Tag: set the example

Watch your life and doctrine!

Scripture reading for September 28th:  1st Timothy 4

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  1st Timothy 4:12-16  “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an 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 to teaching.  Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.  Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them so that everyone may see your progress.  Watch your life and doctrine closely.  Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”  

Disciples who over-come pay attention to the word of God and sound doctrine.  They don’t just teach and preach it, but live it out as an example for other believers and the world of the blessings of knowing God living in us.  We are all learning to do this each day and the climb is upward!  Progress will be evident as we persevere.  Good ministers read the Scriptures publicly because God’s word has power to transform and convict.  They preach the Gospel because it has the power for salvation to all who will believe.  They teach by word and example, wanting, along with their Lord Jesus, all to be saved!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers pay close attention to doctrine (sound teaching) and daily application in their own living.  “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?  Who may stand in His holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.  He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his savior.”  (Psalm 24:3-5)

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Train yourself to be godly!

Scripture reading for September 29th:  1st Timothy 4

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”  (1st Timothy 4:1)   Spiritual warfare will intensify as the time of Christ’s return approaches.  Satan will use people in the church who Paul calls “hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” (1st Timothy 4:2) A hypocrite is someone who puts on a show for others approval.  True believers must be transformed by the Spirit through applying God’s word.

“If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.  Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather train yourself to be godly.  For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”  (1st Timothy 4:6-8)

Paul encouraged Timothy to warn his flock of the coming deception and then to teach and live out the truths of the faith and sound teaching.  Sound doctrine is an antidote against deception.  As athletes have a discipline of physical training to prepare them for competition, so Timothy must train himself to be godly by following the spiritual disciplines of reading the word of God and prayer.  Physical training is temporal in its value, but godliness pays dividends in this life and will be rewarded by Christ at the final judgement.

“. . . But set an 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 to teaching.”  (1st Timothy 4:11-13)  Good pastors and Christians model godliness!

 

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Powerful examples!

Scripture reading for November 24th:  1st Corinthians 7-10

I chose my life theme from going through Army officer’s leadership school.  A key leadership principle that stuck with me was “Set the Example!”  I was taught that one of the most powerful influences that a leader could have on others is their example.  Jesus Christ modeled for us and his disciples by living a life centered on doing God’s will and serving others.   The Bible records many examples that are not so good as well.  Someone has said, “if you are not good for anything else, you can always be a bad example!”

In 1st Corinthians 10, Paul used some bad examples as warning for believers.  Paul exhorted the Corinthians to remember the Israelites of the Old Testament.  They had some great spiritual experiences with the Lord leading them by the cloud and fire and taking them through the Red Sea.  They got to eat “manna” from heaven and drink water from the “Rock” for forty years while they wandered in the desert.  They had God’s appointed leader, Moses, praying for them.  However, God was not pleased with them!  (1st Corinthians 10:1-5)

In spite of being supernaturally delivered by God from Egypt, many of them brought their idols with them!  They were taught by God to be true to their wives, but many were sexually immoral as they worshiped these idols.  Many grumbled against God and died from the bite of poisonous snakes and by the destroying angel of death.  Their hearts were not right with God in spite of all the supernatural power that they witnessed.  They thought they were right with God because of His blessings.

We should learn from their example. (1st Corinthians 10:8-10)  America is a land of idols!  Sports stars, entertainment figures, soap operas, movie stars, popular music stars and the like all serve as idols.  We are sexually immoral and glorify sexual freedom that mocks God and His word because we are idolatrous!

Grumbling against God because of unbelief was also a characteristic of the Israelites.  That grumbling kept them out of the land of promise and a whole generation died in the desert.  These examples should drive us to Christ Jesus.  He is our escape from sin, death and temptation.  He is always faithful and delivers those who depend on Him!

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Learning by example

Scripture reading for November 23rd: 1st Corinthians 7-10

I chose my life theme at Army officer’s leadership school.  A key leadership principle that stuck with me was “Set the Example!”  I was taught that one of the most powerful influences that a leader can have on others is their example.  Jesus was a great model of this principle!  The opposite can also true.  It has been said: “If you are good for nothing else, you can always be a bad example!”

There were several things that Paul exhorted the Corinthians to learn from the example of the Israelites in the Old Testament.  These people  had great spiritual experiences with the Lord leading them.    They got to eat “manna” from heaven and drink water from the “Rock” for forty years while they wandered in the desert.  They had God’s appointed leader, Moses, praying for them.  However, God was not pleased with them!  (1st Corinthians 10:1-5)

In spite of the good example of God’s leadership and Moses’ prayers, many of them were sexually immoral as they worshiped idols  from Egypt.  Others grumbled against God or tested Him and died before reaching the promised land.  Their actions indicated a lack of faith.  They became examples for us of what not to do!

“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.  Do not be idolaters, as some of them were. . ” (1st Corinthians 10:6-7a)  America is a land of idols!  Sports stars, movie stars, rock stars and government leaders all serve as idols for those without a true relationship with Christ.  Our nation glorifies sexual freedom  and immorality that mocks God and His word!  We call stories filled with idolatry and immorality “entertainment” and many in the church support this by regularly partaking.

“We should not test the Lord, as some of them did, and were killed by snakes.” (1st Corinthians 10:9) We challenge God by questioning His leadership and right to direct us.  God’s goodness should never be questioned by His people.

“And do not grumble, as some of them did–and were killed by the destroying angel.” (1st Corinthians 10:10)  Grumbling is a sin indicating unbelief in the heart.   Grumbling is common today in our culture.  It can be a besetting sin with church people.   Grumbling kept the Isrealites out of the land of promised land and can do the same for us!  Let’s wisely learn from these examples!

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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!

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