Date written: December 3rd, 2005
Scripture ref: 1 Timothy 4:6-8
SUBJECT: Perseverance, Steadfastness, Christian Growth
TITLE: Exercising Godliness
PROPOSITION: What do we need to properly exercise? The truths that apply to physical exercise apply to spiritual exercise as well. What are those truths? 1) Readiness, 2) Repetition, 3) Resistance, 4) Resolution.
Objectives: Each ought to understand what is involved in exercise so that we can exercise godliness.
Aim: To encourage everyone to apply themselves to the Christian life through spiritual exercise.
1. Read: 1 Timothy 4:6-8
2. About the Text:
1) The book of 1 Timothy is about Paul giving Timothy instruction on how men ought to behave themselves in the church (1 Timothy 3:15).
2) In these instructions, Paul also gives Timothy specific instruction on how he ought to conduct his affairs as well.
3) He warns Timothy about making sure he doesn't give heed to fables, but that he preaches the truth.
4) He tells Timothy to bring to mind these things to those to whom he ministers.
5) He then tells him if he does that he will be a good minister.
6) Instead of giving heed to fables, Timothy is supposed to exercise himself in godliness.
7) Paul then compares physical exercise with spiritual exercise.
8) Physical exercise profits a little, but spiritual exercise profits in all things.
3. About the subject.
1) There are some here who are involved in physical, bodily exercise from time to time.
2) I myself enjoy going to the community center and exercising on occasion.
3) The same principles involved in physical exercise are applicable in spiritual exercise.
4) Let's discuss some of those today.
4. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.
DISCUSSION: What do we need to properly exercise?
1. In order to exercise, you first have to be ready to exercise.
1) There has to be a decision of the mind.
2) There has to be a willingness to begin.
3) There has to be a desire to act.
4) Spiritually speaking we have to do the same.
2. There needs to be a decision of the mind.
1) Consider 1 Peter 1:13 "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;"
2) Consider 1 Peter 3:15 "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"
3) We have to have a readiness of mind if we are going to practice spiritual exercise.
3. There has to be a willingness to begin.
1) Consider Paul's attitude in Romans 1:15 "So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also."
2) Consider the attitude of the Bereans in Acts 17:11 "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
3) We have to be willing to get started on practicing spiritual exercise and then BEGIN!
4. There has to be a desire to act.
1) Once we have made the decision and are ready to begin, we need to act!
2) John 13:17 "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them."
3) James 1:22 "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."
1. In order to exercise, repetition must be involved.
1) Walking two steps isn't exercise.
2) Doing one lift isn't exercise.
3) One must repeat whatever it is one is doing multiple times to exercise.
2. How about spiritually?
1) Do we just utter one short prayer and call it "devotion"?
2) Do we just read one brief verse and call it "study"?
3) Do we just get in one service per week and call ourselves "faithful"?
3. Repetition is something that is mentioned in the scriptures.
1) In 2 Peter 1:12-15, we read "Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance."
2) Jesus also implied repetition when he said, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me" (Luke 9:23).
3) And in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 "Pray without ceasing."
4. In order to exercise ourselves spiritually we need to involve ourselves in repetition of spiritual activity.
1) Someone might say, "But that is boring."
2) Physical exercise is also "boring," but there is NO DOUBT that it is good for the body.
3) So also, spiritual exercise may be "boring" to some, but it is GOOD for the soul!
1. In order to exercise there must be some kind of resistance.
1) Have you ever tried to exercise with no resistance?
a. Can you build muscles by pumping air?
b. Do you get a good cardio workout by sitting on the couch?
2) Astronauts that spend extended periods of time in space become atrophied because there is no resistance.
3) Exercise demands resistance!
2. Spiritual exercise involves resistance as well.
1) We need to resist temptation and sin.
a. 1 Corinthians 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
b. Ephesians 6:13 "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
2) We need to resist the devil.
a. In 1 Peter 5:8 we read, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world."
b. James also tells us regarding the devil, "…Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).
3) We need to be resistant against persecution.
a. Matthew 5:11-12 "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."
b. 1 Peter 4:14 "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified."
3. In order to exercise in godliness we have to resist that which is evil and cling to the good!
1) We must resist to grow stronger.
2) If we have nothing to resist, we will atrophy.
1. In order for our exercise to do us good, we must be resolved!
1) We would do well to begin, but if we won't stick with it, exercise will do us no long term good.
2) We need to be resolved to exercise not just for the moment but for our lives.
3) When you stop exercising you stop getting the benefits of the exercise.
4) It's an ongoing thing.
2. Spiritually, we have to be committed to long term exercise.
1) We can't afford to look back: Luke 9:62 "And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
2) Hebrews 10:38 "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him."
3) We need to be steadfast and constant: 1 Corinthians 15:58 "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
3. We've got to persevere to exercise spiritually.
1) It's that much harder to get started again when we get lazy in our exercise.
2) So also, spiritually, if we slough off, it will be harder to get started again.
3) It's so much easier if we just stick with it and don't give up.
1. Are we exercising ourselves in godliness?
1) If we want to properly grow, then we will exercise!
2) Physical exercise is good for the body and of little profit because one day our bodies will die.
3) But exercising ourselves in godliness profits in all areas of our lives and for all eternity!
2. What do we need to exercise ourselves in godliness?
1) Readiness 2) Repetition 3) Resistance 4) Resolution