Summary: Every one called to minister the word of God must first of all take heed unto himself. It is when your life is according to the will of God that your ministry can be approved of God.
TAKE HEED UNTO THYSELF AND UNTO THE DOCTRINE
'Take heed unto thyself and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.' 1 Tim. 4:16.
In remarking upon these words We shall consider four things:
I. THE RESPECTS IN WHICH A MINISTER SHOULD TAKE HEED TO HIMSELF.
II. THE RESPECTS IN WHICH HE SHOULD TAKE HEED TO THE DOCTRINE HE PREACHES.
III. WHAT IS INTENDED BY CONTINUING IN THEM.
IV. WHAT WE ARE TO UNDERSTAND BY HE SHALL SAVE BOTH HIMSELF AND THEM THAT HEAR.
I. Some respects in which a minister should take heed to himself.
1. He should not take heed to his own self-interest, as the great end of pursuit.
- If a minister gives himself up to look after his own interest instead of the interest of God, he will be worse than useless as a minister.
2. He should not take such heed to his reputation.
- With such a state of mind as this, the minister is a perfect slave to public sentiment rather than the freeman of Jesus Christ.
3. Ministers should take heed to the motives by which they are actuated in entering upon the great work of the ministry.
- Be careful, brethren, that you make no mistake on this point. See that your eye is single to the glory of God
4. Take heed that you are called of God in this work.
- But let your mind be well satisfied that it is the will of God, that you should be separated to the work of the gospel ministry.
5. Take heed to yourselves that you are studious men.
- Do not suppose that you can run about without study or reflection during the week. A good minister must be a student.
6. Take heed that you do not encumber yourselves with unnecessary cares.
Take upon your hands no business or labor that shall interfere with your high calling.
7. Take heed that you do not encumber yourselves with an unsuitable companion for a wife.
- See that you do not unite yourself with a worldly woman, one who is fond of dress, or property, or worldly society. If you do, she will greatly injure your influence, if not entirely ruin it.
8. Take heed that you have a thorough experience of the power of the gospel in your own souls.
- Do not preach Christ by hearsay. Your preaching will take very much of the character of your Christian experience.
9. Take heed that you realize your dependence upon Christ.
- Remember that He has expressly told you, that except you abide in Him, you can do nothing, but that if you abide in Him you shall bring forth much fruit. Do not depend upon your education, upon your eloquence, or the strength of your intellect.
10. Take heed to yourselves that you do not neglect much secret prayer.
- Unless you are in the habit of coming to your people from the mount of communion, you will do them little or no good.
- Pray much or you will cease to pray at all. Pray honestly. Pray earnestly. Pray perseveringly. Pray in faith. Pray effectually. Pray in the Spirit. Pray without ceasing, or you will cease to pray at all.
11. Take diligent heed that you grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.
- Remember, that in every stage of your ministry you are in danger of doing this. If you grieve away the Holy Spirit, you are a withered branch, a cast away minister.
12. Take heed that you rule your own spirit.
- 'He that ruleth his own spirit is greater than he that taketh a city.' If a minister cannot govern his temper he is likely to do very little good in the world.
13. Take heed to yourselves that you govern your tongue.
- Few things in the world do so much mischief as an unbridled tongue in the mouth of a minister.
14. Take heed to yourselves that you preach out of the pulpit as well as in it.
- that your whole demeanor out of the pulpit shows that you mean what you say when you are in the pulpit. If this be not so, though you may be called a grand preacher, you will, nevertheless, be a bad minister.
15. Take heed that you be in all things an example to the flock.
- Do not content yourselves with preaching well, but do well whatever you do. Always be punctual to the hour and moment of your appointments. Never be late at meeting. Never be behind hand with any of your engagements.
16. Take heed to yourselves that you seek not magical power.
Be not among those who are endeavoring to concentrate magical power, Such ministers are a curse to the Church.