“The Power Of No”
June 22, 2015
We thoroughly enjoy beautiful views of the evening sunset right from our front yard. Sometimes they’re so spectacular we find ourselves with other neighbors or bikers snapping photos, though they never do justice to the actual view.
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“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” (1 Timothy 4:12).
Over the last few decades we’ve witnessed a tremendous breakdown in the family. Yesterday, following Pastor John’s message aimed toward fathers & husbands, he called all the men and boys to the front and asked me to close the service in prayer. In my prayer I quoted a memorized verse from Titus 2:11-14. I prayed that the men and boys would have the will, grace and power to “say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” Our country needs men in our generation who will heed these words and seek to be an example to their family, community and world.
Paul writes to Timothy about being a good example. His advice to Timothy is sound for those who serve Christ at any age. It’s sound regardless of whether our service is carried out as a pastor or in other vocational ministry or as a layperson. It’s a good pattern for fathers. We might render it “set an example for your children in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”
The first part of the verse has puzzled some. What does Paul mean by “young”? Paul first met Timothy at the beginning of his second missionary journey as recorded in Acts 16:1. Timothy was already a disciple and joined Paul and Silas on this trip. We would thus presume that he was a young adult at this time, which was about 50 AD. 1 Timothy was written about 63 AD, so Timothy was likely at least in his early 30’s, if not older.
The apostle Paul knew the importance of example. Paul had earlier written to the Corinthians: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). Surely Timothy had seen Paul’s example again and again in his many years of working alongside him. And now he was to pass that example on. Several years ago I read this statement: “Some of the greatest truths in life are caught, not taught.”
A powerful and essential form of discipleship is merely following the godly example of a more mature believer. In the daily text, passing on the spiritual torch to the next generation, Paul wrote, “Set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” For each of these we want to share a descriptive phrase and Scripture verse:
1) Wholesome Speech: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).
2) Purpose-filled Life: “You, however, know all about … my purpose” (2 Timothy 3:10).
3) Demonstrable Love: Jesus taught, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).
4) Overcoming Faith: “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).
5) God-honoring Purity: “But each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen who do not know God” (I Thessalonians 4:5). As the moral cesspool of our age gets worse and worse, the call to moral purity is needed more and more!
I hope you consider the power of your example for either good or bad to those whom you are called to impact! We especially appeal to fathers today and urge you to “say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Heavenly Father, it is only in following You that we can be a godly example of wholesome conversation, purpose-filled living, demonstrable love, overcoming faith and God-honoring purity. You know our failings are many and we so often fall short of being the perfect example we would like for those we love the most. So we make it our continued goal to point them to the only Perfect Example, Jesus Christ, God made manifest in the flesh, so that they have a vibrant, living relationship with Him. And, though we will always fall short, we continue to make it our goal to live in accordance with the Scripture and follow Christ’s example. It is in His name that we pray. Amen.
Here’s the fuller Scripture text of Titus 2:11-14: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It (grace) teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good”. We shared a message from this verse two years ago titled “What Grace Teaches”.
This is a side of Brooksyne that you’ve likely never seen before. Nor would I if her name hadn’t been called out to play a game at the Smucker’s picnic on Saturday, a company we serve as chaplains. On her back side was a square tissue box filled with ten orange ping pong balls. She was in competition with two others to “shake “em” out before her competitors unloaded theirs. She lost out to Adrian on her right. Brooksyne’s parents fobid any dancing in their home so she never got the hang of the twist or it might have helped her in this fun competition!
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