Summary: Age does not matter, live and they will glorify God.
A drunk was miraculously converted at a Bowery mission. Prior to his conversion, Joe had gained the reputation of being a dirty wino for who there was no hope, only a miserable existence in the ghetto. But following his conversion to a new life with God, everything changed. Joe became the most caring person that anyone is associated with the mission had ever known. Joe spent his days and nights hanging out at the mission doing whatever needed to be done. There was never any task that was too lowly for Joe to take on. There was never anything that he was asked to do that he considered beneath him. Whether it was cleaning up the vomit left by some violently sick alcoholic or scrubbing the toilets after careless men left the bathroom filthy, Joe did what was asked with a soft smile on his face and with a seeming gratitude for the chance to help. He could be counted on the feed feeble men who wandered into the mission off the street, and to undress and tuck into bed men who were too out of it to take care of themselves.
One evening, when the director of the mission was delivering his evening evangelistic message to the usual crowd of still and sullen men with drooped heads, there was one man who looked up, came down the aisle to the altar and knelt to pray, crying out for God to help him to change. The repentant drunk kept shouting, “Oh God, make me like Joe! Make me like Joe! Make me like Joe! Make me like Joe! The director of the mission leaned over and said to the man, Son, I think it would be better if you prayed, “Make me like Jesus.”
The man looked up at the director with a quizzical expression on his face and asked, “Is he like Joe? In this message Paul named 5 several areas of life in which you and I should be examples.
1. Example of God’s Use of Young People
• To Save Israel in Time of Famine – It was through Joseph that God provided Israel a means to survive famine. He was seventeen when sold as a slave to Potiphar. Genesis 37:2.
• To Deliver Israel from the Philistines – As when God used David to defeat Goliath.
• To Lead Israel to it’s Greatest Heights – God had David appoint his son Solomon to be the third king of Israel. When Solomon became king he thought of himself as a child.
• To Restore Judah to the True Worship of God – When Josiah became king, he was only eight and according to 2 Chr 34:1-2, he was a good king. When sixteen, he sought to serve God, and when he turned 20, he instituted religious reforms throughout Judah. When he turned 26, he restored the temple, and the Passover.
• To Prophesy to the Nations – Speaking of Jeremiah, who tried to escape his prophetic call, but God told him not to say I am young, that He would be with him (Jer 1:7-8)
• To Bring the Savior to the World – which he did through Mary, who was but a young virgin.
• To Proclaim the Gospel to the Lost – Referring to Timothy, selected by Paul to join him on his journeys. Who must have been quite young, for it was over twenty years later that Paul tells him don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young.
It should be evident that God often used young people to accomplish great things! I believe He can do much through young people today, but what kind of young people can He use?
2. Be an Example in the Word
Paul warned him that because he had no long record to establish credibility, he would have to earn the respect of his people. The Greeks, as did most cultures, subordinated youth to age. If a man did not have age, he would have to earn respect. To offset that youthfulness, Paul exhorted Timothy to be an example of those who believe.(example)means “pattern,” or “model.” By so doing, he would gain the respect of his people. Paul lists five areas in which Timothy was to make every effort to be an example to the church.
A. Be an Example in Speech
• In Matthew 12:34–37, Jesus warned, For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth what is evil. And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.