1st Timothy 3:14-16


“These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:  but if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:  God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”


1st Timothy 4:1-13


“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.  For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:  for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.  If 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.  But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.  For 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.  This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.  For 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.  These things command and teach.  Let 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.  Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.”


We last week cruised through the instruction that Paul gave to Timothy in regards to elders [teaching-pastors], deacons, deaconesses.  If you desire to serve in the Church, an overseer, be part of the ministry that takes place, you desire a good thing, a good work.  Paul says, ‘Let’s start here, character, integrity, that’s center-stage, your relationship with your family, your relationship with those around you, your relationship to purity, to ambition, self-control, being above reproach, not given to filthy lucre, alcohol, your mouth,’ huge issue in the Church, your mouth.  And as he goes through those responsibilities, the way God measures it, and again, just interesting for me to go through those and remind myself of those things.  As we come to verse 13, again the King James says, “For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus” but probably better translated ‘Those who have,’ instead of “used the office of a deacon well” ‘Those who have served well,’ speaking of elders, speaking of deacons, deaconesses, those who have put their hands to the plow, those who have served well find that there is a reward to their labour.  Whatever office they have stepped into, it says, ‘those who have desired the office of an overseer, a deacon,’ it doesn’t say those who have decided they’re going to do it, you don’t decide.  Hebrews chapter 5, verse 4 speaking of the priesthood in the Old Testament, said ‘no man took this honor to himself, but this is someone who is appointed of God,’ like Aaron.  You remember Numbers chapter 16 where Korah decided that they would interfere with the office of the priests.  And the Lord said he spake to Korah and all the company saying, ‘even tomorrow the Lord will show who are his and who is holy, and will cause him to come near unto him, even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near to him.’  So, we looked at the idea of the fact that ordination is something that’s spiritual, recognized in the Church, we want to confirm that.  But it isn’t produced by human energy, it is something God grants to the Church, it is a grace: apostle, prophet, evangelist, teaching-pastor, and it is a gifting, not something that’s worked up intellectually.  Certainly that can be an addendum, we should give ourselves to study for the rest of our lives [John Wesley said every pastor should be constantly studying, not just the Word of God, but science, history, book learning, so his sermons would never be dull, but full of proper knowledge and interesting to the hearers], but it is the calling of God, the calling of God is there.  God asks for a response from us in regards to our character, our integrity, apt to teach, is all he says.  He can anoint that, he can make that real.  And then he says ‘those who have served well, who have walked the way that they should walk, not to bring a reproach on Christ, those who have served well, they have purchased to themselves,’ the idea is, ‘gotten themselves a good reputation, great boldness of the faith which is in Christ,’  “These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:  but if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (verses 14-15)  So, a great reward, you served well.  It’s interesting to take note here.  Reward is not based upon results the way a human being would make observation.  Rewards in Scripture are based on faithfulness.  If you were called to be a grandparent, with a grandchild that needs your spiritual tutelage, you know if I’m not proactive here, this kid is not going to get what they need.  And if you are faithful to that ministry, you may be more faithful to that ministry God has given you than I am to the ministry he’s given me or to the ministry Billy Graham has, and in the final analysis, we will be rewarded according to faithfulness, not according to the scope of human observation in someone’s ministry.  There may be someone with a large ministry that really in the final analysis, when they stand before God, that ministry could have been so much more if they would have been faithful.  And there may be someone who was just faithful quietly behind the scenes, never did anything to be seen of men, knew every day when they laid their head down on the pillow, ‘Lord, we did it today, you’re pleased with me, I’ve served you, that’s such a privilege, I don’t care what people think Lord, I’ve given my life to serve you, to serve your Bride,’ and that person being faithful, great reward.  So it doesn’t matter, deacon, deaconess, elder, it says “if they’ve served well, served well, and faithful, and whatever it is that God puts in front of us, we do it with all of our might, that God recognizes that, takes note of that. 


The Church, Wherever Believers Gather, Should Be The Pillar And Ground Of Truth


These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:  but if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (verses 14-15)  He says, ‘I want to come to you, Timothy,’ Timothy’s there at Ephesus, ‘but if I tarry,’ if he has trouble coming, ‘I’ve written these things so you should know how to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the ecclesia, the called out ones, not the building but the people, the pillar and ground of the truth.’ (verse 15)  So it is the pillar, and certainly in Ephesus with the temple of Diana and all those pillars, the pillar was something that held up the roof, temple.  The ground is the bulwark, the stay, the foundational part of it [what supports the pillars], that the Church is and should be, in this world, both the pillar and the ground of the truth, it should be the thing that’s upholding the truth, and it should be the foundation of the truth in a community, in a city.  It doesn’t say a particular denomination, but this is what a church, a group of believers should be.  And by the way, I don’t believe that we can be that if we are forsaking the truth.  So much of denominational America has forsaken the inspiration of Scripture, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, the atonement, the resurrection, the ascension, the return of Christ, basic tenants of what we believe have been pushed aside in the name of political correctness or inclusiveness or one thing or another.  But the Church, wherever believers are gathered, should be the pillar and ground of truth.  And now he says, probably a hymn in the early Church by the meter of the way this is written, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:  God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (verse 16)  The basic things of what we believe, of what the pillar of the Church is to be, upholding, and what the foundation of the Church is to be built on are the basic tenants of the faith.  God incarnate, Christ, God come in the flesh, born of a virgin, the Jewish Messiah, of the tribe of Judah, of the lineage of David, Yeshua.  Fulfilling the ministry that was prophecied of him when he comes, preaching the Good News, setting the captives free and so forth.  Crucified, risen, ascended, glorified, returning, the pillar and ground of truth built on these things.  Now, no chapter break no doubt when Paul wrote this, it didn’t say Chapter Four…


“In The Latter Times Some Shall Depart From The Faith”---A Warning To Hold Onto The Trunk Of The Doctrinal Tree


“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;” (verse 1) in contrast to the things he just said.  ‘Now, or take note, the Spirit himself’ it’s emphatic is the idea, ‘speaketh’ is in the tense that means ‘continually speaks expressly, clearly, precisely that in the latter times,’ and it doesn’t say “last days”, we’ll get that in 2nd Timothy chapter 4, here it’s the “latter times”, it’s an era, that Paul evidently from where he’s standing is still looking forward to it, no doubt sensing the beginnings of it.  But he’s saying ‘that the Spirit is continually speaking,’ whether that was through prophetic utterance, whether that was through confirming what Paul had already written to the Thessalonians, speaking about the last days, ah, whether that was through the other apostles, Paul says ‘The Spirit is continually speaking, saying this over and over again, it’s the Spirit himself.’  Christ had certain things to say about the last days when he walked among us, now he says there is this continual impression from the Holy Spirit, placed on the hearts of those that are leaders in the Church, something that is to be communicated to the Body of Christ, ‘that the Spirit is speaking clearly, expressly, explicitly, that in the latter times some will depart from the faith.  Now be encouraged my son Timothy, you’re going to work, and after you’re done working, some are going to ignore everything you said, and just walk away from it.’  Some will depart from the faith, it doesn’t mean they will be deceived away, it means they will deliberately, willfully abandon the truth.  “the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times” certainly that’s begun, “some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils:”  Now the idea is, behind a false teacher is a spiritual influence, that there are principalities and powers.  1st John says ‘that we should test the spirits, to try them, that not every ministry and emphasis in ministry is borne of God,’ and spirits are to be tested and tried.  Very important, I think, as we look at some of the things that are around us these days in regards to holy laughter, in regards to some of the abusive Health & Wealth doctrines, in regards to just some of the strange things that come up in the Church.  Well, the pillar and ground of truth, the embodiment of truth is in regards to Christ---his incarnation, his death, his atoning work, his resurrection, his ascension, his glorification, his return (cf. all taught by Paul in the entire chapter of 1st Corinthians 15).  There are central issues to be kept at the center of everything.  There will be those who depart from those things, from the central issues.  And whatever appendage that they’ve created, heresy, they’ll make that the major emphasis, that will be the central thing, instead of the truths about Christ, enemies of truth, no doubt.  Ah, “speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” (verse 2)  Now, speaking lies in hypocrisy, the mask, hypocrites, “speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared” the idea is ‘so many times they’ve stepped across the line, so many times they’ve put something forward that they know is not true, or whatever motivates them, whether it’s greed or the want of power or attention, that their conscience gets seared, it becomes insensitive, no ability to come under conviction.  There will be those who do these things.’  Now it was no doubt the beginning of Gnosticism, because it’s going to talk about forbidding to marry, forbidding certain foods, and he’s going to say ‘God created all these things, the person who stays celibate is not more spiritual than the person who gets married.’  The person who eats vegetables is not more spiritual than the person that eats meat, or hot dogs.  And he’s going to say ‘Those things are an affront to the blood of Christ,’ because systems begin wherein someone says ‘Hey, we’re kind of class-A Christians, because we live up here on this rocky monastery somewhere, and people down there who get married and breed, you know, those are like class-B Christians, and we’re kind of class-A Christians because we eat some kind of bread, or we do these fasts, or we’re more spiritual than those guys down there in line at Burger King.’  And Paul’s going to say that kind of stuff is an affront to the truth that we have to communicate to the lost world.  It’s an affront to the message of grace and truth that God has given to the Church to uphold and preserve through the centuries.  There will be those who come, who willingly turn into some system, they turn into some thing, and their own conscience becoming insensitive, ignoring it so many times it no longer feels, they become desensitized.  But they’re willingly doing that.  And the motivation behind it is a spiritual motivation, because Satan would love to move people away from the simple truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  And it’s of course always when the Church comes back to the simple truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the simple truth of teaching his Word, that the Church is revived and sees life again.  It’s when the Church is so inebriated with its own particular denominational bent, or with its own tradition, it’s when the truths of Christ that the Spirit would empower become drown out because the wineskin dries and it’s no longer flexible that we don’t see a movement of the Spirit.  It’s when God draws the hearts of his people back to the simple truth of the Gospel and the power of his Word and of his Holy Spirit that we see a move again.  [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/misc/WhatIsTheGospel%20.htm and http://www.unityinchrist.com/wwcofg/NewWineSkinVsOld.htm]  Those moves [of the Holy Spirit] are based on conviction.  Holy laughter is an antithesis to the moving of the Holy Spirit.  Anywhere in Church history, beginning in the Book of Acts, where it says “their hearts were pricked,” they were under conviction, “what must we do to be saved?”  And through Church history whenever there’s a genuine move there’s tears, and there’s repentance, and there’s brokenness, and there’s life-changing power.  There’s not rolling on the floor, howling, barking, carrying on, acting like you’re insane.  And somebody comes in and sees that, and says ‘Oh, my cousin Joe is one of them,’  I ain’t one of them!  I’m one of these, I’m not one of them.  Thinking that we’re more spiritual because we don’t eat meat, forbidding to marry, part of the whole process here.  “Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” (verse 3)  Now, Leviticus forbid certain things, the dietary law, pork, and you study some of those things and you understand, you read the book “None Of These Diseases”, you understand why God forbid certain things, that’s for the sake of health.  Shellfish, think of all the people that are dying of toxic shock from shellfish these days, I think it’s any month without R in it is not a good month to eat shellfish.  Don’t eat shellfish according to my rule, because I don’t want to get a lawsuit going here, but that was for health reasons.  But it wasn’t to make anybody more spiritual, that was under the law.  Peter sees the sheet come down out of heaven three times, and the Lord says ‘kill and eat.’ [and that was not God trying to tell Peter he could eat unclean food now, if you read those chapters in context with each other, you will see God was trying to tell Peter not to call any Gentile unclean now, which was a bad habit the Jews followed, of calling Gentiles unclean.  In the very next chapter God has Peter going to Cornelius’ house, where he is the first Gentile, along with his whole family, to get baptized into the early Church.  The Sabbath-keeping Churches of God believe that the Mosaic food laws of Leviticus 11 are still in full force, as Pastor Joe clearly alludes to here, and that they were written as health laws.  Dr. Paul Dudley White lived next door to me while I was growing up, the famous cardiac specialist and surgeon, and he was always quoting Leviticus 7:23, “Thou shalt eat no manner of fat…” as a veiled way of saying  ‘Don’t eat pork,’ which is invisibly laced with fat inside all its muscle fibers.  Recently shellfish have been found to have a neurotoxin that can damage kidneys, even at very low levels (see http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/02/07/safe-levels-neurotoxin-found-in-seafood-may-cause-kidney-damage/ ).  There’s been cancer twice in my family, and with each person the doctor gave a “do not eat” list, which included many items found in Leviticus 11, pork, shellfish, etc.  Apparently these laws were not intended to be just ceremonial, but they appear to be health laws given to Israel by the Creator of all life-forms.  There could be something to these laws, which have been disregarded by most of Mainstream Christianity, simply because they are part of God’s Torah Law and the Old Testament.  It’s your health, the choice is yours J]  And pointing him to a bigger picture than just that, to the Gentile world [ie the real lesson for Peter, not to treat any Gentile as “unclean”].  There will be those who say you’re more spiritual if you do this, you’re more spiritual if you are a vegetarian, you’re more spiritual if you, you know.  Remember that girl a number of years ago, who was up in that Redwood tree in California?  She was up there for like 150 days, never came down, she was protesting deforesting or something, protesting cutting down trees.  But she was a vegetarian.  Now isn’t that contradictory?  [laughter]  You’re protecting trees and eating plants, that doesn’t make sense to me, that’s contradictory, she should be protecting trees and eating cows I think.  Or one or the other, make up your mind.  “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:” (verse 4)  So, hey, you know, there are certain things I don’t eat.  But that’s just a preference, it isn’t because I think I’m more spiritual if I don’t eat them.  We were out at lunch today and I had calamari, squid.  Now I never thought I would like that, I like that.  But don’t try snails on me, I’m just not going to go there.  That’s not because I’m more spiritual if I don’t eat snails, that’s because I think if you eat snails you’re a sicko, that’s all [laughter].  No offense, you think I’m a sicko because I eat squid, I understand.  You know, it’s the same thing with liver, I mean, just Frank likes liver once in a while, I just think you’re eating an internal organ, even if I tried, I always get a piece with one of these big veins in it.  And I can’t eat that thankfully.  [Comment:  Some who believe the health laws of Leviticus 11 are still in force, as they obviously are, they can’t eat those things thankfully, or with thanksgiving, believing God hasn’t blessed those things for human consumption.  So that is how some of us interpret verses 4-5].  You know, if I can say grace, thanks for this, I would try to get that down, but I just, knowing what the liver does for the frame, I just can’t, that’s not for me.  But it says this, whatever we eat “For it sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” (verse 5) [And some of us believe, because of Leviticus 11, some things are not “sanctified by the Word of God.”  That explains that.  And modern science is backing that up now.]  By the word of God he is telling us God has created things for us to partake of, God created marriage to be partaken of, you’re not more spiritual because you don’t get married, and have intimacy with your wife, and you’re not less spiritual because you eat certain things, because you eat meat.  No, things are sanctified by the Word, God tells us that they’re meant to be received with thanksgiving, “and prayer”, that’s our word “intercession.”  It’s one of only two times it’s used in all of the New Testament, so even those things, you know, you say grace and you eat them.  I mean, because if you get too far out there, you can’t win.  Ah, you can’t drink milk because there’s strontium-90 in it, and you’ve got to drink milk because you need the vitamin-D.  Ah, you can’t eat meat because it has this in it, and then you’ve gotta eat meat because you need the protein in your diet, and you got to take vitamin-E because you don’t get that in this anymore, and then you’ve got to take vitamin-E with the Selenium in it, but don’t’ take that unless you take it in liquid form, and always take that with Beta-caratine, but don’t take that at the same time you take vitamin-E, and you need your bio-flavinoids because we don’t get those anymore, and now we’ve discovered in raspberries and blackberries and blueberries…and if you ate broccoli for the rest of your life you probably wouldn’t get cancer, and, ah, we have all these things about poly-sacerides and mono-sacerides, and you need your beta-gutens-1-6, 1-3, and probably lacto-feron would be good to add in there…[laughter]  Or say grace, just make up your mind.  [loud laughter, applause].  It’s very complicated these days, you know, just a hundred years ago we didn’t know any of this stuff, and we’d just say grace and live to be a hundred.  But now, when we get ulcers and grey hair, we’re keeping track of our nutrients.  “If 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.” (verse 6)  Not the things I just said, but the things we were talking about before that.  “thou shalt be a good minister” the idea there is, the same word is used for deacon, but it’s not in the class that he was serving in, but in the sense he was serving in.  “a good servant of Jesus nourished up in the words of faith and good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.”  ‘So, Timothy, put the folks that you’re going to be ministering to in remembrance’  and ‘it means to constantly be putting them in remembrance of these things.’   What things?  That’s how central the incarnation is, how central the death of Christ is, how important that we believe in the inspiration of the Word of God, how important we understand the wonder of his resurrection, and his ascension, his return, how important public worship is, and the order of it, and regard for one another, and how damaging gossip and slander is, and how important to live our lives above reproach for the cause of Christ, to measure all of those things against eternity.  Because if we really get a glimpse of that and understanding of that, then there is no thing here, no extreme too great for us to go to for the cause of Christ, because we believe that in the ages to come the reward of our service is going to be incomparable to any difficulty and struggle we might have here in the process of serving Christ.  ‘And just putting the brethren in remembrance of those central things, if you do that, Timothy, you’ll be a good servant of Christ, yourself nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine,’   Now it’s important, if you’re serving Christ, to make sure that in your own life, you’re taking time in the Scripture, Timothy himself was nourished in words of faith and good doctrine and teaching, important to remain in that yourself.  Because you can easily find in ministry that the greatest enemy to your communion with Christ is your service for Christ.  You can be so busy serving him, but you forget to spend time with him, be so busy reading commentaries and listening to tapes you forget to read the Bible.  And he says ‘Timothy, you’ve kept yourself in the middle of all this, all of this is real to you, whereunto thou hast attained.’  The idea is, ‘Timothy, you’ve lived there, all of that has been real in your life.’ 


Don’t Get Sidetracked With Nonsense


“But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.” (verse 7)  Now, this is not an indictment against old wives, I’ve got one [laughter].  She’s got an old husband, I mean, come on, just you know.  He’s going to tell Timothy ‘Don’t let anybody despise your youth,’  and Timothy’s somewhere around 35.  That may seem old to you, that’s a youngster to me these days.  It’s just an idiom that spoke of senseless tales, “profane” in the Latin “profanum” has the idea of “outside the temple”, it was outside the doorstep of the temple, that’s “profanum.”  Profane means that it’s not sacred.  They give themselves to these things that are not sacred, it’s not the kind of things we’ve been talking about, and they’re senseless stuff.  And that stuff flourishes in the Church [Body of Christ as well as his local congregation].  For example, The Hitchhiker: ‘My cousin’s friend, I don’t know what his name was, my second cousin’s third cousin’s friend, I don’t know what his friend’s name was, but I heard, he was driving, and there was this guy hitchhiking, and he opened the door and he got in the back, and he looked in the mirror and he was sitting there, this voice told him Jesus was coming soon, and all of a sudden his voice stopped, he looked in the rearview mirror and he was gone!  And he turned around and the hitchhiker had disappeared, this hitchhiker is showing up everywhere.’  You haven’t heard that story?  [laughter]  Come on.  It’s a Christian version of the one where you’re out parking in the car, and there’s this scratching sound, and you drive away, and you find the hook hanging onto the handle of your car door, that’s when we were kids, we used to hear that one.  I think parents made that up.  Or the one where they were drilling, has to be Siberia because nobody would ever go there to check to see if the story is true, and they were drilling, and the drill-bit fell through the earth, and instead of worrying about their broken drill-bit, they put a microphone down in the hole, just to see if anybody was down there, and they heard all of these screams, they had drilled through to hell.  You remember this story, it was going through church?  That stuff spreads like wildfire, it was going through the church a couple years ago, they let that microphone down and heard all of these people screaming down there.  [laughter]  This stuff flourishes in church.  We constantly get people giving us flyers about this happening and the Aluminati, companies that have Satanists running them, we just get this stuff that somehow flourishes.  But he says, ‘Timothy, stay in the center of things, don’t give heed to that stuff, the stuff that’s profanum, outside the realms of what’s sacred, don’t give yourself to that.’  There are some people that love the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not of the Christianity realm.  That’s where they love to be.  But rather, he says “exercise” it’s “continually be exercising thyself rather unto godliness.”  And again, now the exhortation for Timothy to exercise himself to have a level of God-likeness in his life.  Remember, as you read through the New Testament, that the word “godliness” is not found anywhere until you get to 1st Timothy, then it’s used 8 times in 1st Timothy, several times in 2nd Timothy and Titus.  8-times in this little book to this young man, Paul is saying to Timothy ‘godliness is so important in your life.  Don’t get sidetracked with nonsense, exercise yourself with godliness.’  “exercise thyself rather unto godliness.” 


Exercise Profits Us For A Little While, But Godliness Is Not Just For Now, But Forever


“For 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.” (verse 8)  Now, what do you mean, ‘here we go?’  [laughter]  I believe what it’s saying is, if some want to go back to the esthetic lifestyle, I don’t think Paul would be contradicting himself.  It’s “Bodily exercise” and he uses the word “gymnasium” there in the Greek, where gymnasium… ‘it profits for a little while’  Paul was being raised in Tarsus, and so much of his writing speaks about the Games, about running the race, about being thrown off course, about competing, about wrestling according to the rules.  No doubt he stood and watched.  If Paul was around today, it’s just my conviction, I’m probably wrong, that he would have watched the NFL this fall, just for sermon illustrations, just you know.  But he was no doubt a great competitor, because they all offered sacrifices to idols, Paul of course raised in the tribe of Benjamin, and circumcised on the 8th day, you hear his credentials, from a religious family, never was able to participate, but probably was always the kid that stood on the sidelines in some respects and watched, and appreciated some of the great commitment that had to be made to be in the shape that was necessary to be in to compete in some of those games.  And he says ‘bodily exercise, I want you to exercise yourself towards godliness, Timothy, there is an exercise as it were, this should be your goal.  Bodily exercise, yes, it profits for a little while,’ people can give themselves to that, and see benefit, they reap the, they’re labouring to be in shape, nothing wrong with that.  I think that we should take care of ourselves.  I’m not into trying to break the world’s cholesterol record or anything, I think this [our bodies] is our temple, we should take care of it, we have a stewardship over it.  And certainly some of us, God has given us athletic abilities, some of us God has given great endurance.  You know, I think if we have gifts and natural abilities,  we are to be stewards over those things.  But ‘bodily exercise, it profits temporarily’ is what he’s saying.  As long as we’re here in this world.  You know, I don’t want to eat myself into the hospital, I don’t want to destroy my health, foolishly.  I would like to remain mobile, and able to share Christ, teach the Word, until it’s time to go.  But to give yourself to that totally, to sports, exercise, you know people that are addicted to that, that’s their idolatry.  You know, it says it profits temporarily.  “but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”  ‘You know, Timothy, if you give yourself to that, people you know that are in great shape physically, but lousy shape spiritually, great shape physically, but they can’t keep their mouth shut, they can control every other muscle in their body but this one.  They’re in great shape physically, but they’re in lousy shape morally.’  He said, ‘Timothy, rather exercise yourself to godliness, because it has a promise both in regards to this life, a godly life is a life that’s blessed of God, and a godly life is a life that is beneficial to those that are around you, it should be infections if it’s real.  And it has benefit in regards to the life to come.’  You know, God wants us to live holy lives, God is holy.  God is grieved by the morality of this nation.  God is grieved by so much that goes on, that you and I can be desensitized to and accept as normal, and it isn’t normal, and it isn’t godly.  But rather exercise ourselves towards godliness, it has a benefit in this life, and the life to come.  When it comes that time to lay down our head, if Jesus tarries, and take our last breathe, I don’t want to lay there lingering the last couple days thinking ‘I should have done that, I should have been more serious about this, and I wish I had have done that.’  I think, ‘What will it be like to give yourself to the Word of God every day of your life, what will that look like when you’re 80, to spend some time, every day, on your knees before the Lord, what does that look like when you’re 70 years old?  What has it produced in your life, in your character?  What has it produced in the lives of those around you?’  Exercise yourself to godliness, that’s a great exhortation to all of us, that has a promise to things in this life, and in that which is to come.  “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.” (verse 9)  i.e, ‘it is worthy of unquestioned acceptance, what he had just said, exercise thyself to godliness.  Stay away from profane tales and nonsense, exercise yourself to godliness, this is a faithful saying, it is worthy of all unquestioned acceptance.’ 


We Suffer Reproach Because We Trust In The Living God


“For 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.” (verse 10)  ‘both labour, to the point of exhaustion,’ Paul says.  ‘We suffer, that’s agonize, we agonize, we suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.’  “Therefore” because it’s more beneficial to agonize to labour towards godliness, therefore he says “we both labour and suffer reproach” we put up with…If you’re going to labour towards godliness, chances are, that some of your relatives are going to think you’ve gone off the deep end.  [Most, no, all my kids think that, as well as my mother and sister, and cousins think that about me.]  ‘Now I don’t drink anymore.  I don’t do this anymore.’  Chances are you’re going to take heat for that, chances are if you are in school, and you don’t want to enter in to the nonsense that surrounds you, you’re going to take heat for it, for the cause of Christ, and on your job.  Paul says ‘Looking to eternity, Timothy, keeping those things in view, therefore, we labour, we suffer reproach because of this, because we trust,’ literally, ‘we continually hope,’ King James says “we trust” and it’s ‘we hope on, we continually hope on the living God, our hope is founded upon the living God, and we continually put our hope there, on the living God, he’s alive, he’s eternal.  Our hope is placed on the living God,’ he says, “who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.”  Now it’s not saying that he’s saved everybody, and he’s especially saved the ones that are really saved.  His proprietary work was sufficient for anyone to come.  He says in his Word, ‘Whosoever will may come,’ it doesn’t say that they all will.  He says ‘whosoever will may come, Saviour of all men.’  His sacrifice is sufficient, for anyone, for all.  There may even be an allusion here to a idiom used of Caesar in the day that Caesar was the saviour of all men, you can find that in some of the Roman history.  Paul is saying, ‘No, Jesus Christ, he’s the one who is the Saviour of all men.  And I’m specifically talking about those who have believed’ Paul says. “These things command and teach.”  (verse 11) the things that he has been pointing us to up till now.      


‘Don’t Let Any Man Despise Your Youth’---God Has Something For You Where You Are


And he says, Timothy, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation [conduct], in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.  Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortations, to doctrine.” (verses 12-13)  ‘Timothy, don’t let anyone despise your youth,’ again he’s probably mid-30s to 40.  It’s over 14 years before this that Paul went on his second missionary journey, takes Timothy with him from Lystra.  If he was 20 years old then, he’s at least 34, this is several years down the road, he’s between 30 and 40, no doubt.  Certain things were not accepted in that culture until you were 40.  He’s saying ‘Timothy, don’t let any man despise your youth.’  Timothy, again, is not placed in Ephesus as the pastor, he’s placed there as an official representation of the apostles, particularly of Paul, to set things in order.  An elder in that day, part of what an elder was, why an elder was considered an elder was they were elder, and they were considered elder at that age.  ‘Timothy, don’t let any man despise your youth, but be an example of the believer.  Live your life in such a way that they have nothing to say about your youth.  Demonstrate the maturity I’m talking about, at your young age, make it happen.’  Spurgeon was 16-years-old when he preached his first sermon.  Spurgeon was 5-years-old, given up by his parents to live at his grandparent’s house, his grandfather was a preacher.  At 2-years-old he was going through his grandfather’s library, he couldn’t read yet, looking at anything with pictures.  By 5 Spurgeon taught himself to read, at 5 Spurgeon walked into a pub, he heard his grandfather talking about a man in the church who had backslidden, and was back hanging out in the pubs again, drinking.  Spurgeon at 5-years-old walked down the street, walked into the bar, walked up to the man standing at the bar and said, “You should be ashamed of yourself, not only are you a lousy witness as a Christian, you’re breaking your pastor’s heart.”  And he turned around and walked away.  And the man fell apart, weeping, was back in church the next week.  [laughter]  That’s 5-years-old.  Now, you know, I’m not saying every 5-year-old is going to do that, I’m saying that God can do great things in our youth.  We have, and maybe on Sunday morning I’ll get a chance to share it, in 2001, September 7th, several days before September 11th, the terrorist act in New York, in Calvary Chapel Finger Lakes, in their school, they asked the kids in 1st grade to bring in a picture for their teacher, Friday, the end of the week, September 7th.  And little kids at that age, will draw pictures of Jesus, the cross, and rainbows, you know…well this one little kid, Friday, brings in, and I have a copy in my office, black & white picture of two towers, all done in black & white, people falling out the windows, a plane coming in from the side, a cross down the front with a circle in it just like the picture in Time Magazine.  With tears in his eyes, he said “I had nightmares last night, this is all I could draw.”  Now of course, five days before that happened his teacher thought he was out of his mind, and thought, ‘Well, this is a troubled kid, must be something going on in the home, it’s bad for the kid to be drawing…’ and he slipped it in the stack of papers.  Well the next Tuesday, watching that scene on television, he went back to that stack and he pulled out that picture.  That picture has gone all over the country.  This is a 1st grade kid, sensitive to the things of the Spirit.  You’re in 5th grade, you’re in 10th grade, you’re in 12th grade, don’t let any man despise your youth.  God has something for you, at your age, where you are.  And believe me, there are Christians that are more mature at 20 than other Christians are at 60.  In Israel, their Air Force, when the planes take off the ground to go to battle, the commanding officer is no longer in charge.  The pilot with the most experience is then in charge of the Squadron, the man with the most air-hours, who is the most experienced pilot, when those planes leave the ground he is then in charge of the Squadron, not the commanding officer.  Because people with more air-hours have more experience, they’re more seasoned.  The point is, you can be 20-years-old, I know 20-year-olds that have spent more time in God’s Word than some 60-year-olds that have been saved for decades, and have never taken God’s Word seriously.  Don’t let any man despise your youth.  You know, I got saved when I was 22, didn’t get serious about the Word of God until I was 26, 27.  I can’t imagine what it must be like to get a start at 10-years-old.  I have a little kid that comes up to me every Sunday now, he’s gonna be a pastor.  He’s this tall.  And he’s serious.  He carries his guitar and it drags on the ground.  And he’s made up his mind, he’s gonna be a pastor.  We’ve given him a whole set of Matthew tapes to listen to, he’s asking me for tapes, I said ‘Well what book?’  He said, ‘Ah, maybe Acts, maybe an Epistle, no Matthew, I need to listen to a Gospel, give me Matthew.’  So we’ve given him the whole Gospel of Matthew.  What is he going to be like when he’s 15?  Don’t let any man despise your youth.  Be an example.  Now it says ‘be an example of the believers,’ your translation may say “to the believer”, which one is it?  Because if you’re an example “of the believer” that can be to the Church or to the unsaved world, be an example of what a believer is.  If it’s “be an example to the believer” it is specifically talking about the ministry in the Church.  Well I think both of them are required by Scripture.  We are to be an example “of the believer” to the unsaved world, so there’s not a reproach that comes upon the Church.  You know, that’s why you don’t give yourself to profane things, and to doctrines of demons, you know, the unsaved world, when they come in and see all those shenanigans and they see that stuff that goes on, they walk back out again.  We’re to be an example “of the believer,” but we’re to be, and I think the context here is to Timothy to be an example “to the believer.”  Don’t let anybody despise your youth, because if your walk is as mature as your talk, if your godliness is something that is recognized by those around you, you don’t have to worry about any man despising your youth. 


Be An Example To The Believers:  In Speech, Conduct, God’s Love, Attitude, Faithfulness And Purity


“be thou an example of the believers” first “in word,” in speech.  Let me read these.  “be thou an example of the believers, in word [speech], conversation [is your conduct, old King James word]” so with your mouth, with your conduct, “in charity” agape-love, “your spirit” your attitude.  Your spirit and your faith are the things that give birth to your mouth and your conduct, and “in faith, in purity.”  Look, you go through that check-list.  What if every Christian on earth fulfilled those requirements the way you do, what would the Church look like?  If every believer in Calvary Chapel, in this fellowship, fulfilled that check-list the way you fulfill it in your life, what would the church be like?  Be an example of what a believer is in word, speech.  If everyone in the Church was either as pure and respectful in their speech, or as crass, and carnal with their speech as you are, what would the Church be like?  If you listen to this conversation at the end of the service tonight, and everybody was using your language, if there was course jesting, sexual things, foul language, what would that be like?  First of all, be an example in speech, logos, I think he’s talking about what comes out of your mouth, be an example.  Let your speech be seasoned with salt, let it be gracious, minister in grace to those who hear, edifying, not tearing down, building up.  Lots of exhortation.  Then it says ‘in conduct’ King James “conversation”, in your conduct, be an example to the believer in conduct.  I try hard, do you?  I try hard.  I get angry once in awhile.  1987 I got angry once.  Try to be an example in the way you conduct yourself, people watch you.  You know that?  If you tell your unsaved family and friends you’re a Christian, they watch you intently, just waiting for you to trip up.  So they can say ‘Oh that’s what a Christian does, huh.’  They never say anything about the good stuff you do, it’s that one mess-up.  And then you think, ‘aah, messed up on my testimony, might was well slug ‘em,’ [laughter] take full advantage and then move on from here.’  Look, in your speech, in your conduct.  “in charity,” in love, love believes all things, hopes all things.  How do you handle it when somebody said something mean to you or about you?  I really have to take inventory when somebody rips into me, I get it all the time by the way, God’s just keeping me in shape, but just rips into my character, or the way I manage the church, or my intentions, you know, you get that all the time in ministry.  If you’re not in sexual sin, you’re not touching the money, you’re not crossing the line, this is the way Satan comes at us all the time, through the tongue.  How do we respond in love to that?  What’s our attitude, to turn the other cheek?  [I just thought of a saying my father always used to say, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  Sometimes the best response to something hateful is just to say nothing, and move on.  My father was a very quiet man, must have been holding a lot in J]  How do we represent Christ properly in some of those difficult circumstances?  Well I don’t do it perfectly, but I have conviction about it.  “in spirit,” he says next.  That’s not the Holy Spirit, it’s talking about your spirit.  Do you have a gentle spirit, sweet spirit?  What are you like?  What’s your attitude like?  That feeds your mouth, and feeds your conduct, it feeds your love.  There are some people you just like to be around, it’s just their spirit, you just like to be around them.  Then there’s other people, [laughter] just cantankerous, just venomous, mean-spirited, cranky…like that.  Some dogs, panting away, tail wagging a mile a minute, you know, they want to sit on your lap, they want you to pet them, and other dogs, you know, they don’t know you better than the other dog that just wanted to be your buddy, and they’re “Growl!!!”, you know, just mean-spirited, just cranky, snippy.  I don’t like little dogs like that anyway.  They shouldn’t be on the list of things we’re forbidden to eat [loud laughter].  “in faith,” look, your attitude, your attitude speaks louder than your words.  ‘Hey would you help me with this?’  ‘YEAH’ [GRUMBLE]  ‘excited about that, huh?’  You know, it’s like my wife, ‘Honey, you want to go to the mall?’  ‘Ahah…’  Let me tell you something, in marriage, they say in marriage that over 50 percent of your communication is your actions, about 38 percent is attitude, only 6 percent is content.  ‘Where are you going?’  That was not “Where are you going?”  That was “WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING!?”  Your attitude, you know, it wasn’t “Where are you going?” that was content.  “I’M GOING FOR A WALK!” and slam the door.  Well your content was “I’m going for a walk.”  Your attitude was “X@#$%!” and your action was SLAM!  ‘DROP DEAD WHILE I’M GONE, WILL YA’  [loud laughter]  If you listen here, you’re going to learn something, it’s very important [laughter].  Actions speak louder than words.  When there’s harmony between content and attitude, ‘Honey, would you run down to the store and get me some bread, milk?’  ‘Sure, I was headed out anyway, no biggy.’  That’s one thing.  “Honey will you run down to the store…’ ‘HUff, ok’  am I supposed to say no,’ and your actions are like GRRR!  And you know what it’s like to argue with somebody.  Sometimes it isn’t what they say to you, in content, their attitude speaks so loud, that you can’t even hear what they said, because it was drowned out by their eh, eh, eh, eh, eeeh.  So look, attitude, spirit, it colors everything else. What is our attitude?  “in faith,” belief, probably “faithfulness” or the context speaks, part of character, trustworthiness, is a person you can trust.  And “in purity.”  Here’s Timothy, single, between 30 and 40, in Ephesus, one of the most immoral towns in all of Asia.  And it probably isn’t just speaking about moral purity, probably again, character seems to be what is being put in front of us in this last line here.  But ‘let no man despise your youth, but be an example to the believer, with your mouth, “word,” [King James word] “conversation,” with your conduct, in love, in spirit, your attitude, in faithfulness, integrity, trustworthiness, in purity.’ 


Let Scripture Be The Center Of What You Give Your Attention To


And “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” (verse 13)  And there’s a definite article [“the”] in front of each one of these words, “the reading,” “the exhortation,” and “the doctrine.”  ‘Until I come, Timothy, give attendance, continually give your attention to these things, the reading of Scripture, then the exhortation of Scripture, and then the doctrinal truth that’s being communicated in Scripture.  Let Scripture be the center of what you give your attention to there until I come, because when I come I will pick up the responsibility of reading, of teaching, of exhorting, but until I come, Timothy, give yourselves to these things.’  Reading the Scripture, that’s why we do what we do, we stay in the Scripture.  When we come back next week, we’re in the next chapter, and the next verse, takes about ten years to get all the way through the Bible, then we start over again [see http://www.unityinchrist.com/pom/philofmin.htm].  Now when my kids were smaller and I was finished up with Revelation and they said, ‘Are you going to be done now Dad?’  Find a new job, finished the book.  No, we just start over.  And to me that’s a joy.  By the time I get to Revelation I can’t wait to get to Genesis, and look at Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob and Joseph.  And by the time you work through the Old Testament, I can’t wait to get back to the Gospels and to work through them.  So what a joy.  Give attention to reading, to exhortation, and hey look, we’re to apply this, we’re going through here, don’t let anybody despise your youth.  Well then, look, measure yourself.  They won’t despise your youth if what comes out of your mouth is right, if your conduct is right, if you’re Christlike in your love, sacrificial, if you’re sweet-spirited, your attitude is right, and you’re trustworthy, and faithful, and there’s purity attached to your life, if you’re the genuine article, if you are the same thing you preach, if you talk the talk and walk the walk.  See, that’s the exhortation.  And doctrine, the central truths of the faith are contained in these things as we move on.  Next week Paul tells Timothy ‘don’t neglect the gift, the gifts that God has given to you,’ and we’ll talk about that, certainly an exhortation for us.  God has wired us all distinctly, given us all gifts, we are all able ministers of the New Testament.  When the Bible talks about spiritual gifts, and I’m not talking about charismania, God’s spiritual gifting and enabling is there for all of us, to serve the proper way, to give ourselves for the cause of Christ.  Ah, we can neglect that, because other things can press into our lives and take a priority.  Don’t neglect the spiritual things that God has sown into your life, part of the, certainly, the exhortation.  Ah, let’s have the musician come…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on 1st Timothy 3:14-16 and 4:1-13 given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]


related links:


Teaching through the Scriptures, an excellent method of preaching.  See,



New Wineskins verses Old Wineskins, see,