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A Good Minister

(1 Timothy 4:6-16)

Lesson 1 -- third quarter 1997
June 1, 1997

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1997, Christian Light Publications

What shall claim your life?
Take care.

"Frayed Ripcord Claims Life of Parachutist." This fictitious headline illuminates one possible meaning of the first question above. However, this time it is not the correct meaning. I do not mean for the question to have anything to do with subject of death; at least, not directly. To find the meaning for this application, consider another imaginary headline: "Explorer Claims Mars for His Country."

Back in the days of the exploration of the New World, explorers boldly and brashly claimed their discoveries for the countries that sponsored their adventures. These men proclaimed vast chunks of real estate to be the sole and exclusive property of their patrons. In other words, the "owners" of these new lands claimed first and full rights to all the resources contained therein.

What or who has that sort of claim to your life? To whom or to what do you belong? Oh, I don't mean in a theoretical or doctrinal sort of way just now. I speak in terms of what or who receives the most benefits from your life. I speak in terms of for whom or for what you are pouring out your life every day.

I don't need to tell you what your life is for. Nor do I need to give you a list of some of the goals, pursuits, causes and people that others pour out their lives for. You know. Allow me simply to remind you what the Scriptures say should claim our lives.

"Give thyself wholly to them" (v. 15). Your choice, my friend: You give yourself; not by force or coercion, but by personal election. Your commitment: wholly, without reserve or double-mindedness. To them--to whom, to what? A fitting question to answer in this context!

"Take care," she said as I left. That's it; nothing more, nothing less. Take care. What could that two-word instructive sentence mean? The Apostle Paul wrote something similar to Timothy: "Take heed." What could God have possibly meant in inspiring the Apostle to give such an admonition to this young man?

Here's a project for you. Read each verse of today's printed text, adding the first four words of verse 16 at the end of each. For most of the verses, this arrangement seems to flow quite naturally! Guard your life! Expose yourself to the Word, and focus your life for the vibrant interpretation of the Scriptures!

But the Biblical injunction addresses more than a watchfulness for ourselves and how we live. Take heed unto the doctrine! Discover it. Learn it. Love it. Apply it. Defend it. Exemplify it. Adorn it. In our age, experience has come to mean more than doctrine for so many. Doctrine is being cast aside because "if it works for you," that's good enough; why pursue more? Let me be clear: this is demonic in origin.

So be instructed from the pure, divine Word again: "nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine" and "give attendance to...doctrine" and still "take heed unto...the doctrine." And be saved. And save others.

Disregarding doctrine is a high risk policy.

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