Sunday, March 6, 2016 am                                                    Others 2016 index

Be an Example


This year we are addressing the responsibility of a Christian toward others.   We have addressed proper attitudes and last month we talked about being a servant.  This month, we want to focus on being a proper example in every aspect of our lives.   

Throughout our studies over and over we have noted we need to be a proper example.  If truth be known, we know that we need to be a proper example.  And we have an idea of what that involves.   But this month, we want to remind ourselves about what the Bible about being an example and notice how this applies to every aspect of our lives.  Today we are going to notice passages and examples of being an example.  Beginning next week we will notice some areas of our lives where we need to be a godly example – in the areas of business (working), the government, our society, our homes and within our spiritual family, the church.  In all of these areas, how we conduct ourselves has an impact on our influence with others.

 I.                     Be an Example

a.       Example – defined in English – [1]1. a person or way of behaving that is seen as a model that should be followed. 2. Someone or something mentioned to help explain what you are saying,
NT Greek – the word “example” is found 14 times in the NKJV with definitions similar to these.  
τύπος, (typos) – a word describing a model of behavior to be emulated or avoided (1 Cor. 10:6, 11)
πόδειγμα, (hypodeigma) – has a similar meaning to typos.
in dealing with examples in the Bible – words that come to mind include – pattern, model, imitation, influence, followed, etc. 

b.       The power of an example – our example is perhaps the most powerful tool we have to impact others.   We all have those that we look up to - people who have had an influence in our life, either for good or bad.  Some have helped to shape who we are (parents, preachers, teachers, friends, etc.) – some worthy of following, and others whose behavior we have learned to avoid.    
Sadly, sometimes we follow the wrong examples - the opposite of what we ought to do. 

c.        Conversely, there are always people looking to us – whether for good or bad.  We need to be reminded that we are examples whether we want to be or not.  And the example we set will go much further than what we say, or help to determine whether what we say is believable (i.e. people notice hypocrisy).

d.       It is because of this that the Bible speaks extensively about example.    

                                                   i.      The reason for this is because our influence might be the only Bible the world will see, until we get opportunity to teach.  And at times, our example will determine if we get an opportunity.

                                                 ii.      Examples within our family – parent/child, husband/wife, etc. – cf. 1 Peter 3:1-2

                                                iii.      Toward one another as brethren – 1 Tim. 4:12, Titus 2:6-7, etc.

                                                iv.      Even to unbelievers - 1 Peter 2:12)

                                                  v.      We will be held accountable for our example – Matthew 18:6

e.       There are many passages of scripture that highlight our example

                                                   i.      Matthew 5:13-16 - last year we presented a lesson describing our influence as salt and light

1.       Salt – preserves, creates thirst, and flavors.   In discussing salt as an influence, we note that it doesn’t take much – in fact too much too quickly can ruin opportunities.

2.       Light – illuminates truth, exposes error, drives away darkness, guides us and can attract others to its source.  Philippians 2:14-16 – Paul challenges the brethren noting that we are to shining as lights in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation.

                                                 ii.      Titus 2:7 – In all things showing yourself a pattern of good works – while addressed to young men, it is in a context where Paul is instruction Titus to teach everyone to behave properly (i.e. all need to be a pattern in these things). 

                                                iii.      2 Corinthians 1:12 – we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity

                                                iv.      Prov. 20:7, “The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.” 

f.         Learning from good examples – we can learn from the proper examples of brethren (and they can learn from us)

                                                   i.      Heb. 13:7 – we follow our elders, considering their faith and the outcome of their conduct.  Also note 1 Peter 5:2-3 – they lead us primarily by their example.  (NOTE: this does NOT dismiss their authority to make decisions to be followed).

                                                 ii.      Heb. 6:11-12, “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

                                                iii.      Paul an example to be imitated - Phil. 3:17 – join in following my example.
Phil. 4:9 – the things learned, received, heard and saw in him, “these do”…
2 Tim. 3:10-11 – Paul speaking to Timothy describes his life that Timothy has carefully followed.

g.       Learning from bad examples – this is equally crucial.  Someone once said, “Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.”  
The Bible makes sure to give us both good and bad examples to learn from – e.g. 1 Cor. 10:11 – the failures of the children of Israel in the wilderness are examples for us to follow.

h.       God is our example – Lev. 19:2 He said, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
Matthew 5:48 strive for perfection (in forgiving) as God is perfect. (also Ephesians 4:32)
Ephesians 5:1 calls for us to be imitators of God as dear children.

i.         Jesus is our ultimate example of being a proper example 
1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul challenged brethren to imitate him as he imitated Christ.  That is what this is about.  IF you want to be holy, seek to imitate the example of Jesus. 
John 13:15, after washing feet He said, “Do as I have done to you” (serve)
1 Pet. 2:21-25 – Jesus is an example of suffering, commitment, & restraint.
Finally, Phil. 2:4-5 – we look out for the interests of other.  We seek the mind of Christ who in humility came to this earth.

 II.                   Be an example in – 1 Timothy 4:12

a.       In word – both our conversation (Eph. 4:29, 1 Thess. 5:11)
And restraint with our lips (avoid sinful conversation – Eph. 4:29, 31-32
Finally, it could have reference to the message we present – God’s word – 1 Timothy 4:13, 16

b.       In conduct – our manner of life.  KJV uses “conversation” – the way we act is certainly a concern with our example.    We need consistency (avoiding hypocrisy) and submission to His will – James 3:13 – the wise and understanding will show by his good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.  1 Peter 1:15 says that we be holy in our conduct

c.        In love – in the way we care for others.   As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.  We need to do what we can and do so with godly love.  1 Corinthians 16:14 calls for us to let all be done with love.   We love God and our neighbors – Matthew 22:37-39.

d.       In spirit - (omitted in NA27 mss – NASB, ESV, etc.).  The word could mean that we have zealous or fervent attitude.  Romans 12:11 calls for us to be fervent in spirit in what we do.
1 Peter 1:22 speaks of obeying the truth by loving one another fervently with a pure heart.

e.       In faith – we have to believe God.  Does our example manifest genuine and complete trust in Him.  This is easy to say, but a challenge to really do - especially when facing difficult situations.  Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without this faith we cannot please Him.
Hebrews 10:22, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…

f.         In purity – unpolluted and undiluted.  We are genuine (unhypocritical).  The actual word here, γνεία, (hagneia) addresses moral purity – used here and only here and in 1 Tim. 5:2 where is speaks of how we are to approach younger women with respect and purity.
Our example needs this purity in our filthy world where you can’t hardly turn on the television, see the immodest way that women AND men dress, or even see billboards without smut.  Is ours a pure example?
We have a “pure heart” (1 Tim. 1:5).  Psalm 24:4 speaks of the one with clean hands and a pure heart as being able to stand in the holy place of God.


And thus we are reminded of the importance of being a good example.  In coming weeks, we will develop this in every area of our life as Christians.   So, what type of example are you?   Does it show the world faithfulness in Christ?   Does it reflect positively on the church?   Is it worthy of imitation?  If not, let us resolve to do better.  Our soul AND the soul of OTHERS depends on it.  Think about it.

[1] Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Web. 04 Mar. 2016.