the Word of God coupled with
instruction on how to do just that. Do it and here's how.
You must believe the scripture has both authority and is sufficient. Then you build your understanding of it, calling and compelling people to obey it and apply it.
A GOOD SERVANT OF CHRIST Jesus is the model of spiritual virtue v 12. It means the model and the pattern. It's the model that you set up when you're going to paint a picture and you paint exactly what you see, like still life on a table. You set it there and that's exactly the way you paint. It's the example of setting a pattern of living that others can follow.
He begins with a general idea, "Let no man despise your youth but be an example of the believers." Because Timothy was young Paul says don't let anyone look down on you because of your youth, gain their respect by being a model, an example.
(1) IN SPEECH: It means in speech and conversation. Matthew 12, "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Ephesians chapter 4:25 it says "Put away lying." In v 29, "Let no filthy talk come out of your mouth." But what is coming out is good and useful building up giving grace unto the hearers.
(2) IN CONDUCT: Lifestyle or behavior fits here. This has to do with a righteous life. To be a model of righteous living, a person who lives out their convictions, biblical principles, and godliness in every area of life. The things you do, the places you go, the things you possess, the way you spend your life, the life style you live, your manner of living is really a sermon.
(3) IN BIBLICAL LOVE: is self-sacrificing service in the lives of others without reciprocity. Giving to another what serves their best interests as God views that.
(4) IN FAITH: The word "faith" could be "faithfulness" or trustworthiness. The idea is be consistent, be faithful, loyal, trustworthy, and believable because you don't swerve off the track, you're not in and out, hit and miss, up and down, back and forth, to and fro. You're there. You're solid.
(5) IN PURITY: in the area of sexuality there is to be purity.
A GOOD SERVANT OF CHRIST JESUS has a thoroughly biblical ministry v 13. "Until I come," until you receive any further orders, this is what I want you to do. I want you to give your attention to the reading, the exhortation, the doctrine, and the teaching. This is to become your way of life. Your whole attention, center and circumference of ministry, is to be involved in the reading, exhortation and teaching.
First of all, he says give your attention continually to the reading (Lk 4:15-16). If you're going to give your attention to the reading that means you are going to be very careful in the correctness of your exposition. You're going to give your whole attention to the matter of reading and explaining the Scripture.
Secondly, call people to apply it. Come alongside, encourage those people to respond properly and tell them about God’s favor if they do and the consequence if they don't. So you explain the Bible and then you press it home with an application to their hearts and bind their consciences to respond.
Thirdly, giving yourself to the whole process of systematically teaching the Word of God. The term "teaching," or "doctrine," appears 15 times in these books. And that gives us some idea of its importance to the life of the church.
A GOOD SERVANT OF CHRIST JESUS fulfills his calling v 14. "Don't neglect the gift," or "stop neglecting the gift” indicates that either Timothy was about to neglect the gift, or had already begun to neglect the gift. Either way, Timothy is in a dangerous spot. Timothy is where a lot of people in ministry have been, a point of departure. Here is how hard it was for Timothy (2 Timothy 1:3-4). It was so difficult for Timothy; the antagonism so great, what ultimately happened to the church at Ephesus? It left its first love and it went out of existence. So whatever effort Timothy made here was a very short-lived. And he became timid, fearful. He lost his courage. Verse 7, "God hasn't given us the spirit of timidity." Verse 13, "Hold on, Timothy, to the form of sound words, that you have heard from me."
First reason you must fulfill your calling is you were gifted for this. This is in the Apostolic era...area and this is not normative. Today, that objective external confirmation would come from providence, not direct revelation. In other words, how God arranges your circumstances, how He arranges your opportunities, your situation, how He leads and directs the people that you meet and the opportunity you have.
Second reason is the upward objective revelation of God. He says this was given you by prophecy.
Third reason is the laying on of the hands of the elders. Here is the church confirmation. If the first is subjective and the second is objective, the third is collective. That's an act of solidarity.
A GOOD SERVANT OF CHRIST JESUS is totally absorbed in his ministry v 15. He is saying premeditate these things, think them through beforehand, and then give yourself totally to them. There's an element of strategy here, of anticipation, and of premeditation. Be wrapped up in them; be totally absorbed and immersed.
A GOOD SERVANT OF CHRIST JESUS is progressing in spiritual growth v 15. Now what does "progress" admit? It admits that you aren't what you should be yet. So don't assume you have arrived. Don't try to convince people that you have no flaws. Let them see you growing. Be that honest.
Verse 16 is a summary. "Take heed to yourself and unto the teaching, continue in them." Focus your attention in on two things, yourself and your teaching. That's it. All of those eleven things can be boiled back to two; take heed to yourself and then give your attention to your teaching. Continue to concentrate on your own spiritual life and your exposition, exhortation, and application of the Word of God. So the concentration of the life of a good servant of Christ Jesus is on personal holiness and accurate teaching.
"For in doing this you will both save yourself”. You cannot serve the people of God well if you compromise your life or teaching. People need to be delivered from themselves, their poor choices, the sinful strategies they choose, the deliberate and willful acts of sin—these can and must be confronted and taught and discipled and disciplined, so believers are growing spiritually as kingdom members of Gods kingdom. Our teaching and living makes a difference this way both for ourselves (Phil 2:12) and for others (James 5:19-20; Jude 23).