Bible Topics In The Christian Library
1 TIMOTHY 4:12

INTRODUCTION: Every comedian has a particular “something” that set him/her apart from the rest. Jack Benny used the face in his hand with the classic “well!” to make him popular. David Letterman uses, among other things, his famous “top ten” list. 

Rodney Dangerfield has built up his popularity largely on one phrase. “I don’t get no respect!” is used over and over in his shows. And from the stories he tells and the characters he plays in his movies you can understand why! 

A young man in the New Testament had the same problem. Paul tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12, "Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." Let’s look at Paul’s advice a little closer. 



A. Timothy was young (by first century standards) and would need to set a good example, lest anyone should despise him as being too immature to discharge his duties.
1. If you are a younger member of the congregation, which is relative, many of the older member will tend to not respect you.
2. If they didn’t respect Timothy, they wouldn’t respect his message.
B. In the same way setting the proper example will cause others to respect us and our message.
1. How can anyone believe that we are living as Christians if we do not set the right example.
A. The better rendering is given in the New King James Version.
1. “but be an example to the believers”
2. Paul was telling Timothy that he should set a godly example to other brethren in the body of Christ.
3. While there is a need to have a good influence before those without, it is also important toward those in the church. It is often the case that we must earn respect before it is given.
B. There is a great power is a good example.
1. Look at the thousands that have been led away because of the bad influence of a wicked preacher.
2. How we conduct ourselves does matter.
3. Are we setting examples of pure behavior, clean lives, moral conduct.
4. The Scriptures tell us that our influence, either good or bad, is like a:
a. Light - seen by others.
1) Matthew 5:14-16 "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
b. Leaven - influencing others.
1) 1 Corinthians 5:6- "Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?"
2) Matthew 13:33- "Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."
5. The way we conduct ourselves will either lead souls to Christ, or drive them away from Him.
A. "In word"- In his speech.
1. Ephesians 4:29- "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."
2. This would include profanity, evil speaking, or gossip. Talebearing is condemned by the Word of God.
a. Leviticus 19:16- "Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD."
B. "In conversation"- manner of life.
1. His general life must be worthy of the Gospel.
2. 1 Thessalonians 5:21,21- "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil."
3. Are we living like we have been born again into the family of God, or are we living like we are part of the world?
C. "In charity"- in love.
1. He should exhibit love for all, both friend and foe.
2. Matthew 22:37-39
D. "In spirit"- Must be zealous for the Lord.
1. 1 Corinthians 15:58
E. "In faith"- Two possible meanings.
1. Unswerving trust and confidence in God.
2. Fidelity and trustworthiness.
3. Both these concepts are important to the Christian.
F. "In purity"- Morally pure and chaste in conduct.
1. Matthew 5:8- "Blessed {are} the pure in heart: for they shall see God."
2. Matthew 5:28- "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
CONCLUSION: Respect is something that is earned. It comes when we have integrity in our hearts. Let’s all live lives that other brethren and the world can respect us for. 

Copyright 1999 by Grady Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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