Summary: Paul gives Timothy, and us, several commands for living the Christian life, and several things to teach others about the Christian life.
“Command And Teach”
INTRODUCTION: Read Scripture. Paul is writing to Timothy, the young “preacher-boy” – 4:6. I used to be a young “preacher-boy” many years ago … I know a little of what he was going through. NOW … this doesn’t mean that just because you’re NOT a young preacher-boy, you can sleep through this sermon. It’s Paul’s message for EVERYONE.
There is NO DOUBLE STANDARD … 1 for preachers & 1 for laymen (non-preachers). You can never say: “It’s OK for me to do, say, read, watch, think something … BUT … it’s wrong for the preacher to do it..” HOGWASH! If it’s wrong for me, it’s wrong for you. If it’s wrong for you, it’s wrong for me. AND … if it’s right for me, it’s right for you … right for you, it’s right for me. If you are doing anything in your life that you think would be wrong for me, as your Pastor to do … THEN … it’s wrong for you to do it. If it’s wrong for me, then it’s wrong for you.
There is NO DOUBLE STANDARD … there is 1 STANDARD … the Word of God. If it’s true for Timothy, it’s true for you and me. There is NO DOUBLE STANDARD with God.
NOW … let’s take a look at what God wants Timothy … and us … to command and teach this morning. 4:11 – “these things” … WHAT THINGS? Those things in 4:6-10.
I. COMMANDS – These are GOD’S commands. God gave them to Paul … Paul gave them to Timothy … Timothy is giving them to you & me … AND … we are to give them to others.
COMMAND #1 – 4:7 – “refuse profane fables”. What are some? You’ve probably heard, or maybe said, some of these:
1.- “You can worship the Lord just as good in a boat on a lake on Sunday AM, as well as you can in church.” Do you know what the problem is? You don’t! You do more fishing than you do worshipping! What does the Bible say? “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together.”
2.- “You don’t need to be saved to get to Heaven … all good people go there.” The truth is, there will be a lot of good people in Hell. How good do you have to be to get to Heaven? PERFECT! That eliminates most of us! “There is none righteous, no not one.” That’s why we can’t make it there unless our sins are forgiven … washed in the blood of Jesus.
3.- “All you have to do to get to Heaven is believe in God.” Satan believes in God … BUT … you won’t see him in Heaven. The truth is, EVERYBODY in Hell will believe in God … 1 minute after they arrive!
4.- “It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you’re sincere.” Are you saying that God will honor sincere Atheists? What if you’re sincerely WRONG?
5.- “It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re not hurting anybody else (drugs, illicit sex, etc.)”. The truth is … all sin hurts. Ask Jesus! Ask Him if it hurt Him when your sins were placed upon Him at the cross. Ask Jesus if the crown of thorns, being beaten beyond human recognition, and the nails HURT! Jesus took YOUR punishment for sin upon Himself.
6.- “Anything is all right, as long as you do it in moderation.” Try cutting off a cat’s tail an inch at a time, and see if he believes in moderation!
These are all “profane babblings”. They’ve been around for centuries … AND … they’re just as stupid now as they were then. Here is the COMMAND … “Don’t believe a word of it … refuse them!” – 4:7a. They all say the same thing: “God is irrelevant.” He really doesn’t matter. There are no absolutes. There is no standard. Refuse such teachings.
COMMAND #2 – 4:7 – “exercise godliness”. Why don’t we exercise? BECAUSE … it’s too much like work. I tried it once in 1986 … didn’t like it … haven’t tried it since! 4:8a is one of my favorite verses … “For bodily exercise profiteth little.”
This is an athletic term … the idea of winning a contest. Paul is exhorting us to EXERCISE OUR FAITH with a view of excelling in Godliness … to grow strong in our faith.
4:8-10a – “labor” – in the GK. it means to ‘labor to the point of exhaustion’. Like running, and getting your SECOND WIND. At 55 YOA, I have trouble getting my FIRST wind! Godly exercise is WORK. It is COMMANDED. We will be judged as to how we obeyed this command.
If you were in the Military, you listened to the commands of your superior officers, didn’t you? They weren’t optional. You didn’t get to choose & select those you wanted to obey. Your Commander-in-Chief, Almighty God Himself, says “exercise yourself unto Godliness” … YES SIR!!! In a few minutes, we’ll see how to do this.