Summary: As the body of Christ, believers must show Christ to the world by being examples.
Show Yourself an Example
Text: 1 Timothy 4:12
This morning our Brother Ron presented a lesson on “The Race” taken from the text of Hebrews 12. He made us aware of many things concerning this race of which every believer is a participant. He made us aware that we are in the race and the attitude we must have to ensure we run in such a way that we will successfully finish the race. He also pointed out that we must run the race according to the rules to ensure we do not disqualify ourselves before we have reached the finish of the race.
Every race has form and conventions which must be followed to be a successful participant. Brother Ron spoke of this in the illustration he used this morning of the man who began a race with all the other runners and finished that event in first place but was not recognized by the judge because he had failed to correctly register for the race and so ran with no authority to be in the race.
This evening I’d like to continue that metaphor and ask that you consider the fact that while we are all participating in the race that in addition to those who run with us, there are those who stand on the side lines and observe our conduct as we strive to successfully run and finish our race. And while they have not yet made a decision to join the race they are watching to see how we conduct ourselves in our efforts to race successfully. In our text we find Paul giving exhortation to the young evangelist Timothy and in these words we find directions which will direct us to proper form and convention as we show ourselves as examples to each other and to the world.
1 Timothy 4:12 “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”
I.An Example in Speech
A.What’s so special about words?
1.Our words create impressions that either facilitate or complicate all other communication.
a.All types of sinful speech must be avoided by a man of God. That includes any deviation from truthfulness, as Paul makes clear in Ephesians 4:25 when he says, “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor.”
b.Nothing more surely reveals a sinful soul and more swiftly destroys a leader’s credibility than lies. Absolute honesty is essential for one who speaks on behalf of the “God who cannot lie” (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18), and who hates lying (Proverbs 6:16–17; 12:22).
c.Ephesians 4:26 forbids angry speech, verse 29 impure speech, and verse 31 slanderous words. Such speech reflects an impure heart.
Ephesians 4:29 “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
Ephesians 5:3-4 “But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”
2.Words which come out of our mouths reflect our thoughts which reflect our hearts.
a.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.”
II.An Example in Conduct
A.Our lifestyle must be worthy of the gospel
1.Philippians 1:27a “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…”
2.The Greek word politeuo used in 1 Timothy 4:12 and Philippians 1:27 is sometimes translated as “conversation”, a word we now apply almost exclusively to oral discourse, or to talking. But it was not formerly confined to that and is never used in that context in the Scriptures.
a.It means conduct in general - including, of course, our manner of speaking, but not limited to that - and should be so understood in every place where it occurs in the Bible. The original word means properly “to administer the state; to live as a citizen; to conduct oneself according to the laws and customs of a state;”
b.It doubtless includes our conduct in all relations in life, and refers to our deportment in general; not merely as citizens of the state, but as members of the church, and in all other relations. In our manner of speech, our plans of living, our dealings with others, our conduct and walk in the church and out of it - all should be done as becomes the gospel.