Temple Baptist Church - 12-2-2012
1 Timothy 4:13-16
A. In these verses, pertaining to the operation of the local church, Paul admonishes young Timothy to keep his focus. In the midst of all that goes on both around the local church and, unfortunately, often within the local church—it is easy to lose one’s focus.
1. Sin and worldliness have now entered the local churches and sit in complete comfort on the pews.
2. Division, disgruntledness, defilement, and discouragement are almost every day occurrences. Satan is happy and God’s people are often sad.
3. Apostasy is in full swing and men that we once revered are now far removed from the moorings of the Old Paths with many saved people following them.
B. I believe that there are more than just one thing responsible for these problems.
1. Satanic infiltration as ungodly men dresses in “sheep’s clothing” and destroy God’s heritage.
2. Unsaved people, the tares among the wheat, that not only join but, in many cases, have a strangle hold on the operation and business of the local church. If they get a good man of God, they will run him off because they do not want either authority over them or conviction in their hearts.
3. Biblical ignorance which is so prevalent in the average Baptist Church. In most churches, members have little working knowledge of the Bible. I say “working knowledge” because simply learning a few verses will not ward off the horrific onslaught of Satan, false prophets, and unsaved preachers and church members. Here is the crux of the situation and Paul deals with the protective work of the Word of God.
C. The priorities of most churches have shifted. Today, less and less emphasis is being placed on what the Bible says to emphasize. Today’s emphasis, in most churches, is upon numbers, music, Christian Schools, Radio Stations, etc. These things are good things and are vital parts of the work of the church but, when they become priorities, the mission of the local church becomes secondary. Dr. Waters used to say, “Keep the main thing the main thing.”
D. In these verses, we find the keys to spiritual stability and the protection of the local church from all of the above problems that we find in our times.
1. Reading - Deuteronomy 17:19-20 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: (20) That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel. (One of the most important aspects of the pulpit is the magnification of God’s Word. The liberal crowd says that we are majoring on a minor when we stand for the King James Bible but they are so wrong. The Bible is the MAJOR! It is the foundation of our faith; it is the authority for our practice; it is our guide in these last perilous days; it is the rock upon which we stand; and our anchor in the shifting sands of human theology. It is right and anything contrary to it is wrong.)
2. Exhortation - Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Satan spends much time “resisting” God’s people in order to discourage. The way he does this is simple: by keeping our eyes on what is going on around us. When we come to God’s house, we find our comfort, fellowship, and encouragement in one another. No wonder the Bible says “so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”)
3. Doctrine - 2 Timothy 3:13-16 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (14) But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; (15) And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (Correct doctrine is the anchor of our faith because it encompasses the entirety of God’s Word. The Bible is correct doctrine! The false prophets say, “Lay aside your doctrine that divides and come together in the love of God.” We cannot love right if we do not believe right! Worship must have the aspect of truth as well as spirit.)
4. Preaching - 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (Teaching informs the intellect with facts of faith and is extremely important. Many skip Sunday School where we teach the Bible verse by verse and book by book. It shows a lack of spiritual priority because teaching is essential to our spiritual wellbeing. “Teaching them to observe all things” is a part of the Great Commission or Commandment. Preaching convicts the soul! Preaching demands a life decision! Preaching inspires and encourages the soul! Preaching is hated by the religious sinner and the carnal saint but is the lifeline of the God loving, Bible believing child of God!)
a. Meditation - Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
b. Application – James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
c. Protection - 1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.