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1 Timothy 4:12-16.
This is a wonderful book. I am truly blessed reading the Word, ready to minister at any time. This passage of scripture is about being a living example. We have just heard about the statement of Faith (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nxq0BG5K5p8&t=229s ). Do we believe in the basic principle the Lord Jesus has died and is coming back? Do we believe this is the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation? Yes! Whether we accept it is another matter. Whether we walk in the ways of it is a different matter.
God has revealed His truth to us. We don’t always want to believe what it says. Isaiah says we have turned ourselves to our own ways. Paul is writing to Timothy, his son in the faith. He says, ‘I want you to be a living example to the church.’ Paul was writing from a place called Macedonia and he had placed Timothy, a young pastor, in the church there in Ephesus. Paul wrote a letter to the Ephesians. I believe it is the second to last letter he wrote.
Paul has very little negativity, if any at all, to the church at Ephesus. He commends their faith. He blesses them for what they stand for. He rejoices in what they stand for. We also know, in Revelation 2, it is the first letter from the Spirit of God. The Spirit of the Lord speaks to the church of the Ephesians and commends them for their conduct and their walk. But one thing He had against them; they have lost their first love.
Paul instructed Timothy to go to this church because it had doctrinal issues. They had issues where their conduct within the church was not according to scripture. Timothy, this young pastor, was half Greek and half Jew. His grandmother and mother were Jews. We read in second Timothy that his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice brought him up in the truth of scripture. They taught him the truth of scripture. I rejoice in the fact that I had a mother who loved the Lord so much that she spent day and night teaching me scripture, being an example in keeping with God’s Word. We should relish being an example to our children and grandchildren, to be an example to others, to live a life which is in keeping with God’s Word. It is such a blessing when this happens.
Paul wants Timothy to be an example to the believers. We can’t be an example to others if we can’t show love to one another. How can I share the gospel if I hate my brother? How can I share the gospel if I shake someone’s hand, but my heart is far from them? Paul wants Timothy to be a living example. But Timothy is young and there were elders who looked down on him, thinking of him as a young whippersnapper telling them what to do. Paul says look to the one who is the example. Paul writes, “Be imitators of me, even as I am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1). In Ephesians he says be an example of God.
Who are you imitating? Who are you following? Who am I following? Do I go out and out to tell others I belong to Christ? Who are you? Do you belong to Christ? Are you following Him? The Lord Jesus Christ says, “Follow me and I will make you.” He was and will always be the living example (John 6:38, John 12, John 4:34). It was always about God the Father, never about Him. He went to a wedding feast. He should have been the guest of honour but He was not. He sat there because He was doing the will of the Father. He never sought fame for Himself. How many Christians like a pat on the back? We are the body of Jesus Christ. We are members of the body of Jesus Christ, that wonderful body, paid for at such a great price.
Paul wants Timothy to go and be a living example in word, in deed, in manner of life, in conversation. In all of these things follow Him, not me. Jesus Christ delighted to do the will of the Lord God. (John 17, Psalm 40). This is what he wants us to do.
Titles associated with Jesus.
When we look at the gospel of John, chapter 6, He says, ‘I am the living bread, eat of me.’ What have we been feeding on this morning? Are we waiting to come to chapel to delight the Lord, to meet with other Christians? We have the capacity to delight the Lord in whatever we are doing, living for Him. Jesus delighted the Lord wherever He went. What are you feeding on? In the wilderness the Lord provided bread from heaven for the Israelites. After a while they got fed up with it. Are you fed up because you think the way of God isn’t relevant today?
He is not only bread to feed on, He is also the living water. Jeremiah was told to eat the bread and it sufficed him. Ezekiel was told to be a living example, doing many things for God, to show the people what God was telling them. The Lord says, ‘Eat of me, you will never hunger. Drink of me, you will never thirst.’
He is the living Word. He says ‘I will provide you with a Word which will sustain you, which will keep you. In Hebrews 4:12 we read, “For the Word of God is living powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” I believe this with all my heart and with all my soul. It has sustained me throughout my life, forever and ever because it is the Word of God. And it is able to do the same for you. The way of God sustains us forever. You can live in the power, the strength that is here, in the Bible.
Christ gives us a new name. We have a new name, a new title, a new calling. We belong to Christ. The salvation we have Christ has given us. He has breathed into us eternal life. Man became a living soul (Genesis 1:7). We read in Ephesians 2:1, God has breathed into us and we are living souls. Are you alive this morning? Why? Because you have confessed Christ as your Saviour.
Because He lives, we are to be a living testimony in our home, on the phone, in our community. He continues to transform us every day. We are temples of the Holy Spirit of God. We are redeemed by His precious blood. We are no longer our own, we are alive to God.
Paul wants Timothy to be a living example to the church, “In word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.’ (1 Timothy 4:12). This is your life. How am I meant to live when I leave this church? When we go out, there will be challenges. We are fighting a battle against the world, flesh and the Devil. But God has given us the power, the ability, the wisdom and His Word. He has given us the armour. He says, ‘Put on the armour of God that you will be able to stand, that you will be able to fight all the things that will come against you which will take you away and prevent you from being a living example for me, for my glory, for my praise.’ Amen.