Summary: In these statements, Paul gave to Timothy, Titus, and now to us, principles which are true and dependable, truths upon which we can build our faith and our lives in Christ.

Spiritual Fitness

A trustworthy statement

08/31/08 AM

Text: 1 Timothy 4:1-9


This morning we have the third lesson drawn from the letters of Paul that we often refer to as the “Pastoral Epistles”, those letters written to Timothy and Titus. In this lesson, as with the others, we focus on a particular thought which Paul identifies using a phrase that underscores a particular principle or specific truth apart from the rest of the text: “This is a trustworthy statement...” By using this phrase, Paul declares to the reader: "what I have just said, or am about to say is an important truth; it is a principle you can count on."

In these statements, Paul gave to Timothy, Titus, and now to us, principles which are true and dependable, truths upon which we can build our faith and our lives in Christ.

In this lesson we are going to look at the occurrence of this phrase in 1 Timothy 4 where the trustworthy statement is made that declares the value of godliness in our lives.

Read 1 Timothy 4:1-9

At this point in his letter, Paul was instructing Timothy in how to be a faithful and profitable servant of Jesus Christ. In the first five verses of First Timothy chapter 4 Paul was warning Timothy of some of the errors and doctrine that false teachers would spread around the church. Then in verse 6, Paul says to Timothy that when he points these false doctrines out to the brethren then he will be a good servant of Jesus. And that by words of faith and the sound doctrine taught from the Word of God, spiritual nourishment is found. He then tells Timothy to discipline himself for the purpose of godliness and makes the trustworthy statement concerning the current and eternal value found in godliness.

In these words to Timothy, Paul gives to us the keys to spiritual fitness which is profitable in this world and in the world to come.

I.A Healthy Spiritual Diet

A.Spiritual fitness begins with a healthy diet.

1.Do you remember from grade school what the four major food groups are this morning?

Ill: The teacher asked the class to name the four major food groups one student quickly reeled them off: "McDonald’s, Dominoes, Taco Bell, and KFC."

2.What does “diet” really mean? We associate with diet the fact that we are trying to lose weight, which is one part of the definition, but not the first listed:

di·et - noun (plural di·ets)

1 a: food and drink regularly provided or consumed

b: habitual nourishment

B.What is your spiritual diet this morning?

1.In other words, from where do you draw your spiritual nourishment?

2.Our diet plan is given to us in scripture:

1)Jeremiah 15: 16 “Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.”

2)We need to seek out and eat the word of God.

1 Peter 2:2 “like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,”

3)Babies will let you know when they are hungry. Our attitude should be like that!

4)John 4:31-34, where Jesus is speaking with the Samaritan woman at the well, we have this recorded conversation between Jesus and the disciples: “Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples were saying to one another, “No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”

3.And this is as Paul told Timothy, that he would find spiritual nourishment by knowing and teaching the words of faith and sound doctrine. (v6)

II.We Need to Exercise Our Faith

A.Spiritual fitness goes beyond our nourishment, it requires exercise.

1.Paul tells Timothy to v7b “discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness”

a.Paul often used athletic analogies to drive home the need for spiritual discipline. He introduces such an image with the words discipline yourself.

b.The verb here is gymnaze, from which comes the English “gymnasium.” It means to exercise or train oneself.

c.The expression alludes here to the gymnastic exercises among the Greeks, which were intended as a preparation for their contests at the public games.

d.The verb tense indicates not a one time effort but a continuing pursuit of discipline. But Timothy’s training was to be for godliness.

e.Exercise is the normal term for the physical training of Greek athletes. Spiritual fitness requires one to train at godliness in one’s walk with the Lord.

2.The Father wants us to exercise our faith. To get beyond knowing what is right to do (reading and studying), to actually doing what is right.

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