TIMOTHY, PROFILE IN COURAGE
Pastor George W. Black
Confession: I am a victorious believer, redeemed by the Lord, washed from my sins in the blood of Jesus my Savior, saved by grace through faith, filled with the powerful Holy Spirit, poised for God’s eternal purposes, and boldly sharing the joy of God’s love, with my world.
I am a faith walking, Word talking, over-comer in this life. I am a Victor, not a victim. I can do, all things through Christ. Today, my mind is open and alert, and my heart is good soil, for the seed of God’s Word. I will be a diligent disciple, to apply its’ truths, for from this day forward, by the miracle of spiritual growth, I will never, ever, be the same again.
Opening Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:2 NKJV “To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Tmothy’s name means “honoring God.”
His name is mention 25 times in the NT, which is extraordinary.
Paul put Timothy in charge of the church at Ephesus in 65 AD. He is the perfect selection for this assignment as his dad was Greek and therefore a Gentile, and his mother was Jewish Christian. The Ephesian church is one of the gentile churches in Asia Minor, now known as Turkey. As the overseer for the church he was known as a Bishop.
In the NT the term “Bishop” is sometimes used interchangeably with the term “Elder” which means older, or mature. However the role of a Bishop became known as an overseer of more than one church or a group of churches by the end of the first century.
Ephesus is one of the seven churches referred to in the Book of Revelation, and is often considered the most advanced church in the New Testament because of Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians.
Before he became a Bishop, there was a process that required his personal profile to be one of courage. Many are called but few are chosen. What God asked of him was hard, but he said yes anyway.
The process begins in his childhood. Timothy was a native of Lystra in Lycaonia. When Paul and Barnabas first visited Lystra, Paul healed one crippled from birth, leading many of the inhabitants to accept his teaching. When he returned a few years later with Silas, Timothy was already a respected member of the Christian congregation, as were his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice, both Jewish Christians. In 2 Timothy 1:5, his mother and grandmother are noted as eminent for their piety and faith. Because of this Timothy is said to have been acquainted with the Scriptures since childhood.
He became Paul’s disciple, and later his constant companion and co-worker in preaching. In the year 52, Paul and Silas took Timothy along with them on their journey to Macedonia.
When Paul went on to Athens, Silas and Timothy stayed for some time at Berea and Thessalonica before joining Paul at Corinth.Timothy next appears in Acts during Paul’s stay in Ephesus (54-57), and in late 56 or early 57 Paul sent him to Macedonia with the aim that he would eventually arrive at Corinth. Timothy arrived at Corinth just after Paul’s epistle 1 Corinthians reached that city. The letter was not well received, and Timothy quickly returned to Ephesus to report this to Paul.
Timothy was with Paul in Corinth during the winter of 57-58 when Paul dispatched his Letter to the Romans. (Romans 16:21) According to Acts 20:3-6, Timothy was with Paul in Macedonia just before Passover 58; he left the city before Paul, going ahead of him to await Paul in Troas. (Acts 20:4-5) “That is the last mention of Timothy in Acts,” Raymond Brown notes. In the year 64, Paul left St. Timothy at Ephesus, to govern that church.
His relationship with Paul was close. Paul entrusted him with missions of great importance. Timothy’s name appears as the co-author on 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Paul wrote to the Philippians about Timothy, “I have no one like him.” (Philippians 2:19-23) When Paul was in prison and awaiting martyrdom, he summoned his faithful friend, Timothy, for a last farewell.
All of this means that this man’s level of commitment and courage had to be off the scale. Here are several Scripture’s that give us insight into Timothy’s profile of courage.
- A Fellow Worker – Dedicated to the work of God.
Romans 16:21 NKJV “Timothy, my fellow worker, and Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my countrymen, greet you.”
- Beloved and Faithful Son – Reminding other of Paul’s ways in Christ.
1 Corinthians 4:17 NKJV “For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.”
Spiritual DNA is important. We are not to be a hodge podge of different opinions and beliefs. A mixed multitude can never accomplish the will of God. Abraham went not to war except with 218 trained servants that were born in his own house. This is why stress learning the vision of this church. God doesn’t bring new people here to teach us, He brought you here to learn from us. He knew you needed what we have to offer, or He would not have brought you here.
When people remain disciples of other ministers rather than your own pastor, we have a mixed multitude, not an army. We all have something to contribute, but only after we have embraced the vision of this house.
Gen 11 is the story of the tower of Babel. God himself says nothing they imagine they can do will be withheld from them because they are one, and all have one language. Unity is when we are one with the vision God has given the Pastor for our church, and we all speak the same things about this one vision. If we can ever get to this place, nothing will be withheld from us.
Acts chapter 2 reminds us that when the 120 disciples were all in one place and one accord, just like Gen 11, the power and glory of God was poured out and the Early Church was birthed. It’s going to take this sacrificial unity for this to happen today, but it is possible.
In 2 Chron 5 the Bible says when the priests came out of the Holy Place, they did not keep to their divisions…I take that to mean their different opinions and doctrines, etc. No they came into holy, sacrificial unity by laying their opinions down, and the result was such unusual unity that a cloud of God’s glory filled the temple, and it was so thick and heavy that the priests could not stand to minister, for God was ministering Himself.
Comments about fathers and sons:
Paul and Timothy did not have the burden of dealing with the issues of nationally recognized speakers, who either intentionally or unintentionally draw disciples after themselves. But the consequence of this is we have many people in our churches today that not disciples of their pastors in the Biblical way, but they follow an image, an illusion, they follow a voice, but not a person. These pseudo disciples will never be called upon to submit to these national leaders personally, or work with them in ministry, or get to know them up close and personal, which creates an impossible comparison with the local pastor who can’t compete with a television persona. These pseudo disciples are filled with opinions, but none of them are sons, to anyone. We all need to be sons.
3. Paul said you have not many fathers…
1 Corinthians 4:14-16 NKJV “I do not write these things to shame you, but as my beloved children I warn you. 15 For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you, imitate me.”
We know we are a son when we have a spiritual father that can correct us. If a spiritual father corrects us and we resent it then maybe we are not a son. If a stranger corrects us we may resent it, but if our real father corrects us we respect it, because we know he loves us and he is watching for our soul, and it is for our learning.
We cannot make someone a son or daughter. You are either a son or daughter or not, because it is your choice. A father may chose you but you must also chose them.
The problem in American culture is no one wants to be a son or daughter. Instead we want to be equals with everyone. But this is a perversion of the natural order. We always respect our natural parents as fathers and mothers as long as they are living. But we do not welcome and respect spiritual parents without a conscious decision, because it is not our culture. However the American culture is not a Biblical culture. We must understand so many things in our culture that we consider to be our rights, are not in the Kingdom culture. If we were living in Jesus’ day we would quickly find out that kingdom culture and American culture are enemies.
4. John told us there are basically three divisions to the Body of Christ, Fathers, Young Men or Sons, and Children. Everyone wants to be Father, but they cannot until they have first become a son.
1 John 2:12-14 NKJV “I write to you, little children,
Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
13 I write to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young men,
Because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children,
Because you have known the Father.
14 I have written to you, fathers,
Because you have known Him who is from the beginning.
I have written to you, young men,
Because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the wicked one.”
The NT word Elder means older, mature, as in fathers. A kingdom culture teaches us to respect our elders, that we are not their equals and that we can never be their equals anymore than a child can equal their parents. We may one day become an elder ourselves, but we will always be subordinate to those who have gone before us. This does not mean we can’t achieve what our fathers have achieved or even exceed it. Every father wants their children to do better and achieve more than they have. But you cannot ever be their same age at the same time with someone who is 30 years older than you. You cannot ever be their equal, and it is a perversion to want to.
5. Timothy became Paul’s son in the faith because he humbled himself, refused to be a mixed multitude or a man of many opinions.
He became a son or disciple or “Timothy” to Paul because he chose to…this is a true profile in courage. If he had not, he could not have entered the destiny that Paul’s life opened the door to. He would never have been the Bishop of Ephesus or helped co-write six books of the New Testament, with another two addressed to him.
John 15:13 NKJV “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
6. Brother and Minister of God, and our Fellow Laborer in the Gospel – Encourager who strengthened the work of God
1 Thessalonians 3:1-3 NKJV “Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, 2 and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, 3 that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this.”
7. No one Like-Minded – Sincere care for the work of God with no thought of personal ego or gain.
Phillipians 2:19-21 NKJV “But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.”
8. Imprisoned For His Faith, later giving all in Martyrdom.
Heb 13:22-23 NKJV “And I appeal to you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation, for I have written to you in few words. 23 Know that our brother Timothy has been set free, with whom I shall see you if he comes shortly.”
That Timothy was jailed at least once during the period of the writing of the New Testament is implied by the writer of Hebrews mentioning Timothy’s release at the end of the epistle. The apocryphal Acts of Timothy states that in the year 97, the 80-year-old bishop tried to halt a procession in honor of the goddess Diana by preaching the gospel. The angry pagans beat him, dragged him through the streets, and stoned him to death.
Timothy’s profile in courage is a reminder that Christianity is not meant to be easy or safe. It is meant to be the greatest commitment and adventure of our lives. It become boring when we don’t give it our all.
Would you let Christ write a profile of courage for your life. Will you take up your cross?