Materials: Bible, scrap paper or spiral notebook, colored pencils (optional); The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges; The Bible Knowledge Commentary by Zuck
1) Please read 1 Timothy 3:14-4:16. If you would like to mark the key words and phrases in your Bible here is a list: teach, faith, doctrine, godliness, money/riches, all references to the devil, all references to prayer.
2) List the six realities of the life of Christ. “The Mystery of Godliness” means that the possibility of living a godly life was, at one time, hidden, but is now revealed through Jesus. Our loyalty to Christ makes the godly life possible. These six realities show us a glimpse of God’s plan for evangelism, salvation, and discipleship. We GET to live a life that glorifies Jesus. We GET to sacrifice things of this world for rewards up in heaven. We GET to serve a kind Master instead of being enslaved by the world or flesh.
3) How can we identify false teachers and their followers? What were the erroneous teachings? At this point it is important to understand that the early church was beginning to have to deal with Gnosticism, which taught that the spirit is good and matter is evil. These people believed and taught that all fleshly appetites (such as food and sex) needed to be rooted out and suppressed. But Paul, in just a few words, goes against this belief system stating that what God has created is not unholy. Matter is not evil. Man can abuse these appetites, through adultery and gluttony, and these should be rejected.
4) What do these scriptures say about the attitude of thanksgiving? Ephesians 5:20, Colossians 3:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 We pray for God’s intervention in our lives, then congratulate ourselves rather than God for the results…This is not unusual. It is the natural tendency of mankind. ~ Bridges “True godliness manifests itself in a thankful and prayerful attitude.” For what are you thankful for today?
5) List the pastoral instructions Paul gives Timothy. Now list the personal instructions.
The ultimate goals for any godly ministry are the working out of one’s own salvation and being a part of the salvation experience of those who are listening to the one preaching the Word of God. We are to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness. We have to practice it. Exercise! “Every day we are training ourselves in one direction or the other by the thoughts we think, the words we say, the actions we take, the deeds we do.” ~ Bridges
6) “Godliness colors all aspects of temporal and eternal life, bestowing it’s blessing on all it touches.” ~ Zuck
Conclusion: Timothy was timid in his ministry and Paul was trying to encourage him. Not only should Timothy not allow others to look down upon him because he was young, but he should not look down upon himself either. Congregational leaders have an awesome responsibility and burden to carry. Us lay people can help our leaders by exercising our godliness. Are we godly examples in word, conduct, love, spirit, faith and purity? Are we giving attention to reading God’s Word, to exhorting God’s people, to the doctrine of God’s Truth, and to the development of the gifts God has given to us?
Homework for next week: Read 1 Timothy 5:1-10 and mark any key words that you see.