02 February 10, 2013, 1 Timothy 4;6-12, The Practice Of GodlinessDocument Transcript
The Practice Of Godliness 1 Timothy 4:6-12 February 10, 2013 First Baptist Church Jackson, Mississippi, USAFEBRUARY MONTHLY SCRIPTURE MEMORY VERSEPsalm 51:10“God create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10SUNDAY SCHOOL FACT Of individuals who only attend worship, fewer than 20 percent are still active in church five years later. However, of those who attend both worship and Sunday School, more than 80 percent are still active after five years. Thank you for being passionate about reaching out to and ministering to people through Sunday School!!! When a guest visits in our class or a new member joins our class, make a special effort to let them know how glad we are that they are here. AMERICA, ISRAEL AND GOD’S PROPHETIC TIMETABLE Dr. Sherlock Bally Thursday, February 28 6:30-8:30 p.m. Fellowship Hall East The importance of Jerusalem to God’s prophetic timetable. America and Israel’s prophetic parallels. Israel and its position in the Middle East. The importance of America to continue to stand with Israel.
GODLINESS 1 TIMOTHY 4 You are as close to God as you want to be. The time you have here on earth is an opportunity for you to prove how close you want to be to God forever. Do you want to be closer to God than you are right now? Do you at least desire to (want to) want to be closer to God than you presently are? PRAYER “Father, give me the desire to want to be closer to You and then please change those desires into action.” THE GREEK WORD FOR GODLINESS: EUSEBIA (you SAY be ah) Literally, it means: ◦ “to worship well”, ◦ “to be very devout”, ◦ “good reverence”. Our text today: 1 Timothy 4:6-12 NASB The key verse: 1 Timothy 4:8 8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
Background passages on wholeheartedness: 2 Chronicles 16:9 9 For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. 2 Chronicles 16:9 Matthew 22:37-40 KJV 37 Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40 KJV Isaiah 66:1-2 NASB 1 Thus says the Lord, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? 2 “For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word.” Isaiah 66:1-2 NASB con· trite (an adjective) - feeling or expressing remorse or penitence; affected by guilt. Synonyms repentant - penitent - remorseful – regretful. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the (second) coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him (the Rapture), 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord (the Tribulation) has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 2 Timothy 3:1-5 NASB 1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to
parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 NASB The Ephesian church, where Timothy was serving when Paul wrote 1 Timothy, had been warned already about the coming of false doctrines (Acts 20:28-31). Acts 20:28-31 28 Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 Therefore be on the alert,” Acts 20:28-31 Throughout Pauls letters, the Spirit speaks expressly that the church will see apostasy, a falling away from the true faith ( 2 Thessalonians 2). 1 Timothy 4:1 1 “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,” 1 Timothy 4:1 Paul points out that the cause for the apostasy is not the "growing intelligence of scholars" but the satanic influence of demons so that professed believers deny the basic doctrines of the Bible. ◦ The problem is not with the head but with the heart! Text for today: 1 Timothy 4:6-12 NASB 6“In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. 7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is
profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. 10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, Who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. 11 Prescribe and teach these things. 12 Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.” 1 Timothy 4:6-12 NASB Key verse: 1 Timothy 4:8 NIV 1984 8 “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8 NIV 1984 If everything is going to be perfect in Heaven and if you are going to be like Jesus when you get there, why go to any effort or trouble while we are here on Earth to be like Him? What is verse 8 talking about when it says that godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come? 1 Corinthians 3:6-15 NASB 6 “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God Who causes the growth. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the One which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-15
What is the greatest reward a person could ever have? The greatest reward anyone could ever have is to be in the presence of God! Revelation 22:12 NASB 12 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” Revelation 22:12 NASB 2 Peter 1:3 NIV 1984 3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him Who called us by His own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3 NIV 1984 1 John 2:28 28 “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.” 1 John 2:28 There will be no shame or remorse in the final Heaven, but what about during the thousand year reign here on earth? What is Godliness? ◦ A study by: Jerry Bridges ◦ Article contributed by: ▪ NavPress Visit NavPress website ◦ From: ▪ "Value for All Things" and "Devotion to God" in the book: The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges (NavPress, 1983). As we see the importance of this foundational spiritual attribute (godliness), we commit ourselves to building it into our lives now. There is no higher compliment that can be paid to a Christian than to call him/her a godly person.
The words godly and godliness actually appear only a few times in the New Testament; yet the entire Bible is a book on godliness. When Paul wants to distill the essence of the Christian life into one brief paragraph, he focuses on godliness. Paul tells us that God’s grace "teaches us to say No to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives" as we await the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-13). We are to train ourselves to be godly. We are to pursue godliness— the word "pursue" indicating unrelenting, persevering effort. Godliness with contentment is held forth as great gain; and finally, godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. (v8) When Peter, in looking forward to the, day of the Lord when the earth and everything in it will be destroyed, asks what kind of people we ought to be, he answers that we are to live holy and godly lives (2 Peter 3:10-12). Here Peter uses the most momentous event of all history to stir us up to our Christian duty—holy and godly living. Surely, then, godliness is not an optional spiritual luxury for a few quaint Christians of a bygone era or for some group of super-saints of today. It is both the privilege and duty of every Christian to pursue godliness, to train himself to be godly, to study diligently the practice of godliness. We dont need any special talent or equipment. God has given to each one of us "everything we need for life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3). The most ordinary Christian has all that he needs, and the most talented Christian must use those same means in the practice of godliness. "What do you think of when you think of godliness?" The answers, though varied, always end up expressing some idea of Christian character, using such expressions as "Godlike," "Christlike," or "the fruit of the Spirit." Godliness certainly includes Christian character, but it is more than that. There is another, even more fundamental aspect of godliness than godly character. It is the foundation, in fact, on which godly character is built. Devotion in Action The Bible gives us some clues about godliness in its earliest pages.
Genesis 5:21-24 tells us about Enoch, the father of Methuselah. In a short three-verse summary of Enoch’s life, Moses twice describes him as one who "walked with God.“ Genesis 5:24 24 “Enoch walked with God (stayed constantly in touch with God); and he was not, for God took him.” Genesis 5:24 Much later in the Bible, the author of Hebrews gives Enoch a place in the great Faith’s Hall of Fame in chapter 11, but he sees Enoch from a slightly different perspective. He describes Enoch as "one who pleased God.“ Hebrews 11:5-6 5 “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:5-6 Here, then, are two important clues: Enoch walked with God, and Enoch pleased God. It is evident from these two statements that Enoch’s life was centered in God; God was the focal point, the polestar of his very existence. Enoch walked with God; he enjoyed a relationship with God; and he pleased God. We could accurately say he was devoted to God. This is the meaning of godliness. The New Testament word for godliness conveys the idea of a personal attitude toward God that results in actions that are pleasing to Him. This personal attitude toward God is what we call devotion to God. But it is always devotion in action. It is not just a warm, emotional feeling about God, the kind of feeling we may get while singing some grand old hymn of praise or some modern-day chorus of worship. Neither is devotion to God merely a time of private Bible reading and prayer, a practice we sometimes call "devotions." Focused On God Devotion is not an activity; it is an attitude toward God. This attitude is composed of three essential elements: ◦ the fear of God ◦ the love of God ◦ the desire for God. Note that all three elements focus upon God. The practice of godliness is an exercise or discipline that focuses upon God.
From this God-ward attitude arise both the character and the conduct (doers of the Word) that we usually think of as godliness. So often we try to develop Christian character and conduct without taking the time to develop God-centered devotion. We try to please God without taking the time to walk with Him (stay constantly in contact with Him) and develop a relationship with Him. This is impossible to do. The devil tried to trick Eve with the lie, “Just do this and you will be like God!” There are no shortcuts to discipleship. Consider the exacting requirements of a godly lifestyle as expounded by the saintly William Law in A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life. Law uses the word devotion in a broader sense to mean all that is involved in godliness—actions as well as attitude: Devotion signifies a life given, or devoted, to God. He therefore is the devout [godly] man who lives no longer to his own will, or the way and spirit of the world, but to the sole will of God; who considers God in everything, who serves God in everything, who makes all the parts of his common life parts of piety [godliness], by doing everything in the name of God, and under such rules as are conformable to his Glory. David Platt says we are to: Enjoy His grace and Extend His glory! Note the totality of godliness over one’s entire life in Law’s description of the godly person. Nothing is excluded. God is at the center of his thoughts. His most ordinary duties are done with an eye to God’s glory.(Bro Lawrence) In Paul’s words to the Corinthians, “whether he eats or drinks or whatever he does, he does it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10) It is obvious that such a God-centered lifestyle cannot be developed and maintained apart from a solid foundation of devotion to God. Only a strong personal relationship with the living God can keep such a commitment from becoming oppressive and legalistic.
John writes that God’s commands are not burdensome; a godly life is not wearisome, but this is true only because a godly person is first of all devoted to God. Devotion to God, then, is the mainspring of godly character. And this devotion is the only motivation for Christian behavior that is pleasing to God. This motivation is what separates the godly person from the moral person, or the benevolent person, or the zealous person. The godly person is moral, benevolent, and zealous because of his devotion to God. And his life takes on a dimension that reflects the very stamp of God. It is sad that many Christians do not have this aura of godliness about them. They may be very talented and personable, or very busy in the Lord’s work, or even apparently successful in some avenues of Christian service, and still not be godly. Why? Because they are not devoted to God. They may be devoted to a vision, or to a ministry, or to their own reputation as Christians, but not to God. So godliness can be defined as devotion to God which results in a life that is pleasing to Him. Enoch walked with God, and Enoch pleased God. His walk with God speaks of his relationship with God, or his devotion to God; his pleasing God speaks of the behavior that arose from that relationship. Some of our aversion to the phrase "fear of God" may be due to a misunderstanding of its meaning. The Bible uses the term "fear of God" in two distinct ways: that of anxious dread, and that of veneration, awe, and reverence. Fear as anxious dread is produced by the realization of God’s impending judgment upon sin. When Adam sinned he hid from God because he was afraid. Although this aspect of the fear of God should characterize every unsaved person who lives each day as an object of God’s wrath, it seldom does. Paul’s concluding indictment of ungodly mankind was, "There is no fear of God before their eyes" (Romans 3:18). The Christian has been delivered from fear of God’s wrath (1 John 4:18). But the Christian has not been delivered from the discipline of God against his sinful conduct, and in this sense he still fears God. He works out his salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12); he lives his life as—a stranger here in reverent fear (1 Peter 1:17).
For the child of God, however, the primary meaning of the fear of God is veneration and honor, reverence and awe. Murray says this fear is the soul of godliness. It is the attitude that elicits from our hearts adoration and love, reverence and honor. It focuses in awe not upon the wrath of God but upon the majesty, holiness, and transcendent glory of God. The angelic beings of Isaiah’s vision in chapter 6 demonstrated this awe when, with two of their wings, they covered their faces in the presence of the exalted Lord. We see this same awe in Isaiah himself and in Peter when they each realized they were in the presence of a holy God. We see it most vividly in the reaction of the beloved disciple John in Revelation 1:17, when he saw his Master in all of His heavenly glory and majesty, and fell at His feet as though dead. It is impossible to be devoted to God if one’s heart is not filled with the fear of God. It is this profound sense of veneration and honor, reverence and awe that draws forth from our hearts the worship and adoration that characterizes true devotion to God. The reverent, godly Christian sees God first in His transcendent glory, majesty, and holiness before he sees Him in His love, mercy, and grace. God wants us to first “seek His face”, to get to know Him and not always be seeking His hand, to ask what He can do for us. There is a healthy tension that exists in the godly person’s heart between the reverential awe of God in his glory and the childlike confidence in God as heavenly Father. Without this tension, a Christian’s filial confidence can easily degenerate into presumption. One of the more serious sins of Christians today may well be the almost flippant familiarity with which we often address God in prayer. None of the godly men of the Bible ever adopted the casual manner we often do. They always addressed God with reverence. The same writer who tells us that we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place, the throne room of God, also tells us that we should worship God
acceptably with reverence and awe, "for our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 10:19 and Hebrews 12:28-29). Paul, who tells us that the Holy Spirit dwelling within us causes us to cry "Abba Father," also tells us that this same God lives in "unapproachable light" (Romans 8:15 and 1 Timothy 6). In our day we must begin to recover a sense of awe and profound reverence for God. We must begin to view Him once again in the infinite majesty that alone belongs to Him Who is the Creator and Supreme Ruler of the entire universe. There is an infinite gap in worth and dignity between God the Creator and man the creature, even though man has been created in the image of God. The fear of God is a heartfelt recognition of this gap—not a put down of man, but an exaltation of God. Even the redeemed in heaven fear the Lord. In Revelation 15:3-4, 3 they sing triumphantly the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb: “Great and marvelous are Your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are Your ways, King of the ages. 4 Who will not fear You, O Lord, and bring glory to Your name? For You alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed.” Revelation 15:3-4 Note the focus of their veneration upon God’s attributes of power, justice, and holiness. No wonder, then, that with that day in view Peter tells us to live holy and godly lives now. God is in the process of preparing us for Heaven, to dwell with Him for eternity. So He desires that we grow in both holiness and godliness. He wants us to be like Him and to reverence and adore Him for all eternity. We must be learning to do this now. In our day we seem to have magnified the love of God almost to the exclusion of the fear of God. Because of this preoccupation we are not honoring God and reverencing Him as we should. We should magnify the love of God; but although we revel in His love and mercy, we must never lose sight of His majesty and His holiness. Not only will a right concept of the fear of God cause us to worship God aright, it will also regulate our conduct.
As John Murray says, "What or whom we worship determines our behavior." Albert N. Martin has said that the essential ingredients of the fear of God are: (1) correct concepts of God’s character, (2) a pervasive sense of God’s presence, and (3) a constant awareness of our obligation to God. If we have some comprehension of God’s infinite holiness and His hatred of sin, coupled with this pervasive sense of God’s presence in all of our actions and thoughts, then such a fear of God must influence and regulate our conduct. Proverbs 9:10 The beginning of wisdom is to learn the fear of the Lord. Proverbs 9:10 The fear of God should provide a primary motivation for, as well as result in, obedience to Him. If we truly reverence God we will obey Him, since every act of disobedience is an affront to His dignity and majesty. John 14:21 Obedience = love, Gripped By Gods Love Only the God-fearing Christian can truly appreciate the love of God. He sees the infinite gulf between a holy God and a sinful creature, and the love that bridged that gulf through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s love for us is many-faceted, but He supremely demonstrated it by sending His Son to die for our sins. All other aspects of His love are secondary, and in fact are made possible for us through the death of Christ. The apostle John says, "God is love" (1 John 4:8). And he explains, 1 John 4:9-10 9 This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10 The love of God has no meaning apart from Calvary. And Calvary has no meaning apart from the holy and just wrath of God. Jesus did not die just to give us peace and a purpose in life; He died to save us from the wrath of God. He died to reconcile us to a holy God Who was alienated from us because of our sin. He died to ransom us from the penalty of sin—the punishment of everlasting destruction, and of being shut out from the presence of the Lord. He died that we, the just objects of God’s wrath, should become, by His grace, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.
How much we appreciate God’s love is conditioned by how deeply we fear Him. The more we see God in His infinite majesty, holiness, and transcendent glory, the more we will gaze with wonder and amazement upon His love poured out at Calvary. But it is also true that the more deeply we perceive God’s love to us in Christ, the more profound will be our reverence and awe of Him. The psalmist caught this truth when he said, Psalm 130:3-4 3 If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But with You there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. Psalm 130:3-4 He worshiped God with reverence and awe because of God’s forgiveness. In our practice of godliness, then, we must seek to grow both in the fear of God and in an ever-increasing comprehension of the love of God. These two elements together form the foundation of our devotion to God. This awareness of God’s love for us in Christ must be personalized in order for it to become one of the solid foundational corners of our "triangle of devotion" to God. It is not enough to believe that God loved the world. I must be gripped by the realization that God loves me, a specific person. It is this awareness of His individual love that draws out our hearts in devotion to Him. Our awareness of God’s love for us must also be constantly growing. As we mature in our Christian lives we are increasingly aware of God’s holiness and our own sinfulness. In Paul’s first letter to Timothy he reflects upon God’s mercy in appointing him to the Gospel ministry. Paul recalls that he once was a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man. This description no longer applies to Paul; it is all past tense. But as he continues to reflect upon the grace of God, he slips, almost unconsciously it seems, into the present tense of his experience: 1 Timothy 1:15b Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 1 Timothy 1:15b He is no longer thinking about his past as a persecutor of Christ. Now he is thinking about his present daily experience as a believer who falls short of the will of God for him. He doesnt think about other Christians, whom we know were way behind Paul in their devotion to God and their attainment of godly character.
Paul never wastes time trying to feel good about himself by comparing himself favorably with less mature Christians. He compares himself with God’s standard, and he consequently sees himself as the worst of sinners. Through this present sense of his sinfulness Paul sees God’s love for him. The more he grows in his knowledge of God’s perfect will, the more he sees his own sinfulness, and the more he comprehends God’s love in sending Christ to die for him. And the more he sees God’s love, the more his heart reaches out in adoring devotion to the One who loved him so. If God’s love for us is to be a solid foundation stone of devotion, we must realize that His love is entirely of grace—that it rests completely upon the work of Jesus Christ and flows to us through our union with Him. Because of this basis His love can never change, regardless of what we do. In our daily experience, we have all sorts of spiritual ups and downs - sin, failure, discouragement, all of which tend to make us question God’s love. That is because we keep thinking that God’s love is somehow conditional. We are afraid to believe His love is based entirely upon the finished work of Christ for us. Deep down in our souls we must get hold of the wonderful truth that our spiritual failures do not affect God’s love for us one iota—that His love for us does not fluctuate according to our experience. We must be gripped by the truth that we are accepted by God and loved by God for the sole reason that we are united to His beloved Son. As the King James Version translates Ephesians 1:6, “He hath made us accepted in the Beloved." Does this apprehension of God’s personal, unconditional love for us in Christ lead to careless living? Not at all. Rather, such an awareness of His love stimulates in us an increased devotion to Him. And this devotion is active; it is not just a warm, affectionate feeling toward God. Paul testified that Christ’s love for us compelled him to live not for himself, but for Him Who died for us and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). The word for "compel" which Paul used is a very strong verb. It means to press in on all sides and to impel or force one to a certain course of action. Probably not many Christians can identify with Paul in this depth of his motivation, but this surely should be our goal. This is the constraining force God’s love is intended to have upon us. So we see that devotion to God begins with the fear of God—with a Biblical view of His majesty and holiness that elicits a reverence and awe of Him. And then we see that the fear of God leads naturally to an apprehension of the love of God for us as shown in the atoning death of Jesus Christ. As we contemplate God more and more in His majesty, holiness, and love, we
will be progressively led to the apex of the triangle of devotion—the desire for God Himself. A Thirst For God True godliness engages our affections and awakens within us a desire to enjoy God’s presence and fellowship. It produces a longing for God Himself. The writer of Psalm 42 vividly expressed this longing when he exclaimed, "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and I meet with God?" What could be more intense than a hunted deer’s thirst for water? The psalmist does not hesitate to use this picture to illustrate the intensity of his own desire for God’s presence and fellowship. You are as close to God as you want to be and your time here on earth proves to Him how close you want to be to Him in eternity. David also expresses this intense desire for God: "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in his temple" (Psalm 27:4). David yearned intensely for God Himself that he might enjoy His presence and His beauty. Since God is a spirit, His beauty obviously refers not to a physical appearance but to His attributes. David enjoyed dwelling upon the majesty and greatness, the holiness and goodness of God. But David did more than contemplate the beauty of God’s attributes. He sought God Himself, for elsewhere he says, "Earnestly I seek You; my soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You" (Psalm 63:1). The apostle Paul also experienced this longing for God: "I want to know Christ" (Philippians 3:10). The Amplified Bible forcefully catches the intensity of Paul’s desire in this passage: "For my determined purpose is that I may know Him—that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly." This is the heartbeat of the godly person. As he contemplates God in the awesomeness of His infinite majesty, power, and holiness, and then as he dwells upon the riches of God’s mercy and grace poured out at Calvary, his heart is captivated by this One Who could love him so. He is satisfied with God alone, but he is never satisfied with his present experience of God. He always yearns for more. Perhaps this idea of a desire for God sounds strange to many Christians today. We understand the thought of serving God, of being busy in His work. We may even have a "quiet time" when we read the Bible and pray.
But the idea of longing for God Himself, of wanting to deeply enjoy His fellowship and His presence, may seem a bit too mystical, almost bordering on fanaticism. We prefer our Christianity to be more practical. Yet who could be more practical than Paul? Who was more involved in the struggles of daily living than David? Still, with all their responsibilities, both Paul and David yearned to experience more fellowship with the living God. The Bible indicates that this is God’s plan for us, from its earliest pages right through to the end. In the third chapter of Genesis, God walks in the garden, calling out for Adam that He might have fellowship with him. In Revelation 21, when John sees the vision of the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven, he hears the voice of God say, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them" (verse 3). For all of eternity God plans to have fellowship with His people. Today, Jesus still says to us as He did to the church at Laodicea, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me" (Revelation 3:20). In the culture of John’s day, to share a meal meant to have fellowship, so Jesus is inviting us to open our hearts to Him that we may fellowship with Him. He desires that we come to know Him better; therefore, the desire and yearning for God is something that He plants within our hearts. PRAYER “Father, give me the desire to want to be close to You and change those desires into action.” In the life of the godly person, this desire for God produces an aura of warmth. Godliness is never austere and cold. Such an idea comes from a false sense of legalistic morality that is erroneously called godliness. The person who spends time with God reflects His glory in a manner that is always warm and inviting, never cold and forbidding. This longing for God also produces a desire to glorify God and to please Him. In the same breath, Paul expresses the desire to know Christ as well as to be like Him. This is God’s ultimate objective for us and is the object of the Spirit’s work in us. In Isaiah 26:9, the prophet proclaims his desire for the Lord in words very similar to the psalmist’s: "My soul yearns for You in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for You." Note that immediately before this expression of desire for the Lord, Isaiah expresses a desire for God’s glory: “Your name and renown are the desire of our hearts” (verse 8). Renown has to do with one’s reputation, fame, and eminence—or in God’s case, with His glory.
who serves in any ministry on Christs behalf. Those who serve Christ, those who are bond slaves to Christ, are called to excellence in their usefulness to His cause. Colossians 3:22-24 22 “Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:22-24 Having discussed the inevitability of false teachers in 4:1-5, Paul now instructs Timothy in how to be, and to evaluate those suited to be, an effective minister of the Lord in the face of demonic opposition. In so doing, Paul focuses mostly on the positive traits that should characterize an excellent ministry. The way to defeat false doctrine is not only by denouncing and refuting it, but also by positively teaching and living the truth. The primary focus of the ministry is to be positive, to build up the people of God, because sanctification is more than avoiding error, it is being built up with truth. So Paul calls Timothy to be an excellent servant of Jesus Christ, and to set a standard of virtue in faith, devotion, and conduct that others can follow. By so doing, people will be delivered from heresy and will be focused on the positive truth that makes them spiritually strong. In 4:6-16, Paul directs Timothy to consider his responsibilities by exhibiting eleven qualities that are to characterize the ministry of an excellent servant of Jesus Christ. AN EXCELLENT MINISTER WARNS HIS PEOPLE OF ERROR 1 Timothy 4:6a NASB 6a In pointing out these things to the brethren, 1 Timothy 4:6a NASB While the ministry is not to be dominated by a negative attitude, that does not mean there is no place for warning. It is an essential element of the ministry. This passage is close-packed with practical advice, not only for Timothy, but for any servant of the Church who is charged with the duty of work and leadership. It tells us how to instruct others. The word used for laying these things before the brothers is most suggestive (hupotithesthai). It does not mean to issue orders but rather to advise, to suggest. It is a gentle, humble, and modest word.
It means that the teacher must never dogmatically and pugnaciously lay down the law. It means that he must act rather as if he was reminding men of what they already knew or suggesting to them, not that they should learn from him, but that they should discover from their own hearts what is right. Guidance given in gentleness will always be more effective than bullying instructions laid down with force. Men may be led when they will refuse to be driven. Hupotithemi (pointing out) is a mild verb, meaning "to remind," or "to suggest." It could literally be translated, "to lay before." The verb does not have the idea of commanding people or forcing obedience. Rather, it refers to gentle, humble persuasion. The present tense of the participle indicates Timothy was to be continually warning his people. That was a recurring theme in Pauls ministry. In Acts 20:29-32, he warned the Ephesian elders of the errors that were to come. He did not, however, give an exhaustive exposition of those errors. Instead, he focused on the positive aspect of building up their faith through Gods Word. Having that strong foundation, they would be able to handle any kind of error when it came. The first thing they taught us in dental school was what is healthy. The way a teller is taught to recognize a counterfeit bill is by first teaching them what the real thing looks like. Know the Truth and you will recognize error. These things are those Paul warned of in 4:1-5. Timothy is to warn of the danger of all features of un-biblical, demonic doctrine purveyed by false teachers. The people he is to warn are the brethren, Gods people. Believers are not to be "children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming" (Ephesians 4:14). He is to remind them that the way to deal with satanic false teaching is to be strong in the Word (1 John 2:14). 1 John 2:14 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) 14 I have written to you, children, because you have come to know the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have come to know the One Who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, God’s word remains in you,
and you have had victory over the evil one. 1 John 2:14 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) In 2 Timothy 4:1-5, Paul gave the following exhortation to Timothy: 2 Timothy 4:1-5 1 “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths. 5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5 A man of God must develop and preach strong convictions. He must continually warn his people of error as the need arises. He is the protector of his flock. So many pastors have failed to draw the line clearly between truth and error and build their people up in the rich and sound doctrine of Gods Word. Such weak preachers are often said to compensate by having what some call a "pastors heart." A pastors heart, however, is not measured by how good a man is at petting sheep, but by how well he protects them from wolves and feeds them so they grow to be mature and strong. AN EXCELLENT MINISTER IS AN EXPERT STUDENT OF SCRIPTURE 1 Timothy 4:6c 6c constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. 1 Timothy 4:6c This quality is basic to excellence in ministry, but is sadly lacking in the church today. "The Word of God and prayer" (v. 5) settle the matter. God, in His Word, has declared that all foods are clean (Gen 1:29-31; 9:3; Mark 7:14-23; 1 Cor 10:23-26; Acts 10:1); and through prayer, the Christian thanks God and dedicates the food to His glory (1 Cor 10:31). The pastor must teach these things to his people, nourishing them and himself on "healthy" (sound) doctrine; see notes on 1:10. A good minister will feed on the Word that he might be able to feed others. 1 Timothy 4:6c KJV 6c Nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine 1 Timothy 4:6c KJV
This is how the believer is to grow in the Word of God. We are not to go off on tangents about diet or some other aesthetic program as if it would commend us to God. Instead our diet is to be "nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine.“ 4:6 Much contemporary preaching is weak and produces weak churches because it reflects a lack of Biblical knowledge, and a minimal commitment to the study of Scripture. It tells us how to face the task of teaching. Timothy is told that he must feed his life on the words of faith. No man can give out without taking in. He who would teach must be continually learning. It is the reverse of the truth that when a man becomes a teacher he ceases to be a learner; he must daily know Jesus Christ better before he can bring him to others. For many pastors, study is an unwelcome intrusion into their schedule. It interrupts the routine of administrative tasks and meetings with which they occupy themselves. They study only enough to make a sermon, not to feed their own hearts and think deeply and carefully on divine truth. The result is impotent sermons that fall on hard hearts and have little impact. It is to that expert study of Scripture that Paul called Timothy. The translation constantly nourished reflects the present tense of the participle. The continual experience of being nourished on the truths of Gods word is essential. An excellent minister must read the Word, study it, meditate on it, and master its contents. Only then can he be, 2 Timothy 2:15b 15b approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15b BIBLE MATHEMATICS ◦ We are not to add to the Bible, ◦ nor to subtract from it ◦ but to rightly divide it! The phrase the words of the faith reflects the body of Christian truth contained in Scripture. If the Word is "inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17), a minister must know it. The issue is not how good a communicator a man is, or how well he knows the culture and the current issues, or even how well he knows the particular
vicissitudes of his flock. The issue is how well he knows the Word of God, since Gods revelation perfectly assesses all issues in every time and every life and addresses them with the divine will. It is through knowledge of the Word that the pastor fulfills his calling to lead his people through spiritual growth to Christlikeness (1 Peter 2:2). 1 Peter 2:2 HCSB 2 Like newborn infants, desire the pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it for your salvation, 1 Peter 2:2 HCSB Sound doctrine is that teaching which is firmly rooted in and yielded from the proper interpretation of Scripture, not human systems of theological or philosophical speculations. Exegetical theology must be the foundation of Biblical and systematic theology. An excellent minister must be knowledgeable of Biblical truth, both its depth and breadth. An excellent minister must be an excellent student of Scripture. He cannot give out what he does not take in. AN EXCELLENT MINISTER AVOIDS THE INFLUENCE OF UNHOLY TEACHING 1 Timothy 4:7a NASB 7a But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. 1 Timothy 4:7a NASB This verse tells us what to avoid. Timothy is to avoid profitless tales like those which old women tell to children. It is easy to get lost in side-issues and to get entangled in things which are at best embroideries. It is on the great central truths that a man must ever feed his mind and nourish his faith. The flip side of being strong in the Word is avoiding false teaching. An excellent minister who is committed to the study of Scripture is correspondingly uninterested in and unwilling to have his strength dissipated by ungodly teaching. Paraiteomai (have nothing to do with) is a strong word, meaning "reject," or "put away" (2 Tim 2:23; Titus 3:10). Worldly translates bebelos, a word that describes what is radically separate from what is holy. It could be translated "unhallowed," and refers to anything that contradicts the Word of God. Fables translates muthos, from which our English word "myth" derives. Such fables are the opposite of Biblical truth (cf. 2 Tim 4:4). Paul sarcastically describes them as fit only for old women.
Women were not usually allowed the educational opportunity men had, so this phrase comes from such a situation. That epithet was commonly used in philosophical circles as a term of disdain for a viewpoint lacking credibility and thus appealing only to uneducated, unsophisticated, and perhaps senile matrons. No intelligent man would hear it at all. The Ephesians would have understood Pauls use of the phrase. The mind is a precious thing, and God expects those in leadership to have a pure mind, one saturated with His Word. There is no place for foolish, silly myths that are in reality the doctrines of demons. The excellent minister maintains his conviction and his clarity of mind by exposing himself to the Word of God not to demonic lies that assault the Bible. Under the guise of advanced theological education and academic erudition, many a mans love of the truth has been destroyed, and a once clear mind has been hopelessly muddled. AN EXCELLENT MINISTER DISCIPLINES HIMSELF FOR GODLINESS 1 Timothy 4:7b-9 7b On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; 8 for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. 1 Timothy 4:7b-9 A Godly Minister: Practicing the Word (4:7-12) Just as "healthy" doctrine will promote spiritual health, so the foolish and silly myths of false teachers will produce spiritual sickness. Spiritual food and spiritual exercise are a happy combination! It is suggested that Timothy was leaning toward asceticism, the disciplining of the body; and that Paul is here teaching him to emphasize spiritual disciplines and exercises more than physical. If some Christians would put as much energy and enthusiasm into spiritual things as they do athletics and body-building, how much stronger they and their churches would be! "Bodily exercise profits for a little time," Paul admits, "but spiritual exercise - practicing the Word of God - is profitable for this life and the life to come" (v. 8). See Heb 4:14. The Christian, and especially the pastor, must practice the Word of God and be known for godliness (god-likeness). This may mean carrying burdens and bearing suffering (v. 10), but it is worth it. Even young people can be examples of the faith, as Paul admonishes in v. 12: in word, in behavior (conversation), in love, in spirit (enthusiasm), faith (faithfulness), and purity. This passage tells us what to seek.
Timothy is told that as an athlete trains his body, so the Christian must train his soul. It is not that bodily fitness is despised. The Christian faith believes that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. But there are certain things in Pauls mind. First, in the ancient world, especially in Greece, the gymnasia were dangerous places. Every town had its gymnasium; for the Greek youth between the ages of sixteen and eighteen, gymnastics were the main part of education. But the ancient world was riddled with homosexuality and the gymnasia were notorious as hotbeds of that particular sin. Second, Paul is pleading for a sense of proportion. Physical training is good, and even essential; but its use is limited. It develops only part of a man; and it produces only results which last for so short a time, for the body passes away. Training in godliness develops the whole man in body, mind and spirit, and its results affect not only time, but eternity as well. The Christian is not the athlete of the gymnasium, he is the athlete of God. The greatest of the Greeks well recognized this. Isocrates wrote: ◦ "No ascetic ought to train his body as a king ought to train his soul." ◦ "Train yourself by submitting willingly to toils, so that when they come on you unwillingly you will be able to endure them." This shows us the basis of the whole matter. No one has ever claimed that the Christian life is an easy way; but its goal is God. It is because life is lived in the presence of God and ends in His still nearer presence, that the Christian is willing to endure as he does. The greatness of the goal makes the toil worth while. —Barclays Daily Study Bible (NT) 1 Timothy 4:8a 8a For bodily exercise profiteth little: 1 Timothy 4:8a There are those who believe that Paul is downgrading physical exercise. I dont understand it that way at all. Paul spent about three years in Ephesus where there was a great coliseum in which the Olympic Games were held at times. The coliseum seated 100,000 people, and foot races were often held there. Paul uses the figure of the race and compares it to the Christian life and walk in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. Paul knew something about exercise. I stood in the city of Sardis one time and observed the Roman road that was being excavated to the east and the west of that city.
Paul walked that road nineteen hundred years ago, preaching the Gospel of Christ. He didnt travel in a bus or in an automobile. He didnt ride a horse or even a donkey. Paul walked there, and it took a rugged individual to cover the ground that he covered throughout the Roman Empire. He may not have done much jogging, but he did a great deal of walking. Pauls emphasis on godliness rather than on physical exercise is because the Ephesians were a people given over to games and athletics. We are also that kind of a nation. Many of our cities have coliseums where great spectacles are conducted, and many believers put more emphasis on athletics than they do on the things of God. There are church officers who spend more time during the summer in the ball park than they spend in prayer meetings. Paul is not saying bodily exercise is wrong. He is saying, "Lets hold things in correct perspective." "But godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." Bodily exercise will help you only in this life, because when you get a new body it wont make any difference whether youve exercised this one or not. "But godliness is profitable unto all things." Those who argue that a Christian can fall into sin and can always come back to God on easy terms are right. But, my friend, a godly life pays off not only down here, it will pay off in eternity. The Prodigal Son lost a great deal by going to the far country, and any Christian who lives a careless life rather than a godly life will find that even in eternity he will pay for it. Are you as anxious about godliness as you are about physical exercise, about athletic events? The physical ends at the end of this life, but godliness is carried over into the next. There is no effective spiritual ministry apart from personal godliness, since ministry is the overflow of a godly life. J. Oswald Sanders wrote, ◦ "Spiritual ends can be achieved only by spiritual men who employ spiritual methods" (Spiritual Leadership, 40). Spurgeon described in the following words the minister who, lacking godliness in his own life, would seek to lead others to it: ◦ “A graceless pastor is a blind man elected to a professorship of optics, philosophising upon light and vision, discoursing upon and distinguishing to others the nice shades and delicate blendings of the prismatic colours, while he himself is absolutely in the dark! He is a dumb man elevated to the chair of music; a deaf man fluent upon symphonies and harmonies! He is a mole professing to educate eagles; a limpet elected to preside over angels.” (Lectures to My Students, first series, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980, 4)
Discipline is from gumnazo, from which our English words "gymnasium" and "gymnastics" derive. It means "to train," or "to exercise." The word speaks of the rigorous, strenuous, self-sacrificing training an athlete undergoes. Every Greek city had its gymnasium, and Ephesus was no exception. Youths customarily spent much of their time from ages sixteen to eighteen in physical training. That was vital, since life in those days involved much physical activity. There was a great emphasis on physical training and the glory of winning athletic events. By using gumnazo, Paul plays off that cultural phenomenon and applies it to the spiritual realm. As Greek culture emphasized dedicated training of the body, Paul urged Timothy to discipline himself for the purpose of godliness. The present tense of the verb indicates that was to be Timothys constant pursuit. Timothy was to train his inner man for godliness. Eusebeia (godliness) expresses the reality of reverence, piety, and true spiritual virtue. Godliness is a right attitude and response toward the true Creator God; a preoccupation from the heart with holy and sacred realities. It is respect for what is due to God, and is thus the highest of all virtues. In 1 Timothy 6:3 it is said to be at the heart of truth. False Doctrine and Human Greed 1 Timothy 6:2b-12 2b Teach and encourage these things. 3 If anyone teaches other doctrine and does not agree with the sound teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the teaching that promotes godliness, 4 he is conceited, understanding nothing, but has a sick interest in disputes and arguments over words. From these come envy, quarreling, slander, evil suspicions, 5 and constant disagreement among people whose minds are depraved and deprived of the truth, who imagine that godliness is a way to material gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is a great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these. 9 But those who want to be rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.
Fight the Good Fight 11 But you, man of God, run from these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight for the faith; take hold of eternal life that you were called to and have made a good confession about in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:2b-12 2 Peter 1:3 says that godliness comes from Christ, while 1 Timothy 6:11 balances that by teaching that believers must pursue it. According to Acts 3:12 it brings power, while 2 Timothy 3:12 indicates it brings trouble. 1 Timothy 6:5-6 says that it brings eternal blessings. Godliness is the heart and soul of Christian character, and the aim of Christian living (1 Timothy 2:2; 2 Peter 3:11). Spiritual self-discipline is the key to godly living. Paul wrote, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 In 2 Corinthians 7:1 he exhorted us to "cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." Paul commanded Timothy, 2 Timothy 2:3-5 3 Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the One Who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. 2 Timothy 2:3-5 Here Paul likens spiritual discipline to that required of a soldier and an athlete. Such discipline is necessary for victory in war, or in the games. The lack of spiritual discipline is the primary reason so many spiritual leaders fall into sin.
They fail to spend time cultivating the means of grace, in the Word, in prayer, and in self-sacrificial service. An excellent minister is to pursue godliness, not success (cf. 1 Timothy 1:5; 2:8; 3:2, 10; 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:1, 21-22). He will one day hear from the Lord, Matthew 25:21a 21a Well done, good and faithful slave Matthew 25:21a In Pauls day, as in our own, there was a great emphasis on bodily discipline. While helpful, such discipline is only of little profit. Paul is showing that it is limited both in extent and duration. Bodily discipline affects only the physical body during this earthly life. On the other hand, godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. Unlike bodily discipline, godliness is profitable for the soul as well as the body. Its positive effects are also not limited to this life, because it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. Cultivating godliness will bring benefits in the present life (cf. Prov 3:7-8), but it will primarily bring blessedness for all eternity. So axiomatic is the truth of verse 8 that Paul calls it a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance. 1 Timothy 4:9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. 1 Timothy 4:9 Paul is emphasizing the point he has just made. In other words, he says, "Heres something you can count on." You could count on it in the first century in Ephesus, and you can count on it in Jackson, Mississippi in the twenty first century. And we can count on it in the twenty-first century, if we make it that far. As noted in chapter 3 of this volume, a trustworthy statement is a self-evident, obvious statement. It is something so patently clear that everyone acknowledges it. This affirmation refers back to verse 8, not ahead to the comment in verse 10. It is axiomatic that believers are to be disciplining themselves for godliness because of its eternal value. Godliness, not fame, popularity, or reputation, is the pursuit of the excellent minister, who must be an example of spiritual virtue to his flock. He must apply all the means of grace as he endeavors to be able to say, as did Paul, 1 Corinthians 11:1 11 Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ 1 Corinthians 11:1
AN EXCELLENT MINISTER IS COMMITTED TO HARD WORK 1 Timothy 4:10 10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, Who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. 1 Timothy 4:10 1 Timothy 4:10a KJV 10a For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, 1 Timothy 4:10a KJV If you stand for Jesus Christ today it will cost you something. There is no question about that. What Scripture does say is that He is the Savior of all men. Whoever you are, Hes your Savior and Hes the only Savior. 1 Timothy 4:10d 10d Specially of those that believe. 1 Timothy 4:10d He is the Savior of all men, but you can turn Him down if you want to. Let me illustrate this for you. They say that a plane leaves the Los Angeles International Airport every minute, and I could get on any one of them (if I had the courage!). All I need to do is get a ticket and get on the plane. Its a plane for everybody, you see, but not everybody will take it. Christ is the Savior of all men, but only those who believe will be saved (see John 3:16; 1 John 2:2). The ministry of excellence is not only a heavenly pursuit demanding divine power, but also an earthly task, demanding hard work. As already noted, for this connects verse 10 with verse 8. The goal of laboring and striving is godliness, with its eternal implications. Kopiao (labor) means "to work to the point of weariness and exhaustion." Agonizomai (strive) is the source of our English word "agony." It means "to engage in a struggle." In 2 Corinthians 5:9-11, Paul gives two reasons such hard work is necessary: believers will appear before the judgment seat of Christ (v. 10), and unbelievers will face Gods eternal judgment (v. 11; Colossians 1:28-29). The knowledge of this demand for diligent labor spurs the excellent minister on to serious efforts. No wonder Henry Martyn, the missionary to India, exclaimed, "Now let me burn out for God." Because of his diligent, hard work as a missionary to the American Indians, David Brainerd was dead before he reached thirty. Ministers of God are engaged in an eternal work, with the destiny of mens souls at stake.
The urgency of that work drives them on, through weariness, loneliness, and struggle. J. Oswald Sanders wrote, ◦ "If he is unwilling to pay the price of fatigue for his leadership, it will always be mediocre. . . . True leadership always exacts a heavy toll on the whole man, and the more effective the leadership is, the higher the price to be paid" (Spiritual Leadership, 175, 169). Paul affirmed to the Galatians that through the cross of Christ Galatians 6:14b NASB 14b the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world Galatians 6:14b NASB To the Corinthians he wrote, 1 Corinthians 9:16-17, 26-27 16 For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. 17 For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. . . . 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:16-17,26-27 1 Timothy 4:10 10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. Object1 1 Timothy 4:10 These passages speak of Pauls commitment to hard work and privation, a commitment evidenced by his suffering recorded in 2 Cor 11. An excellent minister lives with hope and is not motivated by instant gratification or immediate fulfillment. He has fixed his hope on the living God. The perfect tense of the verb indicates something done in the past with continuing results in the present. He constantly labors in the light of eternity. As he was saved in hope (Rom 8:24), so he lives and ministers in that hope. His concerns do not relate to the temporal world or earthly fulfillment, but to the realm of eternity and the invisible kingdom. The phrase the living God is used frequently in the Old Testament in contrast with dead idols (1 Sam 17:26; 2 Kings 19:4, 16; Ps 42:2; 84:2). Excellent ministers do not serve dead idols for earthly rewards, but the eternally living and true God for results and rewards that will only be known in Heaven. In what sense God is the Savior of all men, especially of believers has been much disputed.
Some, wanting to eliminate the Scriptural teaching of an eternal hell, argue that Paul here teaches universalism, that all men will be saved. That view violates the basic hermeneutical principle known as analogia Scriptura. According to that principle, the Bible never contradicts itself. It will never teach something in one passage that violates what it teaches elsewhere. The Bible clearly teaches that those who reject God will be sentenced to hell (Rev 20:11-15). Matt 25:41 and 46 state that the duration of that punishment will be eternal. 2 Thess 1:8-9 says that those who do not know God and refuse to obey the Gospel will suffer eternal punishment away from Gods presence. Jesus repeatedly spoke of the danger of hell (Matt 8:12; 13:41-42,49-50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28). He solemnly warned those who rejected Him that they would die in their sins (John 8:24). Universalism is undeniably contrary to Scripture, since the same words in the original that describe hell as eternal also describe God and heaven as eternal. A second view might be dubbed the potential/actual view. According to this view, Christ is potentially the savior of all men, but actually only of those who believe. It is true that Christs death was powerful enough to have redeemed the whole human race and to satisfy the justice of God and remove the barrier between God and all men. Therefore, all can be called to salvation and justly damned if they refuse that call. By means of Christs death, God made provision for the sins of the world. That such is not the teaching of this verse, however, is revealed by the use of the adverb malista (especially), which must mean that all men will enjoy to some extent the same kind of salvation as believers enjoy. The adverb is not adversative or contrastive, it cannot be saying that all men are saved in one sense, but believers in another. The difference is one of degree, not kind. It seems best to understand this verse to be teaching that God is really the Savior of all men, who actually does save them — but only in the temporal sense, while believers He saves in the eternal sense. In both cases, He is their Savior and there is a saving that He does on their behalf. In this life, all men experience to some degree the protecting, delivering, sustaining power of God. Believers will experience that to the fullest degree for time and for all eternity. The word Savior is not always in Scripture limited to salvation from sin. In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, soter (Savior) is sometimes used in the lesser sense of "deliverer" (cf. Judg 3:9; 6:14; 2 Sam 3:18; 2 Kings Words in the same word group occasionally have that sense in the New
Testament as well ( Luke 1:71; Acts 7:25; 27:34; Phil 1:19; Heb 11:7). A related word, sozo ("to save") is used in the Gospels to refer to physical healing (Matt 9:21-22; Mark 5:23; Luke 8:36,50; John 11:12; cf. Acts 4:9). God is the Savior of all men in that He withholds the death and judgment all sinners should receive because of sin (Ezek 18:4,32; Rom 6:23). The reality that God delivers men from instant damnation and does "good and [gives them] rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying [their] hearts with food and gladness" (Acts 14:17) shows He is the Savior of all. He graciously gives "to all life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25), and "causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matt 5:45). He gives common grace to all men. Unbelievers experience Gods goodness and mercy in that they are not instantly killed for their sin. Nor does He give them constant pain and permanent deprivation. They experience His temporal blessings in this life. That principle is illustrated in Isaiah 63:8-10: Isaiah 63:8-10 8 For He said, "Surely, they are My people, Sons who will not deal falsely." So He became their Savior. 9 In all their affliction He was afflicted, And the angel of His presence saved them; In His love and in His mercy He redeemed them, And He lifted them and carried them all the days of old. 10 But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore, He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.” Isaiah 63:8-10 Verse 8 says God became Israels Savior. He brought the nation out of Egypt, and cared for them. He provided food, water, and deliverance from their enemies. That He was not the Savior in a spiritual sense of every Israelite is clear from verse 10, which says He became their enemy and fought against them. That passage is analogous to Pauls thought in 1 Timothy 4:10. God is the Savior of all men in the temporal sense, and especially of believers in the spiritual sense that they are delivered from sins penalty forever! So the excellent minister has no trouble working hard proclaiming the saving glory and work of God in Christ, knowing he serves the living God, Who is by nature the Savior both in time and for eternity. That eternal aspect of Gods saving was what motivated Paul to endure what he suffered in the course of his Gospel ministry. The excellent ministers labor must not be done in the power of the flesh, but of
the Spirit. Paul strikes that balance in Colossians 1:28-29: Colossians 1:28-29 And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ. And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me. Colossians 1:28-29 Hard work in the ministry must be energized by Gods power at work in the minister. Vine describes it as: ◦ "piety characterized by a God-ward attitude that does that which is well- pleasing to Him“. Godliness is also described as: ◦ “character and conduct determined by the principles of the love of God and the fear of God in the heart”. Godliness could be summarized as: ◦ pious conduct done with a desire to please God. Godliness is the reverent awareness of Gods sovereignty over every aspect of life, and the determination to honor Him in all ones conduct. "Godliness" and "holiness" denote one reality (the terms are joined in 1 Tim 2:2 ; and in 2 Peter 3:11 ). Godliness depends on knowing Gods revealed truth. Paul speaks of "the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness" ( Titus 1:1 ), and of "godly sorrow that leads to salvation" ( 2 Cor 7:10 ). Peter declares that Gods "divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him" ( 2 Peter 1:3 ). God imparts knowledge of Himself by revealing His Son. The godly person is committed to obeying God in the world: "We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will" ( John 9:31 ). The shape of obedience is clarified by the terms to which "godliness" is joined. "But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness" ( 1 Tim 6:11 ). "Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self- control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love" ( 2 Peter 1:5- 7 )qualities which, in turn, deepen ones "knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" ( 1:8 ). Christ, moreover, furnishes power for the godly life: "Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?" asks Peter ( Acts 3:12 ). Without divine power, godliness becomes an empty form ( 2 Tim 3:5 ). Godliness in both respects (knowledge of God and holiness of life) is jeopardized by the propagation of falsehood: "If anyone teaches false
2 Timothy 3:1-5 NASB 1 “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5 NASB That should elicit from our hearts a reverence for him. What are the marks of these false teachers? For one thing, they preach one thing but practice another. They are such hypocrites that they even "brand" their own consciences by their willful disobedience to Gods Word! They read the Word but explain it away through their self-serving lies. They teach a false piety - namely, asceticism, that is, abstaining from marriage and certain foods. There are some so-called "Christian" groups that have never studied Col 2 to discover that bodily disciplines do not automatically advance spiritual life. 1 Timothy 4:8 NIV 1984 8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:8 NIV 1984 Godliness is more than Christian character: ◦ It is Christian character that springs from a devotion to God. But it is also true that devotion to God always results in godly character. The essential elements of devotion must express themselves in a life that is pleasing to God. Godliness is more than Christian character: ◦ It is Christian character that springs from a devotion to God. But it is also true that devotion to God is always