“What I am anxious to see in Christian believers is a beautiful paradox. I want to see in them the joy of finding God while at the same time they are blessedly pursuing Him. I want to see in them the great joy of having God yet always wanting Him.” A. W. Tozer

Sermon #92: Setting an Example


People should learn to pursue comprehensive success.

This is the kind of success that I have always exhorted people, through the medium of my books and blogs, to pursue.

I do not think that it is helpful for anybody to have some dark patches. Instead, people should learn to live complete lives, always guided by the Word of Light.

Each of your actions or omissions gives you an identity or label before God and mankind. People look at you and make specific deductions about you.

Your actions or omissions either build your identity or destroy it. So doing nothing is not actually doing nothing, as some people think. By doing nothing you would, in fact, be doing something!

What example are you setting in life? Are you a role model? Would people with good intentions want to emulate you? These are questions that you ought to be asking yourself always.

What perceptions do fellow church members, co-workers, friends, relatives, etc, have about you? Are they comfortable in your presence? Do they befriend you? Would they confide in you? Would they ask you for advice from you on their personal problems? Would they ask you to help them in any other way? Do they think you are fair in your dealings with them?

The Word of God is our greatest teacher. Listen to this: "Set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, in purity" (1 Timothy 4:12). Praise God! 

You’ve got to set an example for fellow believers:

  • in speech;
  • in life;
  • in love;
  • in faith; and
  • in purity.
Now let us prepare a small checklist. 

I want you to read each of the following statements thrice, after which you would then consider if it relates to you. If it relates to you, say, "Yes, that's who I am." If it doesn't, shout, "Oh my God!"

Here we go:

  • I set a good example for believers in the way I speak;
  • I set a good example for believers in the way I live;
  • I set a good example for believers in the way I relate to them;
  • I set a good example for believers in the way I exercise my faith; and
  • I set a good example for believers in purity.

You need to use your tongue in a responsible way. You should use only the words that people would listen to with delight - positive words, encouraging (uplifting) words, words that build people up, words that bring value to the listener.

There are great problems in the area of speech. Several believers speak toxic words almost on a daily basis. Some seem to speak such words almost exclusively; each time they open their mouths you can be sure that they are on a mission to hurt somebody. That’s quite regrettable.

You should always be conscious that God expects you to set an example to fellow believers in speech.

What does setting an example in life mean? I think this is a global view - over a period of time, one observes how you conduct your life in general. If you are setting a good example for them in this regard, they should end up desiring to be like you.

You should also set an example for others in love and in purity. This is something! Love, purity. Some people do not understand these words. What is love? What is purity? You could already be asking yourself these questions.

What does it take to be a pure human being? What does it take to have genuine love? These are higher positions that no natural human being could attain, only those who are quickened by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In purity, one deliberately sets themselves apart from ungodly beliefs and practices or actions, being fully conscious of who they are in Christ Jesus.

To fully understand love, I refer you to Sermon 83 on this blog.

If you are in Christ, I salute you. I am sure you do not ask the same questions asked by those who are not born again. This is because in Jesus Christ you have a role model, a perfect example.

If you want to know what purity is, you should look at Christ. If you want to know what true love is, you should again look at Christ.

Nothing shall give Christians confidence, except them being like Christ. Christ is our confidence.

Some people behave in a manner that is seriously worrisome. By their conduct they seem to say, “I am rubbish, and I admit it.” They have no boundaries with regards to their actions or omissions. Yet Paul is teaching us that we ought to pay careful attention to how we walk this earth as Christians.

Whatever you do or say contributes to the perception that people will have about you. If you take advantage of other people, if you ask for or accept bribes, if you spit venom, if you fly with rage, if you exhibit arrogance, then you certainly do yourself serious injustice.

I wonder how one could live comfortably in a house that they obtained through corruption, sit in sofas that they stole from somebody else and unashamedly enjoy music from a radio that they obtained through tricks.

What happened to conscience? What happened to self-respect? What happened to honesty, decency and integrity? What example would one be setting by such conduct?

What example are you setting yourself?