Summary: Timothy will represent the younger generation and King David will represent the older generation (Material adapted from the book, We Speak: Proclaiming Truth in an Age of Talk, chapter 6 "We Speak Through Our Lives"(
A preaching video of Kanon Tipton became an overnight YouTube sensation. The footage of his sermon was recorded as he spoke to a congregation in Mississippi and led to several television appearances. What made this so special? Kanon is 4 years old. On the other end of the spectrum is Samuel Akinbode Sadela, who at 111 years is still preaching weekly at a church in Lagos Nigeria. Amazingly, he has been preaching at this same church for almost 80 years. These two preachers, who represent opposite ends of the spectrum illustrate that in the church both young and old can speak.
All of us preach whether we know it or not. In the church every generation is designed to speak into the life of the church. It can be hard for the young and the old to find their voice in a congregation. This difficulty may be because each of these age categories carries with it significant stereotypes, realities and attitudes associated with each. Still, each generation has a unique opportunity to speak. We’ll allow 2 well known Bible characters to represent the biblical voice of each of these generations.
Thesis: Timothy will represent the younger generation and King David will represent the older
Timothy: The Young Generation
“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.” 1 Timothy 4:12, NIV.
Talked about this verse this past Wednesday night. This tendency seems to be a natural response from older, more experienced people to the younger generation. Young leaders were looked down on in the 1st century church and not much has changed in 2,000 years.
Older people often despise or disregard young people simply because they are young and inexperienced. Many churches, through policy and culture, often prevent the inclusion of younger voices on boards, committees and ministry teams. This silences a whole generation.
While Timothy may not be typical of most young Christians, since he is an evangelist at Ephesus, the advice that Paul gives is practical advice for all Christian young people. Didn’t talk much about the last part of that verse. In this verse Paul gives 5 different ways that a young person can leave his/her mark on the church.
In speech- Many times young people are ignored because of the way they speak. Some times they use language that leaves a bad impression. This kind of speech can include an irreverent, unappreciative tone, an arrogant attitude or even crude or questionable slang. Work to clean out words from our vocabulary that are foul for the sake of holiness and to increase our voice. Need to avoid being argumentative but be gracious with words. The best way to find an audience with an older generation is to pay attention to these common message killers. Need to begin with a humble attitude and watch what we say and how we say it. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29, NIV.
In conduct (life- NIV)- Those who are in their tens, twenties, and thirties can be heard loudest by the life that we live. “Actions speak louder than words,” this is never more true than when it comes to living a life of faith. Children feel like they have control over very little, but even they create their reputation. “Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.” Proverbs 20:11, NIV.
In love- Loving others is a great way for a young person to preach without talking. If we simply love others the way Christ has loved us, we earn the right to be heard by them. Older people are hesitant to follow the lead of a younger voice, but they are more likely to listen to anyone who will take the time to truly love them. Spend time with older generations talking about their lives, dreams, fears and failures. Pray with them. Really listen. Help in tangible ways if we can. Give them a hug and smile when we see them. Call them by name.
In faith- Paul began 1 Timothy 4 by saying, “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” 1 Timothy 4:1, NIV. Stay anchored to the truth, or we’ll be caught in the undertow of error. Guy was asked, “What do you believe?” He said, “The same thing my church believes.” Then asked, “What does your church believe?” He said, “The same thing I believe.” Then asked, “What do you both believe?” He replied, “We both believe that same thing.” Bottom line: he didn’t know what he believed! Need to know or be swept away