Setting the Right Example

Thoughts on Christian Leadership

1st Timothy 4:12

Oct 6, 2013 AM

Pastor Craig Ledbetter

Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland


I.       Introduction (1Tim 4:12)


A.      Two strong commands to a young Christian man named Timothy…


1.      Don’t let anybody despise, demean, or mock your youthfulness


a.       Earn respect ladies and gentlemen, teenagers!


1)     Your age has nothing to do with right and wrong

2)     Being a woman, or a Gentile makes no difference to the need for God today

3)     Truth is still absolute

4)     And a godly life louder as an example, than any tongue could ever say!


b.      Ignore the world’s mould that they put you in


1)      Like David had been in 1Sa_17:33  And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.

2)      Anyone not yet 30 years old was considered to be still a “kid”

3)      That’s why Jesus did not begin His ministry until He was 30 even though at 12 years old, He had all the answers!


c.       But if you have a Bible, and absolute faith in it, then


1)     Speak up, say what is right

2)     Tell the world around you what God expects


d.      Follow Christ, and expect others to follow you – no matter how young you may be!


2.      Be the example! A Pattern for others to follow!


a.       Don’t let the world mould you anymore

b.      Don’t let the pressures, stress, culture, fashions shape your life anymore

c.       YOU be the fashion – the light, the salt of the world

d.      BE an example of what a follower of Jesus Christ is, and acts like!


3.      Instead of Chrstians setting the example for the world to follow (like Jesus designed us to do)…

4.      Christianity has taken on the characteristics of the world around us – we are not so different than the world anymore – no longer “peculiar” (1Peter 2:9)


a.       Like a frog in a cooking pot – slowly being cooked and not even realising it

b.      Like being around a smoker – you smell of smoke

c.       No longer do we stand out – example of us spotting the two Christians at the Cliffs of Moher!


5.      That is wrong folks! We were saved to shine, to be lights, to be the salt of the earth!


B.      Paul then gives six areas that a Christian needs to stand out in – take the lead in:


1.      Word

2.      Conversation

3.      Charity

4.      Spirit

5.      Faith

6.      Purity

7.      In simple words, become Ready to Lead – ready to be an Influence, a Guide, Set the Pace – quit allowing the world define the rules and set the standard, and let Christ’s leadership shine through your life


C.      That is our goal this month! To become ready to lead! Be God’s Agent of Change in our culture


1.      Culture is the general way that people think, act, and interact – how is everybody doing these days? Not great!

2.      So God calls us to determine to Influence our culture, our world

3.      Expose wrongs in the culture – make people upset about it

4.      Make “change” a church-wide quest – not a personal quest

5.      Focus attention on what are the causes of the problems in society, and the modern home and life

6.      Clearly describe God’s answer to that problem

7.      Describe a strategy to effect change, first in the group, and then outward into the culture

8.      Nurture and equip the group to stay the course until change happens


D.     The Example of Missionary to India William Carey


1.      It’s impossible! It can’t be done! Don’t be ridiculous – what difference can one person make?


a.       Have you ever encountered those kinds of reactions?

b.      Those determined to end legal abortions, eradicate pornography, start a truly Bible believing church, establish a Christian school or Bible Institute, stop the ongoing slave trade, or work for national Revival, will encounter those people who seem to believe that they have “the gift of criticism” and “a ministry of discouragement!”

c.       Have you heard that Christians be Involved in Politics?


1)     There are those who maintain that Christians shouldn’t even be involved in social issues at all! When you tell them of the abortion holocaust or the pornography plague they mutter that “all we can do is pray”, “just preach the Gospel” and “it’s a sign of the last days!”

2)     Such attitudes are motivated by laziness and cowardice than anything else.

3)     Those who maintain that Christians shouldn’t be involved in social or political issues display their ignorance of both the Bible and church history.


d.      If you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the immensity of the task before us as Bible believers, or discouraged by a seemingly never-ending series of obstacles and opposition, frustrations and failures – take heart! The man whom God used to launch the modern missionary movement faced all this and much, much more.


2.      Undereducated, underfunded and underestimated, William Carey seemed to have everything against him.


a.       He was brought up in poverty and never had the benefit of secondary school.

1)     Yet, at age 12 Carey taught himself Latin. Then he went on to master – on his own – Greek, Hebrew, French and Dutch!

2)     He later became professor of Bengali, Sanskrit and Marathi at the prestigious Fort William College in Calcutta.

b.      He firmly knew God had called him to go and win the heathen in India, but almost no one agreed with him that it was possible, or even important to do!


1)     Yet, Carey and his co-workers started over 100 Christian schools for over 8,000 Indian children of all castes and he launched the first Christian College in Asia – at Serampore, which continues to this day!

2)     Carey finally succeeded in translating the Bible into 6 languages and New Testaments and Gospels into 29 other languages!


3.      But one of the hardest things William Carey attempted was change the Hindu culture concerning women and children!

4.      His life theme was summed up in one sentence, “Expect great things from God! Attempt great things for God!” And that is just what he did for the rest of his life!

5.      When Carey stepped ashore at Calcutta in 1793, India was in a terribly degraded state.

6.      Infanticide


a.       If an infant was sick, it was assumed that he was under the influence of an evil spirit. The custom was to expose sick infants to the elements – perhaps hanging them up in a basket. At the Sagar Mela where the Ganges river flows into the sea, Carey witnessed how mothers threw their babies into the sea to drown, or to be devoured by crocodiles. This the Hindus regarded as a holy sacrifice to the Mother Ganges!

b.      Carey undertook a thorough research into the numbers, nature and reasons for the infanticide and published his reports. He presented several petitions to the government until, in 1802, infanticide was outlawed. This marked the first time that the British government interfered directly with religious practice in India. It set a precedent for the abolition of other practises.


7.      Low View of Women


a.       Hinduism had an extremely low view of women. It was often stated “In Hinduism there is no salvation for women until she be reborn a man.” Her only hope lay in serving men in complete subjection.

b.      Many female babies were smothered at birth. Girls were married as young as 4 years old!

c.       Widows were perceived as bad omens who had brought about the deaths of their husbands. Widows were also seen as an economic liability. Bereaved widows had to shave off all their hair, remove all jewellery and were forbidden to remarry – but were required to cohabit (niyogo) with her deceased husband’s nearest male relative.

d.      Tremendous pressure was exerted on the widow to submit to Sati or immolation – to be burned alive on the funeral pyre of her husband.

e.       So because of the Hindu practise of Sati, children who had lost their father would also lose their mother and be orphaned at the same time.

f.        The Hindu practise of polygamy compounded the problem. On one occasion Carey documented 33 wives of one man burned alive at his funeral. On another occasion an 11 year old widow was burned on the funeral pyre of her husband!


8.      Leprosy


a.       Lepers were rejected by their families and society and burned alive. Hinduism taught that only a violent and fiery end could purify the body and ensure transmitigation into a healthy new existence.

b.      Euthanasia was also widely practised with those afflicted by other sicknesses. The infirmed were regularly carried out to be left exposed to cold and heat, crocodiles or insects, by the riverside.


9.      All the while that William Carey preached and started churches, he passionately fought against these and many other evils – including child prostitution, slavery and the caste system. He publicly criticised the government for inaction and passivity in the face of murder. He organised public debates and spoke out and wrote often on these atrocities. At first he met with official indifference. The Indian Supreme Court in 1805 even ruled that Sati had religious sanction and could not be questioned.

10.  But Carey fought hard against the idea that a woman’s life ceases to be valuable after her husbands death. He underminded the oppression and exploitation of women by providing women with education. He even opened the first schools for girls.

11.  It was Carey’s relentless battle against Sati – for 25 years – which finally led to the famous Edict in 1829 banning widow burning.

12.  That was just ONE man! A missionary in India, where it was ILLEGAL to be a missionary!


E.      What’s my point?


1.      Your life as a Christian is more important than the Taoiseach’s,  the Prime Minister, or of Movie Stars, or Sport’s Stars!


a.       These have all influenced their generation

b.      But not as much as a man or a woman after God’s own heart!

c.       No longer are any of us to be an example of a sinner to sinners, but of a man of God to sinners!!! Of a follower of Jesus Christ, to the lost and without hope and without God!

d.      No matter how young you are. Remember…


1)     David was just a kid physically, but a MAN in heart (Comp 1Sam 17:33; 13:14)

2)     Josiah was just a kid, but was the right example for the kingdom

3)     Jesus at TWELVE was an awesome example (Luke 2:42-52)


2.      The world needs some light. A lot of light! Not just the Gospel light, but the light of the whole counsel of God! All that is in this Bible!

3.      Our children need OUR right examples!

4.      We need to get back to taking the lead…


a.       In leading people to Christ – not letting the world lead everyone, especially children to hell

b.      In enforcing ethics in medical research – not letting universities and hospital research go unchecked

c.       In reversing pro-abortion laws

d.      In reducing addiction and dependency upon drugs and drink by shaming the acceptance of advertising, and providing a better life than the lie offered by Hollywood!

e.       In calling our politicians and judges to live by a higher standard than just the whim of European and popular pressure


5.      By our Christian lives (Christ following lives), being an example of what is right, and good and wholesome!


II.    Message – Step Forward and Set the Right Example (1st Timothy 4:12)


A.    Be an example of a believer, a Christian - ion Word


1.      Be an example of a believer, a Christian - with your words!


a.       So much filth spoken everywhere

b.      So much blasphemy of God’s name and character!

c.       The world only has BAD examples of how to talk, so THAT is how they are talking these days!


2.      Quit speaking like the devil! Quit talking like hell!

3.      Talk like GOD talks! By the way, He IS the Word!

4.      Speak THE Word (Josh 1:8)


a.       Wouldn’t it be great if we spoke this Book more?

b.      Preach the word (2Tim 4:2)

c.       Love to hear the Word – other preachers, the Bible in audio


5.      Speak Right Words (Job 6:25)


a.       True words

b.      Not lies, foolish jesting


6.      Speak Few Words (Pr 10:19; 17:27) – make your words count

7.      Speak Thankful words – gracious words (Eph 5:4) helpful edifying words (Eph 4:29)

8.      Speak Hearty Words (Mt 12:34) – oh that we had a generation of passion again! Passion for change – passion for God!

9.      Be an example in every word you speak!


B.     Be an example of a believer, a Christian - in Conversation – manner of life (1Pet 3:2-4,16; Gal 1:13) - behaviour


1.      Conversation is your ‘walk’ talking louder than your talk!

2.      It’s a good old word that means our whole life – not just Sunday morning life, but our every day life!


a.       Your and my life should not be a life lived in the shadows

b.      But lived out in the open, for all to see what God has done

c.       That is hard! Because everyone will notice the flaws!

d.      So what!

e.       They will also notice the improvements that only Christ could have done (1Cor 6:9-11)


3.      What is your manner of life; your way of living? What do people see?


a.       Selfish?

b.      Secretly sinful?

c.       Angry?

d.      Arrogant and proud?

e.       What do you live like?

f.       Paul said, for me to live, is Christ!


4.      Does your manner of life adorn the doctrine of God, or blaspheme it?

5.      Are you a Hard worker (Pr 12:24; 21:17; 22:29) or lazy?

6.      The apostle Paul is a great example of a godly manner of life (1Cor 15:10)


C.    Be an example of a believer, a Christian - in Charity / Love


1.      Charity is love in action – not asking for anything in return! Like God’s love!

2.      Do you even know HOW to love?


a.       We all know what love is. We feel it. We want it.

b.      But do we know how to DO it?

c.       Salvation had changed Timothy. Through God’s forgiveness, Timothy had learned of HOW to love the unlovely – because that is just what Christ had done for HIM!

d.      And so now, Paul commands young Timothy to set the pace, be the example of how to love!



1)      Loving God

2)      Loving Jesus Christ

3)      And loving one another


3.      Christians, who live by this Bible ought to be showing the world How to love:


a.       Our mates!

b.      Our children

c.       Our ministries

d.      Our church

e.       Our neighbours

f.       Our enemies!


4.      We of all people ought best to know how to be…


a.       Kind

b.      We ought to be quick to cover a multitude of sins, to forgive completely

c.       To stay the course – quit quitting just because the other person in your life has hurt you or is not doing right!


5.      We need some examples of LONG LASTING MARRIAGES, long lasting friendships, life-long commitment to Church and other Christians that we call ‘brethren!’

6.      The apostle John is a great example of Charity – selfless love!


D.    Be an example of a believer, a Christian - in Spirit


1.      Our spirit is the source of our attitude

2.      Christians should have great attitudes


a.       Not all the depression and anger and frustrations of the world

b.      But right attitudes – transformed attitudes – godly attitudes

c.       The same attitudes of Jesus Christ


3.      People watch us. Wonder if what we believe means anything to us, or if it is just something we do on a Sunday.

4.      We need to set the spiritual temperature for the people around us – even at work, but especially at home and amongst our families!

5.      Daniel is a great example of an excellent spirit! (Dan 6:3)


a.       We need to show the world what an excellent spirit looks and acts like

b.      Is YOUR spirit Holy Spirit led, or emotionally led

c.       Is your spirit that is under control (Prov 16:32) or out of control?

d.      Is your spirit governed, controlled by what Jesus would want, or what you want?

e.       Is your spirit filled, yielded to, empowered by the Holy Spirit, or full of the spirit of this age?


6.      Check and see if you have a right spirit…


a.       Love and passion for God,

b.      For right,

c.       And for the preaching of His word,

d.      And for soul-winning.


7.      The world desperately needs an example of someone with a right spirit!


E.     Be an example of a believer, a Christian - in Faith


1.      Where are the “believers” today? Not the complainers, and the scoffers, and the quitters, but the believers!

2.      This world needs an example of believing God again

3.      Believing God for the small things AND the hard things


a.       Like Paul did in a sinking ship in the Mediterranean Sea.  Act 27:25  Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.

b.      Like Abraham, when told to go to a promised Land, and that he would have an innumerable number of children!  Rom 4:20,21  [Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;  And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

c.       Like Peter did when told to come out onto the water


4.      And even the IMPOSSIBLE things. Mat 19:26  Jesus … said unto them, … with God all things are possible.


a.       People who will pray and trust God!

b.      People who will believe that all things WILL work together for good

c.       People who will believe that God still makes all things beautiful in His time!


5.      Abraham is a great example of ‘faith’!


F.      Be an example of a believer, a Christian - in Purity (1Tim 5:22; 2Cor 6:14,17)


1.      Oh how we need this pursued by Christians again! Sought after like it is a treasure (which it is)

2.      Young men need to flee fornication! Pornography!

3.      OLD men need to flee fornication!

4.      Young men need to show the world what purity looks like and behaves like!


a.       Be simple towards evil – not knowing how wicked others may be

b.      Prizing and protecting their thought life, and their bodies for the one woman that will be their mate for life!


5.      A great example of an example of purity is Joseph in Potiphar’s house!

6.      Don’t wait for purity to ever become popular! Make it popular by you standing out from the crowd, and doing the different thing in staying pure in your mind, heart, eyes, body!


III. Conclusion – Are You Setting the Right Example?


A.      Be the example of a believer ladies and gentlemen! A Pattern for others to follow!


1.      Don’t let the world mould you anymore

2.      Don’t let the pressures, stress, culture, fashions shape your life anymore

3.      YOU be the fashion – the light, the salt of the world

4.      BE an example of what a follower of Jesus Christ is, and acts like!

5.      We were saved to shine, to be lights, to be the salt of the earth!


B.      Paul has given us six areas that a Christian needs to stand out in – take the lead in:


1.      Word

2.      Conversation

3.      Charity

4.      Spirit

5.      Faith

6.      Purity


C.      In simple words, start being a godly Influence, a Guide, someone who sets the Pace –

D.     Quit allowing the world define the rules and set the standard

E.     How do you start doing all that?


1.      By Following THE Leader! Jesus just said, “Follow Me!” New birth!

2.      Let Christ’s leadership shine through your life.