I Timothy 4:12 “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity”.
Introduction: Today we are starting a new series of studies that we get from I Timothy 4:2, where Paul told Timothy “be thou an example”. Paul is not telling Timothy to be THE example but to be AN example of the way a believer should be in these six things. An example is a patter, a model, someone to imitate. In the bible you find good examples and bad examples, these six things that we are going to study today and for the next couple weeks are good example of what we should follow also.
Whether we know it or not, we will follow an example, whether that is a good example or a bad example. Whether we know it or not, we will be an example, a good one or a bad one. As a bible believer, we should follow a good example and we should be a good example for other believers or unbelievers to follow. The first two things we are going to deal with in this lesson will be, being an example of the believer in word and in conversation. In Word- The things we say, the words that come out of our mouth, our speech. In conversation– this is our deportment our behavior and manner.
We are an example of the believer in word, when we:
Speak what is Right- Proverbs 10:32 “The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh forwardness”. The world will speak forwardness, perverseness, disobedience, but the righteous, you and me, we speak what is right and acceptable to God. Words that please, gratify, and delight God.
- When we are hanging out in the break room, or around the water cooler, we can be an example of the believer, to a lost person or another Christian, by speaking what is right and acceptable.
Speak what is Pure- Ephesian 4:29 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers”. Corrupt communication is- defiling words, polluted words, perverted words, false words, bribery words.
- Again, that kind of communication is expected from a lost person, that’s who they are, you must expect them to speak with lies, and exaggeration, and with foul jokes, and with advantage, and with double entendre- a word or phrase that is open to two interpretations, one of which is usually risqué or indecent.
- What should speak is pure, not corrupt. But also a word that edifies and ministers grace. To edify is to build up, to instruct, improve, particularly in moral and religious knowledge, in faith and holiness. That sounds pure to me.
Speak what is Gracious– Ecclesiastes 10:12 “The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself”. What is gracious- favorable, kind, friendly, benevolent, merciful, disposed to forgive offenses and impart unmerited blessings.
- This kind of speech is not found in the world with worldly people. In fact, lost people find it so difficult to forget and to be gracious to others. They don’t cut any slack, they are very legalistic, just like the pharisees. They hold you to fire with everything that we say as a Christian.
- But Christians are not so, after being forgiven ALL by Christ our saviour, we know about grace and we should extend it to others in our words.
- Graciousness is an attribute of God- Psalm 86:15 “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth”.
We are an example of the believer in conversation, when:
Our conversation is Holy – I Peter 1:15 “Be ye holy in all manner of conversation”. Others need to know that we are living for the Lord in all godliness and righteousness. Holy– Sanctify, consecrate, dedicate. To be set apart for God’s purpose. We want to be conformed to the image of Christ.
- I Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, and holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light”. Because we are a peculiar people, we are not like unsaved people. We are different, and should be. We should desire to look more like Christ and less like the world, or else we wouldn’t be peculiar, we would just be conformed to this world.
- I Thessalonians 4:7 “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness”. This is one of the callings of every single believer, to be holy like Christ who is our example.
Our conversation is Honest- I Peter 2:12 “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: whereas they speak of you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation”. Honest– Upright, just, equitable; fair in dealing with others; free from trickery or fraud, sincere.
- This means that when we agree in a business transaction, we keep our word even if it hurts. When someone does something for you and you agree to pay an amount, it means we pay that amount and don’t try to lower the price after everything is complete.
- II Corinthians 8:21 “Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men”.
- Philippians 4:8- think about being honest not about being dishonest and how you can take the advantage on a matter.
Our conversation is Good – I Peter 3:16 “they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ”. As a Christian, our conversation should just be plain good. Others should be able to see that, and it will even put others to shame when they falsely accuse you of being evil.
- Hebrews 13:18 “Pray for us; for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly”. This is how we should desire to live also, with a good conscience and honestly.
- Matthew 12:35 “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things”. When our heart is right, good things come out, our conversation is good and it’s an example to others.
Conclusion: Paul told Timothy to be an example of the believer in word and in conversation. We want to follow this example, because, we too should be an example of the believer in this day and age. We should be the same at work, home, church, with family, etc. All the time, even when we are with unbelievers. Our behavior and our mouth must match up, even in text messages, e-mail, and Facebook.
Our Words and our Conversations go hand in hand, We cannot do one without the other. The world speaks and acts a certain way that is nothing like the way that we should speak and act. If we do the things we have seen today, we will be a good Christian example that other Christian can follow and one who an unbeliever can acknowledge as being from God.