Friday, March 11, 2011

Leadership Priorities (Prepare for Leadership), 1 Timothy 4:6-16; The Adult Sunday School Lesson for 3-20-11

ATTENTION:  Please note that this is The Adult Sunday School Lesson, Leadership Priorities aka Prepare for Leadership, on 1 Timothy 4:6-16 for the 3-20-11 International Sunday School Lesson.  You will find the 3-13-11 lesson, Leadership Qualities aka Qualifications of Worship Leaders, directly beneath this message and on the right side.


Leadership Priorities
Prepare for Leadership
1 Timothy 4:6-16
International Sunday School Lesson
March 20, 2011

Jed Greenough

     Have you ever had a mentor?  You might not have called them that, but every word they said every move that they made, every bit of advice or instruction they shared, you considered important out of respect for them.  Timothy had a mentor who he regarded highly in Paul and the feeling for the protégé was mutual.  We might consider making Paul our mentor in a manner of speaking and see if what he had to tell Timothy might not be worthy of our consideration.
     “Instructions to Timothy”, that is the heading in my Bible for the fourth chapter of Timothy and though we aren’t looking at the first five verses officially you know we must considering the very first verse in today’s Sunday School Lesson refers back to them because Paul wants Timothy to be sure and point out to people what he said.  In them Paul tells Timothy that the Holy Spirit has very clearly said, evidently to Paul, that people who were a part of the church would depart from them in later days following false doctrine.  Really this is one of the major themes found in all of 1 Timothy, that along with Paul’s efforts to encourage and remind Timothy to proper roles and proper doctrine.
     Although I am confident from the beginning there was false doctrine at work, Paul did not know just when the real latter days would be.  They thought that the return of Christ was imminent and many times Paul had to give instructions to people that they still needed to live their lives that they had to work for a living even though they felt His return could happen at any time.  So would today, 2000 years later, in hindsight, not be naturally closer to fulfilling this then when Timothy was given this warning by Paul?  I think so, as would pure statistics, but was it less important for Timothy to be aware of and to keep his guard up?  I think not.
     Paul told Timothy that he would be a good minister by pointing out how people can go astray, he was reminding Timothy to be grounded; sticking with the good teaching, the truths of the faith, training or conditioning himself in what is good doctrine which in turn would lead to godliness.
     Have you ever thought about the latest greatest teachings that come down the pike in view of this passage?  How many times do we see ourselves tempted to depart from the good old ways of the scriptures, of Christ and Him crucified to follow man’s teaching.  Teaching that at some point, according to the Spirit can come from demons and not from God.  Have you ever heard someone refer to some new teaching as a non-threatening way to present the gospel?  Non-threatening to who, Satan?  What is so threatening about good news?
     Paul is instructing Timothy not just to teach these things of sound doctrine but to COMMAND them.  (When were you last hearing or delivering commands from the pulpit?) And because Paul knew both Timothy and his church well he sought to bolster Timothy from either the excuse or to the reality that some would question his authority.  He did it by adding in the most concise and well written manner that reminds me of some type of artillery fire that has found its range and keeps firing and delivering it’s load on target, using precise words such as set an example in life, in love, faith and purity, devote, preach, teach, don’t neglect, be diligent, watch and preserve.
     Notice that the things Paul instructed Timothy concerning were all public in nature.  By example Timothy was to show godliness by how he lived, how he read scripture, preached and taught in public and to do these things in a sound manner because it was unto his and his listener’s salvation.
     Thinking about that reminds me about a book I just read in which spontaneous “open air” preaching is encouraged.  Are we private Christians, do we read our scriptures and do our teaching and preaching almost exclusively within the private confines of the church?  Maybe we have forgotten that Jesus didn’t come to call the righteous but sinners and how many sinners will hear us if we keep the good news to ourselves?

For Discussion:

1.     Discuss how to train ourselves to be godly.
2.     We talk so much about proper doctrine; don’t assume that everyone is on the same page as to their understanding of proper doctrine.
3.     One of the reasons to consider the latter days Paul is referring to are yet to be or soon to be fulfilled is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, where else?
4.     If you as I think that these instructions apply to all of us and not just those in a position such as Timothy had, discuss this.
5.     I brought up the public nature of Paul’s advice, what evangelistic efforts is your church involved in?  Get involved in them or if there are none, do something about that.
6.     Timothy, according to Paul, was brought up in the truths of the faith and in good teaching.  What is your church teaching?
7.     “Watch your life and doctrine closely.  Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
8.      Thanks for stopping by, I pray this ministry makes some difference in your life.  Drop me a line if you are so inclined:

3-27-11:   Compassionate Service (Worship Inspires Service) 1 Timothy 5:1-8, 17-22
4-03-11:   Remember Jesus Christ 2 Timothy 2:8-19
4-10-11:   Praise Builds Us Up (Remember the Warnings) Jude 17-25
4-17-11:   Hosanna! (Praise the Lord) Mark 11:1-11

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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