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October 14, 2020 4:00 am
In his first letter to Timothy.
The apostle Paul offered wise counsel to this young pastor just a few paragraphs.
Paul identified the character traits and personal disciplines that are a part of every pastors job description today on Truth for Life.
Alister Ben continues our study of first Timothy four with the message he's titled a good servant of Christ Jesus. This young man is not here, therefore, and I'm not going to tell you his name but I remember not long after he was part of our internship program. Whatever it was, I noticed that he began to use one of my words that I use for the congregation.
I had him saying in the course of sentences.
The left was very nice, but they hadn't become his beloved. He just cared me saying that I thought that's a nice thing to say and it is a nice thing to say but you know whether your beloved or not and your congregation know whether the left and the use of the language without the reality of the relationship just comes across as insincere.
So what is he to do what is the answer. How do you how do you handle this. Let no one despise your youth that I want you to make sure that you are clear on this, Timothy Dall, of the people look down on you. Make sure they look up to you. The way they will look up to you is if you sent them an example in these areas number one speech speech words solving about words. The word of God the way that God uses our words in the proclamation of his word. The great mystery of it all and right at the very outset speech that it would be true. Kind purposefully helpful speech, not only in the public arena speech in the privacy of our cars under the breath, speech, speech with our wife's speech. An example then in conduct or behavior. Now the false teachers were clearly concerned about conduct and behavior. Paul is not suggesting to Timothy here that he kind of adopts that kind of external approach, but rather that as a result of the spirit of God at work within his heart that he would then have his behavior increasingly like that of the Lord Jesus Christ command and teach these things don't get up on your high horse. Timothy have them look up to you and to look up to you because they hear your words, and they are able to observe your behavior send believers an example speech, conduct, love, faith, purity, so I reminded him of character. He then comes to this matter of his work and he says, until I come. I while you're in the position you're in. It's important Timothy that you do this that you devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation to teaching and what Paul is asking Timothy to do here is essentially to continue the pattern which was the pattern of the synagogue. You remember, for example, when in the synagogue at Nazareth I Jesus is invited to read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and he reads from it and then he sits out and they are the eyes of all in the synagogue are fastened on him waiting to hear what he's going to say when he moved from the public reading to the exultation of the teaching which comes from and you can find that this pattern.
The reading of the law and the prophets, and that the apostolic writings is in the New Testament you find it.
For example, in first Thessalonians 5 Colossians chapter 4 and Justin Martyr in his first apology in the middle of the second century identifies the fighter this was happening. He said on the day cold Sunday all who live in cities or in the country gathered together in one place and the memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are red as long as time permits. Then when the reader is finished, the present and speaks instructing and exhorting the people so what place do we give to the public reading of Scripture question as to whether it is red and then if it is read how it is red. I don't want to belabor it but again, come back to Derek prime.
He never missed a beat. In reading the Scriptures. Christopher Ashley was with us a couple of years ago, in a very excellent use of English road slowly and clearly slowed it down so that we will understand how important it is now not simply the public reading but also then the expectation so that the Scripture that is red is to be preached. I have a friend Unipart cited gives me old books and one of the little books that he gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago was a book. It's it's not often seen by Horatius Boehner and is called God's way of peace is a book for the anxious. He says, and at one point in the book he he says that the Bible is a living book, not a dead one a divine one, not a human one. A perfect one, not an imperfect one.
Search it, study it, dig into it.
Then in the little footnote he quotes Luther, who writes we must make a great difference between God's word and the word of man and man's word is a little sound which flies into the air and soon vanishes, but the word of God is greater than heaven and earth gay. It is greater than death and hell for it is the power of God and remain at everlastingly. Therefore, we ought diligently to learn God's word and we must know certainly and believe that God himself, speaketh with us the privilege of exhortation combines with the responsibility of teaching read it and exhort or preach and teach. You have the distinction between preaching and teaching in the acts of the apostles, at least in a couple of places. Luke tells us that Paul and Barnabas taught and preached the word of the Lord.
So there is a distinction between the two things, the twofold approach that is the responsibility that falls to ours for the felted Timothy in teaching. We are seeking to give people an understanding of God's truth in our preaching. We are then making an appeal to people's wills, as well as to their emotions, urging them to respond to the word that they have now understood throughout teaching, but it is irresponsible for us to call upon our listeners to act without having first provided a proper understanding for them for the basis of the very action to which we: if we was a different context and another time, we could do aside consideration here on on what this means in terms of evangelistic preaching, and I recall somewhere in the last three days. Somebody reminded me of someone who had gone to church, listening to a previous speaker hear from our conference in years gone by. Also from Scotland. As it turns out wonderful, wonderful expositor of Scripture and without passion to seek our people come to know Christ and and some are going to church on dance and they said while he was a very nice man and I and it was a good. It was a good sermon, but he didn't. He didn't do the gospel he didn't do the gospel and what he meant by that was that he didn't have that little PS at the end where you can be preaching for languishing in second Kings you know trying to work your way through, and then all of a sudden the end you say and by the way some of you here that now. Don't know the benefits of the gospel. There's others of you don't realize the dangers of neglecting the gospel. So let me urge you to get that sorted out first sitting there going when you talk about for store we didn't understand.
Second Kings. I know I know we don't understand this because we can exhort people to to receive the gospel warn them about rejecting the gospel, and never actually tell them the gospel so we have to tell people that before you say to people in Christ will come and live in you by the Holy Spirit have to tell them that Christ came and died for you in the historical context and saw some of it is better at the exhorting some of his or better the teaching but together we can make progress. But let us say this as we move on the primacy of preaching and of Bible teaching is actually to be the defining mark of the gathering of God's people.
Deuteronomy 4 assemble the people before me to hear my words, why are you coming here we are coming here together to hear God's words. Therefore, if were here to hear God's word and we are entrusted with the responsibility and let's make sure that we are absolutely devoted to the public reading to the exhortation and to the teaching of the Bible so that the word of God may become the driving force that shapes the life of our congregations. Timothy is then encouraged once again by being reminded of the fact that he has a gift that has been given him that was accompanied by a prophecy that had been made when the council of elders laid their hands on him. We don't have the details of this we might think of it in realistic terms as a kind of ordination that he had been called that he was equipped, and that he was set apart to this task. Remember that this is being read publicly. So the congregation understands a number of things.
Number one Timothy was not a volunteer. He was a conscript he was not sitting around during every trying to think of things to say but he was a servant of the word of God. The equipment that he had received had been given to them by the Holy Spirit for the express purpose not of a drawing attention to himself, but of edifying the saints so that they in turn may be enabled to do the works of ministry. He was not operating on the basis of natural talent. He was God's man in God's place enabled by God's power in order to serve God's people, and since the sovereignty of God's purposes and his provision had been granted to them in such manner. It was Timothy's responsibility. Then to make sure that he did not neglect the gift that he had been given that he didn't neglect. I don't really know American sports. I love all support so I can use illustrations from there. Even after all this time, but I could give you illustrations of people in the football world Summit like felons bruschetta from Hungary who was a little portly, but he never neglected his gift was phenomenally successful.
I could tell you of George best, the best soccer player that I ever saw in person who died as a young man now because he was immensely talented but because he simply neglected the gift that he been given. That's why when Paul writes in his second letter to Timothy memory system a Kindle. This gift that you received at the laying on of their hands. Make sure that you make progress in these things don't simply drift along with a tirade Timothy don't just go with the flow set yourselves with his destination in view don't ship wreck like some that I've had to mention to you back in chapter 1 find this into a flame. Don't neglect the gift you have some very straightforward word is how would we neglected well I guess by indolence, perhaps by saying to ourselves. This gift doesn't seem to be as good as someone else's gift. There's all kinds of ways God has made you as you. He's the one I gave you your DNA is the one who is providentially ordered your steps and brought you to where you are. I was smiling to myself, a singular sense. You know you could find yourself in difficulty as you go away from here. You might think of Parkside agent with whom I want to come. The parts I hate works the other way to I drive out here through Amish country.
I see these tiny little places that can hold about 110 people and say to myself, now that's the kind of place I'm looking for and I don't want to sit in front of my congregation because they may send me their but it's not it's not out of context. That's the issue. No, don't neglect the gift while our time is gone.
I just leave you with the imperatives there. There you can do the homework on your own what you want me to do.
Timothy might've said well practice these things practice these things put them into practice so that they become second nature to you. Immerse yourself in your mind is to be immersed in these gospel truths just in the way that the body is a nurse in the air that it breeds and why well so that all may see your progress as a challenge, but it's also terrific, so that all may see your progress.
It doesn't say so that all may see your perfection know perfection is the Lord Jesus. Our progress is towards the Lord Jesus. Remember in in Philippians where Paul is his writing so amazingly, perhaps he's dictating it and he goes on this amazing burst of things I used to be this and I used to be that, but I've counted it all for Lawson that I might be found in him, that I might know him and the power of his resurrection, I might share his suffering, that I may become like him in his death by any means possible I may attain the resurrection of the day. I imagine that if his secretary is there as he pauses at the end of that sentence. The secretary says to them. This is good stuff Paul administered under the direction of the Holy Spirit. You understand, but this is this is good stuff Paul, but you might want to just and on. You might just want to add a another kind of sentence what you think or how about something like not that I have already obtained all this, or I'm already partially adding I would be a big encouragement to the people. He said that's a terrific idea. Let's put that in. Not that I have obtained all that sort. I'm already perfect, but I press on to make it my own because Jesus Christ made me his own. I am not the finished article. Neither eyes, husband, father, grandfather asked her friend whatever it is I am flawed you are flawed, but our congregations hopefully can see a wee bit of progress for exam I don't want to use myself as an illustration, but I'm the only illustration that I have I said something in a in one of the sermons last week or the week before. I don't know what it was but I said if somebody says this to you say to them sit down and shut up now.
When I was 35. I would've thought a moment about. But as I stood back in the closing song the Holy Spirit in my mind says Hal, you knowingly telling your congregation to say stuff like that I replied hey wait a minute I said.
He replied I told you what I told you I replied well what you want me to do just go up and apologize for it.
That's exactly what I want you to. Then I then I did and I think at least one elderly lady smudged is not your friend said we bit of progress, any progress to the Ephesian congregation saw in Timothy would've ascribed to the grace of God and any ability that he made to to struggle through to victory. It would've ascribed to the grace of God and so together they receive the word of God. They is the congregation who love their pastor and wanted to become all that God intends for them to be and he himself keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching that owns don't get into the track of parading any apparent successes because pride always comes before the fall, nor fall into that strange notion of civic seeking to impress people on account of our failures. Now watch your life. Watch your doctrine persists. Just keep going for. By so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. How does that work well.
The only way received is through the gospel and Salvation Army girl is on the train in London years ago and she gets into the compartment and into the compartment becomes an Anglican bishop and he has a miter and he has a one of the special hats and entities all clobbered up and ready ready for business. Salvation Army girl exit deduction on the strength of this and sees it as an evangelistic opportunity. As he says it she says scares me.
Bishop, if you save and apparently this was Bishop Lightfoot, the Greek scholar center young lady do you mean have I been saved.
Am I being saved or will I be safe, we don't have the record of her response. Understandably, for the three tenses of salvation are all there. Tell me of Sunday school. I have been saved from sin's penalty. One day I will be saved from sin's presence, but as of now I am being saved from sin's power and what are the means that he's using his word, by the power of the Holy Spirit, enabling us to do what he calls us to do in just a minute Alastair beg will conclude this message with prayer so please keep listening.
This is Truth for Life each year during the month of October.
It's our tradition to observe pastor appreciation month. It's the reason we're presenting this current teaching series called the pastor's study, and a variety of helpful resources designed to strengthen local churches and their leaders.
For example, in addition to these daily programs you'll find on our website the Truth for Life.org a recommended reading list for pastors and church leaders. Our team is carefully compiled a list of some of our favorite books on the topic of pastoral ministry. So if you're a youth leader or pastor or if you teach a small group Bible study. We want to invite you to take a look and hopefully find a title that piques your interest.
Visit Truth for Life.org/pastor or view the list on our mobile app Tim Kelly's is a pastor who often addresses relevant topics that strengthen local churches today is one of the final days.
We are making available his new book called epic and around the world journey through Christian history. Tim traveled the world taking pictures of 33 different artifacts that tell the story of our Christian heritage is book epic presents an interesting collection of photographs of objects that belong to Christian leaders from the past. People like Hudson Taylor David living stone, and Amy Carmichael along with an explanation of what each of these artifacts represents would love to send you a copy of the book yours when you give a donation to support Truth for Life. You can request the book when you go to Truth for Life.org/donate or click the book image in the mobile app you can also call us right now at 888-588-7884. Now here's Alastair lead us in prayer. Let me pause and use Calvin's prayer after he has breached no let us cast ourselves down before the majesty of our good God asking him to forgive our sins and renew us in the image of Christ and fulfill all his purposes in us and through us in the name of Christ alone. Amen. By God's design. There is a unique role. The church leaders play in the life of the local church within the structure their responsibilities shared by everyone who attends the local church as well. Be sure to listen. Thursday is our study about church leadership continues about Lapine Bible teaching of Alastair beg is furnished by Truth for Life for the Learning is for Living