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                     "THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"

                  Let No One Despise Your Youth (4:12)

INTRODUCTION

1. Who is useful to the Master when it comes to faithful service...?
   a. Is it only the elderly, those with the most experience?
   b. Do not the young have an important role to fulfill?

2. We can easily become guilty of looking down upon the young...
   a. Perhaps by not taking their obedience to the gospel seriously
   b. Perhaps by expecting little of them in regards to service
   c. Perhaps by even preventing them from service because of their age

3. In 1Ti 4:12, Paul was writing to the young evangelist Timothy...
   a. In which he tells him, "Let no one despise your youth..."
   b. Even then there was the danger of some looking down upon those who
      were younger

4. In this lesson, I wish to...
   a. Illustrate how God often used young people to carry out His
      purposes
   b. Point out the kind of young people God can use
   c. Remind those of us who are older of our responsibility to the
      young

[While God often used the elderly (cf. Moses, Joshua) to fulfill His
purpose, there are many examples of God using the young as well..]

I. GOD'S USE OF YOUNG PEOPLE

   A. TO SAVE ISRAEL IN TIME OF FAMINE...
      1. It was through Joseph that God provided Israel a means to
         survive a famine
      2. He was seventeen when sold as a slave to Potiphar - cf. Gen
         37:2

   B. TO DELIVER ISRAEL FROM THE PHILISTINES...
      1. As when God used David to defeat Goliath
      2. Even though he was "but a youth", according to King Saul
         - 1Sa 17:33

   C. TO LEAD ISRAEL TO ITS GREATEST HEIGHTS...
      1. God had David appoint Solomon to succeed him
      2. Who when he became king, thought of himself as but "a little
         child" - 1Ki 3:7

   D. TO RESTORE JUDAH TO THE TRUE WORSHIP OF GOD...
      1. When eight, Josiah became king, and was a good one - 2Ch 34:
         1-2
      2. When sixteen, he sought to serve God - 2Ch 34:3
      3. When twenty, he instituted religious reforms throughout Judah
         - 2Ch 34:3
      4. When twenty-six, he restored the temple, and the Passover
         - 2Ch 34:8; 35:18-19

   E. TO PROPHESY TO THE NATIONS...
      1. Speaking of Jeremiah, who tried to escape his prophetic call
         - Jer 1:4-6
      2. But God told him to not say, "I am a youth", that He would be
         with him - Jer 1:7-8

   F. TO REVEAL THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD OVER THE NATIONS...
      1. This God did through Daniel, likely 12 to 15 when taken into
         captivity - Dan 1:3-5
      2. Making him 15 to 18 when starting as Nebuchadnezzar's counselor
         - Dan 1:18-20

   G. TO BRING THE SAVIOR INTO THE WORLD...
      1. Which He did through Mary
      2. Who was but a young virgin - Lk 1:26-33

   H. TO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL TO THE LOST...
      1. Referring to Timothy, selected by Paul to join him on his
         journeys - Ac 16:1-3
      2. Who must have been quite young, for it was about fourteen years
         later that Paul tells him to let no one despise his youth!
         - 1Ti 4:12

[It should be evident that God has often used young people to accomplish
great things!  I believe He can do much through young people today;  but
what kind of young people can He use?]

II. THE KIND OF YOUNG PEOPLE GOD CAN USE

   A. THOSE WILLING TO FLEE IMMORALITY...
      1. Like Joseph did, when it would have been so easy for him to
         acquiesce - Gen 39:7-12
      2. As Timothy was instructed - 2Ti 2:22
      -- When anyone is willing to keep their bodies pure, they can be a
         temple in which the Holy Spirit can abide and do much good
         - cf. 1Co 6:18-20

   B. THOSE WILLING TO TRUST IN GOD...
      1. Like David did when fighting Goliath - cf. 1Sa 17:37,45-47
      2. Who later proclaimed the value of trusting in God - 2Sa 22:31

   C. THOSE WHO HAVE THE PROPER PRIORITIES...
      1. Like Solomon, who realized the value of wisdom - 1Ki 3:5-9
      2. And later exhorted his son to seek after wisdom - Pr 3:1-6
      -- If we are willing to seek the kingdom of God first, our Father
         will provide - Mt 6:33

   D. THOSE WILLING TO SEEK THE LORD WITH HUMILITY...
      1. As did Josiah, even when he was eight years old - 2Ch 34:3
      2. Who later was told that he was blessed because of this - 2 Chr
         34:26-28

   E. THOSE WILLING TO BOLDLY DO GOD'S WILL...
      1. As did Jeremiah, even though he had to be reassured at first
         - cf. Jer 1:6-8
      2. But then began his ministry by preaching at the gate of the
         temple - Jer 7:1-7

   F. THOSE WILLING TO BE TRUE TO THEIR CONVICTIONS...
      1. As was Daniel, who refused to compromise his beliefs - Dan 1:8
      2. But as a result found favor in the eyes of others - Dan 1:9

   G. THOSE WILLING TO HUMBLY SUBMIT TO GOD'S WILL...
      1. As did Mary - Lk 1:38
      2. Who accepted the premise that with God nothing is impossible!
         - Lk 1:34-37

   H. THOSE WILLING TO BE AN EXAMPLE TO OTHERS...
      1. As Paul instructed Timothy - 1Ti 4:12-16
      2. An example in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith,
         in purity
      -- For then can one save not only themselves, but others as well!
         - 1Ti 4:16

[Certainly young people who are willing to emulate the examples of
Joseph, David, etc., can be of great service today!  But we who are
older can encourage them when we remember...]

III. OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO THE YOUNG

   A. RECEIVE THEM...
      1. As Jesus emphasized when young children were brought to him
         - Mt 18:5; 19:14
      2. For in receiving them in Christ's name, we receive Christ
         Himself!

   B. DON'T PLACE STUMBLING BLOCKS IN THEIR WAY...
      1. We should be very careful in this regard - Mt 18:6-7
      2. The Father is very concerned about their spiritual well-being
         - Mt 18:10,14

   C. ENCOURAGE THEM...
      1. As Paul instructed the church at Corinth to do for Timothy
         - 1Co 16:10
      2. When young people are involved in the work of the Lord, the
         last thing they need is for the people of God to discourage
         them!

   D. DESPISE THEM NOT...
      1. As Paul admonished the church regarding young Timothy - 1Co
         16:11
      2. As Paul admonished Timothy himself in our text - 1Ti 4:12

CONCLUSION

1. Yes, the young can and should be very active in doing the work of the
   Lord!
   a. We certainly have many examples of God using the young
   b. And we have the example of Jesus Himself, at age twelve - cf. Lk
      2:41-49

2. We who are older should always be careful to encourage the desire of
   the young to serve, and let no one despise their youth!

In closing, we might all ask ourselves:  "Are we about our Father's
business?"  Whether young or old, we should be!
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