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Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Good Servant Part 1 (1 Tim. 4:6-10)

Outline: A Good Servant Part 1 (1 Tim. 4:6-10): 
  1. The desire to be a good servant
  2. The discipline it takes to be a good servant
Summary:  There is an assumption in v.6 that looms large over vv.6-16, namely, that Timothy  desires to be a "good servant" of the Lord Jesus.  In fact, God inspired this passage in order to stimulate and channel this desire in every genuine Christian.  In v.6 Paul seeks to stimulate the desire by essentially saying this: "you do desire to be a faithful servant of the Lord Jesus, don't you?  Implied answer: "yes, most definitely!" Paul then channels this desire vv.7-10 by telling Timothy to discipline himself in order to make that desire become a reality.  Christians are commanded to discipline themselves spiritually for the purpose of growing in godliness.

Main Point: Self-discipline is essential to living a godly life

Discussion Questions:
  • What part of this sermon was most helpful or instructive to you? Why?  
  • How should we as Christians feel about the title "good servant"?  Why do you think Paul would include that phrase at the beginning of vv.6-16?
  • What is the meaning of the word "godliness"? 
  • What is valuable about bodily or physical training/discipline?  
  • Why is godliness (i.e. the fruit of spiritual discipline) more valuable than physical discipline?
  • What might it look like to exercise self-discipline for the purpose of growing in godliness?
  • What fueled Paul to exert himself in terms of spiritual discipline? (v.10)
Application Questions:
  • On a scale of 1-10, how strong is your desire to be a "good servant" of the Lord Jesus?
  • In what ways do you currently discipline yourself for the purpose of growing in godliness?
  • Do you exert yourself in spiritual discipline/training to the point that you can you say " I toil and strive"?  If not, this might suggest a misplaced hope (v.10).  Confess this to the Lord and ask him to help you re-focus on what is truly valuable in this life and the life to come.
Prayer Points:
  • Praise the living God for saving us and using us to save others
  • Praise Jesus for the privilege it is to be His servants 
  • Ask God to help us grasp more deeply the value of living a godly life
  • Ask God to empower us to discipline ourselves for the purpose of growing in godliness 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Trap of Legalism (1 Tim. 4:1-5)


1. Perversion of God’s Gifts

2. Gratitude for God’s Gifts

3. Goodness of God’s Gifts


Paul begins chapter 4 by picking up on the theme of false teaching. He begins in

verse 1 by stating that this false teaching will arise in the “later times”, referring to

the time between Christ’s first and second coming. Paul means to say that every

church in every age needs to be guarding against this false teaching. He goes on to

describe the false teachers as having “seared consciences.” These teachers were

perverting God’s gifts by teaching that 1) God’s gifts were inherently evil, 2)

legalistically restricting their use where God has not, 3) redefining Christian

holiness through merely abstaining from them. Paul rightly condemns this sort of

teaching as demonic. He then positively asserts that the proper response to God’s

gifts is to receive them with gratitude, a gratitude that consists in enjoyment of

God’s gifts and leads to worship of God. This kind of gratitude is only possible for

those who “believe and know the truth”(v. 3). Paul concludes this passage by

showing the inherent goodness of God’s gifts.

Discussion Questions

  • What is the connection between the false teachers described in 4:2 and Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1:18-20?
  • What were the false teachers teaching? Further, what made what they were teaching so wrong? (cf. Col. 2:20-23; 2 Timothy 3:5)
  • Describe how this teaching has manifested itself through the history of the church?
  • Explain how Paul says we should view and receive God’s gifts?
  • What does true gratitude for God’s gifts look like?
  • Will true gratitude for God’s gifts lead to over-indulgence?
Application Questions
  • In what ways have I attempted to pervert God’s gifts?
  • How do I view God’s gifts and blessings in my life?

Prayer Points

  • Spend time praising God for all of the good gifts that he has provided for our enjoyment.
Posted by Caleb Janson, Pastoral Apprentice 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Heart of 1 Timothy (3:14-16)

Outline: The Heart of 1 Timothy (1 Tim. 3:14-16): 
  1. The Church's Character 
  2. The Church's Confession
Summary:  Now we come to the very heart of 1 Timothy where Paul clearly states his reason for writing: "I am writing these things to you so may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth" (vv.14-15).  Godly behavior is expected from members of God's family, God's church.  And when such fitting behavior is embodied by God's church, the church's character takes on a robustness that allows her to do what she was designed to do, namely, serve as a pillar and buttress of the gospel.  But if the church is to uphold the gospel she must first be upheld by that gospel, which is the very heart of her confession, the very mystery behind her godliness.

Main Point: The church upholds the greatness of her confession by means of her godly character

Discussion Questions:
  • What do others say about the church?
  • How would God have us see the church?  Reflect on the three descriptions provided by Paul:
    • The household of God
    • The church of the living God
    • pillar and buttress of the truth
  • What is the church's confession (cf. v.16)?
  • What is the relationship between the church's character and the church's confession?
  • Reflect on this statement: "The church does not create the truth; rather, the church is created by the truth and then called to uphold the truth." 
  • What part of this sermon was most helpful or instructive to you? Why?  
Application Questions:
  • How do I think and feel about the church?  Does my attitude toward God's church shaped more by the world or by God's word? Explain. 
Prayer Points:
  • Praise God for adopting us and making us part of his household
  • Thank God our church family and the privilege it is to be part of it
  • Pray God would help us to depend on and be upheld by the gospel
  • Pray that God would enable us to support and elevate the gospel by living godly lives

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Qualifications for Deacons (1 Tim. 3:8-13)

Outline: Qualifications for Deacons (1 Tim. 3:8-13): 
  1. Qualifications
  2. Motivations
  3. Responsibilities
Summary:  Deacons (3:8-13), like elders (3:1-7), must be tested to see if they meet certain character qualifications before being formally recognized as lead-servants in the local church.  They should be marked by a dignified life that displays the gospel.  Or, to put it another way, they must reflect the dignified and sacrificial character of the Lead Servant, Jesus Christ, who did not come to be served but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).  Deacons are task-specific, word-protective, unity-promoting servants who long to see the word of God spread and the number of disciples multiply.  May God raise up many such servants in every local church for the glory of the One who stooped to serve us!

Main Point: Deacons must be qualified in order to be recognized as lead-servants in the local church.

Discussion Questions:
  • What are the basic qualifications for deacons (vv.8-12)?
  • Why do you think it is vital that deacons first prove to be qualified in regards to character?
  • What incentives do deacons who serve well get to enjoy (v.13)? 
  • Flesh out the following phrases that describe the deacon's responsibilities (cf. Acts 6:1-7)
    • Deacons are task-specific servants
    • Deacons are word-protective servants
    • Deacons are unity-promoting servants (Hint: think "shock absorbers")
  • What is the relationship between elders and deacons in the local church? What happy results may come from a biblical cooperation between the two (Acts 6:7)?
  • What part of this sermon was most helpful or instructive to you? Why?  
Application Questions:
  • How has this passage helped me see the significance of the deacon's role in the church?
  • In what ways am I serving in the church?  How can I more actively and sacrificially serve my brothers and sisters at FBC?
Prayer Points:
  • Praise Jesus as the Lead-Servant who stooped to serve us by saving us from our sin
  • Pray God would grow you to be more dignified in character and more sacrificial in service
  • Pray that God would raise up more lead-servants at FBC