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Teaching By Lip And Life

1 Timothy 4:11-12
Command and teach these things. 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. (NIV)

The gospel has never been ‘just an interesting idea’ for people who like that sort of thing, or a suggestion to be considered along with others. The gospel contains a command to repent: Paul said, “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31). Timothy was not called to be a nice community leader but a strong prophetic voice.
However the young man would have no credibility if he could not live the life he preached. Although he might be regarded as inexperienced because of his age, and without the necessary authority to encourage, teach and rebuke (Titus 2:15), his loving and pure lifestyle should model the faith in his heart and be an example to the church. Age does not necessarily make wise people: wisdom comes when God’s truth is welcomed and obeyed.
Every pastor, preacher and faithful believer will draw opposition because the commands of God are not palatable to sinful flesh. However young God’s servant may be (whether in the church, community or workplace), authority comes through a demonstration that God’s commands can be obeyed. A radically different and godly lifestyle proves the authenticity of evangelistic and pastoral instruction. This principle also holds good in the home where the believer’s life is most closely scrutinised by children, as well as in the church. None of us is totally Christ-like and so we all need to work on our personal obedience to Christ, knowing that we are being examples - often to those who need Christ’s transforming power most.

Almighty God. Thank You for the integrated power and purity of the life and speech of our Lord Jesus Christ. I repent of my shallow living and fickle obedience to Your Word, and of being a poor example to believers and the world, work colleagues and the family. Please help me to live the right life and speak truth into each situation where You place me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams