Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Philippians 2:19 – 23 (NIV) 19I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you. 20I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. 21For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. 23I hope, therefore, to send him as soon as I see how things go with me.
We all need role models. Our choice of role models will have a lasting impact on our life.
Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons animated television series, responded to complaints that Bart Simpson is a bad role model with the following statement. “I now have a 7-year-old boy and a 9-year-old boy, so all I can say is, I apologize. Now I know what you guys were talking about.”
The Apostle Paul has been teaching us about the true spirit of humility that is essential to the experience of lasting joy. Knowing our need for role models, the Holy Spirit introduces us to a man named Timothy. He serves as the practical example of a humble lifestyle.
Timothy was being trained by Paul for ministry. (See footnote below for more detail on Timothy’s life.) In his letter to the Philippian church, Paul commends Timothy to them for five reasons:
- He is a faithful communicator of truth;
- He has a genuine interest in the welfare of people;
- He understands that genuine interest in others must be centered in the purpose of Jesus Christ for their lives;
- He has proven himself to have a true servant spirit;
- He has been faithful to the work of the gospel no matter what the obstacles.
Let’s look at number one today. Paul trusted Timothy with eternal information. Timothy would faithfully bring Paul’s teachings to the church and would also faithfully report the spiritual status of the church back to Paul. This required Timothy to be a man of honesty, integrity, and personal strength.
- Timothy could be trusted to not be tempted to give a false report for the sake of personal protection or gratification.
- Paul knew that Timothy would resist the temptation to look out for his own interests by trying to fit in with the majority.
- Timothy could be trusted to deal righteously with any conflict in the church if they disagreed with what Paul said.
- When the church at Corinth began to have serious problems, Paul trusted Timothy to be the strong messenger needed to bring corrective teaching to that church. “Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I am sending to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.” (1 Cor. 4:16-17)
- Paul declares Timothy to be a man of integrity, faithful in the Lord, and able to live life honestly and consistently.
- Paul even told the church at Corinth to be careful not to cause any problems for the messenger – “If Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am. No one, then, should refuse to accept him.” (1 Corinthians 16:10 – 11)
Timothy was commended to the churches for being a faithful communicator of truth.
- Can we be commended for the same honesty, integrity, and consistency with the truth of Jesus Christ?
- When the truth is not popular, are we tempted to follow the path of popularity?
- Do we compromise our stand for God for the sake of protecting our standing with people?
- Can we handle bad news as well as good news, knowing that the interests of Jesus Christ are being advanced?
Timothy was capable, and committed to doing it. May we commit ourselves today and every day to being faithful communicators of the truth of Jesus Christ.
Footnote: Here are a few things about Timothy’s background: He was from Lystra and was probably saved during Paul’s first missionary trip to that city. His father was a pagan Greek, but his mother (Eunice) and grandmother (Lois) were godly Jewish women, and they had brought Timothy up on God’s Word. Timothy may have been a somewhat reserved individual who did not always enjoy robust health. Paul regarded him as his own son in the faith, and Timothy became a faithful coworker with the Apostle Paul. He was invited by Paul to “join the team” during the apostle’s second missionary trip. This team would consist of Silas, Paul, and Luke. Timothy may have been chosen to take John Mark’s place. He was circumcised by Paul so that he might have freedom to preach the gospel in various Jewish synagogues. Timothy was formally ordained for ministry by Paul and the elders. He also accompanied Paul during the third missionary trip. He became Paul’s close companion during the apostle’s first imprisonment. In fact, Paul’s final request before his martyrdom in Rome was for Timothy to be at his side. At the apostle’s request, Timothy performed a ministry in at least five New Testament churches: Thessalonica, Corinth, Berea, Ephesus, and here at Philippi.