Friday, February 1, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #22

1 Tim. 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

The Greek word for godliness in this verse is EUSEBEIA, and it literally means "to fulfill a duty." The word is translate "godliness," but the word "God" is not in the Greek word. This Greek word indicates a fulfillment of duty, not only toward God, but also toward our fellowman.

So the first step in this instruction is that a preacher have godliness; that is, that the preacher fulfill his duty to both God and man. Some of the things we can do to fulfill our duty to man (both negative and positive) are mentioned already in this book. For example, "Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies; Holding faith and a good conscience; Put the brethren in remembrance of these things; Supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; Let no man despise your youth," etc. As far as our fulfillment toward God, we have already read several. For example, "Lifting up holy hands without doubting; Not a novice; behave thyself in the house of God; Well reported of for good works; Fight the good fight of faith," etc. Reading through 1 Timothy reveals enough things included in godliness to keep any preacher busy for a very long life.

But the important thing in this instruction is that godliness is to be done with contentment. The Greek word for contentment is AUTARKEIA and has to do with being self-sufficient. In other words, we should have godliness with maturity, where no one must constantly be reminding us what we should do. No preacher, board, or convention should have to tell us how to act; we should know enough from the study of God's word that we do not need someone else's guidance in these things. This is not to say we cannot learn these things from others, but it does mean that we must mature and be aware of godliness in our lives even when our teachers are not around.

To be content also means that we have no worry, no questions, no doubt. Every preacher should know where he stands and should have his manners mastered. Through this godliness we will be able to bring God the proper honor and glory and will be able to receive slander and persecution without being devastated. Notice what Paul said to the Corinthians in 2 Cor. 4:8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

Having godliness with contentment is set down by Jesus as our example in his surrender of himself to his Father in Heaven. Notice, then, what Jesus said to us: Matt. 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. This is godliness with contentment.

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