Summary: Second in a series on shepherding/mentoring in the church.
Sermon for 1/21/2001
Blameless, above reproach
One of the powerful figures in Wall Street fell in love with an actress. For many months he was always seen escorting her about in the fashionable circles of town. Deciding to marry her, he first put a private detective to the job of looking into her former dealings and friends in order to guard himself against any rash mistake. At last he received his agent’s report. “Miss Blank enjoys an excellent reputation. Her past is spotless. Her associates have been above reproach. The only breath of scandal is that, in recent months, she has been much seen in the company of a business man of doubtful reputation.”
A. Last week we talked about mentors.
1. Winsome mentors attract followers
2. Strong mentors show us how to live.
3. Faithful mentors inspire hope to keep going.
B. Last week we talked about 1 Corinthians 11:1.
C. Paul had characteristics, a lifestyle that promoted good mentoring. He was like Christ. He wasn’t perfect, but he followed Christ.
D. New believers and all us of need good models to follow. We learn more by seeing than being told how to do something.
E. Above all, we learn more by doing.
F. But how do we measure maturity? We look at Christ, yes, but shouldn’t we be more specific. Maturity is measured by the godly fruit in a person’s life. What fruit? What areas?
H. What Paul outlined 2,000 years ago are God’s standards for maturity for all time and in all cultures. When all is said and done, it is only God’s Word that can penetrate our hearts and conform us to the image of Jesus Christ.
I. Paul wanted this process to be multiplied. Looking to Jesus Christ as Paul modeled these qualities, Paul wanted the process to go on and on as “faithful men” are “able to teach others also.”
J. To be honest it takes time and effort to conform our lives to Jesus Christ. Some are more determined than others. It is a lifetime process. No quick shortcuts are available to become a man of God. This is why Paul wrote to the Philippians: (Phil 3:12 NIV) Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
K. All of us embark on our Christian journeys with a variety of backgrounds and experiences, which affect the progress we make in our spiritual lives. Some have good foundations, others do not.
1. Timothy’s father was not a believer.
2. Timothy had great role models in his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois.
3. When Timothy heard the gospel, he responded and became a follower of Jesus Christ. His spiritual growth was rapid, because he had a good foundation to build upon.
4. (2 Tim 3:14 NIV) But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,(2 Tim 3:15 NIV) and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
5. Timothy was fortunate. He had a good foundation to begin with.
6. When Timothy became a Christian, Paul built on that foundation with additional biblical truth- the New Testament.
7. Timothy grew spiritually by leaps and bounds. Within two years, Timothy was mature enough in his faith to become Paul’s missionary companion.
M. Many people have not been as fortunate as Timothy.
1. No good Christian heritage.
2. More like Ephesians and Corinthians and other Gentiles who came to Christ in the first century.
3. Grew up living a pagan- or heathen, irreligious life.
4. They have been ruined by alcohol abuse, drug use and sexual promiscuity.
5. They have walked according to the course of this world.
6. Now as Christians, they need to learn to “lay aside the old self”- their old ways of thinking and feeling that have been programmed to follow sinful patterns.
7. Need to put on the new self everyday.
8. The background we bring to our conversion does make a difference in how quickly our spiritual growth occurs.
N. When all is said and done, however, one thing is true of all of us. It still takes time and effort to become a man or woman of God, no matter what our heritage.
O. Know people who had a great spiritual foundation, but did not build upon it.
P. Known people who had a terrible foundation, but through time and effort they matured into a wonderful godly Christian.