Sunday, November 11, 2012

Godly Exercise

Temple Baptist Church - 11-11-2012
1 Timothy 4:7-8


A. We live in a day when physical conditioning and healthy eating has become “the thing.” Now, before I say much else, I want to say that bodily exercise is profitable and healthy eating is also. Our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Ghost who lives within us and the body is not to be defiled. If it were not for my poor old feet, I would still be “pounding the pavement!” I loved running 24+ miles each week. Bodily exercise profits but little in the present and has no benefit at all in eternity. Once you are dead, it will no longer matter.

B. Now, let us look at our text for tonight. Once again, the context dictates that Paul is giving instruction to a young pastor concerning the inner workings of the local church. I have seen churches that had women and men’s exercise programs in their gymnasiums or life centers. As a pastor, I want our people to exercise and exercise on a regular basis but not exercise of a physical nature. We are here to promote spiritual exercise that leads to godliness, not weight loss.

c. The difficulty with exercise and weight loss is two fold: 1) exercise is hard work, otherwise everyone would partake 2) After losing weight, the hard part is keeping it off, otherwise everyone would be skinny! I believe that we can make some good spiritual applications here.

D. We normally define “exercise” in the realm of weight loss and body building but I want to look at the word in its actual definition. I do not normally do this but I want you to notice the English difference in the usage of “exercise” in verses 7-8 and make some applications using the variations of the Greek words used here. “Exercise” in verse 7 is the root work used for “exercise” in verse 8. You can easily discern the difference in the English usage also.

1. In verse 7, the root word for “exercise” literally means “to train naked.” The biblical principle is found in Hebrews 12:1

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. (You do not run a race with a suit of body armor on.)

2. In verse 8, the word changes because Paul is now referring to “bodily exercise” instead of the spiritual “exercise” of godliness. His change to the usage is to give us a temporal definition that we can understand. The Greek word for “exercise” in verse 8 is where we get our English word gymnasium. A Gym is a place “set aside” for the exercise of the body.

3. From this same Greek word for “exercise,” we get “asceticism” which means to exercise or to train. Asceticism describes a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from various worldly pleasures, often with the aim of pursuing religious and spiritual goals. We often use this word in reference to Catholic Monasteries in relationship to monks or nuns. These monks and nuns are sequestered from all forms of worldliness in order to draw closer to the Lord spiritually.

1. A Right Spiritual Diet – or the source of godly nourishment. A good diet is made up of both quality and quantity. In order to spiritually prosper diet wise, you need to be into and around God’s Word on a regular basis.

a. Hear God’s Word – Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. (Hear God’s Word by personal reading for understanding and listening to its preaching. God’s people are destroyed through ignorance or a lack of understanding God’s Word. Make the Bible your friend and spend much time in it; make the pulpit your friend and spend much time under it.)

b. Heed God’s Word –James 1:22-24 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (23) For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: (24) For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. (Heed God’s Word by making personal application and obeying its precepts.)

c. Hide God’s Word – Psalms 119:9-11 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Memorize it and meditation upon it. God’s Word will help keep us from sinfulness.)

2. A Right Spiritual Exercise – exercise must be both regular and regimented. Spiritual exercise must be in the realm of godliness.

a. Spiritual Exercise Must Be Regular – spiritual exercise must be done on a regular schedule. We should love and live for God each day of our lives by abstaining from the appearance of evil while attaining to godliness in speech and deportment.

b. Spiritual Exercise Must Be Rigorous – spiritual exercise must be whole hearted! Today’s “Christian” is apathetically half in and half out. They speak the language when around God’s people and speak the language of the world when around the world. We are the only Bible that most people will ever read so our message to the world needs to be clear: light and salt which shine in order to guide their way and add savor to draw them to Christ.

c. Spiritual Exercise Must Be Regimented – spiritual exercise must be strictly adhered to. Our lives as God’s children should be regimented also. Do right things and do them strictly. Read your Bible, pray, witness, commune with God, and be faithful to your church and service to the Lord. This should become a way of life to each of us.

Conclusion: 1 Timothy 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

1. Godliness is profitable now. You will not be destroyed by sin and will not regret living for Christ.

2. Godliness is profitable then. Eternal rewards await there for those who spend their lives for Christ here.

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