2015 Sermon Series
- March 20, 2016
God is Infinitely Greater than Our Largest Ministry Obligation and Opportunity.
The pastoral epistles are often said to be about the structure and governance of the church. This may sound dry and unappealing to the average Christian in the pew, until you realize that the church cannot be structured or governed without people! Paul's letter to Timothy is instructive not just for pastors but for every group in the church.Listen
Paul addresses multiple groups in chapter 6 before he turns to Timothy. Since the pastor is an example to the whole, we can all learn from what Paul directs to the church's leader.
In verses 13-14, Paul tells Timothy to "keep the commandment." He is to cling to the fight of faith discussed in the previous verses. Timothy's greatest temptation was to fear people, but Paul strongly urges him to stay faithful to the whole Word of God.
Guarding the flock of God must include the purposeful, planned, passionate preaching of the whole Word. Paul exemplified this in Acts 20:17-35 when he took three years to teach the Ephesian believers the entire body of revealed Scripture. Individuals embrace the same pursuit in discipleship. Every believer should be engaged in a lifelong study of the whole Bible.
Pastors and disciplers who adhere to God's Word will face satanic attacks, but God's grace always sustains those faithful to His commands.
The motivation for obedience is found at the end of verse 14. Christ's appearing is imminent. We do not want to be ashamed at His return.
Paul gives a qualification for Timothy's obedience: to keep the commandment "without stain or reproach." No believer is to be occupied with temporary things. Pastors should not be working for their own gain but looking out for others' spiritual good. Believers must be trained to grow each other, not serve a leader's own purposes.
Any shepherding ministry, whether pastoring or one-on-one discipling, is challenging. Attacks from the enemy can make you feel isolated and that you are not making a difference. While mutual encouragement in the Word is vital, it is not the primary comfort in this passage. Our ultimate comfort comes from the reality that God gives life (1 Timothy 6:13). Because He is our Creator, He will work through His righteous ones when we obey the whole Word.
Questions for Application
- Are you determined to stay faithful to the whole Word of God? Do you have a plan for a lifelong study of it?
- Christ's appearing is imminent. Will He find you obeying His Word?
- Where do you find comfort for the challenges of discipleship?
Tools for Further Study
Cross References to Explore
- 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 2:19, 3:13, 4:13-5:11, 5:23; 1 John 2:26-28; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Titus 2:11-13 – Christ's imminent appearing is our motivation for obedience.
- Psalm 24:1-6 – The God of Creation.
A Hymn to Encourage: "My Hope Is in the Lord"
My hope is in the Lord who gave Himself for me,
And paid the price of all my sin at Calvary.
For me He died, For me He lives,
And everlasting life and light He freely gives.
No merit of my own His anger to suppress.
My only hope is found in Jesus' righteousness.
And now for me He stands before the Father's throne.
He shows His wounded hands and names me as His own.
His grace has planned it all, 'tis mine but to believe,
And recognize His work of love and Christ receive.