“Ribless Christians” -
Summary of Sermon by Erlo Stegen, 06 May 2012
1 Tim 4:12 – 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.
This text contains so much that we cannot speak about it all. But let’s look at one aspect, purity.
Blessed are the parents who have children who live lives such as the two who got engaged today.
The young man (whose engagement took place during the service) testified how he got to know the Lord Jesus. Even before he became a Christian, he determined to keep himself pure until he finished school. But then while in grade 12, a group of young people from KwaSizabantu came to his school and spoke about the Lord Jesus. His heart was touched and he surrendered his life to the Lord. So he served the Lord from that day in 1996 till today and kept himself pure.
Paul instructed Timothy to be an example to the believers in all these aspects. In other words, Timothy had to be a role model for others to follow.
Unless you are a role model for others to follow as a Christian, get converted first.
Maybe someone says, “I’ve already messed up and cannot be a role model as a Christian”. But even for such, there is hope, for in Christ you can be made a brand new person again, to live the Christian life.
Think of Joseph. He was sold into slavery into Egypt, the land of sin. His master in Egypt saw how capable he was and that the Lord was with him and appointed him over his whole house. Joseph was more trustworthy than all in his house.
Jesus said the true shepherd lay down his life for the sheep. When David cared for his father’s sheep he killed both the lion and bear that tried to snatch the sheep. He put himself in harm’s way for his father’s sheep. No wonder he became king.
We see the same with Joseph, and he too became the master of all Egypt.
The hireling doesn’t feel for the work, whereas the owner feels for the work and sees to it that it goes well.
Egypt was a depraved place. Joseph’s master’s wife flirted with him but he refused to be alone with her. One day when there was no one around, she grabbed hold of him, but he slipped out of her hand.
Solomon was a very wise man, more than any human that ever lived. We see some of that wisdom in Proverbs, full of gold and diamonds.
We see how Solomon warns young men of the flirtatious woman, not even to be near her. Don’t think of her, neither be physically near her.
It’s sad that this man of such great wisdom fell into the very same pit he warned others about. He first had one wife, then two, then ten, then a hundred and eventually 700! And then he still had 300 concubines – 1000 in total!
We find him at the end of his life writing Ecclesiastes, full of despair. The one who preached to others did not heed his own sermons, and he was eventually wallowing in the very trouble because of cheap women that he warned others about. Compare Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. His heart was turned away from the Lord because of these strange women. One rib was taken out of Adam for his wife. Solomon had a thousand taken out and was left “ribless” and “spineless” in a spiritual sense. He became an empty shell with no backbone.
Robert Moffat’s mother read to him missionary stories as a child but he wasn’t converted. Eventually, the time came for him to leave home. His mother cried. But she was a wise woman. She asked him to remember what she would tell him till his death – to promise to read a page from the Bible for the rest of his life. As an old man, he testified that he kept that promise and not a day went by without him reading a chapter from the Bible. God’s word is sharp to convict and convert and that’s what happened to him too.
What are you teaching your children? What are you reading to them and watching with them?
Are you an example in sexual purity in particular?
Jesus said that it’s His words that will judge us. Do you take heed to His words?