Sermon: Training for Godliness: Being Shaped by Truth 1 Timothy 4:6-10

 Training for Godliness: Being Shaped by Truth

1 Timothy 4:6-10

Primary Truth Taught- The Christian is to be being trained by the Word of God unto godliness.

Introduction

In school, some are gifted with intellectual abilities to read or hear something once and get it. Then there are those who really have to study. One reason school comes easy for some and more difficult for others is that in most cases you study in order to pass a test. If you can remember a fact or a date or a name long enough to fill in the blank on the test, you’ll do well. Short-term memory, I contend, is not really learning because as soon as the test is over most information is lost.

I had a professor in Bible College who was the absolute best teacher I ever had. After doing the assigned reading and sitting in class listening to the lectures I actually knew the information and not just for the test but I knew it…even today I still know it. He had a way of getting past short-term memory to actually teaching for knowledge and even wisdom.

One day on the golf course I asked him about his method of teaching. I remember he said I make connections. What he meant was that he took the information whether it was Scripture or a biblical principle and connected it to real life situations. Once the information was processed and then really and truly applied and the students could see how it impacts living and their worldview it went from being something to memorize to a part of who you are.

In all my classes I did pretty well but had to work very hard. In his class I went on test days with confidence because the information was with me and has stayed with me.

The Apostle Paul is about to show Timothy how important it is to not just understand biblical truth but to make connections to be shaped by biblical truth and then to live biblical truth. You see just reading your Bible is NOT enough, the information must be assimilated we must begin to live by what we read in the Bible. Don’t get me wrong it’s a good thing to do but lost people can read.   It takes more than just that. Jesus tells us that if we Today, I pray we see together what the next two steps are if we are to be Good Servants of Jesus Christ…

Lets look together to our text for today. May God give us ears to hear and hearts to perceive His Word and then apply it to life. This is God’s Word!

1 Timothy 4:6–10 (ESV)

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

  1. Good Servants are Shaped by the Truth

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

  1. Good Servants are Trained by Truth

being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed… train yourself for godliness;

The truth we take in from the Word of God must begin to shape us or conform us to be like Jesus.

Like my college professor who concentrated on connecting truth to everyday life we too must be about connecting truth to our lives. Every time we read God’s Word or hear a biblical exposition, we must very quickly seek out God and discover based on the truth read or heard how must I change?

Romans 8:28–30 (ESV)

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

The purpose of election and predestination is not to get us to heaven it is to make us like Jesus, producing a people suitable for Himself.

Paul commands Timothy to train yourself into godliness. He goes on to explain why godliness is so important. It is good for this life and for the life to come.

Within the letter, we’ve been reminded over and over how wicked and demonic and I want to add fruitless false teaching is. Right off the bat, Paul, in chapter one, explained that it was not any man-made doctrine but rather the truth of God that transformed his life. He went from the worst sinner to the greatest missionary because God’s truth transforms us. There is no manmade doctrine that can do that.

1 Timothy 1:12–17 (ESV)

12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

I want us together to see that we are called for training in godliness. This comes from God’s truth found only in the Bible. So, how important is it to read God’s Word? You will never grow in godliness without reading God’s Word. Reading the Bible is pumping iron spiritually. Being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine. The intake of good doctrine is the means by which we are trained into godliness.

We must be careful to avoid false teachers, which we learned last week were demonically fueled. Here Paul gives us something else to avoid…Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths.

We avoid false teaching and myths. What does he mean here by myths?

These are a little different than the false teaching we learned about earlier in the letter. Here, what Paul is writing about are things that are mixed in with true doctrine. There are things manmade that are often believed as if they are a part of the truth. Myths can be anything unbiblical mixed in with biblical teaching.

Today, we might see parts of new age, cults, and secular humanism, various other religions mixed in with true Christian theology. We might see certain aspects of psychology mixed in and promoted to be biblical.

There are also things that many people believe and may even think are biblical but they are not found in the Bible at all…

  1. God helps those who help themselves.

This statement is actually anti-Gospel. Self-reliance and self-righteousness, or the attitude of trying harder and doing better actually gets in the way of the work of God. Jesus saves those who die to themselves: “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me (Matthew 16:24).”

  1. God wants me to be happy.

It’s a common belief that God exists to be our “personal genie” waiting to give us our every wish. It’s amazing how we will justify our sinful actions by saying, “God just wants me to be happy.” Happiness is tied to feelings and emotions that are often based on circumstances, and those change all the time. God wants us to be obedient to Him, trust Him, and know that everything He does is for our good, even if it doesn’t make me feel “happy” in that moment. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).”

  1. We’re all God’s children

Although, God has created everyone. . .not everyone relationally belongs to Him. Only those who have repented of sin, placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and possess the Holy Spirit of God inside of them can claim Him as their Father: “But you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God (Romans 8:15b – 16).”

However, those who don’t have Jesus as their Savior, nor have the Holy Spirit of God inside of them actually belong to Satan: “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:1 – 2).” “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother (1 John 3:10).”

  1. Cleanliness is next to Godliness

The people around you may appreciate you staying clean, but this is not Scripture. Parents may us this unbiblical statement to motivate their kids to clean their rooms. However, I’d suggest using an actual biblical statement: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you (Exodus 20:12).”

  1. God won’t give you more than you can handle

Actually, all of life is more than we can handle. The point of living in a fallen world is not for us to try really hard to carry our heavy burden, but rather give-up, quit, and surrender to God, that’s what faith is all about. Every thing is more than I can handle, but not more than Jesus can handle: “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself (2 Corinthians 1:8).” “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).”

  1. We all worship the same God

Yes, there is only one true and living God: “know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other (Deuteronomy 4:39).”However, He only accepts worship that comes through Jesus Christ, not Muhammad, Buddha, Joseph Smith, etc: “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).”

  1. Bad things happen to good people

Often we place ourselves in the judgment seat of what is good and bad, or who is good and bad. The most popular way to make that judgment is by comparison. For example, Bob is a good guy, because he is not as bad as Sam. However, according to the Bible we’re all on equal ground because none of us is inherently good: “as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one (Romans 3:10)’.”

  1. When you die, God gains another angel

Plain and simple. Humans are humans, and angels are angels. This remains so even in eternity. In fact, angels are intrigued by the interaction between God and His “image-bearing” humans: “It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look (1 Peter 1:12).”

  1. We’re all going to the same place when we die

There are two possible destinations when we pass: Heaven and Hell. However, only those who are in Christ will be with Him for all eternity when they physically die: “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).”[1]

By these short statements, we can easily see how quickly unbiblical myths can creep in if we’re not careful and if we don’t know the Bible very well. At the end of the day, there is no life in these false concepts and myths. They are meaningless trivial nothings. This is over and against truth, which the Apostle explains takes a lot of work. Paul is so convinced that it is God’s Word which leads us into godliness and then in turn to everlasting life that he is willing to train hard everyday to this end.

  1. Truth Training for Godliness is Hard Work

10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

There are really two aspects of the toiling and striving the Apostle writes about. First, his point is a personal toiling in order to grow in personal godliness, which leads to spiritual growth and even salvation. Next, the toiling and striving is for others. Specifically, he and Timothy were to be working hard in evangelism and preaching and teaching so that Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word would also capture others.

One commentator writes,

The end or purpose for which Paul and Timothy are toiling and striving is, of course, this, that men from all over the world, be they Jews or Gentiles, shall hear the blessed Gospel of salvation, and better still, shall accept it and obtain everlasting life.[2]

Because the truth is of eternal value Paul and Timothy are laborers in the truth. Because it is biblical truth alone that leads one to the living God (Creator) it is imperative that we toil and strive as well. Myths, Tales, and false teaching lead only to destruction it is truth that leads to life.

The last part of verse ten is a little confusing. What Paul is getting at is the God has presented Himself in His reality as Savior. He is Savior and everyone will either in this life or on judgment day acknowledge that fact. God is only saves those who believe. It is this fact that causes the Apostle to work so hard at evangelism and preaching. He knows that there are lost people who need to hear the Gospel message while there is still time for them to repent.

Application
So how do we train ourselves to be godly, as Paul suggests? One way is by devoting ourselves to the Word of God. Paul wrote: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV) The Bible has the power to equip us with everything we need to live God-pleasing lives. If we will prayerfully read it each day, allowing the Holy Spirit to use it to teach and correct us, we will be able to live the life of victory that Jesus died for us to have. If we fail to train ourselves in this way, we will live in doubt, confusion, and mediocrity. Scripture says: “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:14 NIV) With good and evil being so relative in today’s society, how can we discern right from wrong without using the Word of God as our standard? In many cases, we can’t, and that’s why our spiritual progress and maturity depend greatly upon our knowing and believing God’s Word.
Another way we can train ourselves to be godly is through self-discipline. Paul compared the Christian life to a race, and he told us: “Run your race to win. To win the contest you must deny yourselves many things that would keep you from doing your best.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25 TLB) He then adds: “Like an athlete I punish my body, treating it roughly, training it to do what it should, not what it wants to.” (1 Corinthians 9:27 TLB) In order to fulfill our God-given purpose and potential, we must deny ourselves things that would hinder us or weigh us down. If we don’t rule and reign over our fleshly passions, appetites, and desires, they will rule and reign over us–and they will keep us from experiencing the good plans that God has for our lives. The Bible says that God has given us a Spirit of discipline and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7 AMP) So by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome everything we need to, if we will just yield to His leadership on a constant basis.[3]

 

Declaration of Grace

[1] http://www.alreadyam.com/9-unbiblical-statements-that-bible-loving-christians-believe/

[2] 1 Timothy by William Hendricksen

[3] http://www.jesusfreakhideout.com/devotionals/trainyourselftobeGodly.asp

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