Exercise and Sacrifice

Key Verse: “Godliness is valuable in every way, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
—I Timothy 4:8, New Revised Standard Version

Selected Scripture:
I Timothy 4:1-16;

THE APOSTLE PAUL HAD many helpers in his ministry. One of these was young Timothy who, as a young teenager, he met on his first journey, most likely when Timothy’s mother and grandmother attended to Paul’s injuries after being stoned at Lystra on his first journey. On his second journey when he stopped in Derbe he found Timothy had grown into young manhood and was active in the congregation there. He took Timothy, along with Silas, and he became Paul’s helper in a remarkable way. When Paul would travel on to another place, he often left Timothy with the new congregation he had founded to establish that congregation. It appears that Timothy was left in Ephesus after Paul left that city. In writing to Timothy he gives his fatherly advice.

He tells him to avoid godless myths and old wives’ fables, but to exercise godliness. The development of Christian character by paying attention to the principles of God’s Word would be more beneficial to him than physical exercise. Since Timothy was young, there might be a tendency for others to look down upon him. Instead he was to demonstrate his faith in the living God whose plan of salvation will bring salvation to all mankind, and especially to those being selected at that time to be followers of Christ, and who were to endure reproaches and suffering. He was to be “an example of the believers.”—vs. 12

Likewise we also are to be examples ‘of the believers’ by our speech, conduct, love, faith, and to be pure as possible. We have this opportunity every day as we mingle with people in this world. As Paul told Timothy, he was to continue his work of preaching scriptures, teaching, and prophesying. He was not to neglect the gift of prophecy given to him. Paying close attention to these things would earn for Timothy salvation, as well as for his hearers.

His treatment of those in the congregation was what was expected of a Christian. He was to have respect for older people as he would towards his parents. In their society it was difficult for a widow to support herself. The congregation had set up means whereby elderly widows would have care. But the system could be abused and Timothy was to watch that this wouldn’t happen. It was in this connection that the Apostle Paul gave us an important admonition. He said, “If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”—chap. 5:8

Those who have family responsibility must be careful to meet their obligations, including the older ones. An excellent example of this neglect occurred when the Pharisees neglected their elderly parents because they claimed to have dedicated their funds to God, calling it “Corban.” (Mark 7:1-13) Jesus plainly told them that they made the commandment “Honour thy father and thy mother” (Exod. 20:12) of no effect. In this manner they avoided their responsibility to their family. We are to exact utmost care that such hypocrisy does not occur in our Christian lives. Service to God includes service to our families.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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