Despite that fact that Philippians 2:14 tells me to, ‘Do all things without complaining,’ I still occasionally find myself silently grumbling in church. Each Sunday it seems, I am able to find something not quite right with the music, the sermon, the fellowship, or some other aspect of the worship. I’m sad to say that there have even been times that the thought of pasturing my own church (to do church properly of course) has crossed my fleshly mind.
But what if others within the church I attend emulated my ‘not-always-so-great‘ example? Are the words of my mouth, my behavior, my love, my spirit, faith, and purity, consistent models worthy of imitation? Thankfully I keep most of my negative thoughts to myself (and confess them to the Lord), but what if I regularly voiced them? What would the church look like?
We all know the answer, which is why Paul admonishes Timothy to not go that direction. Paul is implying that grumbling is a part of our sinful nature and it is something that we, through Christ Jesus, have the power to overcome, and therefore counsels Timothy (and the church) how to proceed.
Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress (thy profiting, KJV) may be evident to all. 1 Timothy 4:13-15
The Apostle Paul instructs us that there is a methodology towards the pure conduct he previously addressed in verse 12. Simply put, it begins with our need to be in the Word of God. This is the primary way that the Father has chosen to speak to us. If we’re not partaking of His instruction every single day, there exists the likelihood we will react amiss when things do not go as smoothly as we desire (and thus be a bad example).
Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. Psalm 119:105
According to Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary, exhortation is the act of ‘inciting (people) to laudable (praiseworthy) deeds.’ In contrast, if the incitement causes folks to do what is not good or commendable, it is not exhortation. Exhortation (in the Christian sense) is an encouraging, compelling, and inspired work of God.
“Exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3:13
It’s critical for Christians to stick to the contextual teachings of the Bible. It’s far to easy a thing to take a verse or two out of context and errantly use them to build a case for or against a particular issue. The wisest course of action is to receive the full council God provides, remembering that He does not change or contradict Himself.
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:8
God has given each believer gifts, so it stands to reason we are to properly utilize them. Gifts are in a sense the tools that the Father Himself has put in our hands to do the work He has predestined us to do. If we are neglecting to use the things that He has provided, it typically means (that in our flesh) we’ve picked up something ungodly. Not only is that an act of futility, it’s a sinful act of disrespect to God.
If you’re uncertain as to what your gifting is, then draw upon the grace, the faith, and the Holy Spirit you’ve been given trusting that soon these other things will be revealed.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:7-11
As it pertains to reading the Word of God, exhorting other believers, adhering to proper doctrine, and utilizing the gifts God has provided, Paul wants us to think deeply and soberly, attending carefully to them all. The word meditate here also means to put into practice. The idea (according to 1 Timothy 4:15) is that others will take notice of our profiting and progression in God’s will and endeavor to emulate the behavior, not for their glory, but for His.
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified. 2 Corinthians 13:5
- What do these verses tell us about God?
- Are you a good example?
- Do you consistently practice Paul’s methodology?
These articles may or may not be related to this blog:
- Functional Centrality: How Should the Gospel Function in the Life of the Local Church. (tgcatlanticcanada.com)
- 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy (tylersheart.wordpress.com)
- What does the Bible say about the prosperity gospel? (learnthefaith.wordpress.com)
- The Evidence Of a Strong Spiritual Life Part1 (raymondjclements.wordpress.com)
- Seduction: A Primer for Persecution? (pilgrimpassing.com)
- Exhortation: Exercising Truth (apologus.wordpress.com)
- Pray For a Fearless Witness! (psalmsofpraisewomensministries.wordpress.com)
- The relationship of the Old Testament to the New Testament (pjcockrell.wordpress.com)
- LETTERS (from the Life Application Bible) (sharefaith.wordpress.com)
- 87. False Doctrines (vertrep.com)
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