Summary: Young believers are to set an example for others to follow
A Living Example
Series: You Pick
July 14, 2013
Series introduction: We are starting a new series of messages based on questions and topics collected for Teens and Young Adults within the church.
Young leaders from the Bible
David – a teenager when he killed Goliath
Josiah – Became king at the age of 8
Jeremiah – teenager when called by God to be a prophet
John – Teenager when called to be a disciple of Jesus
Timothy – Began following Paul on missionary journeys in his teens
Age is not an issue with ministry and many times churches focus on older people. Moses was 80 when God called him at the burning bush. Abraham did not have Isaac until he was advanced in years.
The Hebrew thinking on age is radically different than ours. Our society places adulthood at the age of 18 but in Hebrew customs, adulthood was at the age of 13.
Wesleyan Church allows for individuals to become members of the church at the age of 16. The moment a teenager becomes a member of the church, they have the responsibility and the right to serve in ministry.
12 Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.
Paul warns Timothy about the impulsiveness of ministry. Timothy will need to earn the respect of the people because in Greek culture anyone under the age of thirty was considered young. Remember that Timothy is working with both Hebrews and Gentiles. He will need to hold on to his roots and be flexible enough to incorporate those who do not share a Hebrew lineage. Timothy would deal with the various religious backgrounds of those who came from pagan pasts. He would need to confront heresy as it arose in the church. Timothy was not going to lead the church through his age and experience but rather through the example of his character.
Be an example
A. Commitment to Christ
Paul expected Timothy to set a pattern for others to follow. The pattern was a living witness to reveal the depth of the Christian life. Our living example flows out of our commitment to Christ. We must first follow the example of Christ before we can have an example that is worth following.
B. Closeness to Christ
Timothy would need to be an example of a proper relationship with Christ. One of the most important aspects of discipleship for younger believers is spiritual growth. The need for personal devotions and personal discipleship is critical. The only way for younger believers to grow is to study scripture, spend time in prayer and get involved in service. These three facets are crucial to spiritual development. How can a younger believer grow closer to Christ if the element of service is removed from the equation?
C. Commitment to the church
Many churches are not willing to allow younger believers to serve because of a perceived lack of commitment. Younger believers need to demonstrate that they are able to do the tasks assigned but also that they are willing to complete the tasks. There is no way to build a track record for service, if they are never allowed to serve.