"BE AN EXAMPLE"
I. "BE THOU AN EXAMPLE OF THE BELIEVER."
A. You often hear this quoted, "Be an example to the believer."
1.This is a possible translation.
2. Some of the versions translate it this way.
B. There is a subtle difference between the two.
1. The one would indicate before the church, and the other before the world.
2. I am to be an example before the world of the believer.
C. Both of them are actually correct.
1. I am to be an example of the believer so that a person in world can see how a believer should be.
2. I should be an example to you as believers of how a servant of Jesus Christ should be.
II. THE THINGS IN WHICH PAUL ENCOURAGED TIMOTHY TO BE AN EXAMPLE.
A. First in word.
1. This also could have two interpretations.
a. The word a reference to the scriptures.
b. My language.
2. Filthy language never becomes a child of God.
a. I maybe a little prudish in this opinion, but I feel that even the use of slang is wrong.
b. It is often used as a mild substitute for a worse word.
3. The word often refers to the scriptures.
a. He could be telling Timothy to be an example of the in his diligent study of the scriptures.
b. Elsewhere Paul told Timothy to study to show himself approved unto God a workman that need not be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Ti. 2:15
B. In conversation.
1. This is not a reference to speaking to a friend as you might say, "We had a good conversation on the subject."
2. The Greek word is far broader, it means behavior. It encompasses your whole manner of living.
3. We need to demonstrate by our lives how a believer should live.
4. It is not a "Do as I say, but do as I do."
5. My life should set the example for others how a child of God should live.
C. In love. Agape
1. I think that it is good to review often the Biblical definition of this word agape.
a. Love suffers long and is kind.
b. Love envies not.
c. Love does not vaunt itself.
d. Love is not stuck up.
e. Love does not behave itself weird.
f. Love does not seek its own way.
g. Love doesn't get provoked.
h. Love does not think evil.
i. Love does not rejoice in iniquity.
j. Love rejoices in the truth.
k. Love bears all things. It puts up with everything.
l. Love believes all things.
m. Love hopes all things.
n. Love endures all things.
o. Love never fails.
2. We need to be an example in these things.
D. In spirit.
1. The spirit is the attitude of your heart.
a. Some have a bitter spirit.
b. Some have a sweet spirit.
c. Some have a mean spirit.
d. I receive letters from some of the most mean spirited people on the earth.
e. I usually do not read the whole letter for you can soon discern how bitter and mean spirited they are.
f. I just thank God that I do not have to be around these people.
g. The interesting thing is that these letters are so often judgmental in nature. Paul asked the question, "Who is he that condemneth?" The answer turns out to be Satan. So when I get one of these letters, I just figure that the devil is writing to me again.
h. If some of you here today are mean spirited, I would recommend that you go to some other church, you will never by happy here, or anyplace else for that matter.
i. The old farmer sitting on his porch.
j. Some have a critical spirit.
a. I have observed something interesting about people who develop a critical spirit, they soon become critical of everything. They listen to a sermon for the sole purpose of finding something to criticize.
b. They set themselves up as judges and develop a perverted feeling of spiritual superiority because of their ability to find fault in every one but themselves.
c. A person who becomes good in finding fault soon becomes good for nothing else.
2. Be honest, in choosing someone who you want to associate with, do you choose to be around a sweet spirited person or a mean spirited person?
a. What is your tendency toward a person who you know is is always hyper-critical?
b. You become critical of them, and seek to avoid them as much as possible.
3. Paul said if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of His.
a. I do not believe that, that is a reference to the Holy Spirit, but to the nature of Christ.
b. When I think of the spirit of Jesus, I think of loving kind, forgiving, accepting, gracious, tender.
4. Paul is encouraging Timothy to be an example in these things.
E. In faith.
1. This also can have two meanings.
a. Our putting our trust in the word of God.
b. In can mean fidelity. Our faithfulness.
2. I believe that both are applicable here.
a. I should be an example in my full trust in the word of God.
b. The Bible gives us many examples of men of faith and the their great exploits through faith.
Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
3. Be trustworthy. Let your yea be yea, and your nay be nay.
F. In purity.
1. In another place Paul tells Timothy to flee youthful lusts. 2:22
2. We talk of living in a decadent age, and I am convinced that we are, but no more decadent than at the time when Paul was writing to Timothy.
3. The message is universal for every age. The child of God should live a life of purity.
4. Christ is our example of purity. John wrote that if we have the hope of the imminent return of Jesus Christ we will purify ourselves even as He is pure.
III. WE ARE DEALING HERE WITH TRAITS OF THE CHRISTIAN CHARACTER. THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT SHOULD MARK ALL OF OUR LIVES.
A. Our love for the word, the manner in which we live, the love that we show, the spirit or attitudes of our life, the faith that we have, or faithfulness, and the purity of thought and character.
B. Peter gives a parallel, but expanded list in his second letter.
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know [them], and be established in the present truth.
Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting [you] in remembrance;
C. Peter tells us that though we know these things we need to constantly reminded of them.
D. Paul then told Timothy that until Paul arrived that he should diligent in his study of the word, in exhortation and in doctrine.
1. These are the very things that build Christian character in us.
2. Peter began his list by reminding the readers that God has given to us exceeding rich and precious promises, that by these that is the rich and precious promises we might become partakers of the divine nature.
E. The power of the word of God to transform our lives. Jesus said, "Now you are clean through the word that I have spoken unto you."
F. It is so important to guard what we sow into our brains.
1. In computer science they have a saying, garbage in garbage out.
2. The Bible says that whatsoever a man sows that he also reaps, if we sow to the flesh, we will of the flesh reap corruption, but if we sow to the spirit, of the spirit we will reap everlasting life.
3. The Bible will sow to your spirit.