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everyday life inside the fishbowl

Monday Meditations: Eternally Impacting Others

on March 4, 2014

ImageOn Sunday, Dave preached a message on 1 Timothy 4:11-16 entitled “The Minister’s Self-Watch” (borrowed from Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s title for his sermon on v 16 which you can read here).

There are 7 commands in this passage, which Dave summarized this way:

1. Save yourself and your hearers (v 16).

2. Preach a pure church (v 11).

3. Set a good example (v 12).

4. Devote yourself to God’s Word (v 13).

5. Give your [spiritual] gift to others (v 14).

6. Practice makes for progress (v 15).

7. Watch your life and your doctrine (v 16).

While Paul was writing to Timothy, this letter was also read to the whole church. These commands apply in principle to all believers.

What Dave emphasized the most was what impacted me the most. He started and ended the sermon with verse 16:

Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

We are to persist in “this.” In verses 6, 11, and 15, Paul also talks to Timothy about “these things.” “This” and “these things” refers to the Gospel, God’s teaching, and devotion to a godly life. The means that God has designed that we persevere in our salvation is our devotion to and obedience to God’s Word.

Here is how Spurgeon said it in his own sermon of the same title:

We are, in a certain sense, our own tools, and therefore must keep ourselves in order. If I want to preach the gospel, I can only use my own voice; therefore I must train my vocal powers. I can only think with my own brains, and feel with my own heart, and therefore I must educate my intellectual and emotional faculties.

I can only ,weep and agonise for souls in my own renewed nature, therefore must I watchfully maintain the tenderness which was in Christ Jesus. It will be in vain for me to stock my library, or organise societies, or project schemes, if I neglect the culture of myself; for books, and agencies, and systems, are only remotely the instruments of my holy calling; my own spirit, soul, and body, are my nearest machinery for sacred service; my spiritual faculties, and my inner life, are my battle axe and weapons of war. 

What really convicted me, though, was the impact that my own perseverance has on others. Obviously, it is all Christ who saves; my perseverance is the evidence and working out of my salvation. But further still, our devotion to godliness and God’s Word will make an eternal impact on others.

What struck me as I thought about this was that making an eternal impact on others doesn’t take much, but at the same time, it takes everything important. To clarify, the commands that Paul gave are the ways that we persevere, and they are basic: Obey and teach the truth of God’s Word; be a good example in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity; devote yourself to the Word, serve others with your God-given gifts; consistently devote yourself to studying and obeying the Word, and be persistent in all of this.

Eternally impacting others results from a personal devotion and obedience to God’s Word. Eternally impacting others doesn’t demand huge programs, tons of money, etc. It demands a commitment to the basic things, the first things: being personally devoted to God’s Word and godliness.

How are you (and I!) eternally impacting others? Because we all will somehow. It may be that our lack of devotion to godliness and God’s Word will have negative, eternal impacts–surely on ourselves–but also on our spouses, children, parents, neighbors, fellow church members, etc. Or–better–will our progressive, persistent (not perfect!) devotion to godliness and God’s Word impact our eternity as well as those with whom we live and interact.

May God help us to carefully watch our lives, ever aware of the eternal impact we have on both ourselves and others!

{On Mondays, I share some thoughts from my pastor’s (husband’s 🙂 ) sermon on Sunday. This will be good for me, as it will help cement God’s truths in my head and heart. I hope these truths will encourage and challenge you! If you’re interested in hearing a particular sermon, you can head here to listen.}

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