“Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:11-16
HIGH PRIORITY ISSUES IN THE LIFE OF A DISCIPLE
1. Be an example by displaying an observed character that reflects the reality of Christ. (v.12)
• Speech (conversation in general)
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:6
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
• Conduct (an observed manner of life and behavior)
“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Hebrews 13:17
“You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings…” 2 Timothy 3:10-11a
• Love (serve others with gladness)
“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.” 2 Corinthians 4:5
“Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.” Titus 2:2
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” Hebrews 10:24
• Faithfulness (a life lived out of trust and confidence in Christ)
“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” Luke 16:10
• Purity (striving for a worthy, blameless life)
When our hearts are clouded with impurities (unconfessed and unforsaken sin) we cannot experience God’s presence or power, or hear him clearly. (Isaiah 59:1-2, Proverbs 28:13-14). Purity is freedom from that which contaminates.
“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.” 1 John 3:8b-9
2. Devote yourself (v.13) to/occupy yourself with/give your time and effort to:
• the public reading of Scripture,
• exhortation/encouragement/urging, and
• teaching of sound doctrine (1 Timothy 1:10, 4:1).
3. Use your energy, time, and talents for the glory of God (v.14).
“...Whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11-12
1. Do you understand that the stakes are very high? Why? (Ezekiel 33:8)
2. Think of one or two people who impacted you as they lived out the principles of observed conduct found in 1 Timothy 4:12. Who are they?
3. What is the difference between exhorting or urging (relational) and teaching (doctrine)?
4. How do we fulfill the encouragement of Hebrews 10:24 among ourselves?
5. Why does unconfessed and unforsaken sin limit our ability to experience the empowering presence of the Father or to hear the voice of our Shepherd?
6. What is the message of 1 John 3:8b-9?