Saturday, July 26, 2008

How to Be Bold In Witnessing! -- 2 Timothy 1:4-18

How to Be Bold In Witnessing! -- 2 Timothy 1:4-18
July 27, 2008 AM
By Pastor Lee Hemen

In our day and age there are those who think that Christianity needs to not only change the way it conveys its message but that it should change its message as well. Both are heresy and unbiblical. They have become ashamed of the gospel message. What needs to occur in a society that has become aggressive toward the gospel is for the church and its members to be bold in their witnessing. There is a false doctrine that runs rampant in today’s evangelical churches, namely, that we should lure unsuspecting people into Christian worship in order for them to experience Jesus. However, this is not what Jesus taught nor what the early church was encouraged to do. Christians are to be bold in their witnessing.

Paul wrote his second Letter to Timothy as his personal situation worsened. He had apparently already attended a preliminary hearing (2 Tim. 4:16-18) and some had deserted him (1:15), and others had gone to serve in different locations (4:10-12). Paul’s trials, however, did not dampen his enthusiasm to witness courageously for the Lord. Paul wrote to encourage Timothy to serve God boldly even though the apostle was currently experiencing persecution (1:4-7). Paul reminded Timothy of his calling and encouraged him to keep the flame burning to reach other people with the gospel. The apostle also challenged Timothy to display courage when others opposed him (vv. 8-12). Christians are to be bold in their witnessing. Let’s therefore discover what Paul teaches Timothy in how to be bold in witnessing for Jesus Christ.

READ: 2 Timothy 1:4-18

At a time when some felt shame as a result of Paul’s imprisonment and many had rejected the gospel that he preached, the apostle encouraged Timothy to look to the Lord for courage. Paul instructed Timothy to remain faithful regardless of what he experienced (vv. 13-18). Paul wanted to inspire his younger associate to witness boldly in the midst of difficult circumstances. Paul wanted Timothy to be bold in his witnessing and he could by…

I. Serving God Confidently (2 Timothy 1:4-7)

1. Confidence comes with being certain of what you believe! Few today know what they actually believe about Jesus. Paul “recalled” Timothy’s “tears” the last time he had seen him. Paul was being sent to Rome to face trial for his faith. While there Paul writes Timothy to be confident in his faith. In fact, he had “been reminded of [Timothy’s] sincere faith” which Paul had first seen in Timothy’s grandmother Lois, and his mother Eunice. Because of this, Paul was persuaded it lived also in Timothy as well. It was for this reason Paul wanted to remind Timothy “to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” Paul, personally was invested in Timothy’s life and his faith. Timothy had evidently come to Christ because of Paul’s witness and now Paul wanted him to live up to the examples set before him by his mother, grandmother, and Paul himself! “Buck up, and remember who you believe in and how you came to know Him!” Paul is basically telling Timothy. Paul literally smacks Timothy on the side of the head verbally by telling him, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline!” Like Timothy many Christians today need to discipline themselves and remember where their power comes from. Not from the latest purpose driven book, learning a specific Old Testament prayer, placing crosses on your wall, or feeling good about Jesus. Serving God confidently comes from being certain of what you believe.

EXAMPLE: What you believe about Jesus will dictate whether you witness or not about Him in your life and actions. Never forget where Paul was writing Timothy from because if you do you will lose the impact of Paul’s writing to Timothy. Paul was in prison. Chained to his personal guard and drug from place to place for trial. Paul was waiting for a personal hearing before one of the most vile Roman Emperors of all time, Nero. He would have to stand before this man, who thought of himself as divine, and declare his faith in Christ and why he was being improperly held as a Roman citizen. Could you do the same? Could you, while awaiting trial before a tyrant, write a friend who was struggling with witnessing? And far too many of us quake with fear because we might be challenged by a friend about our faith. What do you believe about Jesus? There is no other name by which men can be saved, and you if you have believed, you are called to witness about what you believe. Serving God confidently comes from being certain of what you believe.

While many churches grow today through event making, promotional campaigns, and commercialization that is not the main means by which the good news is to be shared. When believers allow the church to become a company that sells the product Jesus, they have abdicated their responsibility to witness boldly about Christ. And, it tacitly tells the world they are to be ashamed of the gospel message. Are you? Paul wanted Timothy to be bold in his witnessing and he could by…

II. Exhibiting Courage (2 Timothy 1:8-12)

1. God guards those who are courageous for Him! Throughout this letter, Paul indicated that Timothy was far too shy and fearful. The apostle portrayed Timothy as a younger and more hesitant coworker. Timothy needed encouragement to demonstrate courage. Paul reminded Timothy that God has not given His children a spirit of fearfulness. The word translated fearfulness often referred to cowardice, timidity, or hesitancy. Here, Paul told Timothy not to allow his fear to make him to “be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner.” For Paul, the gospel, was the power of God, period. In fact, it was God “who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace!” Far too many think they can get God to love them by being good or by being nice. Being nice, is not the same as being holy. Holiness only comes through faith in Jesus. In fact, Paul reminds Timothy, that “This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” Never forget this truth. Paul never did. He knew this is why he was called and “was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.” Paul related, “That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” “Exhibit courage,” Paul tells Timothy. “Do not be ashamed of what you believe and why.” God guards those who are courageous for Him!

EXAMPLE: Are you courageous for Jesus? When was the last time you stood up for your faith in Christ in the face of opposition? We, as believers, have been sold a bill of goods that we have to be sweet, nice, and kind all the time like Thumper’s mother told him in the movie Bambi, “If you can’t saying anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” We equate Jesus’ humility and kindness with this convoluted worldview. When we do we end up conceding our faith to others by being silent thinking that we won’t “offend” someone else. That’s not witnessing, that’s acquiescing our faith! Jesus never did. Paul never did. And he tells Timothy, “Don’t you ever do this!” Courage makes a good theory, but sometimes we need help to practice it. We have many opportunities to step out of our comfort zone to share our faith in Christ. When we don’t have courage, we need to be reminded of God’s promise in 2 Timothy, and we need others’ encouragement to take the leap.

By trusting Christ, those who once lived in fear of death and who live in a state of spiritual death now can experience life and immortality! When Timothy shared the gospel with those who were lost in darkness, its truth shed light on the reality that those who believe in Christ experience eternal life and do not need to live in the fear of death and the grave. Though Paul suffered for his faith, he was never ashamed of the gospel. His intimate relationship with Jesus resulted in his confidence that no matter what happened, God would use him to share the gospel. Courage remains strongest when it is grounded in a personal relationship with Jesus. Paul wanted Timothy to be bold in his witnessing and he could by…

III. Always Being Faithful (2 Timothy 1:13-18)

1. God knows those who are faithful and who are not! Paul writes timid Timothy, “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.” Timothy was to look at Jesus and at Paul and how he lived for Jesus as a pattern for his own life of faith. This was so important for Pau that he commanded Timothy to “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” He was to actively hold on to and keep his faith secure with the help of the Holy Spirit. Where “everyone in the province of Asia” had deserted Paul because of his imprisonment, others had not. They were not ashamed of his “chains.” In fact, “Onesiphorus,” (whose name means “joy bringer” or “profit bearer”) Paul related, “searched hard for me until he found me.” Can you imagine? Here you are chained to a guard, imprisoned in Rome, and one faithful Christian comes to your aid to encourage you during your time of great personal need. Wow! You know what, sometimes witnessing demands our willingness to put ourselves aside and serve others, just like Onesiphorus did Paul. But this was not the first time he had done this, he had also helped Paul before in Ephesus. Here was a faithful servant of Jesus Christ. God knows those who are faithful and who are not. We are bold in our witnessing by always being faithful. Are you faithful?

EXAMPLE: David McCasland writes, “A Major League baseball player announced his retirement, saying, ‘All of a sudden, that passion isn’t there anymore. Physically, I think I could still do it. But something that I loved my whole life and had such a passion for became a major, major job for me. It’s not like it used to be.’” McCasland asks, “What can we do when something that once energized us has become a burden? A career can be changed, but the deepest matters of the heart, especially our relationship with Christ, cry out to recapture the fervor that fueled earlier days. The risen Lord praised the church in Ephesus for their faithful service and perseverance, but added, ‘Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works’ (Revelation 2:4-5).” Now, let me as your pastor ask you: Do you remember who was the first pastor of that church? Timothy was. This is the church and pastor Paul was writing to be bold in his witnessing by being faithful. Kind of interesting, isn’t it? How bold are you in your witness about Jesus? Has your faith slipped? Do you need to remember your “first love”? God knows those who are faithful and who are not. We are bold in our witnessing by always being faithful. Be faithful.

Conclusion:
In our day and age there are those who think that Christianity needs to not only change the way it conveys its message but that it should change its message as well. Both are heresy and unbiblical. They have become ashamed of the gospel message. Are you ashamed of the gospel? Do you witness? Paul taught Timothy how to be bold in his witness by: 1) Serving God confidently, 2) Exhibiting Courage, and by 3) Always being faithful.
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NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

How to Use What We Earn Wisely! -- 1 Timothy 6:3-21

How to Use What We Earn Wisely! -- 1 Timothy 6:3-21
By Pastor Lee Hemen
July 20, 2008 AM

“A penny saved is a penny earned.” “A fool and his money are soon parted.” “The buck stops here.” “Money talks.” “Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” (Proverbs 13:11) “With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity.” (Proverbs 8:18) These are all bits of wisdom that use money in them in some form. Why are these snippets remembered by so many in our society but others not so much? I believe it is because we have placed an improper role for wealth. How about these: “For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6) “For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.” (Proverbs 2:10) Or that “Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse.” (Proverbs 2:12) These too should be important to us, but few remember them as well. Why? Spiritual wisdom in today’s society is seen as foolishness, while worldly wisdom is seen as beneficial. The Bible relates that the exact opposite is true: “The wealth of the wise is their crown, but the folly of fools yields folly.” (Proverbs 14:24)

Just because a person is wealthy does not mean they are very wise. In fact, it could mean the opposite is true. You can gain the whole world and forfeit your soul. And Paul knew this to be true. He wanted Timothy to never forget where real wisdom and wealth came from. What makes a man a man is not always found in what he earns in life, it is found in what he learns in life. Let’s discover what Paul teaches Timothy about how to use what we earn wisely…

READ: 1 Timothy 6:3-21

Education does not bring about true wisdom. In fact, you can be exceptionally smart but spiritually stupid. As my Daddy would say, “You can be too smart for your own britches.” Paul told Timothy how to use what he earned wisely…

I. When the love of knowledge makes one ignorant! (vv. 3-6)

1. There are a lot of smart people who are very ignorant! “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7) It is interesting how money can skew a person’s theology, making them think that because they are successful God loves them. This is simply not true. Paul reminds Timothy that this spiritual conceit begins with teaching “false doctrines.” Loving something more than God always perverts a person’s picture of Jesus. Paul related that these people will “not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching.” Why? The truth of their ungodliness would be found out immediately! Like Ananias and Sapphira who greedily sold some land and kept part of their earnings a secret while suggesting they gave all of it to glorify God. (Acts 5) They were “conceited and [understood] nothing” because they wanted to receive the accolades but not go through the personal sacrifice. Like perverted TBN preachers these people have “an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.” Paul is telling Timothy to run from such ungodliness, because “godliness with contentment is great gain.” That is where real wisdom comes from. Knowledge in of itself will not lead you to the Lord. In fact, a person can become so enamored with their own wisdom, they become spiritually ignorant.

EXAMPLE: Remember a few years ago where they showed a chimpanzee or a gorilla using sign language and how they had learned so many words? While the mainstream media touted this as “proof” that these simians were somehow related to us because they had the ability to use sign language is, well, stupid. Many animals can learn words and understand to use them in order to get a banana or chimp cookie, but few could use them to write a thesis on the hardships of captivity as a trained ape. In fact, it is a good example of how even a little knowledge can leave one ignorant. Not the apes, but rather those who tried to claim these apes were intelligent by the use of sign language. It is a learned response. There are folks who claim to be Christians that exhibit the same kind of ignorance thinking that simply because they have wealth, good looks, intelligence or natural abilities they have an “in” with God. Paul would say, your knowledge is making you ignorant.

The world looks at the rich and thinks, “They have it all,” yet the rich looks at the world and thinks, “I do not have enough.” Paul related to Timothy how to use what he earned wisely…

II. When the love of things gets ungodly! (vv. 7-10)

1. There are a lot of wealthy people that are very poor! “Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?” (Proverbs 17:16) Far too often people forget where everything in life comes from – the Lord! Paul reminds his protégé that “we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” We come into the world with all that God has given us and then far too often we think that what we acquire in life is as important as what we first brought with us. It is not. Rich or poor every man shares the same fate and that is the ultimate physical poverty. Paul had learned that “if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” Why? “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.” It is not that money in of itself is evil, but rather “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” It stands to reason that “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” Earning a good wage, having a good salary, or trying to get ahead in life is not the problem Paul sees here. It is when a person’s life focus becomes so messed up because of trying to gain wealth, then it leads to evil. Or when money becomes an end all in a person’s life whereby they no longer think they need the Lord, they have become spiritually poor. And it is not just found in money. It is when the love of things becomes ungodly.

EXAMPLE: We have all read the stories of some destitute person dying impoverished, living in squallier, while all the while being wealthy because they invested in some stock years ago, had money in their mattress, or lived on top of the largest diamond in the world. We feel saddened, perhaps a little bit superior, or just plain glad it wasn’t us! However, when we look at the world do we try to gain as much of it as we can in order to find happiness or to use it for the glory of God? Paul left the Corinthians with a great little piece of advice: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) This is exactly what he was trying to teach Timothy and us today! He related how to use what you have earned wisely when the love of things gets ungodly.

A wise person learns that you cannot take anything with you when you die, but you can invest what you learn and earn for eternity. Paul leaves Timothy with a piece of godly wisdom on how to use what he earned wisely…

III. When wealth and wisdom fail, it is good to remember what is worthwhile beforehand! (vv. 11-21)

1. Life is not found in influence or affluence! “Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.” (Proverbs 11:4) Paul reminds his friend Timothy: “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” Notice the contrast between those who love gain rather than God? The godly “pursue” worthwhile things in life. We all need to “Fight the good fight of the faith,” and remember to “Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” Far too often in the midst of life, we forget whose we are. Jesus never did while walking this earth. In fact, because of Jesus we are “to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ!’ When will that be? No one knows. But Timothy, like us right now, are charged with three things by the Apostle Paul to remember to do: 1) Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 2) Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. And 3) we are to “guard what has been entrusted to [our] care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.” Because “In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” When wealth and wisdom fail, it is good to remember what is worthwhile beforehand.

EXAMPLE: Over the years I have conducted funerals for very wealthy individuals and for very poor ones as well. I have seen coffins that were richly ornate and ones made out of cardboard. I have seen hundreds of folks weep and I have seen just two strangers show up to pay their respect. From bikers to businessmen all of them had one thing in common: They were dead. I am not trying to be crass here but the truth is that for many whatever is marked on their stone or slab of concrete will be all that is left of their life. Any houses, money, lands, or goods will be divided up, used, and gone within short order. In fact, in a few decades, few will remember them at all unless they have their name plastered on the side of some building that is named after them. When the final lid is closed, what did they truly invest their lives in? Paul teaches us how to use what we have earned wisely because when wealth and wisdom fail, it is good to remember what is worthwhile beforehand! Do you know the Lord and live for Him?

Conclusion:
Paul teaches us this morning what truly matters in life. He gets kind of nitty-gritty with Timothy but leaves us with these three things to remember in how to use what we have earned wisely: When the love of knowledge makes one ignorant! When the love of things gets ungodly! When wealth and wisdom fail, it is good to remember what is worthwhile beforehand!
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NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Church, Part Five – 1 Timothy 5:23-25

The Church, Part Five – 1 Timothy 5:23-25
By Pastor Lee Hemen
July 13, 2008 AM

Recently, on one of the web blogs, someone asked what people thought about Christians drinking alcohol. After reading comment after comment that tried to make all kinds of excuses as to why some thought it was perfectly okay to drink as a believer but not get drunk, most failed to address the real issue: If you have to make excuses as to why you should be able to partake in something of the world, as a believer in Christ, then what does that tell you about it? This is exactly what Paul is trying to convey to Timothy. Evidently Timothy had made some mediocre choices as a young pastor and he needed to rethink his Christian witness before he continued in his ministry. Timothy, like all Christians do, needed to realize that Christ comes first in life, not making excuses as to why you as a Christian should be able to join in the world’s activities. It is Paul’s continued instruction on how the church should be the church.

While the Scriptures were written during a time when alcohol was seen as a part of the meal, today it is seen in our society as a part of having "fun," of being fashionable, or a way to “relax.” Why does a Christian need to relax, have fun, or be fashionable this way? Paul addresses these areas in the lives of early Christians that can also help us in our day be the church we are supposed to be in a sin-fallen world. Let’s discover what Paul wrote Timothy about Christian living for the church…

READ: 1 Timothy 5:23-25

When I read Paul writing to the church at Corinth he writes that “’Everything is permissible for me’—but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible for me’—but I will not be mastered by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12) He is relating that just because something seems innocuous as a believer in Christ, that does not give the Christian the excuse they need to participate in it. He continues by asking, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?” (v. 6:15) He is writing about sexual promiscuity with Christians, but his admonishment is just fine for any area of the believer’s life. In fact, for Timothy and for Jesus’ church today we discover that…

I. There is a time and place for everything! (1 Timothy 5:23)

1. Christians need to watch themselves! Timothy should have been taking care of his own health in a proper way. He must have been prone to indigestion or was having problems with the tainted water of the time. Paul therefore cautions Timothy by telling him to “Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.” (v. 5:23) The water of that day was usually infested with bacteria. It often created stomach problems for people. However, we cannot make the mistake in thinking that this is an encouragement by Paul for Timothy to drink booze anytime he wanted! In fact, public intoxication was seen as ungodly for the Hebrew and this is why the Priest Eli rebukes Hannah because he thought she was publically drunk! (1 Samuel 1:14-15) Historically, the Hebrews saw wine as a crop and blessing of God. It was never to be abused. Isaiah the prophet related that people who claim to know God should be ashamed at considering themselves “heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks.” (Isaiah 5:22) Why? Because it leads to the contemptuous pride of, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” (Isaiah 22:13) Pleasing oneself for a moment’s pleasure is not a Christian lifestyle. This is why it is convoluted thinking that because Jesus drank wine, Christians can too! This is juvenile reasoning like a child who declares, “Billy does it!” They forget that Jesus never drank alcohol to relax or be in vogue. In fact when people incorrectly called Him a “drunkard” Jesus angrily retorted that “The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.”’ But wisdom is proved right by her actions.” (Matthew 11:19) What did He mean? Jesus compared that generation to a group of selfish little children sitting in the marketplaces who could not be pleased by anything. They derisively tried to say He was a drunk, when He was not. Jesus came to witness to those in need of a Savior and went to whoever would listen, and while He was willing to eat with tax-collectors and prostitutes, He never joined in their sin. So, they falsely tried to say Jesus was a “glutton and drunkard” in order to throw suspicion on Him instead of their own ungodly actions. Timothy was to take care of his health in a godly way, not as an excuse for him to drink wine anytime he saw fit. There is a time and place for everything, but it should always give glory to God!

EXAMPLE: Christians in America need to remember that over 5,000 young people ages 16 to 25 will be killed on our highways because of alcohol. More than in both Iraq wars. Also, “alcohol is estimated to be the cause of more than 23,000 motor vehicle deaths and is implicated in more than half of the nation's 20,000 homicides” annually! (NYT) Alcohol is the number one abused drug for elementary-aged school children. More money is spent on alcohol in one year by “Christians” than all missions, ministries, or church giving combined. Why would Christians want to participate in something that is totally unnecessary for their lives and causes so much social destruction? This is why Paul would write the Ephesians, “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:17-18) There is a time and place for everything, and alcohol is not one of them for the believer.

We live in a society that brags about its individual freedoms. So much so Christians often begin to think they have certain “rights” that are guaranteed by God. This is simply not true. We have certain responsibilities. While we are free in Christ because we are set free from sin’s consequences, Christians are not free to do whatever they want, whenever they want to. Peter would remind us that as Christians we are to “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:12) Peter, like Paul, knew that in living out our faith…

II. Our actions speak louder than words! (1 Timothy 5:24-25)

1. Your actions should match your passion for Christ! This can be a good or bad thing depending upon your actual passion for Christ! Some feel that the next two verses should be connected to verse 21, but I do not believe so. I think Paul was continuing his thoughts to Timothy about Timothy’s own personal habits. I believe Paul did not want Timothy to fall into what many in our day and age try to incorrectly deduce from these verses, that namely Paul was telling Timothy to drink wine anytime. The pagan Romans did that, why would a devout Jew who is now a devout Christian, want to teach someone who was supposed to be a pastor and leader to emulate an ungodly habit? He would not. This is why he writes, “The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them.” (v. 5:24) Alcoholism does just this. So does the Christian who readily compromises their faith at a moment’s notice in order to “fit in” with the world instead of being steadfast for Christ! Paul is tacitly warning Timothy about his personal conduct. His actual witness. However, Paul notes that “In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not cannot be hidden. (v. 5:25) This is why Paul would write the Christians at Rome, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2) Your actions speak louder than words!

EXAMPLE: Christians do not live in a vacuum. If we say we love Jesus, yet do not live like we do, people will know it. Being a nice person is not the same as living a holy life for the Lord. I cannot relate to you how many times I have counseled well-meaning Christians who allowed the world to dictate their actions and were now suffering the consequences of them. Children who rebelled because they watched their “pious” parents kneel in the pew and then beheld their hypocrisy at home. How a father wept because his child was killed while drinking and driving, only to discover that she got the beer from his refrigerator in the garage. Paul was telling Timothy that if you are going to be a Christian leader, live like one. Live like you love the Lord you say you follow. Your actions speak louder than your words! Vacation Bible School this year had a song entitled, “Let My Actions Match My Passion.” We sang it earlier in our worship as it was lead by our youth. Remember what it states? “Gonna let my actions match my passions for what my God has done, He’s given me salvation through Jesus Christ His Son. I believe in His authority and that He loves me, so I’ll stand on His commands and let my actions match my passions. I’ll love the Lord, my God with all my heart, my soul, and my strength; and with my mind and I will love my neighbor like I love me.” Isn’t that what a Christian is called to do? To let their actions speak louder than their words?

Conclusion:
To drink or not to drink is not the question here. What is the question to consider for the believer is what Paul was expressing to his friend Timothy. Namely, in the life of a Christian… There is a time and place for everything, and our actions should speak louder than our words.
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NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety.