A Good Servant of Christ Jesus

6 If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. 7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. 10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:6-10)

As Christians, if you are a born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, if you have been changed by Him and desire to live for Him, then the Bible says this about you…

14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

Paul says here that one has died, that is Christ, for all, not just Jews but those from every nation, every people group on the earth, all who will believe. And Christ died for all those, that those who live, live in Christ, might no longer live for themselves but live for Jesus Christ who died and was raised. In other words, Christ died for us, as Christians, and as Christians then we are to live for Him.

Paul says that it is the love of Christ that compels this. Why would anyone live for another? Well, for the Christian, it is Christ’s love that makes it happen, Christ’s love for us, our reciprocating love for Him. He loved us first, and His love for us then leads us to love Him. When we understand His love for us, as we realize His love for us, then we will love Him. And this love is not a mushy feeling kind of love, it should carry with it feeling for sure, but it is not only a feeling, it is also a commitment. So there is action involved with this kind of love we are to have for Jesus. We then as Christians have a special calling from God, from Christ, we have a calling of love to serve Him.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. (Galatians 2:20)

Paul is talking about an exchanged life. He traded in his old life and God gave Him a new one with new responsibilities, new loves, new desires, and new work. True Christianity is that, it is newness of life.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Newness has come to the believer. Not perfection, but newness nonetheless. Not complete change in behavior, but new desires, living under a new King. These new desires are to lead to new behavior for sure. We get to represent Christ to the world and this will be, with our words and with our lives, in how we live.

So we are to be servants of Christ, our lives lived for Him who has died for us. We have been crucified with Him to live not for ourselves, but Him living in us, and this is newness of life, putting off the old life, living the new life. So as a servant of Christ we have work to do. And Paul in our passage this morning is instructing Timothy regarding being a good servant of Christ.

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. (1 Timothy 4:6)

Being a servant is, well, it can be quite an adventure. You know, we mistakingly have a tendency to think we have control over life. We choose this and we choose that. We decide to live here, to do this job, to teach our children in this way, to go to this school, to eat that for lunch, and I’m sure we all choose ice cream for desert, because who wouldn’t want ice cream? We make decisions.

But think about being a servant. A servant is one hired by another, by a master to do the work of the master. The master says, “Do this,” and the servant does it. The servant may have plans, but the master’s wishes trump his plans. The servant cannot just decide what to do, he has to look to his master for guidance for his next move.

Timothy was a servant of Christ. All Christians are to be servants of Christ Jesus. He is to determine our plans, He is to determine our walk. He lays out what our desires are to be and how we conduct ourselves in this world for His glory, to make Him known. We may choose easy if all is up to us, but it’s not, not for the believer.

What Paul does in verse 6 is he tells Timothy what he must do to be a good servant of Jesus. And what he is to do is not easy. What does he say? ”If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus.” Timothy is to put “these things” before the brothers. He is to tell the brothers some things. Now, we need to know that brothers here can be interpreted brothers and sisters, we don’t want anyone to feel left out here, this is not just about telling the men some things. The Greek word here translated “brothers” is also siblings, male and female. So you could say Timothy was to tell all his siblings in Christ some things.

So what is he referring to? What are “these things” he is supposed to put before his siblings in Christ? Well, it is all the things we have already looked at together in verses 1-5 of this chapter. Remember what was said there? It was the sad truth that some will depart from the faith in these later days.

You see, we could get the idea that Paul was just filling Timothy in on the bad news that some would depart from the faith, you know just so Timothy would be aware of that. We could see that this was just insider information between pastors. You know, like, “Timothy I just want you to know this, just be aware that some may depart.” But that is not how this goes. Paul wants Timothy to lay this out before the church people. It is not just that Timothy needed to know but that everyone needed to know this, tell the whole church.

Here is the message they needed to hear…

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

The truth that needs sharing is sometimes not so positive in nature. This would surely be a warning. It would be a warning to those in the congregation who were not true believers and a warning for the true believers, even, to examine their own hearts to see if they were truly in Christ. And for the true believers not to be surprised if they see people fall away, grieved but not surprised.

I know that we have talked about this warning at length already in previous sermons, but here we are again. I want to show you from 2 Corinthians how this happens, that is how even some who have heard the gospel, how they can turn away.

3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)

Do you see what happens? ”The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers.” This is a severe blinding that keeps them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

The world can be blinding. The world, god of this world can be so seductive that a person cannot see the glory of Christ. A person can be so mesmerized by this world and the things in it, so carried away by riches, pleasure, fame, power, so carried away so as to not see the glory of Christ. And this can even happen to those who understand the truth of the gospel.

The world is a powerful influence, Satan is very cunning. You know, as believers, I think we need to be really careful that we do not promote the world or worldly things in such a way as to be a stumbling block to others around us, and especially not to our children. Even if we are in Christ, are we communicating to others that this world is to die for, that things in this world are worth our worship and sacrifice? Do we talk about the world and things in this world as if this is all there is? God help us not to promote the world to others in a way that may cause them to be so attracted to it that Christ no longer matters to them.

Paul is urging Timothy to be a good servant, urging him to share these warnings with the church people. It is easier and sometimes more enjoyable really for us to just stick with a positive message. But warnings too are needed. And we all need to be faithful when a warning is warranted and needed.

Now why do I say this may be a hard message for Timothy? Well because there are other things we know about these later times, and that is that there will be congregations of people who don’t want to hear the truth but will only want to hear what is comfortable and pleasant for them. We know this from 2 Timothy 4…

1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

So preaching and teaching and simply sharing truth with friends must be based on sound doctrine from God’s Word. There are too many places already where people can have their ears tickled, just hear what they want to hear. And so Paul goes directly to that at the end of verse 6 when he says this: “being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.” This is important. Timothy was trained and was being trained in the words of faith and good doctrine. He was a student of truth. He knew the truth. And Paul wanted to be sure he would continue to share what he knew to be true, no matter what. No matter if it meant conflict or being unpopular or even if it meant facing persecution.

Again, remember, he was not on his own but was a servant of Christ. And being a servant of Christ meant that he was a man under authority and taking his orders from another: Jesus Christ. Timothy couldn’t make his own truth up but was bound by God’s truth. And to be a good servant of Christ meant that he would share the truth no matter the consequences of doing so. Oh, that we would be so bold and so equipped and so ready and determined to do the same.

This was one of the primary reasons that we chose to go through this book of 1 Timothy as a church. It is not hard to see that God’s truth is under attack in our society. And the more it is challenged and the greater the consequences become of holding to it, the more, unfortunately, the more people there will be who will shrink back for teaching and preaching it. We are seeing this now. Churches and whole denominations are updating their views on sexuality, gender, what it means to be loving, discussions on whether the Bible is true or if it is outdated, the Apostle Paul is under attack, the first chapters of Genesis are under attack, but what is happening too is individuals are also questioning whether or not it is worth it to embrace Christ in this new world.

The allurements of this world, as we talked about earlier, are sometimes simply the allurement of fitting in with the mainstream. It seems like an easier path to just go along with the majority. Many are choosing that over Christ. The blinding is happening and the glory of Christ is being missed, and in some cases there is not a single person who will step in and stand and say, “Wait, here is the truth, here is the truth of rejecting Christ, here is the glory of Christ. Can you see it, will you see it?” The broad way is not the best way, it may seem so but it’s not, it leads to death, eternal separation from the favor or God. Someone needs to stand. We all need to stand. Will we say, “To live is Christ!” Will we live for Him?

Do you know what the last words are that Jesus spoke as recorded in the Bible? His last words recorded are in Revelation 22:20 where He says, “Surely, I am coming soon.” When He comes, will you be found to be a good servant of His? Will we be those who spoke His words of truth, not our words, not our thoughts, not our wisdom, but His Words of truth?

He gave Himself, humbly gave Himself for us. Philippians 2 says He “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Will we live for Him?

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed. (1 Timothy 4:6)