Program Air Date - 10-28-07



Solomon once proclaimed, "He shall direct your paths." Is God directing your paths in life?

What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God's Living Word. We welcome you to our program and we thank God that you have chosen to be with us today. We are excited about this opportunity we have together this morning to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.


Well, it's time to sing our first hymn of the morning. Won't you join in with the congregation as we sing together, "There's A Fountain Free!"

(SONG # 1)


How many times have we been lost in our lives? I think us men are worse than ladies about this, because we are generally to tough to stop and ask for help when we need it. I often will look for a house or business here in Springfield and wonder if I will ever find it. Thinking, should I go this way or that way? Probably all of us have been in this situation before and it really leaves us feeling a bit confused or even lost.

I think most of us ask these same questions in other parts of our lives too: Should I do or say, this or that? Should I follow him or her? Is this really something I should be involved in? Sometimes the questions deal with trivial matters, but often they can be life altering. Determining which way to go or what to do is a very important lesson which we must all learn in life. Isn't life about making these types of decisions everyday? It certainly is. So our goal must be to learn to decide which way or what to do according to what God wants.

The Bible often talks about, the paths or the way of God. It is important to recognize this in our decision making process so we won't leave God out. In Proverbs 3:6, we read, "in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." God is there for us to show us the way if we will only let Him. In fact, this is why He has given us His Word. The Psalmist David said, "your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path," Psalms 119:105. God's word is the light, which illuminates our pathway. It can show us which way to go and tell us which turns to take.

Also in the book of John we read, "and Jesus said to them, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me," chapter 14, verse 6. So, Jesus is the way which we must follow to get to the Father. It is the Word of God that teaches us about that way, Jesus, and how we must follow Him. Thus, our paths are brightened by Jesus and His word, so that we know the direction we should go.

So as we look down each road in life, let's make decisions that include the help of Jesus. If we remember Him and His Word, it will help us to make decisions that will please our God in heaven. Then, the result will be that God will bless each one of us as we are doing that which is according to His Will.

Today we will be continuing our study from God's Word, which is entitled, "Be An Example To The Believers!" Our specific topic today will address, being an example by, "Giving Attention To Reading, Exhortation and Doctrine." So continue with us and after our next song together, I will return with this lesson from God's Word. It's now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "For The Beauty Of The Earth."

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

We're glad you've continued with us as we again turn to our main text of study for the past several weeks there in 1 Timothy chapter 4. As we look together at those things that show us the type of example we must be to believers and as well we have seen to all of mankind.

You might note with me there in verse 12 the Bible mentions ideas like, "in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith and in purity." All of these are certainly things we've talked about that show that we must be good and righteous in these areas that people might know we are His children. That is, the children of God.

But now if you'll move on to verse 13, that will be our continued study today as we build on some of the things that lays the foundation that help us to know the words to say, the actions, the faith that we must have, the love, the thing that teaches us everything that we need to know. So as we'll read together there in verse 13, we'll understand more about our discussion today. The verse says, "Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation and to doctrine." There are three things that are mentioned here and we want to look at each of those this morning as we understand again how I might know more the Will of God and therefore how I might obey it to be the better example in all areas, in all facets of my life.

So what about giving attention to reading? Paul tells the young evangelist to be a reader. There are many of us that like to read and we read different things. We might read different types of news publications or magazines. We might go to the library or bookstores. Think of all the books that are bought everyday and every year to be read. Why do we read? We read to be entertained, but at the end of the day, when we read we learn. We learn a lot and when we learn things hopefully we are able to better ourselves or to apply those things in our lives, and then we're able to as we might at the end say to have a greater wisdom in the things of God. And so when we read here about the idea of giving attention to reading, no doubt Paul is encouraging him to study, to be diligent.

We actually see the same idea represented over in 2 Timothy chapter 2 and verse 15 where in the Old King James it says, "To study to show thyself approved," but in the New King James, "To be diligent, to present yourself approved to God." The same idea is presented because it both is a commitment to gaining knowledge through study, through a diligence of study, through a diligence of learning and wanting to know more. Certainly one of the ways we do that best is by reading. And what would we read? Well, the Word of God. And that's exactly what he goes on to say. He says, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God a worker that does not need to be ashamed but rightly dividing the Word of Truth." You see a worker. We want to be workers for God. How do we know that? Well, we know that we want to be workers because of what we are studying, what we are diligently learning from the Word of God as we read it, as we grow in it, and then if we know it, we are able to do what? Rightly divide the Word. So it all ties beautifully together in helping us to understand that we must be those who are diligent, who commit the things of God to our hearts and to our minds.

We might also note there together in the same book, that is 2 Timothy in chapter 3 that we learn what it was that made Timothy wise. Paul speaks about it there in verse 15. He says, "From a child, you knew the Holy Scriptures that were able to make you wise." Well, you see there, from the child, the child being taught as we know from the text by his mother and his grandmother. He was brought up in the things of God. He no doubt, by word of mouth and by study and by reading and by going to worship, he learned all of these things. He was growing. And it says that, "From a child the Holy Scriptures made you wise." Isn't that what we want? Don't we want to read and study and grow that we might be what? Wise through the Word of God. For if we are wise, that's a godly wisdom, what does the Bible say? We'll be blessed, not only now, but eternally. But then I want you to notice what he goes on to state. He says, "Wise even unto salvation." You see, there is an added blessing. Not only will we be wise now in a godly wisdom that we might be strong and able to do the Will of God, but we'll be eternally seen as wise as we are given the blessed reward of heaven someday.

Then you might note in the same context after he mentions the Holy Scriptures, after he mentions that they make us wise and that they will save us, he goes on in verse 16 to state this fact. He says, "All scripture is inspired of God and is given really to equip us in every area needed of life that we might be complete and thoroughly furnished," verse 17. So the Word of God is a great blessing to us that we might study it, that we might know it and as we learn it, apply it in our lives unto the wisdom of God and therefore be seen as faithful and blessed by God in our obedience.

Look over also in the book of 2 Peter. In 2 Peter chapter 3 and verse 18 we find a similar idea given by Peter himself. He says there that we must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You see again a command through the Holy Spirit by an apostle of God that we must grow, that we must gain knowledge, that we must apply it into wisdom and that it is the Word of God then that makes us and gives us that wisdom unto salvation.

So yes, giving attention to reading is of the utmost importance that I might know how to be an example in all of these areas that we have continued to discuss.

The next thing that he mentions back in our main text and he says to give attention to exhortation. You know it is important that we encourage individuals, that we help people to know that we love others and that we certainly want to build them up. We are to be people who build one another up as Christians and even build up at times those of this world that we might be able to teach them about Jesus Christ. Certainly that doesn't mean that we are to compromise or bend the Truth. But we do need to be careful about how it is that we give those things of God to others in this world that they might truly hear the message and not see the messenger. If we will note there though in our main text again, we find the idea that giving attention to reading builds upon the ability to exhort. That tells me that if I study the Word of God, if I read the Word of God, if I grow in the Word of God, I'm going to be an individual who then is able, who is equipped to study, to commit to knowledge and then to obey that I might encourage and exhort others who are around me.

Isn't that really what Timothy was trying to say? Look over in 2 Timothy chapter 4. After he was told to "preach the Word and to be instant in season and out," Paul goes on to tell him in what areas. He says, "You must convince people. You must rebuke people." But the third is interesting. He says, "You must exhort people." Well, you need to encourage them. Notice it is in conjunction with the Word of God. It's in conjunction with convincing and even rebuking someone who needs to be rebuked , when you need to stand up, but then he says also here that "we need to exhort with all longsuffering, with patience and then teaching." So yes, we need to be those who are willing to preach the gospel and to give attention in preaching the gospel to exhortation.

In Titus, Paul goes on to speak of many of the same things. If you'll look at Titus chapter 1 and verse 9. He says, "Hold fast the faithful Word that has been taught that he might be able that by sound doctrine to both exhort and convince." Again, in preaching that you might be able to do what? Exhort and convince.

Again in the same text, we go over to chapter 2 and we go into Titus chapter 2 and verse 6. He says, "Likewise, exhort the young men." You see, exhort the brethren. Exhort others.

In the same text, we see in verse 9, "Exhort even the bondservants, the slaves, encourage them to obey their master." You see in every facet of life especially with brethren, but in every facet of life, we must strive to exhort, to encourage, to help even the lost.

Titus 2:15 goes on to say, "Speak all of these things and exhort," again encourage, but then he says, "and rebuke with all authority." So you need to exhort. We've got to be straightforward. We've got to preach the whole gospel. But we've still got to do it in a way that will encourage someone and not just encourage them to make them feel good or touchy-feely, but to encourage them to be convicted and obey the gospel. So sometimes that doesn't necessarily going to mean that they're going to be happy about everything that was said, but might be challenged to look with godly sorrow at the error in their life that they might repent.

So give attention to reading. Give attention as we have seen to exhortation. Then also finally we see there in that text to give attention to doctrine. We've seen in several other passages already the idea of doctrine being presented because if we read the Word of God and then we begin to preach and to exhort and encourage others to obey Christ, then obviously the thing that follows is that we have committed ourselves. We have found a place to stand and that is in the Gospel, that is in the Doctrine.

If you'll notice with me in a verse that is found in Romans chapter 6, that is exactly what Paul is speaking about here around verse 17 as he says, "But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart the form of doctrine," he says, "to which you were delivered." There was something that delivered them that brought them out of sin, that cleansed them. What was that? Obedience to the form of doctrine. What does that tell us? It tells us that there is a clear doctrine of Christ. There is a clear law that has been established. There is a precedent set by God that must be known and understood and then which must be followed.

So that's why we move over again to passages that we've already looked at around the book of Timothy once again for instance again in 1 Timothy chapter 4 and verse 16. We find a similar encouragement. In our main text, the verse says, "Take heed to yourselves and to the doctrine." You see there is a form of doctrine. He says, "Timothy, you take heed and follow it." Then he says in verse 16, "And continue in it." There's a reason for it. He says, "When you do it, you're going to save yourself." That's what we've been talking about. "But you might also save others." So continue to study, grow, in exhortation, and then in as we read here doctrine. Then if you'll continue in doctrine and do it and take heed to it and become committed to it and stand in it, then you will reap the results. Not because of what you do, but because God will give the increase. Yes, the Bible speaks of a sound doctrine that we must be committed to.

In Titus chapter 2 and verse 1, he says, "Speak the things which are proper according to sound doctrine," according to that form of doctrine, according to the lessons that have been presented and as we've already seen in a few verses that we read, "Holding fast the faithful Word that has been taught that we might (so what?) by sound doctrine exhort. You see, there is a sound doctrine which means by implication there must be a doctrine that is unsound, there in Titus 1 and 9.

There also is the idea in Titus 2 and verse 7 that we must be those who are fixed on the doctrine, who are continuously striving in the doctrine to do those things that God has asked us to do and the doctrine itself is that form, is that standard again that shows us really what our God wants.

Now we also sadly learn that some will not endure that sound doctrine. Some will not continue in that type of sound doctrine. Again, we might look in our main text back in 2 Timothy though in chapter 4 and we might find there again it says, "Times will come (verse 3) when they will not endure sound doctrine." So what must happen? Well as we read just before, we must preach the Word. We must be ready in season and out of season. We must convince, rebuke and exhort and encourage that you might with longsuffering teach and bring them to a knowledge of Jesus Christ.

And what if someone doesn't come to us with that proper doctrine, that sound doctrine? Well, that's what we learn about in 2 John there in verse 9. "Whoever comes to us and does not bring the doctrine of God does not have God or the Son." Then in verse 10 it says, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house or greet him for you share his evil deeds."

So now I want you to think about what we are to give attention to and how important it is that they tie together in specifically the Word of God and how important it is that they all show us that there is something that we must do, that we must give attention to if we are to be an example to the believer. Again, those specific things that we have seen this day is giving attention in all things to reading, giving attention to exhortation and giving attention to doctrine or sound doctrine. If we can do that, as we continue to read on in our main text, we will learn that we can take heed to them, that we can continue in them, and that we will as we have mentioned save ourselves and all those who have been encouraged to obey and have obeyed that same form of doctrine.

So the question is ours: Will we be an example to the believers? Will we prepare ourselves in reading and exhortation and as we've seen in doctrine? Will we do what is necessary to make sure that we are equipped today and everyday to present the message of Jesus Christ so that not only may the world see God in us, but God might see us as His children and therefore bless us in all that we do including eternal life.

(SONG # 3 - "Alas And Did My Savior Bleed!")


Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.

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Do we give the time needed to study, growth and obedience to God's Word. May we do all we can to be the best examples possible that others may know God through us.

(Program closing)