Summary: Spiritual Fitness
Are You in Fit Condition? - 1 Timothy 4 - 10/26/08
Join me in turning to the book of 1 Timothy, chapter 4. Timothy is towards the end of the New Testament, in the second half of the Bible. We have been going through this book together.
We saw that this is a letter from the Apostle Paul to Timothy, his young protégé. Paul left Timothy at Ephesus to straighten out the problems in the church there. Ephesus was a city filled with idol worship, sexual immorality, and false teachings.
Timothy, though, is a young man and sometimes people in the church did not follow his leadership and give him the respect he deserved. Timothy was timid and shy. He sometimes was sickly, or at least was so troubled by the problems in the church that his stomach bothered him. The tension in the church had him to the point of giving up. But Paul gives him a letter to encourage him to keep on going.
We saw Paul give three commands to Timothy in chapter 1:
1. Teach Sound Doctrine 2. Preach the Gospel 3. Defend the Faith
We looked at chapters 2&3 and saw what pleases God? We saw that
God is pleased when men are PRAYING! And
God is pleased when women are PROPER! And
God is pleased when leaders are PURE!
We talked about leaders in the church, elders and deacons, and how they need three traits:
Desire, Character, and a Good Reputation
Last week we talked about some steps we each could take, even if we aren’t leaders: We can . . .
Respect the leadership of the church
Pray for the leadership of the church
Encourage others to follow God’s call on their lives
Assist the leadership of the church
Make yourself available for leadership
I hope you have considered these steps this past week.
Today, we move on to chapter 4, and Paul is going to talk to Timothy about getting into shape. Paul loved sports; in fact, in several of his letters he uses sporting terms. He talks about wrestling, boxing, foot races. And today, here in 1 Timothy 4, Paul tells Timothy to make sure that he is in fit condition. He tells him to take steps to stay in shape. And that is exactly what you and I need to do as well. Let’s read chapter 4.
Read 1 Timothy 4 -- pray -- As you have just heard as we read the chapter, Paul calls Timothy to get into shape, but it’s not just a physical fitness that Timothy needs as much as spiritual fitness. Now don’t get me wrong -- we need both. Maybe just the thought of getting up and going to the fridge during the commercials tires you out. If so, you might need to focus on physical fitness. But Paul’s emphasis to Timothy is on the need for Spiritual Fitness. And that is an area of life that we all can improve upon. In this chapter, Paul touches on 2 aspects to fitness. First, He points out the . . .
1. Dangers We Face - Now, when we are talking about physical fitness, it is easy to identify the dangers we face. It may be that we just have a sedentary lifestyle - we don’t get enough exercise. We are couch potatoes. We go from bed to easy chair to couch and back again. We sit in front of the TV for hours on end. We have so many labor saving devices that we have to artificially bring exercise into our lives. Hence, we have Gold’s gym memberships or YMCA memberships, and for the ladies, we have Curves - a place to go meet other ladies and bring exercise into our lives. We identify the dangers physically with all kinds of labels - MSGs, saturated fats, or in old terminology fried foods, fats, and sweets.
But what about the dangers we face spiritually. That’s an area that often we are taken off guard. Most of us know we need to exercise more and eat less, or at least eat wisely. We can pick up a cheesecake, read the label, and see that it has 45 grams of fat per small slice! But how many of us think about the dangers we face spiritually. That’s what Paul reminds Timothy of here in verses 1 through 7.
Spiritually, there is an abundance of False Teachers. Paul has already warned Timothy that part of his job at Ephesus was to defend the faith against false teachers. But he points these teachers out in more detail here. And it is important that we take note of what Paul says, because we face the same type of false teachers in our day today. Look what Paul says about them. False teachers are . . .