1 Timothy 4:15

The apostle here concludes his solemn instructions to his chosen representative at Ephesus.

I. THE DUTY OF BEING MINDFUL AND DEVOTED TO ONE'S MINISTRY. "These things do thou care for: be in them."

1. A minister's heart ought to be anxious about his work. It is this anxiety that secures the efficiency of work in this world. But the minister's concern is full of an inspiring zeal for God's honor, and is sustained by encouraging promises of help from on high.

2. A minister ought to devote himself exclusively to his work. "Be in them." The obstacles to this devotion are:

(1) slothfulness,

(2) worldliness,

(3) the pressure of duties right in themselves, but lying outside the sphere of the ministry.

II. THE MOTIVE FOR THIS EXCLUSIVE DEVOTION. "That thy progress may appear to all."

1. This does not imply that Timothy was to have exclusive regard to his right standing with the Church. This might be a questionable motive.

2. It implies that his devotion to his work should be so altogether conspicuous that it could not but be seen by all.

III. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE PERSONAL LIFE AND THE OFFICIAL WORK OF THE MINISTER. "Take heed to thyself and to the teaching; continue in them: for in so doing thou shalt save both thyself and them that hear thee."

1. The direct object of the minister of the gospel is the salvation of studs.

2. This salvation comes by hearing the gospel. "Faith cometh by hearing.

3. It is the duty of the minister to persevere with a pious insistency on all the objects of his ministry. "Continue in them."

4. Nothing is so well adapted for the salvation of ministers as their pious labors in behalf of the salvation of others.

5. There is to be a double service in this ministry. The minister must first look well to his life, exemplifying the holiness of the gospel in word and deed (ver. 12); and then his teaching must be good (ver. 6) and salutary (1 Timothy 1:10). Thus he will be the instrument of much good; he will thus cover the multitude of sins, and save a soul from death (James 5:20). - T.C.

Give thyself wholly to them.
I. THAT MINISTERS MUST GIVE THEMSELVES WHOLLY TO THEIR WORK BY GIVING THEIR HEARTS TO IT. NO man over gives himself wholly to any business to which his heart is opposed. Paul gave his heart so much to the ministry, as to esteem it a great and distinguishing privilege. "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord," says he, "who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry." His life was bound up in his work. Their hearts are so absorbed in their work that it becomes the source of their highest joys and deepest sorrows.

II. Ministers must give themselves wholly to their work, by giving their THOUGHTS to it. Men always meditate upon their supreme object of pursuit.

III. Ministers must give themselves wholly to their work, by giving their STUDIES to it. The apostle exhorts Timothy to "give attendance to reading." This includes study and thinking, and every mode of intellectual improvement.

IV. Ministers must give themselves wholly to their work, by devoting all their TIME to it. They may employ their whole time in their work; because it is a work which may be done, not only on the first and the last, but on every day of the week. Ministers, indeed, should be frugal of time. They should divide it properly, and devote each part to some particular part of their duty. They should live by rule.

V. Ministers must give themselves wholly to their work, by giving all their INTERESTS to it. The apostles were obliged to do this literally. They would not have been the ministers of Christ, without literally following his injunction, to forsake all that they had. Not to insist, however, on such extraordinary cases, I would go on to observe that every minister is called, at least, to make all his worldly interests subservient to his holy and Divine employment.

VI. Ministers must give themselves wholly to their work, by making their SECRET DEVOTIONS subservient to it. They should give themselves to reading, meditation, prayer and self examination; and in all these secret devotions have a particular reference to their public office.

VII. That ministers must give themselves wholly to their work, by LIVING AGREEABLY to it. Their lives should resemble their sacred character, and be worthy of the imitation of the best of Christians.Having shown, in various respects, how ministers must give themselves wholly to their work, I now proceed to suggest several reasons why they must give themselves wholly to it.

I. And here the first reason that occurs is, that by giving themselves wholly to the ministry they will make the duties of it more EASY AND PLEASANT. Their work is truly great and laborious, which needs to be made as light and easy as possible. And though by giving themselves wholly to it, they will neither omit nor curtail any of its duties and labours, yet they will render these very duties and labours more pleasant and delightful,

II. Ministers should devote themselves wholly to the service of their people, because this is THE WISEST AND BEST WAY TO SECURE THEIR LOVE AND RESPECT. We love to see a person heartily and zealously engaged for our good. This is human nature. The sick man esteems and values the physician who devotes himself to his service, and stands by him day and night, to watch his every motion, and to extend his healing hand at every call.

III. Ministers must give themselves wholly to their work, because this will be THE BEST SECURITY AGAINST THE SNARES AND TEMPTATIONS TO WHICH THEY ARE EXPOSED.

IV. Ministers must give themselves wholly to their work, because this is THE BEST WAY TO BECOME EXTENSIVELY USEFUL. Every industrious man, in every lawful calling, is a useful man. Industry makes the useful farmer, the useful mechanic, the useful physician, and the useful magistrate.

V. Ministers must give themselves wholly to their work, because THEY ACTUALLY ENGAGE TO DO IT.

VI. That the IMPORTANCE of the ministry requires those who undertake it to give themselves wholly to their office. I have now finished what I have to say upon the nature and obligation of ministers giving themselves wholly to their work, and proceed to improve the subject.

1. We learn, that if ministers do give themselves wholly to their work, they will make it appear.

2. We learn, that if ministers do not give themselves wholly to their work, they will also make it appear.

3. We learn, why the vineyard of Christ bears, at this day, such a disagreeable and melancholy appearance.

4. We learn, the great criminality of those who sustain the sacred office, but do not give themselves wholly to their work.

(N. Emmons, D. D.)

Meditation chews the cud, and gets the sweetness and nutritive virtue of the Word into the heart and life: this is the way the godly bring forth much fruit.

(Ashworth.) The naturalists observe that to uphold and accommodate bodily life, there are divers sorts of faculties communicated, and these among the rest —

1. An attractive faculty, to assume and draw in the food.

2. A retentive faculty, to retain it when taken in.

3. An assimilating faculty, to concoct the nourishment.

4. An augmenting faculty, for drawing to perfection.Meditation is all these. It helps judgment, wisdom and faith to ponder, discern, and credit the things which reading and hearing supply and furnish. It assists the memory to lock up the jewels of Divine truth in her sure treasury; It has a digesting power, and turns spiritual truth into spiritual nourishment; and lastly, it helps the renewed heart to grow upward and increase its power to know the things which are freely given to us of God.

(J. Ranew.)

A man who commenced life as an errand boy rose rapidly, through his untiring industry and earnestness, to the head of an extensive business, which he conducted very successfully. Meeting an old friend one day, he spared a few moments to describe to him briefly the extent of his prosperity and of his prospects. His friend inquired the secret of his success. "I put my soul into it," replied the prosperous shopkeeper. "It is only by throwing my soul into my business, that I made it succeed." So must the teacher do. That thy profiting may appear to all —

Nothing but an evident progress in knowledge and holiness should satisfy the Christian. God expects from him a constant ripening towards perfection. But the duty is plain enough. And the subject of inquiry to which I would rather direct attention is, whether in our long continued enjoyment of religious privileges, there has been any apparent profiting.

I. And the first test by which we may judge that we have grown in grace will be found IN AN INCREASING CONVICTION OF OUR SINFULNESS AND WEAKNESS BY NATURE. The young convert's views of sin may be more startling, because new; but that which flashes before his eyes works its way down into the very heart of the more mature Christian, and assumes there the shape of an abiding, humbling assurance of utter sinfulness and helplessness in himself. Here, then, Christians, is a mark by which to measure whether we have grown in grace. Have years of acquaintance with ourselves made us feel our depravity more deeply? When we hear any boasting of the goodness of human nature, do we listen as a sick man does, who knows death is at his vitals, to one complimenting him upon his good looks? If we realize our sinfulness more and more the longer we live, then we may be sure that there "our profiting appears."

II. Another point of contrast between our present and our former state, our early and our mature experience, will be found in our VIEWS OF CHRIST AND DEPENDENCE UPON HIM. A young Christian rests indeed upon Christ, but it is as the newly laid wall rests upon the foundation, while the cement is fresh, and when a little blow will cause it to totter; but the mature Christian is like that wall when it settles down, and the uniting medium hardens, so that wall and foundation seem but one solid structure. In our early experience we said much of our dependence on the Saviour, now we feel it.

III. If there be any profiting to appear, it will seem again in our INCREASED CHARITY. A young Christian is often a young bigot, filled with self-conceit and pride, and disposed to severity of censure and condemnation. Like a young watch-dog, he means well for his master's interests, but will often snarl at his master's friends, and upon such as an elder guardian would recognize and welcome. An advanced Christian will grieve more over the dissensions of Christians, and pray earnestly for the time when all shall be one.

IV. AND THERE ARE VARIOUS OTHER POINTS IN WHICH "OUR PROFITING WILL APPEAR," IF WE HAVE GROWN IN GRACE. A young Christian is much troubled by the remembrance of particular acts of sin. A young Christian, again, sets a very high value on religious sensibility, on excited feeling, on gifts, and estimates his own religious character by his fervours in devotion, his tears for sin. The piety of the young believer, again, depends very much on external aid. It must be fed by constant converse with fellow-Christians, and its warmth must be sustained by frequent attendance on religious meetings. But our "profiting will appear," if we have learned to delight more in our own private meditations on God's Word, and in communion with Him, and to be less dependent on our Christian ministers and our Christian brethren. "The mature Christian, like the sack well filled, can stand alone, while the young convert must be held up in his emptiness." The young Christian lives much upon the opinion of others. To the young Christian, one or two doctrines of God's Word seem exclusively important, and he would he glad if every sermon were upon conversion and faith in Christ, and is apt to regard a preacher as not evangelical who dwells upon the moral duties of life; but our "profiting will appear," if we have learned to magnify all God's Word, to feel that all should be unfolded, and to love it as a whole. And there will be, if our profiting is apparent, an increased dependence on prayer and all the means of grace. But of all other points an increasing heavenly-mindedness will appear as the most striking evidence of a growing Christian. So small is our improvement, however, that most of us are obliged to say, we hardly know at times whether we are any better than we were years ago. When a ship is moving slowly into port, so that we can scarcely perceive that she advances at all, it is pleasant to fix our eye upon some landmark, and watch it till we can exclaim, Oh, yes, I do see now that we move a little; and these marks which I have given may help us to know whether we are progressing at all towards the haven of peace. Happy are they who can thus perceive an advance in the Divine life. It is a comfort in itself, because every degree of progress in holiness is like every step in recovery from sickness, attended with positive and present pleasure.

(W. H. Lewis, D. D.)

Christians, Paul, Timothy
Absorbed, Advancement, Appear, Care, Careful, Devote, Diligent, Duties, Evident, Forward, Growing, Habitually, Heart, Manifest, Matters, Meditate, Occupy, Pains, Practice, Practise, Proficiency, Profiting, Progress, Revealed, Thyself, Wholly
1. He foretells that in the latter times there shall be a departure from the faith.
6. And to the end that Timothy might not fail in doing his duty, he furnishes him with various precepts.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
1 Timothy 4:15

     5840   eagerness
     8162   spiritual vitality
     8349   spiritual growth, means of
     8435   giving, of oneself
     8465   progress

1 Timothy 4:6-16

     7793   teachers

1 Timothy 4:11-16

     1614   Scripture, understanding

1 Timothy 4:13-15

     5465   profit

1 Timothy 4:13-16

     7760   preachers, responsibilities
     8236   doctrine, purpose

1 Timothy 4:14-15

     5556   stewardship

1 Timothy 4:15-16

     5833   diligence
     8492   watchfulness, leaders

Spiritual Athletics
'Exercise thyself unto Godliness.'--1 TIM. iv. 7. Timothy seems to have been not a very strong character: sensitive, easily discouraged, and perhaps with a constitutional tendency to indolence. At all events, it is very touching to notice how the old Apostle--a prisoner, soon to be a martyr--forgot all about his own anxieties and burdens, and, through both of his letters to his young helper, gives himself to the task of bracing him up. Thus he says to him, in my text, amongst other trumpet-tongued
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Practice of Piety
The Practice of Piety Directing a Christian How to Walk, that He May Please God. by Lewis Bayly, D.D. Bishop of Bangor (with a biographical preface by Grace Webster) "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." 1 Timothy 4:8 Soli Deo Gloria Publications ...for instruction in righteousness... Soli Deo Gloria Publications P.O. Box 451, Morgan, PA 15064 (412) 221-1901/FAX (412) 221-1902 * This edition of The Practice of Piety was taken
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Epistle ii. To Anastasius, Bishop of Antioch.
To Anastasius, Bishop of Antioch. Gregory to Anastasius, Patriarch of Antioch. I have received the letters of your most sweet Blessedness, which flowed with tears for words. For I saw in them a cloud flying aloft as clouds do; but, though it carried with it a darkness of sorrow, I could not easily discover at its commencement whence it came or whither it was going, since by reason of the darkness I speak of I did not fully understand its origin. Yet it becomes you, most holy ones, ever to recall
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Epistle cxxiii. To Venantius and Italica .
To Venantius and Italica [86] . Gregory to the lord Venantius, Patrician, and Italica his wife. I have taken care, with due affection, to enquire of certain persons who have come from Sicily about your Excellency's health. But they have given me a sad report of the frequency of your ailments. Now, when I say this, neither do I find anything to tell you about myself, except that, for my sins, lo it is now eleven months since it has been a very rare case with me if I have been able now and then to
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great

Appendix. An Ordination Charge.
I should like to connect what I have to say with a text of Scripture, which you may remember as a motto for this occasion. Take, then, that pastoral exhortation to a young minister in 1 Tim. iv. 16: "Take heed unto thyself, and to the doctrine; continue in them; for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee." There are three subjects recommended in this text to one in your position--first, yourself; second, your doctrine; third, those that hear you. I. Take heed unto
James Stalker—The Preacher and His Models

How Intent the Ruler Ought to be on Meditations in the Sacred Law.
But all this is duly executed by a ruler, if, inspired by the spirit of heavenly fear and love, he meditate daily on the precepts of Sacred Writ, that the words of Divine admonition may restore in him the power of solicitude and of provident circumspection with regard to the celestial life, which familiar intercourse with men continually destroys; and that one who is drawn to oldness of life by secular society may by the aspiration of compunction be ever renewed to love of the spiritual country.
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Grace Before Meat.
O most gracious God, and loving Father, who feedest all creatures living, which depend upon thy divine providence, we beseech thee, sanctify these creatures, which thou hast ordained for us; give them virtue to nourish our bodies in life and health; and give us grace to receive them soberly and thankfully, as from thy hands; that so, in the strength of these and thy other blessings, we may walk in the uprightness of our hearts, before thy face, this day, and all the days of our lives, through Jesus
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

The Daily Walk with Others (ii. ).
If Jesus Christ thou serve, take heed, Whate'er the hour may be; His brethren are obliged indeed By their nobility. In the present chapter I follow the general principles of the last into some further details. And I place before me as a sort of motto those twice-repeated words of the Apostle, TAKE HEED UNTO THYSELF. These words, it will be remembered, are addressed in both places to the Christian Minister. [Acts xx. 28; 1 Tim. iv. 6.] At Miletus St Paul gathers round him the Presbyters of Ephesus,
Handley C. G. Moule—To My Younger Brethren

Answer to Mr. W's Fifth Objection.
5. The consideration that none of these raised persons did or could, after the return to their bodies, tell any tales of their separate existence; otherwise the Evangelists had not been silent in this main point, &c. p. 32. None of these persons, Mr. W. says, told any tales of their separate existence. So I suppose with him. As for the two first: How should they? being only, as Mr. W. says, an insignificant boy and girl, of twelve years of age, or thereabouts. Or if they did, the Evangelists were
Nathaniel Lardner—A Vindication of Three of Our Blessed Saviour's Miracles

Discerning Prayer.
INTRODUCTORY. BY D.W. WHITTLE. To recognize God's existence is to necessitate prayer to Him, by all intelligent creatures, or, a consciously living in sin and under condemnation of conscience, because they do not pray to Him. It would be horrible to admit the existence of a Supreme Being, with power and wisdom to create, and believe that the creatures he thought of consequence and importance enough to bring into existence, are not of enough consequence for him to pay any attention to in the troubles
Various—The Wonders of Prayer

Lastly, Let us Hear the Lord Himself Delivering Most Plain Judgment on this Matter. ...
23. Lastly, let us hear the Lord Himself delivering most plain judgment on this matter. For, upon His speaking after a divine and fearful manner concerning husband and wife not separating, save on account of fornication, His disciples said to Him, "If the case be such with a wife, it is not good to marry." [2066] To whom He saith, "Not all receive this saying. For there are eunuchs who were so born: but there are others who were made by men: and there are eunuchs, who made themselves eunuchs for
St. Augustine—Of Holy Virginity.

"But Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God, and his Righteousness, and all These Things Shall be Added unto You. "
Matth. vi. 33.--"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." The perfection even of the most upright creature, speaks always some imperfection in comparison of God, who is most perfect. The heavens, the sun and moon, in respect of lower things here, how glorious do they appear, and without spot! But behold, they are not clean in God's sight! How far are the angels above us who dwell in clay! They appear to be a pure mass of light and
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Prefatory Scripture Passages.
To the Law and to the Testimony; if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.-- Isa. viii. 20. Thus saith the Lord; Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.--Jer. vi. 16. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. But
G. H. Gerberding—The Way of Salvation in the Lutheran Church

Perfect in Parts, Imperfect in Degrees.
And the very God of peace sanctify, you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. -- 1 Thess. v. 23. The Scriptural doctrine that sanctification is a gradual process perfected only in death must be maintained clearly and soberly: first, in opposition to the Perfectionist, who says that saints may be "wholly sanctified" in this life; secondly, to those who deny the implanting of inherent holy dispositions in God's children.
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Of the Trinity and a Christian, and of the Law and a Christian.
EDITOR'S ADVERTISEMENT. These two short treatises were found among Mr. Bunyan's papers after his decease. They probably were intended for publication, like his 'Prison Meditations' and his 'Map of Salvation,' on a single page each, in the form of a broadside, or handbill. This was the popular mode in which tracts were distributed; and when posted against a wall, or framed and hung up in a room, they excited notice, and were extensively read. They might also have afforded some trifling profit to aid
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Clergyman and the Prayer Book.
Dear pages of ancestral prayer, Illumined all with Scripture gold, In you we seem the faith to share Of saints and seers of old. Whene'er in worship's blissful hour The Pastor lends your heart a voice, Let his own spirit feel your power, And answer, and rejoice. In the present chapter I deal a little with the spirit and work of the Clergyman in his ministration of the ordered Services of the Church, reserving the work of the Pulpit for later treatment. THE PRAYER BOOK NOT PERFECT BUT INESTIMABLE.
Handley C. G. Moule—To My Younger Brethren

Seed Scattered and Taking Root
'And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. 3. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. 4. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

"We must Increase, but I must Decrease. "
(JOHN III. 30.) "Where is the lore the Baptist taught, The soul unswerving and the fearless tongue? The much-enduring wisdom, sought By lonely prayer the haunted rocks among? Who counts it gain His light would wane, So the whole world to Jesus throng?" KEBLE. The Moral Greatness of the Baptist--Thoughts on Envy--Christian Consecration--The Baptist's Creed--The Voice of the Beloved From the Jordan Valley our Lord returned to Galilee and Nazareth. The marriage feast of Cana, his return to Jerusalem,
F. B. Meyer—John the Baptist

"But Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God," &C.
Matt. vi. 33.--"But seek ye first the kingdom of God," &c. O "seekest thou great things for thyself," says God to Baruch, (Jer. xlv. 5) "seek them not." How then doth he command us in the text to seek a kingdom? Is not this a great thing? Certainly it is greater than those great things he would not have Baruch to seek after, and yet he charges us to seek after it. In every kind of creatures there is some difference, some greater, some lesser, some higher, some lower; so there are some men far above
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Of Matrimony.
It is not only without any warrant of Scripture that matrimony is considered a sacrament, but it has been turned into a mere mockery by the very same traditions which vaunt it as a sacrament. Let us look a little into this. I have said that in every sacrament there is contained a word of divine promise, which must be believed in by him who receives the sign; and that the sign alone cannot constitute a sacrament. Now we nowhere read that he who marries a wife will receive any grace from God; neither
Martin Luther—First Principles of the Reformation

Free Grace
To The Reader: Nothing but the strongest conviction, not only that what is here advanced is "the truth as it is in Jesus," but also that I am indispensably obliged to declare this truth to all the world, could have induced me openly to oppose the sentiments of those whom I esteem for their work's sake: At whose feet may I be found in the day of the Lord Jesus! Should any believe it his duty to reply hereto, I have only one request to make, -- Let whatsoever you do, be done inherently, in love, and
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

Meditations of the Blessed State of the Regenerate Man after Death.
This estate has three degrees:--1st, From the day of death to the resurrection; 2d, From the resurrection to the pronouncing of the sentence; 3d, After the sentence, which lasts eternally. As soon as ever the regenerate man hath yielded up his soul to Christ, the holy angels take her into their custody, and immediately carry her into heaven (Luke xvi. 22), and there present her before Christ, where she is crowned with a crown of righteousness and glory; not which she hath deserved by her good works,
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Of Bearing the Cross --One Branch of Self-Denial.
The four divisions of this chapter are,--I. The nature of the cross, its necessity and dignity, sec. 1, 2. II. The manifold advantages of the cross described, sec. 3-6. III. The form of the cross the most excellent of all, and yet it by no means removes all sense of pain, sec. 7, 8. IV. A description of warfare under the cross, and of true patience, (not that of philosophers,) after the example of Christ, sec. 9-11. 1. THE pious mind must ascend still higher, namely, whither Christ calls his disciples
Archpriest John Iliytch Sergieff—On the Christian Life

Third Sunday in Lent
Text: Ephesians 5, 1-9. 1 Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for an odor of a sweet smell. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becometh saints; 4 nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

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