Summary: If we’re going to save ourselves and our churches from moral ruin, then we must preach, practice, and persevere in God’s Word.
Several years ago, Art Linkletter had a TV show where he would interview children about various subjects, and those children would say “some of the darndest things,” as the name of the show suggested. There was humor in their statements and sometimes quite a bit of wisdom. Well, this last week, I came across some of that childish wisdom that I thought we all could appreciate together. First, there is…
• Patrick, age 10, who said, “Never trust a dog to watch your food.”
• Michael, 14, said, “When your dad is mad and asks you, ‘Do I look stupid?’ don’t answer him.”
• Michael, wise man that he is also said, “Never tell your mom her diet’s not working.”
• Randy, 9 years of age said, “Stay away from prunes.” One wonders how he discovered that bit of wisdom.
• Kyoyo, age 9, said, “Never hold a dust buster and a cat at the same time.”
• Naomi, 15 said, “If you want a kitten, start out by asking for a horse.”
• Lauren, age 9 said, “Felt markers are not good to use as lipstick.”
• Joel, 10 years old, said, “Don’t pick on your sister when she’s holding a baseball bat.” &
• Eileen, age 8 said, “Never try to baptize a cat.” (Rick Stacy; www.SermonCentral.com)
Now, when you think about it, this is good, basic, practical advice that can save a person from a lot of trouble, and there are times when we Christians and our churches need this kind of advice to save us from trouble. There are times when we get off track, and we just need a reminder of some of the basics to keep us from destroying ourselves.
1 Timothy 4:9-11 This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things. (NIV)
If we’re going to save ourselves from moral ruin, which will kill the testimony of our church, then we must…
COMMAND AND TEACH GOD’S WORD.
We must direct and instruct people to obey the Bible. Literally, in the words of the original Greek, we must give orders. We must charge people to do what God tells us to do.
So far in this chapter, we’ve feasted at the table of God’s grace (vs.1-6); we’ve exercised in the gym of godliness (vs.7-8); now, we’re fighting on the battlefield of truth (vs.9-15). And God says to the pastors, the commanding officers in His army, “Give orders. Command the people under your charge to obey Me.”
Let me make it clear, if you’re having sex with someone you’re not married to, STOP IT TODAY! It’s wrong. Businessman, if you are overcharging and cheating your customers, QUIT IT RIGHT NOW! Friends, if you are harboring bitterness and resentment in your heart towards anyone, DEAL WITH IT BEFORE THE SUN GOES DOWN!
Don’t commit adultery. Don’t lie. Don’t kill. Flee immorality! Lay aside falsehood! Forgive one another! God’s commands are clear! & On the battlefield of truth, we better make sure we’re just as clear in passing those commands on.
They’re not the 10 suggestions; they’re the 10 commandments. And our families, our churches, and our communities need to realize that. If we are going to save our churches and our communities from moral slaughter on the battlefield of truth, then we must give clear and direct orders. We must proclaim the moral absolutes of God’s Law, and we must call one another to an uncompromising commitment to God’s Word.
Hear me, please: We don’t make our own rules. I know that’s not what everybody says. They tell you, “You have a choice.” Well, I’m here to tell you, “No, you don’t have a choice. God makes the rules, and we cannot break God’s rules. Oh, we may try, but if we do, God’s rules end up breaking us.
That’s the way it is with the law of gravity. You may decide, “I’m going to break the law of gravity and jump off the top of this building.” Well let me tell you, after we pick your body pieces off the sidewalk, you’ll discover you can’t break God’s law. It breaks you. So it is with God’s moral law. We cannot break it; but if we try, it will break us.
That’s why there are so many broken people, broken families, and broken communities today. We have neglected the clear precepts of God’s Word. So we need to call people back to the Bible. We need to open this Book again and show people what it says. That’s Paul’s advice to a young pastor here in 1 Timothy 4.