The Continuance of Change

The Truth About Change  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:04
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1 Timothy 4:1-9
We have been going through a series on Change, entitled the Truth about Change.
We started off by realizing the truth that Change is going to Happen, we just need to choose to trust that God is going to work it to good in our lives.
To that end, we talked about Romans 12:1-2, where Paul explained that we are not to change to be like the world, molding ourselves after their examples.
But instead we are to be transformed by God from the inside out.
Go does his work of sanctification in our lives, and he does this renewing of our minds through these means of grace: Bible reading, memorization, meditation, prayer, etc.
These Christian Disciplines are ways that God imparts His grace to us so that we begin to desire His will, and receive the power to do it.
We then saw by way of example that procrastination can really get us into trouble.
When God tells us to do something, we need to obey right away, all the way and with the right heart attitude.
We saw that Delayed Obedience Is Disobedience, and that Partial Obedience Is Disobedience.
Today I want to wrap up this series looking at this passage that we read a moment ago in 1 Timothy 4, and see how we can continue this path of Change.
How do we change?
Is is by a supernatural experience? yes, in a way, but it must be begun with a very natural choice.
What part do we play in our change?
One thing that must happen before any change, of any kind is made....and that is the decision to form the habit.
Habits are formed by the continual, consistent decision to do something.
They say that on average, it takes 66 times for you to do something before it becomes a habit.
That is 66 purposeful decisions to do something.
Do you want to change something?
You are going to have to chose to do it at least 66 times consistently.
Though Christian growth isn’t just about self-discipline, habits are a powerful part of our change as believers.
Describing a holy life, theologian Richard Foster emphasizes virtues and habit, saying, “Virtue is good habits we can rely upon to make our life work. Conversely, vice is bad habits we can rely upon to make our life not work, to make it dysfunctional, as we say. So a holy life simply is a life that works”
That is not to say we are Sanctified by works, but rather sanctification works in us and through us.
Here in 1 Timothy, we see Paul writing to his protege, Timothy.
Paul and Timothy travelled to Ephesus together, and Paul decided to leave Timothy in leadership in the church in Ephesus.
He had one purpose for Timothy staying in Ephesus, to correct the churches doctrine.
He wanted the change in their lives to remain.
Not be pulled away by false doctrine.
There had been some influence from false teachers in the church.
So in chapter four, Paul begins telling Timothy that...
In these latter times people around us will try to pull us from the faith! 1-3
Notice a few things here…there are spirits that seduce you away from the faith!
The devil has a doctrine.
Speaking lies in hypocrisy- pseudologos - (Pseudo-False/close or deceptive resemblance to; logos-spoken word)
They will be close enough to the truth to trick people.
conscience seared with a hot iron - they will not be able to feel the prick in their conscience that what they are doing is wrong.
The influence that Timothy was dealing with is gnosticism, that taught that all earthly matter was sinful.
So the extension of that is you shouldn’t marry, you shouldn’t eat meats, etc.
But Paul is telling Timothy to not let his people be seduced by these false teachings.
3b ...which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
in verse 5 Paul extends this teaching even further.
The physical creations of this world all have some positive use, but even more so, those things used in thankful...prayerful...biblical way become holy - sanctified.
The food we eat, all the matter around us, the blessings of sexuality within a marriage - Everything that God has given us in this world can be more than just good, it can be holy and used for His glory, when used as He intended!
Paul then, in verse 6, tells Timothy… if he teaches his people this, he will be a good pastor to his people.
6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
And here in this verse we see the first step in our Continuance of Change

I. Nourished by the Word

6 ...nourished up in the words of faith...
If we are going to be able to continue in our growth, we are going to have to create the habit of reading, and gaining nourishment from God’s Word.
You cannot possibly know how to grow in Christ without faithfully reading His Word.
Billy Graham famously said, “If you are ignorant of God’s Word, you will always be ignorant of God’s will.”
The word nourished is the Greek word meaning entrepho which means to nourish or to train, to strengthen, to give power.
but the word is a compound Greek word - entrepho, and then it has the word menos on the end.
Menos is the word for mind.
So it is a training of the mind…a nourishing of the mind…a strengthening of the mind.
How is this done?
Through the Word of God!
Howard Hendricks, long time professor at Dallas Theological Seminary said, “God wants to communicate with you in the 21st century. He wrote His message in a book. He asks you to come and study that book for three compelling reasons: it’s essential for growth. It’s essential for maturity. It’s essential for equipping you, training you, so that you might be an available, clean, sharp instrument in His hands to accomplish His purposes. So the real question confronting you now is: How can you afford not to be in God’s Word?”
It has often been said about the Bible, “This book will keep you from sin, or sin will keep you from this book.”
The truth is dusty Bibles lead to dirty lives.
We must be in the Word of God!
One of the biggest dangers of the pastorate is falling into the dangerous habit of only studying the Bible for the sermon, rather than having a separate time for your own growth and nourishment.
We need the Word of God!
We need to desire that nourishment...
1 Peter 2:2 KJV
2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
The newborn baby desires the milk they need to grow…and they will let you know about their desire!
If we are not careful the cares of this life, the influence of this world will cause us to loose our desire…our appetite for the Word.
When I was a child, I didn’t like cheesecake, but now I have developed a taste for cheesecake…it’s still not peach cobbler!
But it is still good… I have yet to develop a taste for green beans… somethings are just too vile, and should not be consumed.
But as we grow, we our taste matures and we begin to crave that which we used to reject.
Hebrews 5:11–14 KJV
11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Catch what verse 14 is saying…they matured to the use of strong meat by the exercising the use thereby.
If we want to grow and mature, we must be nourished by the Word of God.
Secondly, if we want to continue in our changes that is our sanctification we must be...

II. Nourished by Teaching

6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
He says and of good doctrine
The word translated doctrine is the Greek word didaskalia -it means teaching or instruction.
Not only has God given us His Word in our hands so that we may be nourished by it, but he has also given us preachers who will help us learn and grow.
This is His plan!
1 Corinthians 1:21 KJV
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
As often as we can we need to place ourselves under preaching.
Sunday morning alone is not going to build a sanctified life!
I’m sorry, but it is not!
The early church gathered daily
Acts 5:42 KJV
42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
We do not meet every day, but we do meet three times on Sunday and once on Wednesday…as well as various opportunities like Ladies Bible Study and Men’s prayer breakfast.
We need to avail ourselves of every opportunity to learn from the preaching of God’s Word.
Hebrews 10:25 KJV
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.
As we see all that is going around us we can’t help but feel that the day is approaching, so we need to be all the more often, and all the more faithfully assembling ourselves together!
My pastor growing up used to always say we need three to thrive, Sunday Morning, Sunday Evening and Wednesday night.
Nothing is more important than getting your family in church as often as you can.
I know you are tired, many have worked all day.
I understand, everyone that is here has worked all day too.
Make it a priority to be in church every time the doors are open.
Your children will take to excess what the parents allow in moderation.
If you moderately miss church…your children when they grow up will excessively miss church.
If you are going to grow in Christ...
You need the Nourishment of God’s Word
You need the Nourishment of Good Doctrine.
Thirdly Paul warns Timothy to tell the people to...

III. Avoid Silliness

7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
He tells us to avoid first the profane - this is the opposite of the sacred and holy.
It is that which is hateful to God.
Much of the world’s entertainment to day is hateful to God and His Word.
Be careful what you allow to influence you!
Secondly he tells them to refuse or avoid - Old wives’ fables…In the Greek it is two words the first meaning an old woman, and the second mythos - meaning a myth or a fable…that which is fabricated by the mind.
But the word is very specific…not just a made up story, but specifically a made up story that in sophistry and cunningness is used to deceive others.
Paul first referred to this in 1 Timothy 1.4
1 Timothy 1:4 KJV
4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
These superstitions included the gnostic heresies that Paul discussed in the earlier verses.
Paul is likening them to old wives tales.
In the culture of the day, superstition and gossip were rampant and was passed by means of old wives tales.
Paul is warning Timothy to avoid the silly, unreliable hearsay which does not honor God.
Instead focus you attention on the exercise of godliness.
The world around us offers us plenty of silly and unprofitable distractions.
The word amusement comes from the word muse - to ponder, to think, to be absorbed in thought.
The prefix -a means without or not
So amusement literally means without thought
The positive of amusement is that we can relax and not think.
The very strong negative of amusement is that when we are without thought…our thoughts can be filled by something.
What are you allowing to influence you?
Be nourished by the Word
Be nourished by teaching
Avoid the silliness around us and if we are going to continue in our growth, we must be...

IV. Exercising to Godliness

7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
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.
The word that Paul uses, translated as exercise, is the Greek Word gymnazo.
Does that sound familiar?
We get our word gymnasium from this word.
Paul is using a different word to say the same thing as before when he said nourishing…training.
We are exercising, or training ourselves unto godliness.
Have you ever played baseball, maybe you had a coach who taught you how to hold a bat. When you stepped up to the plate, the coach would say, “Hold your bat like this,” or “Bend your head this way, and spread your legs in this stance.” The coach guided you in the nuance of the sport, training you in the right way to play and positioning your body in the correct stance.
God's Word “trains” us in right living.
We aren't told only what not to do but also what we should do instead.
Paul says for Christians to exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
He tells us bodily exercise has benefit, but it is of limited benefit.
But exercising in godliness is profitable unto all things.
Not only for the life that now is, but also of that which is to come.
We must train ourselves by forming the habits in the disciplines of the Christian life.
WE must read our Bibles every day
We must put ourselves under the preaching of God’s Word every time we can.
We must carve out a specific time for dedicated prayer.
We must sacrifice by fasting so that we may tune our focus on God so that may have the spiritual strength we need to deal a decisive blow to the enemy.
We must form the habit of Bible memorization so that we have the ammunition to use against our enemy.
WE must form the habit of Bible meditation, so that we can more clearly and thoroughly hear from God and internalize that truth, and be strengthened to obey Him.
We must exercise these means of Grace, so that we can do what God has called us to do.


Paul uses this image of the athlete, we realize that a skilled athlete with natural talent will only go so far.
They must train their muscles to better themselves.
In the 2014 season, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. seemed to do the impossible by catching a football with one hand.
It’s been called the greatest catch of all time.
Watch this clip...
However this catch wasn’t just luck…watch this clip...
It was something that he had practiced over and over.
The catch that seemed natural came from practice that made it habit.
A talented person in an area of life: an athlete who can catch a football with one hand, or a musician who seems to play an instrument like it was an extension of their body…it’s impressive, but it is not just natural talent alone.
There is a habit behind their success.
The constant practice of catching a ball or the hours spent repeating the same scale on the instrument show us the power of a habit.
Habits that cultivate spiritual formation bring about and continue change in our lives.
This doesn’t happen over night, or will it ever change us into perfect people.
However over time, habits become second nature, and we begin to see the Lord transform us from the inside out.
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