Tonight is our See You At The Pole Rally and I have chosen to speak from I Timothy. This is the same scripture that I spoke from last weekend in Clinton Tennessee and I am excited to be discussing it with the teens here in Carroll County.
I Timothy 4:12
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.
Points of interest:
Teenager-this term never existed until the 1950’s
There were no teenagers in Jesus time on earth
The concept of teenager is not mentioned in the Bible
You were considered a youth if you were between the ages of 13 and 40
When Jesus was twelve years old, He was found confounding the experts in the Jewish law as He sat in the temple and answered their questions? Jesus recognized the watershed between childhood and adulthood. There was no such thing as a teenager in Jesus’ time. You were either a child or you were an adult. In this scripture at 12 years old Jesus is still considered a child.
Probably after the age of about 12 a person was then considered a youth or young adult and eventually after the age of 40 an adult only. We do not have a set age for Timothy, we simply are not told. In my study I believe it would be safe to say that Timothy was between the age of 20-30, give or take a few years one way or the other. I distinctly remember having issues as a 20-30 year old with people not respecting my opinion or answer because of my youth and now that I am 44 it seems to many of the youth my opinion doesn’t count because I am too old, lol
By the way, I still have times when in the company of people who are older that I am who believe that my youthfulness prohibits me from being heard and taken seriously.
What am I getting to here?
I am getting to the point that “youth” those between the age of 13 to 40 are a huge part of today’s church. They are not the church of tomorrow, don’t ever say that again, it is mis-leading.
Timothy as a “youth” was helping to pick and appoint the leaders of the church.
Timothy was teaching the church and instructing them in the “ways of the Faith”.
When Paul wrote to Timothy he was leaving him in charge of the church in Ephesus. Timothy was charged by Paul to carry on the correct teaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Can you imagine what church would look like it it were planned and carried out by Youth? I personally think it would be and look awesome!
I think we would see a lot of new technology being used to get the message of the gospel out to the world. Such as facebook, twitter, youtube, etc…
I encourage people everywhere I preach these days to twitter their thoughts about the service we are engaged in at that moment. For those who would rather txt then by all means txt your friends and let them know what is going on and what is being said. Just go ahead and do it, if anyone gets offended and I am the one in charge of the service I will take the blame for it.
That said there are still places where people will consider such things inappropriate (twitter, facebook) during a service) and if you find yourself in that situation I would advise you not to offend in your freedom. Just use your wisdom to determine if it is the thing you should do.
Now at this point, Paul starts getting Timothy ready for this responsibility. (of taking care of the church)
I Timothy 1: 18-19
18Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.
Paul tells Timothy in verse 19, to CLING to Your Faith and Keep your conscience clear. This is that place inside us (conscience) where we make those moral judgments of what is right and what is wrong.
Put down faith stakes! What in the world do I mean by this? I mean that we have to study and pray (two way communication) and draw near to God and know who He is and what He is like and decide that we are going to walk in a way that is pleasing to Him and we put down stakes, that we might not be moved.
A couple of weekends ago, my family camped in tents and one of the first things we did after setting the tents up was to stake them down. Did we need the stakes this weekend? Not really. There was very little wind to blow them around. The only problem we had was when Samuel would run around them in his 4 wheeler and he would run over the corners of the tent. Had the stakes not been there we would have been putting them back in place time and time again. I remember a few years ago setting my tent up in the yard to air out after a camping trip and soon my neighbor was knocking on the door because my tent had blown down the road and into his yard.
We need to put down stakes (cling to our faith) in order to make wise moral decisions. It is too late when there is a moment of temptation upon us and we don’t have that faith to cling too.
Why is this so important?
I Timothy 3:14-16
I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, 15 so that if I am delayed, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God.
This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and foundation of the truth.
Paul is saying that the church is the foundation for people to look to when it comes to faith. Therefore the leaders have to be mature, faithful, devoted, and above reproach. When people think about Jesus Christ, they think about the church. When people think of the church they take a close look at the leaders.
What is our mission?
I Timothy 4: 1-5
1 Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. 2 These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead.
3 They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten with thanks by faithful people who know the truth. 4 Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. 5 For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer.
Some will turn away from the true faith.
What is the True Faith?
True faith is belief in Jesus Christ, trust in what Jesus has done on our behalf.
It is not the Law but Grace.
Paul mentions food and marriage. He is talking about the people who come along and they have moved back into the realm of the Letter of the Law.
How could that relate to us today? I think of the following: Steeples, form of dress, jewelery, style of music, use of technology, etc…
There are going to be people, even well meaning people who will tell us that we can only listen to one type of music and there is no biblical basis for it. There will be people who will tell us that we have to dress a certain way in church and there is no biblical basis for it. There will be people who tell us that we have to worship on Sunday morning at 11am and there is no biblical basis for it. The list goes on and on…..
Our mission is to deal with the real issue and that is, Christ came to bring salvation to the world of which He offers free of charge, without following the letter of the law.
I Timothy 4: 6-11
6 If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters, Timothy, you will be a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching you have followed. 7 Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and hear say, Instead, train yourself to be godly.
Teach these things and do it with urgency! (True Faith, belief in Christ) (no wasting time arguing over cultural likes & dislikes)
Here is where Paul says it counts:
I Timothy 12:1
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.
Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.
Wait a minute, hold on, stop the presses, no more facebook post about don’t despise my youth. We are to set the example! We are to lead the way in the “faith”. We are to teach others what it means to follow Christ! Wow, this is a huge responsibility. What to do?
Be an EXAMPLE
Make an IMPRESSION
The Greek word used literally means “blow” it is the impression made by the repeated blows of a hammer.
What you say, how you live, the things that people see you do and hear you say, over and over, they make an impression on the people around you.
Hmmm, great things can be accomplished with the blows of a hammer. Houses can be built! Hmmm, horrible things can be done with the blows of a hammer, people have been killed!
Be an example to all believers
in what you say – obvious –facebook post – on the football field – in the stands @ the ballgame
in the way you live – way of life – conduct – the things you do – live during the week the same way you live for 1 hour on Sunday morning
in your love – your concern for others – befriend that person in your school who isn’t viewed as being cool – there will come a day when you are the one who is not cool, trust me
your faith – complete trust or reliance on God – we serve a HUGE BIG GOD – he can do anything He wants to do and He will do anything for you that you ask in His Name in Faith Believing – don’t be a potty mouth – thank God for every day of the week, not just Friday & Saturday – be an encourager –
your purity – this word has different uses but here Paul here is talking about moral purity – staying away from sexual sin
God is not a punishing God. However God Created this world and set parameters for us. If we walk within those parameters then we will be blessed and if we choose to walk outside those parameters we will suffer the consequences.
Therefore the things you say, your conversation, the way you live your life, your care and concern for others, your giving of yourself and your resources, your complete trust in God for life and every need that you could possibly have, especially your trust in the future, ie, eternity and finally your moral purity. Yes in today’s world it appears that the church has gone the way of culture in many cases, rather than living by the standard plainly laid out in scripture.
Our culture today says it is OK and even normal for a man and a woman to live together outside the covenant of marriage. Our culture today says it is OK for two men or two women to have sexual relationships, our culture today says that it is perfectly normal to do just about anything sexually that you might feel the urge to do. That is what our culture says. That is what a lot of people ascribe to and practice. If a person is not a Christian these cultural views are perfectly cultural norm.
It is not God’s plan for us to live outside the guidelines the parameters He has given us in His Word. The design in scripture for sex is between a husband and wife in the Covenant of Marriage. What you choose to do in your marriage sexually is between you, your spouse and your understanding of scripture.
In the Bible there is no other provision for sexual relations of any kind outside the Covenant of Marriage. So the question of how far is to far is the wrong question. If you are asking that question you are on dangerous ground.
Why are we to live our life this way?
I Timothy 4: 13-16
13 Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them.
14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. 15 Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching.
Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.
NIV Translation of vs 16 “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers”.
Build up, strengthen, encourage the believers and save the lost.
Don’t neglect your own spiritual growth, your walk with your Father the Creator of the world. Live your life before others that they may be able to look to you and see your example and thereby be saved.
By doing these things you will not only spend eternity in heaven yourself, you will take a lot of people with you.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because of your youth but set an example for them to follow. If you do this no one will have a reason to look down on your youth.
Paul goes on in chapters 5 and 6 to give further instructions on Godly living and then in chapter 6 he gives these final instructions.
Teach these things, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. 3 Some people may contradict our teaching, but these
are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. 4 Anyone who teaches something
different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs
up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions.
Ch. 6 vs. 20 “Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you”.
Youth, guard what God has entrusted to you and you have been entrusted with eternal life and the ability to help others have that same eternal life.
Final thoughts: The Youth of today, 13 years old to 40 plus have a platform like never before to share the Love of God with others. We live in the Technology age where we have such an opportunity to reach the masses.
We possess the ability at our fingertips to reach masses of people with the stroke of the enter key or the send button or the facebook wall post. This has such potential.
Listen, get excited about the fact that God created us to live forever and we will. We will either live for eternity in the presence of God and all that entails or we will live for eternity without the presence of God and all that entails.
I want to be with God and I want as many as possible to be there with us. God is awesome, God created this awesome world in which we live, God gave us the parameters in which we are to live, He knows us best and He know what will be best for us. Lets embrace that and get excited about sharing it with others.
If you read this and feel that you have already lost your opportunity then you are wrong. God is a God who forgives and makes us like new. All we have to do is ask Him and He will forgive and forget. We can move forward from this day and live for Him and be an example to others of a changed life.
Lets do this together!