1 Tim 4 7-16 A Profitable Ministry CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Paul gives Timothy some practical instructions for a profitable ministry that he should follow so “thy profiting may appear to all,” [1 Tim 4:15]. These instructions concern the minister’s:
Spiritual and Physical Fitness – 1 Tim 4:7-9 – He should be nourished with food sanctified by the word of God and prayer [1 Tim 4:5] and he should be nourished with the words of faith and good doctrine [1 Tim 4:6]. He should have some bodily exercise and he should exercise himself principally unto godliness. Godliness benefits his life here and hereafter. Paul didn’t neglect bodily exercise; he stayed fit like an athlete [1 Cor 9:24-27]. Yet, notice how the words of God and godliness benefit your health [Prov 4:20-22; Prov 3:7-8]. The minister must stay away from profane and old wives’ fables regarding matters of fitness and doctrine if he desires a profitable ministry.
Trust in God – 1 Tim 4:10-11 – Paul didn’t trust his diet, his physical fitness or false doctrines [Phil 3:3-7]; he trusted in God [Prov 22:17-21]. Therefore, he labored for the Lord and suffered reproach. If Paul had followed the traditions of men or the doctrine of men then he wouldn’t have suffered reproach. God is the Savior of all men [anti-Calvin; 2 Cor 5:19; Rom 5:10]. We who believe are saved. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” [Rom 10:13] is true, because Jesus is the Savior of all men. And this is what Paul spent his life preaching [1 Cor 9:16]. he definitely had a profitable ministry.
Example to believers – 1 Tim 4:12 – though Timothy was a young man he could still be a good example of the believers. A minister, whether young or old, should be an example in:
- Word – what he says and what he preaches.
- Conversation – his deportment and behavior [Phil 1:27; Gal 1:13].
- Charity – 1 Cor 13:1-8, the underlying motive for everything he does.
- Spirit – Phil 1:27 a spirit of likemindedness, striving together for the faith of the gospel. Not a spirit of pride, divisiveness or condemnation [Lk 9:54-56].
- Faith – faith in God and God’s words that others can follow [Heb 13:7].
- Purity – 2 Tim 2:21-22 sanctified for the master’s use with a pure heart.
Use of his time – 1 Tim 4:13 – to minister the words of God [Acts 6:4] the minister should occupy his time with three things:
- Reading – the words of God, primarily, and other books that help him preach and illustrate the words of God. One of the old time preachers said, “A preacher should know a little something about a lot of things.”
- Exhortation – 2 Tim 4:2 he should preach.
- Doctrine – 2 Tim 4:3-4 doctrine is the first reason that scripture is given to us by inspiration [2 Tim 3:15].
Use of his gift – 1 Tim 4:14 – 2 Tim 1:6 each minister is particularly gifted in at least one area. He is to use that gift, not neglect it. Dr. Ruckman was a gifted teacher, yet he preferred to preach to lost men in prison than to teach young men in the ministry. Thankfully, he didn’t neglect his gift. In Timothy’s case, his gift was imparted to him at his ordination. The minister can neglect his gift by not exercising and developing it. He must work to perfect it.
Devotion to these instructions – 1 Tim 4:15 – Paul told Timothy to meditate upon these things and to give himself wholly to them. When a preacher follows these instructions, they are profitable to his ministry and apparent to those to whom he ministers.
Faithfulness to the doctrine – 1 Tim 4:16 – the minister must constantly labor in the word and doctrine [1 Tim 5:17] to ensure that his doctrine stays pure and doesn’t become perverted or corrupted [2 Cor 2:17]. In so doing he saves himself [his ministry] and those to whom he ministers.
Conclusion: a minister who follows what Paul told Timothy to do will have a profitable ministry and will be faithful to the Lord through his entire life.