Summary: We live in a mixed up world. People are so untrained in the Bible and mixed up about what a Christian is, that nearly anything can be labelled “Christian” and they’ll believe it. Let's look at what one is.
BE AN EXAMPLE OF JESUS
1 Tim. 4:12, 15-16
1. Sometimes being close isn’t good enough. Like Bill, who ordered a cord of firewood to be delivered for $100.
2. When the firewood was delivered, Bill got upset. “That’s not a full cord of wood,” Bill objected. “That’s what I call a cord,” the man answered firmly.
3. Bill fished around in his pocket and thrust some bills into the man’s hand. “Hey wait a minute,” the woodsman complained after counting the money. “You only gave me $70!’
4. With a shrug of the shoulders Bill replied, “That’s what I call $100!”
B. SCRIPTURE TEXT
“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….Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” 1 Tim. 4:12, 15-16
C. DEFINITION OF “EXAMPLE”
The Greek New Testament contains several terms that are translated by the English word “example.”
1. Jude 7. The word deigma denotes that which is shown, hence, a specimen. Jude declares that the permanent destruction of wicked Sodom and Gomorrah serves as an “example” of the eternal punishment of hell.
2. Hebrews 4:11. The term hupodeigma, literally, “to show under,” suggests a model, either for good or bad. We aren’t to follow Israel’s bad model.
5. 1 Peter 2:21. The word hupogrammos (literally “to write under,” was employed in ancient Greek for a child’s writing exercise in copying the alphabet. This term is used to describe the “example” of the sinless Christ who passively endured suffering and confidently committed His care unto the Father.
D. PAUL’S AMAZING CHALLENGE
1. We live in a mixed up world. People are so untrained in the Bible and mixed up about what a Christian is, that nearly anything can be labelled “Christian” and they’ll believe it.
2. What is a Christian? A person who is a disciple of Jesus and who is attempting to put His sayings/teachings (in the Bible) into practice.
3. Paul commands us in 1 Tim. 4:12 to be an example of what a Christian is. He even specifies the areas we need to concentrate on.
4. So look with me at this challenge “Be an Example of Jesus.”
I. THE NECESSITY OF BEING AN EXAMPLE
A. THE WORLD WANTS TO SEE JESUS
1. In these verses, Paul gives Timothy and us a sobering and unavoidable charge before God: to be an “example,” a visible representation of what Christ is to the unbelieving world.
2. If what we have is real, it ought to show. The world is crying to see reality. (John 12:21). You are probably the only Jesus/Bible those around you will ever see! “We are epistles, known and read of all men” 2 Cor. 3:2. We can’t lay it off on someone else to be a Christian; the responsibility falls on us.
3. It’s a terrible thought, but people will judge Christ by us. If we sin, it will demonstrate to those around us that Christ isn’t real or worth serving! The owner of a hotel chain regularly tells her employees, “Remember, my reputation is in your hands!”
a. Many nominal Christians are like the little girl who spent the night at a friend’s house. Her friend’s mother asked her if she liked broccoli. “Yes, I love it!”
b. When dinner was served and the broccoli was passed to her, she said she didn’t want any. “I thought you said you liked broccoli,” said the mother. “Yes I do, but not enough to eat it!” We need to be doers of the Word!
B. WHERE WE MUST BE EXAMPLES
1. We must be careful how we act. At home – in front of our kids; at our work – associates notice our honesty and integrity; on vacations – we are observed; the unbelievers around us notice our slightest indiscretions.
2. Paul said, “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.” 1Cor. 9:19-20.