“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.” (1 Timothy 4:6)
No minister of God wants to be remembered as a bad preacher who didn’t stick to the truth. He wants to be known as a man of the Book who stands with his loins girt about with truth (Ephesians 6:14), speaking forth those things which become sound doctrine (Titus 2:1).
In so doing, Paul says of young Timothy, and of all those who would follow in his footsteps, that they would be a good minister of Jesus Christ. The good ministers of Jesus Christ must teach and preach on “these things” of which Paul speaks in this chapter of 1st Timothy.
“These things“ can be summed up with three simple words:
First is Deception. In Chapter 4 verses 1-3, Paul mentions the deception that would run rampant in the last days, stating, “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). Paul goes on to expound on the deception which would be, such as: hypocrisy, seared consciences, forbidding marriage, and the abstinence of meats “which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving.” Paul certainly doesn’t privately interpret any prophecy (2 Peter 1:20) of latter day deception; considering passages such as John’s warning:
“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” (1 John 2:18)
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” (1 John 2:19)
Also consider Peter’s admonition in 1 Peter 2:1-3, and our Lord’s exhortation in Matthew 24:24. The prophecies of latter day deception are numerous; and are certainly a subject which we, as good ministers of Jesus Christ, must remind the brethren of.
Secondly, Paul mentions Discipline. In 1 Timothy 4:8, Paul says:
“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.”
Paul likens a life of Godliness unto bodily exercise. From personal experience, I can tell you that bodily exercise takes time and discipline. There will be days that you don’t feel like it, but you must press past your flesh’s desire to lie down. You’ll want to do something else other than work toward the goal you have set; but you must hold fast to your work-out plan. A disciplined life of Godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6); and it takes time, discipline, and endurance. We must fight the good fight of faith and lay hold onto eternal life, whereunto we are called (1 Timothy 6:12). Knowing that without holiness, no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
Lastly, Paul ministers on Dedication. In verses 12-16, he charges Timothy, his son in the faith, to command and teach these things. That is, being “an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (verse 12). Paul continues with, “give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (verse 13); not neglecting the gift that was in him (verse 14). And finally, he says, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (verse 16).
That is the purpose of this devotion: that the brethren might hear the heart of a young Timothy, and continue in the faith.
We must faithfully and consistently remind one another of our devotion to the people of God in ministry. Accountability to one another as ministers, and as ministers to the Body of Christ, is an invaluable source of wisdom; which will stir up the gift of God in us, and keep the fire of the Lord ablaze in our spirits.
May God bless you as you endeavor to “…press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)