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Summary of sermon by Erlo Stegen, 08 Sep 2013 1 Tim 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. We don't get engaged like others, with affairs, dancing and drinking. That's how it was before we knew Christ. But when we became Christians we said it cannot be in the old way, but rather that the engagement takes place before God and the congregation. These young people are separate until the day of their wedding. They will only touch each on the day of their wedding. She will wear a white veil signifying she is untouched by another man. They don't just stay apart physically but there's also no flirting via cell phones or in any another way. Their lives should not be despised by anybody as our text says. We live in an evil promiscuous era where there are very few pure young people. If couples are immoral before their wedding they will continue to do so afterwards. Once a certain lady said to me, "I respect the way you preach but not the way your young people get engaged. You rob them of the nicest time of their youth, that young people can flirt with each other and experience that." I asked her if she had daughters and she said yes and that was why she spoke the way she spoke. Not long after I heard that she herself got involved with another man in adultery and it wasn't a surprise to me. She was immoral herself. That's why she didn't like the way of purity. We believers must be examples to other people. In the Greek it uses the word "tuphos", meaning type, example. People must see what type of person you are. This is the same word Thomas used when he said that he would not believe unless he would see the Lord and touch Him and put his finger in the print ("tupos") of the nails in His hands. When Christ appeared He told Thomas to put his finger into His wounds. It was then that Thomas fell down and exclaimed, "My Lord and my God". (John 20:25) If you are a child of God others should see the print and wounds of Jesus in you, so that they will fall down and acknowledge that Jesus is Lord. They should see the example of Jesus in you that they confess that it must has been Jesus who has transformed you. It goes deeper than being an example, the print of His wounds must be evident in you, otherwise you are lying if you say you're a Christian. It says, be an example to the believers, not just to the world, because lukewarm Christians have a habit of bringing down God's standard, and relaxing the requirements of the Lord. If we're not an example to the believers, then lukewarmness will enter. Oswald Chambers wrote, "My utmost for His Highest - everything for the Lord". Do you put in your utmost in serving the Lord? Many of us don't want His Highest but simply something that seems ok. Chambers said he'd rather be a fool for Jesus, be considered by others to be too zealous for Jesus, than to be filled with fools, foolishness, and the wisdom of this world. We must be faithful and not be found doing something which is in opposition to faithfulness and trustworthyness. The word in Zulu for being a believer, is "kholwa", to be satisfied. Jesus says that the one who drinks of the water of this world will be thirsty again, but the one who drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst again. (John 4:14) Total satisfaction indeed! The children of Israel who came out of Egypt desired to go back, they wanted the food and drink of Egypt again. They fell into sexual immorality and in one day 32,000 died. It shows that they were not satisfied. A Zulu man one day, who still worshipped the ancestors, told me that he doesn't serve idols like the Hindus. But the Bible says that there are many types of idols. You might not serve idols of wood and stone, but still be an idolater. Saul told Samuel that he performed God's will, but then Samuel challenged him about the animals and he excused it as a sacrifice unto the Lord (1Sam 15:14 - 23). God doesn't want sacrifice but obedience. Disobedience is the same as witchcraft and idolatry. God says let not one idle word proceed from your mouth. The pharisees had sent the soldiers to arrest Him but then they returned without Him, saying that never anyone spoke as He did. Can people say that of you, because of your words? Be an example in word. It would be good that each one would test themselves whether they are an example in word. Maybe you gossip, speaking about others behind their back. That is satanic and brings terrible harm. Such a one is a murderer. The sins of your tongue is a poison which kills. It does not build up, but separates people, congregations and families. Someone might say then that he will just keep quiet when he sees another sin, to protect himself from slander. That is also from hell. The Bible says you must go to that person and help that person. It is a high calling! God wants obedience from us, and if we are not obedient we are guilty of idolatry. We must also be an example in conduct. It speaks about an inner conduct, to be pure and clean in what you think. You are not who you think you are, but you are what you think. Look at your thoughts and that is who you are. Jesus judges our thoughts. Has the Lord Jesus worked in your thought life? Would you be happy if your thoughts about the opposite sex should be revealed? Jesus said the one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in his heart. You might say your outward conduct is fine, but what about your thoughts? When Simon invited the Lord Jesus into his house, Simon criticised Jesus in his heart because the woman who washed His feet was known to be a sinner. But Jesus knew his thoughts and answered him that he hasn't washed his feet but she had, because of her great love, having been forgiven much. The one forgiven much loves much. (Luke 7:36-50) Let it be the end of slander, evil videos, and evil speech, because of the wounds of Jesus. It's one thing when a bird makes a dropping on your head by accident but quite another to go to a bird house and smear yourself with their dung. Are the prints of the wounds of Jesus in vain for you? Maybe you say that it's generally a good film with only a small bad part. A bottle named poison is not dangerous, for everyone can see it's poison, but if you put a bit of poison into good food it will kill you. So too these things are killing you spiritually, because of the bit of poison you are watching. So, let us obey God's Word in being an example in these various aspects.

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