Be diligent in these matters and absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.
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:
(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.)
(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.
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.)
PeopleChristians, Paul, Timothy
TopicsAbsorbed, 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
Outline1. 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 Themes1 Timothy 4:15
7760 preachers, responsibilities
'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
Epistle ii. To Anastasius, Bishop of Antioch.
Epistle cxxiii. To Venantius and Italica .
Appendix. An Ordination Charge.
How Intent the Ruler Ought to be on Meditations in the Sacred Law.
Grace Before Meat.
The Daily Walk with Others (ii. ).
Answer to Mr. W's Fifth Objection.
Lastly, Let us Hear the Lord Himself Delivering Most Plain Judgment on this Matter. ...
"But Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God, and his Righteousness, and all These Things Shall be Added unto You. "
Prefatory Scripture Passages.
Perfect in Parts, Imperfect in Degrees.
Of the Trinity and a Christian, and of the Law and a Christian.
The Clergyman and the Prayer Book.
Seed Scattered and Taking Root
"We must Increase, but I must Decrease. "
"But Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God," &C.
Meditations of the Blessed State of the Regenerate Man after Death.
Of Bearing the Cross --One Branch of Self-Denial.
Third Sunday in Lent
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