Setting an example of godliness!
Scripture reading for October 19th: 1st Timothy 4:1-16
“The Spirit clearly says that in the later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have have been seared as with a hot iron.” (1st Timothy 4:1) Paul told Timothy that there would be many false teachers to confront in these last times before Christ’s return. These teachers would be full of demons which would bring doctrines that would cause people to depart from the true Gospel of salvation through faith. These teachers would have their consciences cauterized so that they could not feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
But a minister of Christ would know the truth and teach it. They would have nothing to do with these teaching, rather they would warn the believers to have nothing to do with them and teach the truth instead. Not only that, they were to embody the truth by living in godliness by the power of the Holy Spirit. (1st Timothy 4:8-10) Only the Gospel has the power to bring godliness into our sinful lives through faith in Jesus Christ!
Preaching the Gospel is the life-calling of pastors and teachers. “Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set and example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and teaching.” (1st Timothy 4:11-13) Paul told Timothy to move forward in his calling. For a pastor this involved setting the example for the believers with your own life. His ministry must be matched by his living. If these contradicted each other, his message would be lost!
Timothy was to devote himself to public reading of God’s word! (Romans 10:17) The central focus of all a minister’s preaching and teaching must be the word of God! Myths, jokes, and ‘old wives’ tales’ would not bring the change needed in the hearts of his flock! “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save yourself and your hearers.” (1st Timothy 4:16) As you look for a church family today, evaluate what you are receiving from the pulpit ministry. Is there an example of godliness and strong preaching and teaching of the word? Beware of wolves in pastor’s clothes!