Sunday Morning SoundBytes 6/17/2007

Doing Church Together | Lou Kochanek

Yesterday’s message was the ninth in the Doing Church Together series from the book of 1 Timothy. The message was called, Teaching By Example, taken from 1 Timothy 4:11-16.

1 Timothy 4:11-16 11 Command and teach these things. 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. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (NIV)

The main idea of the message was that we should teach others by example in the church. Here is a brief recap of the message:

How many times have you heard these words before? “Do as I say, not as I do.” When a person’s actions do not match his words, that person lacks integrity. And when a person lacks integrity, he loses credibility. We do not trust or respect the person who says, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

There is no teaching that is more important than the teaching of God’s word in the church. And that is why it is essential that those who teach about God never take this attitude of “Do as I say, not as I do.” Even though God’s word is true, if those who teach God’s word lack integrity, they lose credibility, and people will not take God’s word seriously.

So, how do you teach and minister effectively in the church?

1) Set an example for others (verses 11-12)

Authoritative teaching requires a credible teacher: a teacher with integrity; a teacher who backs up his words with his life; a teacher who sets an example. This was especially important for Timothy because Timothy in his mid-thirties was considered young to be a leader. Paul knew that it was possible that some people in the church might not take Timothy seriously because of his age. And so it was even more important for Timothy to set an example for the others to follow. We should all set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

2) Do not neglect your gifts (verses 13-14)

Timothy had been given gifts for leadership in the church. Notice that the word of God is central to the ministry of the church. Timothy’s three main responsibilities as a leader of the church were the reading, preaching and teaching of Scripture.

If you are a Christian, then God has also given you gifts for service. Whatever you gift or gifts may be, you must be careful not to neglect your gift. When you use your gifts for God’s glory, you are teaching by example. When you do not, your life betrays your words.

3) Make visible progress and persevere (verses 15-16)

Are you making progress in your Christian life? As you examine your life as a Christian, are you standing still, going backward or moving forward? Paul says not only should you be making progress in your Christian life, but you should be making visible progress that is evident to all. You are not really setting an example unless other people can see your progress.

Not only should you be making visible progress as a Christian, you should persevere in your faith. Perseverance is part of setting a good example. If you quit halfway, that’s not much of an example.

There are two things you should watch especially closely. Your life and your doctrine. Once again, your life should match the teaching of God’s word. Watch your doctrine closely to make sure that your beliefs line up with God’s word. Then watch your life closely to make sure that your life lines up with your beliefs.

Think about one or two people who have influenced you for Christ. Do you remember the specific words they spoke to you? Or do you mostly remember a person? Their example? Their deeds? Yes, we teach by words. But we also teach by example. Now go and be an example for others.

Note: To read the complete message, go to the Sermons tab at the top of the blog.

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