A GOOD SERVANT OF JESUS CHRIST
Saturday, 7 March 2020
1 Timothy 4 : 1-16
"In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus…” -1 Timothy 4:6
The book of 1 Timothy is written to Paul’s spiritual companion, close and dear to Paul. Timothy was often sent to various churches that Paul had planted, to carry his letters to counter the false doctrines or wrong practices that would have crept in there. We see Timothy being sent to the churches in Thessalonica, Corinth, Macedonia, Ephesus etc.
In all these places, Paul’s concern was the growth of the believers and the Church as a whole and he rebuked the things that hindered that growth. In that sense it is better to consider this letter as well as 2nd Timothy and Titus as “Apostolic Epistles” rather than the traditional name of Pastoral letters. Timothy had the task to confront the issues that were plaguing the Church at Ephesus. The matters dealt in this epistle are applicable in the life of every believer and church.
In verse 6 Paul says that a servant of God has to point out these things.
What are these things to be pointed out? These are listed in verses 1 to 5, in which Paul gives a warning about the end times. Further, from verses 6 to 16, Paul lists out the qualities of a good servant of God. Let us understand both.
Apostasy during End times (1 Timothy 4:1-5)
While speaking about the end times Paul points out that the main aspect of the end time will be “apostasy”. Verse 1 says “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from faith, giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits and doctrines that demons teach.”
There was a teaching prevalent at that time at Ephesus that the material world was evil. So marriage, eating certain foods etc. were treated by these teachers as evil.
Even today there are such doctrines in Christendom. Some people (believers!) observe the Sabbath as given in the Old Testament, some still observe circumcision, some others take very long fasting (abstaining from food) as a ritual [this is not to disprove fasting; fasting is biblical and is good when taken as intended in the Bible]. But some people go to extremes of long durations of fasting without even taking water. This becomes a ritual and falls in the above category of wrong teaching.
The influence of false doctrine is still haunting the Church!! Some people want to say that ‘Jesus’ is not the right name – but it is Yeshua!!! Others want to say that priesthood in the traditional way is still valid for believers!! Some teach that the operation of gifts and baptism in the Holy Spirit has ceased since the apostolic period. Some would like to just stick to the New Testament discarding the Old. There are plenty of wrong doctrines going around.
How do we lead spiritual lives in such circumstances? Paul gives the clue in the latter verses:
Attributes of God’s Servant (1 Tim 4:6-16)
Reject profanity – 1 Tim 4:7
Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness – 1 Tim 4:7
Be an example to others – in speech, conduct, love faith, and purity – 1 Tim 4:12
Study the Word – 1 Tim 4:13
Guard spiritual gifts – 1 Tim 4:14
Pay close attention to yourself 1 Tim 4:16
Paul encourages Timothy to take pains with these things and be absorbed in them and to persevere in them. (1 Tim 4:15-16)
Lord Jesus I dedicate my life to You to be a good servant of You, rejecting every profanity that is contrary to Your Word. Amen
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