UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Charles Choe who leads Tapestry Church in Los Angeles, is an updated version of his blog first posted on June 17, 2014. Charles is a graduate of University of California, Riverside (BA) and Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“The Urgency Need for the Intake of God’s Eternal Truth”
1 Timothy 4:6
“If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.”
According to Nielsen, the average American has been watching more than five hours of television every day, which had prompted the author Neil Postman to entitle his 1985 book “Amusing Ourselves to Death.” Today, we (with new toys at our disposal) spend more time entertaining ourselves than any previous generation before us.
In what sense does this matter to us? When Paul calls Timothy to “be a good minister of Christ Jesus,” he is not calling him to be a good pastor or a staff member of a church. The word for minister here can be translated deacon or servant. The idea here is, whether you are a pastor or a deacon, to be a minister is to be ultimately a servant of Christ Jesus.
But notice here how Paul defines a good minister. Among other things, he is a faithful conduit of the truth to other Christians. To do this, however, Timothy first had to keep himself “nourished” to the truths in which he was “brought up.”
And notice how Paul combines two important elements: knowledge and decision. He says you need the good, sound teachings of the faith in order to walk in them; you learn, and then you do what it says. That is the formula for a good servant of Jesus Christ – giving yourself to nourishing yourself, feeding upon these things and then following them.
So, to that end, Paul would say to us today, Watch what you are feeding on! Be nourished on the words of the faith and the good doctrine that you have followed. What has been nourishing your soul daily during the pandemic? Netflix? NPR? SportsCenter? People magazine? There’s nothing inherently wrong with these things, but the failure to regulate their intake will affect our study of God’s Word. And in a tumultuous time, such as the one we are facing right now, never has there been a greater urgency to dive into eternal truth of God with a receptive and unbiased heart. So, make time to be in the Word today. To do that, you may have to cut down on what you watch or how much of it you watch.
Prayer: Lord, I want to confess with the Psalmist, “Oh how I love your law” (Ps 110:97)! Teach me to be a person of the Word, for your Word is a lamp unto my feet. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isiah 53
Lunch Break Study
The word doctrine has gotten a bad name over the years. Say that word and some people seem to cringe. We like the Bible, but we’re not so sure we like doctrine. So we say things like “Doctrine divides, service unites,” or “Deeds, not creeds.” But doctrine simply means “teaching,” or “instruction.” And in that sense, we are all doctrinal because we follow set of teaching that make up our worldview. What we should fear is bad doctrine or unbalanced teachings of Scripture. Let’s recover our love for sound biblical doctrine.
Read Titus 3:4-8 (ESV): “ But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.”
Questions to Consider
- Paul in verse 8 says, “I want you to insist on these things so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works.” Why does Paul tell us to insist on these things?
- What are “those things?”
- Paul sees a relationship between doctrine and grace. Specifically, what does understanding doctrine lead to?
- Paul wants us to focus on these things so that believers will engage in good deeds.
- Doctrine. He is referring back to what he had just stated, which was that God saved us apart from our works so that, being justified by grace, we would become heirs of eternal life.
- It leads to us engaging in effective action. Good works. Doctrine is not just a foundation for good works. It causes good works.
What we see here is that the Bible teaches that sound doctrine is the basis for right action and, in fact, leads to and causes right action.