“Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:11-12
In the house of Christ we are all servants, yet we are all called to be leaders in some form or fashion. We are called to lead by example, to the general populace, by our Godly conduct – for the good of others and for the glory of God. Some have specific leadership titles – father, mother, elder, Sunday school teacher, etc. Paul reminds us that we are to teach and command other Believers that “our hope is set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” We must command and teach the instructions given us in the Bible (God’s breathed out word [2 Tim.3:16]) to encourage one another, to protect one another, to enlighten one another, to remind one another, and to restore one another. We are to do this in five distinct ways:
1) In speech – We are called to be continually building each other up – not in our own wisdom – but in the wisdom and words of God. Who can you encourage today? Who can share a small piece of the Living Bread with today so as to satisfy their hunger? Are you even looking to do such a thing, or has the Devil got you so focused on yourself that you’ve forgotten what you’ve been called to?
2) In conduct – Our conduct is the fruit that all other Believers see. Our speech may sound right but if our conduct contradicts our speech then our testimony regarding God is counted as worthless (read Luke 6:43-49). On our own we can produce no Godly fruit – it is only by walking in the Spirit that we are able to produce fruit that sets an example which glorifies God. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Gal 5:22-23). What kind of fruit would others say you are producing? Can others even identify that you are producing any fruit, or are you just a name that comes and goes; not sharing in any meaningful fellowship?
3) In love – It was out of love that Jesus Christ went to the cross for us. Any love that we show for Christ or for others is because He loved us first, and He demonstrated that love for us while we were still sinners by sacrificially giving Himself over to sin and death (1 John 4:19, Romans 5:8, John 3:16). Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. What is love? What is not love? What would others testify about you and the love that is demonstrated in your life?
4) In faith – The writer of Hebrews tells us that, “faith is the assurance of things hoped for the conviction of things unseen.” Biblical hope is a confident expectation that God is who He says and that the promises He speaks apply to each of us who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Think of an example of how your faith held firm for others to see during a trying time. Think of a time it didn’t. Why the difference?
5) In purity – Purity is not perfection. Another Christian writes, “Purity, according to biblical language, is to be morally clean, without blemish. Purity was essential in all of the sacrifices – meaning the sacrifice had to be physically perfect, without blemish or fault. Anything less than that was unacceptable to the Holy and Perfect God.
Romans 12:1 tells us: “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
If our entire lives are to be a sacrifice of worship to God, how much more should WE be as pure, spotless and clean as the animal sacrifices required in the OT worship!” (http://teachingwhatisgood.com/what-does-purity-mean/). Purity is actually an orientation of the heart. Are we oriented toward God and his commandments or away from Him/them? Purity works from the inside out; that is if our hearts are set on, and surrendered to God then our conduct (the fruit we produce) will be seen and known as pure. Where is your heart focused? Can your heart be pure before God and yet still sin? Why/not?