Summary: The effectiveness through which we reach others is dependant upon the way our lives are perceived. If we exercise the tenets of holy living our witness will be strengthened.
Sermon Title: Exercise for Holiness
Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:6-16
Wesleyan Community Church
Sunday Morning – June 9, 2002
There are just some things in our lives that we cannot be warned of enough. Paul is no exception when it comes to the preparation of his student in the faith Timothy. Paul more than likely knows that his days are numbered and there is a time limit that has been imposed upon the ministry that he was so gloriously converted to fulfill.
There is a repetition of many things that we find in the Bible. Why do you suppose that is? It is through the repeating of the important lessons to be learned that those that are thick of skull make the connection and begin the process of earnestly and honestly applying these things to their lives.
I am one of those that qualify for the title “thick of skull”, I have been the recipient of many a repeated lesson, and without that repeated lesson or the occasional refresher, I would have difficulties in certain things. Just like the repetition of ideas cause our minds to fully embrace them, we have a physical equivalent and that is the process of exercise. A weightlifter does not simply lift a weight a single time, he lifts them repeatedly in what are called repetitions. Prepare yourselves for a reminder as we read this morning’s Scripture.
Scripture Reading: 1 Timothy 4:6-16
6If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. 7But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 8For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. 9This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. 10For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. 11These things command and teach. 12Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
As I was preparing and praying about this mornings message, I thought perhaps I should name it the 4 R’s. In light of the things that we believe we must always remember, refine, reflect and then recall the things which we see as important in our personal walks with God. You will notice that I use the word “personal”, because nobody has the right to dictate their beliefs on anyone else, the only authoritative source is from God Himself. Now does that mean we are all free to believe whatever we choose? Absolutely not, and anyone who might even think that way is certainly jumping the gun or else has no idea from where I am coming from.
We are all responsible for our own prayer lives, and as such that means we are also responsible for what should comprise a majority of that time, and that is listen and submission.
We must first Remember what we have been taught! Sounds almost so simple that it hardly rates mentioning, but the greatest measure of our progress is that which we can recall, obviously, if someone takes the time to teach us something, if we cannot recall any of it, what was the use? We can have the laws of physics presented to us, however if we don’t remember what they are, then we have really not learned anything.
The next step in the process is to Refine what we believe! In the course of our lifetimes we have countless facts and figures that pass back and forth through our minds. This is just as true of things having to do with our spirituality and our beliefs. All of the facts and the figures may not agree and we are responsible for paring them down and rejecting those that do not fit. Refining can be a brutal process from the viewpoint of what is being refined. Just as purity effects the value of gold and silver, so to is purity the determining factor in the value of our doctrine.
That leads us to the third step in our spiritual body building process, we must Reflect on the things that we profess! There is no other way to put it, but there are some things that we hold dear that are just ridiculous. There are things that we believe, that we believe, yet we don’t really know why. There is a story that tell of someone who had an aunt that made the most delicious beef roasts in the world. In an effort to duplicate the results, this person would trim about 3 inches off of one end of the roast prior to placing it in the roasting pan. One day when that same aunt was visiting, after trimming the standard three inches off, asked her aunt why she always did that. Much to her surprise, the aunt trimmed the meat not for flavor, but because her roaster was never big enough to accommodate the entire roast. We must know why we believe the things that we believe.