Text: 1 Timothy 4:1-6
The Bible tells us that we are the light of the world. As disciples we are to live in such a way that our lives will glorify God. His character, his Holiness, his love, his life manifested to all people by his people.
The Greek word for ‘example’ means to show under the eyes as an illustration or warning. With this understanding an example is therefore an illustration of a truth.
The dictionary definitions are also helpful:
Positive: Behaviour that is worthy of being copied. Negative: To punish someone so that others will be afraid to act as they did.
A positive Example John 13:15 Jesus washes the feet of his disciples which is an illustration of what they were to do.
In James 5:10 James uses the example of one of the prophets as one that we should imitate. Mentioning suffering, patienceand steadfastness
How important is Our Example?
1.We Give A Testimony to Our Faith
James 2:18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
In this text, we see that our example points clearly to our faith.
Again Paul writes Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.Philippians 3:17
because our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. 1 Thessalonians 1:5 Their example proved that their faith was real. The result was that the Thessalonians turned from idols to serve the true and living God. 9
2.We Give A Model for Others to Follow
In Paul’s mind it was clearly very important to give a good example because he knew people were watching and that they would imitate him. We see it in our young children how they are influenced by their environment and what they see.
The exhortations of scripture to be salt and light show the importance of our presence in society.
3.We Evidence Jesus to The World
…for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:20
Paul here is giving an example of holy living that evidence is the person of Jesus to the world.
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4
Where is it that unbelievers can see ‘the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ? The humbling, yet powerful answer lies in the previous chapter of 2nd letter to the Corinthians where we read:
and we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
The example shaped in us by the Holy Spirit, is a display of Christ Jesus in the World.
Being A Good Example
Paul wanted Timothy to be a good example. and he gives the key areas in which Timothy must be an example. 1 Timothy 4:12 Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.
Speech – Scripture exhorts us in many places to be careful about our speech. There are again the positive and negative examples of this, though according to James 3:10 only blessing should come from our mouths, not cursing.
We are told to put away anger, wrath, malice, slander and obscene talk from our mouths. Colossians 3:8
Not be double tongued 1 Timothy 3:8
Conduct – Timothy was clearly faithful to Paul’s exaltation. That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ as I teach them everywhere in every church. 1 Corinthians 4:17
What a blessing we can be if we choose to walk in the ways of the Lord.
We must take our responsibilities seriously and faithfully fulfil them.
The faithful example of Moses given in Hebrews 3:5 was a testimony. As believers we must be loyal to others and reliable. This will be a testimony and an example to others.