Summary: Illustrates the need for being spiritual compasses for those around us
I wanted to tell you men about a story that some of you may be able to relate to. I used to love to squirrel hunt. As a matter of fact I preferred it over just about any other kind of hunting. Well one day when I was about 19 while attending Southwest a friend of mine said that he had found the perfect place to go squirrel hunting. He told me about this beautiful patch of woods out near Ruth that was loaded with old growth hardwoods and full of squirrels. I was excited. We left right after school one day early in the season. We didn’t even bother to change clothes. We got into the woods and he was right. There were squirrels everywhere. There were so many we stayed longer than we expected. When it started getting dark we headed out. But we soon realized we were lost. We ended up spending the night in those woods. It got cold then it rained. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse we got treed by a bunch of wild hogs and had to sleep in a tree huddled together for warmth. It was miserable. I had assumed that my friend knew the way to go. He didn’t. I had followed him all over those woods not knowing he didn’t know the way out. I remember thinking later that I wish I had had a compass. Compasses come in all shapes and sizes. They can be purchased or they can be made out of simple items found in most households. But they all do basically the same thing. That is point the way North. Once you know which way north is you can go anywhere without getting lost. I made a crucial mistake that day. I followed someone who I thought knew the way. And that brings me to the passage of scripture I want to share with you today.
1st Timothy Chapter 4 verses 11- 16 says.
11. Command and teach these things. 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. 14. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
Let us Pray.
Paul was telling Timothy to be an example for other believers. He was telling him to be a compass, if you will, to his followers that pointed the way to Jesus. He is telling us the very same thing.
How do we do that?
We are to set an example in the 5 areas listed in verse 12.
1st we are to set an example in the way we speak.
As Christians we should ask ourselves 3 questions before we open our mouth. Is it True? Is it necessary? And is it Kind? If what you are about to say can’t pass that test don’t say it. You will find that you don’t say near bout as much as you used to. We need to remember that the tongue is referred to in the book of James as a restless evil that spews deadly poison. Sometimes we Christians forget that one day we will all be held accountable for every idle word.
Next we are told to set an example in the way we live.
Don’t tell the people around you what you believe let them see what you believe. They will see your beliefs in the way that you live your life. We need to practice what Jesus preached. Do as I do works a whole lot better than do as I say. I promise you one thing. You do not ever want to here the words..... "And you call yourself a Christian". Or maybe "And you say you are a Deacon" Or even "Aren’t you supposed to be a preacher." Statements like these cut to the quick. We need to remember what someone once said "Be careful how you live your life. You may be the only Bible some people ever read"
3rd we are to set an example in how we love one another.
The way we love should be a mirror of how Jesus loved us. I didn’t say that. Jesus did when he gave us the great commandment to love one another as He loved us and He loved us enough to deny himself and take up the cross. We should deny ourselves for the ones we love. The Bible says we will be known for our love for one another. If we don’t show our love for one another we won’t be known as Christians. In first Corinthians Chapter 13 Paul lists several characteristics of Love you need to check your love for others against that list. The one I like the best says that Love never Fails. Don’t let your love fail.