Learning to exercise godliness
March 20, 2011 Sunday School Lesson
1 Timothy 4:6-16
The Apostle Paul’s words here are sound advice for pastors, but they are also wise counsel for anyone whose interest is the church and the advancement of Christ’s gospel.
Putting people “in remembrance” of Christianity’s basic doctrines is one of the great motives for everyone in positions of teaching and preaching. Just about every Christian is familiar with these basics, but we should be reminded on a regular basis of how precious these are to us.
A church’s pastor not only needs to be conscientious in how he teaches, he also needs to study. The kind of studying the apostle is talking about is the reading and meditation that keep the mind and heart focused on Christ. The preparation that goes into a sermon or Sunday school lesson will always teach the preacher and teacher much more than the people who hear them.
We must be careful that we are not swayed by anything that would lead us away from the Lord. “Refuse” those things, or make sure they have no place in your life.
“Exercise thyself rather unto godliness,” Paul wrote. We exercise these new creations in Christ “unto godliness” every day because sincere Christianity will not let us be idle.
While physical exercise is important, its benefits will only last a little while. The exercise of “godliness is profitable unto all things” because this exercise brings eternal benefits.
Paul went on to say this is about “having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
Think about the life you have and the joy you know because Christ Jesus is the Lord of your life. The promises we have because of the Lord Jesus Christ are a source of joy now and for all eternity.
In exercising godliness, we become and example to people who need to see our witness. We ought to guard our conversations so we speak the words that strengthen people. It requires no gift, no talent nor effort to say something discouraging because those words flow from the human nature. Speak encouragingly and you are drawing words from a divine nature.
Coming to the end of this bit of Scripture, Paul again encourages Timothy to be diligent in his study, and to exhort people to life for Christ Jesus.
“Neglect not the gift that is in thee,” the apostle wrote to his friend, and that is good advice for all of us. Too many times the gift is left unwrapped and unused. That is not the way to treat a gift from God.
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church, Lumberton, N.C. firstname.lastname@example.org