Nepaug Bible Church -
Men's Leadership Support Group Meeting notes -

Part VII: Winning As Leaders In The War Over Our Attention
(1 Timothy 4:1-16)
  1. Introduction
    1. That to which a man gives his attention ends up affecting how he THINKS, and how a man THINKS eventually affects what he BECOMES !
    2. Well, Paul revealed a war exists between Satan and God for our attention, and how we who lead others are to DIRECT our ATTENTION to WIN in this battle is given in 1 Timothy 4:1-16:
  2. Winning As Leaders In The War Over Our Attention, 1 Timothy 4:1-16.
    1. Five times in 1 Timothy, Paul named bad and good things upon which a man could focus his attention:
      1. Paul alluded to bad things upon which a man could focus his attention as follows:
        1. Endless myths and genealogies [versus the Word of God] (1 Tim. 1:4 prosecho).
        2. Indulging in wine (1 Tim. 3:8 prosecho).
        3. Seducing spirits and doctrines of demons [versus God's truth] (1 Tim. 4:1 prosecho), U. B. S. Grk. N. T., 1966 ed., p. 720, 723, 724; Moulton & Geden, A Conc. to the Grk. T., 4th ed., p. 864.
      2. Paul held the good things upon which a man could focus his attention were as follows:
        1. The ministry functions of the public reading of Scripture, preaching and teaching in church worship [versus doctrines of seducing spirits and demons] (1 Tim. 4:13 prosecho with 4:1).
        2. Watching over one's personal spiritual welfare while giving himself to Scripture teaching and the use of his spiritual gift in ministry [versus doctrines of seducing spirits and demons] (1 Tim. 4:16 epecho), Ibid., U. B. S. Grk. N. T., p. 725-726; Ibid., Moulton & Geden, p. 864, 354.
    2. Since this contrast on that to which we give our attention affects what we become as leaders, and three of the five are in 1 Timothy 4:1-16 that we now approach in our series, we examine Paul's allusion to this war over our attention for edifying application in our lives as leaders (as follows):
      1. From the insight above, we see a GRADUAL, SUBTLE progress into evil can occur re: our attention:
        1. Step One - Giving one's attention to endless "myths and genealogies", 1 Tim. 1:4: These were Jewish genealogical narratives that were about Bible characters, but which were "largely fictitious," Wm. Hendriksen, I-II Timothy and Titus, 1957, NTC, p. 58.
        2. Step Two - Giving one's attention to gratifying his lusts by indulging in wine, 1 Tim. 3:8.
        3. Step Three - Giving one's attention to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons that openly promote unbiblical religious observances like celibacy, abstaining from certain foods, etc. but which are errant religious observances placed on the naive that are contrary to God's grace, 1 Timothy 4:1-5.
      2. In contrast, the good things to which a man is to give his attention all simply deal with the reading, teaching and preaching of Scripture and the application of Scripture to one's life, 1 Timothy 4:6-16.
    3. We draw some key conclusions (as follows) on our examination regarding the war over our attention:
      1. We live in a world that is surrounded by evil spiritual influence, a fact verified by 1 John 5:19 NIV.
      2. That influence, as it did with Eve in Eden (Genesis 3) vies subtly and seductively for our attention: (a) it starts to attract us toward the world's lusts of the flesh, the eyes and pride (wine indulgence) and (b) continues by replacing Scripture ever so gently with largely fictitious but seemingly innocent stories about Bible characters (myths and genealogies) (c) only to lead us into outright demonic doctrines.
      3. In contrast, God's provisions of our spiritual gift for service, the Word of God and the indwelling Holy Spirit all equip us to think and live righteously with God's blessing as we immerse our attention in Scripture and heed it in our lives to overcome the evil influences we face.
Lesson: A SUBTLE but GREATLY LIFE-ALTERING WAR occurs for our ATTENTION: Satan's powers try to woo our attention AWAY FROM GOD and His power and Word unto visibly innocent distractions only eventually to point us to open evil. Conversely, God, by the indwelling Holy Spirit, the Scriptures and the gifting we have for service, seeks to keep us HEEDING Him for true blessing!

Application: The war for our attention is so subtle and life-altering that we can be seduced to sin EITHER by lust gratification (wine) OR by its incorrect ABSTINENCE (abstaining from meats). Thus, we DARE NOT think OR function FREE of Scripture, God's power and gifting for service!