And take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:17
Volume XI, Number 42 September 14, 2008
In this issue:
October 5-10, 2008
lessons nightly, Mon-Fri at 7:00 PM
(From I-5 take Exit # 255 and go East 4.2 miles)
Every day we make an impression on people (for better or worse). When the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus, he talked about the importance of a Christian’s example. Let us look into these books and see what our example ought and ought not be.
The Example Of The Young
Timothy was told, “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” (I Tim. 4:12). He continues, “Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee” (I Tim. 4:15-16). When it came to this young man’s example, he was to take heed to God’s word and be a godly example to others; not “sow his wild oats.”
Titus was told, “In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you” (Titus 2:7-8). Just as Titus was to show the proper example, so must we! In so doing, those who are not Christians will have nothing evil to say, and will be ashamed of their conduct.
The Example Of The Old
Sadly, many people want to give up when they know they are nearing the end of life’s journey. That should not be! When the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, he remembered the godly influence two older women (Lois and Eunice, II Tim. 1:5) had on Timothy. These women had such a good influence that he had grown up knowing the Scriptures (II Tim. 3:15)! What great role models for this young man!
In Titus 2:2-5, we read of the roles that older men and women must accept. “That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” What a great asset older men and women can be when they show the proper example to others! Let us not take them for granted.
The Example Of Those Who Are Evil
Those who are evil leave an impression on us. May God help us to see what they did and learn from their misdeeds. Paul wrote to Timothy and said, “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some” (II Tim. 2:16-18). These men’s bad examples had caused the faith of some to be overthrown. Truly, a bad example can be devastating, spiritually!
Titus was told that there were some that would deceive people and “subvert (plunder, overthrow, Vine’s, p. 1111) whole houses.” The plunder was not physical. Rather, through false teachings these people would be carried away and would turn themselves from the truth (Titus 1:10-14). Let us learn how destructive a bad example can be and determine not to act that way.
The Example Of Christians In General
Some might look at themselves and decide that they have no “special” talent, and therefore they have nothing to do in the kingdom --- WRONG! All Christians are to show a proper example to others. “The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (II Tim. 2:24-26). When it comes to being a good example, ALL must do their part!
The Reason That We Are To Be Good Examples To Others
In the final verses of Titus 2, we see why God wants people to be good examples to others (Titus 2:11-14). Put simply, we are to be good examples because Christ died for us and showed us how to live (I Pet. 2:21-22). We also need to be good examples in order to lead others to Christ. Jesus taught that people will glorify God when they see us being “salt” and “light” (Matt. 5:14-16). Therefore, what kind of impression are we leaving on people? -The Old Paths
The record of Simon’s conversion is concise: “Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done” (Acts 8:13). Though brief, this account provides a clear picture of the gospel’s power to save sinners in contrast to false displays of power that many see as “the great power of God” but cannot save the soul (Rom. 1:16; Acts 8:9-10).
1) Simon’s conversion was personal. The word of God says Simon “himself” was converted. No one was converted on his behalf. It was Simon’s own sins that needed cleansing and it was Simon himself who responded to the gospel call of salvation (Acts 8:4-5). Similarly, one person cannot obey the gospel on behalf of another. Doctrines of proxy belief and obedience are utterly false and are powerless to save.
2) Simon’s conversion followed God’s revealed pattern on how to be saved. Simon “also” believed and was baptized; he was saved just like the Samaritans (Acts 8:12-13). Every sinner is converted in the same way today. The gospel is a pattern or mold that is the same for all: “But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Rom. 6:17-18). The gospel is the “form of doctrine” that Simon obeyed to be set free from sin. Simon was not converted to Christ by praying the “sinner’s prayer” and asking Jesus into his heart as his personal Savior. Simon was not converted by first waiting for empowerment from the Holy Spirit in order to be able to believe the gospel. Jesus said, “He that believes and is baptized will be saved”, (Mk. 16:15-16). That is what Simon did, and the powerful gospel of Christ saved him.
3) Simon’s conversion was real. Simon’s conversion was as real as the Samaritans’ (Acts 8:13). Like them, he heard and believed the preaching of Christ when he saw the mighty miracles that showed the message was from God (Acts 8:5-8). His repentance is implied in that he freely chose to be baptized “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 8:13, 16). Simon then “continued with Philip” just like the first Christians “continued steadfastly” upon their conversion (Acts 2:42).
The notion that Simon was not really a Christian is false. His ensuing sin did not nullify his conversion any more than Peter’s later sin invalidated his (Gal. 2:11-14). Men are powerless to successfully show Simon was not really a Christian; he was.
4) Simon’s conversion did not remove the possibility of falling away. Simon sinned after he became a Christian (Acts 8:18-21). Conversion to Christ does not make one immune to temptation and sin. The possibility of sinning and falling away from Christ is real and Christians must heed the warning (Jas. 1:12-16; Gal. 5:4; 1 Cor. 10:12; Heb. 3:12-14).
Simon the Christian was told to repent and pray for God’s forgiveness in order to escape sin and death (Acts 8:22-24; 1 Jno. 1:9). The gospel is powerful to cleanse Christians when they sin. What good news!
Created by Chuck Sibbing. 09/10/2008
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA