Summary: Edification and Encouragement
"A Ministry That's Youthful”
Represent the Will of God v.12…
“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 4:12. At first Paul’s instruction that Timothy should not let anyone “despise” his youth might seem impossible to fulfill since Timothy could not control the actions and attitudes of others. Yet when combined with “but be an example”, the essence of Paul’s instruction becomes clear. Timothy must not be intimidated by his relative youthfulness or what others might think of it. Instead he was to offset his immaturity by living such a godly life that he would become a pattern for other believers: Because of his innocence and inexperience Timothy stood in danger of being looked down upon. Paul, therefore, reminds him regardless of your individuality, God can and will use you. This chapter deals with the life and labors of ministry…Good Ministry vv.1-6; Godly Ministry vv.7-12; Growing Ministry vv.13-16!
a. Christ-like Conversation
Having told Timothy to face this dilemma, Paul went on to tell him how to fight it! “... in word,” v.12b. Our message must mirror the Masters’ message (One who was the Word made flesh). Our everyday conversation is to be of such character, consistency, and content that it would make people continually consider Christ. We must recognize that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” Prov.18:21; Eph.4:15; Ja.1:26; Prov.13:3a; Col.4:6
b. Christ-like Conduct
“... in conduct,” v.12c. Timothy was to remember that he was under the wretched eyes of Creation and the watchful eye of the CREATOR; therefore, his behavior had to be in harmony with the Bible, both privately and publicly! “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ…” Phil.1:27. You are a PICTURE of God to God's creation! “…He who called you is holy, you also be holy in your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.” 1Pt.1:15-16
c. Christ-like Compassion
“... in love,” v.12d. LOVE IN ITS PUREST FORM. Such love comes only from Heaven; it is the impression of God, interceded through Jesus Christ, and imparted by the Holy Spirit. Jesus’ love reaches out and draws us in. Here scripture admonishes us to pattern our-self after such love, when you love someone unconditionally; you are willing to give freely beyond the point of unselfishness. God paid dearly with the life of his Son, the highest price He could pay. At Calvary, God spared not His best. He gave His all, His ultimate gift to us, His only begotten Son! (cf. Jn15:13)
d. Christ-like Confidence
“…in Spirit,” v.12e. Such composure and control come only from the Spirit of God! Our human spirit is to be so occupied and filled by the Holy Spirit that our whole being would radiate the love, light and life of God. Our spirits must surrender to God's Spirit! Only through the Spirit of God can we understand the Word of God, do the will of God, accomplish the work of God, properly engage in the worship of God, and display the wisdom of God! “…because greater is He that is in you…”1Jn.4:4.
e. Christ-like Conviction
“... in faith,” v.12f. God is rising up young folk who can set examples of faith before an unbelieving world and a half-believing church. The faith spoken of here is both a trust in God and God trusting in us. Faith always leads to faithfulness! In an age where folk are fickle and faithless we need to just trust God and take God at His word! “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that he is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” Heb.11:6. To establish the principle, passion, and persuasion one must… “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” Heb.12:2a.
f. Christ-like Chastity
“... in purity” v.12g. This is not limited to just sexual purity both body and mind but purity in totality (pure heart). We must “Flee also youthful lust; but pursue righteousness...” (2Tm.2:22). Ephesus, like Corinth and Antioch, was an immorally polluted place. Young people you must carry yourself in such a way that your character would be admirable before men but more-so above reproach before God. Since we live in a culture that supports, sponsors, and sustains both amoral and immoral principles, we need an army of young people who are going to represent, reveal, and retain the character of God in terms of holy living. Literally being set upon seeking and doing the will of God! (cf. Rm.12:1; Ps.139:14; Prov.31:10; 1Cor.7:7, 9)
Relish in the Word of God v.13…
“Word” and “conduct” have to do with his outward life, “spirit”, “faith” and “purity” focus on the inner life, and “love” is the bridge that binds them together. If Timothy was going to prove that youth should not be looked down upon, then he had to Be Godly v.12, as well as Be Growing v.13. The passage before us suggests: