Sermon – The Pastor’s Progress (1 Timothy 4:11 – 4:16) – Cornerstone Church Kingston
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1 Timothy 2023

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Sermon 12 of 18

The Pastor's Progress

Pete Woodcock, 1 Timothy 4:11 - 4:16, 30 April 2023

Pete continues our series in 1 Timothy. Today we look at 1 Timothy 4:11-16 as well as Isaiah 55:10-13. In these passages we see the power of the word of God in the lives of preachers and teachers of the word.

1 Timothy 4:11 - 4:16

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.


Transcript (Auto-generated)

This transcript has been automatically generated, and therefore may not be 100% accurate.

Okay. Do have a seat. And our 2 bible readings this morning are taken from 1 Timothy chapter 4. That's the first 1 and then we're going to be turning to Isaiah at chapter 55.

For another reading. So if you wanna have 1 Timothy 4, we're gonna read verses 11 to 16 and then be ready to turn back to Isaiah. But before we have the word of God rent to us, let's bow our heads, shall we and ask for his help and and pray together. Father, we do thank you that you are a speaking God. We thank you that you delight to make yourself known to us you are the God of Revelation that we do not have to guess what you are like.

We do not have to try and invent who you are. You make yourself plain through the message of the bible, and we pray that you would speak to us Lord. Father, we need to hear your voice. We are never gonna find joy, or strength in our sufferings, we are never going to be able to repent of our sins, we are never going to be able to love you and trust you we are gonna be unable to take up the cross and follow you unless you speak to us. We need to hear you.

We would never neglect to physically feed ourselves and to give ourselves drink, but we're sorry that so often we think that we can cope without hearing from you, that we neglect your word, that we don't pay attention to it, we don't tune into it, and yet lord, we need it. Our life is in these words. And so we pray holy spirit that you would give us ears to hear. We thank you father that you are gracious to us, that you overcome our refusal to even hear you with your grace and enable us here and we pray for that grace this morning. And please speak to us lord.

Plant your word deep in us. We wanna be more like Jesus. We wanna shaped and fashioned into his likeness and his image. We want to be more courageous and bold in these days that we live in. And for all of that, we need your word deep within us.

And so help us to hear this morning in Jesus' name. Our men. First 1, brother. Going from verse 1. So 1 Timothy 4 and we're gonna read read the whole chapter.

The spirit clearly says that in later times, some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods which God created to be received with Thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with Thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the Word of God and prayer. If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives tales rather train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but Godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. That is why we labor and strive. Because we have put our hope in the living God who is the savior of all people and especially of those who believe.

Command and teach these things. Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and impurity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of scripture to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters Give yourself wholly to them so that everyone may see your progress.

Watch your life and doctrine closely persevere in them because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. Now we're going to turn to Isaiah and we're going to read those 3 verses from chapter 55. So verse 10 of Isaiah 55. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, So is my word that goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace. The mountains and the hills will burst into song before you and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush will grow the Juniper. And instead of the briars, the Myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord's renowned.

For an everlasting sign that will endure forever. Well, good morning. My name is Pete Woodcock. I'm 1 of the pastors of the church. If you're new here, it's lovely to have you with us.

It's probably worth saying hello to both Steve and Deepmar, they're at home watching and healing. So keep at it, brothers. Give give you a cheer. Keep going. And here we are in 1 Timothy 4.

Let me pray. Father, help us now, please, to hear your word and respond to it in Jesus' name, Arm. I don't know what you think about verses 1 and 2 of 1 Timothy chapter 4. They are scary verses, if you really think about them. You can read over these verses just too quickly.

I mean, just listen to them. The spirit clearly says, that's the holy spirit of God, clearly says that in later times Some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons Such teaching comes through hypocritical liars whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. Now, we live in these later times. Sunday, April the thirtieth, 2023, according to the bible character, a calendar, is later times. We're in the later times.

The only thing we're waiting for is of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. These are the latter days, the last days, the later days. And so it means that there are deceiving spirits, demons Hipper critical liars that have burnt out their consciences. People, if you carry on reading through, 1 Timothy 4 that will make up loads of unnatural laws and claim that that's what God says. To impose on people.

There's massive evil powers around us and it is very hard sometimes be aware of that, where there's a lovely day, and we feel really nice and well fed, and we're singing some happy songs and so forth. But there are evil powers working around us, deceiving, lying, twisting, exaggerating, taking away from truth, adding to truth, and getting people to give up on the Christian faith. That's what their intention is, to give up on the glorious father of truth, and some he says, And we know some, don't we? That used to come here perhaps. Some have abandoned the faith.

So what is Timothy to do about this? What is a minister to do about this in these later times? And Paul is writing, as we know in this book, to this younger minister and encouraging him to do proper apostolic ministry in the church, in ephesus. What is he to do in these later times with these demonic powers around lying to us? Well, Paul in in in verse 6, if you have a look, calls on Timothy to be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you followed.

So he's saying, I want you to be a good minister in these days and you and that means you're constantly being nourished. On the truths that I've given you, the apostolic truths. So our subject today is what makes a good minister of Christ Jesus. And I'm speaking particularly to the elders of this church, and I'm speaking particularly to the young men and particularly to those fight club people. I'm talking to Tom here in front.

Of me here. I'm talking to ministers. What's gonna make a good minister? But I'm talking to all of us because you need to know what makes a good minister. And you need to judge us by what it says here.

What makes a good minister? There's a thing going around sort of an advert. I've slightly changed it going around for a perfect pastor. And I want to say to the young men, you can't all, you know, not all of us can be this, but some of us might be. So this is the advert going around for a perfect pastor, a perfect pastor, see if see if I fit.

Preaches exactly 20 minutes. Yeah I think that's probably about right. He condemns sin but never hurts anyone's feeling. He works from 7 AM to midnight and also serves as a church cleaner. The perfect pastor is 29 years old but has 40 years of experience.

The purse perfect pastor is tall and short thin and heavy set, and he has 1 brown eye and 1 blue eye. The perfect pastor has a parting in the middle with straight hair on 1 side and wavy hair on the other and a slightly balding patch to show he's maturing. The perfect pastor smiles constantly with a straight and sober face. The perfect pastor spends these amount of hours in the week, 20 hours counseling, 10 hours in meetings, 5 hours in anything that emergency comes up, 20 hours in visitation and evangelism, 6 hours in weddings and funerals, 30 hours in prayer and meditation, 12 hours in administration, 10 hours in creative thinking, 10 hours in community service, 5 hours helping other pastors locally, 9 hours in fundraising and 1 hour in servant preparation. That's the perfect pastor.

And the perfect pastor is always available in his office. The perfect pastor has a wife that plays the piano, has perfect hair, wonderful immaculate clothes but doesn't spend any money on them because she gets them from the charity shop. The perfect pastor is talented gifted scholarly practical, popular compassionate, understanding, patient, level headed, dependable, loving, caring, neat, organized, cheerful, and above all humble. That's the perfect pastor. Now, some of you young men, you can't live up to that.

And thankfully, we've got a passage here that tells us what a good pastor is from the apostle Paul himself, the apostle of the lord Jesus Christ. And the first thing he says that I want you to see is that you're never gonna get a perfect pastor and he's not after that. He's after a progressing pastor, and that's my first point. A pastor that's progressing He's progressing in his faith. A progressing pastor.

That's what we want. Not a perfect pastor. Look at the words just in this chapter that Paul uses that he wants Timothy to progress it. Just have a look at them. So verse 6, you've got you've got to point out errors and lies and demonic teaching.

Verse 6, you've got to nourish yourself on the truth and the good teaching of the faith. Verse 7 have nothing to do with myths and old wives tales. Verse 8, hold on to Godliness and train yourself in Godliness. Verse 10, labor and strive. Verse 11, command and teach verse 12, be an example.

Verse 13, read the scriptures publicly, preach and teach. Verse 14, don't neglect your gift, verse verse 15 be diligent, give yourself holy to these things. And then he sort of sums up all of that in verse 16. What's your life and doctrine closely, persevere in them because If you do, you will save both yourself and your heroes. But did you notice in the reading verse 15, the second half of verse 15, where he says so that everyone may see your progress your progress.

That's what he's after. Progress here in the original meaning of the word means pioneer advance into new territory. What Paul wants Timothy to do is that you're pioneering into the new territory of the stuff he's just said. You're ever striving and you're striving a bit more you're ever laboring and you're laboring a bit more. You're ever diligent and you're going into new areas of deligency.

You take the very gospel that nourishes you and you get more nourished on it. You take the word of God into new areas of your life, new areas of your love, you attack idols, and you attack false teaching and you attack bad habits in yourself, you were to progress in these things. Progressing in the ministry, sharpening yourself up, sharpening your skills, deepening your knowledge, deepening your dedication. You know, going more for love. That's what he's saying.

This is a living thing in other words if you're a pastor. This is not a job. This is life. You're gonna be a minister or a pastor in the Christian church. It's living.

You're never satisfied with where you are. You haven't arrived. You don't say, oh, well, I'm the pastor of a big church now and I've done all my theology. I can sit back and there I am to be served. That's this nonsense.

You're alive with the lord Jesus Christ. You're learning. You're repenting. You're growing. You're loving.

You're learning to say sorry more. That's the progress that he wants Timothy to be into. We're not to show people that we're perfect at anything. We're not perfect parents, we're not perfect Christians, we're not perfect pastors, but we are progressing And over time, if you stay with us, you'll see small little progressions. Oh, yeah.

Yeah. I never thought I'd hear Pete's quite say it that way. I remember 15 years ago when he said it this way. There's a slight progression in ministers. So a good minister is progressing, not standing still, not thinking he's made it, Not looking forward to retirement.

Not spending hours and hours on on you know how much money he's gonna get with his retirement investment. In fact, it even hates the word retirement. What are you talking about? There's no retirement, we're pushing on, we're progressing. The body gets weaker, but the mind and the heart and the love and the gospel application should be more and more alive.

First point, progressing pasta. Got that, Tom? So, yeah. Do you want me to rub it in even more? Where's the where's the you got that, Abri?

Yeah? Where's the other young men in the fight club? Who's the fur hands up fight club men? Yeah. Got that.

Got that. Okay. Where's Ben? He needs to hear this. He's out in Seoul.

He's out in Seoul. Yeah. Yeah. Progress, Ben. Okay.

Second second point. Preaching pastor. You're a progressing pastor and you're a preaching pastor. Look at verse 13. Until I come, says Paul, devote yourself to public reading of scripture and to preaching and teaching.

Why? Because the way you combat deceit and the lies of the demons is by truth. The truth says Jesus sets you free. So you preach the truth and teach and read the scriptures, preach Timothy, because the Word of God works It does. You give it long term.

If you have a long term view, you'll see it working in people's lives. It works slowly but surely. And that's why I had read Isaiah 55, if you look at that. Because it's a beautiful imagery of what the word of God does. I don't know whether you noticed that.

And I was reading it this week and just really struck about the positiveness of the word of God. Preach the word of God and this is what it does. Let me read it again. I don't know whether it'll come up. But verse 10, it says this of Isaiah 55.

As the rate is describing what the word of God does, as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth. That's the word of God, he says. As the rain of the snow comes down and waters the earth, the word of God will do that. The word of God refreshes. Peach the word, Timothy, because you wanna fresh your congregation.

You want them to be refreshed in a dry and parched land. And as you preach it, you know the word will drip into those dry hearts and and over time will grow wonderful things. Look at the next line and making it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for for for the eater. The word of God is about life and budding and flourishing in people's lives. And over time, it yields seed for the sower.

It gives a job for the sower. It gives seeds so the sower can do his job, but even more than that, bread for the eater. It's life and food. Timothy preached the word. Look at verse 11.

So so is my word that goes out from my mouth, it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for what I for which I send it. We preachers get so worked up, what was the point of it. So very often Satan comes to us at the end of a meeting and says, give up my brother. What is the point of giving your time to preaching the Word of God? You've spent your week in the Word of God You've tried to illustrate it.

You've tried to do your best, but is anyone listening? Yes. Yes says God. Keep going in faith sometimes. Preach the word.

God's word won't return empty. It will do its job. And people will apply and digest it and meditate on it, and they will have fruit in the end. It transforms lives. It goes into the darkest holes of people's lives and turns a light on there.

It moves people away from living for the flesh and what they want to do, for living for the holy spirit. The scriptures will not return void. Young man, young preacher, keep preaching that. And over time you'll see the effects of this. Look at verse 12, you will go out in joy and be led forth in peace Grad's word when it does its job brings a joy.

There's a happiness about it. And and a peace. And look, the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands, life is more animated and as the word of God is planted in souls, you've got to remember preachers that people will go out and they'll start to see, wow, look at that tree. Listen to the mountain praising God. They'll start to see spiritual things in ways they never seen before.

And there's this animation of appraising world and they wanna join in with praising. Be verse 13, instead of the thorn bush, will grow the juniper. Instead of the briar, the myrtle will grow the word of God comes into people's lives, 40 lives, dry lives, forms and prickliness, and the word of God can cut down the prickles and bring out juniper berries. And the word of God will last forever. Timothy, he's saying.

Put your face in the scriptures. Put your faith in that living word, put your face in it, study it, read it, And when you preach it, put your finger on it so people know that you're preaching from it. 1 of the reasons why I don't like the modern I mean, maybe just an old fashioned. But the modern way that preachers preach now without without even notes or any or any pulpit or lectern even though this thing is just a disaster. I mean, we believe in preaching.

Look at this thing. I mean if John if John MacArthur has a thing bigger than this room and we get this, But, you know, when they when they always leave the bible, leave the notes and they're just talking like this, there's something not good about that. We it should be constantly 1 finger on the word of God because that's where the energy and the life of God comes from. It's a wonderful thing. Teach the word.

Get your face in it. Look verse 13 until I come devote yourselves to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, and to teaching. That's how you feed the sheep. That's your job, Timothy. That's your giftedness.

That's your work That's where people will encounter life changing God. So devote yourselves to that. Marching Luther the great reformer said, we must make a great difference between God's word and the Word of man people. A man's word is little sound that flies into the air and soon vanishes. I love that.

The mat your the words of all the whys is full of tiny flies. Like those little fruit flies you get. There's laying around there, irritating little things. And they think they're important, but they're little than little. Wanna get them, but the word of God says Luther is greater than heaven and earth.

Yay, greater than death and hell. For it forms part of the power of God and endures everlastingly. The defining mark of the gathered people of God is the preaching and reading of the Word of God. Divote yourself, Timothy. To the public reading of scripture and to the preaching and teaching, devote yourselves, put your mind, put your energies, put your time into that.

Don't get distracted. It's so easy to be distracted. By all kinds of things, that the perfect pastor up the road does. We don't want a perfect pastor. We want a progressing pastor that preaches the word.

But just before we move on, notice it's not just preach, Look at verse 11. It's command and teach. Command and teach. Preaching teach, command and teach. So teaching is not just conveying information It's actually teaching the very word of God.

The word command there It comes on from passing on an order. So the authority is never in the minister, that's a disaster when you have that, The authority is never in the minister or in the minister's gift even. The authority is in that he's passing on an order. So pass on the order of God. So the Christian teacher must not only teach but he must command.

He's passing on the very commandment of God. Hear the word of God, Congregation. He's saying. In in in chapter 4 verse 6, he is to point out things. In chapter 5 verse 7, he is to instruct And in chapter 6 verse 11, he is to urge them.

Now this is the bit that people don't like. Right? Tom are you getting this? You can teach and everyone will love you. You can preach and people might love you.

But as soon as you start commanding and pointing out things and urging, then you're in trouble. That's where you get the letters. That's where you get all kinds of things of people not liking what you're saying because we're in an age now where it's so individualistic. We're in an age where you can't command anyone to do anything. Even even if a policeman stops you to command you, you can say, who are you?

You're too young to know anything. I'm not gonna listen to you. Yeah? You can't command anyway. That's not our culture.

We don't command anymore. We have to find stuff within us. No 1 can command us how dare God have the idea that he is big enough to speak into my life. Who does he think he is? God?

Yeah? But he says, command and teach. There's a speaking into people's lives with the authority of God. And that is not gonna make you popular. Timothy herald out these words of God because they are the words of God.

And he has a right to speak into all of his creation. Timothy, be a herald. Say what it says. Nail it into people's lives. Just go over to Ecclesiastes 12.

I was thinking about this for our for our preachers group. Degastes 12 should come up. The amazing words, and and I will do it at our at our Preacher's group. But He's asked his 12. He's he's talking about the word teacher here could mean preacher.

So it's right at the end of his book and I'm not gonna go into what the book's about, but Alright at the end it's here in verse 9. Not only was the teacher or the preacher wise, but he also imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. The teachers searched to find the right words that term right words are delightful words, actually. He searched to find the right words, delightful words, and what he wrote was upright and true.

You see what the preacher is to do? He's not just to preach and teach, He's command and teach, but he's to do it in a way that will actually get into the people's lives. So he's gotta think about the right words, the right proverbs, the right how do I get that true? He's not just dumping knowledge onto people. That's a commentary.

He's trying to work his way into the mind. And he knows and understands people and he's listening to the he understands rather the lies and the demons that are around So he hears what the demons are saying, knows that his people are attacked by those demons and untruths and he's coming with proverbs and ways of teaching and thinking through the that takes energy and time. Look at verse 11 of Ecclesiastes 12. The words of the wise are like goads. I'll tell you what that is in a minute.

They collected sayings are like firmly embedded nails, given by 1 shepherd, what a lovely expression that is. But I can't preach on that. Give my 1 don't preach on that. But who's the 1 shepherd? That's Jesus.

Yeah. Okay? But but you see, what the preacher is doing, he's doing he's doing this is like that. Do you notice that? There's analogies always.

This is that. This is that. That's what the preacher's always doing. This is that. This means this.

And what you've got here is these these goads. Now a goad is a great big spike, great big long pole with a spike on the end, but you whack up the backside of an ox to get it going. Did you think the ox likes that? But the preacher is choosing words to stick up your bum. Well, that's not quite right, but that wasn't a very well chosen word.

Was it? But you know what I mean? He's the prod you on. It's the prod you're on, and we don't like that. What do prod?

What's we're doing? If I run a Norway Ann, I I just come with my finger like this. I just have to come and, like, just a finger like that. And when she sees it coming, she's getting irritated and just that 1 Prod. Where is she?

I'll show it to you. Right? It's a main prod. We don't like the product. You know, it's like they don't like eat up them.

They they don't like it at them. That's what's going on here. No. They don't like it, but they need it. That's what's going on.

A well driven nail as well. It's like pegging down the tent so that the winds of that a blowing will hold the tent down, think through its hard work preaching. In order to get illustrations and thoughts to get into the minds of people, so they hear. Preaching is not just dumping truths on people. It's working it out.

That's hard work, brothers. So let's go on to the third point. A progressing pastor, a preaching pastor, thirdly, a purposeful pastor. A purposeful pastor. Timothy has to be purposeful because in order to preach and command, there are certain things in the way that need dealing with.

Yep. And the first 1 is his age. Did you notice that? And by the way, Asian's people from American background, you've got to listen to this, particularly. So here's here's the look at verses 11 and 12.

Command and teach these things, then look at verse 12, Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech and conduct in love in faith and impurity. Now if you're older or asian, be careful here. You see the problem here? Do you see the problem? Command, speak with the authority of God into a life.

Who does he think he? Is? Who does he think he is? That little whipper snapper. I don't even know what a whipper snapper is, do you?

But it's small and it snaps. A little whipper snapper. These these these are British expressions. He's wet behind the ears. Do you have that?

Does he doesn't know anything? Who does he think he is? How could he possibly understand my situation? He doesn't know. He doesn't understand he's not read up on it.

Now, the commentators say that Timothy was probably between 30 and 40. It doesn't actually sound that young, but it was considered in the position that Paul was putting him in a position beyond his years. And in in 1 sense, there's truth, isn't there? At the Bible does take that the norm the norm in life is that the younger learns from the older. That's in many of our cultures.

Leviticus 19 says that the young should stand up when the older come in. Yeah. Should do that. In our culture, the younger always get the food first. They always go and get the best seats.

It's horrible. They should be lost. They should be seen and not even heard. And the older people should be wheeled in front to get the best seat and the best food. That's the way it should work.

Yeah. Paul says in 1 to the next chapter we'll look at this next week. Don't rebuke up an older man harshly. Respect if you're younger, be older people. You know?

It's it's great greaty, isn't it? When you hear a young man telling an old man off or a young woman telling an old man off or whatever whichever way around it is. So there's a problem here. What does the teacher who's told to give out commands of God to older people? How how does this work?

Well, I wanna say, you older people, us older people, You've got to remember that out of the males of lips and out of the males and lips of infants comes the praise of God. So we've got to remember it's not just gray it's not gray hair that gives us authority. It's scripture. So let us be careful before we don't listen to a younger minister. I know it's hard.

I know. I'm getting older. And, you know, you know, you know what it's like when you see the teachers and you think they're a teacher. They look like they're 12. You're a policeman, seriously?

You look like you're 16. Yeah? And everybody starts looking younger. You were a funeral director? Oh, right.

I've had it then because you look very young. You know, you you know what it's like. When everybody looks at and so it's very hard and this is an Asian problem and, you know, it really is because older people you bow down to But younger people and just say, here he is. Should I listen to the word of God from him? It's interesting going around with Tom sometimes.

Mean, it makes me laugh. It makes him annoyed. It's so funny. If Asian pastors come, it's always for me. Oh, lovely, lovely.

That's why this Tom, totally ignoring. Yeah. The other place you get that is fishing. If I go fishing with Tom, the old British bloke is there fishing with his maggots and his his fishing. If Tom goes up and says, how's it going?

The bloke is like, what? You're talking about, you know, don't talk to me, mate. If I go up and say, how's it going? Yeah. It's good.

Yeah. Got some carp in here. I've got a little bit couple of roach and It it's weird, isn't it? But we've got to be careful. So Paul says, don't let people look down on you because of your youth.

Now how do you do that? Because it's your job to not let them look down on you. How do you get them not to look down on you? By being an example, and he gives him 5 areas. Look at verse 11.

Command and teach these things, Don't let anyone look down on you because of you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, conduct, love, in faith and impurity. We're back to progressing. See, the young person who thinks that just 1 gigantic step or read 1 book will take you from a young man to the experiences of an older man is stupid. The older man is where he is because there's been step after step and fall and backward step and illness and step and fall and backward step and got himself there. So if Timothy is tempted to think he can just read 1 book and jump, that would be foolish, Or if Timothy is saying I'm young and therefore I'm gonna run and hide, that's not right.

Or if Timothy is saying, okay, I'll become a bossy little character, that's horrible. Or as Timothy is saying, I assume an authority because my position is that, that's wrong. Paul says, don't do any of these things. You stop people looking down on you, by growing in the areas and setting an example for speech, conduct love, faith, purity. You stick at those things and over time you grow and people who will win the end will see growth.

Yeah. And there are areas to be concerned about and we could spend a long time on those areas and I originally did think about that But in speech, you see, the gift that the preacher has given of speech is often the very thing that's You know, like Isaiah, I'm a man of unclean lips and he was a preacher. It's amazing how, you know, Twitter or responding to people's criticisms too quickly. It's a disaster. Be aware of your speech.

Words are our tools, so learn to craft them in ways that are kind but straight command, but are not rude. In love, in conduct, in love, in faith and purity, Basically, go back to what we saw for the elders in chapter 2, go over those things constantly and grow in them and progressing them and older people. We're to encourage young people in this. I I find it really sad. I mean the other day I talked to someone about having a minister and I I said, oh, you know, here's someone that you might wanna think about.

Oh, no. He's too young. I said he's great, though. No. He's too young.

Yeah. But he's really good. No. He's too young. But you're an older congregation.

That's right. They really are demanding. There's something wrong with that, isn't it? The older congregation should love the young 1. If you read the history of spurgeon at 18, he came to an older congregation.

Why was he so blessed because they supported him and knew that he could grow and backed him? So we should support younger ministers, encourage them. They grow. Don't pick on them. When I was a younger minister, there were people that just picked on you all the time, never thought you could grow, dismissed you, and put you down.

It was very hard getting through Sunday's, Monday morning's always writing your resignation letter because there was such negativity and no thought that you could grow or help you to grow. We're not to be like that, but you, younger men, are to grow and and progress, and that will help. But hold it, I'm still under 0.3, don't neglect your gift And there's all these words like be diligent, give yourself holy. Don't neglect your gift, and he's talking about the gift of preaching here. Take pains in these things, brothers, those of you that are learning to preach, it is hard work.

Everybody thinks a preach, everybody thinks they can preach until you get up here. And it's hard work, take pains, don't neglect, Be diligent. Give yourself wholly to these things. It's early mornings, brothers, if you're gonna be a preacher. It's sinking throughout the day brothers.

It's going to bed and dreaming about these things at night and then it's early mornings. It's often hours, thinking, arguing, debating, reading, and it sometimes have to be isolated in order to do that, reading and praying and studying. Look at the words, verse 13, devote yourself. Verse 14, don't neglect. Verse 15, be diligent and give yourselves holy.

Be absorbed in this work. And any workman knows that if you don't keep your tools sharp, and clean and good. It's harder work and in the end you'll fail. So keep your tools sharp. Spurgent talks about you being the tool of God, your mind, your intellect, your reading, your passion, your love, Keep them sharp.

Let God speak to you. John Owen, the great theologian, says no man preaches his sermon well to others. If he doth not first preach to his own heart, that's what you're doing during the week. You're blasting your heart. You're seeing the hypocrisy.

You're hearing the lies of Satan that you've picked up and you're getting the Word of God to come in and banish those thorn bushes and bring in the Jupiter, the Juniper berries so that you grow in these things that's your job, and you stick at it, and work at it, and the perfect pastors may be doing all kinds of wonderful things. And everybody's saying, oh, really, that way, he does have any wonderful such a wonderful visitor. Do you know it's worth going to the hospital just to have my pastor visit, because he's so good He comes into the room, and he lights it up, and even the nurses are clapping when he walks in, and you think, well, I've never I've never done that. I could go in and people look like death. And then I'm thinking, I wanna mask because I don't wanna catch what they've got.

And then, oh, you had your leg off. Oh, 0, dear. That's horrible. You know? Oh, but he up the road is so good.

But you've got a You know you're not loving your congregation when you're you're serving up stale Sunday lunch. A crust of bread instead of nice roast dinner. And that leads me to my fourth point. You had enough? Tom?

Where are we? Always the time. I didn't know, oh my word. Perfect pastor preaches 20 minutes. 18 at the moment.

Alright? Another 2 minutes to go. Here's the fourth point. You wanna pee? And gave me this on the way forward way in.

That sounds wrong as well as That was not a well chosen phrase. My fourth point originally was be saved and a saving pastor. A saved and a saving pastor. But you could say preserving pastor if you wanna pay. You're preserving life.

The word actually used is is persevere but you're preserving life. Look at verse 16 again. Watch your life and doctoring closely persevering them because if you do, you will save both yourself and your heroes. You see all these words? This is what it's really about.

Verse 13, devote yourself, verse 14, don't neglect, verse 15, be diligent and give yourself holy verse 16, watch and persevere in them. Why? Why? Why is this so utterly important because you will save yourself and your heroes. You'll preserve life.

Now there's only 1 savior in the world, and that's the Lord Jesus Christ. But you were to be a Savior. There's only 1 savior in the world, the lord Jesus Christ. No 1 else can say but Jesus, but you preacher and to be a savior. How come?

How does that work? Because you're presenting Christ to people. You're presenting the Word of Christ. You're commanding the word of God, and you'll save them. As you preach the message of the bible, it saves people.

And it saves people not just from from eternal life, you know, eternal salvation in that sense. You're saving, you're delivering yourself from the lies of Satan that we saw at the beginning. From the hypocritical liars, we haven't got a conscience. From the perfect pastors that are telling you to do everything but preach the word. 1 hour preparation for sermons doesn't matter what else you do.

If that's all you commit to the preparation of sermons, then you're not a good perfect pastor. It takes energy and effort, and the word of God is a 2 edged sword and it hurts many people and cuts into them and separates the marrow from the bone and it hurts. And sometimes people go out wounded under the Word of God, only because it's good surgery, only to put them together again so that they'll produce fruit. And you save people. And it is amazing.

People are saved from the world. That's why you study the world and show where the errors are. It's the word of God, the 2 edged sword. And as you preach it, You will be saved, people will be saved. It's not intellect, it's not logic, it's not philosophy, psychology, there's no pills that will save people, It's the Word of God.

What's your life and doctoring closely? Persevering them because if you do, you will save both yourselves and your heroes. Sometimes you hear people say this. I've heard this on lots of occasions. He's a great saint, but he doesn't prepare his sermons very well.

They're pretty poor, but he's a lovely pastor. Or he's a great preacher but he's got a terrible temper. He's awful with people. You can't divorce those 2 things. It's life and ministry and progressing in those things.

Now we read this obviously for ministers, but We know that as you open the church up and you see, we're all ministers. We're all ministers. We're all meant to be ministering to each other to some degree. So are you growing in these areas? Are you growing in these areas?

Are you commanding yourself and teaching yourself and being commanded and being taught. Are you setting an example for others to follow? Oh, to people. The younger people should be saying I wanna be like him. Yeah?

Well, you were grumpy old so and so. You're just so grumpy. And everybody says, oh, you're gonna be like him. Yeah? Are you setting are you devoting yourselves to the teaching of the word?

Do you neglect? Are you being diligent? Are you giving yourself holy to these things? Are you watching your life and doctrine? Are you persevering?

These are powerful words and they're powerful words for for young men coming up. And learning the ministry, but they're for all of us to look at and see how we're doing. And that we would allow the wonderful word of God to wash us and progress us. Let's have a moment of quiet as we think through some of these things. And then I'll ask the band to come up now because they're going to play a song for us.

I'll introduce in a minute. Let's pray. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, So is my word that goes out from my mouth. It will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire. Father, we thank you for your life giving word.

We thank you that it is wonderful, that we can turn nowhere else. There is nowhere else for us to go, but to these living words which give us life, which correct us, which train us, in righteousness and which make us wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. And we thank you that there are so many many, many people in this room who love the word of God and they want to grow. And we pray that you would help us all to keep loving your word. We do pray for the elders again in the church and for those of us who preach and teach and we ask you, lord, please, that you would help us to keep watch over our lives and our doctrine that we would be concerned to make progress in godliness, that we would not neglect your word and would give ourselves to the preaching and the teaching of the Word of God and we ask all of these things in Jesus' name, amen.

Preached by Pete Woodcock
Pete Woodcock photo

Pete is Senior Pastor of Cornerstone and lives in Chessington with his wife Anne who helps oversee the women’s ministry in the church.

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