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A Good Servant of Jesus Christ

The Pastoral Epistles  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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1 Timothy 4:6–16 AV
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. But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 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. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Introduction:

We live in such a day that Pastors are often evaluated on the basis of the wrong criteria.
The effectiveness of a Pastor is frequently gauged by the size of the Church, their building programs, their popularity, their educational background, the number of books they have written, or their radio or TV exposure.
While such things may have some significance, none of them are biblically valid criteria for assessing a man of God.
1 Timothy: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary Chapter 14: Qualities of an Excellent Minister—Part 1

John Owen wrote, “A minister may fill his pews, his communion roll, the mouths of the public, but what that minister is on his knees in secret before God Almighty, that he is and no more”

The criteria of a good servant must be evaluated by the the NT.
Our text, 4:6-16, lays out for us the points of a good minister of Jesus Christ.
Paul notes, in our text, 6 characteristics of an Excellent Minister.
A Good Servant in his Task, in his Teaching, in his Training, in his Tone, in his Testimony, and in his Time.

I. A Good Servant in your Tasks (vs. 6a)

1 Timothy 4:6 AV
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.
It is always vital to remember that the excellent minister of Jesus Christ is above all, a servant.
Now, there are any things that go along with what makes a minster an excellent minister, but one of the key things to keep in mind is that the excellent minister is a servant to the people.
Paul reminded Timothy that he was a servant to the people of Ephesus; and every minister, if he is a excellent one, sees himself as a servant.
Jesus Christ condemned those that seem to “lord” there authority over them.
Mark 10:42 AV
But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.
Paul was very conscience not to do this.
2 Corinthians 1:24 AV
Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.
This needs to always be a reminder for the ministers of the Lord, we are not to rule over the people, but we are merely servants.
“Servant” is the word “διάκονος” and is used here in the technical sense of the office of a deacon, but it is also used in a more general usage of anyone who serves in any ministry on behalf of Christ.
It is not that Paul is saying the Elders and deacons serve in the Church on the same level, but the point is that an excellent minister just sees himself as a servant, not a master.
It really speaks of usefulness or serviceability.
Those men who are called to serve as elders, in particular, are called to excellence in their usefulness to His cause.
Listen, we have probably all seen men who too their position as the Elder and Lorded it over the people to whom he was called to serve.
Elders would do well to understand the words of the Apostle Paul here: “you are a good servant....”
Biblically speaking, an Elder has no authority in the Church by virtue of his title or calling.
The Elder does not decide what color the walls are painted or anything else just by virtue of his calling.
Paul instructed Timothy that though he is an Elder and responsible for the spiritual growth of the Church, that he must see himself as a servant that needs to be useful for the ministry of God.
Paul had just discussed the inevitability of false teachers in 4:1-5, Paul now instructs Timothy in how to be, and to evaluate those suited to be, an effective minister of the Lord in the face of demonic opposition.
And in doing so Paul focuses on the positive trait that should characterize an excellent minister; but first of all seeing ourselves as servants of Christ and the people.
People have a tough time following, even good teaching, of someone that they believe sees them as just “the congregation” and not fellow servants of Christ.
And so they will tend to follow those they care about them; even the false teacher that comes in sheep clothing but is a wolf.
Now, obviously, the Elders have greater responsibilities in the Church; and therefore, receive the greater condemnation.
James 3:1 AV
My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
James 3
But the excellent minster sees himself as a servant of Christ by serving the people.
So, Paul calls on Timothy to be the excellent minister that people will follow by setting the standard of faith, devotion, and conduct that others can follow.
And by being an excellent minster that sees himself as the Bible calls him, in this passage, a servant, people will be delivered from heresy and will focus on the positive truth that makes them spiritually strong.
The Good Servant of Jesus Christ is first and Good Servant in his Task.

II. A Good Servant in Your Teaching (vs. 6b-7a)

1 Timothy 4:6–7 AV
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. But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
“Nourished up” is a good word, it is the word “ἐντρέφω” and is only used here in the GNT and it literally means to be trained.
It comes from the Greek root word “τρεφω” which means “to feed”.
The good servant is a good servant in is teaching.
He teaches the people the Word of God.
That is the only way that people will be able to counter the false teaching is by knowing the Word of God and it is the ministers responsibility to teach the Word of God.
Notice what Paul says at the beginning of verse 6.
1 Timothy 4:6 AV
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.
“Brethren” is the word “ἀδελφός” and though translated as “brother” is it speaking of both brothers and sisters in Christ here by context.
Timothy’s job that made him a Good Servant was to “put the brethren in remembrance”, it is the Greek word “ὑποτίθημι” and literally means “to make known, to teach”.
Timothy’s job as a good servant of Christ was to teach the “these things”, the things that are in verse 1-5.
The Good minister will teach the people about false teachers.
We are not called here, to just “teach them the truth and they will recognize the false”, Timothy was called to actively teach the people about the false doctrine whenever it came up.
Now, we never want to glorify the false, so we always teach and warn about the false in light of the Scripture.
1 Timothy
1 Timothy 4:6 AV
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.
Paul says that we are to teach the Church about the false; notice what he says, “nourished (or trained) in the words of faith and of good Doctrine....”
The good servant is seen in his teaching; he not only warns but he teaches good doctrine and faith.
But also notice what Paul told Timothy in the last part of the verse.
1 Timothy 4:6 AV
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.
“Attained” is the Greek word “παρακολουθέω” and means “to follow faithfully”.
A Good Servants good teaching is characterized by the faith that they also faithfully follow the same teaching.
The Good Servant must be an expert student of Scripture.
This is a basic quality in the ministry, but is sadly lacking in the Church today.
Much preaching today is weak and therefore it will produce weak Christians because it reflects a lack of biblical knowledge or study.
For a lot of pastors, study is an unwelcome intrusion into their schedule; it interrupts the routine of administrative tasks or trips or however else they occupy theirselves.
They study only enough to make a sermon, to feel in 30-40 minutes of the week.
But the pastor must be a student of Scripture not just to fill time but to feed his own heart and think carefully and deeply about divine truth.
When this does not happen, the result is an impotent sermon that fall on hard hearts and have little, if any, impact.
The Good Minister labors hard at teaching and preaching, but it starts with study and the Word of God being reflected in the heart and life of the minister.
The Good Servants teaching must be marked by precision.
The Good Servant is not merely a communicator, an administrator, or counselor; he is above a student of Scripture.
He is a student in order that he may teach the Church about the false in light of faith and doctrine as the Apostle says in our text.
1 Timothy: The MacArthur New Testament Commentary An Excellent Minister Is an Expert Student of Scripture

William Tyndale, the sixteenth-century English reformer and Bible translator, was an example of a man with a burning desire to study and understand God’s Word. In prison shortly before he was martyred, he wrote a letter to the governor-in-chief asking for

a warmer cap, a candle, a piece of cloth to patch my leggings.… But above all, I beseech and entreat your clemency to be urgent with the Procureur that he may kindly permit me to have my Hebrew Bible, Hebrew Grammar and Hebrew Dictionary, that I may spend time with that in study.

The Good Servant needs to be constantly being taught the Scripture so that he can constantly the Church.
I fear that if many pastors would in the same position as William Tyndale, that they would not ask for the Bible, but they would ask for their laptop so that they can answer emails.
Paul tells Timothy at the end of verse 6, if you teach and follow the Church will follow.
1 Timothy 4:7 AV
But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
His life, though he warns and teaches about the false, is not wrapped up in false teaching, that is why he always teaches it in light of the truth.
The Good Servant rejects, in his teaching, that which will produce worldliness and unhallowed things that contradict the Word of God.
“Fables” is the word “μῦθος” and it where we get our English word “myth”.
Paul sarcastically describes them as fit only for old women.
Women were not usually allowed the same educational opportunity that men had, so this phrase comes from that situation.
The Good Servant warns about the false in light of the truth, but does not allow himself to get wrapped up silly things that appear out of the lack of learning.
The mind is a precious thing and God expects the excellent minister to have a trained mind; one that is pure and saturated in the Word of God.
The Good Servant is a good servant in his Task.
The Good Servant is a good servant in his Teaching.

III. A Good Servant in his Training (7b-10)

1 Timothy 4:7–10 AV
But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 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. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
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