I. THE MINISTER MUST BE ALWAYS TEACHING. "By setting forth these things to the brethren, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ." It was the duty of Timothy to counsel the brethren at Ephesus concerning the present signs of the coming apostasy, and to instruct them how they should counteract its mischiefs. It is probable that some at Ephesus had already been betrayed by ascetic seductions into an unhealthy mode of life. Timothy was to be mindful of the present truth and the present error.
II. THE MINISTER MUST BE ALWAYS LEARNING. "Nourishing thyself up in the words of the faith and of the good instruction which thou hast diligently followed."
1. There must be a continuous and permanent process of self-instruction, as the tense of the participle signifies. The minister must never cease to learn, because he has to set the truth in new lights, and to counteract error out of the large storehouse of Divine truth.
2. The minister's armory is the Word of faith and good instruction thoroughly mastered.
(1) Nothing but God's Word received by faith will enable Timothy to fight the battle of truth. He is not to overcome in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
(2) He is to adhere faithfully to the truth already attained. Progress in knowledge does not imply a constant changing of opinions.
III. THE MINISTER MUST BE ALWAYS WORKING TOWARD A PROFITABLE RESULT. "But the profane and old wives' fables avoid, and rather exercise thyself unto godliness."
1. Negatively, the minister is to avoid foolish and unprofitable studies. The apostle referred to fables familiarily known, Jewish in origin, perhaps with a mixture of Gentile theosophy, which were morally unfruitful, but practically dangerous as preparing the way for the apostasy of the future. The minister must himself stand free from all sympathy with such injurious formalism as was embodied in the rabbinical studies, as leading to the neglect of the weightier matters of the Law.
2. Positively, the minister is to exercise himself unto godliness.
(1) This implies that godliness is a pursuit that demands the strenuous application of all our energies of mind, body, and spirit.
(2) It implies that godliness must be the chief business of a minister as well as the chief aim of his life to promote it among the members of his flock.
(a) It has its inner seat in the heart.
(b) It works outward into the life.
(c) It is a progressive state.
(d) It was the one chief concern of the apostle himself. "One thing I do." - T.C.
&&& If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things.
The wise counsels given here to Timothy have their value in every age, and in every land, for those who are called upon to teach and warn their fellows.
I. MAKE KNOWN THE TRUTH, AND THE TRUTH WILL STRENGTHEN YOU. — "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be nourished." The verb used by Paul does not signify, as our translation of it does, the reminding people of what they knew already but had forgotten; it simply means that the doctrine unfolded in the previous verses was to be presented in a suitable way to the minds of others.
1. It is to be noted that neither here nor elsewhere was Timothy called upon to be a dictator, but a teacher, he was to give counsels rather than commands. Religious truth demands the willing assent of mind and of conscience, and is valueless if it is imposed as a creed by force or fraud. Like the germ of life in a seed of corn it must be received into a kindly soil; for only when soil and seed work together is a harvest possible. You may build a wall or a house on any soil — clay, or rock, or chalk — delving away till a smooth surface is prepared to receive the bricks and mortar superimposed upon it, and the stability of your building will not be much affected by the nature of the ground. But it is not thus you can get a harvest. A harvest cannot be had on every soil, because it is the product of life, and life needs to be in contact with certain forces before it can multiply itself. So in the higher sphere. You can make a child learn a creed and repeat it without fault, but that mental structure is only like the dead work of the builder. Truth needs to be welcomed by love, and thought, and will, as the seed must be received into good soil, and then the increase comes.
2. Observe also the reflex action of such teaching. If you put others in mind of these things you will yourself be "nourished." This is but throwing into another form the familiar truths, "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth"; "Give and it shall be given you." How true this is, especially in mental and spiritual experience. We give our sympathy, without stint, to some one in trouble, and our tenderness of feeling is thereby intensified. We use what little knowledge we have of God's Word, or of Christian experience, and our knowledge grows.
II. REJECT THE FALSE AND TRIVIAL FOR THE TRUE AND REAL.
1. Timothy is warned against "profane and old wives' fables," or in modern parlance, against stories which are the veriest chatter of old women. Probably Paul alludes to the fables and endless genealogies of which he elsewhere speaks. Foolish and trivial discussions and fanciful theories have often been allowed to overlay the truth of God, to its complete hiding, or at least to its sad enfeeblement. They are like a heap of decaying refuse covering the verdant grass, whose pale and enfeebled shoots show what its effect has been even after it has been cleared away. Let the truth about sin, and about Christ the Saviour from sin, be kept in the light; and beware lest it be covered over and forgotten under oratorical prettinesses, or philosophical speculations.
2. The man of God has something better to do than amuse his imagination or the imagination of others, and must "exercise himself rather unto godliness." God does not ask us to give up pleasures or even follies for the mere sake of cultivating an ascetic temper, but in order that we may be the more free for higher pursuits and a nobler service, knowing that those who would attain unto godliness must "exercise" themselves thereunto. To spend the week in thoughtlessness and triviality, and then to sit with inert mind under the preaching of the truth on Sunday, with an occasional spasm of repentance, or a feeble attempt at the repetition of a prayer, is only to mock God with unreality.
III. KEEP THE BODY IN ITS TRUE PLACE AS SUBORDINATE TO THE SPIRITUAL LIFE. The Revised Version is to be preferred to the Authorized in its rendering of the eighth verse, "bodily exercise is profitable for a little, but godliness is profitable for all things." The apostle's reference is not to the asceticism which by flagellations and vigils kept the body under, but to the gymnastic exercises of the athlete, of which he had been reminded by the verb used in the preceding verse.
IV. LET HOPE IN THE LIVING GOD BE YOUR INSPIRATION IN LABOUR AND SUFFERING. "For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those that believe." This verse explains what Paul meant by living a life of godliness. "Life" is not mere existence, however prolonged, nor mere enjoyment of existence; but existence used for others, in the strength and under the blessing of God. The true saint "labours and suffers reproach" — or rather, "toils and strives" — in the service of his God; and he is not troubled when ill-requited, nor disheartened by seeming failure, because he trusts in the living God, in whom he has an endless heritage of peaceful and most blessed life.
A man's goodness as a minister of Christ IS DISCLOSED IN THE FAITHFULNESS OF HIS SUBORDINATION TO THE AUTHORITY OF CHRIST.
II. A man's goodness as a minister of Christ is disclosed IN THE PERSISTENCY OF HIS ADHERENCE TO THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST.
III. A man's goodness as a minister of Christ is disclosed IN THE STEADFASTNESS OF HIS IMITATION OF THE EXAMPLE OF CHRIST.
IV. Lastly, a man's goodness as a minister of Christ is disclosed IN THE DEVOUTNESS OF HIS DEPENDENCE ON THE GRACE OF CHRIST.
M'Cheyne seems invariably to have applied for his personal benefit what he gave out to his people. To do so was a fundamental rule with him; and all pastors will feel that, if they are to prosper in their own souls, they must so use the Word — sternly refusing to admit the idea of feeding others until satiated themselves. And for similar ends, it is needful that we let the truth we hear preached sink down into our own souls. We, as well as our people, must drink in the falling showers. Mr. M'Cheyne did so. It is common to find him speaking thus, "July 31, Sabbath Afternoon, won Judas betraying Christ: much more tenderness than ever I felt before. Oh, that I might abide in the bosom of Him who washed Judas' feet, and dipped His hand in the same dish with him, and warned him, and grieved over him — that I might catch the infection of His love, of His tenderness, so wonderful, so unfathomable!"
A great man had a camel that was wasting away, until it seemed at the point of death. "See," cried he, to the simple son of the desert, "here is my camel: I have tried cordials and elixir, balsams and lotions. Alas! all are in vain." The plain man looked at the hollow sides, the staring bones, the projecting ribs. "Oh, most learned philosopher," said he, "thy camel needeth but one thing!" "What is it, my son?" asked the old, wise man, eagerly. "Food, sir — good food, and plenty of it." "Dear me," cried the philosopher, "I never thought of that!" Friend, are you in low spirits? There's your cure. You don't want pity, don't deserve it. Give your starved soul more prayer, more communion with God, more meditation on the Word. Then go and try to do good to somebody about you. That's the sure cure for your misery.
TopicsAttained, Brethren, Brothers, Christ, Close, Constantly, Dangers, Doctrine, Faith, Faithful, Feeding, Follow, Followed, Follower, Fully, Guide, Hast, Instruct, Instructions, Inwardly, Laying, Lessons, Mind, Minds, Minister, Ministrant, Nourished, Placing, Point, Pointing, Remembrance, Servant, Teaching, Trained, Truths, Warn, Whereunto, Wilt
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 4:6
1462 truth, in NT
5293 defence, human
7026 church, leadership
8236 doctrine, purpose
8316 orthodoxy, in NT
1 Timothy 4:1-6
7025 church, unity
8028 faith, body of beliefs
1 Timothy 4:1-7
7756 preaching, content
1 Timothy 4:1-8
1 Timothy 4:6-16
'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  . 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
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."  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
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
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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