Character Of A Good Servant – Wheaton

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Passage: 1 Timothy 4:6-10

Speaker: Steve Hands

Series: Truth Over Spin

Character Of A Good Servant

What makes life worth living? Most luxuries and entertainments promise that they’ll make us happier, give us pleasure, or make us more comfortable. But fleeting pleasure is not the same as satisfaction, and comfort is no substitute for purpose. Scripture reveals the life truly worth living in our passage for today. We see that being a disciple of Christ who makes disciples (1 Tim 4:6-7) is a life of ultimate value (4:8-9) lived in gratitude for the hope God has given us (4:10).

First, we are called to be disciples of Christ who make disciples (4:6-7). Paul tells Timothy that for him to be a “good servant of Christ Jesus” involves two things: he needs to continually train himself for godliness through the words of the faith and good doctrine, and he needs to then put those things before the rest of the family of God. Timothy needs to be a disciple in commitment to ongoing training, and to make disciples by applying the truth of God to their lives against the lies they’re being told by the false teachers. Similarly, for all of us who seek to be good servants of Christ, we must be dedicated to a life of personal discipleship ourselves, and to share what Christ gives us with the community of faith to help others in their growth in Christ. But why would we dedicate our lives to this calling as opposed to any other?

We are disciples who make disciples because this is a life of ultimate value (4:8-9). Paul contrasts physical training – a life lived in pursuit of individual excellence, personal health, adulation of crowds if successful in competitions – with a life dedicated to God. Most of the pathways available to us in life offer “some value”, whether that’s success in business, sports, family, or whatever other pursuit. Yet Paul contends that “godliness” – a life spent for the sake of God’s purposes – “is of value in every way”. It expands our horizons towards what is important in the scope of eternity, which far from making us so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good, instead makes even the present life more full. When we dedicate our lives to Christ, we aim our lives toward eternal good, towards salvation that lasts, towards transformation that matters. Nothing compares to a life lived for Christ.

And what is more, this is the only way to live in gratitude for the hope God has provided us (4:10). A life of discipleship and making disciples is not an effort to earn God’s favor or pay him back for what he has done for us. Dedicating our lives to God is the grateful response of those who have received hope from the living God our Savior. While we were yet God’s enemies, he poured out his life for us and conquered the grave for us. And so since he has made it that we can set our hopes on him, we gladly toil and strive in pursuit of godliness for ourselves and others.

So what? There are lots of things we could center our lives around and aim our goals towards. Every pursuit makes promises to us. But the testimony of the disciples of Jesus is that the ultimate value is found when we dedicate our lives to being disciples of Jesus and making disciples of Jesus. May we orient our lives toward that end, experience that fullness of life from now into eternity, celebrating the hope God our Savior has given us.

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