Persevere in These Things
1 Timothy 4:6-16
August 6, 2016
All right, Timothy is leading the churches up in the area, the Asia Minor in the city of Ephesus and Paul cannot be there but he asked Timothy to be there to lead the churches that came out of a great revival that Paul was part of. And, so he write these letters and the first part. He writes to Timothy to address certain teachers that are bringing in the strange doctrines. That's not going to be helpful. It's going to lead the church astray. Deal with that. Then, he begins to write to him about the character of Godliness that needs to be in the life of the leaders that God was used to lead in this new revival and it really is a great definition of Spiritual maturity that we should all desire.
But, when we get to chapter 4, he really turns his attention to Timothy personally and he writes to him as his mentor. As you know, Paul took Timothy under his wing you might say and trained him. Used him in ministry for many, many years and so we really get an insight into what a mentor would say to his young students. That was she's raising up and as a great insight for us. She's beginning to speak to him about how conduct his own life. How to keep growing spiritually himself. And, so when you read these letters really part because our mentor and we get mentored by the great Apostle, you might say. These words so practical to us. Anyone wanting to grow spiritually really needs to take these words to heart.
Let's read them first Timothy 4, we begin in verse 6. In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus. Constantly, nourished. I love that phrase. We going to look at it. Constantly nourished on the word of the faith and the Son doctrine which you have been following. But, had nothing to do with worldly fables, feed only for old women. I really love the way Paul writes. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of Godliness. Probably discipline is only of little profit. But, Godliness or Godly-discipline is profitable for all things since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. Meaning for eternity. It's a trustworthy statement deserving Paul acceptance. Whenever he uses that phrase, I mean, this is really important.
4:10- It is for this that we labor and strive because we fixed our hope. I mean, the hope of our lives is fix on this on the living God who is the Savior of all men especially of all believers, prescribe and teaching sense. Let no one look down on your youthfulness but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith, purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. Show them what the believer looks like.
And then he said, until I come verse 13, give attention to the public reading of scripture to exaltation, to teaching and do not neglect the Spiritual Gift within you which was bestowed upon you to the prophetic adherence with laying out of hands by the Presbytery. The word Presbytery means, elders. We presumed this happen when he was being ordained for ministry there. Elders laying their hands on him and by the Spirit, a prophetic adherence was given and the Spiritual Gift was received in Timothy. He said, don't neglect that.
I. Be Spiritually Fit
So, he goes on in verse 15 and says, now, take pains with these thing. That's a big word. Take pains with these things. Be absorbed with these things so that your progress, of course, spiritually maybe evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching. Persevere in these things. That's why we give the title of the message. For as you do this, you will ensure salvation brought to yourself and for those who hear you. Great practical words of a mentor and the first verses really, they capture a great thing because you are speaking about being a spiritually fit. Making a comparison between physically fit and being spiritual. Now, the great culture that was so prevalent of the time yet, the great games or the races and all of the Olympics of course, came out in Greece. And, so there was a lot of emphasis on muscular development and the form and the balance of the body physically. So, it becomes a really good analogy because it was such a big part of the culture and his talking about being spiritually fit in contrast to it. Now, let's make a note here. Paul never discourages anyone from being physically fit. Let's make that clear because after all our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and it's absolutely nothing wrong with being physically fit as a temple of the spirit. Nothing at all. But, he's speaking about the fact that being physically fit is valuable for this life only. What has being Godly has profit for this life and for eternity. So, the value is in nothing in comparison when you realize the condition of your soul and the significant of what God is doing there.
A. Be constantly nourished
That's why he says in verse 6, "You'll be a good servant of Christ. Constantly nourished". See, there's a great prize. Be constantly nourish on the words of the faith and on some doctrine which you've been following. Great word for us. But, notice you see, the idea of constantly. In other words, no one would ever think about eating one meal a week. No one would think about eating one meal a day. We recognize that we have to constantly eat. We have to constantly receive nourishment into our bodies in order to be healthy and strong and vibrate for what we need. So, he's making the analogy the same as you spiritually. We need to be constantly nourish. Constantly receiving in order for us to have that which is strong and good and vibrant in the soul which reminds me of an illustration some fellow one time said to his pastor, you know, I don't remember a lot of your sermons. To which the pastor responded, you know, I don't remember a lot of my wife's meal either.
But, I sure been doing very well without them and she sure is a good cook. There's a picture for us to have being constantly nourish. God uses in his scripture and illustration of food and nourishment as a spiritual point in many places and the idea is very practical for us because in the same way, you know, food nourishment you have to take into your body. You have to eat it or you drink the juice whatever and you got to bring into your body and then it begins to affect you energy, your health. It makes a difference because you're probably in and so therefore, the same as you spiritually. "Let him who has ears to hear, let them hear". In another words you have to in spiritual things in your life for you to have the nourishing effective. Godly change and transformation. You need spiritual food, you need the word of God. You need the milk of the word. You need the solid food for the mature. You need that that will fills you. You need the spirit of the living God in dwelling you. You need to have the presence of God to worship and you enter to his presence to prayer and these of the things you add to your life and it becomes that was just nourishment. It is good and healthy. Be nourished is kind of very important word also. Refers to healthy in contrast to what? In contrast to junk food. I mean, there are a lot of junk food. There's more junk food available. I'm talking about Cheetos and Doritos and Pop and there's more candy and everything available today than any time in the history world. Isn't that true? I mean, you can poison yourself with Doritos and candy faster than it did than any time in history. Same as you spiritually. There is more spiritual junk food than ever in the history of the world. There are more ways to poison your soul today than any time in the history of the world and so this is important as a great analogy for us. The idea of being nourished is the idea of healthy.
Now, here's the problem. The problem is that many people live only in the moment. When you think about food, for example. When you're thinking about junk food you're thinking about the moment. In other words, it taste good at the moment. You're not thinking about the consequences that would come because if you ate junk food all the time you know that's going to have a terrible effect upon you physically and you're going to feel sick, your energy, you're going to get sick, it's going to have an impact. And so the idea, of course, is that you are thinking. If you are eating healthy vegetables and you're eating fresh fruits and good grains, you're not just thinking about that meal. You're thinking about tomorrow. You're thinking about how you are going to be healthy next week. You do that regularly, you're thinking about the month ahead. You are like living a healthy style because you know that it's going to impact you. You are going to feel great. You're going to be healthy and vibrant that's why you do it.
The same is true spiritually. With people taking spiritual junk food, they're not thinking about tomorrow. They're thinking about the moment. That's really enticing today. Yeah, right now. But unfortunately, it's poison. And so therefore, it's more and more poison. It's going to have a spiritual impact and then spiritually you become less and less and you become spiritually dead. You become spiritually in trouble and it has a tremendous impact. An illustration might be, of course, our kids. Because really it is a point of maturity to see it, right? So, if you ask your kids what they would eat for lunch or for dinner you can be sure that they won't exactly make the best choices. I remember when we were raising our kids and we have adopted a couple of boys. The youngest one, Misha, I was talking to him about "No, you can't have chocolate cake for dinner." He was kind of pushing back a little bit so I'm trying to open his eye. And I said, "Now, Misha, listen. When you get older and you have kids, really, are you going to have them eat chocolate cake for dinner?" "Yes, I am. When I get older my kids can eat anything they want." "Oh, yeah. Famous last words. Let's see about that." Because the truth of the matter is, when the kids get older, get more mature and they start having kids something interesting changes. No longer do they the one who just feed on junk food. Now they recognize, "Oh no, wait a minute. My kids are going to eat healthy food. My kids are going to eat only the best." Because the maturity recognizes the consequences of what you put in your body.
B. Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness
The same as what you put in your soul. So, that's why Paul says to him in Verse 7, discipline yourself for the purpose of Godliness. Now, it's interesting in Verse 7 actually how he starts it because it makes an interesting contrast. And he says, have nothing to do with worldly favors that only for all women. Now, it was not long ago that old wives tales which is what we've called it is where people gathered so called wisdom for living and of course we live in the modern age and now we know that lot of these so-called old wives tales we're not sure at all. Maybe you know this one. My mom told me this one when I was young, don't eat right before going swimming. Now, we realized it has nothing to do with anything. Don't handle a toad or you going to get warts. Now, we know now way we going to get warts from the toad, now we know. Don't cross your eyes or they going to get stuck that way. I could crossed my eyes. When I was young, I could cross my eyes and twirl one of them. Yeah, that's a gift. Very entertaining on the bus. If you're pregnant and you are craving sweets that means that you're having a girl. Now, that one actually has about 50% chance of being true. But, the point he's making, of course, is that there were old wives tales having to do with spiritual about angels. Old wives tale having to do with demons. Old wives tales having to do with what God thought about. This has nothing to do with that. But, pay attention. He's talking about being nourish on the word of faith and the sound doctrine. Discipline yourself for the purpose of Godliness. Now, the root of the word discipline in the Greek word is the same root from which we get the word gymnasium. The idea of course is he's using the illustration of training as an athlete would train. Discipline yourself like an athlete would discipline him or herself. But, whenever you have a person who has training as an athlete, let say, they have a purpose. They have a goal for what they are training to accomplish. That's why he says to him, discipline yourself for the purpose of Godliness. Have these goal. Have these desire. Understand the significance of this in your life and seek after that as the goal of your life spiritually. Have this as your aim. Have this as your goal. It's very, very important. So, you says, to train yourself, to discipline yourself to obtain that goal. Now, let me give you another choice. Let's imagine that you wanted to be good at golf. If you want to be good at golf, you get a golf more than once a year. You can't come just once a year to the men's golf tournament and call yourself progressing at golf or please do come it's just fun. But, the idea is you want to be good. You got to discipline yourself accomplish the goal of it. Reminds me of a number of years ago, I had absolute privilege of golfing with the professional golfer. Bob Gilder, who is professional on the senior’s chores. Been a professional all his life since college and just an amazing set of circumstances. I got to golf 18 holes with Bob Gilder. All right, so I was so amazed. He like it to eagle that day. Like amazed at this guy's ability and frankly I'm a terrible golfer. Let me just say that. Golfing with him made me golf even worse because I'm golfing with him, an amazing guy and it was so funny because at one time, I hit the shot and actually, turn out to be a good shot. Right down at the middle of the fair way, it like, oh, look at that! And I said to him, you think I could be a professional? To which he said, don't quit your day job. And then he got serious and he said, listen, it takes a lot more than you think. You look at TV and you think it's very glamorous. I have to golf 18 holes every single day and sometimes in the afternoon. Not including the physical exercise I have to do plus the practice for particular shot I have to do. It is far more discipline than you imagine. I think the point is if you discipline or training yourself because you're trying to accomplish goal or a purpose.
This was Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:26-27. He said, " Talking about his own life therefore I'm running such your way as not without in". I have a purpose. I'm running this race in this life with a goal, with a purpose. I see the significant of spiritual things and I ran after. I box in such a way as not being the heir. I don't waste my efforts in that. I discipline my body and make it my slaves so that after having preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified. I have a purpose. I want to see a Godly result in my life. And so I run with this aim. Reminds me when I was a student or in state and my roommate was really into weightlifting. He's a power lifter and so he got me, come on, let's go to gym together and so pretty soon I started getting into the thing and I started getting really serious about power lifting and I go registered for the tournament and I'm like working. We were working out hour and a half a day, six days a week. This is like serious discipline training. Here's the problem, I was thinking spiritually. What a conscience. Oh, discipline physically. I'm doing great physically and thinking spiritually and the result was a crisis in my life. I crushed spiritually and it became a crisis for me. God had to wake me up. God had to bring a revival to show me. You can be as physically fit as you want to. Is not going to do you any good if your soul is dead and changed me completely so that later I had the opportunity to change my life in the direction of my life and went to be a student at Oregon State University and now, I'm putting effort and discipline and training to go after being a teacher of God's word. And so, this completely different change and the fact that happens in your life. Although, there's also this idea you can develop at the same time. Like, when I go running, yeah, as if I run a lot. When I go running it's free to just bring worship and it changes the whole thing. You're working out or you're running and you're listening to worship, it changes the whole thing. Or this, you can take your church app and put your headphone into that. I'll work out with you. You can listen to the sermons. He said bodily discipline is only of little profit. Now, it is a profit but in comparison it's a little pod but Godly discipline is profitable for all things because it holds a promise for this side and the life to come. See, the key is the discipline and training part and the persevering in it. How many people ever started where you got a program in mind? I'm going to work out, I'm going to eat right, I'm going to get healthy and my goal is I'm going to just pursue this and I'm going to tend it and then only you give it up later? Okay, how many people had ever done that? Yeah, I'll just raise my hand for all of you, okay? Because it's a very common thing. But imagine if you have stayed with it. Imagine if you would have actually done that. I stayed with it, I accomplished that and man, the results in my lab! I was healthy, I was vibrant, I was physically well. I wasn't sick. It was great.
II. May Your Progress be Evident
Imagine the same thing spiritual. Imagine. If you have a spiritual goal and you want to see that spiritual maturity and the transformation and the Godliness and you stay after it. You have that aim, that goal. Can you do it? Week by week, month by month, year by year. Now, what a difference it'll make in your life. Wouldn't it be awesome to have that kind of spiritual life? All the soul, I say, made it. The relationship to God that's on fire. It's just so valuable. That's why He says later on in his Verses he said, "May your progress be seen. Pursue these things, may your progress be evident." Verse 15 and 16 are so key. Take pains with these things. Be absorbed with them so that your progress, spiritual progress, is going to be evident. It's going to be seen. See, the purpose of Godliness and spiritual transformation is that it really, truly, makes a difference versus life. In other words, Godliness is not just a spiritual condition. Godliness is a spiritual condition that makes a difference in the living condition. See, if you're growing spiritually, it's authentic, real growing spiritually. It's going to be evident because it's going to have an impact on how you relate to the people around you. How you speak, how you live, how you conduct your life. It's going to be seen. If you're filled with the spirit of the living God, the fruit of the spirit is going to be seen because it's authentic transformed spirit-empowered amazing move, they can see it? What is the fruit of the spirit? Love. The love that you have is different. Joy? The result of the spirit of the living God poured into our lives. Is that we have a joy and a peace and there's more patience and kindness and gentleness and faithfulness and self-control. These are the things that come into our lives. They're real, they're tangible because the spirit of the living God is moving upon us. It's evidenced. Real. They can see it. You're more patient. You know why you are more patient? Because God is patient and when He pours His spirit in to us the spirit is manifested in His character in us. More patient. You have kindness towards people because God is kind and that spirit manifested itself in your life in gentleness. You're more servant-hearted because Jesus is and therefore His spirit in us makes us more like Him.
A. Be an example of those who believe
So then He notices, he says in Verse 12, be an example of those who believe. Be an example of what it means and what it looks like to be a believer. Notice in Verse 12 he says, let no one look down on your youthfulness. Start with that.
Timothy has a tremendous responsibility but he's a young man and he's living in a culture where the older people, especially the older people in church have a lot of respect. But he's young and he says, let them not look down on your youthfulness but rather, notice this. When they see your speech, your conduct, your faith, your purity, you will show yourself as an example of those who believe. They will see that rather than your youthfulness and they will respect you. But notice, you see the example of God as seen in the switch. A person who is a believer in Jesus Christ is going to have a different speech, different words. If you're out in the work-a-day world and they know that you're a believer they're going to want to know how does the believer actually talk. What does the believer actually say? I know you're a believer. I'm really wondering. What does the believer say? And I suggest you bet a believer should speak differently than the way the world speaks because you have the Holy Spirit. I'm convinced that a Christian should speak to his wife differently than the world speaks to his wife because you have the Holy Spirit empowering you to speak to your wife. Amen! That wasn't a very good Amen! And in the same way, a wife will speak to her husband differently because she has the Holy Spirit. So, I believe in wife is different than the wives out there in the world. Amen! That was a very deep Amen! And so, but the result is true. The speech is different because the Holy Spirit is empowering you.
Let me give you a great verse. James Chapter 1 Verse 26. If anyone thinks himself to be religious and yet doesn't bridle his own tone but deceives his own heart this man's religion is worthless. That is a powered-up verse. That is a straight in your face verse. And it really calls us to recognize the worth, the value of what God is doing. It's worth so much that our speech is transformed by it. Ephesians 4:29. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth. Key? No. None. Nada. Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth but only such a word that is good for edification according to the need of the moment that may give grace to those who hear. See, notice that the spiritual maturity has a direct impact on the relationship that you have with others. If you love God, if you love God, it will change how you treat people around you because the love of God is the transforming power. They will see your conduct, your faith, your love, your purity and they will know what it means to be a believer.
B. Faith comes by hearing
And then He emphasizes these verses, give attention, Verse 13, to the public reading of scripture. He's emphasizing this point. Faith comes by hearing. Timothy, you want to keep the church empowered and moving in revival? Then know this that the word of God is empowered and so you give attention to the public reading of scripture to exultation to teaching. This is a key. To keep the churches on track and the continuing of the revival that Paul started those years before. When Israel was coming out of the desert those 40 years and entering into the Promised Land, God spoke the word through Moses that the people should be gathered together. Of course, they gathered for the festivals and the feast but every seven years when they gather together, I want the entire word of God read to the people because the word of God is empowered and I want them to have the word of God over them. Now, recognize this though. They did not have their own personal copies of the word of God like you and I do. I hope every single person in this room has their own personal copy of the word of God. If you don't you let me know. I'll get you one because everyone needs to have the word of God spoken read all over their lives. So, they didn't have that. So, they would gather every seven years and they would have the word of God read over them because God empowers it. See, I love that picture because here in Gary Chapel we do the same thing. Not all at one time but verse by verse, week by week, the entire word of God is read. Because faith comes by hearing, hearing by the word of Christ. He sends forth His word with powers, not just thinking on the page. It's empowered Bible God himself. In other words, something supernatural happens. Something supernatural happens when the word of God is spoken over the people because the Holy Spirit moves on it.
Let me give you a great verse, Hebrews 4:12. The word of God is living and active. It's sharper than a two-edged sword piercing as far as the division of swollen spirit, above joints and marrow, able to judge the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. What a great word for us. It's alive. It's empowered. It is able to judge the very thoughts and intentions of the heart. Something supernatural happens. God speaks through His word by the Holy Spirit and begins to apply them to each person's life. That's how we're transformed.
Sometimes after a message somebody will come up and say, "Oh pastor, thank you for the message." And I'll say, "If all like you are speaking directly to me. Have you ever felt that?" Then he'll say, "Oh, it seems like you were speaking directly to me." And I love to respond, "Actually, I was. Yeah, see, your wife called me this week." Of course I'm joking but the point actually, is the Holy Spirit does take the word of God and personalize it. He takes the word of God and He begins to personally apply it into those areas where God is wanting to do a work or God is wanting to do over a transformation. He wants to touch those areas and so He presses it in that's why this is so important.
C. Be absorbed with these things
And He says, in fact, in Verses 15 and 16 he, like, emphasizes it here towards the end. Be absorbed by these things. Take pains with these things. These are no small words. Pay close attention to yourself. Verse 16. What does that mean? Pay close attention to yourself. Too many people are very aware of how they are doing physically. Do I feel good today? Do I not feel good today? I hurt here. I need to do that. They know their physical condition but many people don't understand the significance of their spiritual condition. You pay close attention to your soul and the condition of your soul. And He says "Take pains with these. Be absorbed. Persevere in these things." These are strong words. These is a call to be more than just a casual observer. This is a call for us to be committed to pursue deeper things. Have this goal, have this aim, this purpose in your life. See, many people when they come to faith in Christ they often come for what they can receive. Now, I have no problem at all with anyone who says "I want to be filled. I want the peace of God to fill me. I want the spirit of God to fill me. I want the hope. I want to receive all that God has for me. I want to satisfy His soul. I want the fever of God poured into my lap. I want all of that." I've got nothing but praise for anyone who says that. That's a wonderful desire. But here's my point.
If that's all you desire, you're missing out because He wants to fill us and bring the maturity in us so that we have something to give. You want purpose and meaning? Make a difference in someone else. Bless the people. Serve the people. Give out of your own overflowed your soul. Let me give you a demonstration. For our 25th wedding anniversary, my wife and I had decided to save up our money and to do a cruise. We had friends who told us "Oh, you got to do it. It's the greatest thing." So, we got like a two for one discount thing. We're excited. We're going to take a cruise to Alaska. So, we got on this cruise and oh my goodness. Apparently cruising is about food because the food flows and more of it. You want double entrees? No problem. You want four deserts? Absolutely. You want ice cream at midnight? It's available all day long. It's like oh my goodness. And the catering that goes with it and they make your room all the time. They put chocolate mints on your pillow. Catering. Whims. Every stop is ready to accomplish your every whim. Entertainment at night and excursions during the day. And then we got home. Oh my goodness! What a culture shock! Who's going to wait on us now? We have to cook our own food?
Here's the point. Some people have developed what we could call a cruise ship Christianity. They want to be catered to. They'll even change cruise ships according to who's got the best accommodations, who's got the best entertainment, who's got the best food? Pay close attention to yourself, He said, for the condition of your soul has everything to do with the effect of your life. Persevere in these things so that you could be a blessing to others and in the process, you will be blessed. But understand the significance of giving and serving and blessing and pouring out. Notice in Luke 9:24, whoever wishes to save his life, in other words, the once who is all about himself, whoever wishes to save his life will lose it but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will find it. Those are profound words. Church is a place. Christianity is a place to develop, grow, mature, the gifts bestowed upon you but then use them. Use them to serve others. Prayer is not just about getting something that you want. Prayer is discovering God's will in your life and then living it. As you mature, you move from focusing on what you receive to what you want to then, give. The blessings of receiving are then moved to the blessings of blessing others. You move from being served to serving. You have purpose and meaning. It's found in the significance of what you do in the lives of those around you. Make a difference in this world. Let's pray.