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Category Archives: I Timothy 4

Preparing for the “Iron Sharpens Iron” Conference (Emmaus May 25-28) Workshop #2 (con’t)

I’m in the preparation stages for the “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference at Emmaus Bible College.  I’ve been asked to give two workshops.  The theme this year is ‘Training for Godliness” and the plenary sessions will be focusing on I Timothy 4-6.  My two topics are:  “Guarding and Discarding: The Keys to Sound Theology (1 Timothy 6:20-21)” and “Sanctified Hedonism: The Case for “Worldly Saints” (1 Timothy 4:1-5).”

Let’s continue to think about the second workshop this morning: “Sanctified Hedonism: The Case for “Worldly Saints” (1 Timothy 4:1-5).”
We read the following in I Timothy 4:

These false teachers, these faith-abandoners, will be inspired by demons to teach their heresies.  Personally, they are characterized as being “hypocritical liars” with seared consciences!

In terms of their teaching, two categories of error are specified by Paul: (1) they will forbid God’s gift of marriage, and (2) they will order their followers to follow certain dietary restrictions.

Specifically, their commands about diet focus on abstention, not thanksgiving.  “Don’t eat that!” is their command.  Not, “Wow!  Isn’t God good to give us such delicacies!”  Refusing God’s good gifts is as bad a sin as gluttony.  It expresses a lack of thankfulness for what “God created to be received.” Finding a balance between restriction and liberty is a challenge at times, isn’t it?  We can fall into the trap of being gift-denyers and think that we have somehow become more spiritual.  (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2017 in I Timothy 4

 

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Preparing for the “Iron Sharpens Iron” Conference (Emmaus May 25-28) Workshop #2

The “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference at Emmaus Bible College is fast approaching — and I have two workshops to prepare!  The theme this year is ‘Training for Godliness” and I will be presenting two workshops:  “Guarding and Discarding: The Keys to Sound Theology (1 Timothy 6:20-21)” and “Sanctified Hedonism: The Case for “Worldly Saints” (1 Timothy 4:1-5).”

Let’s focus on the second workshop this morning: “Sanctified Hedonism: The Case for “Worldly Saints” (1 Timothy 4:1-5).”
We read the following in I Timothy 4:

A number of issues jump out at me from this text.  The passage is eschatological in tone.  That is, Paul is referring to “later times” and is warning Timothy about how some will abandon the faith and follow demonic doctrines.

The human avenue of these deceiving ideas will be “hypocritical liars” who have callous consciences.  Wow!  Paul isn’t pulling any punches as he refers to the sources of these wrong ideas.

But what about the ideas themselves?  Their errors fall into the categories of FORBIDDING MARRIAGE and DIETARY RESTRICTIONS.  Marriage was God’s idea in the Garden and was clearly affirmed by the Lord Jesus when He said, “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mk. 10).

These false teachers, the Spirit of God says, will forbid marriage.

We will look at their dietary prohibitions in our next post.  (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2017 in I Timothy 4

 

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Preparing for the “Iron Sharpens Iron” Conference (Emmaus May 25-28) Workshop #1

I’m preparing for Emmaus Bible College’s “Iron Sharpens Iron” conference.  The theme this year is ‘Training for Godliness” and I will be presenting two workshops:  “Guarding and Discarding: The Keys to Sound Theology (1 Timothy 6:20-21)” and “Sanctified Hedonism: The Case for “Worldly Saints” (1 Timothy 4:1-5).”

Let’s think about the first one for the next few posts: “Guarding and Discarding: The Keys to Sound Theology (1 Timothy 6:20-21)”

Has it dawned on you that what we Christians don’t believe is almost as important as what we do believe?  For example, we don’t believe in reincarnation.  We don’t believe in a plurality of gods (as our Mormon friends do).  We don’t believe that Jesus was really Michael the archangel (as our Jehovah’s Witness friends do).  We don’t believe that every person without exception will be saved (as our Unitarian Universalist friends do).  Denials are as important as affirmations, aren’t they?

Let’s think about our main text in I Timothy 6.  Notice the verbs used in these two verses:

(1) GUARD  (2) TURN AWAY FROM

What is involved in GUARDING?  We guard what is valuable to us.  We protect it; we shield it; we put our own lives at risk for that object or person.  When I was working my way through graduate school, I worked at night (11 pm to 7 am) as a night watchman or security guard.  I had to make rounds both inside and outside the factory I was guarding.  I was the only one there.  I remember one wintry night (this was in NJ) making my outside round and having to go up several steps to punch my time clock to show I had actually walked around the perimeter of the building.  Coming down those ice-covered steps — I don’t remember what happened then.  I found myself in a pile on the concrete sidewalk.  I put my life in jeopardy for a soap factory!

I also got caught a time or two asleep at my post.  That did not go over well with management.  Sleeping on the job — a night watchman’s job — was not cool.

We need to be vigilant in guarding what has been “entrusted” to our care.  Prepared to be vigilant today? (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2017 in I Timothy 4

 

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TEN STEPS TO SPIRITUALITY (Step 10)

In our course, “The Integration of Theology and Psychology,” KeynoteScreenSnapz019Dr. Allan McKechnie and I have been discussing the doctrine of salvation and its implications for counselors who are Christians.  One aspect of salvation is the continuing work of God the Holy Spirit in making us like Christ.  This doctrine is called SANCTIFICATION.  The word means “being set apart” or “being made holy.”

I believe I Timothy 4 presents us with ten very specific steps we may take to advance in our becoming like Christ.  Let’s look at that passage and continue investigating those ten steps.

I Timothy 4 says,

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

The FIRST STEP we saw in this text was simply:  PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU AVOID (v. 7)

The SECOND STEP we notice is:  TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN SPIRITUAL LIFE (v. 7)

The THIRD STEP we see is:  INVEST IN THIS LIFE AND THE NEXT (v. 8)

The FOURTH STEP here in this text is:  REST ON WHAT IS WORTHY OF YOUR TRUST (v. 9)

The FIFTH STEP we see in this passage is simply: WORK HARD IN YOUR LIFE OF FAITH IN THE LORD (v. 10)

The SIXTH STEP Paul gives us here is BOLDLY PROCLAIM THE TRUTH WITH YOUR WORDS AND LIFE (vv. 11-12)

The SEVENTH STEP which helps us to become spiritual is DEVOTE YOURSELF TO THE WORD OF GOD AND THE USE OF YOUR GIFT (vv. 13-14)

The EIGHTH STEP in moving on in our spirituality comes out of verse 15  where we are told to BE DILIGENT IN WHOLLY COMMITTING YOURSELF TO YOUR OWN SPIRITUAL GROWTH.

The NINTH STEP in advancing in our spiritual growth comes out of verse 16 and it is simply:  DON’T DIVORCE WHAT YOU BELIEVE FROM HOW YOU BEHAVE!

The TENTH STEP in pursuing spirituality also comes from verse 16 and it is this:  DON’T GIVE UP FOR YOUR SAKE OR THE SAKE OF OTHERS!  Verse 16 says, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

There are so many forces which challenge the perseverance of the believer.  The tragedies of life, the questions raised by unbelievers, the pain of having our gospel witness rejected, the disappointments when God doesn’t behave the way we would like Him to — all of these can combine their forces to scream one message to us:  “GIVE UP!”

On October 29, 1941, United Kingdom (Great Britain) Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited Harrow School to to hear the traditional songs he had sung there as a youth, as well as to speak to the students. This became one of his most quoted speeches, due to distortions that evolved about what he actually said.

The myth is that Churchill stood before the students and said, “Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give in. Never give in. Never give in. Never give in.” Then he sat down. In reality, he made a complete speech that included words similar to what are often quoted. Also, some believe he said, “Never give up.” That too is incorrect.  At any rate, the message of NEVER GIVE UP needs to be heard and heeded by followers of Jesus!

Questions:

1.  Scripture says that “no man lives to himself and no man dies to himself.”  We affect each other by the way we live or don’t live.  List several people that your life impacts either positively or negatively.

2.  The Ten Steps that we have seen here in I Timothy 4 are not magic or instant.  They require commitment, steadfastness, determination, and a desire to not stay the same!  How is status quo spirituality overcome by the individual believer?

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in I Timothy 4

 

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TEN STEPS TO SPIRITUALITY! (Step 5)

In our course, “The Integration of Theology and Psychology,” Dr. AllanKeynoteScreenSnapz007 McKechnie andI have been discussing the doctrine of salvation and its implications for counselors who are Christians.  One aspect of salvation is the continuing work of God the Holy Spirit in making us like Christ.  This doctrine is called SANCTIFICATION.  The word means “being set apart” or “being made holy.”

I believe I Timothy 4 presents us with ten very specific steps we may take to advance in our becoming like Christ.  Let’s look at that passage and continue investigating those ten steps.

I Timothy 4 says,

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

The FIRST STEP we saw in this text was simply:  PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU AVOID (v. 7)

The SECOND STEP we notice is:  TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN SPIRITUAL LIFE (v. 7)

The THIRD STEP we see is:  INVEST IN THIS LIFE AND THE NEXT (v. 8)

The FOURTH STEP here in this text is:  REST ON WHAT IS WORTHY OF YOUR TRUST (v. 9)

The FIFTH STEP we see in this passage is simply: WORK HARD IN YOUR LIFE OF FAITH IN THE LORD (v. 10)

When Paul says in verse 10, “That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe,” he is certainly referring to his work in ministry.  Over what did Paul “labor and strive”?  Most logically over the truth that Timothy and this congregation to whom Paul is writing would “train themselves to be godly.”

KeynoteScreenSnapz008The idea that the believer in Jesus can simply glide to glory, exerting little to no effort to become more godly is fallacious.  The terms “labor” and “strive” certainly indicate effort on Paul’s part — and ought to encourage us to commit ourselves to the serious work of becoming godly.

The seminary where I teach, Columbia International University Seminary and School of Ministry (we have very large sweatshirts) stands in the historic tradition of the Keswick movement, sometimes called “the Victorious Christian Life” movement.  We believe that the normal Christian life is a life of victory over sin.  Some in that movement stressed sinless perfectionism (which we do not hold) or a kind of quietistic living of the Christian life (which suggests that we simply “Let go and let God”).  No, we believe that growth in the Christian life involves our best efforts in cooperating with the Holy Spirit in producing the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Gal. 5).  We read such passages as 2 Peter 1 which says “make every effort to ADD to your faith goodness, kindness, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love” and we seek, by God’s help, to do just that.

That’s hard work — but our Lord deserves nothing less.

[We’ll examine the controversial statement in verse 10 — “who is the Savior of all people” — in our next post]

Questions:

1.  Would you say you are working hard at training yourself in godliness?  Would others say that you are laboring and striving to become more like Jesus?

2.  How much effort are you putting into helping other believers grow in godliness?  Do you at least pray regularly for the spiritual growth of others?

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2012 in I Timothy 4

 

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Ten Steps to Spirituality! (Part 2)

In our course, “The Integration of Theology and Psychology,” Dr. AllanKeynoteScreenSnapz002 McKechnie andI have been discussing the doctrine of salvation and its implications for counselors who are Christians.  One aspect of salvation is the continuing work of God the Holy Spirit in making us like Christ.  This doctrine is called SANCTIFICATION.  The word means “being set apart” or “being made holy.”

I believe I Timothy 4 presents us with ten very specific steps we may take to advance in our becoming like Christ.  Let’s look at that passage and continue investigating those ten steps.

I Timothy 4 says,

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10 That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

The FIRST STEP we saw in this text was simply:  PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU AVOID (v. 7)

The SECOND STEP we notice is:  TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN SPIRITUAL LIFE (v. 7)

Verse 7 reads: “rather, train yourself to be godly.”  Self-training is lacking these days in the lives of many followers of Jesus.  Some expect spiritual growth to happen, uh, magically.  Others look for a perfect church or an omni-competent pastor to meet their every spiritual need.  Paul puts the burden of sanctification, of becoming more like Jesus Christ, squarely on the shoulders of the individual believer.

Years ago I read a controversial, but helpful, book entitled The Gospel of Coincidence by John Boykin.  He basically said that most of what happens to us in life is a result of choices we make, choices which come out of the priorities which we set for ourselves.  Are you taking responsibility for your own spiritual life?  How’s the training going?

Questions:

1.  In physical training, there are exercises which must be practiced.  What would be some of those exercises in “spiritual” training?

2.  How do we even know what “godly” looks like?  Why is studying the earthly life of the Lord Jesus so critical here?

 

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