“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.” 1st Timothy 4:12
“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.” Philippians 3:17
“Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” Philippians 4:9
We have an ongoing battle going on in our nation, in our homes, in our education system and even in our churches. Our country is split, largely amongst party lines, violence has begun and quite honestly some of the things that are happening in this country are quite frankly embarrassing from a worldwide standpoint. The United States of America is becoming a circus show with spectators from around the world mocking us. Our households are not much better. While America still at the moment claims to be a Christian nation, what sort of example are we showing to the world?
America has a high divorce rate and problems abound in our households. Detail after detail could be given, but quite honestly the average American household is so far away from God in their day to day activities, that the sum of the matters would be living contrary to God and denying or refusing to adheed to what the Bible teaches regarding God’s moral standards. The world watches our television shows and movies, which unfortunately often depict the sin in our households, just what type of example are we showing to them, as well as our own neighbors?
Our education system goes out of it’s way to deny our Creator, to abolish anything regarding God and the Bible. We have come along way since the Scopes trial. Schools in some parts of the country have programs to pay for gender transformation, behind the parents back. We are pumping out immoral students who have no foundation of which to stand on. They have turned their back on the Constitution and worse yet, they have turned there back on God and His Word. They are trained in the education system to deny God and ignore His edicts to society. What type of example are we showing to the world, as well as our future generations?
Even our churches, true bodies of Believers who have, by God’s grace, repented and by faith believed into Jesus Christ as their Savior, are not being examples of Christ. With as far gone as our society (and much of the world) has become, could you imagine if the church at least maintained their diligence towards God about being holy? Could you imagine just how much more our ‘lights’ would shine amongst a dying world? Consider the words of Christ.
“Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16
Even pastors who preach God’s truth, must remind and direct their congregations to read the Word of God! This is not limited, but is in fact very common. This is not how it should be!
I once heard a pastor, of a very good church, admonish their congregation to sign up for a community outreach program. Here a church with Christ as their solid foundation, only had one person signed up on the list to join the pastor in doing some door to door ministry! There is a world of lost sinners out there, what is going on! This pastor is from Australia, so these problems amongst believers are not limited to the United States. We are to be examples unto the world and those in our church leadership should be examples onto us.
“Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” 1st Corinthians 4:16
“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” 1st Corinthians 11:1
How can a church move from spiritual life support to growing as a group of Believers in knowledge of the Bible and the Lord, if the basic elements are neglected? If a pastor must spend a good portion of sermons on doing the basics, reading the Bible and spending time in prayer, keeping oneself unspotted from the world, where is the time for teaching and admonishing deeper things of God?
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27
“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” 2nd Peter 3:11-14
“Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” 1st Timothy 4:13
How is it that many true Christians can not find time to read the Bible? How is it that many true Christians can not find time to pray? I once heard a pastor discuss prayer and his congregation. In regards to his congregation seeking the will of God about one matter or another in there lives, he found that they did not prayer about these things. Why? The best he could surmise, was that they didn’t want to know God’s answer.
This is serious business. We who are truly Christians need to take heed to what it is that we are spending our time focusing on. Did not Jesus Christ pay the penalty on the Cross for our sins? Do not we go from death to eternal life through Jesus Christ? Were we not Created? Why then do we pay so little attention to the things of God?
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” 1st Peter 2:21-24
“And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” John 10:28
Are those who will not diligently follow God’s Word, are they not taking resources from the church to do God’s work? Think about this for a moment. Let’s take a look at it from an aspect of tithing.
A pastor is who is called by God as a shepherd to His flock should have adequate time to focus on the things of God, in terms of preparing sermons, studies, missions and community outreaches. Should a pastor have to concern themselves with finances?
“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.” 1st Timothy 5:17-18
“Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” 1st Corinthians 9:14
If God’s building, the physical church building which is part of the church of Jesus Christ, is in disrepair, should funds be requested or should they simply be there for necessary repairs. Certainly if the building is too big for a small congregation to handle, there might be problems, as we do not give out of what one does not have, but the pastor has the business he is called by God to do and that is to preach His Word.
“For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” 2nd Corinthians 8:12
Likewise, if the Believers in a church are refusing to live holy and righteous lives, if they are refusing to read their Bibles, refusing to spend time in prayer, refusing to be involved in church missions and outreaches, then the pastor is having to spend time to deal with the consequences of these sins. What of those who are in attendance at church who are looking for spiritual growth, but receive little, as milk is constantly having to be given?
“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” 1st Corinthians 3:1-3
People are going to come to the pastor in private, during the week to discuss problems that could have been avoided, should not they have admonished God and His Word, doing as the Bible says. Now this is not to belittle in the least bit those who come to a pastor for counseling. For indeed, that is part of him being a shepherd, we as Believers are certainly going to get our feet dirty from time to time, but there is forgiveness of our sins in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1st John 1:9
Let’s take a look at the bigger picture. One that is on a community scale and on a nationwide scale. We are to live holy and separate lives, the Bible is quite clear about that.
“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” Ephesians 1:4
“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” 1st Peter 1:13-19
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2nd Corinthians 5:17
“Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” 2nd Thessalonians 3:6
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2nd Corinthians 6:14-18
Now numbers are not important to God. We, as Christians, are to be examples to those who are lost. We are to be lights of the world, in Jesus Christ. As individuals we will stand at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). Can we not live holy and righteous lives unto the Lord, doing the work that He has called us to do?
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:19-20
How many times does a preacher preach a good sermon. How many times does he get up on the pulpit and preach a sermon that touches your heart, admonishing you to do the things that you KNOW you should do? Then when you have purposed it in your heart to live as you know you should, before you know it, you are right back where you were? This is not how it should be.
“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” Hebrews 10:38-39
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.” 2nd Corinthians 13:5-6
I’ve said before and I will repeat this analogy here once again. Imagine that you are in a foreign land, where you were born and where you live. For the sake of argument, let’s say that country is Saudi Arabia. There you find yourself called by the House of Saud to work for king Salman. He has called you to prepare dinner for the king and his guests on a nightly basis.
There you have been given a cook’s quarters to reside in, a salary and your family is also provided with housing. Your job is simple, cook good meals for the king, his family and all of his guests, as required. You’ve been in the cooking industry for awhile, a known chef in Riyadh. This is considered a great honor, with numerous benefits for yourself and your family.
The job requires that you rise early, working with your staff to go to the market to get the things needed for meals for the next day. Preparation is had throughout the week on providing the proper meals that the king requires. You must take special attention to meals prepared for guests of the king. All is going well, the king has forgiven you of all of your families debt, you have been lifted out of the common crowd and set up high before your master.
Things are going well at first. You go about the king’s business, preparing meals, teaching the staff and ensuring that all operations behind the scenes are proper, to have seamless meal after meal. After awhile you decide to no longer go to the market, but to allow your staff to do so, in purchasing the items needed. At least they have a list in hand. More time goes on and you decide to place the meal planning on another servant. Now trouble begins.
The king calls you into his royal office and complains about a few problems with a meal. One of the guests didn’t enjoy the flavor of the meal the prior night and he had noted that the beans were not cooked all the way. You hear what he says and nod your head in agreement, but do not actually change the way you are operating things. Things continue to get worse, as you decide to only work three days per week, as you are busy on social media, talking of all of the good things that you are obtaining through your income.
Once again the king calls you in and declares that you are not being a faithful servant. Standing before the fear of the king, he once more admonishes you to do your job, that he has given you (indeed commanded you). For awhile you return to your job daily, you begin to overlook the recipes and everything is going fine. The king has more important matters to take care of than have to deal with the cuisine. After awhile you regress to taking more time off and no longer looking over the recipes. The king has a big meeting with international businessman, a feast is to be prepared.
As the day of the feast is on hand, you decide to take the day off and travel with your friends, enjoying your new found luxury. As you ride around in one of the king’s cars, you show off your prestige amongst those who are in town. They know who you are and immediately pay close attention, providing everything that you want, hoping that you will continue to use them to provide supplies to the king. The international businessman arrive, you have plans to attend the theatre that night with family, you are allowed to use the kings personal seats when they are not used. Unknown to you, the kitchen is in a wreck, the supplies needed for the meal did not come in and the staff are at a loss as to what to do.
The businessman are seated at the king’s table, awaiting the feast. The king begins to get embarrassed as the food is not set on the table at the proper time. A messenger is sent to see what is causing the delay. Finally the food begins to arrive, but the amount is not enough for all of the guests and the quality is of a lower than acceptable standard. The businessman joke that the king must have staffing problems and he is greatly insulted about the meal. The meal has embarrassed him to the point of not having the economic prowess in finishing the deal. The king awaits your return.
As you arrive back with your selfies from the theatre there is a messenger awaiting you at the gate. You are stripped of your badge, place in a dungeon, awaiting to meet with the king the next morning. You have heard stories of others who were not faithful in serving the king and you fill with fear. If you still have your life by tomorrow evening you will have fared well, despite the fact that a prison cell awaits your future, you will still have your life.
We serve a risen Savior, we serve the King of kings (Rev. 19:16). We serve Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God (Mk. 1:1). Why then when we would know how to serve a king, who is no more than a man with a royal diadem, do we not know how to serve our Creator (Col. 1:16-17)? Why do we count Him not worthy of reading our Bibles, of spending time in prayer, on doing His work?
“And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Luke 12:42-48
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1st Corinthians 15:58
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” 1st Peter 2:9
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23-34
We as Christians need to be examples to the world. They are lost, dying and on their way to Hell. Jesus Christ saved us and we are to be lights to the world. Be an example and start with leading holy lives, separate unto the Lord. Read your Bible, spend time and prayer. As the world grows to be a darker and darker place, the more that our lights will shine.
“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” 1st Peter 4:1-11
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.” 1st Peter 3:15-16
Be an example, remember where your citizenship is.
“For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Philippians 3:20-21