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Tag Archives: I Timothy 4

TEN STEPS TO SPIRITUALITY (Step 6)

In our course, “The Integration of Theology and Psychology,” Dr. AllanKeynoteScreenSnapz009 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)

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

Paul says to Timothy, “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.”  We live in a culture that, in many ways, doesn’t tolerate commands and doesn’t seem eager to be taught!  Certainly Paul is thinking of Timothy’s commanding and teaching in a Christian context, but a church today that knows what it believes and tries to influence surrounding culture is irritating and unacceptable to many outside its walls.

But how ought we to respond to such criticism or disregard?  Paul’s challenge to Timothy is to lead by example.  In five areas Timothy is to be a model to follow:  in SPEECH, CONDUCT, LOVE, FAITH, and PURITY.

Questions:

1.  Concerning our SPEECH, does the world hear something different when you and I talk, converse, chat, argue, seek to persuade?

2.  Concerning our CONDUCT, does our behavior back up our beliefs — or cause those who know us to think to themselves “hypocrite!”?

3.  Concerning our LOVE, too often we believers become merely irritated with our “post-Christian” culture, instead of seeking to love its members into the kingdom of God.  Whose names can you list right now that you are strategically attempting to love into the family of God?

4.  Concerning our FAITH, does our cultural pessimism overshadow our hope in God, who desires all men to come to the truth?

5.  Concerning our PURITY, does our world see our personal holiness as more than puritanical, but as an expression of our gratitude to God?  How might we become more pure?

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in christian growth

 

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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 (Step 4)

In our course, “The Integration of Theology and Psychology,” Dr. AllanKeynoteScreenSnapz004 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)

Paul uses this same expression “this is a trustworthy saying” five times in his pastoral epistles.
In I Timothy 1:15 he writes, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance:  Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst.”
In I Timothy 3:1 he writes, “Here is a trustworthy saying:  Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task.”
In 2 Timothy 2:11 Paul declares:  “Here is a trustworthy saying:  If we died with him, we will also live with him.”
Paul writes in Titus 3:8, “This is a trustworthy saying.  And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good.  These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.”
We also have our text, I Timothy 4:9 where he says, “This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.”  Commentators I’ve checked suggest that this use of “this is a trustworthy saying” refers back to what he has previously said.  If they are right, then Paul’s point seems to be that investing our time and energies into training ourselves to be godly is a goal completely worthy of our trust.  If I am resting on this trustworthy saying, then I will be doing something about growing in Christ!

Questions:

1.  Why do Christians often look at the Christian life as a “let go and let God” kind of proposition?

2.  What other NT texts can you think of that encourage the believer to roll up his sleeves and get to work on his own Christian life?

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2012 in trustworthy sayings

 

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TEN STEPS TO SPIRITUALITY (Step #3)

In our course, “The Integration of Theology and Psychology,” Dr. AllanKeynoteScreenSnapz003 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)

Verse 8 issues the challenge “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.”  When I was a teenager, my best friend Ronnie decided to become a body builder.  His parents were strong believers, and, as I recall, would sometimes quote to him this verse (but from the King James version).  His dad would say, “You know, Ronnie, the Bible says ‘bodily exercise profiteth little . . .”  My friend’s dad was actually misquoting the verse, because he left out the little world “a” (“bodily exercise profiteth a little . . .”).  The text is really saying, there is some profit in physical exercise, but Timothy should give his primary attention to training himself to be godly.

My wife of 41 years has really gotten into physical exercise over the last year.  At the ripe age of ___ (you didn’t really think I was going to tell you, did you?), she “spins” four or five days a week.  Spinning is riding a stationary bike going nowhere.  Her spinning class meets from 6-7 AM!  I admire her for her commitment to this exercise group.  But — and here’s my point — she gets up at 4:30 AM to have her quiet time with the Lord every day before she gets on that bike to nowhere.  That’s a commitment to something that will outlast this world!

Questions:

1.  What kind of physical exercise are you involved in?

2.  What kind of spiritual exercises are you practicing — and how have they helped you in daily life?

 
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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in spirituality

 

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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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Ten Steps to Spirituality!

In our course, “The Integration of Theology and Psychology,”KeynoteScreenSnapz001 Dr. Allan 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 begin 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 I see in this text is simply:  PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU AVOID (v. 7)

Verse 7 reads: “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales . . .”  Growing in grace and holiness involves choosing what we won’t give our attention to!  Paul challenges TImothy not to give his attention to “godless myths” and “old wives’ tales.”

Now, the few women who might read my blog should not be upset by the 2nd expression.  It is not meant in a misogynistic way.   Paul is not anti-women.  He is simply giving two examples of material that should not dominate the believer’s thinking, concentration, time.  (to be continued)

Questions:

1.  What “godless myths” are you aware of which should be avoided?

2.  Why should we avoid such myths and old wives’ tales?

 

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