I Tim 4:12-16 “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. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 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.”
Teens have haters… There are so many people who think that the years from cute 11 year old to self-supporting 21 year old are wasted and unproductive years. Don’t believe me? Check Google..
Google “teens and” let the search engine fill out the rest for you… want to know the auto response?
Teens and social media, teens and sleep, teens and drugs, teens and technology, teens and sex…
This is what society expects of teenagers in 2015. There is very little positive press these days for teenagers. Many young people live and grow up with no hope, no help and no honest chance of succeeding in this world.
I wanted to title this lesson “How to Hush the Haters”. The problem with that is, I’m not sure anyone can “hush” their haters. There will always be doubting, disparaging, derogatory and demeaning people. However, Paul tells Timothy how to handle or make it despite these haters.
“Let no man despise thy youth”
Apparently, there had been some haters in Timothy’s day, who had given him a bad rap based solely on the stereotypes of his age group. Paul gives Timothy some advice on how to handle the criticism and skepticism that was coming from his peers and elders.
I. Be an Example
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.
The haters that hurt us the most are those who are telling the truth. We can ignore, lie and cover up the things they say and do against us, but when we know what they say is the truth, that is when it hurts the most. Sometimes we label someone a hater, when really that person is a helper. Don’t confuse helpers with haters.
Ask yourself; is what they are saying true? Am I weak in that area? Do I struggle with that sin?
Paul tells Timothy first of all to BE. He tells him to BE an example. Paul encourages Timothy, the first way to handle haters is to BE what you are supposed to BE.
As a Christian young person, we have an example that we are to BE…
We are to be an example in…
Word – Admonition – What you say.
We are to be examples of Christ in how we talk. People think teens are full of Cursing, slang, hateful and hurting words, name calling, yelling, smart alec responses- These are not an example of Christ.
Speak with love, speak with honor, speak with encouragement, speak with souls in mind, and speak with testimony in mind.
Conversation – Actions – What you do.
The things we do or don’t do are a large part of what makes up our testimony. The places we go, the things we do, the lifestyle we emulate, the entertainment we choose, the fads we follow, the clothes we wear, the service you do for God…
Live for God. Everyday. Everywhere. Do His Will. Walk with Him. Be careful of whom you are being an example. We are to be examples of Christ.
Charity – Affection – What you love.
The things we love are easily seen by what we spend our time doing. Whether sinful or simple, the things I love I spend my time on…. Most people think teens only love- Myself, a girl, a boy, games, TV, phones, music, etc.
Two things. Love God and Love People. Charity is more than love, it is love in action. We are to be examples of Christ’s charity. He loved people. He wanted people to be closer to God. He loved God.
Spirit – Attitude – How you react
In our attitude we are to be an example of Christ. The perception of teenagers is that you have a bad, rebellious, selfish attitude.
Phil 2:5 tells us to have the mind of Christ. The next verse says he took on the form of a servant. Our attitude should be that of Christ- a servant. Be a servant. Be an example of Christ in your attitude. Your response, your look, your words, your demeanor.
Faith – Assurance – What you Believe
What we say we believe and what we actually believe are sometimes 2 different things.
What you believe is what you are living. Period. If you are not living it, you don’t truly believe it.
Know what you believe and live it. Believe the Bible. Believe Doctrine. Believe in Holiness. Be an example of what you believe.
Purity – Absolute – Who You Are
The common perception is that you are dirty minded, full of worldliness, watch more TV and music than you read the Bible, and care more about your hair than the souls of the lost.
We are to be examples of purity. Clean. Untouched. Unblemished.
When we hear of purity we think fornication. And you are to keep yourself physically pure but purity is more than just one big step… we are to be pure in every area of our lives.
Spiritually Pure. Morally Pure. Emotionally Pure. Mentally Pure.
How do you handle those Haters? Be an Example.
II. Become Excellent
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
The second way that Paul tells Timothy to handle haters is to become better. Learn. Grow. Develop.
The admonition in the scripture is to “give attendance”. He is telling him to pay attention, focus, retain, get, grasp, and gather.
He gives him 3 things in which to become better…
It is a common perception that today’s teenagers don’t read. Not CAN’T read. DON’T read. Those who do read, often focus only on fiction and fairytales. Teens can read all the Hunger Games but struggle with a Bible Reading schedule…
TV is great, but reading is better for me. Music is good, but reading is better for me.
Fiction is fine, but Truth is essential.
If you are going to handle your haters, you must develop a love for reading. If you cannot love reading, love the results of reading…which is learning.
Read biographies. Read books on things you struggle with, things you want to get better at, read the Bible, but READ
In most churches, you can find the teenagers sitting in the back rows (or balcony) texting, talking and trying to date.
The exhortation from preaching, teaching, lessons, chapel, etc. is what helps you and I get better. If I am going to overcome those who doubt me, I must be better. I must learn how to pray, how to walk with God, how to win souls, how to love people, how to accept correction, how to separate, how to restore a fallen friend.
Give attendance. You want to handle haters in your life, be at church. Don’t Miss. Get all you can.
Not only do teenagers, but many adults feel doctrine is boring. Yet, doctrine is what we believe.
When you hear a lesson or sermon on the Bible, don’t yawn… listen. Learn more about WHY you believe it.
The same with Eternal Security, Separation, Baptism, Diety of Christ, Heaven, Hell, Salvation, Jesus, God, Holy Spirit…
Know what you believe and why! Answer your haters with scripture, not self-opinion.
Handle your haters by Becoming Excellent.
III. Besiege Earnestly
Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
Paul had laid hands on Timothy and ordained him into the ministry. But before that, his mother and grandmother had taught him and raised him in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Timothy had a responsibility to live for God even as a young man.
God has blessed each of you with a goodly heritage. Parents, grandparents, teachers, Preachers, etc.
Many of you go to a Christian School. You attend this great church. You are blessed.
But not only are you blessed, you have been given so much. God expects something from your life.
Don’t neglect God’s Will. Do it. Do what God wants you to do. His will is greater than anyone’s.
There is an expectation for a life that has been given so much, handle your haters by Besieging Earnestly.
IV. Bestow Extremely
Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
Many teenagers live their lives half in and half out. We are so trained that life is in seasons. We live our lives like NBA, NFL, MLB…
We have a season where we do what we want, a season where we get spiritual, a season where we care, and a season where we don’t give a rip.
Paul tells Timothy, the haters will eat you up for being inconsistent. Give it your all. “Wholly”
If you want a walk with God – give it your all.
A Prayer life – give ALL.
To overcome a sin or struggle – give ALL.
To be a Soul Winner – give ALL
Give thyself wholly. If you want to handle those haters, you will need to Bestow Extremely.
V. Beware Exactly
Take heed unto thyself,
Probably the best advice. If you want to handle the haters in your life…. Don’t worry about them… FOCUS on YOUR life.
We spend so much time trying to find the faults of others to make ourselves look good….
We spend so much time trying to justify the sins and struggles we have….
If you want to handle those haters, start with YOURSELF.
Are they right? Maybe they are. Focus on getting yourself right with God. How is your walk, life, purpose…
Beware Exactly. You are your own worst enemy. Keep yourself right with God, walking with God and striving to serve Him and you will Handle your Haters.
William Davis | Youth Pastor
Clays Mill Baptist Church | Lexington, Ky