Be an example of what a Christian should look like through the way you live.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. I look forward to these times of fellowshipping with you, dear friends, by way of radio. This has become to me a very important and vital part of my own life as I look into God’s Word, seeking the blessing and refreshment that He has for me and then trying to pass it along to you. I pray every day that something that is said on these broadcasts may specifically refer to a need that you have, beloved. And if God answers that prayer, then I’m grateful.
We’re in 1 Timothy 4 and we’ve just started now with verse 12, 1 Timothy 4:12, a great verse, one that you should memorize for yourself, especially if you’re a youngster or a young adult. “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.”
The tendency is to think that if you’re young, you have no real spiritual credibility because you’re too young to know God that well. Just remember that Joseph heard from Heaven as a youngster. Samuel as a little boy heard God’s voice and knew something of God’s plans. Our Lord Jesus at age 12 said, “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” And Timothy himself was addressed by Paul in these words, “That from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus.”
Yes, you can be real with God as a young person, just as real, although not as experienced or as wise. You make a distinction there. Experience teaches you when to duck. [chuckle] Experience teaches you about the lessons that you have to learn along the way. And so, an older believer, aged 50 or 60 or 70, as the case may be, is certainly going to have more wisdom and more experience than a young person of age 15 or 16. Do you understand me? The truth is, however, that the credibility of your Christian experience, the believability, the genuineness of your Christian experience does not depend upon the passing of the years but upon how real God is in your life this minute.
Now, he said, “You can be an example of believers.” That word ‘example’ is our word ‘type.’ That’s the word that he uses there. You be a type of the believers in what you say, first of all in word; then he uses the word ‘conversation,’ and that is an idea of our lifestyle, I think that’s the best way you could put it. The Greek word is a verb that means ‘where you stand.’
Where you stand. Where do you stand on these things. Your lifestyle. And then he said, in charity, that’s our word love, John 3:16, Calvary love, agape, Godly love. And in spirit, that’s the concept of the envelope of influence that is around each human being, your spirit. “What man knoweth of things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him,” Paul says. And faith, that’s the idea of having a direct wire to Heaven, believing God for the accomplishment of His will in your life and in the lives of others. And then in purity, that’s our concept of holiness.
Now, he said, “Yes, you’re young but don’t let anybody put your Christianity down because you’re young, because you can be a living demonstration, a type, you can be a living demonstration of what Christ can do in a human life in the areas that are most important.” I sometimes say, “You can demonstrate what Christ can do in the areas where human nature breaks down.” Poor old sinful human nature that we have breaks down at these areas. What are they? What you say, how you live, the idea of love or the lack of it, the influence of your life, your relationship, your working relationship with God, and the quality of holiness in your character and conduct.
You see, the unsaved person or the carnal Christian breaks down just at these points: Word, what you say. Have you ever said to yourself, “Oh, if I could only keep my big mouth shut?” Have you ever said that to yourself? Of course, we have. I know I have. And I’m sure many of my listeners will agree. We do talk out of turn, don’t we? And the problem is that you can’t unsay a thing any more than you can unscramble an egg. Once you’ve said it, it’s gone.
Oh, to be under the control of the Holy Spirit of God so that your words are chosen by the indwelling Holy Spirit. You know anything about that? Do you know anything about whispering a prayer down in your heart before you open your mouth to say something? You try that. First of all, if you’re not really born again, if you never committed yourself to Christ as your Lord and Savior, do that first. Say to Him, “Lord Jesus, come into my heart and be my Lord, be my Savior. Forgive my sins, make me a child of God.” Pray that prayer in faith. Give yourself to Him, then embark on this matter of living in dependence on the Spirit of God to guide you in what you say. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,” the Bible says. And with Christ in your heart, with the Holy Spirit of God indwelling your life, your mouth is going to say things differently than it would before, right?
You be a type. You be a walking demonstration of what Christ can do in this matter of what a person says. Now, how do you keep from speaking out of turn? I have a quick tongue, I inherited it, I guess, from my mother’s side, or from whoever. But I’ve got a quick tongue and it’s gotten me in trouble oftentimes. But how do you get the better of this?
Well, number one, you become aware of the importance of your words. You get serious about it. Many a person bewails his careless talk but really is not serious about doing anything about it. I remember hearing a soprano say one time after she’d had a tantrum in my office, she says, “Well, I blow my top and then I get over it.” I had to remind her that other people don’t get over it that easily. [chuckle] Some people just never take this whole matter seriously enough to be aware of it. You follow me? So that’s the first step.
Get serious about the matter of what you say and then form the habit of whispering a prayer before you engage in conversation, before you answer a question, before you answer back any kind of a statement or even an accusation, whisper a prayer. Ask God to guide you. You’ll be surprised at what happens. Number one, He’ll keep you quiet sometimes when otherwise you might blow your top. And number two, He’ll help you say things that are loving and kind. “Manifesting the truth in love,” Paul says in Ephesians 4. Manifesting the truth in love.
Dr. Ironside said one time, as I recall, he said, “That word ‘manifesting the truth’ is a participle and if we had an English word that was ‘truthing,’ that would be the equivalent of it.” Truthing, manifesting the truth in love. That is the very essence of what you’re saying is love and it’s truth. God will enable you to do that as you trust His indwelling Holy Spirit. You be an example of what a Christian should sound like.
Yes, that’s a big order, I realize it, I presume, more than many of you, because all I have to do is to feel the lumps on my head where I’ve spoken out of turn and had to regret it. Oh, yes. But God can answer prayer and He does answer prayer. When you pray and say, “Oh, God, guide me now,” He does. “Call unto Me and I will answer thee,” He says, “And show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.” You be an example of what a believer should sound like, by trusting the Holy Spirit of God.
A small thought here. Because we talk out of the abundance of our heart, whatever you have in your heart is what you ultimately say. Isn’t it a good idea to store the Word of God in your heart so that the Holy Spirit of God can remind you of some of God’s precious words in the matter of daily conversation? “Thy word have I hid in my heart,” said the Psalmist, “That I might not sin against thee. Blessed is the man that standeth not in the way of sinners nor walketh in the way of the ungodly nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful, but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law doth he meditate day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Prosper, you want to prosper? Get full of the Word of God and obey it.
Just this, if you want your speech to be refined, get more of the Word of God in your mind. That rhymes, doesn’t it? [chuckle] I didn’t plan it, but it’s all right. If you want your speech to be refined, get more of God’s Word in your mind. “Thy Word have I hid in my heart.” “You be an example,” says Paul, “Of what a Christian should sound like.”
Oh, may that be fulfilled in each of our lives by God’s grace, an example of the believers in what you say. Then he says, he uses this word ‘conversation.’ Now, time will run out before we can walk around very far in that concept. But this old English word ‘conversation’ is our concept, manner of life, or sometimes we say lifestyle, the way you live. You be an example of what a Christian should look like in the way you live.
Now, this, of course, has to do with more than the routines through which we go ordinarily. Everyone has his daily routine: Get up, get dressed, get ready for the day, have breakfast, and go on out to work or school or whatever it may be. And mother is left at home to pick up three million things that the family dropped on their way out, and then to work all day long at tasks for which nobody ever says thank you. I know. You have routines that you do, and I think there’s more in it than that and I want to talk with you a little about that the next time we get together, your way of living, to prove something about your relationship with Jesus.
Dear Father today, may we be a living proof that Jesus is real. In His name I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today, and be a blessing!
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