How To Change 1 Tim. 1:12-16 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
This sermon on how to change teaches you how to practically change things in your life that should change when you are saved. There are things in all our lives that should change after salvation. However, many Christians don’t change partly because they don’t know how to change. So, we’ll show you some things from the Bible that should help you see how to change.
Acknowledge what’s wrong – 1 Tim 1:13 – Paul was a blasphemer, a persecutor and injurious. However, he didn’t consider that there was anything wrong with any of these. His conscience didn’t bother him in the least [Acts 23:1]. But when he wrote Timothy he certainly knew that these things were bad. What changed? His attitude about these things changed. He recognized that what he was doing was wrong. Compare the description of Paul’s attitude about what he was doing in Acts 8:1-4 and Acts 9:1-2 with his attitude about those same things in 1 Tim 1:13. He had a totally different view. He was no longer ignorant. And for you to change anything in your life, you must have a different attitude about it than before. Acknowledge what’s wrong.
Realize that it is sin – 1 Tim 1:15 – if you are going to change something in your life, it helps to see it as God sees it. When a Christian can smoke, for instance, and justify it, he has failed to see that his smoking is sin. You say, “Well, smoking isn’t a sin.” Not to you, maybe; but to God it is [Rom 14:20-23]. And when you see smoking as more than just something that you shouldn’t be doing, when you see it as sin, you can get the Lord involved. Jesus came to save his people from their sins [Matt 1:21]. Consider Paul’s own testimony. He said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” God dealt with his sin and changed him. Consider 1 Cor 6:9-11. These folks, caught up in these sins, changed. Paul said, “… such were some of you.” Listen, an unruly spirit is sin. Overeating, called gluttony, is sin. Bitterness is sin. Envy is sin. When you see something in your life that needs to change, call it what it is, “sin.”
Don’t excuse it with mercy – 1 Tim 1:13, 16 – some people get the idea that because God hasn’t punished them severely and specifically for something wrong in their lives, they mustn’t need to change it. God’s longsuffering with our sin is no excuse to continue in sin. He is merciful, this is true. But his mercy is not evidence that he condones what we are doing. He has already identified it as sin and that lets you know that he wants it out of your life.
Get the Lord involved – 1 Tim 1:14-15 – Paul said, “And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant…” That’s what you need to give you the strength to change something in your life that you cannot change on your own. Paul said, “…by the grace of God I am what I am…” [1 Cor 15:10]. You don’t change to prove to the Lord that you are going to be good from now on. You admit to the Lord your inability and weakness in the face of sin in your life [Rom 7:15-20] and yield to his help by the grace of God to quit letting sin have dominion over you [Rom 6:12-14].
Replace it with something better – 1 Tim 1:12 – Paul went from being a blasphemer to a minister. God took something bad out of his life and gave him something to replace it. If you take bad music out of your life, replace it with good music. If you take unhealthy and under nourishing food out of your life, replace it with nourishing food in moderation. If you take alcohol out of your life, replace it with plenty of water and adequate exercise. If you take cussing and vain conversation out of your life, replace it with admonition, edification and encouragement.
Be a testimony for the next guy – 1 Tim 1:16 – Paul made a complete change when he became a new creature in Christ [2 Cor 5:17]. And not only did he affect others with his preaching, but he also affected them with his testimony [Acts 9:21-22]. As the old saying goes, “Your talk talks and your walk talks. But your walk talks louder than your talk talks.” The testimony of a changed life is proof positive that this really works. And it becomes a great pattern for others to follow who are trying to straighten out the effects of sin in their own lives. Remember that others are watching.
Conclusion: These are just a few simple pointers on how to change something in your life based upon the testimony of Paul and how the Lord helped him to change.