By Having the Right Discipline

Dr. Steve Viars March 3, 2019 1 Timothy 4:7
Outline

2 Corinthians 3:17-18 - Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 9:24 - Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

1 Corinthians 9:26 - Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air…

1 Corinthians 9:27 - …but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

Philippians 4:4 - Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

Psalm 100:1-2 - Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.

Hebrews 4:9-11 - So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.

1 Peter 5:7 - …casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

3 principles to motivate the appropriate expenditure of effort into growing in Christlikeness

I. Understand the Context of Spiritual Discipline – a World of Distraction

A. Examples in 1 Timothy

1 Timothy 1:3-4 - As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.

1 Timothy 1:6 - For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion…

1 Timothy 4:7 - But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women…

1 Timothy 5:6 - But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives.

1 Timothy 5:13 - At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention.

1 Timothy 6:3-5 - If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.

1 Timothy 6:20-21 - O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”— which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. 

B. Incredibly true in the culture in which we live

C. A helpful allegory

“Remember, he is not, like you, a pure spirit. Never having been a human (Oh that abominable advantage of the Enemy's!) you don't realise how enslaved they are to the pressure of the ordinary. I once had a patient, a sound atheist, who used to read in the British Museum. One day, as he sat reading, I saw a train of thought in his mind beginning to go the wrong way. The Enemy, of course, was at his elbow in a moment. Before I knew where I was I saw my twenty years' work beginning to totter. If I had lost my head and begun to attempt a defence by argument I should have been undone. But I was not such a fool. I struck instantly at the part of the man which I had best under my control and suggested that it was just about time he had some lunch. The Enemy presumably made the counter-suggestion (you know how one can never quite overhear what He says to them?) that this was more important than lunch. At least I think that must have been His line for when I said ‘Quite. In fact much too important to tackle it the end of a morning’, the patient brightened up considerably; and by the time I had added ‘Much better come back after lunch and go into it with a fresh mind’, he was already half way to the door. Once he was in the street the battle was won. I showed him a newsboy shouting the midday paper, and a No. 73 bus going past, and before he reached the bottom of the steps I had got into him an unalterable conviction that, whatever odd ideas might come into a man's head when he was shut up alone with his books, a healthy dose of ‘real life’ (by which he meant the bus and the newsboy) was enough to show him that all ‘that sort of thing’ just couldn't be true.” The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

II. Celebrate the Purpose of Discipline – Growing in Godliness

A. What it means

eusebeia - Godliness - a right attitude and response toward the true Creator God; a preoccupation from the heart with holy and sacred realities. It is respect for what is due to God, and is thus the highest of all virtues.

B. As a result of accepting God’s free gift of grace

1 Timothy 1:15-17 - It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Colossians 3:10 - …and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him…

C. One of the reasons we have been granted such freedom in our country

1 Timothy 2:1-2 - First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

D. Embracing the mystery of godliness

1 Timothy 3:16 - By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.   

III. Embrace the Responsibility of Discipline

A. Meaning

discipline – gumnazo

Philippians 2:12-13 - So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ...

Zechariah 4:6 - …not by might, nor by power, but by thy Spirit says the Lord...

John 15:4 - Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

B. Key areas

1. The care of your own soul and practical Christian walk

2. Your prayer life

Colossians 4:12 - Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.

3. Your understanding and application of Scripture

2 Timothy 2:15 - Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

4. What you allow into your heart and life

Proverbs 4:23 - Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.

Psalm 101:3 - I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not fasten its grip on me.

5. Your physical health

1 Timothy 4:8 - …for bodily discipline is only of little profit…

6. Your service

1 Timothy 4:14-15 - Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.

1 Peter 4:10 - As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

7. Your financial life

1 Timothy 6:6-10 - But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

- let’s begin our time this morning with a theological question, shall we?...

- nothing says Happy Sunday Morning quite like a Bible quiz right off the bat – don’t you agree?

- so here’s the question – does human effort play an important role in the process of Christian growth?...or, does man have to be active in the sanctification process?...

- now before answering (and especially, before answering too quickly)…we could have at least 2 responses first…

1. This is addressing a very important issue…because if one of the primary reasons God saved us…or redeemed us…or made it possible for people like you and me to have a personal relationship with Him – through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son – was that He could/would progressively transform us into the image of His Son…if human effort has anything to do with that process – we want to be all over that, right?...it’s like Paul told the Corinthians…

- 2 Corinthians 3:17–18 - Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

- well, if that’s possible – for sin cursed persons like you and me – and everybody else that we know and love – and everybody else within our sphere of influence – could possibly, and practically, and powerfully become more like God’s own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ…what more exciting possibility would be more deserving of our time and attention?...

2. The second possible response before even answering the initial question should be – we want to be sure we’re thinking about this in a balanced way…

- because we could quickly think of places in the Bible that describe the Christian life in terms of significant amounts of human effort?...here’s just a quick representative sampling…

  • 1 Corinthians 9:24 - Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:26 - Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;
  • 1 Corinthians 9:27 - but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
  • 1 Timothy 1:3–4 - As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.
  • 1 Timothy 1:6 - For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion,
  • 1 Timothy 4:7 - But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women…
  • 1 Timothy 5:6 - But she who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even while she lives.
  • 1 Timothy 5:13 - At the same time they also learn to be idle, as they go around from house to house; and not merely idle, but also gossips and busybodies, talking about things not proper to mention.
  • 1 Timothy 6:3–5 - If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.
  • 1 Timothy 6:20–21 - O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”— which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. 

- has anyone ever figured out a way to run without exerting human effort?...and then Paul evens adds to the metaphor 2 verses later…

- now we’re talking about running, and boxing…clear metaphors involving significant human effort…then he goes so far as to say…

- “I beat my body black and blue” the text literally suggests…

- so passages like that would seem to make this an open and shut case…absolutely, the Christian growth process involves a significant amount of human effort…

- however, our long-term, members will recall our former pastor Goode emphasizing a principle of Bible study (or hermeneutics) that has served us very well over the years…

- the unity principle…or the importance of interpreting Scripture in light of Scripture…he would take his pen out of his pocket and say – our interpretation of any verse in the Bible has to bear the weight of the rest of God’s Word…

- because if we emphasized the issue of human effort in the growth process to the neglect of many other aspects of our relationship with the Lord, we could end up with a picture of Christianity where we essentially step on this treadmill of activity the moment we place our faith and trust in Christ…

- and the Lord is standing there with a clipboard and a whistle demanding that we work harder and harder and harder…and chiding us that we didn’t eat enough spiritual vegetables the day before…and telling us to jump off and give Him 20 push-ups…

- is that the sum of Christian life?...and is that what Sundays ought to feel like?...

- because I can think of plenty of other word pictures that would round out that understanding, can’t you?...

- for example, it’s a time of rejoicing…Paul told the Philippians - Philippians 4:4 - Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

- Or we read in the Psalms…Psalm 100:1–2 – Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.

- so Sundays ought to feel like a celebration because of the joy of our salvation, and because the tomb is empty, and or Savior is alive…and we get to spend time with our brothers and sisters…

- well, I don’t know about you – but I don’t generally think about words like celebration and rejoicing in the sentence that has words like running and treadmills…

- so which one is it?...because a minute ago you were ready to jump on the “human effort plays an important role in the Christian life” bandwagon…

- but it doesn’t stop there…it’s not just a celebration or a party…it’s also a time of refreshment and rest…

- Hebrews 4:9–11 - So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.

- now this is getting interesting…

- when you come into church, or when you wake up on the average day…should it feel like you’re getting on a treadmill?...everybody line up in your workout clothes…

- should you feel like you’re walking into a party…lots of food and music and decorations…

- should we organize the auditoriums like large sleep number bed stores…

- everybody just lay down -- and adjust the firmness to your preference – and let’s all have a rest…shhhh…where’s the human effort in that?...

- or should it be a time of relaxation…1 Peter 5:7 - casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

- so maybe it’s not treadmills, or party favors, or sleep number beds…maybe it’s hot tubs…that would make for an interesting auditorium…

- when you start thinking about it – there are dozens and dozens of word pictures that are given in Scripture to help us understand Christian worship, and fellowship, and growth…

- you could make the argument that it’s like coming in for a transfusion…because Jesus is the vine and we are the branches…

- here’s the point – this morning we do want to talk about the place human effort has in the Christian growth process…but we want to attempt to do it in as balanced a way as possible…

- also please also keep in mind that on this first Sunday of the month, we generally have one message that is given to all three locations simultaneously…to help us celebrate what’s going on around town in the city where God has called us to live and serve and make a difference for Him, and intelligently pray for what’s happening at each campus, and consider serving in ways that are a logical fit for the gifts God has given us…

- so now please open your Bible to 1 Timothy 4:7…page ______ of the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you…

- Our church’s theme this year is Growing What God Has Given…and that metaphor is true in so many ways…it’s amazing to just pause and think of all that God has entrusted to us…

- so we started the year by applying that to our church and our five ministry platforms and all the ministries that occur on each of those platforms…

- and we did a quick survey of key passages in the book of Acts where we saw the Lord unapologetically pointing out numerical growth…the Lord loves souls…He loves people and drawing specific men and women to Himself through the shed blood of Jesus Christ…

- and He wanted the early church to count such persons…as a testimony to His powerfully redeeming…He grew His church and we should want to do the same…

- we should be known as a group of people who care deeply about the condition and eternal destiny of every soul in this community…because every person will spend eternity somewhere…

- several weeks ago, we did a “pedagogical pivot”…we switched the emphasis in our teaching to study the growth of our own souls…because of all the things God has given you, and given me – what’s especially important is the condition of our hearts…our souls…our immaterial beings in relationship to our heavenly Father…

- so when we think about the larger theme of “Growing What God has Given” – it shouldn’t be long before we’re thinking about our own soul care…

- and we also emphasized this – the person who ought to care the most for the care and cultivation of your soul…is you…

- a local church can provide all sorts of resources…but ultimately you have to take responsibility for your own growth…and that certainly includes knowing how to grow…

- so we’ve studied Having the right goal (being pleasing to God) and Having the right authority (joyfully submitting ourselves to Christ and His Word), and Following the right process (of putting off and renewing our minds and putting on)…and now this morning growing…By Having the Right Discipline

- let’s read our key passage…read 1 Tim 4:1-16

- so we’re talking about having the right discipline…we’re not saying the Christian life is only a treadmill – but in balance with other concepts like the ones we mentioned in the introduction – there is no question that Christian growth requires massive amounts of focused, human effort…

- so with the time we have remaining, let’s think about 3 principles to motivate the appropriate expenditure of effort into growing in Christlikeness.

I. Understand the Context of Spiritual Discipline – a World of Distraction

- Timothy was a young pastor ministering in the important city of Ephesus…

- and this book is one of the pastoral epistles – its helps us know what we should be emphasizing in the church…

- and clearly verse 7 is focused on discipline, human effort – no question about that…

- but another principle of Bible study is considering the context, the verses before and after whatever you’re examining at the time…

- and if you read through the book of 1 Timothy…you see many examples of how God’s people can be distracted…

A. Examples in 1 Timothy

[and please don’t see that as an attack on old women as much as it is a criticism of those in their secular culture who believed women should not be educated…which is why the emphasis of sound teaching for everyone in the church was so powerful and controversial]…this is instead of that kind of distraction…

- and what’s the problem with being distracted?...time and energy are wasted from accomplishing God’s purpose in and through us…so the antidote to that is spiritual discipline…

- now – when you push the pause button on that – this particular point may be more relevant to this culture than perhaps ever before in the history of Christ’s church…

B. Incredibly true in the culture in which we live

- with our handheld access to practically endless pieces of information…the potential for being distracted to things that are either harmful or unimportant are everywhere…just like in Timothy’s day…

- for anyone who wants to doubt that – let’s flash on one side of the screen how many minutes you spent last week on some electronic device – and on the other side of the screen – how much time you spent disciplining yourself for the purpose of godliness…

C. A helpful allegory – The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

- if you’ve never read the Screwtape Letters before by C.S. Lewis, I would encourage you to add that to your reading list…

- it’s both humorous, and deadly serious – which is classic C.S. Lewis as he describes a series of imagined conversations between an experienced demon named Wormwood and his apprentice demon Screwtape…

- so as you read – you have to keep in mind that when they speak about the enemy – they are talking about God…chapter one is about the importance of distracting people from truth, and argument, and reason…please listen in…

Remember, he is not, like you, a pure spirit. [Wormwood is talking about the person on earth Screwtape has been assigned to keep away from becoming a Christian]… Never having been a human (Oh that abominable advantage of the Enemy's!) [talking about Jesus becoming a man] you don't realise how enslaved they are to the pressure of the ordinary. I once had a patient, a sound atheist, who used to read in the British Museum. One day, as he sat reading, I saw a train of thought in his mind beginning to go the wrong way. [meaning he was thinking about something important and eternal]…The Enemy, of course, was at his elbow in a moment. Before I knew where I was I saw my twenty years' work beginning to totter. If I had lost my head and begun to attempt a defence by argument I should have been undone. But I was not such a fool. I struck instantly at the part of the man which I had best under my control and suggested that it was just about time he had some lunch.

The Enemy presumably made the counter-suggestion (you know how one can never quite overhear what He says to them?) that this was more important than lunch. At least I think that must have been His line for when I said "Quite. In fact much too important to tackle it the end of a morning", the patient brightened up considerably; and by the time I had added "Much better come back after lunch and go into it with a fresh mind", he was already half way to the door. Once he was in the street the battle was won. I showed him a newsboy shouting the midday paper, and a No. 73 bus going past, and before he reached the bottom of the steps I had got into him an unalterable conviction that, whatever odd ideas might come into a man's head when he was shut up alone with his books, a healthy dose of "real life" (by which he meant the bus and the newsboy) was enough to show him that all "that sort of thing" just couldn't be true.

- the power of being easily distracted…and if this was true of 1st century Ephesus, or 20th century England, how much more-so of 21st century America…

II. Celebrate the Purpose of Discipline – Growing in Godliness.

A. What it means

- the Greek word eusebeia - Godliness - a right attitude and response toward the true Creator God; a preoccupation from the heart with holy and sacred realities. It is respect for what is due to God, and is thus the highest of all virtues.

- in other words, becoming like God...

- now, this is not like some of the cults that believe you can become a god...that certainly not what we’re talking about...

- but the point here is – by not being distracted by false teaching, you can live in a way that you are becoming more and more consistent with the purpose for which you were made...

- do you remember way back in the book of Genesis---what differentiated humans from animals...we were made in the image of God...

- we were to reflect His glory...we were to live as his representatives on the earth, subduing the creation around us in submission to our great king and in so doing bringing His great glory...

- that’s one of the things that is so tragic about sin...it marred and mars the image of God in man...

- we worship the creature instead of the Creator...

- the man who won’t control his tongue and rips and tears apart everyone in his path is not acting like a man...he’s acting like an animal...he’s not reflecting the image of God, he’s not subduing the creation, he’s being subdued by it...

- the woman who won’t control her anger and constantly blows up around the house...she’s not reflecting the patience and kindness of the God in whose she’s made...

- she’s not subduing the creation...she’s being subdued by it...

- and in each case and hundreds more we could illustrate...there’s no godliness there...people don’t watch that and say...now I understand more of what God is like because I see His image in you...

B. As a result of accepting God’s free gift of grace

- earlier in this book Paul said…1 Timothy 1:15–17 - It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

- this would be a good time to pause and ask everyone listening today – has there been a definite time in your life where you made a similar confession by admitting your sin and placing your faith and trust in Christ…

- if not, we would invite you to make that decision today…

- because part of the beauty of redemption is that in Christ we are in the process of being re-made... Colossians 3:10 - and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— [this is how this goal of godliness is even possible…]

- this is also…

C. One of the reasons we have been granted such freedom in our country.

- Paul made an interesting point about this in chapter 2…

- 1 Timothy 2:1–2 - First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

- there’s no question that compared to the early recipients of this book – we have incredible freedom to work out the practical implications of what we believe…to exercise ourselves to godliness…

- the question is are we maximizing our religious liberty to lead a “quiet and tranquil life in all godliness and dignity”…

- another part of this celebration is…

D. Embracing the mystery of godliness

- please notice the end of chapter 3 which was probably one of the early doctrinal affirmations by the church…

- 1 Timothy 3:16 - By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.

- what an incredible and delightful mystery that people like you and me could grow in eusebia…

- so understand the context, and celebrate the purpose…but ultimately the call here is to…

III. Embrace the Responsibility of Discipline

A. Meaning

- discipline – gumnazo

- from which we get the English words gymnasium, or gymnastics...

- every Greek city had a gymnasium, and Ephesus would have been no exception...

- people were familiar with the concept of working...or sweating...of striving for a goal...

- Paul picks up on that concept and says...that is a significant part of the process of becoming godly...you work at it...

- sometimes we speak so much about not working for our salvation that we then adopt some sort of a passive approach to our Christian life...

- nothing is further from the truth...

- Philippians 2:12-13 - So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

- now, we’re not talking about working apart from the power of God...

- Phil 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ...

- Zechariah 4:6 – not by might, nor by power, but by thy Spirit says the Lord...

- John 15:4 – Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

- but the bottom line is...many of God’s people are not as godly as they ought to be in part because they are not working at it...

- they are working at a lot of other things...there’s no question that the average person who will hear this message this am is busy…but the question is how much of this busyness is focused on the goal of growing in godliness?...

- so let’s try to make the rest of this as practical as possible…

B. Key areas

1. The care of your own soul and practical Christian walk

- in this overall series, we’re talking about how to grow…

- so we studied having the right goal from 2 Corinthians 5:9 of pleasing the Lord…the corollary question this morning could be – have you exerted specific and focused effort since hearing that message on trying to live for the proper goal?...

- then we studied having the right authority – since that message -- have you exerted specific and focused effort at being sure you were living in submission to God and His Word…

- last Sunday we looked at the marvelous putting off and putting on principle from Ephesians 4…what’s the corollary question?...did you put effort into casting one of the ways you need to change into the put off / put on process and then actually try to walk that out practically?...

- someday we will give an account for the stewardship of the soul that was entrusted to us…that’s why verse 10 speaks about us fixing our hope on the living God…

- how are you doing at the discipline of your own soul and practical Christian walk?...

2. Your prayer life

- we saw earlier how in chapter 2 verse 1 Paul told Timothy that entreaties, and prayers, and petitions, and thanksgivings, be made for all men…

- prayer helps us avoid distractions and stay focused on what is most important to the Lord…

- please consider that along with this statement in the book of Colossians…

- Colossians 4:12 - Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.

- there’s a man who is exercising himself to godliness – he’s “always laboring earnestly” in his prayers…

- please think about what is happening around our 5 campuses…on purpose we want to be part of the tip of spear of gospel centered ministry in our town…

- here are some specific ways to pray and it might be helpful for you write some of these down…

1. Our Men’s ministry at Bethany Farms – pray as they complete the second duplex and double the size of their program – that God would give wisdom as we help men overcome addictions…

2. You could pray the same for Vision of Hope and their new Reclaimed Hope store at the NCC

3. You could pray for FW and the important place our college students are in their semester…along with the marvelous ministry with international students and scholars taking place

4. You could pray for FE and our school’s education addition, their reenrollment process, and our Serve 19 Children’s Ministry emphasis

5. You could pray for each one of our community centers, that the Lord would help us as we seek to love and minister to those who live around our campuses…

6. the Hartford Hub and the important work being done in the lower Lincoln neighborhood

7. Our missionary family around the world…

- and this is illustrative of many, many kinds of prayer requests in which we can be exercising ourselves to godliness…

- there’s no question – we’ve bitten off a lot when it comes to ministry responsibility – and that’s fine, as long as we are cultivating disciplined prayer lives…

3. Your understanding and application of Scripture

- that too is part of the antidote to the distracting arguments we saw at the beginning of the message…Paul will tell Timothy in the next epistle…

- 2 Timothy 2:15 - Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

- exercise yourself to know your Bible…

4. What you allow into your heart and life

  • Proverbs 4:23 - Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.
  • Psalm 101:3 - I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me.

5. Your physical health

- it’s true that…

- 1 Timothy 4:8 - for bodily discipline is only of little profit…

- but “a little” is better than the attention some of us give to that area of life…

6. Your service

- 1 Timothy 4:14–15 - Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.

- if that was true of a young pastor, it ought to be true for every person in the church to whom has been entrusted a spiritual gift – and that would be all of us…

- 1 Peter 4:10 - As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

7. Your financial life

- it’s amazing how much the end of this book is devoted to connecting discipline and the way we handle our finances…

- 1 Timothy 6:6–10 - But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

 

Dr. Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video